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Title:
SNOWBOARD WITH MODIFIED RAILS AND EDGES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/026772
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The disclosure herein is directed toward systems and methods for supporting a person and enabling motion of a person across a surface of snow while satisfying the countervailing requirements of increasing surface area for weight-carrying capacity on soft snow and reducing the opposing forces, like for example drag and friction, in hard snow. More specifically, a snowboard described herein includes an inner edge and an outer edge, and allows the rider to control the amount of board-to-snow contact. This snowboard is configured to improve rider support, increase speed and enhance safety performance.

Inventors:
GILSON NICHOLAS JAMES (US)
Application Number:
US2014/051611
Publication Date:
February 26, 2015
Filing Date:
August 19, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GILSON NICHOLAS JAMES (US)
International Classes:
A63C5/03; A63C5/048
Foreign References:
US5340144A1994-08-23
US20090102161A12009-04-23
US20060082083A12006-04-20
US20110148074A12011-06-23
US5462304A1995-10-31
US8356822B22013-01-22
US6193244B12001-02-27
US5340144A1994-08-23
US20090102161A12009-04-23
Other References:
See also references of EP 3036019A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KELLY, Edward, J. (Prudential Tower800 Boylston Stree, Boston MA, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A snowboard, comprising:

a board having an upper surface and a lower surface, a first edge and a second edge, and a first and second end,

the upper surface having locations for a first binding and a second binding to allow the bindings to be arranged transverse to a longitudinal axis extending through the first and second ends,

the lower surface having a first and a second rail extending along the longitudinal axis and being separated by a recess extending along the longitudinal axis, the rails and the recess each having a width measured transverse to the longitudinal axis and the width of the recess being greater than the width of each respective rail, and the first and second rails and the recess extending substantially the length of the lower surface, and

the second edge being located at a periphery of the upper surface, and the first edge being located on the lower surface and closer to the longitudinal axis than the second edge.

2. The snowboard according to Claim 1, wherein a surface of the board between the first edge and the second edge is concave.

3. The snowboard according to Claim 1, wherein the first edge is made with a first material, and the second edge is made with a second material, and wherein the second material suffer than the first material.

4. The snowboard according to Claim 1, wherein when the boards rests on a flat surface the first peripheral edge is in contact with the flat surface, and the second peripheral edge is raised above the flat surface.

5. The snowboard according to Claim 4, wherein the second peripheral edge is raised between about 1 mm and 8 mm above the flat surface.

6. The snowboard according to Claim 1, where the first and second rails have respective interior shoulder walls having an at least 30° inclination from an axis parallel to a beam of the board. 7. The snowboard according to Claim 1 , wherein the first and second rails have a width substantially equal to one quarter the width of the lower surface.

8. The snowboard according to Claim 1, further comprising

a binding for gripping a boot of a rider, and

wherein the binding is arranged to position a heel of the boot over one rail and a toe of the boot over a different rail.

9. The snowboard according to Claim 1, wherein the first and second rails have surfaces for contacting the snow, the surfaces being tapered to narrow a thickness of the respective rail from the recess to the first peripheral edge of the board.

10. The snowboard according to Claim 1 , wherein the first and second rails comprise modular bodies for being secured to the lower surface of the board. 1 1. The snowboard according to Claim 1, wherein the first and second rails comprise rails integrally formed as part of the lower surface of the board.

12. The snowboard according to Claim 1, wherein, under typical operating conditions, the width of the rails is selected to support the weight of a user, and thereby have the recessed surface apply a force less than the weight of the user to the surface of the snow.

13. A method of manufacturing a snowboard, comprising

providing a board having an upper surface and a lower surface, a first edge and a second edge, and a first and second end, arraigning on the upper surface locations for a first binding and a second binding to allow the bindings to be arranged transverse to a longitudinal axis extending through the first and second ends, and

forming on the lower surface a first and a second rail extending along the longitudinal axis and being separated by a recess extending along the longitudinal axis, wherein the rails and the recess each have a width measured transverse to the longitudinal axis and the width of the recess being greater than the width of each respective rail and the first and second rails and the recess extend substantially the length of the lower surface,

wherein the second edge is located at a periphery of the upper surface, and the first edge is located on the lower surface and closer to the longitudinal axis than the second edge.

