Bodyboards have slowly evolved through the decades yet still resemble classic boards from back in the day.
Some stuff has changed like:
- Materials – arcel and polypropylene (dow was the predecessor)
- Tail shapes – invention of the bat tail (crescent tail was the original)
- Strengtheners – mesh and stringers
But fundamentally boards have really just about stayed the same.
Don’t believe me?
Look at the Morey Mach 7. To this day, there are an offal lot of boards that resemble that board, like a lot! Clipped crescent tail, similar board shape, yellow/black/orange color combo… told you!
But there is one invention recently that has really been a game changer from the folks at ISS that have really thought out side the box here and are taking bodyboard technology and functionality to the next level.
I am talking about the Interchangeable Stringer System, or ISS for short.
This is the first bodyboard stringer system of its kind because you can put a stringer in and out as many times as you please (that’s what she said…).
ISS bodyboard stringers are revolutionary because for the first time you can put a strong, medium or soft strength stringer in your board depending on your needs. Putting in different strength stringers matters depending on the wave size and water temperature as well as the type of wave you’re riding, for example, shorebreak versus a point break have different needs.
The company has yet to come out with ISS bodyboards (maybe in the future?) so for now their product line consists of the bodyboard ISS stringer itself so what you do is put their stringer into what ever board you have. Point being, the bodyboard and ISS stringer are sold separately.
So How Does This Bodyboard ISS Thing Work?
ISS Stringers all have the same stringer hole and key but there are 4 different types of stringers, listed below. The key and stringers and all sold separately in case you loose your key or want to try different strength stringers, which you should because that is the whole point!
The 4 ISS Stringers
- Soft Flex – 20% Fiberglass spiral weave and 80% uni-directional Fiberglass. This is the softest of the four and perfect for cold water (because your board gets stiffer in colder water) or larger surf.
- Mid Flex – 20% Carbon fiber and 80% Fiberglass spiral weave. This is a great balanced stringer, not too soft – not too stiff! Great for a all-around versatile bodyboard. It will work great in almost any condition but it would be ideal for mild water temperature and average 3 foot to overhead waves.
- Stiff Flex+ – 60% carbon fiber (interwoven) and 40% fiberglass spiral. This is the stiffest of the four, this makes it great for warm to very warm water in any size surf. It also can work great in any temperature but really small surf because a stiff board makes it easier to catch and maintain speed on small 1 to 2 foot days.
- Stiff Flex Carbon Fiber – 100% 3K carbon Fiber! This is the best quality stringer by far because it is made out of aerospace grade carbon fiber, making it the lightest weight out of the four and the most/fastest responsive. Like the Stiff Flex+ but a bit less stiff, it is great for warm water.
I’ve recommended different water temperatures and waves sizes for different stringer flexes but at the end of the day your own personal preference is a huge factor as well. Some people like boards more stiff than others so keep that in mind as well.
The ISS Key is make of reinforced polyamide nylon key and it is actually made to be flexible and flex when it is tight to stop you from making the stringer too tight.
It is a very cool, sleek design and looks pretty rad!
It has the loop at the top so you can secure it to your wetsuit like you would your car key if you want to have it on you when you’re bodyboarding!
Care and Maintenance
Below are a few best practice tips to care for and maintain the ISS stringer system:
- Wash With Fresh Water After Each Use – This helps so that salt does not corrode the key area, possibly freezing it in the future (making it hard/impossible to unlock and open again)
- ISS Key Only – Never use a screw diver or anything else to try to unlock the stringer, it can strip the key hole and mess it up. Only use the ISS key that is made for it, buy a new one if you loose it.
- Insert Stringer Slowly – when you put the stinger in, put it in slowly. If you put the stringer in too fast, it can jam too much air in and wreck the stringer hole.
- Only ISS Stringers – never try to put anything else the in the ISS stringer hole, just the ISS brand stringers.
I hope that explains everything you need to know about the ISS system. It is truly a revolutionary thing but at the same time I feel it was well needed and makes a lot of sense, why didn’t I think of that! Dammit.
Now you can experiment and try different strengths with your same board or adapt to different water temps and wave types and sizes. Also, another use is if you ever crease your board (it always seems to happen with ARS’s) then put a stiffer ISS stringer in and see if that saves your board. Whatever you do with it (don’t get any weird ideas with that stringer, mmkay), enjoy and have fun!