Patent application title: MAGNETIC METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INCREASING FOOT TRACTION ON SPORTS BOARDS
Theodore J. Flaig (Fort Bragg, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63C900FI
Class name: Shoe attaching means ski fasteners magnetic
Publication date: 2010-02-04
Patent application number: 20100025967
A sports board binding and foot traction apparatus for use in sports
boards such as surfboard, skateboard, wakeboards, and the like. The
apparatus includes a sports board having a deck and a bottom and at least
one cutout box disposed in one or both of the deck and bottom. One or
more permanent magnets is disposed and retained in one or more of the
cutout boxes to form a magnetic region on the deck of the board. An
article of sports footwear having a sole is provided, and a ferromagnetic
plate is disposed in at lest a portion of each footwear sole. When the
footwear is brought into proximity with the magnetic field, a binding
force is applied to the footwear and the wearer is thereby enabled to
manipulate the sports board in ways not possible without the inventive
1. A sports board binding and foot traction apparatus, comprising:a sports
board having a deck for placement of a user's feet during use and a
bottom which faces the ground and/or water during use, said sports board
including at least one cutout box disposed in either or both of said deck
and said bottom, each of said at least one cutout boxes including a
receptacle portion for placement of at least one magnet;retention means
for retaining said magnets in said receptacle portion;at least one magnet
disposed in each of said at least one cutout boxes;one or more permanent
magnets disposed in at least one of said receptacle portions and captured
and retained in said cutout box by said retention means;at least one
article of sports footwear having a sole; anda ferromagnetic element
disposed in said sole.
2. The sports board binding and foot traction apparatus of claim 1, wherein said magnet includes through holes and said retention means comprises screws disposed through each of said through holes so as to threadably insert into said receptacle portion.
3. The sports board binding and foot traction apparatus of claim 2, wherein said cutout boxes are disposed in said bottom.
4. The sports board binding and foot traction apparatus of claim 2, wherein said cutout boxes are disposed in said deck.
5. The sports board binding and foot traction apparatus of claim 2, wherein said cutout boxes are disposed in said bottom said and in said deck.
6. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein said sports board is selected from the group consisting of surfboard, skateboard, snowboard, windsurfing board, windsailing board, and kitesurfing board.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said footwear is selected from the group consisting of wetsuit bootie, sports sandal, skate shoe, general athletic shoe, and tennis shoe.
8. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein said ferromagnetic plate is incorporated into the sole of said footwear.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said footwear is a sandal and said ferromagnetic element is sewn into the sole of said sandal.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said footwear is a sandal and said ferromagnetic plate is incorporated into the sole of said sandal.
11. An article of footwear for providing magnetic traction on a sports board having a magnetic binding system, comprising:a sole having at least one permanent magnet incorporated therein;an upper portion having a plurality of fabric straps with loops at their upper ends;a continuous tie string threaded through said loops;an adjustment buckle through which the ends of said continuous tie string is threaded.
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/370,348, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,338,067, issued Mar. 4, 2008 (Mar. 4, 2008), and a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/041,579, filed Mar. 3, 2008 (Mar. 3, 2008).
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
THE NAMES OR PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT
INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to sports boards, such as skateboard, surfboards, snowboards, windsurfing boards, kitesurfing boards, wakeboards, and the like, and more particularly to binding methods and methods of providing foot traction on such boards.
2. Discussion of Related Art
The 2006 Winter Olympics brought a high level of world attention to the growing popularity of board sports. In the case of the Olympic Games, the prominent sport was snow boarding, but with only a little attention to the commentary and interviews with the athletes, it became obvious that the favored off season sport of snow boarders was skateboarding. These sports, along with a rapidly growing number of alternatives to mainstream sports, are coming to be known as "extreme sports." They include such things as rock climbing, windsurfing, kite surfing, snowboarding, snow skating, in-line skating, roller hockey, women's hockey, skateboarding, motocross racing, freestyle BMX bike riding, technical canyoneering, whitewater kayaking, base jumping, base jumping with flying suits, sky surfing, and so on. The broad embrace of such "thrill" sports appears to be tracking the more general cultural practice of aesthetic self-fashioning, and as that culture matures, a culture in which death is increasingly regarded as remote and unlikely (due to sophisticated medical practices and increased life spans) yet more real and dreadful (due to skepticism and diminishing religious belief), brushes with death are all the more compelling. And so it is that youth now more dramatically than ever pushes the boundaries of the possible, challenges life (and death), and performs remarkable and beautiful feats in the process.