14. A snowboard, comprising:

a board having an upper surface and a lower surface, a first edge and a second edge, and a first and second end,

the upper surface having locations for a first binding and a second binding to allow the bindings to be arranged transverse to a longitudinal axis extending through the first and second ends,

the lower surface having a first and a second rail extending along the longitudinal axis and being separated by a recess extending along the longitudinal axis, the rails and the recess each having a width measured transverse to the longitudinal axis and the width of the recess being greater than the width of each respective rail, and the first and second rails and the recess extending substantially the length of the lower surface, and

the second edge configured to provide engagement with a snow surface with a first coefficient of friction,

the first edge configured to provide engagement with the snow surface with a second coefficient of friction when the second edge is not engaged with the snow surface,

wherein the second coefficient of friction is lower than the first coefficient of friction.

Description:
SNOWBOARD WITH MODIFIED RAILS AND EDGES

Cross-Reference to Related Applications

This application claims priority to U.S. application serial number 61/959,275 entitled "Snowboard" naming Nicholas James Gilson as inventor and filed August 19, 2013, the contents being incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

Technical Field

The systems and methods described herein relate to sporting equipment. Specifically, snowboards and other systems and methods for enabling motion of a person across a surface of snow.

Background

Sportsmen and engineers have designed different types of snowboards to travel over the surface of the snow. Snowboards travel differently than skis and sleds. In particular, snowboards allow users to lift up on or tilt onto an edge of the board and use the force of the board's edge against the snow surface to turn direction. This type of turning is called carving and it essentially allows the skilled snowboarder to make tight radius turns. Unlike with skis, the snowboarder positions his or her feet transverse to the longitudinal axis of the board. This means that the snowboarder must lean forward or backwards to tilt the board on to one of its edges. This takes quite a bit of skill to achieve, but the benefit is that the snowboard turns using a process that keeps the velocity of the board, both speed and direction, aligned with the turned patch of the snowboard. In contrast, turning without rising on to an edge, maintains the full wide bottom surface of the snow board against the snow road forces the rider to essentially drag the bottom surface of the board until the snow board points in the proper direction. This manner of turning is called skidding. Skidding the board slows the rider because the frictional force of the board against the snow is not aligned with the direction of travel and therefore results in a strong frictional stopping force. Frictional forces between the board and snow surface can make riding more difficult and less fun.

Engineers and sportsmen have endeavored to reduce the frictional forces that slow and make less stable the movement of a snowboard across the snow. The interaction between the board and the snow impacts the performance of the board and rider. For example, US Patent 8,3^6,822 describes engagement devices that can attach to the bottom of a snowboard to change how it engages with the snow and performs. US Patent 6,193,244 discusses a snowboard having two edges on the bottom surface for contacting the snow to reduce skidding. Still there remains a need for improved systems and devices for improving and altering the performance of snow boards.

Summary Described herein are a system and method for supporting a person and enabling motion of a person across a surface of snow while satisfying the countervailing requirements of increasing surface area for weight-carrying capacity on soft snow and reducing the opposing forces, like for example drag and friction, in hard snow. More specifically, a snowboard described below includes an inner edge and an outer edge, and allows the rider to control the amount of board-to-snow contact. This snowboard is configured to improve rider support, increase speed and enhance safety performance.

In general, the system is designed to support the weight of the user and to provide motion across the surface of snow. The weight-carrying capacity of snow increases with compaction. Soft, uncompact snow has a lower weight-carrying capacity than hard, compact snow. When the weight-carrying capacity of snow is exceeded, the snow compacts until it reaches the requisite weight-carrying capacity to support the applied weight. The area of contact between the system and the snow is calculated by multiplying the width of contact between the system and the snow by the length of contact between the system and the snow. The system carries the weight of the user by transferring the weight to the snow surface across the area of contact. The maximum operating speed of the system is, in part, determined by magnitude of opposing forces that occur at the area of contact between the system and the snow surface. The opposing forces may be generated by friction, drag or other forces that oppose the primary direction of travel while the system is in use. Opposing forces have a negative impact on the maximum speed of the system.

