Apr 12

Work!

We are super busy for the next week with our day jobs! We’ll share a short little clip from a GoPro video that we were obviously struggling with the proper placement!

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Here is that little snippet of James Walker airing out his Flyboy

For our mobile enabled friends here is a link to that GoPro video of James Walker doing an air on his Flyboy.

Thanks so much for following along and your understanding during the next couple of days.

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Apr 11

Hydrofoil

It’s been a bunch of years ago that we played with a hydrofoil attachment to the bottom of a wakesurf board. The results were not really clear with the majority of the crew present that day saying: NOPE it didn’t work. So we got to thinking yesterday about a number of things. One of them was that it sure seems that EVERYTHING wakesurfing has become a promotion for someone or something. Everyone is trying to make a buck or control some aspect of the sport. It’s really tiring and kinda boring. Do you have TIVO? Do you sit and watch the commercials with wild eyed intent? No, we all hate being sold too or forced to endure that sort of stuff.

We thought we’d remove ourselves from that for a bit. It feels like an onslaught of advertisements from all sides. So we decided to return to this hydrofoil wakesurfer. You can’t buy it, you’ll probably never be able to buy it and we aren’t completely sure that we can even get it to work like we want! BUT, it’ll be a fun project as we work through it and maybe we can inspire folks to try some similar project at home. Maybe not a hydrofoil, but perhaps some idea that you’ve been tinkering with for awhile.

Ok, so here is our project from a few years ago, this is the bottom of the board and you can see what we had hoped would be the wing part of the hydrofoil.

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That’s pretty different from the hydrofoil that we are all familiar with on the bottom of airchairs and the like. The concept of those types of hydrofoils, where they have two wings, is that the front wing provides LIFT and the trailing wing provides control. Now we are NOT hydrofoil experts and so if you are reading this series and decide to following along, add the preface “as we understand it” to EVERYTHING! Lets go back to that trailing wing concept and how that impact control or maybe stability is a better term. The front wing provides lift, it’s very similar to flying your hand out the window of a moving car, point up and your hand goes up.

The problem with that is that there is a tendency to porpoise with the relatively narrow wings. Changing the angle of attack without a trailing wing, causes the hydrofoil to change direction so dramatically, that most folks can’t effectively react in time to control it. So, a second trailing fin helps stabilize those directional inputs, by slowing down the response time. So we can gather from that observation, if you will, that we can possible impact the responsiveness of the hydrofoil, by changing the distance of the trailing wing away from the main wing. Further away, less responsive, closer more responsive. OR that is how we understand it!!!!

We are going to change the shape of our hydrofoil such that it looks more traditional to what we all know as a hydrofoil. Here is a rough drawing with some questimated measurements.

hydrofoil 1

Holy wings, Batman! We doubt we’ll get that intricate in our shaping of the wings, but we thought we’d explain what we are thinking.

Most hydrofoils are used in mostly static fluid environments. Not that they can’t be used in a dynamic fluid, but mostly what we see is they are used out in the flats being towed by the boat. They can hit a wake, but they don’t need that to catch air. The rider loads the rope and develops “pop” by changing the angle of the foil until the whole thing leaves the water.

We obviously can’t do that on a wakesurfer / hydrofoil. Our only source of power is the lifting forces of the wake and then falling down the face aided by gravity.

One of the things we discovered from our first test, was that the wing of that original foil, just wasn’t larger enough. It’s a function of area, and more is better…well lets say that planing starts at slower speeds with more area. We’d like to have our little wakesurf / hydrofoil experiment start planning well before our 11 mph terminal velocity! If we can get it to plane the board out of the water at say 5 mph, we should be able to balance a rider above the surface at 11 mph and hopefully stay with the boat for a bit.

As we’ve been saying for a bit, now, the wake face is water rising. There is a decided about of force from the water as it comes off the bottom of the boat and rises above it’s normal level. We should be able to harness some of that, to continue to power our hydrofoil. Our expectation is that in order for it to continue forward we will have to sort of do a swimming motion up and down the face of the wake. It’s possible that we’ll develop a wing that is large enough that we can sort of balance the lifting forces and falling down the face, but only time will tell!

One concern we have is that as the wing exits the surface of the water it will lose “power”. That’s not normally a problem if you are being towed with a rope, but it’s pretty substantial for wakesurfing! It’s also a design concern, because of the width of the wing.

