Oct 14

Riding the Ultimate Surf Style board

You’ll remember that we grabbed a set of C5 boxes and slapped them into a repaired skimmer that we had, wanting to revisit the old Walzer twin pin, twin fin design and we called it the Ultimate Surf style board. That was sort of tongue-in-cheek, we intend the design to be for James as his skimmer this upcoming season. James is a long time surf style rider and needs a tad more hold or actually FINS, as that’s what he’s used to riding with!

But we’ll repeat that no contest, no tour has any definition for what surf style is. Not in terms of riding, nor in an equipment definition, so there literally is nothing WRITTEN, or KNOWN that would prevent someone from taking this board into a surf style division. Now there used to be, but that was deleted and so NOW, there is no guidance at all.

There’s all sorts of silly talk about what “surf style” is. We live close to Santa Cruz and have surfed “the Lane” many times. You could paddle out at any break in Santa Cruz on any weekend and your chances of seeing a shuv, back big, or switch front big on a surfboard – like what “surf style”would be – are about the same as seeing a full on Unicorn. Yet that is state of the art in surf style wakesurfing. So, if the riding style isn’t the definition, doesn’t it have to be equipment that makes a board surf style?


Right? Be honest here. You recognize the difference in the divisions and the riding style, as well as a board. If the restrictions are based upon equipment, let’s just define them. Surf style MUST have at least two 4″ deep fins. See that’s easy, it probably eliminates lots of boards as surf style, but why oh why, if we have separate divisions, do we not specifically identify them?

Anyway, shuv based tricks are, plain and simple, easier on a skimmer than on a surf style board due to directional design attributes. Fins being one area.

So we grabbed that repaired skimmer and took a wild ass guess for the fin placement. After riding this board, we’re going to adjust the placement some, but this is the concept. Twin rail fins up somewhat from the tail. SURF STYLE!

photo (24)

We’ve put together a short compilation of James’ first 10 minutes of riding on the board. It’s something like 4 clips strung together, just so you can see how it rides. The segments include: lipslide, shuv, shuv out, ollie 3, stalled surface 180, stalled surface reverse, backside big spin, MOSTLY a switch front big spin, air, air, ollie 3, shuv, revert front shuv, shuv, revert backside surface 180.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to James Walker riding that ultimate surf style board.

Great skim run, right? Now THAT’s what you’ll be ridiculed for, but just try to call it a surf style run looking in the mirror without laughing. You can’t do it for more than 12 seconds. And, you’d never in a million years see those tricks out in any sort of ocean environment on a surfboard.

Some riding pictures, mid revert front shuv and an air.



Now we used the C5’s rather than wakeboard fins, because wakeboard fins are just stupid. We’re sorry if we offended you, but double foiled rail fins are ridiculous. At the tail they make more sense, but only singularly. The C5’s are foiled with the interior cup and exterior convex or bump. It helps create drive and lift, albiet not very much.

Placement forward provides an additional amount of grip and also release much earlier than at the tail. Also, if you took the time to watch the video, first off THANKS! Second off, revert is ridiculously easy, isn’t it? We need to make it even easier, but it’s one of the defining differences between surf and skim. BUT, now that there really aren’t any differences, except for spelling (surf vs skim) design for that. Right? We are really surprised at the lack of innovation considering the complete lack of guidance or rules.

So anyway, there you have it. Switch fronts, back bigs, surface 180’s to revert…that’s current surf style folks. You’ll never see that anywhere folks actually surf, but that is surf style wakesurfing. Oh you know what? We just understood! Surf style must be the CLOTHES you wear! How silly have we been! You have to WEAR surfer styles, like board shorts and cool sunglasses! Duh!

Now, we don’t doubt that somewhere there will be “equipment restrictions” if this concept is employed at an event somewhere. Which makes sense. Don’t worry about riding style restrictions, that’s never going to happen, trust us! Maybe at the EWT, but not anywhere else. BUT if there are equipment restrictions, and they just aren’t “known” or exist only in someone’s mind, never to be spoken until they don’t like the development, this concept would at least get that out in the open. Then we can all shape and design to that weirdness. Secrets are never any fun and why shackle developers and shapers like that? Why intentionally derail and hinder progression?

Anyway, if you are a surf style rider, that just got lumped into a combined division and need to convert your riding to be competitive. You’re wanting a little more hold than a traditional skimmer, as you start landing shuv’s, back bigs, switch fronts and effortless revert riding, here is your design!

