Oct 02

Ultimate surf style board

We mentioned yesterday that we had this epiphany out in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

There is no official guidance on riding style, with the exception of the limitation of surface rotations in the “surf style” division. BUT there is absolutely no guidance on what a surf style board is. No equipment regulations or definitions, at all. So we started thinking, why is anyone riding a surf style board at all. We sort of collectively have this understanding as to what surf style riding is, but that isn’t defined or enforced. Hell, riding a “surf style” board in a surf style division is really kinda dumb. It’s self-limiting, out of respect for what? All of those rules and regulations are gone.

So we remembered way back in the day when the Walzer wakesurf boards were still being manufactured. Sean Walzer was a regional skim pro and he and a friend developed a really sweet light weight wakesurf board that used low density EPS as the core, which was different than most skimmers at the time and they plugged in C5 boxes and fins to create a sort of twin fin wakesurfer.

That’s the ultimate surf style board isn’t it? Twin pin outline, light weight EPS core and two rail fins. Now remember, there are no definitions or regulations as we write this regarding equipment, so we thought we’d show everyone how to turn you “skim style board” into a “surf style board” which will make shuv’s big spins and the like so much easier in that division…at least until it’s eliminated.

So we started with our IS repaired board and a pair of C5 boxes. Then we just sort of roughed out where we wanted them to go. Now this board sold as a thruster configuration, but we didn’t want cheap wakeboard fins and we didn’t like the position of the factory placement, hence the shift to the C5’s.

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The first step is to mark a center line down the board as a reference for measuring out towards the rails and then up from the tail. We use a long straight edge and a sharpie to mark the centerline.

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We have a fin box measurement tool that is really sweet. It’s marked so that you can measure specific distance off of the center line. We lay out the distance from the tail and then the toe-in that we wanted. This board was manufactured without any toe sort of a simplistic entry level offering. Which wasn’t what we wanted!

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Then we roughed out where we wanted the fins to wind up. This will place the fins significantly further forward than from the factory. Your desired location might be different.

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Then we carefully route out the interior of the outline so that our C5 box will slide into it. The foam of this board seems to be polyurethane or maybe iXPS, not one of the higher end closed cell foams like divinycell or corecell. The XPS derived foams will melt with exposure to styrene, but polyu can manage it. If it was polyurethane we could use polyester resin to glue the boxes in, but we’ll use epoxy, just in case this is an XPS based foam.

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So our next step is to mix up a batch of epoxy and Cabosil to seat these C5 boxes and then also seal up the holes against water intrusion.

There you go, the future of surf style, until that division is eliminated!

Really if you think about the conceptualization, there is no equipment definition, the fact that no one has taken a skimmer into the surf style division is really just a fluke. Also, there is only one riding limitation, don’t do any rotations beyond a 7. Viola, the future of surf style?!

Go get you some! This process can also be used for just about any of the aftermarket fin boxes that you in custom boards. Futures, FCS, what-have-you. It’s measure, mark, route and then glue. As long as the board has adequate thickness, you can mange this process at home and sort of upgrade and old tired board with new fins and boxes.

Oh! and one picture from Hong Kong. This is along a thruway from the airport to where James is staying. The coaching sessions will be out in the ocean!!!! Hong Kong is considered an island just south of China.

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Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it.

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Oct 01

James Walker in Hong Kong

So James is traveling to Hong Kong to do some coaching for one of his clients that travels between Hong Kong and California.

Cathay Pacific to the orient

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The old international terminal at SFO

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Be a good dog, Cooper

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Heading off on another coaching engagement.

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So our plan was to spread out some of the videos and pictures that we took from before the WWSC. Here is a short compilation of James Walker doing some reverses. A ridiculously stalled out air reverse, a surface reverse and then a full air reverse. We’re also recycling some as we won’t have anything new until James’ returns next week.

Here is that reverse compilation.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that reverse compilation video.

We want to talk about an epiphany we had out in the middle of the Mojave Desert on the drive home from Worlds. Hopefully we’ll get to that soon.

Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it.

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Sep 30

Observations and buoyancy

Did you make it to the 2014 WWSC? It’s a great event, something you really should do at least one time to say you’ve been and even better if you can compete.

We saw lots of stuff, and we won’t talk about the crazy after parties that everyone enjoyed. As the saying goes: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. However, we saw a bunch of stuff that was interesting in terms of wakesurfer development and contest development, too.

