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Subject: Dedicated Board Game table (plus dining table) for us Aussies rss

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Robert Dzuro
Australia
Newcastle
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Hello Everyone

My name is Robert and i am the owner/founder of Australia's largest PokerShop. We have been building Tables for 11 years now and have a strong following down here.

I come here today due to a large number of phone calls and email enquiries we have received of late about "Board Game Tables". The recent kickstarter "Duchess table" was not available to us Aussies down here so i have dozens of restless Board Gamers who want us to build a Game Table for them I was told by several customers to come here and introduce myself and ask as many questions as i can to make them the perfect table.

My family love playing Board Games but i had no idea there was a game table to suit. All these years we have been playing on our dining table...

My business has lots of experience in building Luxury Poker Tables. I would love your help and input on how to build the mother of all tables for our customers. We always put 110% into our projects so i want to get this right.

Several customers directed me to the Duchess Table as a great start to get ideas. Some feedback for improvements i received were;

1. Make it a little bigger.
What are your thoughts on this?
The 2 most common sizes mentioned for the playing surface area was either 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/4 foot wide or 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot wide.
What are your thoughts on this? Obviously if its too big its hard to pay the games, cannot reach to the other side....

2. Make it a little more affordable.
What are your thoughts on this?
Going cheaper means using cheaper materials. Is this a mistake? The Duchess entry price was $499. Do you think many customers were lost in the $300'ish price range? Any of you guys didnt buy because of the price?
What features could you sacrifice to get the cost down?
Drawers not needed right? Or would drawers be a welcomed addition for an added price? 6 drawers?

3. Offer the entry level table with folding legs (driving entry level price down).
What are your thoughts on this?
Is this something of interest? Solid legs to be an optional add on

4. 3 inch wide rail/arm rest.
Is this the ideal width?

5. 2 1/2 inch depth from the felt to the top of the arm rest / rail. Is this ideal or would it be better if it was another size?

6. Cup holders as an optional add on but positioned down below the playing surface. Is this ideal?

7. One customer asked if we could have the cup holders on the outside down below the playing area but as an accessory that joins to the table in a magnetic groove (like a race track - hope this makes sense) so that you can position the cup holder anywhere you like, its not fixed at one point. Any thoughts on this idea?

8. A few customers asked if we could make the arm rest a comfy vinyl material instead of timber. So that its more comfortable to lean on. Any one else think this is an interesting idea???

9. The table topper (dining top) to be built as 2 halves (split in 2 pieces).
What are your thoughts on this?
What mechanism to use to lift each half?
My initial thought is what about spills, water seapage to the felt. How to control this?

10. Where do you prefer the table topper to sit. Inside the playing surface in a raised lip so not touching the felt or to sit ontop of the wooden arm rest?

11. What material is preferred for the playing surface? What colours are most popular?

12. What timber is the preferred choice? Remembering this plays a part in overall cost.

13. Anything missing that could make the table perfect.

If we build the ideal table and get enough interest from the international community, we could get this project onto kickstarter early next year. It would need to be an improvement (if thats possible) to the beautiful Duchess or a cheaper table option to help those who couldnt afford the Duchess. I know we can build anything, we have over 10 years experience in the gaming and furniture building business. We have Luxury Poker Tables that become a 2 in 1 table with a solid table topper etc. We build LED Luxury tables for our Poker customers. We could build an amazing table with your help. We already have international fulfillment services in place worldwide so distribution isnt an issue, we ship globally every week.

I hope this email was not too long. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this if you got this far
Our website and facebook page is below if interested to learn more about us;
www.pokershop.com.au
www.facebook.com/pokershop.com.au/

Please help us if you can, guide us to make the ultimate Board Game Table.

Regards
Robert
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Hi Robert - my name's Robert too

Please consider 5mm nylon covered neoprene as an alternative to felt. After playing on a neoprene tablecloth I would never consider felt as an option. Neoprene is completely waterproof.

1: BIG! 1800x1000mm is great.