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

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Oct 13

Flyboy Wakesurf Missing Summer series

Last year we sort of hastily put together our first Missing Summer series. It was the middle of winter and we weren’t wakesurfing any more, so we dug out some old footage and created that first Missing Summer series. We planned better for this year.


Recently we’ve been noticing that many folks have had to tuck their boats away for the season and we’re prepared! We made about 20 videos from this past season, sort of recapping James Walker riding from different weekends. It’s just a fun little reminder of the season and we’ll present one each Sunday to help you make it through the long cold winter.

Here is that first in our Missing Summer series for the 2014-15 winter/off season, we call it: Fast Airs.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to our first in the Missing Summer series, if the embed above didn’t work for you.

We don’t have fancy camera equipment, nor are we any good at taking the videos to begin with! Most of the video you’ll see was taken with a tiny little Cannon point n’ shoot digicam. We really appreciate the folks that spend thousands of dollars maybe tens of thousands on video production, but you won’t find any of that here! Even the editor we use was like $30. So you get the idea, it’s just fun, not a big budget production trying to sell you something or someone. We hope you enjoy it and get a chance to remember your season this past year! We’ll be running them every week, on Sunday afternoon, through March, so be sure to come back each week during the winter!

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

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Oct 11

Wakeboard hate

Have you been subject to it? Or seen a sort of increase in it? The anger or hatred from wakeboard folks? We were made aware of a hate filled IG page, that was entitled fuck.wakesurfing. Here is a quick picture of the page. The tagline to the page was: Are you an avid wakesurfer? Fuck you.

photo (2)

ehhh, certainly not much IQ involved in that, but it does sort of beg the question. Why? If there are folks that are angry, and it’s just to be angry there isn’t much that can be done. Those folks will always find something else to be angry over soon enough, so it’s not a huge deal. The problem though is that there are some other places it crops up. Wakeworld.com is primarily a wakeboarding site and has in recent years added a wakesurfing forum. There are still arguments in the wakeboarding side of the site that talk disparagingly about wakesurfing. It’s this odd sort of scapegoating, sort of singling out wakesurfers for bad behavior and then it sort of spirals out of control from there. There tends to be a generalization that all wakesurfing is filled with no talent old men. While there are certainly a larger number of those, it’s not ALL there is.

The generalization isn’t ever applied to wakeboarding by those folks. You never see the reference to fat old men that wakeboard, almost like it was illegal or something. So what is the anger about? We see some wakesurf folks that become defensive and sort of bite back, throwing out their own set of generalizations. Then an even stranger sort of reaction that wears the wakeboard anger like a badge of honor. We’ve finally made it! There is a group that hates us! Certainly none of those things solve any issues, and maybe there isn’t a resolution.

We used to stage contests wayyyyy way back in the day with an INT League affiliate. The slalom skiers had their own lake and area they gathered and they did NOT socialize or interact with the wakeboarders. Neither group liked the other. The wakeboarders didn’t interact with the slalom skiers and then we were invited in and neither group liked the wakesurfers! We had just shown up! We weren’t wearing that as a badge of honor, it was just uncomfortable. It also made us think about how the future would unfold for those grass roots contests. Can you imagine little Johnny shows up for his first wakesurf contest at a local INT league event and some wakesurf gurus are all hyped up – that’s right hate us MOFO’s! And, they do. Heavy sigh.

So what is that all about? One reason, certainly, is that we have a weird wake development, where we send rollers down the line that seem to travel forever. It’s like your neighbor that blasts Led Zepplin all day and night or maybe another neighbor with a hound dog that barks at the slightest sound…like at a crickets chirp for hours and hours on end. It prevents you from the quiet enjoyment of your property. We understand the freedom for everyone on the water, but if our actions are interfering with others enjoyment, maybe we need to take a look at ourselves.

We read an interview with Drew Danielo who recounted seeing a wakesurf boat traveling too close to a smaller fishing boat and almost swamping them. If that’s how we are perceived, we deserve the hatred. That’s not freedom of the waterways, that’s someone being an entitled prick. Go around the fishing boat, wth is wrong with you?! You’re nothing but a bully at point. I’m bigger and I don’t care about anyone but me, so I’ll surf right by your ass.

No doubt that person also blasts Led Zepplin at 2 am every night.

