Benefits of the ISS: Intercambiable Stringer System for our bodyboards

The latest innovation in bodyboarding is called ISS: Interchangeable Stringer System, and introduces a great new feature – the possibility of changing the stringer of our bodyboards. The objective is to be able to change the flex and stiffness of the board by simply changing the stringer, without the need to change the board. In this way, we can decide, based on the waves, if we want to favour speed and responsiveness with a rigid board, or optimise control and comfort with a more flexible board. To make a comparison with surfing, this is equivalent to the introduction of the removable fins system by FCS, which has enabled surfers to be able to change the size and shape of their fins in order to adjust the characteristics of the board to the wave conditions.

Until now, in order to choose the stiffness of our bodyboard, we chose between a PE (Polyethylene, pronounced flex), PP (Polypropylene, little flex) or NRG (low-density polypropylene, average flex) bodyboard, taking into account the temperature of the water in the area in which we surf, as well as our level. However, since we have large temperature differences in Europe, even within a single region, according to the season, we may be subjected to a wide range of temperatures, ranging from waters of 16-17 degrees in winter to 25-26 in summer. And as the water temperature has a major influence on the stiffness of our bodyboards, with cold water making the boards harder, there was the risk of having too hard a board in winter if you chose a  PP bodyboard, or too flexible a board in summer if you chose a PE or NRG board. In addition, we do not always want the same degree of flex. In critical wave conditions such as tubes, powerful waves and rough waters, we want a higher degree of flex which gives us greater control. On the other hand, on a perfect day with glassy waves, we want maximum stiffness for increased speed and responsiveness.

This impossible equation meant that expert bodyboarders had the luxury of owning several boards based on the conditions, while others did not always have the board most suited to the conditions. With the ISS, you can now choose a PP board, which are always harder than the PE and NRG boards, even if you surf in a cold place. By using the softest stringer in winter or on rough days, you reduce the flex of the board and gain control. And when you want to catch waves in Indonesia, you can use the same board, with the hardest stringer or the carbon ISS stringer. In the Mediterranean, where there are significant temperature differences between winter and summer, the system is even more useful.

The ISS system is simple and quick to use. To change the stringer, just loosen the thread at the end with the plastic ISS key to remove the current stringer, then insert a new one and re-tighten. There is very little additional weight – maybe 10 grams per thread situated at the end of the stringer.

The other interesting feature of the system is that it does not belong to a bodyboard brand. ISS is an independent brand, which “sells” its patented system to the bodyboard brands that wish to use it in their range. This means that the system is standardised. The stringer you use in your PRIDE bodyboard can also be used if you decide to switch to a SNIPER bodyboard next year – you don’t have to buy more stringers. For a quarter of the price of a medium/top-of-the-range bodyboard, you can have two boards in one.

The system is really useful for advanced or expert level bodyboarders, at least in Europe, where we have large water temperature variations. In 2016, many brands have already adopted the system, and we think that in the future, all the major bodyboard brands will offer boards with the ISS system.

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