You may remember we did all those wild under the board gopro videos and there isn’t all that much contact between the wake and the board. With the shape of the wake, the further UP the hydrofoil rides, we expect that it will run the risk of the outside part of the wing exiting the wake face and causing a loss of “power”.

So that should be fun if we can get it to work!

Thanks so much for following along, we appreciate it.

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Apr 10

Open and closed cell foam

We wanted to touch briefly on the concept of open and closed cell foams and also try and tie it in the potential to use 3D printers to create a “foam”.

We hope that this will be sort of informative, we’ve become rather jaded at all of the advertising going on, on social media sites and various forum based websites. It seems like everything is an advertisement at this moment, spammy videos and facebook also, everyone is a freakin business! #buymystuff! Lordy, it’s exhausting.

Anyway, this post isn’t trying to sell you anything! What we want to talk about is the concept of open and closed cell foams. You’re familiar with them even if you don’t know the terms.

The iconic example of an open cell foam is the sponge in your kitchen. A little background, a foam is created when air or some other gas is trapped inside a solid or liquid. So like we stated earlier, your kitchen sink sponge is a foam, but also so is the foam on the top of your beer. The gas bubbles are trapped in that liquid at the top.

In a closed cell foam, the gas forms discrete pockets, each completely surrounded by solid material. In an open cell foam, the gas pockets connect with each other.

Here is a wonderful graphic representation that we did for just this purpose!

foam types

You get the idea, closed cell foams are basically solid chunks of “stuff” with air bubbles trapped inside, whereas open cell foams are solid chucks of stuff with pathways that are interconnected here and there.

This is important from a wakesurf standpoint if we ever get a ding. In a closed cell foam, if the ding intersects a trapped air pocket, we might get some water in that one air pocket, but it’s sealed off from all the rest of the air pockets, so we don’t really need to worry ALL that much about a ding.

What about open cell foams? That’s not true is it? It’s possible that a large number of the trapped air bubbles are interconnected, so a ding that allows water to enter one of the trapped air bubbles, could very possibly allow water to enter a large number of those interconnected air bubbles.

The most common type of foam used in wakesurf board construction, today, is EPS. As we mentioned in a previous post it’s a plastic made from Polystyrene. In an oversimplification, EPS foam is made by creating thousands of tiny beads which individually have a single pocket of gas trapped inside. It’s possible to term a single EPS bead as a closed cell foam. The problem is that it’s maybe 1/8″ in diameter. So while THAT is a closed cell foam, it’s not very practical for use in anything.

So, EPS foam boards are made by MOLDING (hot damn!) thousands of tiny EPS beads into some shape. The EPS beads are expanded with heat and then “fused” together to make a final finished shape, like a coffee cup or something…or a wakesurf board!

So we know that EPS can be used to make coffee cups and they hold steaming hot liquid, so they must be CLOSED CELL!

Technically it’s still an open cell foam, BECAUSE there are often microscopic little pathways in between all of the squished beads of EPS, BUT practically speaking those pathways are often smaller than the individual molecules of the liquid that are used by the foam. So in our coffee cup example, there are actually little tiny pathways all in between the squished beads of EPS, but they are so small that water can’t get through them. This is true of epoxy and polyester resins also. They aren’t a solid barrier, but the little tiny holes are so small that water can’t migrate through them.

So we’ve talked about closed cell foams although we failed to mention any, divinycell is one and it is used in the construction of most skim style boards. Open cell foams like your kitchen sponge and then open cell foams that are, practically speaking, closed cell like EPS foam.

Remember that we talked about plastics a few posts ago and then we basically said virtually ALL of your wakesurf board is made from plastic? The one misconception that folks typically have is that the interior foam of their board ISN’T plastic, but polystyrene is a plastic.

EPS foam is really interesting in that while it’s a plastic it’s principally all air or gas. Inside those little beads are trapped gas and that is the largest part of the bead itself. LOL! It just struck us that what we should be saying is that our wakesurf boards are mostly GASEOUS!

The EPS beads are sort of randomly oriented, but if you could look at the structure on the interior of the board, the plastic walls of all of the beads form this intricate, if random, honeycomb. That is to say, there are all these walls made of plastic and then inside of those walls is trapped air.

The key point is that it’s PLASTIC and AIR.