Let’s be honest, we know that there are those in our sport that don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves and sadly, those bastards get lumped in with the rest of us, the vast majority who are considerate. If you see someone like that, or you’re part of the crew; say something. Not that we have to be relegated to the lower forty and only on windy days, but you don’t have to almost swamp a fishing boat. We mean, is that 15 feet of water REALLY all that important in your wakesurf run? Really?

But you know we also understand how envy works. Wakesurfing is growing in popularity and boat manufacturers have taken note. They are developing enhancements to boats that focus on increasing the pleasure and ease of wakesurfing. Far more than they are working on wakeboard features. Many are playing catch up, so no doubt there is a flood of innovation that might be seen by folks outside the sport as sort of favoritism. Well it’s commerce, wakesurfing is starting to sell boats, of course manufacturers would start cranking out features and benefits for that group. Manufacturers, not all that long ago, shunned the sport, now of course that is is providing additional sales they’ll jump on that bandwagon! It’s how business works!

It was interesting to go to the followers on that page. There were some big names in wakeboarding. Phil Soven, Parks Bonifay among others. These are sports stars that have 58,000 followers and MAYBE they follow 400 other IG accounts and both of them chose to follow this? The fuck.wakesurfing. Someone like a Phil Soven isn’t worked up over rollers on the water, no doubt he lives on a private lake and he’s riding Monday Thru Friday 10 am to 3 pm. There aren’t tons of wakesurf professionals screwing up the private lake, so is that about our contests or the professionals in our sport? If you go to wakeworld.com there are countless comments that are derisive about our professionals. On that IG account, there is lots of misinformation, like folks do when they want to mislead folks through hatred. But one in particular bothered us. It was a picture of Ashley Kidd after the WWSC awards with her huge 12K check. The comment was News Flash, women’s wakesurf pays out better than men’s wakeboard.

So that’s the root of the anger of those male wakeboard pros isn’t it? BUT, it’s not with wakesurfing. We mean what would that anger be? “Those damn wakesurf event organizers able to raise that much money by providing value for advertisers and being so damned efficient they can pay out huge amounts! AND those SOB’s believe in gender equality! We should hate them for being smart and good at what they do! AND for their gender equality stance. Those fuckers!” Lordy, it’s not safe for them to be pissed off at wakeboard event organizers that probably have screwed them over for years and years or that couldn’t raise the amount of money that wakesurfing can. Well that becomes a convoluted mess, but the point being wakesurfing pays out better because organizers do a better job of raising prize money. Don’t belittle that, attend an event and win some of it. Right? Or get pissed at your organizers that aren’t doing as good of a job, or that keep the money for their own wallets. Isn’t that just an opportunity waiting to be snatched? Anyway, the anger for those folks is misguided, in our opinion. It really should be focused on wakeboard event organizers that can’t match what wakesurf organizers can do in terms of fund raising, efficiency, generosity and taking a proactive stance on gender equality.  We’d support that anger.  We are all for properly focused anger that focuses on positive change.  Some folks believe in censorship for all but cheerleading of THEIR position and that’s just dumb.  If you’re pissed at wakeboard organizers because they aren’t doing the job as well as wakesurf organizers, get after them!  Offer up that picture of Ashley Kidd and say – wth?! Pay out like this you cheapskates! Right?  That’s good honest, well deserved anger that’s well placed!

So, we’d guess that it’s a little of both factors combined. There are some entitled little pricks in wakesurfing that literally couldn’t give a rats ass about anyone but themselves and they could use a quick visit to Kindergarten! Learn to share. That doesn’t mean, you can’t wakesurf or that you can only wakesurf in crappy water, but don’t pass by a fishing boat within 20 feet on the surf side. Really? That’s why some folks hate us, hell WE hate you for doing crap like that! As for envy, not much to be done there. We can be sensitive to folks and not rub it in their faces, but commerce will do that everyday. That’s not US, that’s their crap. Wakesurf organizers are doing a better job, raising more money and giving more of it away. Also, they treat the genders fairly and equally. C’mon who is going to argue against that, that doesn’t have hairy, floor dragging knuckles.

