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Big Wave Surfboard Optimization Using Pointwise & CRUNCH CFD

In the extreme sport of Big Wave Surfing, surfers ride specially-designed surfboards known as “Rhino Chasers”. Designed for speed and stability, Rhino Chasers allow the surfer to drop down the face of the tube and generate enough speed to stay ahead of the crest. These waves can reach upwards of 80-100 feet, and the surfers riding them can reach speeds of 50 mph. To these elite surfers, speed and stability are crucial, allowing them to catch that monster wave, ride it, and ultimately survive it.

Big wave surfboard designs tend to concentrate on hydrodynamics, focusing primarily where the board comes in contact with the water. In contrast, the aerodynamics of the board above the waterline are often disregarded. By optimizing the aerodynamic performance of a surfboard, higher speeds and improved stability can be realized.

Working with one of the world's top big wave board shapers, engineers at CRAFT Tech have applied computational fluid dynamics (CFD) within a design optimization process, employing a genetic algorithm to evolve the design of a big wave surfboard. By using Cadence's Pointwise meshing tools, and automating the process using Glyph scripting, a large design space was explored to aerodynamically optimize the board’s leading-edge design. In this webinar, we will examine the tools and the framework that allowed over 100 designs to be explored, resulting in a higher speed, lower drag big wave surfboard design.


  • Characterization of big wave surfing and the aerodynamics of surfboards
  • Defining an optimization framework that leverages CFD to improve surfboard speed and stability
  • Automatic generation of CFD-ready hybrid viscous meshes using Pointwise and Glyph scripting
  • Analysis and testing of the optimized board design for speed and stability
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