Interestingly, participants in extreme sports also demand the best in equipment. Whole industries thrive on providing stronger, lighter, faster, more durable, and better performing gear. This is certainly the case for binding methods for snow boards, windsurfing boards, skis, and the like. Recent contributions to the field of binding methods are far too numerous to list and describe. But a few developments in the field of magnetic binding apparatus are of note.
For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 3,960,383, to O'Neil, teaches a ski-binding system including front and rear coupling units attached a ski and cooperating boot attachments of magnetically sensitive material. Each unit includes magnetics such that when a ski boot provided with the attachments is positioned between the units, the boot is secured by the magnetic attraction between the boot attachments and the magnetic units. As a first instance of magnetic binding methods, the cleverness of the '383 patent is undeniable, but its practical utility is almost entirely restricted to use on skis, as the binding units are bulky, fixed, and work only with relative rigid boots.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,954,357, to Golling, discloses a snow boot and binding system for snow skiing or snow boarding in which only magnetic forces are used to affix the snow boot to the ski or snow-board. The system comprises three components, namely, a support base in ski or snow board, a foot enclosure assembly, and release means connected to the foot enclosure assembly for releasably interconnecting the foot enclosure assembly with the support base. The support base has spaced-apart recesses within which are mounted magnets, either singly or in an array. the foot enclosure comprises a snow boot having metal plates affixed to the lower surface and the back of the snow boot. The release means essentially comprises a lever system for prying the boot off the support base through moving a cam handle. While this system allows for selective placement of the user's feet on the sports board, it entails the use of rigid boots and so is truly suitable only for snow boards, but not for skateboards, surfboards, wakeboards, and other sports boards used with free feet.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,299,192 to Bryce shows a binding apparatus for use with sports boards such as skate boards, which includes two knobs integral with the top of the board and which insert into matching recesses in each of the user's shoes. The knob may include a compression ring or the knob and shoes may include cooperating magnets that hold the two together up to a predetermined breakaway force. The limitation of this method is that the user's feet are fixed at the position of the knobs.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,863,583 to Takahashi, discloses a surfboard having a magnetic region made of permanent magnets, which is, in turn, covered by a foot pad, and to which a surfer is secured through shoes having ferromagnetic material included in the soles. The inventive principles in the '583 patent providing the launch point for the novel improvements of the present invention, in that the '583 patent does not teach or disclose any means for interchanging, adjusting, and selectively removing the magnetic region in the sports board.
The foregoing patents reflect the current state of the art of which the present inventor is aware. Reference to, and discussion of, these patents is intended to aid in discharging Applicant's acknowledged duty of candor in disclosing information that may be relevant to the examination of claims to the present invention. However, it is respectfully submitted that none of the above-indicated patents disclose, teach, suggest, show, or otherwise render obvious, either singly or when considered in combination, the invention described and claimed herein.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In a first preferred embodiment, the present invention is a magnetic sports board binding and foot traction apparatus. In its most essential aspect, the inventive apparatus comprises one or more magnet holding receptacles disposed in or slightly below either the upper surface (on which a user stands) or lower (ground-facing or water-facing surface) of a sports board, each receptacle having a ferromagnetic bar disposed in or under at least a portion of the bottom of the receptacle. Permanent magnets are selectively placed into the one or more receptacles and each bind to the ferromagnetic bar, holding them firmly in place even during the most violent of sports activities. The insertion of the magnet(s) into the receptacles thus forms a magnetic region on the surface of the sports board. The sports board user is then provided with footwear having a ferromagnetic plate affixed to, or incorporated into, at least a portion of the sole of the footwear. Accordingly, when the user mounts the sports board and brings his or her foot into proximity with the magnetic region of the sports board, footing and traction are enhanced.
In the first preferred embodiment, the magnet holding receptacles are formed in a magnet holding box, preferably polycarbonate, which may be formed into the sports board at the time of manufacture or placed into a recess (or cutout) cut into the board for a retrofit installation. The magnet holding box provides magnet holding receptacles in an ordered array according to the kind of footwork anticipated during board use. In this embodiment, the permanent magnets are preferably cylindrical disks having finger or tool gripping means on their upper surfaces so that they can be easily lowered into and pulled out of the magnet holding receptacles. In this fashion, the magnetic region of the sports board can be precisely tailored to the wants and needs of the user by employing a very specific magnet or combination of magnets that create the desired holding power.
