The Hydro-Tech Story
The Deck: When Wave Zone looked for the best, most cutting edge composite technology… we dug deep. We found BGF Industries among the elite in performance textiles development. We're talking serious impact resistance - from motorcycle helmets to ballistic and stab proof body armor. When we found them… we found Barracuda™.
Simply put, Barracuda is aluminized glass that handles like moldable steel, boasting the look of a 3-D metallic. But good looks are only half the story. A legacy of development has BGF chemists and techs adding to the picture the tensile strength of steel and a weight as light as a sheet of fiberglass cloth.
It's revolutionary, and even better, it's made in the U.S.A.
The Core: Both Hydro and Hydro Tech boards feature Wave Zone's exclusive "stiffy" construction which absorbs shock with bare minimum flex and planes like no other. Hard rails, generous float and blunt nose with a graduated taper. The responsiveness and sensitivity of the ride is right where it needs to be. Choose from 5 board lengths and two core thicknesses.
The Base: From surf boards to skimboards, over the years, we've piloted many art techniques. Sketching, detailing, airbrushing, computerized vectors… art is everywhere. And good art? It's in the eye of the rider. So take the art you like and seal it to your Wave Zone board with our insanely fast Hydro Tech bottom. This is a speed inducing bottom sheeting that glides with zero surface resistance. Pick from our unique stock designs* or consider your own graphic. 20 years of board building experience wrapped into the Hydro… bringing you unparalleled performance
Art & Graphics
Every board is hand-crafted, so no two boards are alike. We grab art inspiration from everywhere. Collectible cars, tribal/tattoo designs, current events… whatever comes to the artists over morning coffee (mountain dew).
Art changes weekly and colors daily. Yes, you'll still see the well-liked designs come back by demand, but on most boards new art is a constant thing. Times will continue to change so graphics will too. After all, that's what keeps life interesting.
Over the past 20 years , Wave Zone designs have progressed and engineering has expanded bringing us skimboards that are the strongest… fastest… lightest out there.
How we get there? It's a combination of the right density Divinycell foam core, glassing methods and compression. The goal is to produce boards that are as light as possible with no sacrifice of strength.
A sampling of the average weights of our boards, pulled randomly from the shipping area:
38" Squirt – 2.5 lbs
48" Glide – 4.1 lbs
52" Carbon – 4.8 lbs
When compared to a couple of skimboards by competition brands (brought in to us for repair):
||WZ is |
Carbon fiber added to a skimboard gives a stiffness that makes the board ride faster with less flex. Nice for getting out farther and getting more ride out of your board overall.
Some will say a skimboard is only really "a carbon" if both the deck and the bottom of the board are carbon…NOT SO.
We have found that double carbon is often too stiff and unforgiving. You feel every ripple through the board. If a board is too stiff (double carbon, for example) you lose the shock absorption benefit of the foam core and also lose some control of the ride in less than perfect conditions.
Wave Zone has carbon on the deck of the board with a rail wrap of 3" carbon around the full bottom. Your deck gets all the stiffness of carbon plus the wrap gives the toughness of carbon at your key contact points on the bottom. The bottom is glassed with Warp Glass and reinforced with S-Glass for a hint of flex and optimal shock absorption. No being thrown by the chop or blowing out your knees. Instead the energy of impact is dissipated and conducts through the foam core.
Why not carbon on both sides? The stiffer and less forgiving your board is - the more likely it will snap on impact. Wave Zone has made the choice to provide the best of both worlds. Carbon stiffness and less board fatigue.
We simply will not make a product that we know has a shorter life span… your money is not disposable and your satisfaction with your Wave Zone board isn't either.
The Foam Core
Why use Divinycell foam for the core of our skimboards? Because it is, hands down, the superior choice.
Sure, we can cut corners, save cost, keep the extra profit. We could use polyurethane or eps foam like some others but, it's not the right choice if we plan to stand by our product after it is in the rider's hands.
Divinycell is the foam of choice due to its density and weight. We have found other foams do not meet our quality standards. Divinycell offers high energy absorption, excellent fracture toughness, dimensional stability and, very important in a skimboard, high strength to weight ratios.
Polyurethane (poly) foam is clearly a great choice for surf board manufacturing. We used it in the hundreds of Wave Zone Surfboards built over the past 20 years. Easily seen, the ride of a surf board is much different than that of a skimboard. You aren't hitting the board as hard, repeatedly, with the frequency of skimboarding. With a surf board you distribute your weight across the board before standing. When your feet hit the board it's not the running jump of skimboarding.
Due to the repeated impact a poly skimboard would be taking, you are risking delamination and dings that take on water and rot. Many skimboard manufacturers are incorporating poly foam back into their lines in order to compete with cheaply made import boards, but Wave Zone would rather put into the board what we expect to get out… quality.
Extruded Poly Styrene (EPS) foam is basically Styrofoam without the beads. You likely know the strength of Styrofoam. Keep in mind, this is a frequent and good surf board option, but we do not see it as an effective skimboard option. You must glass EPS with epoxy resin to add strength, but in a skimboard you can't stop if from gassing out - especially at impact points. EPS is formed by expanding gasses in the foam. The gasses continue to expand. Some sailboards made with EPS actually have a vent to release the gas when you are not riding it. Skimboards, at least none we've ever seen, have vents.. so there is nowhere for the gas to go except into air pockets as the board delaminates.
