Picked this board up since my custom Rousch skimmer was looking tattered. I kinda thought about a wake-skate, but they need some wind. The skimmer was my wave and litewind board, so I needed something similar.
I decided on the WaterBird because of the blend of skim/wakeskate. John from AOK in Tybee had the board to me in a day, but I had to wait for wind! So I had plenty of time to check out the board.
Very good construction and graphics are nice, looks quality. The board has some flex, I was worried about this at first because I'm 208lbs. The pad is thin in the middle, but has nice large kick-pads. Much larger than found on track-pads for surf. The fins are larger than the ones I run on my TT, so no way I'm gonna use them on a skim. As a disclaimer, my TT is a 132x44 Crazyfly with 3.0 fins that I special ordered with the board as "whatever the smallest fins you have are". Other than my opinion on fins, the board is sweet!
First time I tested was 20-30 with a 10m kite on 17m lines. My spot has flat water to chop to flat and then to waves, so I can mix it up. So I rode it like my Rousch, and wasn't feeling it. The chop was killing me and I couldn't hardly get on a wave. On one transition I carved a wave and felt some drive, this thing might be fun.
Second time tested was in litewinds with a 14m on 24m lines in shorebreak and flat water. Focused on feeling out the board in the flats, which helped alot. Started playing around a little and carving hard on transitions, lotsa fun! Then I went out in the shorebreak and really started to love this board. As small as it is you still have plenty of places to move your feet and I noticed when entering a wave I could put my back foot up against the kick-pad and feel that drive. This board is actually more fun in the waves than the Rousch! I was still having trouble going over white-water and waves, but it was easy to go upwind.
Third time tested in 15-20 with a 10m and 24m lines. Flat/chop/wave spot. Went directly to the waves and started popping off'em. Board stays put and I apply this to going over waves and white-water. Hey! I figured it out! Seems like the flex makes it more lively and pop-able and not "boggy" like I was worried about.
I've had quite few more sessions with the WaterBird and can understand why Shinn kisses it in that vid, but I'm still not gonna put fins on it!