In a second preferred embodiment, the inventive apparatus includes a cutout or recess formed in a sports board, and a cutout box configured to accommodate and capture either a bar-type magnet or a box containing one or more magnets. Retention apparatus is provided to hold the magnet and/or the magnet holding box in the board in such a way that the possibility of loss during use is reduced essentially to zero.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved sports board binding and foot traction apparatus.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved sports board binding and foot traction apparatus that employs magnets alone as the binding force.
A further object or feature of the present invention is a new and improved sports board binding and foot traction apparatus that enables a rapid change in the binding force provided by the magnets so that different safety and/or performance requirements can be addressed.
An even further object of the present invention is to provide a novel sports board binding and foot traction apparatus that can be selectively used or eliminated entirely when so desired by the user.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide attractive and functional sports board footwear having magnets incorporated into the footwear sole and thus suitable for use in a magnetic sports board binding system of the kind described herein.
Other novel features which are characteristic of the invention, as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. The various features of novelty that characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this disclosure. The invention does not reside in any one of these features taken alone, but rather in the particular combination of all of its structures for the functions specified.
There has thus been broadly outlined the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form additional subject matter of the claims appended hereto. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based readily may be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the structural and operational elements comprising the inventive magnetic sports board binding and foot traction apparatus;
FIG. 2 shows the apparatus of FIG. 1 with footwear placed over the magnetic region of the sports board;
FIG. 3 shows the inventive apparatus adapted for use in a snow board;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 3, showing the foot plate and cylindrical magnets in phantom;
FIG. 5 is a side view in elevation of the apparatus of FIGS. 3 and 4, taken along section line 5-5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6A is a schematic top plan view showing an alternative configuration of cutouts in a surfboard for installation of the cutout boxes, magnets, and/or magnet holding boxes of the magnetic binding and traction apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 6B is an exploded schematic side view in elevation thereof,
FIG. 7A is an exploded schematic side view showing an alternative installation scheme for the inventive apparatus;
FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional side view showing details of a second preferred embodiment of the magnet holding box and cutout box;
FIG. 8 is a schematic top plan view showing an alternative means for securing the magnetic holding box in the cutout box;
FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view showing another alternative means for securing the magnetic holding box in the cutout box;
FIG. 10 shows still another way to secure a bar magnet in a sports board;
FIG. 11 is a side view in elevation of a first preferred embodiment of a magnetic sandal adapted for use with the inventive magnetic sports board binding system;
FIG. 12A is a top plan view thereof;
FIG. 12B is a bottom view thereof;
FIG. 13 is a side view in elevation of a second preferred embodiment of a magnetic sandal;
FIG. 14A is a top plan view thereof, and
FIG. 14B is a bottom view thereof.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 14B, wherein like reference numerals refer to like components in the various views, there is illustrated therein a new and improved magnetic sports board binding foot traction apparatus, generally denominated 100 herein.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show a first preferred embodiment of the inventive apparatus as employed for use in a surfboard. These views show that in a first preferred embodiment the binding and foot traction of the present invention comprises one or more magnet holding receptacles 110, 120, 130, disposed in a magnet holding box 210 for placement in a recess 220 in the deck or top side of a sports board, in this instance a surfboard. The receptacles may be arranged in a linear array or in any other arrangement suited to the kind of footwork anticipated by the user or common to the sport. The receptacles are open at the top before insertion of magnets and preferably remain open and after insertion. At least a portion of the base or bottom of the receptacles, or the space immediately below the base of the receptacles, includes ferromagnetic material, such as a ferromagnetic bar 140 extending between and under the receptacles. In this manner, the receptacle bottoms provide a member to which magnets may bind.
