|Board Buyers Guide|
Use these Hyperlinks to jet you to your info faster .....
Need some help deciding on what's for you?
AKS have an excellent selection of boards for you to choose from, many carried in stock, some need to be ordered (up to a week). The confusing thing though, is which board is the right one. Well, Like I always say, the best way is to come on down and ride them all to see what "feels" right. If you can't make it down to us, then this guide should help. Have a look at our Board Selector Guide below
The first thing you need to know is what you want the board to do. this sounds quite obvious, but before you can pick the right board, you need to be honest with yourself about your level of ability, how you ride currently and the conditions you ride in, and what you ultimately want the board to do for you. Ie, do you want a board that works in the surf? Do you want speed and grip? Do you want massive bionic pop for freestyle? Do you want something for harsh chop etc etc.
Next is size. What do you weigh? The other consideration that heavily weighs in on this argument is do you want to get going in light conditions or hold down a huge kite in insane gales? This will effect the size and width of the board you select. The average rider of 75-80 kilos will ride something like a 133cm-135cm x 39cm-40cm or therabouts depending on experience, water conditions, wind strength and kite sizes.
Lastly, what is your budget? No point looking at the top of the line freestyler if you have a beginner board budget.
Volume has nothing to do with light wind ability in twin tips and even has little to do with surfboards unless you are paddling them into waves. In fact, volume will make life harder for you in all aspects except self rescue when you need something to float you home. Planing surface area (Tail and middle width) is king of light wind performance and stability.
Featherweight is not always best. Often a board with a little more weight will assist it in crazy conditions, too light and they become wind effected in the air. Too light often also means fragile. Although a light board often feels nice when freestyling, if you land a jump wrong, SNAP! It's all over!
Megaprice does not always mean mega performance.
The best board for you is the one that does what you want it to do and makes you ride better than you currently can. Yes a good board can do this for you! Just like falling in love, you'll know if it is right within 5 minutes of riding, if it is the right one for you.
Flex - There is many different types of flex in a board and all boards flex to some degree or another. Flex is important because it offers control and a comfortable ride through rough water. However, there is good flex (mostly in the tips) and bad flex (even across board and allowing centresection to flex too much (like a banana). Banana flex robs you of the ability to go upwind, but gives you a very soft ride through chop. Also it takes the sting out of harsh landings. Tail flex absorbs the chop whilst a stiffer midsection gives you good upwind ability.
Reflex - Is a term I use to describe how much energy is thrown back at you when you flex a board. If the tip flexes back to normal with quite a bit offorce anddoes it quickly, it will be said to have great "pop". Pop, is the most misunderstood and most incorrectly used term in all of kiteboarding. Pop is loading the tail with the kite low and using the energy stored within the loaded tail to "throw" you up and into a roll or jump without aid of the lift of the kite. Soft boards like beginner boards have low reflex and poor pop. Freestyle boards are stiff and have hi reflex which offers excellent pop getting you high off the water without a wave or kitelift. Using pop in a board requires skill, as a newbie, it will not serve you, it will own you!
Width - The width of a board in the centre and tails will help determine the speed at which it will get you up and planing and the amount of effort required to pull you from the water to a planing position. Most average boards are between 37 and 42cm wide, wider than 42cm boards tend to be light wind specialty boards designed to get you planing and staying upwind in the lightest possible winds. Very wide boards although good for heavy riders can make edging nearly impossible for light riders in a good breeze.
Length - Length plays less of a role now than it used to. A longer board gives better stability and easy upwind and tracking. The average board these days will be around 135cm and can be as long as 144cm. A short board would be 125 and anything smaller would be specialty board for youngsters or small women. It is best to ride a board that is not too short so that you don't end up constantly catching spray off the nose and face planting. Too long and it becomes cumbersome and gains too much "swing weight".
Rocker - Rocker is the curved profile shape of a board when viewed from the side. Most kiteboards have a tri stage rocker ie, curved upwards on both ends and a flat centre section. The curved tips allow nice controlled carving and handling rough water whilst the centre section gives good speed and upwind ability. The flatter a board, the faster it will go and the harder to ride and land jumps, the more curved ie constant rocker from tip to tip will be great for ...... a garden ornament! No just kidding. for rough water and hard landings.
Rail shape - Rail shape is the edge of the board. Is it square ie 90 degrees to the deck and bottom (hard rail)? or is it curved (soft railed) evenly or parabolic in curve favouring either side? Generally speaking, a soft rail is good in the surf and is much more forgiving but tends to allow some side slip and also water wrapping which creates drag. Surf boards aren't supposed to be fast so they take rounded (soft rails) to help in tight turns and low speed handling. Hard rails are used to gain a "bite" on the water and create a clean release of the water following the hull (bottom). These rails are fast and unforgiving. Almost all twin tip boards have ABS rail inserts to protect them from damage when dropped against something hard.
Footpads and Straps - Foot pads are really important in the feel of the board. A hard pad is good for sensitivity to the boards feedback but can hurt when dropping from great heights onto a flat landing. Soft footpads are comfy and cushy but you will not have the same feel and responsiveness from your board. Some boards give you options like this years North boards. Foot straps must be comfortable and must work with the footbed for maximum comfort and grip. Most footstraps are adjustable, if not, upgrade them! We help people get the most from their footstraps, so if you are having issues, come and see us, odds are we can help without having to resort to heel bungees (Yuk!).