This year saw the addition of 5 new pro athletes. Parker Payne was asked to move up mid-season and then the winners in the outlaw division are required to move up to the pro level divisions in the succeeding year, at least in the World Series of Wake Surfing. We’re not really sure if the EWT has a comparable rule. What’s interesting about the pro additions is that they are kids. Not 8 years old, but obviously minor age children.

We started thinking about this some. You’ll remember a few years back when Raliegh Hager won the pro women’s surf divisions as a pre-teen and we all thought child prodigy…except now we have 5 more? Not that they aren’t all ridiculously amazing riders, but 6 child prodigies in the course of a year probably has something else going on.

We get that when you don’t have to worry about balancing your checkbook, heck don’t even HAVE a checkbook, it makes practicing wakesurfing easier. Go ride, do homework and mom and dad do your laundry, make dinner, pay the bills. Also, no doubt mom and dad are being supportive of the practice sessions. That, of course, has something to do with it, but there is something else. It’s weight or mass. Now we aren’t suggesting that rules or divisions be changed, we can’t even keep surf vs skim separate, so weight divisions would never happen. But it sure begs design changes doesn’t it?

Children aren’t fully developed and so in a…say bench press test a 13 year old girl shouldn’t be able to compete with a 25 year old woman, if they both trained equally. Right? At 13, you are still growing and developing at 25, you’re most likely done. At least there shouldn’t be 6 child prodigies that are beating adults at bench press contests all training about the same amount. BUT what does a 13 year old have that a 25 year old doesn’t? A minus 40 pounds? Ok that was poorly worded, but you get the idea a 60 pound skilled pre-teen probably has more wakesurf contest ability than a 160 pound skilled adult, with your current stick.

So bear with us here as we do some gearhead stuff. We don’t want to get into that crazy semantics argument, it muddles everything and is mostly designed to be argumentative and hurtful rather than useful in any sort of dissemination of information. For clarity, we are going to identify and label 5 forces acting on a wakesurf board. There are more, but we just want to concern ourselves with these 5 for today. Starting from the bottom left and working counter clockwise in this picture, they are:

1) Forces lifting up
2) Buoyancy
3) Forces pushing forward from behind
4) Forces pressing down, and
5) Gravity

forces acting on ws board

You can call it what you want, but calling everything PUSH isn’t useful or clear. So UP is lift, DOWN is press and FORWARD is pushing, like pushing a car that’s run out of gas. Those are the labels we are using for this discussion.

We get lifting forces from our wake, we don’t think anyone disagrees that those exist. The water flow is up. We also have buoyant forces which are always directly opposite to gravity. We also have gravitational forces and we’ll call that pressing down, what we want to convey is that the force is acting on the wakesurf board and wakesurf rider in a manner that causes them to go down like towards the bottom of the lake. Lastly, we have the rider pressing down when they ride, like pumping and weighting and unweighting a board. As we said there are more, but we want to limit ourselves to just these 5 for today.

For today, we want to talk about buoyancy in particular.

Have you ever heard someone say that wanted a thicker board for more float? Or they needed more buoyancy for their riding? It probably doesn’t really exist in wakesurfing. Now don’t fly off the handle here. We want to explain and then relate it back to the light weight riders.

In the past we have said that “wetted surface area” is probably the key to wakesurf board performance, but that isn’t fully accurate. It’s two dimensional and really would only encompass length and width. What it doesn’t include would be the Z axis or thickness. But what does a buoyant force actually require? That was a really bad question, let’s try and rephrase it. If you have a piece of foam and it is sitting on your dining room table, how much buoyant force is it exerting? None, right? Well unless said dining room table is under water. There is some potential buoyant force, but until it’s actually in water, in fact UNDER water, there is none. Right? No water, no buoyancy, but also, no UNDER WATER no buoyancy. Lots of potential buoyancy, but none actually exerting forces on anything.

We’ll demonstrate in some videos and pictures. First we grabbed a piece of scrap foam and then cleaned it up to make a rectangle about 2 inches thick.

Next we filled up the bathroom sink with some water and placed the foam on the water and allowed it to float. It’s hard to actually measure, but a small minute amount of the foam block is actually under water. Maybe a thousandth of an inch, we aren’t sure, but some of it is. This foam block weighs next to nothing, so there isn’t a lot of buoyant forces acting on it. Here is a picture, though!

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Here is an amazing video of the floating block of foam!!!!

