IIRC balsa is stronger than Airex physically... and end-grain balsa doesn't allow water to migrate along the interior of the core, which can happen with Airex. Also, balsa works better than some of the foams that were used as it doesn't lose strength under high heat, until a much higher temperature than most of the foams.
In one extreme case, on a dark blue boat, I could see the foam-cored deck depress when a 300 lb. crew walked across it after sitting in the sun through the early afternoon.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.