Mercedes-Benz engineers recently teamed up with big wave surfer Garrett McNamara to create a surfboard. Nothing more than a fancy marketing ploy, right?
The "Silver Arrow of the Seas," as it has been named, looks and rides like the real deal and comes fully equipped with innovative bells and whistles never before seen in the surf industry.
Mercedes-Benz's team of engineers and designers teamed up with McNamara, the current Guinness World Record holder for largest wave ever surfed at Nazaré, Portugal, to design a precise, high-tech board. "For that type of wave [in Nazaré], we have to design a special board," McNamara explains in a promotional video. "And this board needs to be the fastest board you've ever surfed. A sleek, sexy, fast board."
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The project resulted in four high-tech, high-performance tow-in surfboards, boasting an integrated telemetry system with a transmitter inside McNamara's wetsuit that wirelessly tracks his speed as he charges down monster surf. A feat that, Mercedes-Benz boasts, has never before been achieved.
Each board was customized to fit McNamara's exact specifications, including his weight, height and surfing style. They were tested inside Mercedes-Benz's wind tunnel to mimic the wind resistance that surfboards experience at high speeds and optimize the aerodynamics of the board specifically for McNamara's surfing stance.
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Engineers considered all aspects of big wave riding, including what happens when McNamara gets hit by a monster wave. "You've got to have flex in the nose," McNamara explained, "so when you hit, it's a smoother hit. It doesn't shock through your whole body."
"It is a challenge of speed and dynamics," said Steffen Köhl, director of advanced design global for Mercedes-Benz, who compared the sport to flying.
For now, the Benz-created boards are only intended for the Hawaii-born surfer, but it won't be long, we imagine, before more pros demand German engineering.
In the video below, watch as McNamara puts the luxury boards to the test at Portugal's proving grounds.