Floating block of foam in the bathroom sink video for our mobile enable friends. Woohoo!

Ok so very limited buoyancy forces in play, mostly because there is no weight involved. That block of foam is maybe an ounce in total.

So, it would be great if we could all diet so effectively that we lost 150 pounds, but that’s not going to happen is it? We can’t isolate the board weight from the board and rider combination, because when we are wakesurfing it’s both of those items in play isn’t it? Imagine how well you could ride if you weighed 1 pound but could still dead lift 300 pounds! You’d be like a giant ant in terms of weight and strength.

So now lets add some weight to our foam block and see what happens. We tried to add more, but it kept tipping over and dumping our weight. So we added 3 quarters and sort of balanced them so that the foam block still floated. It’s really hard to see, but by adding the weight we got a small amount of the block of foam to submerge and it was measurable. Maybe 1/16th of an inch. Here are some pictures and then another amazing video!

It’s super hard to see, but 1/16th of an inch, approximately, of the bottom of the foam block is underwater.

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Here is that video and if you look very carefully at the bottom right corner of the foam block you’ll see a small sharpie mark that we made to sort of reference where the water line is with the 3 quarters added as weight.

For our mobile enabled friends here is a link to that weighted foam block video.

So that foam block has lots of height doesn’t it? It’s about 2 inches thick. So that must have tons of buoyant forces acting on those 3 quarters, right? In fact, no it doesn’t. It has lots of potential buoyancy, but only a tiny little fraction of that potential is actually in play. The rest is sort of in reserve or maybe simply wasted. IF we knew that we’d never ever under any circumstances use those extra buoyant forces we’d be able to reduce that thickness and still float the 3 quarters, right? OR are you looking at that and thinking man no way, we need all that foam to float the three quarters! Or at the very least to float them with only that 1/16th of an inch of foam under water. That would be a legitimate conclusion, that if we cut that foam in half, removing 50% of the volume and area that it very possibly would sort of ride lower in the water.

BUT it would be wrong. In fact, we can cut that foam down to the thickness of that sharpie mark and the quarters would remain dry! BECAUSE the foam that isn’t submerged, isn’t providing any buoyant force at all. It has the potential to do so, but is just being lazy and sort of hanging around doing nothing.

So to prove that, we took this same block of foam and then cut it in half on the height axis. That is the length and width that was in the water remains unchanged, but the height is now 50% of what it was before in the previous pictures and videos.

Ok so foam block with sharpie mark, floating proud – shhhh about the foam bits in the water!

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Now lets add that same weight, the three quarters. Here is that picture.

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And the short video of the floating block of foam.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is the thinner block floating with weight.

Did you see it? The mark in the bottom right corner? The depth of the block floating underwater didn’t change did it? That is to say, the foam out of the water doesn’t aid in buoyancy at all. It offers potential buoyancy in case we added more weight or gained some forces pushing down on the board, or lost some of the forces lifting the board out of the water, but when all of those are static, that extra foam does NOTHING for buoyancy.

What does that tell us about volume considerations while wakesurfing? It’s not quite as easy as: “we need less”, because we are in this dynamic state most of the time. But we can make some assumptions about the placement, can’t we? Do you need it out at the nose? Probably only rarely, if then. Need it out at the rail? Yeah, it does impact ride quality out there.

What about lighter weight riders? Let’s compare the exact same board. Say the Flyboy – James’ signature board. If we put James out there who weighs somewhere around 180 and then say a young pre-teenager, which individual will be extracting more buoyant forces while in trim? Same wake, same speed everything is the same except one rider weighs say 80 pounds and then James weighs 180.

It’s a little hard to extrapolate, because the board is planing on the surface, but there will be some buoyant forces acting on the board in our example. JAMES, who weighs more, will be extracting more buoyancy than the 80 pound child.

So does our goal become to minimize buoyancy in a contest level wakesurf board? Yeah if you can do it by losing 100 pounds of body weight and still retain your muscle mass. That really isn’t the dealio though. What we want is less of the board submerged, when it CREATES buoyant forces. We want to be have all of the necessary control surfaces “wetted” but nothing more. Anything else that is in the water or drug through the water is creating drag and – we’ll go out on a limb and theorize that it creates a force that has to be counter-acted by the rider during tricks and that gives an advantage to lighter riders.

Ok-fine, so lets say all of that is true, now what?