Anyway, we don’t think it’s a badge of honor, not even if we were 16 again trying to be hoodlums. We’ve been subjected to the anger just because we showed up at an event, it’s not pleasant. We also worry about little Jimmy who may be subject to that anger at some combined grass roots event. That’s not good for anyone, even if you think its some meaningful sign of achievement. We also aren’t quitting because wakesurfing is growing and thriving…because organizers of wakesurf events do a better job at paying out. That’s NOT a problem with wakesurfing, that’s a skill and a feature of the discipline. Also, we’re pretty sure that no one in wakesurfing hates wakeboarders, so we’d love to see those professionals come win some of the money flying around. At least we’ve never heard that, maybe it exists, but we know at our event the Supreme Wake Surf Championship we’d love to see pro wakeboarders competing. So maybe that is the point of this post, come join us on occasion, we pay well and we have fun.

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

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Oct 10

Weekend stoke

Have you put your boat away for the season, already?


Fall is definitely in the air here in NorCal, so we’ll be slowing down shortly. Sunday afternoon we’ll start our Missing Summer series, and as a teaser to that, here is a short video clip of James Walker on his Flyboy, to kinda kick your weekend off, if you’re still surfing, or making you a little misty if you’re boat is already winterized.

For our mobile enabled users, here is a link to that weekend stoke video if the embed above doesn’t work.

We sure hope that you have fond memories of your wakesurf season, or that it’s still going strong for you. We’re about to enter our build season, so we’ll hopefully have some interesting articles that can keep you going this winter. Stay tuned to Flyboy as we help you weather the long cold dry spell.

Thanks for following along, we appreciate it.

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Oct 09


You heard us! Fiddlybits! It’s the stuff that you do to fix something that’s broken. We’ve all done it, like a splint on a fractured leg, tape it up to hold it in place. We’ve also done it around the house, like when your glasses break at the bridge you tape a piece of plastic to them until you can get to the doctor to get a new frame. We want to share a few quotes before we get into a discussion about fiddlybits!

There is a great book for older teens, worth reading as adults. It’s by Ned Vizzini and is titled It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The main character is Craig Gilmer and the main character is brutally emotionally honest in the story. If you are all about being 100% positive at all times, first you’re a liar, but second this book will make you uncomfortable. The Craig checks into a psychiatric hospital where he finally gets the help he needs. It’s a skillful witty handling of a sensitive issue that is an important book and worth the read. One statement in the book is priceless. Craig states: “Everyone has problems. Some people just hide their crap better than others.”

Right? We all see that the gorgeous facade on the house and inside we hear the story about how the family was performing satanic rituals. Anyway, within this blog, we show you our failures. If there is anyone that you think isn’t or doesn’t have failure; they just hide their crap, really well. We’re not ashamed of that, hell we reveal in making mistakes, because that means we became that much closer to success and gained useful knowledge.

Which leads us to the next quote, from Albert Einstein. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” We think it’s from his book Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms. You know, brilliant man and we get the gist of the sentiment, but bullshit! Try surfing some imagination! It’s good to be able to move beyond the what is to what could be, but it becomes useful when it condenses into some useful knowledge.

Ok, so all of that leads to a fiddlybit and knowledge for us. Below is a picture that is from a board we made, man…we are guessing around 2007’ish. Maybe 2006, we aren’t quite sure at this point. Ignore the poor workmanship for a moment, we built it in the dead of winter and w were struggling with some vacuum bagging issues that we finally resolved. So we didn’t attempt a cut lap on the carbon wrapped rails. Anyway, this board had a 1 pound density EPS core, Corecell A500 skins top and bottom, balsawood rails, in fact a complete perimeter frame. It was very early in our efforts and the bottom was flat, it didn’t have a concave or tucked rails. It was just nicely flat and also it precedes our work with the twinzer fin pod.

photo (23)

And we want to point out something around the fins. Do you see the two sort of faint lines running horizontally across the board on either side of the fin boxes? Those are actually embedded carbon tubes. So here was the fiddlybit issue. In that super soft 1 pound density core, we had some fin twist. We never lost a fin box, but you could feel the loss of power as the fins sort of twisted around in the foam. Currently, meaning 2014, many manufacturers use high density foam inserts to sink their fin boxes in to rectify that problem. More fiddly bits. From a manufacturing standpoint, you want to reduce labor costs, as much as possible. Labor is the single most expensive variable cost in the equation. It destroys margins and drives prices higher. Also, a composite sandwich is basically a stringerless board. If you love your wooden stringers, that’s fine, We won’t tell you your wrong for that, but stringers in a composite sandwich are wrong.

