Sep 19

Almost the weekend

We wanted to kick off your weekend with a fun little snippet of what we are calling some tail carved ollie variations.


There’s a 3 and a 7. Watch James surf the tail around, almost like it’s switch revert.

Here is a link to those tail carved ollies, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

Did you see it? Isn’t that sick? We’re thinking of working on developing a tutorial on that stylish variation of a surface rotation. definitely something you want to conquer.

Thanks so much for following along, we hope you have a great weekend!

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Sep 18

Original Flyboy tail shape

In a previous post we talked about working on the tail and we back and revisited an old original Flyboy. We had spent considerable time working on all sorts of details and then more and more folks got their fingers in the pie and didn’t appreciate some of the shaping nuances, if you will. Here is a picture of the tail of an original Flyboy.

tail round over

Ignore the traction for now, that was a replacement pad and we didn’t finish the “hacking” of it. Instead, notice the roundover on the deck side. It’s really hard to see, but there is a rail band that extends all the way around the tail, so that the rails themselvs are consitent around the entire outline. You can see the somewhat extended tail shape. It’s a tad more than we want currently, but you get the idea, it’s NOT blunt, or squared off or anything that would create tons of drag when presented to the wake face when the board is revert. We are going to go back to that original design and claim this puppy back! We’ll revise it for some current advances in technology and build process, but we’ll bring back that shape that was undone out of a lack of appreciation for what we had done and tested. BUT, we aren’t quite ready to shape that!

On this last double skin board, we have one more layer of rail material to add. Any board, old school composite sandwhich or conventional construction is really missing one of the best attributes for safeguarding a board and improving it’s performance. We refer to it as a perimeter frame. Virtually all old school sandwich and regular construction don’t have that frame. It moves weight out towards the rails for easier set in the wake face, but also with that higher density material it’s more resistant to dings and cuts. We also use 3 layers of the material for an added measure of strength and resilency. In effect you can gouge through the first two layers and the board will still have enough integrity to ride and perform. Also, since we use a closed cell foam, there is no water ingress into the vulnerable EPS core. It’s just how you would protect something if you were shipping it or maybe like body armor on policemen, going into a tense situation with armed robbers, they would clad themselves in a bullet proof vest. We use multiple layers of high density foam!

Not that they are bullet proof, but you get the idea, put the protection where it belongs!

Ok, so here is how we create that rail material. We have a rocker template that we use when hot wiring foam, we swipe one of those and then align it on the flat sheet of the high density foam. A simple pass along the template with a single edged razor and viola, a piece of rail material.

tail round over 2

Ok, so that’s the progress on that double skinned board! We are moving pretty slow! The next week or so will be kind of hit and miss for us. We are traveling to Worlds mid week, so we may not have much to say during those days. James is riding in the men’s pro surf and then almost the day after boards a plane for Hong Kong. He’s spread really thin and has that whole trip under control! The flight is something like 15 hours. Anyway, you get the gist, lots of travel going on and not much riding, writing or anything else! We’ll do our best to bring some witty and thoughtful commentary through the trip!

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

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Sep 17

The devil is in the details

We’ve recently had issues with some details and it’s been bugging us. Most of us try and effectively communicate, and some folks intentionally don’t so that there is an exit strategy. Sort of wiggle room, if you will. It typically comes out as vagueness. Teenagers do that, don’t they? Parent: Where were you? Teen: Out. It’s so tiring to ask: Where were you on Sunday September 14, 2014 between the hours of 11:00 pm and Monday September 15, 2014 2:00 AM, and who were you with or who was present on or about that time, also what were you doing during the identified time frame including actions, behaviors, food and drink consumed, or present if not being actively consumed, or substances legal or illegal being smoked, consumed, inhaled, injected or otherwise present by you or anyone else present during the identified time frame?


Blah. Just stab our eyes out, that’s too f’ing exhausting. Plus who the hell can possibly include every conceivable detail?

Anyway, we wanted to share with you a quick little video clip of James trying to land a front shuv with a revert frontside surface rotation out. We can’t remember if we’ve published James landing that trick before, probably, but anyway, here is that attempt…close but not quite.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that frontside shuv attempt video, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

We love that sort of continued motion frontside. It also got us thinking about naming conventions again. We recognize that board rotation, separate from body rotation, but that naming isn’t consistent with body rotation on the board. Bear with us here for a moment, because it confuses us as we try and recount it.

