RE: Objective Testing / Measurements.
The anxiety and unhappiness about this "virtual volume" thing is a readily recurring theme. If the industry adhered to absolute correct volume measurements, one wonders whether folks would be unhappy with a board's performance characteristics, like "this board seems too big for its actual size". Seems like that must be the industry's fear.
For me, I would look at board's specifications as a general guideline rather than absolutes. After sailing many years, I have a pretty good idea what will float me just by looking at a board. In situations where I don't have the opportunity too see the product before buying it, rough guidelines have worked very well for me. Yet, I get the impression that I'm in the minority about this and that most others view absolutes as critical and necessary information.
Maybe its high time to identify and adhere to absolute measurements. If performance characteristics belie actual physical specifications, a manufacturer can always use marketing information to advise potential customers.