Conventional systems are designed for use in one of either soft snow or hard snow. In soft snow, it is desirable for the weight of the user to be supported on a large area of contact between the system and the snow, without little or no compaction required. The large area of contact places more snow under the system to support the weight of a user; it allows the user to "glide" across the surface of snow without sinking into the snow, which would increase the magnitude of opposing forces. In hard snow, it is desirable for the weight of the user to be supported on a small area of contact between the system and the snow. The small area of contact between the system and the snow reduces the magnitude of opposing forces, such as an opposing frictional force, which, in part, contributes to an increased maximum speed of the system. In the design of a conventional system, the width of contact between the system and the snow is fixed. Therefore, it is not possible to substantially increase or decrease the width of contact in response to varying snow conditions.

Consequendy, many expert users carry more than one system; one wide system for soft snow conditions and one other narrow system for hard snow conditions. The soft snow system is significantly wider than the hard snow system. The increased width of the soft snow system increases the horizontal surface area, and increases the normal force supporting the user. A conventional system that is designed for soft-snow causes unnecessary drag and friction when operated on hard snow. In addition, when operating a conventional system, the user must be careful not to operate the system in a substantially flat position. A flat position is characterized by two opposing edges of the system touching the snow simultaneously. Often, the two edges are oriented perpendicular to the primary direction of travel. When the standard system is operated in a flat position, it has the potential to pitch and/or yaw, causing an edge of the system to unintentionally catch and stop in the snow, which generally results in the rider falling down. This phenomenon is sometimes called "catching an edge" and is potentially dangerous for the rider. The snowboards described here address the countervailing requirements of increasing area for weight-carrying capacity on soft snow and reducing the opposing forces in hard snow. Moreover, these snowboards reduce the likelihood of unintentionally catching an edge in the snow. The system and methods disclosed herein support the weight of the user and enable motion at a high maximum speed on snow while satisfying the countervailing requirements of increasing weight-carrying capacity reducing opposing forces. Among other features, the systems includes a contoured lower surface that sinks lower in soft snow and rises higher in hard snow. The lower surface has at least two rails and a recessed region, which provide additional surface area for transferring weight to the snow. The amount of area contacting the snow adjusts based on, in part, the rider's speed, weight and the current snow conditions. The rails on the lower surface are sloped up toward the periphery of the system, which lifts the edges up from the snow surface and thereby reduces the likelihood of unintentionally catching an edge in the snow. More specifically, the systems and methods described herein include, among other things, snowboards having a board with an upper surface and a lower surface and a first and second end. Typically, both the first and second ends are curved upward, to lift the ends of the board off the surface of the snow, as commonly done with snowboards. The upper surface has locations for a first binding and a second binding to allow the bindings to be arranged transverse to a longitudinal axis extending through the first and second ends. The lower surface has a first and a second rail extending along the longitudinal axis and being separated by a recess extending along the longitudinal axis. The rails and the recess all have a width, as measured transverse to the longitudinal axis of the board. The width of the recess is typically, but not necessarily, greater than the width of each respective rail and the first and second rails and the recess extend across the width of the bottom surface and substantially the length of the bottom surface of the board.

Optionally, the snowboard may have first and second rails that have respective interior shoulder walls having an at least 30° inclination from an axis parallel to a beam of the board. Further optionally, the snowboard may have first and second rails have a width substantially equal to one quarter the width of the bottom surface of the board. Typically, but optionally, the snowboard may have one or more bindings for gripping a boot of a rider, and the binding may be arranged to position a heel of the boot over one rail and a toe of the boot over a different rail. The snowboard may have first and second rails that have surfaces for contacting the snow, the surfaces being tapered to narrow in thickness from the recess to the peripheral edge of the board. Optionally, when the board rests against a flat surface, the peripheral edge of the board is raised above the flat surface. The peripheral edge may be raised between about 1 mm and 8 mm above the flat surface, or any other suitable distance. In manufacture, the snowboard may have first and second rails that comprise modular bodies for being secured to the bottom surface of the board. Alternatively, the snowboard may have first and second rails that comprise rails integrally formed as part of the bottom surface of the board. Further optionally, the snowboard, under typical operating conditions, has rails with a width selected to support the weight of a user, and thereby have the recessed surface apply a force less than the weight of the user, which may include no substantial force, to the surface of the snow, such that the center of the board applies little or no force to the surface of the snow and frictional forces generated against the center of the board are reduced or eliminated.