2: Most of the time, people will notice the surface finish on the arm-rests and on the table topper. So long as the table is very solidly constructed, you can reduce costs by concentrating on those surfaces.
I don't doubt the quality of your work or your experience, but boardgames involve a lot more leaning on and over the table than card games, particularly poker. These tables will see more stress, particularly oblique loads. I've been playing these games 30+ years
I would rather have decent clearance under the table than have drawers. Shorter players may need to sit slightly higher and it is uncomfortable if drawers, cupholders or other under-table impediments get in the way. Also: a few, large drawers are preferable to multiple small ones.

3: A folding table would not interest me (See my last comment!). Also, if the table is going to have a topper so it can be used as a dining table, surely it is going to be a permanent fixture?
I would be interested in a topper with arm rest, recessed play area and neoprene that could be laid on top of an existing table. The whole thing would likely be no more than 80mm thick, assuming 10mm table, 5mm neoprene and 65mm deep well. The table could be MDF, the arm rests could be any number of nice hardwoods, and the neoprene comes in dozens of colours the whole thing could be customised.

4: 75-100mm armrest. 75mm is minimum. Edges need a shallow bullnose finish.

5: ~65mm deep well seems reasonable - that's enough to leave most games set up with the topper in place.

6: Cup-holders are nice, but unless they can support the weight of someone accidentally leaning on them, I would prefer to go without. I know my players - someone would goof.

7: Errr. No?

8: I like the idea of optional padding on the arm rest. It could get scuffed, couldn't it?

9: Two or three leaves for the topper is fine. Mechanism? I would be happy simply picking them up by hand and leaning them somewhere out of the way... Also... NEOPRENE!

10: On the armrest! Has to be possible to leave a game under the tabletop. Quite apart from eating off the table, many of us have cats and need to protect games from interloping felines.

11: Neoprene (notice a trend?). "Pool table colours". Not white or yellow. Green, mid-deep blue, burgundy, black most likely to be popular.

12: I'd like Tas Oak, but YMMV.

13: OK, if sky's the limit: some shallow slots to put smartphones or tablets so they are displayed at an easy angle to read. Matching dice tower or dice trays, if not both.

Good luck!





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Richard Trout
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Jewells
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I would consider a table like you're describing, and with all the recent talk about the Duchess had thought that perhaps it would never happen, but now ...

Firstly I think a project like this is a challenge, because I don't think 'one size fits all'. Clearly there is demand for something like the Duchess - made for board gaming but at an accessible price and capable of being shipped.

I don't have much experience, but don't like the idea of 'peering over' the arm rests, like you do on poker/dice tables. I would however like the idea of 2 surfaces - felt for card games or where I want to be able to easily lift off the table, and hard-top in other instances either for use as a normal table or for dexterity games where the table surface is used by the game. Note: a 2-part top would interfere with a dexterity game.

Also, being a board gamer, I'd rather keep drinks away from the table, but I know others (Americans in particular :-) like cupholders. I would prefer cupholders on the outside of the table rather than inside, or more likely I would use side tables.

I think I've answered some of your questions 6-13 first, but they were possibly what I consider the higher priority if I was to invest in one.

The next point I would make would be the chairs. Again tough, because there's no one size/style suits all, but they should be sturdy yet comfortable - I could envisage 3+ hour sessions at the table so they need to be comfortable and supporting.

Regarding price and folding/separate table legs for shipping, I think this would make it more accessible. I guess it depends on your customers, as to whether people will consider a 'money's no object approach' than a 'this is built for board games and I can afford it'. My gut says the latter.

For size, tables can sometimes be too narrow, however too wide is also a problem if players are too far away from each to pass something across the table. I will try to pay attention to a few tables and post more thoughts.

Great idea, hope you are able to come up with something awesome!

Edit: just saw the tables on PokerShop.com.au - are you planning rectangular for board games? (the Premier Poker Table looks gorgeous!)
 
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Hello again Robert -

I just noticed that you have posted identical OP threads in both the NSW and ACT forums. That is unnecessary and some people will bitch about it. Better to post once and put brief pointer messages on the other forums. This keeps all the discussion in one place, and calms the people who worry about spam.

Dedicated Board Game table (plus dining table) for us Aussies
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Robert Dzuro
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Thank you for your detailed reply Robert!!!