There simply isn’t any reason to go through the hassle of creating a stringerless construction, to convert it back to stringered construction. Just start out with stringered. Stringerless boards are felt by many to be exceptionally lively and more responsive. BUT, they need to be stringerless! Right? So this project was, well not a monumental failure, but it awakened us to a few things. One is, if you’re just going to insert fiddlybits to make it a stringered board, skip the hassle and buy a stringered blank! Way cheaper and easier. The second bit of knowledge that it imparted was reducing labor costs. Not that we really had any at that stage, it was just us, but we HOPED at some stage there would be. Dear Lord, don’t create such a complicated mess of a build process with bits and pieces that required tons of labor and introduced more things to fail or go wrong, step back and look at the issue. For us here, it was the foam density. It was 1 pound EPS that was well just floppy.

It created a ridiculously light board, but if we had to add fin box inserts or crazy horizontal pieces to allow the fins to work optimally, maybe there is a better choice in core material. Right? What we then experimented with was a higher density EPS for a core. This project was 1.0 pound density, maybe it was a nominal density of 0.75, so we bumped up through 2.0, which was too heavy, but at 1.5 pound / cubic foot, we fixed all of the ills and guess what? It was about $2.50 more per board. The crazy routing of a slot for the horizontal tubes and the cost of the tubes, plus all the labor to cut the right length, test fit it, glue it in, fashion up a cover where it was below the surface of the bottom…well you get the idea, it would drive up the cost per unit by $100 easily in a production environment AND actually wound up being heavier than a higher density core material.

So maybe old Albert was right, if you doggedly view the only option as inserting more fiddlybits, you really are doomed to failure. Luckily, we didn’t have enough knowledge to get stuck in that trap! We knew that we preferred the performance and advantages of composite sandwich construction and we also knew that fiddlybits were just a failure to stand back and assess the problem correctly. By not being invested in a failed material, we were free to choose a better option! 1.5 pound. The board that you see James riding currently, doesn’t have a 1 pound density core and it’s also not a store bought stringered blank. We developed an understanding of sandwich build process and also, refused to get married to any individual component or material and luckily the process allows us to switch up all manner of materials and orientations of those materials.

So, there you have it. Fiddlybits aren’t a feature, they are a bandaid trying to fix a problem and always drive manufacturing costs higher. We are also really REALLY emotionally honest in this blog. We screw crap up all the damn time, and hopefully, it leads us to better products and performance.

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

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Oct 08

SurfMN video edit

James’ has been coaching quite a bit this year, from Washington to Hong Kong and it seems most points in between! James offers several flavors of coaching, one is behind our Supreme V226, but the more popular flavor is where he travels to YOU and trains you behind your boat and then also as a clinic coach at a site local to participants.


James prefers traveling to particpants and using their boat. That makes the most sense, it’s the wake you’ll wakesurf on most of the time and it will reduce the time it takes you to learn new tricks. You need need to give yourself every advantage and training behind YOUR wake is the ultimate advantage! Each wake is a little different and learning the nuances of a wake while also trying to learn a new trick and then TRANSFER all of that back to your wake makes the whole mess way too hard. So, that is why James started his coaching with traveling to his clients site and using their boat. Also, it’s hard to travel from the east coast or mid west out to California and with the contest scene so busy during the summers it’s hard to schedule a time and get all the arrangements worked out.

James was very active in clinics this year, including a demo and clinic session with Faction Marine with the SurfMN crew. Those folks put together a great edit that features Trevor Grindland, our very own James Walker, Cole Sorenson and Jason Lybeck. The video was shot this past summer and included some footage of James while he was back there in Alexandria, MN. Here is that video.

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

We’re looking forward to hearing all the stories and hopefully seeing some additional pictures from James during his travels to Hong Kong.

Thanks for following along, we really appreciate it.

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Oct 07

Updating the composite sandwich

If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know that we worked extensively with composite sandwich construction. Over the years we’ve discovered a few things and probably the most important was that you can’t really just “port” or bring a design across from normal construction over to sandwich construction and expect it to work. They work on different principles. Normal construction places all of the strength and resistance in the core, with just a minimum external layer, while a sandwich just places all of that out on the skin. Just based upon those two different working constructs, you end up with a very different ride, if you take a shape from one construction over to another type of construction. Also, attempting to make one construction behave like the other diminishes the benefits of the construction being changed. So, we’ve stuck with our development always using sandwich construction and we’ve learned TONS over the years.