Brief Description of the Drawings The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will be appreciated more fully from the following further description thereof, with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein;

Figure 1 depicts prior art snowboard designed to support and to enable motion for a person on snow;

Figure 2 depicts a cross-sectional view of a prior art snowboard;

Figure 3 depicts one embodiment of a snowboard designed to support and to enable motion for a person on snow;

Figure 4 depicts a cross-sectional view of one embodiment of a snowboard as described herein;

Figure 5 depicts a cross-sectional view of a snowboard such as the snowboard in Figure 4, and placed on a snow surface of less compact snow; Figure 6 depicts the lower surface of the snowboard of Figure 3 having two rails, and partially shows a rider with bindings attached to the upper surface of the snowboard; and

Figure 7 depicts a cross-sectional view of a one embodiment of a snowboard as described herein.

Description of the Illustrated Embodiments

Certain illustrative embodiments will now be described, including a snowboard that supports the weight of the user and enables the user to move across the surface of snow at a high speed while satisfying the countervailing requirements of increasing weight-carrying capacity and reducing opposing forces, such as opposing factional forces. However, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the systems and methods described herein can be adapted and modified for other suitable applications and that such other additions and modifications will not depart from the scope hereof.

In certain embodiments, the snowboard has a bottom surface having two rails. The two rails run the length, or substantially the length, of the snow board and these two rails are separated by a recess, so that the two rails are arranged to place one along each side of the snowboard. The rails have a bottom surface that contacts the snow. Under certain operating conditions, such as when the snow is compact and firm enough to prevent or reduce the rails from sinking more than a few millimeters into the snow, the snowboard moves over the snow with the rails in contact with the snow surface and the recessed portion of the board spaced away from the compact snow surface. Optionally, the rails may have a tapered surface. The taper may progress from the interior side of the rail adjacent to the recess toward the peripheral edge of the board. The taper spaces the peripheral edge of the board away from a fiat surface on which the rails may rest. The tapered surfaces are examples of a contoured lower surface having dual rails. Among other features, the contoured lower surface may sink lower in soft snow and ride higher in hard snow. The amount of area contacting the snow adjusts based on, in part, the rider's speed, weight and the snow conditions. The rails on the lower surface may optionally be sloped up toward the periphery of the board and may reduce the likelihood of unintentionally catching an edge in the snow, and thereby improve stability. Detailed Description

Figure 1 depicts a prior art snowboard 100 designed to support the weight of a person and to enable motion on snow. The snowboard 100 contains at least one rigid element, wherein each rigid element has an upper surface (not shown), a lower surface 203 and one or more stiffened peripheral edges 101(a) and (b). Edges 101(a) and (b) are located on left and right ends and, in some embodiments, may line the entire periphery of the system. Edges 101 may be made of metal, alloy or any other suitable material.

Figure 2 depicts a cross-sectional detail of the prior art snowboard of Figure 1. The snowboard 100 has an upper surface 201, a lower surface 203, and a plurality of inner-layers 202 positioned between the upper surface 201 and lower surface 203. Edges 101 (a) and (b) are located on left and right ends, respectively. The lower surface 203 rests on the snow surface 204. The downward force 206 is transferred through the system 100 and is balanced by the normal force 207.

Upper surface 201 may be made of a glossy material, which serves as a medium to place graphic designs and also a UV protectant layer. Lower surface 203 is typically a polyethylene and serves to reduce friction between the bottom of the system and the surface of travel. Inner- layers 202 are made of hardwood placed in between layers of fiberglass.

During operation, the snowboard 100 reaches a physical equilibrium state wherein the normal force 207 is equal to downward force 206. The downward force 206 is determined, in part, by weight of the person on the snowboard 100. The normal force 207 is distributed across the snow 204 on an area snow-to-board contact (not shown), which is determined, in part, by the width of snow-to-board contact 205. For the prior art snowboard, the width of contact 205 remains constant even as the downward force 206 increases. Figure 3 depicts one embodiment of the snowboards described herein. Specifically, Figure 3 depicts the lower surface of a snowboard having two rails separated by a recess. As shown, the snowboard 300 has an upper surface (not shown), a lower surface 305, and one or more stiffened peripheral edges 304(a) and (b), which are located on the left side and right side of the board, respectively. The peripheral edges 304a and 304b may form a single edge that surround the full periphery of the snowboard 300. Alternatively, in other embodiments, the edges 304a and 304b are separate edges on opposing longitudinal sides of the board. The lower surface 305 is continuous across the rails 301 and a recessed region 302 is arranged between the two rails 301a and 301b. In some embodiments, the board is laminated from a series of layers.