Im determined to make a beautiful table for board gamers. I even had a games shop in Melbourne contact me yesterday after seeing my post. They are keen to stock the tables.

With your comment below;

"some shallow slots to put smartphones or tablets so they are displayed at an easy angle to read. Matching dice tower or dice trays, if not both"

Please elaborate more. Shallow slots where exactly. It sounds like a great idea but elaborate so i understand further.

With the trays, can you send me some pic examples?

Do you guys think having a snap on board (game board insert) is a good idea too? ie. pre print some games on either side of an optional add on piece for popular family home games? Might be good for young families?
What about the possibility of striking up a deal with a game board company that allow us to pre print their games onto the snap on board for a royalty? Any interest in this? ie. have a popular game layout pre printed on both sides of the felt making it a 3 in 1 table. 4 in 1 if you get the topper also.

The folding legs option was a request from a customer who doesnt want the topper, only wants a dedicated board game table that he can fold away when not in use. He almost purchased one of our poker tables to use it for board games. I advised to hold off and i could make him a table that would be more useful.

Please share any great ideas guys. I will make this a reality!
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Hello Richard
Thank you for your ideas/reply.
Yes definitely rectangular shaped.
I think if this takes off, with the help from you guys, we would make 2 different sizes eventually. The larger table would be a foot or so bigger i guess but that will evolve over time, with feedback we would get the 2 table sizes right.

The Duchess was made from rubberwood. The quality scale goes, chipboard, mdf, pine, rubberwood, hardwoods

Ive opted to make a prototype from rubberwood (originally was going to use mdf to keep the costs lower). This matches the Duchess quality. I have opted to not do drawers in the prototype.
I think some optional snap on boards may do well but i think you guys know best. I was thinking along the lines where i am sure some poker players are also board gamers or have kids that are getting into it. So a board game table that can double as a poker table by adding the optional snap on could be a cool family table. It may make the table easier to sell to a wider range of people and hence allow us to produce better and cheaper tables over time. As you would know, when you build a few of something its costs xxxx$ but when you build 100 of the same item it costs xxx$

Price point is my biggest concern. After we build the prototype we will know what the true cost will be.

Example, would you prefer to pay an extra $100 or so for an all rubberwood build vs an mdf build.
Also ive allowed for the topper piece to be 15mm thick in the prototype. Couldve went thinner but i want it to be quality.
The structual base thickness under the felt will be 21mm, again i want it to be solid and not bow. All this adds $$ to the total.

We sell similar sized poker tables with less features and not rubberwood for $309.99. Is Around $400 a reasonable price without the topper and around $550 with a topper sound reasonable to you guys?

 
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Robert Dzuro
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Robert
Neoprene is a great idea. Too late for this prototype but i can do in future models.
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Newcastle
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Our Prototype Metric sizes will be;

Playing surface length: 167cms
Playing surface width: 106cms
Overall table length: 182cms
Overall table width: 121cms

If i have gone for too big here, i can rectify after the first prototype.
I noticed that some people thought the Duchess table was a tad too small.
 
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Paul Mclachlan
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Can't wait to see pics of the prototype. :)
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Robert Dzuro
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Should be within 10 days. Materials being sourced now. Build commencement by mid next week.
Just remember its the prototype, the first one made usually is improved on with later builds
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Ok next development announcement!!!

I just purchased the domain name > BoardGameTables.com.au

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Matt
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I have one idea to add - shipping to NZ! I look forward to seeing your prototype and hope the Tasman won't be too much of an impediment to the overall price.
 
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Andrew Swan
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Hi Robert,

What a great idea! I'd love a covered gaming table so that I can leave games (or jigsaws) set up for long periods of time.