So in looking at the boat, let’s assume that is the 12 o’clock position. A frontside rotation of the BOARD and the BOARD only would also be counter-clockwise on the port side and would always be clockwise on the starboard side. Right? Let’s work through an example. A front shuv on the port side, if the rider is riding regular and not switch, would be counter clockwise. On the starboard side, when the rider’s stance is goofy, a front shuv is clockwise. We think the same is true with rider rotations, if they start out regular and not switch. So lets assume a frontside surface 180 with the rider regular and not switch. We’re pretty sure on the port side that frontside surface rotation is counter clockwse and then on the starboard side it’s clockwise.

Ok, cool, so lets make it challenging! The rider is riding switch on the port side, with the board pointed stratight ahead and the rider does a frontside surface 180. It’s not the board mind you, it’s the riders orientation, THAT trick is clockwise on the port side and counter clockwise on the startboard side. Right? The rotation direction changes, but because the rides stance changes, so does the backside/frontside descriptor. Or at least it should.

So we have a few components to consider when properly identifying or describing a trick using current naming conventions. The first is board orientation: regular or revert. The second is rider orientation: regular or switch. The third is board rotation direction: frontside or backside. The fourth is rider rotation direction: frontside, backside or possibly none. The fifth is where the trick was on the surface or in the air: so lets assume say shuv or surface. The sixth is the degree of rotation, if any so lets say 180, 360, etc. Seventh is a continuation modifier or say the end. It could be WITH or TO or possible END. We’ll ignore aerials for the this discussion because we’ll pop a vein if we don’t!!!!

Right? There are probably some folks that always ignore backside or just say it’s assumed backside unless noted otherwise, but as we’ve learned with our teenager example, that’s not always wise!

So here is another fun little edit that we thought we’d share and then try and possibly name. Like that front shuv to almost revert frontside surface 180 out, if you leave out the front in front shuv or the frontside in the frontside surface rotation, it’s a very different trick isn’t it?

Ok, so here is that little edited video.

For our mobile enabled friends here is a link to that edited clip, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

Ok, so now lets name it! Such fun! There are two distinct tricks, we cut out the middle between the two because it used up more time than we’re allowed on InstaGram! :)

Let’s break it down by the 7 categories we’ve identified above, the first trick then becomes:

1) Board Orentation: Regular
2) Rider Orientation: Regular
3) Board Rotation: Backside
4) Rider Rotation: None
5) Surface or Air: Shuv
6) Degree of Rotation: 180
7) Termination: TO

That then leads to the surface rotation which is named:

1) Board Orentation: Revert
2) Rider Orientation: Regular
3) Board Rotation: Backside
4) Rider Rotation: Frontside (right?!)
5) Surface or Air: Surface
6) Degree of Rotation: 180
7) Termination: END

So in effect, if we used all of the descriptors that first trick becomes:

Regular, regular, backside, null, shuv, 180 to revert, regular, backside, frontside, surface, 180, the end.

AND…that switch surface out becomes

Regular, switch, backside, frontside, surface, 180 TO revert, regular, backside, none, shuv, 180, the end.

Really, without all of those components listed with each and every trick, it’s impossible to accurately describe a trick unless we create some rules, like always omit backside…but that won’t work if the board rotation is frontside or the rider orientation is switch. Front shuvs and front bigs are significantly different that shuvs and back bigs, as are frontside and backside rotations.

Yikes, we’d rather interrogate a teenager about their activities on a Sunday night!

Anyway, thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it!

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Sep 16

Square Tail double enders

We happened to be looking through some images of this most recent Surf Expo and noticed a few offerings from Liquid Force for 2015 that feature the sort of non-directional “surf” style boards with a square tail and blunted nose. We thought we’d go visit memory lane and try and recall the variations on that theme over the years.

Unless you are an old timer, you may not remember the first time that Josh Sleigh rode in the World Wake Surf Championship. This was wayyyyy prior to the World series and he was riding, at that time, a Placebo Surfskate. Josh has his own label now, and we’ve seen a hand shaped version of this old Surfskate coming out of his shop, of late. But back in the day, as we remember it, it was a 5’0″ and this was back when there was no division between surf and skim, but we all recognized the differences in the boards and the way folks rode. Here is a picture that we swiped from some site, we think in NZ. As far as we could tell, the surfskate isn’t manufactured anymore, having fallen out of favor back in the 2008 or 2009 era. Josh was riding them in the WWSC we want to say 2006’ish or so. So you get the idea, this is the forerunner to any square tailed and nosed shape. Josh was also surfing that shape out in the ocean, oh man, prior to this, we’ve found some old footage that looks like the 2001’ish time frame.

placebo image

We’re sorry for the poor quality, we knew the name of the board but didn’t have any pictures, so we had to make due with what we could find.

