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ZAP Custom Kite Skim

This is the place to talk about riding styles, tricks, conditions, what works, what doesn't on your skimboard. Wondering about what skimboard to get for kiting? Post it all here.

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ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Lonny » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:09 am

Back in August I wrote to Bob Smetts, owner and master shaper at Zap Skimboards and Phase5 about coming up with a design based exclusively for kite skimming. I have spent the last 5 years riding tons of different styles and shapes in skimboards, but I have never found a board as easy to ride, durable, or better for kite skimming than a Zap/Phase 5 Skim. Check his resume and you will know why… Bob quite simply has magic in his shaping and, and the guy knows how to build a kick ass board. Naturally, when I thought about building a design based on my hundreds of hours logged on the water kite skimming I went to “the Man” and talked to him about my vision for some boards for Todd and me this season. Well last week my vision arrived and I can tell you that I am drooling with anticipation to get on the water with this bad boy.
Zap_Custom_Top_3.jpg
Lonny's 2009 ZAP Custom Kite Skim
Zap_Custom_Top_3.jpg (129.5 KiB) Viewed 36758 times


Hopefully I will get some good time on the water over the next few days and will give you all some feedback on how this new beast rides. However, I can tell you just looking at it I think it has the right stuff, and cannot wait to rip of some water with this puppy! Let’s just say the anticipation is high. Till then…
Zap_Custom_Bottom_2.jpg
Lonny's 2009 ZAP Custom Kite Skim
Zap_Custom_Bottom_2.jpg (109.7 KiB) Viewed 36757 times
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Lonny » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:15 am

I got a really nice day on the water today. Nice wind. Fully powered on my Switch 9. Thank freaking goodness I finally got on the water. My wife might talk to me again now... :lol:

Here are some thoughts I had after I rode it today for the first time, and emailed Bob to tell him about his customs.....

In short, the new design is EPIC!! The board is SO lively, and has a killer feel on the water. It cuts through chop and rough water much better than I had expected possible with the rocker profile. The edge is very clean and release through the water is superior to anything we have tested or ridden yet. There is no wobble or jerky feel when going at speed. All these combinations makes this board FAST, and FUN! Mind you this is rough, choppy water I rode in today. I can't wait to crush some butter at Matheson, and the board will really shine there.

The layup is perfect. It reflected energy very well, but does not pound you like a stiffer layup. In the air the weight is amazing as it just floats under your feet, and I do not have to grab the board to keep it glued to my feet. I just feather it off the wind and it is right there. Exactly what I had hoped for when we talked about the weight.

These are just my initial impressions, but inside of 2 minutes I knew the board was going to rip!! I had a good feeling about them before I even got on the water, but today's session confirmed all of my hopes! Honestly, I would tell you if we blew it on the board, or if it was not a good choice, but I can say with no hesitation this is the BEST kite skim I have ridden to date! Congratulations for doing a great job!
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby tungsten » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:05 am

Congratulations Lonny, must have felt like Christmas eve. Tell us more about the ZAP when you've got more time logged on it. Rocker line would be interesting as well :D
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby patrickrynne » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:14 pm

right there with you Lonny. It's been a good week! Tried my new Roush Aloha Loaf today, but the waves were better for a surfboard so I switched. Looking forward to getting some time on it. See you in matheson soon I hope!
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Slyde » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:19 am

So Lonny, give us a little more tech-out on the design. Wots the rocker, bottom shape, length, width, thickness, layup and weight?
BTW wot happenned to the carbon board u were testing last year?
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Lonny » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:59 am

Hey Slyde,

The concept of this board was to make something specifically for kitesurfing. Bob already shapes an awesome board, and his stock boards work very well kite skimming, but I wanted something tweaked based on the last 5 years I have been riding ZAPS. I wanted something fast mainly for riding in flats or light chop. The stock boards weigh about 6.4 lbs with pads, and I wanted something under 5.5lbs. This board turned out to be just under 5 lbs, with pads. :shock:

What I notice most about Zaps is that Bob is a master of shaping a rail and outline on a skimboard - it seems like it should be easy, but it is not. Any little wobble, defect or imperfection in the outline is felt by the constant edge against a kite, and that translates into a less than great ride. You asked about the layup, after testing quite a number of boards out of carbon, texillium, and epoxy I found the best alternative for the majority of riding is the epoxy/glass layup. The carbon has a very stiff ride, and you can get slightly better speed and reflection, but overall it is much harder to ride and enjoy. So, I guess you know what happened to my carbon board. :D Since the design focus was that I wanted more speed and mostly flat water use we went pretty light on the rocker, and no fin holes. Although, I did have a better than expected session in waist to chest high surf last week.

