Tech Talk: kiteboard rocker
In these Tech-Talk videos we will answer all your board related questions. From volume to the rocker of a kiteboard. Ask your questions via social media or send us an email. We will answer them in our next videos!
How the rocker can make or break the design of a kiteboard
Part three of the series “kiteboard design” is out! First we explained the outline of kiteboards and what different kiteboard ranges there are. Now we go deeper into the rocker of a kitesurf board. Is it really that important and does the rocker line of a kiteboard differ from a normal surfboard? And can the rocker really make you ride better upwind? Get your questions answered!
Today we’re going to continue our series on board characteristics and what they might do for your riding style. We’ve made a couple of other videos on the outline of the board and a general video on how to pick your perfect kiteboard. Make sure to look at those videos first, because all follow each other up.
Today we’re going to look at the rocker of the kiteboard. The rocker of the board is really important, because it can make or break the design of a kiteboard. We invest a lot of time and a lot of prototypes in finding that perfect rocker line. For kitesurfing it’s a bit different than in normal surfing, because obviously with normal surfing it is just padeling and then it’s only surfing the wave. While with kitesurfing you’re on the board almost 90 percent of the time, so it’s really important that the board goes upwind and that it rides smoothly when you’re just cruising along.
Rocker on freestyle kiteboards
As you can see this Luke’s Leaf for instance has got quite a curvy rocker up to a really flat rocker. You can divide the rocker into the nose rocker and the tail rocker. However, in general we’ll just go from really curvy to really straight. A really curvy rocker will make the board pretty loose and sort of twitchy feeling. If you have extreme amounts of rocker you might feel the board is too nervous and it’s not comfortable to ride. But if you’re a hardcore freestyle rider you might like that, because it gives you a ramp to kick the board up into the air.
Rocker on big wave kiteboards
So, a board with more rocker will be easier to kick up into the air and also if you’re riding sort of bigger surf the rocker follows the curve of the wave, so the board is nice and loose and really fast off the bottom and fast over the top. However, with rocker you lose tracking and control.
If you go all the way to the other side of the spectrum you have a board with a really flat rocker line. For example, grab this Malus Domestica which has like a stage rocker where it’s flat in the middle and it’s curvy out back. I’ll talk about this later. But a flatter rocker line will make the board track really well. So, the board goes upwind really well with the flat rocker line usually combined with the outline in the other video. It’s always a balance between those two, but it makes the board plane really easy. Therefore, you have better light wind ability and it goes upwind much better.
Flat rocker vs. snappiness
With a really flat rocker you lose that snappiness and sometimes when you like to go into a turn and the board just want to go straight. Especially when the wind is stronger or the waves are really big. Which makes the kite pull you and the wave push you and you really want to turn that board in the bottom of the wave, but the board says no I’m just gonna go straight on you. So, that’s something you don’t want to have,
Flat rocker vs. upwind ability
If you are riding a lot of flat water or you’re riding places with a lot of currents, and you always have to fight the current you need a board that goes upwind really well, then a flatter worker might be nicer for you.
In general, rockers are sort of inbetween, or they are a stage where they’re flatter in the middle to go upwind and then you can move your weight further to the back. The board has an accelerated rocker in the tail, which makes it possible to move your weight over the accelerated rocker to have that looseness and then you move your weight forward to have that flat rocker to go upwind.
So, that’s how we sort of design boards, but that balance is really hard to get perfect. It’s a lot of trial and error and seeing what works for who. Make sure to check our other videos on outline and the next video that’s coming will be on volume distribution in kiteboard design.
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