That got us thinking (more) about the concept of a 3D printed board. We know that current technology prints plastic easily and it would be very easy to print some geometric shape in which thousands of little…we don’t know, sort of “tetris” like shapes that fit together, but inside was trapped air. So rather than solid geometric shapes, they are hollow geometric shapes. Guess what?

That’s a plastic foam isn’t it? We have no idea how long that would take to print, or if the cost would be prohibitive, but it’s possible to 3D print a wakesurf board with the basic identical structural makeup as one that uses EPS foam as it’s core.

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

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Apr 09

Shortest edit ever!

We are doing our missing summer series for 2014 / 15 as we go along, hopefully we won’t be so rushed next year! One of the things we’ve wanted to try is trimming the tricks down so they are really super fast. You’ve probably seen a bunch of action video edits with that sort of format. So we experimented with a back big (more on that name in a minute) and got rid of all the pumping in and all of the recovery after and it’s down to 1.5 seconds! Crazy fast. It was such a small edit, Instagram rejected it!!!

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Here is that 1.5 seconds of back big!

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to that short back big edit if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

We aren’t sure that we can do 60 seconds worth of stuff like that, or find a BUNCH of tricks that aren’t all the same that we can show in rapid succussion, but we’re going to try!

So did you notice something about that trick? It’s referred to as a backside big spin. There is a frontside big spin also. If we were trying to use the screwed up naming convention that plaques wakesurfing, we’d call it a backside 3 shuv with a simultaneous body varial (anything with a body varial always wins!). Have you ever EVER heard it called that way? No of course not. It’s a trick that’s migrated from skate and wake skate, so they have a fairly consistent naming convention and it’s carried over to wakesurfing…where we name things based upon folly, or whomever is the most favorite.

Do you know what is the basis for any community, anywhere at anytime? It’s communication. It typically evolves into a language where everyone understands it and so when you say, back big everyone knows what that means. They don’t have to sit down and do a calculus equation to figure out what you meant. We teased yesterday in that video with the backside shuv to revert backside surface 180 to switch. Right? When you read that the very first time can you picture it? If you’re being honest, no of course not, you have to read and then say – ok, it’s s shuv in, then what? Ok, the board is revert and the rotation is backside…wait, what now?

Now you’re a judge, write that down in a meaningful way and continue judging the next trick. You can’t can you? What do judges do? Well most do nothing, just look and make no notes, or if they do make a note it’ll be wow! Or some shorthand, like shuv to revert.

So we have back bigs and backside shuv to revert backside surface 180 to switch. It’s creates a few issues, one is obviously an impossible situation for judges in a competitive environment. There is just no way to accurately take notes and so guess what smart riders do? Single iteration tricks, because folks can remember that and note it. But also, it forces all tricks to be single iterations of some or maybe add a body varial in there. Complex tricks are currently being diminished by the powers that be.

The other thing is that it makes it impossible for folks to come together on a particular trick. If it’s disregarded, left to be the string of descriptors, how does anyone agree on it’s difficulty? You can’t, no one can and you want to know what takes over? Advertising budgets. Everything becomes a popularity contest, rather than how well you rode.

We need some infrastructure, some consistency and a lot less favoritism and bias.

Thanks for following along, we really appreciate it.

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Apr 08

Leg lock!

It’s getting warmer here in Norcal, but it’s not WARM by any stretch of the imagination. It’s funny, none of your muscles of joints work quite right. This is a fun video, about 3 tricks in James knees just STOP working! We also like the start of the video, James does an ollie 7 and then swims the board forward into a blender. It’s very active and a fun sequence. It’s sad that wakesurfing is stuck where it is, where EVERYTHING has to be a single iteration of a single trick. It’s so predictable and severely limits wakesurfing. Imagine if every other sport had such relentless control and narrow focus. Wakeboarding would have never seen a speed ball, not to mention a 10. Or in snowboarding Shaun White’s double McTwist 1260. We’ll always be stuck in the dark ages while the current folks in control prevent progression for the sake of pre-determined outcomes. Single trick above the lip and maybe a body varial. THAT is the current state of professional wakesurfing. It’s boring, predicatble and the furthest thing from progression possible. Blah!

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Here is that video with James Walker on his Flyboy landing; Ollie 7, blender, indecision, leg lock!, air reverse, shuv to revert backside surface 180 to switch (with a tip of the hat to the complete failure in consistent naming) to a switch backside surface 180 to revert shuv.

