This is a little blog/guide on, how I made a wakestyle board for light wind. My intention was to build a board with good wakestyle performance (great pop and smooth landings) and I wanted it to perform great in light wind. It should be way better in light wind than any standard freestyle kiteboard out there. I didn't want it to be a door. I've ridden big doors for a couple of years and I'm just getting to old to waste my time just riding fourth and back without doing any fun unhooked moves. So I wanted build a board, that I feel is missing in the market right now. Only ultra light wind performance is focus, but those boards can't really do unhooked trix or land any way close to smooth. My board is between a standard freestyle board and a light wind door. With wakestyle in focus...
I got the technical knowledge for building a board like that from being a sailor my whole life. I've always been fascinated by quick sail boats and speed boats. So I learned a thing or two about shapes from that regarding water flow and the dynamics of water. And of course I have ridden and studied many kiteboards of different kinds.
Before I started building the board, I studied a lot of youtube videos and asked different people around the world about small details. And I put it all together in this board. I actually found the videos on making wakeboards better than most of the kiteboard movies...
Well, here is the result...
Lightwind wakestyle board made of carbon and with wood core (sandwich)
Width: 43,5cm (36cm in the tips)
Core: wood/carbon sandwich
Rails: Rails made of epoxy
Flex: Very hard - too hard, we used too much carbon
Rocker: 2,5cm 3 stage; 10cm flat in the middle and 25cm almost flat in the tips for early planning
Concave: Double 1mm in the middle for comfort
Fins: 2cm G10
Triple accelerator channels: 3 channels to increase the flow/speed of the water at the tips making the board plane better in low speed
Tips: Double concave with double channels. Tips are flat and wide for early planning, and the channels will give soft landings and better upwind
Weight without bindings: Too heavy; 4,2kg. We used too much carbon. Next board will be foam core and with less carbon/glass
Time: It took 7 days to make. But we lost a day, because we tried to make the core out of 1,5mm wood and it failed.
What did I use
- 6m carbon
2x4mm wood for the core
12m beams for the rocker table
2x6mm wood for rocker table
about 2,5 liter epoxy
1x2m masonite wood for the models
lots of tools and machines (it's cool to a whole ship yard at your hands ) but a well equipped tool shed at home will do just fine)
and a retired, experienced and really good boat builder (my dad)
The last thing is not necessary, but it's cool to have a great boat builder to help. His techniques, efficiency and thoroughness impressed me very much, even though I knew very well, that he is a really skilled craftsman. It's also not necessary to have a ship yard, but it definitely helps
First impression on the water
Overall I succeeded in bringing out the character that I wanted for the board. It has really good wakestyle characteristics. It functions good for unhooked trix and landings are ok smooth. Smooth enough, anyway. It doesn't perform like my Liquid Force DLX, but it's fun to ride, and that was my goal. Have fun in lighter winds. It's all about compromise, when it comes to performance. Take the best from wakestyle boards and combine them with all the light wind features, that I could think of.
The board has really good pop and landings are pretty smooth. The next board will have more concave (1,5mm) for optimized landings for a light wind board compared to what's possible. It functions like a normal freestyle board (goes better up wind though) in higher winds, when you're edging it. But as soon as the wind drops, you can sheet out the bar and flatten the board. Then it will keep planing, even though riding slow, and shoot up wind. Bare a little of wind to gain speed and do your unhooked moves. Afterwards you can easily go upwind again. When others are struggling to keep up wind, I can have fun on this board and doesn't need to think about going up wind. Fantastic
The only downside is, that sprays directly up in my face. 1cm of the tip often gets in the water and sends water shooting at the boot, which then sends it directly up in my face. Next board will be 44cm wide and 33cm in the tips, so it keeps a big flat area at the tips, but has a more rounded outline. I'm also thinking about a asymmetric outline, but I'm not sure on anything yet. Just an idea...