Now Josh was friends with the folks from the original Wakesurfing Magazine and he was featured frequently in that magazine. The owner, Michael Daugherty also owned a board brand called Shoreline Lakeboards. They were the first wakesurf specific brand to build with a blunted nose. Here is a picture of one that we have in our “wakesurf mueseum” of sorts and this board is circa 2004. We believe they were actually made prior to that, by maybe a year or so. So the blunted nose has been around from 2003, lets say and we’d guess that double ender squares emerged at about that same time, 11 or so years ago.

shoreline lakeboards

During that 11 years a number of folks started creating diamond noses and such. Principally they were an effort to control a few things, one was the pointy nose. They have a tendency to break and also can be a hazard behind the boat – poking holes in upholstery and people! Blunted’ish noses reduced that issue. The other thing is they shortened the boards up. The board in the picture above was 5’0″, but was obviously shaped as a 5’4″ to maybe 5’6″ LOA board.

So those shapes sort of remained about the same for a number of years until Chase Hazen left the Shred Stixx brand and went to ride for Liquid Force. You’re probably familiar with the Sixxer, which was the model that Chase has ridden for a few years now. We “think” also remember seeing some promotional pictures from back then with Jimmy Redmon and Chase on a boat out in the San Diego area testing prototypes that looked like a double winged double ender and then also what eventually became the LF Chase Sixxer. That would have been something like 3 years ago?

If it’s one thing that LF knows it’s square tails and non-directional double enders. Remember the old school Squirt? It was the wakeboard that Shane Bonifay rode back when he was like 8 years old? What would those be at this point, 15 years old? We remember the first one with the giant stars on it and that was around 2000. Not that it was the first square tailed directional board by any means, but you get the idea, LF has been doing that for aggggeeeesssss.

lf squirt

So, now we have another few entries into the squared and blunted realm. IS introduced the ’15 KF Pro model and LF introduced the Machine in something like 4 sizes, from 4’2″ up thru 5’2″. At first blush, the shapes of those two manufacturers boards look identical.

The Machine, by LF

lf machine

If you’re familiar with the two manufacturers offerings you probably went: whoa! Right? They are probably intended for different market segments and LF does an amazing job at bringing lower cost offerings to market. We’d expect the two offerings to be in the area of 33% different in pricing and probably at the end of the season somewhere around a 50% difference.

That also brings up the issue of shape and construction. It’s effectively impossible to protect a shape. We have no idea who develop that shape first, but we know who’ll have the greatest number produced! When products become sort of a commodity like that, there is an entire market segment that will say: oh hell, I’ll save the $300 and get THAT one instead. We all do it when we don’t perceive a particular difference. It’s like buying flour at your grocery store. No doubt there is some difference in quality between say the store brand and Pillsbury, many folks don’t perceive it or value it, so to them the big differentiation is price.

Anyway, the point there, being; that it’s pretty hard to differentiate based upon shape…because two companies can introduce very similar designs almost simultaneously. We have no idea how the shapes wound up so similar, that is, both are double winged square tail with a blunt nose and 5 fin convertible fin pod. Two shapers working on the same sort of concept would no doubt wind up with the same sort of development at about the same time. If you look at skim offerings, there’s basically just a single shape, or were for YEARS. One of the reasons we have spent so much time on the development of construction techniques, is that’s way tougher to have a “coincidence” over, well if you move away from old school methods, old school construction is all identical. Who knows about these current offerings

So, that’s your history lesson for the day! Placebo Surfskate to LF Machine and the subtle variations to get there!

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

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Sep 15

Happy Birthday James!

So yesterday was James’ birthday. We got to do a little wakesurfing over the weekend, but it was pretty late when we got back home, so we haven’t had a chance to transfer any of the videos or pictures. Hopefully we will get to that later in the week!

Let’s all wish James a Happy Belated Birthday!


He wasn’t licking the cake in that picture, we just asked him to get in the frame, and of course this would be the result. We have a short video for you that we pieced together from the Labor Day weekend. We are being “thrifty” with them right now because it’s going to be a dry spell coming up and we’re trying to plan ahead. There is the WWSC, but the day after that James heads to Hong Kong to do some coaching for about a week to 10 days, so we’re not going to have much new video or pictures until mid October! Maybe we can talk James into sending some pictures of the Orient, but not much in the way of wakesurfing.

