Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wakesurfing News


Center of Mass

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

We want to jump ahead in our build discussion, for a moment, just to keep you on your toes! Actually, no, we ran across a discussion about the concept of the center of mass over on Swaylocks, and we thought it was timely. Surfboards, from which surf style boards were derived, have always been tail heavy. The fins are back there, traction pads are back there and the nose of surfboards are thinned out and then curved to a point. We say “always” but that isn’t true, lets say the modern high performance shortboard that most folks are familiar with. More weight and volume in the tail and less weight and volume in the nose, would necessarily, shift the center of mass or the balance point back behind the mid point of the length of the board.

Center of Mass

Now that isn’t a bad thing. The most common length of an ocean surf board is 6’2″. AND there was a tendency for that balance point to fall somewhat close to the rear foot. Not right under the rear foot, but closer to the rear foot than the front foot.

As wakesurf boards developed and we took our basic shapes from those ocean boards, that center of mass or the balance point shifted even further back towards the rear foot, as we shortened the length of our boards. Less length and less mass forward, would cause that balancing point to wind up way back by the tail and the fins and boxes and traction pad. Again, that isn’t a bad thing until you are forced to ride it like a non-directional skimmer.

Skim style boards, almost by design have a center of mass and balance point that is almost perfectly centered between the riders feet. The construction is uniform through out and so the weight or mass is distributed evenly. Out in the ocean skimmers are tossed along the inflow of the waves basically in just a fraction of an inch of water and are sort of slid out into waves in all manner of directions. Nose first, sometimes sideways we’ve even seen shuvs into the wave before it arrives. That’s how the boards were designed. Surfboards don’t have that uniform construction. They are foiled with a thin nose, thicker tail, plus the entire fin pod hanging off the back. We want to show you some amazing artwork! We know it’s been ages since you were treated to this stuff, so here is a visual depiction of the balance point or center of mass of a typical surf style wakesurf board.

Center of Mass

We TOLD YOU it was amazing! You can see the black areas represeting the fins and kicktail of the traction. Under the fins are also fin boxes and the attendant resin to stick them in the foam. Also, the tail is typically thicker than the nose and while you can’t see the outline, you know that the typical surf style board has a directional shape with a point nose and a wider’ish tail. Not a non-directional skimmer sort of design.

We had wanted to reference the discussion over on Swaylocks, but that site seems to be down at this moment. If if starts back up, we’ll revise this article to link to that discussion. Anyway, in short someone was asking about the center of mass and where other shapers tried to locate it. One knowledgable shaper chimed in, don’t worry about it, because…you will ALWAYS be ON THE BOARD and since it’s light weight, the rider can just change the angle, or direction and not have to worry about where that center of mass is. AND that is the general assumption of surfboard shaping. YOU as the rider are on top of the board at all times and so it doesn’t matter where that center of mass is, because you clearly outweigh the board and can just shift your weight.

EDIT: Sways is back up! Ok, so here is the link to that thread.

Here is the quote we referenced and THIS is generally accepted within the surf community, it’s not a singular opinion nor was this questioned by anyone:

I don’t think you should go crazy over the CoM location. It’s not a plane. The board isn’t really massive; you’re not fighting the effects of mass on a shortboard. The nose is light, and it’s short so the torque/moment isn’t an issue. You’re not trying to balance anything. You’re on the board, so you’re gonna force it into the proper orientation regardless of where the CoM is.

Right? EXCEPT when you’re forced to ride your board like it’s non-directional, right? Because then you aren’t always on the board. In fact when the focus of the tricks on your surf style board HAVE to include a shuv or shuv variation tricks, you damn well better be concerned with the center of mass and the balance point. Counter to the author where he says your board isn’t a plane, mid shuv it IS a plane!

Do you flowboard, skateboard or wakeskate? All of those sport disciplines rely in non-directional boards and the basis for their tricks are shuvs and variations. Does the equipment used in those disciplines have weird and wild weight distribution towards one end? No of course not, for the most part all of the equipment is pretty equally balance. There are deviations, longboard skateboards for example, so lets refine that statement to that equipment where shuv based tricks are predominant. That equipment is pretty much 100% uniformly balanced in the middle of the board.

It makes sense, the designers want to boards to rotate in a nice tight uniform pattern. What would happen if there was significant weight distributed towards one end or the other in that equipment? The shuv based tricks would sort of wobble as the heavier end would pull the rotation away from the rider. Also, there would be a tendency for the heavier end to want to hang down, preventing a flat rotation, due to the effects of gravity. Unless of course you think gravity doesn’t exist.

Let’s just accept that as anecdotal evidence for this discussion, other sports that focus on non-directional riding and shuv based tricks TYPICALLY use equipment that is unform in weight distribution creating a center of mass or balance point that is between the riders feet.