In fact we’re pretty sure that we are the only ones that actually do construction using sandwich techniques. There are others that develop in standard construction and then let someone else manufacture in sandwich, but we’ve never understood that. It would be like developing a shape in wood and then handing that shape over to someone to prepare in foam and fiberglass. It probably isn’t the best process for developing a wakesurf board. So we develop in sandwich and produce in sandwich, it minimizes variables and gives us a much better understanding of what works and doesn’t!

So you may remember the double skinned sandwich from a week or so back, where we took it out and wakesurfed it prior to worlds. We’ve started to shape the rails a little over the weekend, but some of us are a little under the weather fighting a cold, so progress is slow.

Here is a quick shot of the initial rough out of the rail bands.

photo 1 (3)

As we were working on the double skinned board it reminded us of the various iterations we’ve made over the years. One was a switch from merely using a skin, to using a full peremiter frame. Here is a quick shot of a seriously old protoptype cross sections. This build methodology is about 6 years old, or so.

photo 2

You’ll note that out by the rails there is really nothing built up. Our first departure from that very old build method was to build up about an inch of high density material all around the outline of the board. And we’ll tell you why.

If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you are familiar with the basic concept of sandwich construction whereby an increase in thickness is exponentially related to an increase in stiffness. So increase thickness by a factor of 1 and the stiffness increases by a factor of 4. It’s a marvel of modern mechanics! But how does that apply to the rails of a wakesurf board? They taper down to nothing and so there is an ever decreasing thickness. Based upon our understanding of sandwich construction, that would lead us to believe there is an ever decreasing stiffness from the middle of the board out to the rails. That would eventually cause sponge off or twist off out at the rails.

Here is that conceptualization of the taper out at the rails.

sandwich taper

BUT that isn’t always true. There is an entire field of study that deals specifically with this issue of tapering composite sandwiches. It makes sense as real world application of a sandwich for things like space craft will entail areas that simply aren’t flat or always a uniform distance apart.

The problem of course is that the description of this field sounds like this:

A new formulation is presented for the analysis of tapered sandwich structures with anisotropic composite faces. Three local coordinate systems are introduced to describe the independent displacements of each component. The expression for the total potential energy is derived and the Rayleigh-Ritz method is applied to obtain an approximate solution. The analysis takes into account the correlation between the core shear strain and the face normal deflection existing only for the tapered geometry. The present formulation can be applied to arbitrary boundary conditions. Numerical examples are calculated for various core shear modulus ratios, taper ratios, and slenderness ratios. The correlation between the core shear strain and the face normal deflection is found to be very important in predicting the deflections and stresses of tapered sandwich structures.

Yikes! WTH does THAT mean?! If short what is described is that there is an optium degree of taper and if utilized, they work great, if not, then our observations about thinner = less stiff are accurate. There is some stiffness that is provide by the curtvature itself, like we’ve described with rail grooves or the folds in your car hood and door panels.

Can you guess how likely the optimum taper is out at the nose, tail or rails of a sandwich board is? Not very, is the answer.

Without a perimeter frame, the thickness of the sandwich has to be significant enough that it doesn’t twist off. All of the first generation Flyboy’s had this perimeter frame, but those also had relatively thick skin on the deck and bottom. We did an interesting experiment in collaboration with The Walker Project, way back a few years ago. The design itself kinda sucked, but the rail work was enlightening.

photo (23)

Note the dark outline around the perimeter of that board. It is a wood sandwich, comprised of balsa sheets and then a few select portions of redwood. That dark outline is redwood bender board like you’d use in your landscaping. So two things from that. One is that was ridiculously stiffer than balsa wood and it also doesn’t absorb water like a dinged balsawood area wood. Heavier, denser, more springy and closed cell. That’s the take away. Not wood per se, but all of the elements that rail work provided. It’s a dramatic improvement to the simple sandwich cross section above and really that is 15 year old technology from sail boards.

What we did within that experiment is change the density, stiffness and lets call it rebound of the material out around the perimeter. Now at first glance it would seem like what we did was create an area that was significantly stiffer than the surrounding skin, but we think that isn’t really true. Due to that tapering and the curvature of the rails, the areas around the perimeter were getting stiffer by virtue of the curvature of the skins and so we needed to match that and at the same time do something way out at the very end of the perimeter that would aid with resisting dents and dings.