So here is a little clip we are calling Variations on an ollie theme, it includes a 1440, stalled off the table, double and a 450!

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that Ollie Theme video, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

Thanks so much for wishing James a HBD and for following along, we appreciate it.


Sep 13


We’ve learned a lot about communication in the last week or so. Folks tend to come across in a manner that reflects what they want to achieve or where they want a go in a series of events. May not be what they actually state, but tends to be what they really want. Have you ever read a really good persuasive letter or ad? Man those are hard to write, to be able to communicate effectively and convey your message such that folks take it in. Too flowery or maybe rah! rah! like a cheerleader and we all roll our eyes knowing it’s spammy. Too much in the opposite direction and folks are sort of taken aback and start thinking what the hell else is wrong?! Right? So for good copy writers, that’s a skill that’s rare and worth the money. A proper presentation is really paramount.

That got us thinking more about the tail issue we recently experienced and also on the double skinned project board we are working with. The nose of our boards have some rocker, but also it’s thinned out pretty substantially when compared to the rest of your board. The thickness under your front foot tends to foil out towards the nose and tail. But the noses of our boards don’t really get the same treatment, except for on skimmers. Skimmers effectively, mostly have a uniform thickness through-out and the rails are sort of tapered inward. That rail shape blends all around the outline of the board. Surf style boards don’t do that. There are decided differences from the nose thru the tail. With the advent of so much revert wakesurfing, what should the tail look like, or maybe how should that be presented to the wake? Do you want the tail to go in saying, you suck and everything about you and everything you’ve ever done sucks.

Probably not, it’s not the best posture for communicating with the wake face, is it? Have you ever gone to purchase a car from a private party? Ever make the mistake of saying, oh man your car sucks! This is wrong that is wrong, I’ll have to fix this and that, etc…and then they refuse to sell it to you? We probably all have because it’s a newb mistake in negotiating, but probably is consistent with the intended outcome, you didn’t really want the car. What’s a better position to take? Man, that’s such a great car! I’d take wonderful care of it, but here is my budget. Can we make that work? Right? So what do we want the tail of our wakesurf board to look like when we are revert? All blunt, dukes up ready for a battle? Or smoother, more refined and better able to navigate through the upward flowing forces of the wake?

We can tell you which will be more successfully in maneuvering through the water, revert. Do flat vertical surfaces work best? Probably not, huh? AND that will include your kick pad. Does that have a thick vertical presentation to the wake when revert? We don’t necessarily need to thin the tail out, but pointy or curved would be a better presentation. We also want to talk about how water wraps curved surfaces. Angular, or drastic shape changes create release points and for the most part we want our tails to release really well.

So, lets take a look at the tail of the double skinned board as we start to build that area up for shaping. When we attach the rail material, to build that up for shaping the rail, it winds up being a little short at the tail. We can’t get sheets long enough that will also ship via UPS and NOT cost an arm and a leg. Our supplier winds up cutting the 4′ x 8′ sheets down into sizes that ship relatively cheaply. BUT, they also aren’t long enough to allow us to cut rail material long enough to completely wrap the board from nose to tail. So…the result is a small gap at the back. Here is a picture of what we are talking about, if you look at the tail right in the center you can see the gap.

tail gap

So what we do is fill that, with the same material and then blend it to make it look like it was all one piece. In some composite boards, they use stiffer and thicker material that doesn’t quite bend to some of the tight arcs on the outline of a board and shapers will use nose and tail blocks to remedy that. That’s not the case here, but it’s the same principle.

We use a single edged razor and then some 5 minute epoxy to cut a piece of the material and then also glue it up to the board.

tail gap 2

Once the epoxy has cured, we trim and sand and blend to make it look like it’s all one piece!

tail gap 3

We still have one more layer of rail material to add, so we’ll repeat this process one more time. BUT, we are also going to mess with this tail to address the way the tail communicates with the wake face when revert. We want a more effective entry into the wake face and we think we have a plan that will achieve that. Come back as we address that in a future post.

Thanks so much for following along, we appreciate it.

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Sep 12

Are you ready for the weekend?

James’ birthday is on Sunday and he and a friend are doing some day trips around the state.


So we thought we’d celebrate too and get everyone ready for the weekend with a fun little back big compilation.

For our mobile enabled viewers here is a link to those back bigs, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

We hope you have a great weekend and thanks for following along.

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Sep 11

Stalled K3

We’ve had quite the week. Something that we’ve discovered is that when folks aren’t talking to you about issues, or problems, it’s because they intend to resolve it, at your expense. Never a good thing and certainly devastating in terms of longevity.