The next element in the inventive apparatus comprises one or more permanent magnets, 150, 160, 170, which are disposed in the magnet holding receptacles. The magnets are preferably either ceramic (strontium ferrite) magnets, rare earth magnets, or aluminum/nickel/cobalt (Alnico) magnets. Even more preferably, the magnets may be samarium cobalt magnets, nickel plated and unplated neodymium magnets, and/or neodymium-iron-boron magnets. The choice will be largely driven by the desired holding power, the mass of the magnet suitable for use, and costs. No matter what kind of magnet is selected, it is shaped and sized for a close fit insertion into one of the receptacles. A preferred shape, then, of both receptacle and magnet is that of a cylindrical plug, as illustrated. The desired holding power, in turn, will be driven by the weight of the user, the forces encountered during performance, and the degree to which the user wishes to be bound to the board or to be free to move and reposition his or her feet. Indeed, because a user may wish to fine tune the binding power provided in the magnetic region of the board, the magnets are preferably fabricated with grips or handles 180, 190, 200 integrated into or attached to their upper surfaces. These will allow the user to pull the magnets out of the receptacles using either fingers or a simple tool adapted for such use. In the alternative, the upper surface of the magnets can be kept entirely planar so that holding power is not in any respect compromised, and a tool, such as a hand held magnet with an attached handle, or ferromagnetic block having a handle. In either case, the magnet removing tool need only have an attractive force stronger than that of the ferromagnetic material disposed in the magnet holding receptacle, such that upon placing it over a magnet disposed in a receptacle, the magnet will bind to the tool and can then be lifted out of the receptacle. Replacement of magnets does not require the use of any tool. Rather, a new magnet may be dropped into a receptacle using fingers only. In this manner, the presence, the shape, and the strength of the magnetic field produced by the magnets can be nicely fit to the user and his or her demands.
As will be readily appreciated, the magnet holding receptacles may be incorporated or integrated in the sports board itself at the time of manufacture, or they may be installed as part of a magnet holding box 210 disposed in a cutout 220 formed in an already manufactured board 230.
The next element in the inventive apparatus is a ferromagnetic plate 240 affixed to or incorporated into footwear 250 to be worn by the board user. The footwear may be a wetsuit bootie, a sports sandal, tennis shoe, skate shoe, and the like. Accordingly, the plate may be sewn into the fabric of a wetsuit bootie, molded into the sole of a skate shoe or sports sandal, or otherwise affixed by adhesives, rivets, or other fastening devices. Because of the power of the permanent magnets, the ferromagnetic plate need not be so thick that it interferes with natural foot movement. Preferably it is positioned generally near the ball of the foot, though, again, it may be sized and positioned according to the particular wants and needs of the user.
FIGS. 3-5 show an alternative embodiment of the inventive apparatus, adapted for use in a snow board 300. The inventive elements and principles are identical to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, except that the magnet holding receptacles 310 are incorporated into the snow board, as are the ferromagnetic bars 320 at the base of the receptacles. The permanent magnets 330 may be removably installed in the receptacles, and include grips on the upper surfaces for easy swapping and changing. A relatively large ferromagnetic plate 340 is disposed in the sole of the snow board boot 350. As will be understood, the safety and performance requirements for use of the inventive system in a snow board differ dramatically from those for use in a surfboard. In the latter, the user may wish considerable latitude to move his or her feet, and detachment from the board during or after a fall is critical to prevent drowning. By contrast, a snow boarder wants to remain effectively fixed to the deck of the snow board and would prefer not to become detached from the board, even during and after falls. Accordingly, the combination of magnets and ferromagnetic plate for use in the snow board may be configured to provide a holding power of several hundred pounds.
Thus, in another aspect, the first preferred embodiment of the inventive apparatus can be conceived of as a sports board foot traction kit that includes a magnet holding receptacle box having an upper surface with a number of recesses in the upper surface; several permanent magnets (preferably of a variety of holding powers) for selective placement in the recesses; and means for rapid and easy removal and replacement of the magnets from the recesses. This portion of the kit can be installed as a retrofit in a sports board simply by providing a cutout of suitable size in the upper surface of the board. Footwear having ferromagnetic material in the shoe sole can then be provided to cooperate with the magnets to provide traction and binding power.
Referring next to FIG. 6A, there are shown a schematic top plan view of an alternative installation scheme 400 for the magnetic binding and traction apparatus of the present invention adapted for use in a surfboard 410. FIG. 6B is an exploded schematic side view in elevation thereof. These views show that the inventive magnetic binding and traction apparatus need not be disposed singly, as in FIGS. 1-2, but can be disposed in an array configuration including a plurality of magnetic holding boxes 420 one each disposed in a cutout 430 in spaced apart positions around the deck 440 of the surfboard.
FIG. 7A is an exploded schematic side view showing an alternative installation scheme for the inventive apparatus in which the magnetic holding boxes 420 are disposed in the bottom 450 of the surfboard. When so disposed, the permanent magnets will have to be of considerable strength to provide useful increased traction, but such strong magnets (even small magnets) are now readily available in the market place.
FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional side view showing details of a second preferred embodiment 500 of the magnetic binding and traction apparatus of the present invention. In this instance, a magnet holding box 510 is disposed in a cutout box 520 molded, formed, or placed into and affixed in the cutout. The magnet holding box may itself be ferromagnetic--or, stated somewhat differently, the box itself may be a removable/replaceable cuboid magnet, and it may be captured and retained in the cutout box by retainers, such as screws 530 threadably inserted into inwardly angled threaded holes 540 that align with inwardly angled holes 550, preferably threaded, drilled into the shoulders 560 of the cutout box 520, which are proximate the surface 570 of the board. The magnet and/or magnetic holding box is simply placed in the receptacle portion 580 of the cutout box and the screws threaded through the holes until they are either flush with the board surface or slightly countersunk. When magnets of different strength are desired, the screws are removed and a new box and/or magnets are installed in the same manner.
FIGS. 8 and 9 show alternative means for securing a magnet/magnetic holding box in the cutout box. Referring first to FIG. 9, in this embodiment, the cutout box 600 includes shoulders 610 that are slightly recessed from the surface 620 of the sports board. Each shoulder includes a threaded hole 630. One or more magnets 640, or a magnet holding box that contains one or more magnets, is placed in the cutout box receptacle 650. A retainer plate 660 having holes 670 for insertion of screws 680 is placed over the magnet/magnet holding box and screwed onto the shoulders where it holds the magnets in place. The retainer plate is preferably fabricated from a strong transparent polycarbonate or acrylic material. Removal and replacement of the magnets is a simple matter of removing the retainer plate and removing or swapping out the magnet and/or magnet box.
FIG. 8 shows yet another way of capturing and holding the magnet box 700. In this instance, rather then using a plate or angled screws, a spring actuated toggle-type articulating bolt 710 is disposed in the board proximate the edge 720 of the cutout box receptacle. When a magnet or magnet holding box 700 is disposed in the cutout box receptacle, the articulating portion 730 of the toggle bolt is rotated over a channel 740 in the shoulder 750 and aligned with a channel 760 in the magnet/magnet holding box 700 so that it snaps downwardly to hold the magnet/magnet holding box and is brought flush with the surface of the board.
FIG. 10 shows still another way to secure a bar magnet in the body of a sports board. The cutout box 800 is slightly recessed from the surface 820 of the sports board and the magnet 830 includes at least one, and preferably two holes 840 that accommodate screws 850 to be screwed into a base plate disposed without the cutout box.
Beginning with FIGS. 11-12B, there is shown a first preferred embodiment of an attractive and functional way to incorporate magnets into an article of sports footwear, in this instance a sandal, 900, so as to provide a lightweight means of retaining magnets while keeping the feet suitably free for swimming. Accordingly, the first preferred embodiment shown herein is particularly well suited for use in a surfboard magnetic binding system. The sandal comprises a sole 910 having at least one, and preferably two, permanent magnets or ferromagnetic plates 920, 930, incorporated therein. The upper portion of the sandal comprises a plurality of fabric straps 940 sewn, glued, or otherwise affixed to the sole and having bends and folds 950 at their upper ends so as to form loops through which a continuous tie string 960 is threaded. For convenience, the tie string is threaded at its ends through an adjustment buckle 970 to eliminate the possibility of the strings coming untied and to make it simple and easy to put the sandals on and take them off. An adjustable ankle strap 980 is fastened by a buckle 990 to secure the sandal on the foot F of a wearer.
FIGS. 13-14B show a second preferred embodiment of a sandal adapted for use with a surfboard or other water sports board, in this instance comprising a sandal 1000 having a sole 1010 with either a single metal or bifurcated magnetic disk 1020 that allows for a bend at the ball of the foot to facilitate comfort while walking. The upper portion includes a partial fabric last 1030 from which fabric straps 1040 integrally extend or to which fabric straps are attached. As in the first preferred embodiment, the straps include bends forming loops 1050 at their upper ends for threading a continuous tie string 1060, the ends of which are fed through an adjustment buckle 1070. An adjustable ankle strap 1080 secures the sandal to the foot F of a wearer.
The above disclosure is sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention, and provides the best mode of practicing the invention presently contemplated by the inventor. While there is provided herein a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of this invention, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction, dimensional relationships, and operation shown and described. Various modifications, alternative constructions, changes and equivalents will readily occur to those skilled in the art and may be employed, as suitable, without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. Such changes might involve alternative materials, components, structural arrangements, sizes, shapes, forms, functions, operational features or the like.
Therefore, the above description and illustrations should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.
Patent applications by Theodore J. Flaig, Fort Bragg, CA US