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Jun 04

Composite sandwich wakesurf history

We had our good friend Nick and his family out on the boat over the weekend and we learned to throw overhead wakes :) No, it’s just the camera angle and location, it makes the wakes appear huge, doesn’t it?

June wakesurfing 232

Nick also brought with him an original Walzer Alpha. For those of you that weren’t wakesurfing back in 2007, you really missed one of the most innovative designs in the short history of wakesurfing. Here is a picture of one of the most pristine examples we’ve seen. The Walzer is truly the forerunner to the modern composite sandwich wakesurf board.

composite sandwich June wakesurfing 159

During that era, Walzer made two models the Alpha and the Skim Pin. The Alpha was easily identified with the twin C-5 boxes and fins. The Alpha ushered in this new era of multi finned skim style boards as we NOW see from Inland Surfer and Phase 5.

Sean Walzer was a pro ocean skimboarder and had a long history of contest podiums, especially in his southern California location. As with all physically demanding sports it’s hard to remain competitive as folks age and Sean started manufacturing ocean skim boards and skim style wakesurfers under the Walzer label.

Another innovation brought to wakesurfing was that Walzer entered into a angreement with the then Wakeoutlaws.com to handle all of his sales, marketing and backroom client services. You can read the press release from back in late 2007.

That press release was technically inaccurate, which is pretty common in this industry, the alpha and skim pin used very low density core foam, and that foam was EPS. This was a huge advance in wakesurfing and wasn’t fully recognized at the time. Currently many high end skim boards still used HIGH DENSITY 5 or 7 pound foam as the core. What the Walzer group did was use off the shelf one pound density EPS from your local big box store as the core. They borrowed from the Surftech composite sandwich construction model, but instead of using high density skins, they used extra layers of 6 ounce fiberglass in the external lamination. The result was an incredibly light wakesurf board. The flyboy, airbaze balsa and the various and sundry bamboo skinned wakesurf boards owe their construction to the advances made by Walzer.

The Walzer group took some huge risks in bringing that board to market. It was a major departure from the mainstream at that time, but did bring many features we see now to the marketplace.

The Walzer skimboard group had difficulties and couldn’t keep their doors open. For a short period of time Sean Walzer did some production work for The Walker Project and helped in their development and distribution of the Comp X line.

Also the Walzer group brought vacuum bagging into mainstream production. The practice was fairly common in ocean skimboard manufacture but was rarely seen in wakesurf board production. This process was allowing them to crank out high quality boards relatively fast compared to hand laminations.  Also if you look at the picture above you can see the bottom of the board had a great resin swirl and was glossy.  They were bagging onto a hard glossy surface, which allowed them to make the bottom lamination in a single press.  No sanding or gloss coating required which cut production times considerably.

So looking back the Walzer group introduced a multi-fin skim board, vacuum assisted manufacturing, used low density EPS foam core and outsourced their sales and administration to an external firm.

Thanks so much for reading along and sharing in that history lesson. We enjoy sharing great innovations from the early leaders and pioneers in our sport.

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