We also discovered that when you are a little itty bity tiny customer, you may not get the sort of service that larger customers get! That’s not the way we do business, but we understand some folks can be quite profitable that way. We had that custom board to spec issue, and it occurred to us that the best sailboard, surfboard, paddleboard builder in the western hemisphere doesn’t make the best wakesurf board builder. It also doesn’t insure QC. Anyway, we’re talking with some wakesurf specific builders to see if we can get back on track here for 2015. Right? A wakesurf board shaper most likely wouldn’t kick out a board with a 2″ thick tail without asking: man, are you sure?


So, enough of that! We wanted to share with you a fun little clip and this is a great trick that you can add to your arsenal. It’s a stalled Korina 3, or a stalled switch frontside surface 360. Watch as James brings around the first 180 and then just holds it there as long as he can, before spinning the last surface 180 out.

Here is that short video clip of the Stalled Korina 3, or a stalled switch frontside surface 360

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that video of James Walker landing a stalled Korina 3, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

We didn’t find all of the sequence shots, so we didn’t create a Flyboy Flickr album of that trick. If we can pin them down, we’ll possibly do a tutorial on this fun switch trick.

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

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Sep 10


…but no cigar. Man this has been a rough year for boards for us and James. If you have been follwoing you know that James’ board was broken somewhere around the TWC, 4fdi. We had placed an order with out builder, basically just a duplication of the order and spec’s for the broken board and…well we didn’t get that. It’s relatively close, plus or minus 50% in the tail thickness!!! So instead of being 1.25″ it’s almost 2″. Yikes! So anyway, we’ll see if James even rides it, it’s a pretty drastic departure from the specification.

board 1

The bottom stickered up, just in case. Right?

board 2

You always plan for the worst case. Get the board all set up and then if you can’t use it, burn the damn thing in effigy! No, peel the stickers off and sell it, we’d guess.

Custom made boards are never really 100% duplicates. Realistically 3mm or 1/8″ on a side is probably about as close as you can hope for. 5/8 of an inch difference, on a 1 1/4″ specification probably isn’t within an acceptable range for QC purposes. Doesn’t that beg for a Federal Government joke? Ah hell, it’s within an inch, ship it! :)

Our builder is really good, he’s making boards for ASP tour professional surfers and is about the only one that can manage our composite construction details. We’re guessing that we just aren’t a big enough client anymore.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for James that he is able to make this board work!

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Sep 09

Uniform stiffness

We wanted to quickly demonstrate the stiffness the was created by the application of the interlayer of reinforcement and double layer of skins. The first thing we do once the board is out of the bag, is trim off the excess fiberglass and skin material. We aren’t really sure if it would be possible to use templates to get exact sizes that would reduce this trimming phase, possibly, but we are thinking that if you miss it by even a fraction, the piece is ruined at that point. Or at least would require a ton of hand processing to save it. So we just go a little over the outline and then trim off the excess to be safe. If you look in the shadows you can see the razor and a sanding block.

photo 1a

…and the result…

photo 3a

We wanted to just demonstrate that it would support 200 pounds between two stands and then Cooper decided to photobomb that shot! You get the idea, without the external lamination the “board” is able to support about 200 pounds and half a dog. We also have to finish glueing up the rails material, so there will be some stiffness and strength added with that addition. The point of that being, that by distributing the stiffness across the entire boards surface, well it gets really stiff. It also has an inherent increase in strength that may bot be so evident. Whereas the rather limited function of stringers or T-stringers are localized, such that they are strongest at the intersection of the stringer and the surface of the board, diminishing outward or away from the stringer, that limitation isn’t present when we disperse the load and create the stiffness horizontally, rather than in that limited vertical plane. Also, we’ve about doubled the compressive strength of the piece. That is to say, heel dents are probably a thing of the past with this construction.

One last thing, before we move on to a different topic. The material we used for the skins is divinycell, it’s a closed cell structural foam that doesn’t uptake water when exposed to it. For YOU that means dings are really meaningless in the grand scheme of your day. You don’t even have to cover them, as the underlying foam doesn’t absorb water, in fact, there are two layers of it at this point, so even if you somehow managed to crack the first layer…relax, there would still be another to protect the core. Not indestructible, but damn close to it! Plus uniform stiffness everywhere. A picture of some water beading up and not being absorbed!

water bead

We poured a little bit from the bottle of water just to demonstrate. Ok, that’s all on this for now, we’ll come back to it later and talk about some of the practical applications. Thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it.

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