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

We’ve also created a Flyboy Flickr album for the Blender that James lands in that video. It’s a surface reverse to a surface 3.

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

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Apr 07

Freezing aerial

We’re writing this before heading out on the water today. Amazingly enough it’s supposed to be close to 80 degree air temps!!!

What that means of course is that we’ll be out on the water as long as we can, zooming home just in time for James to make his shift at work tonight. So we’ll write more later in the week.

Here’s a good old fashioned grabbed air, in anticipation of our wakesurf Sunday!

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Here is a short edited video of that aerial. We are in the process of building our 2014-2015 Missing summer series of videos and this is one of the snippets.

For our mobile enabled friends here is a link to that aerial video if the embed above doesn’t work for you. Hopefully we’ll have more to share after today.

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

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Apr 05

Plastics

Have you ever thought about plastics as they are involved in your wakesurf board? The largest single component is the core. That will typically be a cross linked PVC in a skimmer or currently EPS in terms of a surf style board. Guess what? Both are plastics. The most commonly accepted broad definition of what plastic is, goes like this: a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, polystyrene, etc., that can be molded into shape while soft and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form.

Did you catch a couple of items in there? Moooolded OMG! There it is, the biggest bugaboo EVER! We have to laugh at all the yokels that proclaim molded items as being of lower quality than “hand made” LOLOLOL Oh YOKEL! Every single foam board starts from some molded hunk of plastic. Dear God at least get half a clue before you start running your mouth! Molding is just a process, it’s neither good or bad and guess what????!!! That EPS core, that wonderful hand made part of your board that makes it so glorious, is FREAKIN molded plastic. And for folks that are wanting to understand the processes, when you read that or hear that you’ve discovered a complete MORON. And that is thier level of understanding of boards and the materials involved. NONE.

Did you also catch that, EPS is the lightest material in wakesurfing and…molded. Say it with us: MOLD…ED, MOLD…ED, MOLD…ED. There is nothing about molding that makes anything heavy or dead feeling or anything else. It’s a process, nothing more. Sure you can do molding badly, but all of those amazing “hand made” boards start from molded plastic.

We also read some folks denegrating plastics as being inferior to fiberglass. Lordy it’s absolutely no wonder that folks get confused when it comes to understanding wakesurf board construction. Fiberglass when used as a reinforcement is a cloth and is about as stiff as the T-shirt your wearing right now. It’s useless unless it’s contained in a matrix of some resin and guess what that resin is? Yeppers! A plastic! The most common matrix resins are epoxy, polyester and vinylester all three of which are thermosetting plastics.

So lets recap a few things. All cores, except wood are made from some sort of plastic and ALL of those start life as molded hunks of plastic. All fin boxes are some form of plastic, all external laminations are some type of plastic with a reinforcement. About the ONLY thing that isn’t plastic in most boards is a center stringer, if there is one and the reinforcement material that is used in the external lamination or as part of the fins and boxes. By FAR the single largest piece of any wakesurf board is the core and that, unless it’s wood, is MOLDED PLASTIC.

HAHAHAHAHA! So when you hear those yahoo’s talking crap about molding and about plastic in general, you’ve found a real gem! AND trust us, there are a BUNCH of those folks out there.

Here is a great picture of James dropping out of the sky on some molded plastic. Huh, that’s the process that sucks!

DSC04465

Thanks so much for following along, we’ll spend some more time talking about plastics in the coming week.

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Apr 04

Severe weather pictures

We were out on the boat over the last weekend and the weather was kinda sketchy. Dark clouds and there was rain threatening most of the days we were out there, but it produced some really great pictures. The video was not all that great, we just didn’t have it set right for the conditions, but some of the pictures came out really well. We are calling them drastic, tharshing and severe.

Mid back big

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Mid front big

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Mid HUGE front shuv

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Mid K3

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Mid front 3 shuv

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Mid indecision

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Dropping in!!!!

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We just really like that dark background with clouds.

Anyway, we want to spend some time talking about plastics and the process of molding them in the coming week, but we want to organize our thoughts some. Virtually everything ON or IN a wakesurf board is a plastic, but it gets a bad rap from folks that don’t understand the chemical make up. Plus there still tends to be HORRIBLE representation of the process of molding. We read one just crazy statement about molded always being a poorer alternative to non-molded, yet the product this yahoo was talking about USES molded internal foam. It’s no wonder that folks get so confused when the dogmatic nonsense is conflicted and so much is wrong.