For example, a lot of us play (or would like to play, if we had the right table) wargames that take several sessions to complete; the maps for these typically measure at least 34 x 22"; many are way larger. Often there are other components that go on the table around the map as well, so I can see people wanting a range of sizes. If space was no object, I'd want a long table that you can only just reach across, say 72" x 40" (I'm sticking to Imperial units here because that's what you've used above). However I don't think I'm unusual in that I live in a unit with no room for such a large table, so something in the order of 48" x 34" would be just big enough. I'm suggesting 34" as a minimum width because many of the games we play have multiple boards; there's one large central board used by everyone, plus each player has their own (often A4-sized) "board" in front of them. Popular games like this include Puerto Rico, The Castles of Burgundy, Nations, Above and Below, Terra Mystica, and Lords of Waterdeep; click through to those games and look at their picture galleries to get an idea of how much space they take up on a table. Here's an example:


The point raised above about the surface is a good one. I can see people wanting:
felt, because it looks old-school classy
neoprene, because it's easy to clean, doesn't "pill" like felt, but still makes cards easy to pick up
perspex (or similar hard/clear material), to put paper wargame maps under (keeps them flat, protects them, stops them moving around)
wood or some other hard material, for dexterity games that require the players to stack things up (e.g. Animal Upon Animal), although in that case you could argue that the games are so short, you could simply play on the table with the lid on

For my purposes, I don't need a table to be light or foldable, since it would be the main family dining table most of the week and only have its lid taken off for games night (or maybe not even then if I have a wargame or jigsaw in progress).

Those are my 2c worth for now, hope it's helpful. I see you are located just outside Newcastle, so I don't imagine shipping to Sydney would be too expensive?
 
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Andrew Swan
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Dang, it took me so long to write my post, I didn't see you'd announced the dimensions of the prototype. I reckon many people will love the 182cm length, but for me that's a little too large to fit in my living/dining area. You mentioned offering a choice of two sizes - what do you think the other size might be?
 
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Des Lee
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Quote:
1. Make it a little bigger.
What are your thoughts on this?
The 2 most common sizes mentioned for the playing surface area was either 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/4 foot wide or 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot wide.
What are your thoughts on this? Obviously if its too big its hard to pay the games, cannot reach to the other side....


Maybe offer two sizes. My current table playing surface is 1150 x 1950 (3.8'x6.5') with topper, or 1050x1820 (3.5'x6') without topper

You could offer a larger option that's around 3 3/4 ' x 6 1/2 ', and a smaller option that's around 3 1/4 ' x 5 1/2 ' - unfortunately one size doesn't necessarily fit all.

For a bit of context, some photos and details of my table here https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/954805/weekend-project-gami...

Quote:
2. Make it a little more affordable.
What are your thoughts on this?
Going cheaper means using cheaper materials. Is this a mistake? The Duchess entry price was $499. Do you think many customers were lost in the $300'ish price range? Any of you guys didnt buy because of the price?
What features could you sacrifice to get the cost down?
Drawers not needed right? Or would drawers be a welcomed addition for an added price? 6 drawers?


I would welcome a solid design or build, but it doesn't have to be luxurious. Drawers, cup holders, additional playing surfaces etc could be optional extras. I don't have any interest personally in drawers (take up too much room under the table), but cup holders would be nice.

Quote:
3. Offer the entry level table with folding legs (driving entry level price down).
What are your thoughts on this?
Is this something of interest? Solid legs to be an optional add on


Depends on whether the user wants to have a table they can fold up and put away vs a dining table replacement.

Quote:
4. 3 inch wide rail/arm rest.
Is this the ideal width?


Sounds good to me.

Quote:
5. 2 1/2 inch depth from the felt to the top of the arm rest / rail. Is this ideal or would it be better if it was another size?


Depends on whether you intend to keep games in a paused state in the vault. Personally it's not a big deal.

Quote:
6. Cup holders as an optional add on but positioned down below the playing surface. Is this ideal?


Height doesn't matter to me, but they would have to be detachable or able to be folded in or put away. On the outside of the playing surface definitely.

Quote:
7. One customer asked if we could have the cup holders on the outside down below the playing area but as an accessory that joins to the table in a magnetic groove (like a race track - hope this makes sense) so that you can position the cup holder anywhere you like, its not fixed at one point. Any thoughts on this idea?


Not a big deal to me. I'm happy with fixed or random positions. Price point and break-resistant would be more important.

Quote:
8. A few customers asked if we could make the arm rest a comfy vinyl material instead of timber. So that its more comfortable to lean on. Any one else think this is an interesting idea???