Typically the layers are wood, fiberglass and/or plastic, although other materials may be employed. These form the inner structure of the snowboard 300 and the inner layers (not shown) may be contoured in a shape that is similar to that of the lower surface 305. In other

embodiments, the inner layers (not shown) may be formed as a generally flat board and the rails 301 may be distinct components of the system that are attached separately to the lower surface 305. In either case, the contour of the lower surface 305 may be similar. When in use, the system makes contact with the snow across the width of contact 306.

The dimensions of the snowboard 305 may vary, and typically will be between 90 -170 cm in length as measured along a longitudinal axis extending along the length of the snow board 305 and between 20-30 cm in width as measured along a beam axis extending perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The snowboard 305 has a generally hourglass shape, with curved lateral sides. Typically, both the front end and the back end are curved upward to lift the ends of the snowboard off the surface of eh snow when the lower surface 305 is placed on the snow surface. Other dimensions and shapes may be used without departing from the scope of the invention. Figure 4 depicts a cross-sectional detail of one embodiment of the snowboards described herein. According to one embodiment, system 300 has an upper surface 401 and a lower surface 305. The lower surface 305 is continuous across the left rail 301(a), the recessed region 302 and the right rail 301(b). Stiffened peripheral edge 304(a) and edge 304(b) are located at the left end and right ends, respectively. The downward force 406 is determined, in part, by weight of the person using the snowboard. The normal force 407 is distributed across the snow 404 on an area snow-to-board contact (not shown), which is determined, in part, by the width of snow-to-board contact 305. As the downward force 406 increases, the width of contact 305 may also increase.

Likewise, as the downward force 406 decreases, the width of contact 305 may also decrease. In operation, the snowboards described herein adjust to varying snow conditions. In soft snow, the board sinks lower in the snow thereby increasing the width of contact 306, which increases the normal force supporting the rider. In some soft snow conditions, the width of contact 306 may be large enough to include the entire width of the lower surface 305, including the surface area of rails 301 and the recessed region 302. In hard snow, the snowboard may rise toward the top of the surface and thereby decrease the area of contact 306. In some hard snow conditions, the width of contact 306 may be small and may only include the peak of rails 301(a) and (b) and not the surface of the recessed region 302. For conditions in between the soft and hard, the amount of board-to-snow contact varies as needed, such that the downward force 406 is equal to the normal force 407.

Turning to Figures 3 and 4, the rails 301 run the length of the board. Thus, the length of contact is not altered relative to the conventional design but the width of contact is decreased. By keeping the length of contact between the system and the snow constant, and by decreasing the width of contact between the system and the snow, the claimed system is able to attain higher speeds on snow than a conventional system. Not to be bound by theory, but the snowboard having the two rails on the bottom surface, may be faster than a conventional snowboard. For the same physical principles that a pair of skis is faster than a standard snow board of the same length, and a catamaran is faster than a mono-hull boat of the same length. Also depicted in Figure 4, the twin rails 301, may optionally not be rectangular in shape.

Instead, they maybe angled upwards from the peak of the rail towards the periphery of the board. Thus, the rails have a tapered surface that progresses from the interior of the board to the peripheral edge. This design feature raises the edges 304 up above the snow when the operator is initiating a tum while operating the snowboard. The raised edges allow the user to travel on width of contact 306, without fear of unintentionally catching an edge. The result is increased comfort and, in part, safety and stability at high speeds. To initiate a carving turn, the rider must rotate the claimed system slightly further than the conventional system, ensuring that any edge- to-snow contact is intentional.

Figure 5 depicts the snowboard of Figure 3 and 4 placed on a snow surface that is less firm and compact than the snow surface of Figure 4. Specifically, Figure 7 illustrates the snowboard 300 disposed over a snow surface 404. A force 406, typically the weight of the Rider, pushes the snowboard 300 against the snow surface 404. In the conditions represented by Figure S, the rails 301(a) and 301(b) press more deeply into the snow surface 404 than under the conditions depicted by Figure 4. The areas of contact 306(c) and 306(d) of the rails 301(a) and 301(b) against the snow 404 are larger than the areas of contract 306(a) and 306(b) depicted in Figure 4. In still less firm conditions, the snow 404 may contact the recessed region 302 and press against the snowboard 302, at the rails 301(a) and 301(b) and at the recessed regions.