Come back to Flyboy Wakesurf as we start describing what we are doing with this latest wakesurf build. It’s technology that’s more than a “me too” product, that doesn’t require a trust fund or wealthy parents supporting you so that you can practice 6 hours a day. 40 minutes to podium for James, who is one of the best riders in the world, so no you won’t get his skill, but think about what James did. This board only has 44 minutes of riding on it and it wasn’t what we had spec’ed out and James rode it to a podium at the WWSC. It’s tech that helps you ride better.

This isn’t that old tired composite sandwich construction that was created 10 years ago in sailboards. We’ve abandoned that several years ago for a better, stronger and lighter construction. James, we are sad to say, doesn’t have the good fortune to practice everyday, he’s a working stiff like you and DAMMIT his parents aren’t crazy wealthy!!! He also can’t take a week off before worlds to ride behind a similar boat as the WWSC. God bless those who can, but for the rest of us…here’s technology that can surpass all that. It won’t make you younger, but it can give you the next best thing.

There are lots of copies of Flyboy boards and more to come, that’s for sure, but you can’t get this technology anywhere else. You can get old tired technology, but not this.

To tell you how confident we were with this tech, James rode it after having only ridden it basically for less than an hour and it wasn’t the shape we wanted!!! We were confident that it would put him on the podium with his skill set and, it did. Now to be honest we were disgusted with the shaping error, but confident in our build process so James took the risk and rode it at the winner-takes-all WWSC.

Now remember, every rider there has been on their board for weeks as a minimum, some for all year. Most had ridden this very wave for days on end, just prior to the WWSC. And during that week leading up to the WWSC while everyone else was riding everyday, James was punching a time clock 10 hours a day and drove through the night to get to Vegas. We put James on this board after less than an hour to prove a point. Against the best riders in the world!!! AND you’ll only find it with Flyboy Wakesurf, no place else, anywhere. Also we TEST and TEST some more. We aren’t tossing some stupid nose on a 5 year old shape and trying to sell it as new. We put our design and technology to the ultimate test. Competing against the best of the best in probably the worst conditions of any wakesurf event and with literally no practice or prep time. In the coming weeks we’ll tell you how you can buy this technology and in this very board that James Walker is riding. Stay tuned!

Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it!

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Sep 29

James Walker and Flyboy podium at Worlds

AND takes home a cool $5,000 for the effort!

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James was second going into finals with Chris Wolter third and Jimmi Sparling fourth. Jimmi hit his big spin right at the end of his blazing run that featured every possible backside rotation to seal the move into second. In fact Jimmi was the only rider in the division to improve his score from day 1 to day 3 and joined only 2 other pro riders to do that. James missed both his back big and front big in the crazy windy conditions. We don’t have any podium pictures as yet but we’ll try and scare some up. Congratulations to all the division winners: Keenan Flegel in first, Jimmi Sparling in second and our very own James Walker in third.

Here is a picture of James celebrating the victory with his girlfriend Abby, sorry for the vampire eyes we gave James with our cell phone pic!

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Here is a picture of James with Jeff Page one of the principals with Inland Surfer.

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We’ll talk more about this board that James was riding at worlds, it’s impressive because he had only been on it for 40 minutes prior to the WWSC and it wasn’t the shape we had speced, so we are really pleased with the tech and of course with James’ ability on a wakesurfer. Also this particular board is sub 5 pounds with fins and traction. Not a great choice in 50 mph winds, but we’re liking the tech otherwise. More later about this board, after we talk some technical concepts this week.

Thanks so much for following along, we appreciate it!

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Sep 27

WWSC Day 3

So we just walked outside to survey the conditions and the clouds and lightning were passed and off in the distance, so we should see the event go off at the revised time of 8:30 am. It’s crazy windy at the moment, maybe a steady 30 with gusts above 50, but it also seems to be tapering off, so hopefully by the time the contest starts it will be back to the calm we saw the first two days. The actual venue seems sheltered for the most part, but wind has a way of getting around and into everything! We’ll wish everyone good luck today with the conditions and then also that last minute change with the weather.

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The event is really top notch. Kaley Sparling the current Mrs. World is doing post run interviews with the riders and Todd Gaughan and Adam Replogle, an announcer from pro surf tournaments are doing the color commentary during the live broadcast. We’re not hearing much in the way of complaints about the wake, so that’s usually a good sign that folks like it or at least don’t hate it! There were some surprszes in the men’s pro skim division, last years WWSC Champion in the division – Drew Danielo didn’t make finals, nor did last years second place winner Dom Lagace. Definitely some fresh faces on that podium this year! The Flegel brothers are dominating the one and two positions in that division with Aaron Witherell on point for third.