Honestly, this season has been so bad I am going to have to take up SUP. We have had maybe 10 - 20 knot plus days since October. Its been rough brother. Hope you are getting plenty of riding where you are.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby sflinux » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:57 am

Hi Lonny,
The board looks sweet. Any updates? What are the dimensions of the board? Will Zap be offering this as a production board? If not, what is the best way to get my hands on one. I've had my eye on a Zap Pro Large, but haven't pulled the trigger because I've wanted something a bit more kite specific, your board sounds exactly what I've been looking for.
I took up SUP, it's fun and the perfect complement for windless days.
Thanks for creating this forum, I can't remember the last time I rode a board with straps.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Kaito » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:25 pm

I've been wanting to replace my current carbon skim for something more wave, chop, and power friendly.
Been eyeing the Zap Pro Lg too..but also am keeping my options open.

Recently changed out my kites, so right now, budget is a factor..
Kite specific would be nice, but without the kite specific pricing. :oops:

Can anyone comment on skims from other skim-brands, and how they fair with a kite?
Exile?
Vic?
Others?

Thanks,
K.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Kaito » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:47 am

Hi Lonny,

Could you please elaborate on the differences between the ZAP custom in this thread, and the ZAP Pro-Lg?
~ I was let down with how the my last purchase, a Roush Rasta, handled chop/waves/power.
So I'm trying to get some info to make a good selection.

Domo arigatou~!
K.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Lonny » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:56 pm

sflinux wrote:Hi Lonny,
The board looks sweet. Any updates? What are the dimensions of the board? Will Zap be offering this as a production board? If not, what is the best way to get my hands on one. I've had my eye on a Zap Pro Large, but haven't pulled the trigger because I've wanted something a bit more kite specific, your board sounds exactly what I've been looking for.
I took up SUP, it's fun and the perfect complement for windless days.
Thanks for creating this forum, I can't remember the last time I rode a board with straps.


Hey sflinux,

Thanks for being a long time great member of LTS. You were one of the first members, and the fact that you still drop by to check out what is going on makes me feel really good. It is in no small part to great members like you that keep the LTS vibe flowing. So thank you! :D

Now, to your questions. The overall dimension of my board are about 52 x 20 3/4". I do not think Bob ever committed to doing a production version of the board we designed together. I wish he had, but that is his business, and not mine. As far as I know you can order one directly from him, and have him copy my exact shape and layup. Keep in mind I built a flat water beast. It is quite a bit lighter than a standard Zap Pro Large, has a flatter rocker profile, and much sharper rails. It is ideal for flat water butter, and some chop. I have used it in the waves, but it is tougher to ride than a Zap Pro Large in those conditions. You have to be on your game in waves for sure. If you email Zap and ask Bob to copy my board I am sure he will hook you up. Just tell him Lonny from LTS referred you and he will know. If you have any issues let me know and I will email him. There is nothing like having a board shaped just for you. There is always the anticipation of "will it be good". Plus, it you can pick your own colors!

I want to hear all about your experience. So let me know how it goes! And if you do order post some pics, and your review to share with us here. If you have other questions let me know. Whatever you end up getting I want you to get the right board!
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Lonny » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:09 pm

Kaito wrote:Hi Lonny,

Could you please elaborate on the differences between the ZAP custom in this thread, and the ZAP Pro-Lg?
~ I was let down with how the my last purchase, a Roush Rasta, handled chop/waves/power.
So I'm trying to get some info to make a good selection.

Domo arigatou~!
K.


Hey Kaito,

Yes, from what I heard Roush let a lot of people down. Sorry to hear about that. Really with the Zap Pro Large you cannot go wrong. It will work just fine. It is a good all around board. I wish you were in town and I would let you demo mine! My Zap custom is much more defined for a single purpose and that is a high end, lighter, faster design for flat water and small chop. I would not suggest it for mainly waves. Nor was it designed for wave use.

