Parker Borneman is one of the many talents behind Varial Surf Technology, and with the new Hyperlite x Varial wakesurf boards that hit the market recently we wanted to pick his brain with a few questions.
BW: How did the Hyperlite x Varial partnership come about? Did Hyperlite approach you with the idea, or did Varial already have the desire to cross over into the wakesurfing scene and Hyperlite was the brand you saw the most opportunity with?
PB: The relationship was created through a mutual vendor. After the introduction was made the partnership was fueled by the desire to create the ultimate wakesurf board. We were looking to find the best partner to discuss building wakesurfers, and Hyperlite was looking for the best materials and partner to build the top quality wakesurfers with – so it became a really organic connection.
BW: Since there is so much manual intervention with these wakesurf boards during production, how long does build process actually take per board from start to finish? How many hours are we talking?
PB: There is a lot of love that goes into each board – about 10 hours in all from start all the way through putting the box on the truck. About 8 different people touch the board before it leaves our factory.
BW: Taking stringers out of the equation is pretty revolutionary. How is this achieved without sacrificing the strength and rigidity of the board? How is it better than other “stringerless” technologies like FutureFlex (carbon fiber frame)?
PB: That was a difficult developmental hurdle we have to achieve. Varial Foam is really unique in that it has a really high core modulus. We engineered our foam to have about 7x the modulus of polyurethane foam (PU) with a stringer. What that means is that our foam can bend really far before breaking and doesn’t require any reinforcing material to achieve that strength. The net result is a core material that is strong and allows a lot of flex for increased performance. Other stringerless boards most commonly have EPS cores (i.e. Styrofoam) which has a lower core modulus than PU. Because the core is weak it requires thicker skins and other strengtheners like a carbon fiber frame. These structures have unique flex properties with much different bending and twisting.
BW: Is the environmental impact of Varial Foam any less than that of PU, EPS, etc.?
PB: Boards with Varial Foam last a lot longer than other foam cores, making them much less disposable. Our foam won’t yellow or degrade with UV exposure, and won’t suck much water because it is closed cell. All of this helps boards last longer and keep them out of landfills. Our Infused Glass process is a closed system, so there are no VOCs released in the glassing process.
BW: During the R&D phase, were the Hyperlite boys (Noah, JD, Jimmy, etc.) blown away with the boards right out of the gate and did they provide any feedback that significantly altered what ended up being the Trifecta and Exacta?
PB: We prototyped a few iterations of the Exacta and Trifecta models before unleashing the product for the Hyperlite team to test. The feedback was immensely positive, so much so that we didn’t have to make any significant alterations. We have been working on a team rider model, hopefully we can see that unveiled soon.
BW: What do actual (ocean) surfers think of surfing behind a boat? Do you feel the Exacta and Trifecta will entice more surfers to give wakesurfing a shot, or the opposite where wakesurfers will get the itch to head to the coast and paddle out?
PB: The excitement and feeling of surfing is what is so fun in the ocean or behind a boat. I think that thrill of surfing definitely creates some cross over. The surfers I know are excited to try it behind a boat and compare it to ocean surfing, so I would think the same would exist for wakesurfers. We all want the thrill any way we can get it!
BW: We are totally feeling both shapes…still having trouble picking a favorite, though, since they’re both so much fun. Are there any other unique board shapes or profiles that Varial would like to experiment with and bring into wakesurfing?
PB: Definitely. We want to continue to improve our traditional surf-inspired designs and branch out into some new, less traditional designs. Of course…I can’t go into detail. ☺
BW: Back in April, we were lucky enough to get our hands on and test ride a prototype of Noah Flegel’s pro model while at Hyperlite’s Schreducation event in Orlando, FL. How has it been working with Noah, one of wakesurfing’s hottest riders right now, on his own shape?
PB: What!? We haven’t even been able to test ride that shape yet – you lucky dogs. Noah is an amazing talent. It feels so rad to see him rip on a board we built here at Varial HQ in Ventura, CA. There is so much reward and pride to see someone surf a board beyond what you thought was possible. He is helping push our technology and designs to new levels.
BW: Since the cat is out of the proverbial bag on Noah’s pro model, when can we expect to see it hit the market?
PB: I don’t want to be coy, but hopefully it will be available soon.
BW: Final thought. Being based in Ventura, CA, we know you’ve got some killer go-to Mexican food spots to choose from. Here’s the age-old question: red sauce or green sauce?
PB: Ha! Red sauce, unless the green is perfect.