Divinycell is structural PVC (like the pipe) foam. Waterproof. Light. Durable. Wave Zone uses this foam throughout the complete line. Even our smallest board sports a Divinycell core. In addition, our density of Divinycell increases at key points in our line – just one of the reasons Wave Zone skimboards have the best weight limits for cost on the market. More density = more strength + more float.
Yes, with Divinycell being a premium product, we have to plan ahead. Ordering supplies 4+ months in advance of production takes planning and commitment, but with less than one half of one percent of Wave Zone boards returned in warrantee, it's worth the extra energy.
E-glass = Electrical glass is the most common fiberglass in use. It was originally developed for use in circuit boards and is low in cost. It is strong and has its place. For example, we use it in some of our internal glassing. Though some promote e-glass as something unique, it's a basic option.
S-Glass = Structural glass has appreciably higher amounts of silica oxide, aluminum oxide and magnesium oxide in the binder (coating that holds the glass together). S-Glass is approximately 40% stronger than E-glass. We use S-Glass in our carbon reinforcements.
Warp Glass was developed specifically for the surf industry. It's structural binding is comparable to the above but, the big difference in Warp Glass is the weave. The goal here was to develop a product that provides more strength with less weight. We use as, our dominant fabric, Warp Glass.
Common E-Glass fabric and also S-Glass fabric are constructed with 50% of the thread running in one direction and 50% running equally in the other direction. Meaning 50% running nose to tail and 50% running rail to rail on a skimboard.
Warp Glass is configured with 75% of the thread running in one direction and 25% running in the opposite direction. When applied to a board that means 75% of your thread is running nose to tail with 25% running rail to rail.
What is the benefit of the Warp Glass choice? A Wave Zone skimboard, manufactured with Warp Glass, has its balance of strength just where it belongs. Have you ever seen a board with a break running from nose to tail? Not likely. If a board breaks it is generally going to be across the board, from rail to rail. This is why a surf board has its stringer running nose to tail. Wave Zone uses Warp Glass because the largest amount of fiber is oriented in the direction your board needs for strength.
You can be sure the import boards out there aren't paying the extra 50% cost to make their boards long lasting, stronger and lighter.
Yes, Wave Zone board rails are "turned down." This is conscious design decision giving the lower rail a harder, sharper edge. Why? Because…
Sharper edges create less drag = more speed. Take a surf board (short board), for example, and view the tail - by the fins. The sharpness of the edges in this area lets the water leave the back of the board faster… helping the board move faster. On the other hand, a long board generally has rounded rails near the tail or soft edge. This causes the board to suck into the wave, giving the rider the chance to ride the nose or walk the board.
Reinforced Rail Wraps = longer board life. We wrap the glass around the skimboard rails, with a double layer on the underside edge of the beginner boards… plus even more glass reinforcements in the larger boards. This gives every Wave Zone skimboard at least double glass on the bottom rails. An easier way to build the board would be to meet the top and bottom layer of glass to meet at the rail but, with Wave Zone, cutting corners here is not an option. A wrapped rail gives protection against rail splitting and gives the bottom edges of the board double reinforcement where the board grinds on the beach. In other words - where it's needed.
Back in the early ‘90s we had a board, "The Extreme." The Extreme was in demand in the local market and sported a 6"- yes, six inch - rocker. Thinking back on that time - we made good money on the Extreme, Nirvana was an up and coming band, life was good. Things, however, change. If you see the Extreme (can't miss it with that kind of rocker) out there today, it is a true testimony to the life and durability of a Wave Zone skimboard.
Today, the average rocker on a Wave Zone skimboard is 1 ½" at the nose and ½" at the tail.
Why any rocker at all?
Most of us ride in less than perfect conditions… so we need options and we need control.
Wave Zone boards have the right amount of nose rocker to get out to the good stuff. With no rocker, you would simply nose into the mush. Rocker pulls you through a cutback. Coming down the wave rocker will pull you out the bottom. No rocker means you risk slamming the nose into the ground.
Wave Zone also has the ideal tail rocker. Tail rocker works to help you maneuver better. You need a little more rocker in the nose? You simply step or lean toward the tail (like the kick tail on a skate board). You can also go backwards (with talent) and this gives you better control and placement.
If you ride like a stink bug (with your foot up by the nose), you will generally have a problem with any board's nose, regardless of rocker. Most of the time when riding, the first ¼ of the board is out of the water so you really aren't using the rocker. The center is where the sweet spot is and where you'll get your best ride. When you need the rocker… it's there.
When is enough, enough?
Too much rocker will spin you like a top when you shove the back end around. Today's Wave Zone boards are engineered and tested… with rockers not taken to "Extremes."
The best ride comes to the rider who is in control under a variety of conditions.
Wave Zone skimboard decks are smooth and slick - NOT textured. Some of the good parts of a slick deck:
- Art pops.
- Traction will actually stick to the board… no sanding down your texturing in the hope your traction won't peel up.
- Wax can be removed without sticking into the grooves… no stench from year old wax embedded in the texture.
Yes, this does mean we can't muck up our graphics… we can't screw up our glassing… after all – without a textured deck there's no way to hide a flaw. But, honestly, we're not concerned about meeting that challenge.