Walden Surfboards

We are re-posting an older article from Surfline.com . We have been asked since this article came out when the Tri-fold will be available, we hope to have all the product info and specs. out in the next two weeks and taking orders by mid-February 

If you've been on a surf trip recently, then you've probably been there. Standing at the ticket counter, trying to convince the airline folks that there's only one board in that double coffin bag. And then fuming when they start extracting cash from your wallet for oversized baggage fees. One hundred to $200 bucks per board--each way. I'm pissed off right now, just typing those words!

Clearly the airlines aren't about to drop their surfboard fees anytime soon, but I did have a glimmer of hope recently when I heard about the new Walden Tri-Fold Travel Board (waldensurfboards.com). A folding surfboard isn't a new idea--it's been attempted in the past with marginal success. The bisect boards I've tested worked okay but always felt clunky and never provided a very high-performance ride (not something I'd feel comfortable paddling out on in head-high Mainland Mex surf). But Ventura-based shaper Steve Walden assured me he's developed a legit surfboard that can be folded into three pieces yet still rides like a conventional board with little to no unwanted flex and minimal added weight. I was skeptical, but stoked to give the Tri-Fold a test drive. 

Seeing it packed neatly inside its suitcase, the 6'6" Walden looks like a few pieces of a broken board. But unpacked, it becomes immediately obvious how the thing works. A thin, high-tensile strength steel cable is threaded from the board's tail to the nose and back again, loosely holding each of the three pieces together. The edges of the board are buttressed with cedar wood and a metal cap. Simply insert a socket wrench into the small round cavity in the tail and start tightening the 18-inch long bolt connected to the cable. As the nut tightens onto the bolt, the pieces of the board join together tighter and tighter--works on the same principal as big suspension bridges. A couple minutes later, the Walden is tight and ready to surf. 

Once in one piece, the Tri-Fold feels almost identical to a standard surfboard. The added hardware and dual stringer add just 1.5 to 2 pounds to the weight of the hand-shaped shortboard--so the extra weight isn't all that noticeable, especially not in the water. And Walden says the Tri-Fold is about 50 percent stronger than a conventional board thanks to its dual wooden stringers and the steel cable stringer.

We tested it in overhead beachbreak waves in North County San Diego with good results. In the water, we felt almost zero abnormal flex to the board while surfing. Only when duck diving larger waves did we feel the front third of the board flex slightly. It paddled easily and configured as a quad (our demo board has five fin boxes) the Tri-Fold was responsive and rode nearly as well as a one-piece board. The only real negative we found was that some water collects inside the cavity where the cable runs adding to the weight of the board. After a surf we could hear it sloshing around inside but we just loosened the pieces, the water poured out and it was good to go again.

The Tri-Fold option will be offered in a variety of Walden shapes from 6' shortboards to 12' longboards and will add an extra $300 to $500 bucks (depending on size) onto the cost of a traditional board. A custom suitcase-style travel bag will run you an extra $125 and can fit your board, a wetsuit, trunks and a couple leashes. Best of all, boards from 6' to 7'6" will fit inside the suitcase which falls below most airlines' standard checked baggage regulations (62 inches total combined length, width and height) which means you'll skip out on the exorbitant oversized baggage fees. The Tri-Fold will also be handy for flying on those smaller, inter-island puddle jumper flights that often can't (or won't) accommodate boards over six-feet long; and for getting your board into a taxi at the airport. One guy in the Surfline office mentioned that he thought this board would be perfect for bringing along on a business trip or a "non-surfing vacation" with your girlfriend or spouse somewhere there might also happen to be waves. 

While we're still testing the board for long-term durability, our initial evaluation shows that the Walden Tri-Fold works surprisingly well. The folding tech is ingenious, and equipped in the right shape it would make a handy addition to any traveling surfer's quiver. Bottom line: The Tri-Fold rides much like a regular board, and you'll likely save the equivalent of the added cost for the board in baggage fees on your first two trips.

 

Written by Brandy Herrin — February 27, 2013

Comments

Ryan :

Are you taking orders for the tri fold yet? I only have a motorcycle to get to the waves and this seems like the perfect solution!
Thanks
Ryan Melander

May 06 2013 at 02:05 PM

Till Moritz:

Hi,
I am personal a big fan of your wonderful shaped boards. We are here on a good work wave spot , our island in the north sea of germany, the name is juist.In my shop- retail for fashion and sports- we have two 8.0 Walden in our Showroom but not enough Space , so we are interessted to order just in time for Customers. Tekkno Trading is out of stock. So is there an order portal for German Shops or any another possibilties ? So we cold offer a professional service for our customers and we would be honored if we cold make a deal for retail here.
Hang-loose,
Till Moritz
Lotterleben Juist GmbH
Shop Name: Pur Juist

May 12 2013 at 05:05 AM

mick:

very interested in ordering a trifold .are you still going to produce them

June 16 2013 at 04:06 PM

thomas:

I can’t wait for this thing to come out board fees are getting out of hand. I just have one recommendation originally there was a option for a soft padded bag for travel, I work for the airlines part-time as a baggage handler and I can promise this thing needs to be in a hard case. Most surfboards because of the length have to go on top of all the bags keeping them from being smashed. Now as a soft bag the size of suitcase would go anywhere possibly the bottom which means there could be ove 1000lbs on it. I might be wrong but really don’t see it holding up through that. Anyways just a thought, can’t wait to see how these things hold up.

July 05 2013 at 08:07 AM

Louise Cook-Tonkin:

This tri-fold system looks great. I travel a lot and get tired of lugging the huge bag. Can it be bought from any suppliers in Australia

October 15 2013 at 05:10 AM

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