Published on September 22nd, 2009 | by Tungsten1
About good boards #1
A good board is like your favorite pair of shoes: it fits perfectly, it does what you want effortlessly, you don’t even notice it’s there. Think “carving” and it carves. (the board, not the shoes, that is).
The difficult part is, out of all the shapes and sizes, what is a good board FOR ME?
Now, if you believe the gossip, there is a real funny war going on about the best surfboard shape, and it’s going on for decades. Funny, because the pro surfers these boards are made for are light years ahead of anything the average surfer Joe will ever be able to do with a board, surfing conditions can’t be compared, but the boards hitting the shelves are still copies of those pro boards. Mhhhhhhm. Something to think about.
There are a couple of shapers out there going in the opposite direction. Interesting concepts, oriented at the ease of use for a normal rider on an average day, rather than at the highest possible performance in ideal conditions, with a 59kg rider trained like a ninja fighter in his best years.
I don’t want to belittle the common board shapes. They work well in most cases. But they represent the approach, knowledge and materials available 40 years ago, and for kiting, they have some downsides in their pure surfing oriented appearance. Even “kite specific” surf boards are usually little more than a beefed up surf board. They work, but they are far from “good boards”.
A good kite skim board has a slightly different rocker from an original skim, more volume to it, it’s a bit larger and a tad wider. Lonny’s Magic Measurements (TM) represent a good skim board, I feel with the skimmies we are way ahead of the kite surf boards. Get a LMM one, and you’ll know what I mean. Feels like a comfy pair of shoes.
Now those different concepts. Are they good for kiting? Some I tried, and yes they’re great, some I don’t know yet. I’ll build a board of each and we’ll see. But they are sure interesting as they approach “board” from a different angle. Let’s open our minds and have a look at some details.
Concept #1: The deep concave.
This is nothing like a (kite)surfboard which often has some concave to it, it’s rather like a slalom water ski. The Ocean Rodeo Mako uses this concept, and it works great: extremely fast, ridden with equal stance, bites like no other when carving, and it’s as loose as you want it if you get off the rail. Those boards have an elliptical outline (good for carving); they have a huge amount of rocker (2-3”, symmetrically front and back), and they have a constant rocker curvature from front to rear. The concave is nothing like in other boards: 3/4 ” of concave in the middle of the board, and still 1/2” of concave in tip and tail. That is HUGE.
Those boards are sold strapped, but there are a some wise kiters out there who take off the ball-and-chain, wax them up and enjoy a very different ride. Carvey, frightening fast, but open for trickery when you shift the weight from the rail to a more upright position. Ocean Rodeo makes them in different sizes, 150×34, 140×40, 150×40, 165×50, you see the variety of possibilities here.
I’ve got one in the works which is going to be 150×40, full deck pad, wood & glass & epoxy. Here are some pics, taken from the free AKUshaper programme, to give you an idea. I’m really looking forward to get that baby out, I own the 150×34 Mako and boy, the wider one is very promising 🙂
EDIT: It’s done! Here is how you can build your own ride. Hope you enjoy!