So give us a day or two and we’ll put together some information that is hopefully useful and educational too!

Thanks so much for following along, we appreciate it.

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Apr 03

Air 1 to 20

We wanted to share a couple of videos with you. The first is of an air 180 to 1980 and the second is a slow motion segment of the first. Please forgive the creepy “killer clown” sort of soundtrack on that second video, but it’s worthwhile enduring that for the video.

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Here is the original video, with a nice soothing soundtrack. It’s shot using a GoPro that was resting on the sundeck of the boat.

For our mobile enabled friends, if the embed above didn’t work, here is a link to that air 1 to 20 video.

That’s sick as all hell, isn’t it? Using the entire wake and those turns are just ridiculously tight. MUCH tighter than the length of the board (we’ll start calling this the effective length of the board) and actually tighter, or smaller, than the width of the fin pod.

So we want to show you a little bit of how it’s done. Trust us, it’s all carved and surfed, there isn’t that sliding around like on a skimmer. You just aren’t able to slide sideways with 27 square inches (or whatever they are combined) of fin depth below the surface. Ok, so here is the slow mo crazy clown music snippet.

For our mobile enabled friends, if the embed above didn’t work, here is a link to that snippet.

Did you see it? What becomes the effective length of the board? It’s really just on the tail, isn’t it? Almost all of the work is being done off the area of the board that is just slightly in front of the rear foot. Did you also notice something else? You may have to go back and review the slow mo with the crazy killer clown music. The second half of the rotation James is actually surfing forward, isn’t he? Go check it again. It’s a little clearer on the second rotation. Now just for fun, watch the regular speed video and try and pinpoint the same segment, you can’t tell that James is driving his board forward while revert, can you?

It’s magic, plain and simple and every 2015 Flyboy will come with Magic Beans! No that’s not it at all, but that’s pretty interesting isn’t it? Normally when a surf style board is revert, it can sort of fall down the face or stay in trim, but that isn’t what’s happening is it? It’s being driven forward while revert.

You NEED this for YOUR surfing.

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

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Apr 02

Off-axis, boned Ollie 3 with a vertical entry

Did you see this short video clip with James Walker on his new concave deck Flyboy? Vertical entry, off-axis and boned Ollie 3.

Here is the crazy entry, it’s in the air, vertical and it’s all wrapped around with the bottom of the board pointed straight at the boat.

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Freakin’ crazy! Oh wait!!! It’s not a shuv based trick with a body varial or another of the 8 gazillion aerials. Lordy!! it’s no reason this sport is seen by so many as BORING, because there are only 3 things that get any attention. Trying eating hot dogs, corn on the cob and potato chips everyday for every meal and see how long it takes you to get BORED of it. No amount of corporate promotion or favortisim will change the fact that you’ve eaten a steady diet of it for 3 weeks. Blech! Something different and get those folks, those control mongers that force feed us NOTHING NEW, EVER out of the way!

Here is James Walker just murdering out an Ollie 3…boned, wrapped, off-axis and with that crazy 90 degree hold on the re-entry. Control beyond anything you’ve seen before.

For our mobile enable friends here is a link to that murdered out ollie 3, if the embed about didn’t work.

The off-axis re-entry

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Totally nuts! James rotates the board from vertical to a 90 degree position and holds it there, boned out and with the bottom flush to the boat then is able to flick it, last minute back onto the wake to be able to land it. Just insane the level of board control that James Walker possess and his unrivaled skill set. Plus his height on the Ollie 3 is larger than most folks can do an aerial. That was HUGE!

Now, this isn’t some POS board that only pros can ride, you’ve never read holy crap that flyboy was impossible to control or I had a coronary arrest while trying to stay with the wake, like you have with the other “so-called” pro level boards. This is a design that YOU can ride NOW. You may not be hitting Ollie 3′s like that, but ask yourself THIS question, are you going to do it on one of those stupid slow, banana rocker quad/gazillion fins that you’ll feel like a TOTAL ASS after you dropped your next paycheck on? Get a Flyboy and actually start doing tricks. Not the stupid same old shit that the powers that be stuff down your throat as being “progressive” but actual progressive tricks, new things, that YOU can start landing today.

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

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