The present paper aims to show the potential of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solvers for surfboard design and its applicability by comparing three different surfboards with minimal changes in design. In fact, surfboard manufacturing routines are moving towards more controlled and reproducible manufacturing processes, in particular Computer numerically controlled (CNC) shaping techniques. As a consequence, three dimensional (3D) computer models of the boards start to be available, and can be imported in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) programs. This opens up a new design methodology, where the performances of the different shapes can be studied and quantitatively evaluated, highlighting details that would be otherwise impossible to identify from a field test. The commercial CFD code STAR-CCM+ is used in the present work to compare the performance of three different surfboards, with different curvature at the bottom and different tail shapes. In the simulations, an Unsteady Reynolds Navier Stokes (URANS) approach is used, with the volume of fluid (VOF) method as free surface discretization method and the k-omega-SST turbulence model as numerical closure of the RANS equations. CFD proved to be a valid tool to compare the performances of the different shapes, bringing into light subtle but important differences between the designs. In particular, the static simulations showed that the rocker affects the performances by increasing the lift but also the drag of the board, also generating higher forces in maneuvering conditions. On the other hand, the tail shape did not affect the performances of the board in the analyzed cases.
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