Figure 6 depicts the lower surface 305 of the snowboard 300 and partially depicts binders and boots of a rider. As shown, the binders or bindings grip the rider's boot and hold the boot on the upper surface of the snowboard 300. The binding is arranged to position the heel of the boot 602 over one rail 301b and a toe of the boot (not shown) over a different rail 301a. To turn, the rider can lean forward or back to tip the snowboard 300 onto an edge 304 to carve a rum into the snow.

Figure 7 depicts a cross-sectional detail of one embodiment of the claimed system designed to support and to enable motion for a person across a surface snow. The cross section of Figure 7 is one alternative to the cross section of Figure 4. The lower surface 505 is continuous across the left rail 501(a), the recessed region 502, and the right rail 501(b). Edges 504(a) and 504(b) are located on the left side and right side of the board, respectively. Rails 501 extend along the full length of the long axis of the board and are raised relative recessed region 502. In an alternative embodiment rails 501 may only extend a portion of the length of the board.

Recessed region 502 rises up to a lofted running surface, allowing the amount of surface area in contact with snow 510 to vary based on, for example, the type of snow (e.g., hard snow, soft snow), the weight of the user, the action performed by the user (e.g., slightly turning, sharply turning), the stance of the user (e.g., squatting stance, standing up straight, leaning). Inner edges 503(a) and 503(b), which form a first edge located on the lower surface of the board rise up from rails 501 up to a flat region of the lower surface of the board followed by outer edges 504(a) and 503(b). Outer edges 504(a) and 504(b) form a second edge located at a periphery of the upper surface. The first edge is thus at a different vertical location than the second edge, with the first edge being lower than the second edge as shown in Figure 7. The first edge is also closer to the longitudinal axis than the second edge. The surface of the board located between the first or inner edge and the second or outer edge is concave, such this portion of the board surface is not in direct contact with the snow on the ground, and Inner edges 503(a) and 503(b) form soft edges and are made of the same material as the bottom surface of the board (e.g., p-tex). Outer edges 503(a) and 503(b) form hard edges and are made of a stiff material (e.g., metal, rigid plastic).

The combination of the inner and outer edges allows the rider or user to control the amount of board-to-snow contact. When the outer hard edges 504(a) and 504(b) engage the snow, a full carve or stop can be obtained. Having both the hard edges and the soft edges allow users to break contact between the snow and the hard edge which has a higher coefficient of friction, and to obtain contact between the snow and the soft edge, with a lower coefficient of friction. These inner or soft edges 503 allow users to ride without catching an edge and can be used to drift, 'butter,' turn and surf the snow. When a user leans the board beyond the soft edge, the outer hard edges 504(a) and 504(b) can once again engage the snow. For experienced users, the inner edges increase the ability to perform tricks, and flat spins without engaging the outer edges. The inner edges also benefit beginning snowboarders by allowing them to learn in a more intuitive and forgiving manner, resulting in less injuries.

System 500 outperforms a conventional system in acceleration, maneuverability, and versatility based, in part, on the above features. Inner edges 503(a) and 503(b) sit below and inside of outer edges 503(a) and 503(b). The "soft" inner edges 503(a) and 503(b) allow the rider to make small adjustments to direction without engaging the corresponding hard outer edge 503(a) or 503(b) with the snow. In addition, inner edges 503(a) and 503(b) allows the rider to drift their board without catching an edge (i.e. without unintentionally engaging hard outer edge 503(a) or 503(b)) which feels smooth to the user, much like the carve of a surfboard. When the rider chooses to turn sharply or come to a stop, they may engage the hard outer edge 503(a) or 503(b). When traveling on hard snow (e.g., hard-packed snow) the board (e.g., systems 300, 500) rides up on the rails thereby reducing the surface area in contact with the snow and thus reducing drag, allowing the rider to accelerate faster, and attaining higher maximum speeds. When traveling on soft snow (e.g., powder-like snow), the board sinks down slightly thereby increasing the surface area in contact with the snow and generating greater support for the user. Thus, the board enables a user to easily transition between different types of snow (e.g., hard snow, soft snow) by rising or sinking in the snow. The board performs well both as a race board (e.g., for high acceleration and speed) and in soft snow based, in part, on the variable surface area in contact with the snow. When used in a snowboard half-pipe, the board affords a user the ability to accelerate more quickly and reach high speeds faster than conventional systems, which yields improved performance (e.g., higher jumps, more time in the air after a jump to perform tricks). The design of the edges (e.g., edges 304, 503, 504, or the combination thereof) provides a more forgiving surface when landing tricks, similar to the reverse camber design, but it does not sacrifice "pop" like reverse camber does. Moreover, the increased acceleration rate allows a user to recover more quickly after an error than conventional systems.