In having said all of that, read on for the details on all the following boards and if you still aren't sure what would do you best, just contact us and we'll be only too happy to help you with suggestions or demo boards. In this Table, the boards are aligned with their respective nemisis to give you an idea of what board will compare to what between the two big brands.
+ The Airush Exile models are available in both Protoy and Switch and are especially made for light winds (Extra Wide)
Firstly, lets talk about twin tip boards or sometimes refered to as Bi-Directionals for obvious reasons. Most beginners start on twin tip boards because generally they are easier to learn on. You don't have to swap stance or foot positions. As a beginner, the larger the board you get, the more stable it will be. Larger boards will also plane earlier meaning you don't need to ride at break neck speeds to have some control and manoevreability. Of course a large board will be more of a headache in stronger winds as they become difficult to edge and also tend to become cumbersome as you progress.
Most beginners buy the "next board up" so they don't grow out of their first board too quickly. A really advanced board, or something too small will make learning that much harder and you'll stay a learner for much longer.
Look for something that has a bit of flex to handle the chop, a bit of width in the tails and centre and average length 135 is average for a rider of say 85 kilos. Deduct or add 3 cm per 10 kg up or down ie, if you weigh 65 kilos, deduct 6cm to get a 129cm. If you weigh 105 kilos, add 6 cm to get a 141cm. (rough guide and you must take width into account too).A good width is about 39-41cm for a 135.
Too much rocker will make upwind riding difficult so look for a gentle rocker in three parts, flat in the centre and curved in the ends from the footstrap outwards to the tips. Also have a look at the fins, the bigger they are, the more drag they create, but also the more stability they give you.
The bottom shape that works best is single concave of around 3-5mm running through the board and flattening out at the tips.
Most importantly, put your name and phone number on your board as soon as you get it home and write "Reward" on it., A brightly coloured board will be easier to spot in the water, and you may even decide to paint your fins bright orange to help spot it when it floats upside down.
Hope this helps!
I am going to make an assumption that you are already able to ride a twinny before starting in the surf. We don't recommend learning to ride a kite and surfboard in the surf because you will destroy your kite, your board, and get in everyone elses way. Just don't do it. You need to be very proficient to hit the surf with others!
Buying the right board depends on where you ride (local conditions), what you weigh, and also what style you want. We'll start with local conditions. There is little point in buying a big wave gun if you ride in 2 foot onshore slop all summer long, although I see guys riding the wrong boards for the conditions every day. This is mainly because they buy a board that they think looks cool or should be the kind of board they idealize.
For Perth conditions, a shorter wider board is far better than the 6'2" flat rockered, pin tailed speed stick from hell. Lets face it, it's cross onshore (2nd from the worst wind direction,that being onshore) so you are riding towards your kite which depowers you, this means you need to compensate with a larger planing area or a wider tail and mid section to get you through the dead patches (sweep). Gunny high performance surfboards are great in over head high clean cross off shore conditions, but in Perth mush, they bog down, lose speed, sink on the face catch rails and bog snap turns etc. = Not fun!
Look for something like the Airush Choptop, Cardboards Wave 150 or North Freestyle Fish, or even the new North Whip. All these boards will suit a beginner to advanced rider in Perth conditions. These boards have wider tails making it more stable to gybe and ride strapless when you are beginning, but also work brilliantly as freestyle wave boards for advanced riders playing at aerial trix. Some boards will work well in a cross of conditions like the WAM and Converse, but go the bigger sizes for smaller waves.
If you go up north or down south and intend on riding huge mountains of sucky steep face water draining off coral or slab reef, then look at a second board more suited like an Airush Converse, North WAM or Kontact. Please ask us for advice on boards as the right board can make learning in surf a pleasure instead of getting yelled at all day and having a hard time.
Just to make things a little more challenging (up til now we've made it so clear so why not?). Your style of riding will have perhaps the greatest impact into what board you should choose. As a beginner, you probably don't have any style or you'll have noob style, Thats OK, but I'm sure you have an idea of how you want to be riding ie, will you follow the surf path, the wake style or nuskool style, or will you be a freerider that covers a bit of everything including big air and surf as well?
As a general rule, the more hard core you want to ride, the stiffer and less forgiving the board you'll need. If you want to freeride, a bit of flex and a bit of stiffness is good, softer rails and more concave, usually also a bit narrower.
Location is the last factor to look at but by no means least. If you ride in a location that is nightmare choppy, then you need something to take the sting out of all that chop, so you need flex, the more, the smoother the ride. Obviously a wake style (stiff) board isn't going to like chop, so maybe look at something like the North Jaime or Airush FS which does a bit of freeride too (best of both worlds) having a concave bottom, a bit of flex and also good reflex and stiffness.
Again, it is always best to talk to us, we can size, evaluate and suggest boards that will best suit what you want to do. We have a very good track record.
Talk to an Expert for advice on the right board for you 0433 982 696
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 01:23|