Computational hydrodynamics of a typical 3-fin surfboard setup

Falk S, Kniesburges S, Janka RM, Grosso R, Becker S, Semmler M, Döllinger M (2019)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2019


Book Volume: 90

Pages Range: 297-314

DOI: 10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2019.07.006


Surfing is becoming increasingly popular, and the economic market for surfing products is growing. The performance of the surfboards and the fins has evolved continuously through the experience and innovative spirit of surfers and shapers. However, provided performance characteristics are only subjective and of descriptive nature. Therefore, we apply and analyze objective performance indicators as (1) lift and drag coefficient for each fin and the entire configuration and (2) lift-to-drag ratio for the entire fin configuration. This numerical study investigated a commercial 3-fin configuration, mounted into a rectangular simulation region, considering the flow at several different angles of attack between 0°and 45°. RANS and URANS simulations were performed with the SST k−ω turbulence model at an inflow velocity of 5 m/s. Simulation results showed that the fins have an optimal range of attack angles where they produce the most lift. The lift forces generate a turning moment which forces the board to be turned in direction to the shore favoring the controllability and stability of the surfboard. The higher the angle of attack, the higher is the drag coefficient. Lift-to-drag ratio values showed that for speeding up small attack angles with low drag forces are preferable. Furthermore, unsteady effects as flow separation combined with vortex shedding occur at high angles of attack above 20°which can only be resolved by URANS simulations. These unsteady effects have high negative influences on stability due to high fluctuation amplitudes for lift and drag forces. In summary, this study presents, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, for the first time, steady and unsteady forces on surfboard fins and discusses their potential influences on the surfer's controllability and stability of the surfboard during typical surfing maneuvers.

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Falk, S., Kniesburges, S., Janka, R.M., Grosso, R., Becker, S., Semmler, M., & Döllinger, M. (2019). Computational hydrodynamics of a typical 3-fin surfboard setup. Journal of Fluids and Structures, 90, 297-314.


Falk, Sebastian, et al. "Computational hydrodynamics of a typical 3-fin surfboard setup." Journal of Fluids and Structures 90 (2019): 297-314.

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