The Zap Pro Large is going to work well in all conditions, but with an overall design you sacrifice peak performance in one area or another. With my custom I wanted a design specific application based on all the years I have spent kiting with my skimmy, built for my location and riding style.

Like I have said before, what I find best about the Zaps in general is that they feel very good on the water and being driven with a kite. They are smooth rail to rail and are not jerky. If you know what I mean. A skim seems like such a simple design, but I have ridden enough other skims and prototypes to know that it is a lot harder than it looks to make a good skim. And Bob knows what he is doing.

That being said, I have also heard good experiences riding Victoria skims, and Cynbad also likes the Exile skims. If you can demo something do it because we all hate surprises. If you have other questions please let me know, and I hope my reply helps.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Kaito » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:31 pm

Thanks for taking the time to reply & expound Lonny!

Yeah, Roush..."let down"..is an understatment..more like 'robbed'..but that's another (ridiculous) story.. :?

Sounds like the Pro Lg. is the one I'm after. ~ really wish I could try one before commiting..
One last question about it tho - how is the rail shape at the waist & towards the tail?
I'm hoping the rails are shaped to be more forgiving in the waves/carves.

Does the Pro Lg feel noticeably more friendly/controlable in higher wind, waves, compared to your Custom here in this thread?
If it is, I'm prob gonna pull the trigger. ~ Been passing up many a shallow, sandy skim day at our winter kite beach.

Thanks again Lonny.
Domo~ K.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby Lonny » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:27 am

Kaito wrote:Thanks for taking the time to reply & expound Lonny!

Yeah, Roush..."let down"..is an understatement..more like 'robbed'..but that's another (ridiculous) story.. :?

Sounds like the Pro Lg. is the one I'm after. ~ really wish I could try one before committing..
One last question about it tho - how is the rail shape at the waist & towards the tail?
I'm hoping the rails are shaped to be more forgiving in the waves/carves.

Does the Pro Lg feel noticeably more friendly/controllable in higher wind, waves, compared to your Custom here in this thread?
If it is, I'm prob gonna pull the trigger. ~ Been passing up many a shallow, sandy skim day at our winter kite beach.

Thanks again Lonny.
Domo~ K.


Thanks Kaito, appreciate your kind words, and thanks for all your contributions to LTS! No, I really would not consider it more controllable in higher wind than my board. I have taken both boards out in up to 30 knots. However, I do think that in surf conditions the Pro Large is going to be a lot more forgiving, and easier to ride vs. my custom mainly due to the rocker profile, and softer rails. Does that make sense? You know that all skims require a lot of determination and balance to ride with a kite in surf, and I do think the Zap Pro Large would definitely be easier to use in those conditions. Sorry if that is not quite the answer you were looking for, but what I consider controllable and you consider controllable can be two completely different viewpoints. Let me know if you have other questions, and whatever board you end up with I hope you will share your view of it here on LTS. :idea:
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby sflinux » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:52 am

Hi Lonny,
Thanks for the detailed response and kind words. I'm going to go with a standard Zap Pro large, as I mainly ride in the surf, and found a good deal on a used one. I have an old windwing skim which is fun, but is on the small side, as the low end is similar to a modest twintip. I just picked up an Airush Wakeskate which I look forward to spending some serious time on this season. I had made a cheap plywood wakeskate (no rocker) a while back which was wicked fun. The Airush Wakeskate is much wider (and longer) and has a nice rocker profile, can't wait to try it out.
Thanks.
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Re: ZAP Custom Kite Skim

Postby sflinux » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:05 am

Hi Lonny,
I just wanted to give you an update on my impressions with the Zap pro large. My first skimboard was a Windwing skimboard which is narrower and shorter than the Zap Pro large. When I first rode the Zap pro large I was honestly underwhelmed. But since then I've had about 6 sessions, and I find I like the board the more I ride it. It is an easier ride than the Windwing skimboard due to the bigger surface area, which is pushing me to learn new tricks. The rails and rocker all feel good. The build quality also feels good to me, whereas the Airush Wakeskate is very fragile with respect to chips and dings. Thanks for the Zap Pro recommendation Lonny, I'm stoked, it was definitely worth the wait. I like the movie of the kiteless skimboarder on your blog, very inspiring. Your custom board sounds sweet, glad you like it.
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