Making the rocker table
This is the most important thing. A perfect rocker table is the key to a great board, because it controls one of the key features about the board. The rocker. So it pays of to do this perfect.
First you need to find the curvature of the rocker. Here I went for early planing and a fast board. That's why it's only 2,5cm and has a flatter piece in the middle and the last 25cm of the tips.
Here is the drawing of the model. For it to be accurate we duplicated one half, so we new it was exactly the same.
The detail oriented craftsman makes it perfect by hand...
Here is the model, which becomes the rocker curve.
My dad made all the beams exactly identical with this machine. Thoroughness...
A band saw is used to cut the rocker curve out roughly...
Then we milled (not sure if it is the right word, cut...)out the exact curvature of the rocker to make all the beams 100% alike. Perfect
One of the most important things is to keep track of the middle at all times. All beams, wood and other stuff always has the middle drawn out, so we could place everything just right.
The middle is marked and the distance to the edge is perfectly aligned.
Fine tuning the distance between every beam. Nothing is left for coincidence.
Clamps were used to hold the beams in place, while the plywood were screwed in to place with a lot of screws.
Screws are filled out, so the rocker table is completely smooth.
Next we made the top of the rocker table. The "core" was put in between, so nothing would give and become less accurate. We also took in consideration that the curve of the top had to be off by the thickness of the board to be 100% accurate. So we cut of 9mm of the top beams curvature.
The top is done. Now we have the opportunity to put the core under pressure. It took 6-7 hours to build the rocker table.
Building the core
The core is obvious very important. And it is 100% depended on the rocker table. A perfect table gives the perfect shape to the core.
The core is 2x4mm plywood with a layer of carbon between for extra strength and stiffness. It's made by 2 layers, so that it can be glued together with epoxy to keep the shape of the rocker.
Here the core is under a couple of 100kg of pressure from the clamps.
We added over 100kg of stones an let the epoxy harden over night.
Done Strong and flexible
Making models and making the outline perfect
The idea of the board's outline was to give it early planing, good turning properties and good edge grip for a great pop. This means wide, but curved. And of course it should also have an advanced tip
For the outline I actually used the rocker curve and increased the curve progressively towards the tip. Again, we only took one half and mirrored it on the other side to make it 100% identical.
The first model is cut out...
First model is made perfect and transferred to a new model. Here it was flipped to make both sides identical.
The last bit is perfected by hand to make the curve precise.
The width is set to 43,5cm and the outline is set by the width of each tip. 36cm... And all along we kept a 100% focus on the middle of every part!
The advanced tip is taken directly from the Liquid Force DLX wakestyle board. It's also the same channels we copy from the tips later on.
Here is the final outline marked with the tip channels and the middle of course...
All distances for holes to the inserts and fins are measured by ankles and radius. This is the easiest way and the most precise way to do it.
The core is cut out...
Here you can see the difference of the outline between my board and the LF DLX.
Making the rails
We chose to cast the rails (kind of liquid rail) instead of letting the carbon overlap to make a rail. It looks more pro with a liquid rail and you can make the edge sharper. That gives the best direct feeling of the water and thereby also more control, I think.
The actual finish of the outline is not made by the core. We took the left over piece of wood to make the cast. We roughly cut out 2cm of the core all the way around and made it pointy, so that the epoxy rail would get a better grip and become stronger.
The edge of the cast got some "slip wax" and was taped all over. This was actually pretty smart. All we had to do to get the board out, was to sand it down till the tape was gone, and the board would pop right out
Here you can see it more clearly...
The rail was filled with some support from my little mouse ) She was really in to it and came out to check on us a lot. It actually took 2 days to make the rails, because we had to let one side harden for a day and then fill some small holes on the other side. And harden for another day. It felt like a waste of time, but that was just the way it was :?
Sanding it down until the tape was gone and the sucker could pop right out. Simple and effective
Here is the final result. It has to be said, that we filled the holes for the inserts and the fins at the same time. And they have an over sized diameter, so it's surrounded by epoxy in the end...
