Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker - Versus Ep09 - MACkiteboarding
If you're looking at picking up a new kiteboard or even your first kiteboard, you’ve probably noticed there are a lot of options out there and every board seems to have some sort of advantage over the others. One of the main points to consider when picking a board is how much rocker does it have.
So when I’m referring to rocker line it’s simply how rounded out the bottom of the board is from nose to tail. For you wakeboarders out there, in case you're wondering, Kiteboards only come in continuous rocker.
Being a sailing vessel, where you are resisting the pull of the kite, rather than riding nose forward at a boat. Kiteboards, even the high rocker boards tend to be flatter than your average wakeboard. We have no use for a three stage rocker as we’re not jumping wake.
So, what does rocker do, Why would you want it? What are the benefits of opting for a flat board vs a rockered board?
Let’s start with flat boards. So in kiteboarding, speed is the name of the game. Really, everything related to tricks and jumping comes down to board speed. Even when using a pull and go kite that does most of the work for you, if you have good speed, your going to get more air and more pop. Typically, the flatter the board, the more speed you can generate. Now there are other factors like how stiff or flexible the board is and we’ll cover that in next week's video regarding construction materials. But to give you perspective, the stiffer the board, the more pop you are going to get and the harder the landings.
So what are the trade offs for opting for a flatter board? Well, to start the landings can be a bit rougher and while they might pop better in the chop, you’re going to feel everything a whole lot more. This is why you often see performance freestyle boards that are extremely stiff and extremely flat, They are built for maximum pop, maximum upwind ability and not much else. I recommend opting for something between all out performance and a softer ride.
So on the other end of the spectrum, we have rockered boards. Now these are characterized by slower speeds, less pop and softer landings. And for this reason, like I mentioned in last weeks video if you’re going for a rockered board, opt for a couple cm bigger than you normally ride. You’ll be glad that you did.
Now, you’re probably thinking wow, rockered boards don’t sound that much fun and you would be wrong. While they don’t have as much pop as their flatter counterparts, they are much more playful in the water. Often they have a faster turning radius and they feel so much better riding in the chop or landing powered.
For this reason you see riders who opt for boots usually are riding a more rockered board. This is to keep the board on their feet and to soften the impacts. Also wakeboarders who want one board for the cable park and kiteboarding often opt for boards like this. The slingshot refraction or the cabrinha CBL work great in both sports granted if you were to ask me, I would tell you to have a board for kiteboarding and a separate board for wakeboarding. Use the right tools for the job.
So what’s the takeaway here? Well, for most people, I would recommend opting for a board in the middle of the road. No need to go for the flattest board out there or the most rockered one either. On the other hand, if you are after maximum performance, opt for a performance board, if you want to mimic wakeboarding, go for a rockered board. Like I always say, at the end of the day it’s all about having fun so pick a board that suits your needs or give us a call and we can walk you through it.