Surf style boards sure as hell ain’t that! BUT and here is the kicker, some folks that couldn’t tell you the difference between a chunk of PU foam and a chunk of XPS foam, decided that riding surf style boards like they were non-directional was the SHIT! Lordy.

Now that we it’s purely evident that you simply have to ride your surf style board like it’s non-directional, you damn well better have one that helps you ride that way! If you don’t have a back big, and shuv-in, shuv-out combo, you’ll always be in the audience looking up at the podium in the surf style divisions.

So we made some revisions to the flyboy over the last few years. We started the process way WAY back in the day with Dennis Horton, and we think it was his idea. He is the current EWT chief judge and we think that he is in charge of sales for The Walker Project. He has some offical duty there.

What we did, way way back then was attached some wheel weight to the nose of the board to try and affect the balance point. We didn’t realize at that time, that wasn’t the point. It wasn’t add just enough weight to change that balance point. It was this concept of the center of mass. Wakeskates, flow boards, skateboards, skimboards all have it, because of…uniform construction and uniform distribution of weight and mass throughout the equipment. Skateboards are a little off, because of the trucks and wheels, but they are uniform in that they have an offsetting pair on both ends. What is useful is that mass winds up being uniform over a very small piece of equipment.

When we did our experiments, placing the wheel weights way out at the end sort of balanced it lengthwise, but not sort of widthwise, nor was it in close to where the forces applied would act on that weight. It reminded us of that olympic sport the hammer. All the weight way out on the end all the force way out on the other end!!!! So what we found, to get a more uniform rotation was to shift some of the mass under the riders feet. Here is MORE AMAZING ARTWORK that sort of gives a representation. It’s not really what we are doing, but it gives you the concept.

Center of Mass

It’s creating more uniform weight distribution towards the middle of the board, between the riders feet. The idea being to create a center of mass and balance point such that when the surf style board is forced to be ridden non-directional, you get that rotation where you want it! Not spiraling way out of control.

Short video of James landing a front big and back big from an IG edit and a week or so ago.

For our mobile enabled friends here is a link to that video of James Walker landing the front and back big on his newest Flyboy, if the embed above doesn’t work for you.

Ok, we should add that you can sort of move the center of mass with stumpy nosed boards, It leaves volume and weight way out at the nose. It still requires that they be shaped like bigger boards and they ride that way. The concept is shape a 5’4″ board like a normal surf style board and then hack the last 6 inches off. The rest of the outline is still that 5’4″ board. BUT, it is effective in shifting weight forward and changing the center of mass along with it. We made shorter boards, to beign with, because we thought the 5’4″ boards rides sucked out loud and still do.

So we had to address this forced requirement where judging in the surf style divisions only rewards bards for being ridden against what they were actually designed to do. They have to ride more non-directional, against their very design! But we also didn’t want to give up the quality ride associated with a surf style board. Longer and stumpier reduces that, in our opinion. They ride like longer boards and as we mentioned the other day, prevent you from tucking in closer to the wake face.

So, we balanced the mass instead! That was a bunch to read! We really appreciate if you made it through all of that, it was a lot to take in. We’ll talk more about all of this, is smaller bits, we promise, as we begin documenting the build.

Thanks again for following along, we really appreciate it!

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Missing Summer series – March Mish Mash

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

The next episode in our Missing Summer series is this Mish Mash. We gathered together a bunch of clips from back in March and edited them together into a single video.


Here is that Mish Mash edit to help you remember your spring and summer filled with wakesurfing

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

Thinking of early spring, yet? We sure hope so! Be honest you loved seeing the finger tips overlapping the lens, didn’t you! That’s the level of skill we possess with a video Camera! Anyway, every Sunday we post another in our Missing Summer series on our Flyboy Wakesurf Fan Page and then that becomes our Monday post here on the Flyboy Blog. When you need your Wakesurf fix in the dead of winter, be sure to check back here at to help you get through!

We have another little clip we want to share with you. James was providing coaching for two of his clients that are down from the Washington area. We want to show you some revert control this new board that James is riding, displays and why you’ll want this very board.

Thanks so much for following along, we appreciate it.

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Wakesurfer design theory

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

So we are going to be talking about some theoretical constructs that we used to build the current version of the Flyboy Wakesurf James Walker signature model. The Flyboy Wakesurf branded version. As we delve into these topics, we’ll relate them to the underlying construction or shape. The first thing we want to talk about is the concept of water flow up the wake face. Here are two pictures and we’ll be referring to them a LOT during this discussion, we’re sorry to make you jump back and forth and we don;t blame you if you don’t!

So the first picture, we will just label Picture 1. This was from that air 3 to floater to submarine video we showed earlier in the week.


The second picture, which is how we’ll refer to it, follows:


Those pictures are presented in the sequence order they were taken. That is to say, the first picture happened before the second picture.