The shape of the board also allows the board to be stronger and thinner than conventional snowboards. Strength and durability of the board are improved, while the board is thinner and thus lighter than standard adult snowboards. The cross-section of the board includes four sigmoid, or s-shape surfaces: between outer edge 504(a) and inner edge 503(a), between surface 501(a) and recess (502), between recess (502) and surface 501(b), and between inner edge 503(b) and outer edge 504(b). These s-shaped surfaces provide sidewalls that extend orthogonally, or substantially orthogonally, to the upper surface of the board. This provides the board with a shape that increases the board's resistance to shear forces acting to crack or break the board along a line that is traverse to the sidewalls. Additionally, these s-curve surfaces may act as springs, storing potential energy when the board is flexed, and causing the board to produce significant 'pop' quickly. Advantageously, the shape of the board eliminates chatter at high speeds. The inner edges 503(a) and 503(b) are offset from the hard edges 504(a) and 504(b), respectively. Inner edges 503(a) and 503(b) may be between 8 and 11mm closer to the board's longitudinal axis than outer edges 504(a) and 504(b). The thickness of the board varies both transversely, as shown in the cross-section of

Figure 7, and longitudinally. In the longitudinal direction the board is thickest where the rider's feet are located, and gradually thinner both to the left and to the right of the rider's feet, i.e. closer to the ends of the board. Accordingly, as shown in Figure 7 the thickness varies between 1.5 mm and 6.5 mm at the longitudinal axis, and the thickness of the rails 501(a) and 501(b) varies between 3 and 8 mm.

Empirical research has shown that a board with the features described above can accelerate up to 25% faster than a standard board. Empirical research has also shown that this board is 1.5 to 2 times stronger than a standard board, and the risk of breakage is significantly reduced.

Those skilled in the art will know or be able to ascertain using no more than routine experimentation, many equivalents to the embodiments and practices described herein. For example, the claimed system and the knowledge disclosed herein may be utilized to modify or to create systems designed to carry a person or objects across a surface of water, sand, or other materials. More specific example applications may include, among other things, snowboards, water skis, wake boards, kayaks, winder surfers, or paddle boards.

The manufacture of the disclosed snow board may be accomplished employing methods that are familiar to those skilled in the art. For example, the layers of the disclosed snowboard may be constructed, in part, using a mold, which is designed having a shape consistent with the contours of the claimed system. Other example manufacturing methods may have an expandable bladder, placed in an enclosure with the layers of the system and the mold. As the bladder expands, it applies pressure to the layers, forcing them against the mold and imparting the contours of the mold. In some embodiments of a manufacturing system struts, made of wood, are used to help distribute the pressure from the bladder to the layers of the system. In other embodiments of a manufacturing method, the layers of the system may be pressed together a pneumatic press, which applies pressure to the layers, forcing them against the opposing surface of the press and imparting the contours of the claimed system. In other embodiments, the layers of the system are attached to one another using adhesives, epoxy, or other suitable attachment systems. Those skilled in the art will know or be able to ascertain using no more than routine experimentation, many equivalents to the embodiments and practices described herein. For example, the claimed system and the knowledge disclosed herein may be utilized to modify or to create systems designed to carry a person or objects across a surface of water, sand, or other materials. More specific example applications may include, among other things, snowboards, water skis, wake boards, kayaks, winder surfers, or paddle boards.

Accordingly, it will be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the embodiments disclosed herein, but is to be understood from the following claims, which are to be interpreted as broadly as allowed under the law.