Can you guess what we did to address that? We lowered the density from the skin, but quadrupled the density from the core. WHAT?! It’s a crazy formulation, but you get the idea. We stiffened the rails up, just enough to take advantage of the tapering sandwich and then built up enough to give us better ding resistance. Now, we should say, our current development is further along than that, but THAT was the first significant change in the sandwich structure from what you saw above and also in what we have presented to you our devoted readers. We’ll talk more about the further developments in the Flyboy design in the future.

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

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Oct 06

James Walker landing a Widowmaker on his Flyboy

We have a short clip for you of James Walker landing a widowmaker on his Flyboy.


It’s just goregeously executed the backside air 360 to a backside surface 360.

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

If you are studying this trick, we also have a set of sequence shots on our Flyboy Flickr page in a Widowmaker album. This is a combination of an air 3 and a surface 3. We want to do a tutorial on this trick, but it will require that you are capable of doing both an air 3 and a surface 3. We haven’t done an air 3 tutorial yet, so we’ll start with that part of the tutorial first and then move on to the full widowmaker, proper.

Thanks so much for following along and check back this week and we dissect this trick.

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Oct 04

Taping and misc

So we glued up the C5 boxes into the ultimate surf style board last night and there isn’t really much to that process. Mix up some epoxy and we threw in some cabosil and microballoons to help thicken up the mixture. The only thing that we may not have covered to well is taping over the openings on the top of the box. It’s where the fin base will go and then also the threaded hole where the set screw goes. It’s easy to get epoxy into those cavities, so we minimize that risk by covering them with masking tape.

taped boxes

After the epoxy has cured, we’ll grind all of that off and bring the box flush with the bottom of the board.

We thought we’d also share a few pictures of James out in Hong Kong, his trip is almost over at this point and he’ll be heading back to the states. He has a few more coaching sessions lined up, back here in the go ‘ol US of A.

So the first one is the staging boat. James tried to talk them into surfing this, but apparaently it’s a little more complicated than that. We’re not really even sure how big that is. Three decks and maybe 70 feet long?

HK photo 3

One last picture. One of James’ hosts has been shuttling James back and forth between the hotel and marina in a gorgeous Ferrari 458 Italia. No doubt James has been trying to get behind the wheel, but next best thing is a ride along!

HK photo (1)

Nice grocery getter!

We have a few more left over video snippets and some pictures from before worlds and hopefully we’ll have fresh content once James returns from his coaching trip.

We hope that you all have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here next week.

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Oct 03

Cardboard honeycomb

We recently read a short blog post over on Jeff “Doc” Lausch’s, surf prescriptions web site where he discussed shaping a surf board using a cardboard honeycomb as the core material. He was contracted to build the board by a cardboard manufacturer, perhaps as a means to showcase their capabilites or alternative uses for cardboard. Here is a picture from that blog post.


That reminded us of the old Aqua Jet surfboards that were built in the late 60’s. They were probably the first honeycomb cored boards, but those were powered. They had a small electric motor and a propeller that exited thru the fin! The motor was wire to some batteries that allowed them to switch between a “hi” and “low” speed (series and parallel wiring) and so the boards could be switched to HI to catch waves and the LOW to sort of cruise back out. :) Here is an ad from back in the 60’s or 70’s for the brand.


It’s been ages ago, but we had a conversation with the folks from aqua jet about their eventual demise. One of the issues that they had with using honeycomb, wasn’t a structural issue, but instead was the ability to manufacture and change. It required molds and so as shapes changed, a new mold would be required and that made it financial impossible for them to keep up with shapers that were using foam blanks.

So structurally, honeycomb is a viable core material. Shaping it cost-effectively, is a different matter altogether.

In recent years there have been dramatic advances in the material used to create honeycomb. In the past it was principally aluminum – which corrodes with exposure to salt water. Platics, including ploypropylene and polyester based like PET are now readily available and some at local composites stores like TAP Plastics.

ThermHex 3

As we read that article it reminded us that we have a section of aluminum honeycomb laying around somewhere. Were not quite sure of the size or shape, but we thought it might be fun to build a see thru wakesurf board like the one that Doc Lausch made in the first picture above. So, we may start that project here shortly!

Another picture from Hong Kong. Apparently James is coaching in the ocean behind an RZ2. And also there would appear to be some wealth in the general area, as evidenced by the large array of yachts! We had to wonder how much an RZ2 costs in HK, as they are manufactured in Texas. What does it cost to ship a standard Tige almost to China? Anyway, not something that we’ll ever have to worry about!

Thanks so much for following along, we appreciate it.

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