If you look closely you’ll see a change in the orientation of the nose of the board to more vertical in the second picture. If you will, the board is rotating very slightly in a clockwise orientation. It is due to the board capturing more of the lifting forces off the wake face and actually creating lift in the nose.

Now we don’t care if call those forces in the wake “sweaty monkey balls”, as long as you understand the flow is upward and it interacts with the bottom of the board, it’s NEVER EVER from behind the board flowing forward. Look at the water flow that is visible off the nose of the board, it’s all straight up. Any directional flow forward would show spray forward. It doesn’t, ever.

Now if your wake has sweaty monkey balls going forward, this board won’t work as well with your sweaty monkey balls, but for everyone that has water flow UP (everyone) the wake face, your board should be optimized to work with that flow.

Current surf style design either completely ignores the need of wakesurf boards to ride revert, OR elongates the design and stumps off the ends to give more surface area engaged in the wake.

So first off, how do you think a stumpy nose would manage the submarining above? It would just act like a shovel, wouldn’t it? But, more area, longer boards with a straighter outline will capture more of the sweaty monkey balls forces traveling up the face of your wake.

We are NOT fans of the stumpy nose for a few reasons. One is this, we like the ability to recover. We also think that for most folks, it makes it harder to get tucked in tight to the wake face. There are others, but for now, that is the concept. Stumpy noses are basically longer boards, hacked off. We like shorter tighter riding boards.

So, now we have this weird sort of issue. Surf style divisions, require that the boards be ridden like non-directional skimmers, to score well. It’s not the way the boards were designed to be ridden, so it’s just odd. NOT that it can’t be designed for, but ONE of the major differences between surf and skim is directional vs non-directional. Skimmers and shuv based tricks are non-directional and surf style boards with huge ass fins out the back are directional. Somewhere someone thought forcing boards to be ridden against their design was state of the art, which is really dumb. Like taking your Ferrari out in the mud. Sure maybe you can do it, but it’s not designed for that! Why would you even consider it? Anyway, if we ruled the world things would be different! But we don’t so you just have to build for the dumbness.

Ok, so now we have to make competition level surf style boards more non-directional. A longer nose, as is achieved with stumpy boards, then places the fins further out away from the wake face when the board is revert.

We took a different approach, not wanting to go the stumpy route and instead worked on the nose area of the bottom of the board. Recognizing that the wake energy is flowing upward on the face of the wake, it was a fairly straight forward adjustment to create a bottom contour that helps create lift in the nose, when it’s actually the TAIL! Control surfaces along the rails are added also, so as to allow this most current Flyboy Wakesurf banded board to be ridden revert better and also as a fun side benefit, reduces your sinking ability!

Normally the nose area on the bottom of a wakesurf board is just flat and it leads into concaves of some kind. This new Flyboy actually has a bottom shape in the nose. Channels in the nose don’t do anything. Sorry, that isn’t how your sweaty monkey balls are working. The water flow is up, capture MORE of that and you’ll gain lift.

It’s straight forward, really, but for the most part all surf style manufacturers were manufacturing surf style boards that rode like surf boards (huh imagine that?!), no one realized they had to ride like non-directional boards, because no one said that and in fact most probably were fearful that they’d spend countless hours developing one and then be told, NOPE can’t use that! So development sort of stagnated.

Anyway, you get the idea, we’ve change the bottom shape in the nose area to better capture the water flow up the wake face and to create lift in the nose, when it is being ridden revert. When the nose is actually the tail it’s pulled in more, away from the upward flow of the wake, so we had to redesign the bottom to work more effectively when the board was being ridden revert.

Ok, that’s the first of many design changes and attributes that we created with this newest version of the Flyboy Wakesurf branded James Walker signature board. As we go to shape the board, you’ll see that we extend the shaping through the nose, rather than stopping at the nose. It also creates this funny looking two sided bottom structure. One for riding like surf style boards are supposed to and one for when they are forced to ride like a skimmer!

We’ll share more as we get into the actual shaping of the board in a future installment.

That’s all for today, man that was a lot of typing! Thanks so much for following along and even more if you stayed awake for the whole post! We appreciate it.

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Are you ready for the weekend?

Authors: Flyboy Wakesurf

We sure are! Although it’s turning to winter here pretty quickly, so there isn’t much riding time left without a full suit.


We thought we’d share a little edited video with you, that hopefully gets you thinking about wakesurfing again and if you live in a part of the country where you can wakesurf all the time, we hope you are out taking a few sessions.

James Walker from earlier this month with a front big and a back big that we edited together.

For our mobile enabled friends, here is a link to James Walker landing both a front big and a back big, in case the embed above doesn’t work for you.

We hope that you have a great weekend and that you’ll come back as we start discussing wakesurf design and construction.

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

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