Women’s pro surf saw a similar sort of changing of the guard, two time champion Raliegh Hager is slated in fifth place going into the finals with former runner up Ashley Kidd in first place. Ashley switched to Team Centurion this past year and rides behind the FS44 through the year, so she is really comfortable with that wake and it showed. The women’s pro skim has the usual battle between Bri and Caro with some great riding.

So that’s the update here from Vegas, let’s wish James tons of luck this morning. The wind can be a bit of a challenge, but all James needs is to make it to fifth, or possibly sixth to advance to the finals later this afternoon. Go get ‘em James we know you can do it!

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Sep 27

Called on account of lightning!

So yesterday was wild at the end of the day. The weather turned crazy windy, with rain and then lightning! The organizers did the right thing to insure the safety of the pro men’s surf riders and called that division. Just after we finished this post we got an emergency Flash Flood Warning via text thru 8:30 pm, so it’s definitely weather here!

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First thing tomorrow, then will be the pro men’s surf prelims and then after that will be finals for the outlaw and pro’s starting right after.

We have no report on James because all he did was get wet in the rain! The top 5 riders will advance into the finals, and if it’s close possibly 6 riders.

So everyone is safe, the contest for yesterday was mostly done except the one division and it will be bumped until the next morning.

We’ll see you then! Thanks for following along, we appreciate it!

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Sep 26

Day 1 of the 2014 WWSC

This is such a great venue, the lake is sheltered and there is no other boat traffic. The host hotel is amazing and it’s a leisurely walk down to the floating dock for everyone staying here. The start of the event was at 11:00 am, so lots of time to explore the venue and get down to the site, as well as, sleeping in.

We took an early morning walk around the grounds and then out towards the main road into this area. Listening to the ipod like deal on an iPhone playing songs in alpha order by song name and an interesting sequence came up. The first song was Tim McGraw’s ‘Can’t tell me nothin’ followed by The Stones ‘Can’t you hear me knocking’. Interesting sort of segue, if you can call it that.

The amateur divisions of the WWSC ran today, masters men and women first and then amateur men and women. The masters divisions have never been split by surf and skim. We’re pretty sure in past years the amateurs have been. The published running order doesn’t show that split in divisions in the amateurs. We’re not sure of the intent, we’ve said before that for the most part you could lump all of those riders together in a giant class, then parcel out podium awards based on the split in divisions. We’ll see what happens here, it seems to be different than the qualifying series formats.

Like that song segue country to old school rock. You can judge the two songs easily enough, so long as the criteria wasn’t best solo guitar intro or best use of the word cocaine in a song or best song performed while wearing a cowboy hat. It’s possible to create judging criteria that evaluates the riders skill level and performance against some standard, but if that standard is “best song performed while wearing a cowboy hat” the opening licks of ‘Can’t you hear me knocking’ won’t fair too well.

Let’s see who makes the podium!

As we were walking and then also on the 9 hour drive here through the vast expanse of NOTHINGNESS that is the Mojave Desert we got to thinking about events like this. The cost is impactful, the travel to and from just this side of a diabetic coma for fun and the riding time ummm from a minimum of 2 minutes to a maximum of 4 minutes is less than awe inspiring. But we are all a part of something here, aren’t we? Last years massive glitz and glamour is memorable on a scale never experienced at a wakesurf contest. The politics are maddening, the bias makes most folks just give up, because it’s impossible to overcome, but it’s still something larger than ourselves.

We know that is an over-used catch phrase. BUT, it’s true. If you’ve ever been part of an team of effective, productive people you can appreciate how impactful those efforts are. Here we are in the middle of the desert at a world class hotel attending a wakesurf event! Each of us, each participant embodies that same level of being part of something larger than ourselves. Each of us brings values that are important to us, into this larger event. Pride, passion, freedom, productiveness…whatever it may be, those values are here and evident in the event overall.

Is it the perfect format and arrangement? No of course not, but does it get better than this, at this moment in time? Nope, this is it. The pinnacle and goal for wakesurf events. Also, there is easily a quarter million dollars going into this event. What else have YOU personally participated in, that expended that much money on the event itself? Most of us, just aren’t part of something that big, that expensive. Sure it’s a grand advertisement for the sponsors, but they are spending it on production of this event and THAT’s a huge deal. Way easier to buy a page in wake magazine. This event is a deal and a big one at that!

