Wire rope is the material used in most surfboard lock cables and the strength and quality of this part is integral in ensuring the product is strong and a good theft deterrant. Wire rope can be specified many ways. The more important parameters to understand are: Wire rope wire bundling, wire material, wire coatings, wire rope diameter, and any quality control specifications.
Wire Bundles: Wire rope is made from a group of wire bundles. For example a wire rope may be specified as "7 X 19" which means that this wire rope is made from 7 bundles and each bundle is made from 19 wires. This is a common wire rope configuration and is also the wire rope specification for the Wave Equation surfboard lock. A wire rope could also say have a 7 X 7 configuration with 7 bundles made from 7 wires each. For a given wire rope diameter, this type of wire rope is less flexible than a 7 X 19 wire rope because the individual wires are larger and harder to bend.
Wire materials: Wire rope materials can be various such as steel or stainless steel. While stainless steel is commonly believed to be very strong (and it is in comparison to many materials) it is normally weaker than steel. Of course the specific steel can also be weaker than some stainless steels. A common type of stainless steel for wire rope is called "18-8". The Wave Equation lock cable is made from steel wire rope which is stronger than 18-8 stainless steel wire rope. For example for a 3/16 inch wire rope, a steel wire rope would have a breaking strength of 4200 lbf whereas as a stainless steel rope of the same configuration and size would have a breaking strength of 3700 lbf. Some people may think that stainless steel is better than steel for corrosion resistance and in general that is normally true. Stainless steel is not very corrosion resistant to chlorine which is common is salty environments, so the benefit of stainless steel is reduced when used in marine locations. In order to mitigate the corrosion of the lock cable it is a good idea to coat the cable with some protective coating.
Coatings: The wire in the wire rope can be coated and then the entire wire rope bundle can be coated. It is common for steel wire rope to have the individual wire coated or galvanized. This is a protective coating to reduce corrosion. In addition a second coating can be placed on the outside of the cable to further protect the cable from corrosion as well as reduce wear on the wire rope wires and to reduce scratching or abrasion of the wire rope on surfaces, such as your surfboard. the wave equation surfboard lock used galvanized steel wires with a clear vinyl outer coating. This provides two layers of corrosion protection as well as helps protect your board from scratches from the wire rope.
Diameter: Wire rope can have two diameters. The external diameter of the wire rope bundles and then the outer diameter of the external coating, if any. Most wire ropes used for surfboard locks are 1/8 or 3/16 inch wire rope diameters. If the wire rope is coated the external diameter increases based upon the coating thickness. The Wave Equation surfboard lock cable has a wire rope diameter of 3/16 inch with a coating creating an outer diameter of 1/4 inch. Obviously, a thinner wire rope diameter will be easier to defeat than a larger diameter.
Quality: Wire rope can be made to meet various specifications. The wire rope in the Wave Equation surfboard lock is purchased using the US Federal specification RR-W-410.
Summary of the Wave Equation Surfboard Lock Cable Wire Rope Specifications
Wire rope diameter - 3/16 inch
Wire rope outer diameter with clear vinyl coating - 1/4 inch
Wire material - galvanized steel
Wire rope configuration - 7 X 19