We are enroute back to our home in Northern California and happy to be out of this heat, humidity and BUGS! We enjoy traveling and seeing the folks that are supportive of all events, catching up with old friends and talking shop. These Centurion Wake Surf series stops are interesting and have quite the following. Still some kinks to be worked out as they have some of the flavor of grass roots while aspiring to be something bigger, we’ll eventually see a very solid series that will do the sport a world of good. Consistency and uniformity is as much a goal as making sure the riders KNOW what the hell is wanted of them!
So we took a picture of the men’s surf podium and we shared it in the last post of the USA Wake Surf Nationals finals but we’ll share it with you again and we’ll make reference to it as we talk about something and then also some myths that are bantied about by folks with regard to wake surf board design.
So here is that picture:
We want to direct your attention to the wide point in the outline of each wake surf board. In all three of the top Men’s surf style boards look at the outline of the wake surf board. That’s the shape of the outside of the wake surf board along the rails from nose to tail. The wide point of that shape is what we are focusing on. Can you see in the blue board that Keenan is riding it’s WAY FAR FORWARD, up around his front foot. James’ board also has the wide point forward and if you look at Chase’s white board that wide point is forward from what he used to ride, but not as far forward as James and Keenan.
Interesting, huh? There is a reason for this and we’ll talk about it now, because in the past, the Flyboy Wakesurf board was one of the only shapes that pushed that wide point forward, but now that the top riders and shapers are following along, we’ll talk about the concept. Now you have to understand that the wake we ride on has NO PUSH. That is term that most of us ascribe to a feeling that we get when riding. BUT it’s not a linear flow forward at all, but UPWARDS.
We once heard a term referred to as shoveling being attributed to this wide point forward. It was used incorrectly, to refer to wide point is pushing water. Let’s just be frank, if you have a rail in the face of the wake, you’re going to push water. BUT where that wide point is located is extremely important. So let’s talk about the theory of how your wakesurf board is interacting with the wake face. When a rider is going vertical and punching through the face and the lip what happens with the water that is displaced? It follows the outline of the board until it gets to the wide point and THEN it’s released. Did we explain that clearly? Ok, let’s try and give an example. Think of a common spoon that you’d eat your breakfast cereal with. It has a shape that usually is elongated back towards the handle. There is a point, the wide point, where the edge of the spoon curves back in to meet the handle. That is the wide point. Now, let’s look at what happens when we put that into the face of our wake and remember – no push, only lift and this is important.
If there was push from behind, what would you want the shape of the board to look like? Would you put the wide point forward and a little tiny tail? No, because the wide point wouldn’t catch any of those forces, in fact it would mostly be out of the water and do no good at all. What if the forces were lifting and also the wake itself is really curved? You’d want to grab those lifting forces as far forward as possible and then channel them backwards to help improve drive and and water flow out the back in the direction of travel of the board. BUT there is one more consideration. When the rider is pushing through the wake face, you want to minimize drag along the rail. There needs to be a smooth entry into the wake, but once the water hits the wide point, it separates from the face, being pushed out like a giant rock hitting the water. Have you ever seen that? When you were a kid and tossed a “boulder” into a lake and it made a depression into the waters surface?
Up through the widest point of the “boulder” it’s pushing water away, but what happened behind that wide point? It wasn’t wet was it? Wasn’t that the coolest thing you’d ever seen? AND water and “boulders” and wake surf boards act the same way.
Water molecules stick together. You’ve seen it while washing your car, the droplets form and stick together becoming larger drops. That’s why the water gets pushed aside when the boulder hits, leaving the backside of the boulder dry for a tiny bit, BUT the entire entry of the boulder is wet and guess what else? It’s creating TONS of drag. You’ve heard us talk about boundary layer and how that layer is moving with the wake surf board.
So when the wide point of the wake surf board is forward it’s pushing the water away, like when you tossed the boulder and what happens just behind the wide point? No drag, no water adhesion just pure bliss. What about if the wide point is further back? From the point of entry to the wide point, is drag induced by the water adhering to the rails. Don’t let that go zipping past you. Water will release at the wide point, but will attach to all of the surface from the point of entry back to the wide point. The theory for a pulled in nose, is that it’s away from the water. But does it? No way in hell! Where’s the water flow? Not from behind, push doesn’t exist, UP is the flow and when the first part of the rail hits the water where do you think the flow is going? It’s chaotic it’s going everywhere. When the board is going vertical, from the entry to the wide point, it’s all connected and causing drag, so the best place for the wide point, becomes slightly behind the entry into the face of the wake. Well, when we say BEST we mean best for reducing drag along the rail. What does it lose? Hold further back along the rail line. So that is the trade off. But what we are seeing in the development of wake surf boards in the top riders in surf style, is this shift of the wide point forward and narrower tails.
Now that may make you want to run out and get that wide point forward like at the nose, but there are trade offs, as mentiopned. Also the riding conditions at this event were pretty bad the first too days and GOOD conditions most likely will change results substantially. While Keenan and James have that wide point further forward than Chase, there are a lot of factors in here. Keenan was riding behind his personal boat at the USA Wake Surf Nationals and the other riders were on a different boat altogether and none of them ride that boat daily. James has been on this board for months now and Chase has only been riding his design for like a month. Chase has his wide point slightly further back than Keenan and Chase. Let’s see where this all develops with more experience and riding, but one thing is certain, were seeing changes on shape as the surf style wake surf boards continue to develop and we are seeing the wide point going forward and some variation of pulled in tails. It’s going to be an amazing year and, going forward, we bet that what you won’t see much of, on the podiums, is super wide-tailed boards or wake surf boards with the wide point way far back.
Thanks so much for following along and we appreciate you listening to us ramble on!