When you walk into a pro shop looking for a wakeboard, you better be able to answer this question: What is your riding style? More than ever, 1999 product lines will reflect diversity according to the way people ride. In general, look for wider boards that spin easily and fins that are multiplying, mutating and migrating toward the edges of the board.
Blindside. The 1999 Charley Patterson Pro Model caters to the spinning trend from a different angle. Unlike traditional surf and twin shapes, the Patterson has been rounded at all corners to make an easier re-entry in mid-spin. The tip and tail have also been hollowed out to make the board virtually weightless on 180s and 360s. This same Gyro-Cap technology is also being used in the Session board.
CWB. Who would have thought a wakeboarder from Ohio would have his name on one of the cornerstone wakeboards for CWB? The Rob Pro Model, the personal board of Wakeboard Nationals bronze medallist Rob Struharik, can be recognized
by its thin profile and expanded
midsection. The company’s Zane Pro Model shows what the trend for 1999 is – short and wide – as does the Stump, which comes in a 123-cm version for smaller riders.
Fulltilt. Taking a cue from the golf industry, Fulltilt’s new boards incorporate an Advanced Composite System (ACS). It includes a fusion core and graphite rods like those found in golf club shafts for light weight, better speed and more flex. The system is being used in the Cobe Micacich, Mike Weddington and Andrea Gaytan signature model boards. Fulltilt’s new bindings have a nylon strap handle called the Gorilla Grip, which allows riders to peel the binding open like a banana.
Hyperlite. The newest ride from Hyperlite is the Project 137, a board with twin fins on both ends. It’s the company’s first four-fin wakeboard, giving it edge and control unlike any Hyperlite on the market.
Iconn. Short and fat is where it’s at with the BTB Best Board. Designed by Shannon Best, the board has a contoured top deck to allow riders to put more pressure toward the edges of the board and to keep binding plates from bending.
Jobe. Jobe has boards for the two basic cravings of a wakeboarder – big inverts or big spins. For big air, there’s the Wire, with lots of rocker and custom-tuned edge bevels. For spinning, Jobe introduces the shorter and wider Wolf.
Liquid Force. At the leading edge of innovation is the Trip 132, the first and only six-fin dual thruster on the market. Adding to its unique profile is a bat-wing nose and tail and a fly core. Word is, you can lay the Trip 132 on edge as far as you want and it will hold, yet the rocker is designed for big flights. Liquid Force has just finished touching up the only all-foam wake-skate on the market called The Sponge. It’s multi-stringered with custom traction pads, and best of all it doesn’t hurt when you fall onto it.
Neptune. Of the six new boards in the Neptune line, the Raid and Storm are creating the most buzz. The Storm is Neptune’s intermediate-to-advanced board, featuring two edging rails and a special bottom designed to track water. The Raid incorporates vector channels, a clean tip and tail and a smooth center area for a brand new look from the bottom up. There’s been a lot of talk about two new binding systems from Neptune: the Universal Contact, with an air sole bladder and extra-thick foot bed; and Universal Fit, which is adjustable with three Velcro straps for easy entry and exit.
O’Brien. Since signing with O’Brien at the end of summer, Darin Shapiro has been putting to rest any ideas that he’s all flip and no spin. After riding away from a 900 in late August, O’Brien marketers dubbed his new signature board The Answer. A couple new wide boards – Shifty 137 and Shifty 132 – figure to be big sellers. There’s been a binding overhaul too, as the Plush Pro bindings feature a unique ratchet-powered, lock-down strap that can be loosened a notch at a time while riding.
Wake Tech. Yes, the Byerly Bat Tail looks radically different. The tips might be enough for some to pull it off the pro shop wall, but it’s the bottom design that truly sets it apart. The Bat Tail has a unique cupped rail that, coupled with an inner vee’d channel, makes it track like a roller coaster car.