Shaping the board
All the rough work was done and it was time for the detail work. The fun part ) Those details that would give the board the characteristics that I was going for )
Here everything was drawn on to the board. All made by angles and radius. All the distances was taken from the LF DLX. I love the wide stance and I new by certainty, that the channels would work.
The channels were sanded in with a belt sander. We tilted it and progressed slowly to make the channels exactly the same.
Here are the channels and the double concave in the tips.
The double concave in the middle was shaved out with a custom made iron, so it had the right curve. Flatter in the middle and more curve at the end of the concaves.
Here the 3 accelerator channels are made in the middle of the board. 3mm deep. The theory behind this is, that the water is pressed in to the channels without loosing speed, when the board is planning. The speed is constant, because the water doesn't hit any changes in the shape yet. The channels are fading out towards the tip, which will accelerate the water towards the tip, giving easier and earlier planning and up drift.
Here is the design. 1mm double concave fading in to a double concave and double channels at the tip. And the 3 accelerator channels is very clear in this picture.
Putting in the inserts
Outline of the insert plug is drawn and cut out.
They are glued in with epoxy, so there aren't any air and so that the water can't come in contact with the wood. Same story with the holes for the fins.
The holes are drilled with a 5mm drill. To make these holes 100% accurate, we drew a straight line along the whole board. The holes were off by 0,5mm. This must have happened when we transfered the model to the core, hmm
I chose carbon because of the stupid reason, that it is stronger than glass, but I didn't care about the price, until I had to pay up. Afterwards I found out that some types of glass are almost as strong and can flex more without breaking. And I could have saved a lot of money by choosing glass. And I mean a lot!
First the vacuum bag is placed, then a layer for sucking up excess epoxy. Then a plypeel is added, so it will come of the carbon again. Then it is socked in epoxy and 2 layers of carbon is added. Each layer socked in epoxy before the core is placed on it.
The core is in place and we're adding epoxy before more carbon is added.
A cross of carbon will prevent diagonal flex...
2 layers of carbon is added just out to the inserts to make it strong and stiff in the middle and gives a controlled flex at the tips. In my book a board shouldn't have any flex in the middle.
In the end 2 layers of carbon is added on top. All in all we used too much carbon and the board was a bit too stiff and too heavy. The next board (start building in 14 days) will have a foam sandwich core and made of glass, with a single layer of carbon on top. Light, strong, stiff and cheap
In the end we add another layer of plypeel and a layer to suck up the excess epoxy again. Then the vacuum bag is sealed with gaffa tape.
3 powerful industrial vacuum cleaners suck the air out of the vacuum bag. They were powerful, but actually I would have liked it to be more powerful. My uncle is getting a vacuum pump from his work for the next board
Here we made a stupid mistake. You can see that the vacuum cleaners is placed on top of the board. That showed on the carbon at the end
The board is born and ready for the last finish. At this point I got pretty disappointed. I thought it would be glass clear, when we took of the plypeel, but as you can see, it's not very pretty to look at. I thought it would be clear, because that's what I understood from the dealer of the carbon and from watching some movies on youtube. Later I talked to a board shaper from Liquid Force, Anders Borg, who told me, that polyester and a clear coat is the way to go. That would give the carbon that cool 3D look, I was hoping for. So I learned that for next time...
The excess carbon was cut off and the edge was sanded down until it stood out sharp and clear.
A little simple graphics were added...
The fins are G10, which I cut down to 2cm and painted white...
And this is the final outcome along with my old Synergy boots from LF. It could have been a lot prettier, but I was happy all together. It was our first attempt at building a board and we learned a lot. Next board will be perfect and one of a kind
We got some really great experience out of this and there is no doubt in my mind, that the next board will be perfect! And a lot cheaper...
There are probably other ways to do it, but what we did worked well and we learned from it. And it was actually fun