As you are reading this, day 2 of the 2014 WWSC is going on. James rides late this afternoon in men’s pro surf. We’re impressed with a change in the judges. In the past skim riders have judged surf riders, this year at least 2 of the judges have more of a surf background, so that is at least a step in the right direction. Let’s wish James lots of luck. He drove through the night to get here after getting off work, so he was running on Red Bull for 48 hours! The prelims just qualify the top 5 riders in each division to move forward into the finals. No cumulative scoring, so let’s wish James a good enough run in prelims to make it to the finals on Saturday! Good luck James!

Some pictures of the event, follow. Thanks for following along, we appreciate it.

Still dark o’clock.

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The view of the lake and resort from across the valley.

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Vendor booths being set up.

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Display boats

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Judges meeting.

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Got rope? Nope! Last minute details before the day 1 contest starts

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Almost at the end of the day, spectators from our vantage point.

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Outlaws and pros ride today, come back for more, please and thanks for following along.

http://flyboywakesurf.com/wwsc-2014-were-here/

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Sep 25

WWSC 2014 We’re here!

Hopefully we are in Nevada at the Hilton and Lake Las Vegas for the 2014 WWSC. With the nature of the blog posting, we are sort of a day behind with posts and information. We’re actually writing this on Tuesday in anticipation of Thursday! Right? Anyway, you get the idea, it’s before hand or after-the-fact, not real time.

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The pro level divisions continue to get more and more stacked. Way back in the day, back in that 2003 era there were no pro wakesurfers, per se, the pro level riders were all imported from other sports. Now we have athletes that focus and ride at that level, rather than focusing on another sport. This years event for the pros has a prelim and then finals. Only the top 5 scoring riders will advance into the finals. It really is an honor to even make the event, it’s an acknowledgement of your riding ability in various circumstances. It’s certainly grown in the last 11 years! So we are very proud of James Walker for making the event and we’ll send him a BUNCH of good vibes that he advances from the prelims to the finals on Saturday.

We’ll also do our best to update you on the happenings. Please follow our facebook fan page and we may try and hit twitter during the event.

So to get you ready for the event, here is a short video clip of James Walker on his Flyboy landing a front shuv to revert!

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that video of James Walker landing a front shuv.

We also have posted the sequence shots of that trick to our Flyboy Wakesurf Flickr page. Here is a link to that Front Shuv to revert album.

Oh! If you are attending and posting pictures on social media sites, like InstaGram and Facebook, do the organizers a huge favor, please. Tag all your posts with the hashtag #WWSC14. It will allow them to keep track of participation in the event and also for all of us that WANT to see what everyone is doing, we can quickly and easily search on that hashtag!

We’ll do our best to have some pictures and commentary from the event, so please check back tomorrow! Thanks for following along, we really appreciate it.

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Sep 24

The 2014 World Wake Surf Championship

By the time you are reading this, we’ll most likely be on the road to the 2014 World Wake Surf Championship on Lake Las Vegas! Fingers crossed that didn’t jinx us as we are driving the 10 hours to the event!!!

We wanted to show you a fun picture, we have a shadow box created from some of the memorabilia from the second ever WWSC, held in Merced on Lake Yosemite. This is actually the first one in the current run of the events, the very VERY first one being held down on Mission Bay towards San Diego. There was several years in between the first and second events, and outside of 2009, the WWSC has been a continuous run thru this 2014 event. It’s the longest running and most storied event in the sports’ history.

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One thing that any sport needs is for contests to legitimize it. The WWSC does that in spades. It brings together most of the best names in the sport for some of the most intense riding covering a few days.

Way back in 2003, there wasn’t a qualifying series, it was basically just a show up and pay to ride sort of event. As the ranks of comeptitors swelled it’s now become a qualifying and invitation only event. The number of folks that wakesurf and compete has grown dramatically over the years.

Last years event, the 2013 WWSC was probably the biggest, baddest most glitzy event that will ever be held in wakesurfing history. Jumbotrons, cameras everywhere, live broadcast for the whole thing. It was amazing and not to have been missed! Actually every year is a not to be missed year. The culmination of the contest season and the gathering of the extended contest wakesurf family is certainly worth the price of admission.