Don't really care about this. Have it as an extra, in my opinion that makes maintenance more difficult and potentially interferes with the dining table top.

Quote:
9. The table topper (dining top) to be built as 2 halves (split in 2 pieces).
What are your thoughts on this?
What mechanism to use to lift each half?
My initial thought is what about spills, water seapage to the felt. How to control this?


Multiple pieces is fine, but it would have to be sturdy and have some sort of support to ensure that they hold up to whatever is placed on the table.

Quote:
10. Where do you prefer the table topper to sit. Inside the playing surface in a raised lip so not touching the felt or to sit ontop of the wooden arm rest?


Maybe provide two options. Over the top provides more stability and protection from spills, but increases the height and size.

Quote:
11. What material is preferred for the playing surface? What colours are most popular?


Anything from neoprene to speed cloth to felt/velveteen. Maybe make it optional - some players may prefer speed cloth if they play a lot of card games, others might prefer material with a bit more grip or give. I think classic poker table or snooker table colours would work. Dark greens, blues and reds.


Quote:
12. What timber is the preferred choice? Remembering this plays a part in overall cost.


Not fussy.

Good luck, I'll keep an eye on any updates you make
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Robert Dzuro
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mt4b3n wrote:
I have one idea to add - shipping to NZ! I look forward to seeing your prototype and hope the Tasman won't be too much of an impediment to the overall price.


Matt we have shipped to NZ many times before with pokershop. If we get enough customers from each Island we can get the shipping price right down.
 
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Andrew Swan
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pokershop wrote:
I just purchased the domain name > BoardGameTables.com.au


Yes, we're sick and we need help!
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Murray Grelis
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I have nothing constructive to add to the discussion at this time but wanted to express my enthusiastic support for the plan. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. If I come up with any ideas or suggestions I'll let you know.
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Robert Dzuro
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game_boy wrote:
Dang, it took me so long to write my post, I didn't see you'd announced the dimensions of the prototype. I reckon many people will love the 182cm length, but for me that's a little too large to fit in my living/dining area. You mentioned offering a choice of two sizes - what do you think the other size might be?


Hi Andrew
Sorry to see that size is too big for you. We can make any size really. Its just about the demand.
If the ideal size you want is not in demand we can still make it for you but it will just cost a little more maybe $100 or so more (the more you build the same identical item over and over again the cheaper it is to build).

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Robert Dzuro
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Andrew
Delivery from Newcastle to Sydney would be under $50
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Robert Dzuro
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game_boy wrote:
pokershop wrote:
I just purchased the domain name > BoardGameTables.com.au


Yes, we're sick and we need help!


haha how bizarre. i dont know why crazy domains shows that design. I only just purchased it. It should be blank lol
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Des Lee
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pokershop wrote:

Do you guys think having a snap on board (game board insert) is a good idea too? ie. pre print some games on either side of an optional add on piece for popular family home games? Might be good for young families?
What about the possibility of striking up a deal with a game board company that allow us to pre print their games onto the snap on board for a royalty? Any interest in this? ie. have a popular game layout pre printed on both sides of the felt making it a 3 in 1 table. 4 in 1 if you get the topper also.


I don't think this would work Robert - I have a bit over 300 games in my collection, and you would have to REALLY love a certain game to have the board already pre-printed on the table. In additional, most game boards have lovely artwork etc which would not come across well on a felt surface. Best to have it plain I think.
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Bruce Oppenheim
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Muzza wrote:
I have nothing constructive to add to the discussion at this time but wanted to express my enthusiastic support for the plan. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. If I come up with any ideas or suggestions I'll let you know.


Same view!
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Robert Dzuro
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Hi Des

Sorry i mean an optional add on piece that can slot ontop of the felt. another board, double sided.

So this wont work for anyone guys? What about mums who want to buy their kids a dedicated table that has an optional extra add on piece tat has chess and checkers on 1 side and 2 other games on the other. Fun family games (royalty free).
 
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Robert Dzuro
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Guys if i did say 4mm neoprene i think we wouldnt need any foam underneath right? Neoprene is quite bouncy. Please advise
 
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