This year’s event, we’ve been told, is a return to the contest itself. Less about jumbotron glitz and more about the competitive environment and that extended wakesurf contest family. With so many contests this year and some that overlapped, it’s hard to keep up with everyone. Probably the single most important prize from this event, will be reconnecting one last time, this year, with friends, and that extended family. We’re all blessed to have that connection and to be able to meet up again for the biggest, the best and pinnacle of wakesurf contests, the 2014 World Wake Surf Championship.

See you all soon! Travel safe.

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Sep 23

Surfing the semi-finished double skinned prototype

We’ve made this a ritual with our board builds, we take a semi-finished board and then wakesurf it. There’s a couple of reasons, one is that it’s crazy unorthodox and all of our efforts to communicate really have to be that way, don’t they? Folks are bombarded with so much noise and so much cheer leading that people become immune to it. If we had unlimited funding we could bombard people with brand related messages, but…we’re a tiny little organization. We don’t have that kind of money, or frankly, time! So we demonstrate and communicate in ways that make the point quickly, and to get through all that marketing noise from folks, we have to do some “out-of-the-box” things!

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This is one of them! We have finished “building” the double skinned prototype, but the rails aren’t shaped, there are no fins at all, plus there is no external fiberglass or resin. It’s basically just a blank, about where most wakesurf companies start their process. Ok, so let’s post a quick picture and then a fun little video, remember no fins, no rail shape at all, they are strictly vertical and no external fiberglass or epoxy. Companies that purchased stringered blanks can’t really do this for a number of reasons. One is that the blank would most likely snap on a deep water start. Another is shaped eps foam will take on water. Submerging an entire blank would probably ruin it, or at least make it extremely difficult to glass over. Unprotected wooden stringers also would take on water. That sort of construction, relies on an external layer of fiberglass and resin to actually allow it to be ridden.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that video of James Walker wakesurfing the unfinished double skinned prototype.

Ok, so it’s sloppy as all get out to surf, but you get the point. We’re not afraid to surf it, or submerge it in a semi-finished state. We don’t worry about it breaking or taking on water in any fashion and it doesn’t have to be handled with kid gloves. Literally a shaped blank is treated like a princess in a shop. You can stick your thumb right through the foam. It’s a little hard to see, but in this picture below, James JUMPED on this construction off the swim deck!

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That couldn’t be done with old school traditional construction, it most likely would end up with a broken board, or at the vest least huge indentations and fractured foam where James feet were.

We used a closed cell foam and this prototype has at least two layers of the closed cell foam completely enveloping the soft inner EPS core. It’s still extremely lightweight, but as you can see very rugged.

Here is a picture that shows one of the most stressful periods in a wakesurfboards life! Getting up. The board is being drug through the water, basically plowing hundreds of pounds of water out of the way with the rider pushing from behind. No problem for this blank, if you will – unfinished and just the exposed raw foam.

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And it surfs amazing, too! OK, OK, OK, no it doesm’t it sucks out loud…no fins, no rail shape, no traction. It’s a log and a slippery one at that, in this atage of the construction, but with James’ amazing talent he was able to at least give it a go.

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So, a few more things. All wakesurf boards are a composite sandwich of sorts. Most folks don’t understand the design significanse, so the resort to things like stringers or t-stringers. Those are localized efforts to increase break strength, but simply aren’t used in any sort of composite construction outside of surf related building. There are a number of ways to strengthen and stiffen a wakesurf board. There are also tons of factors to consider, cost of construction being one. The use of carbon fiber is such an example. The cost of carbon fiber is sometimes around 10 times the cost of fiberglass of the same weight, but can be upwards of 15 times the cost depending upon the weight of the fabric. It’s also extremely hard to work with because it’s black! Without boring you with the details, it increases labor costs dramatically, which hurts margins or drives retail prices higher.

So what’s in it for you? Most notably is it’s ruggedness. No heel dents, no worrying about handling it with kid gloves, you can completely ignore dings probably until the end of the season, but at the very least, to when it’s convenient for YOU to get it fixed. AND it’s still light and as responsive as any board manufactured. What’s not to love about stiffer, stronger, more rugged, just as performance oriented without a higher price tag?

So there you go, we just wanted to show another way to stiffen and strengthen and at a ridiculously low cost. Slap an extra layer of high density foam and it increases stiffness, break strength, durability and for only a few bucks.

Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it!

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