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    by Published on 02-26-2014 08:25 AM   

    Big thanks to Marco Thompson and all of his helpers for putting on a great first year event. They had a lot of boats and a good turn out of riders and the weather was amazing, something only Southern California can provide. Marco is a great guy, and I felt like we were on the same team when it comes to his spirit for teaching people how to wakesurf and growing the sport. His enthusiasm and great attitude are infectious, and it set the tone for the event. If you missed it this year and you are within 200 miles or so, that was probably a mistake. These events are a blast and a great way to step out of your comfort zone and try new stuff.

    IMG_9763 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_9836 by wake9, on Flickr

    RJ and I have put on 4 Polar Bear events and have had the opportunity to see people ride lots of great surf boats. This is the first time, however, we have been able to enjoy an event like this more from a riders perspective. We didn't get a chance to ride as much as others because we came to help first, and also didn't want to get in the way of other riders or take any of their time. That said, we got some great rides and finally got a chance to get some good play time and demos with boats that surf without listing over. I am referring specifically to a Nautique G23 with NSS and Axis boats with Surf Gate, but a Mastercraft X10 with Gen 2 Surf System was also in attendance.

    Nautique G23 with NSS

    IMG_9777 by wake9, on Flickr

    2014 Malibu 23 LSV with Surf Gate

    IMG_9807 by wake9, on Flickr

    Mastercraft X10 with Gen 2 Surf System

    IMG_9768 by wake9, on Flickr

    Every boat we saw threw decent surf wakes, some better than others. Some of the boats were dialed and/or weighted for a more tournament class wave, and some were stock or close to stock. We were able to get some time behind the following boats:

    • 2011 Malibu 23 LSV with custom ballast setup, power wedge, monsoon 350, and dealer installed surf gate.
    • Nautique G23 with NSS and I think 450HP motor.
    • Ronix Axis A-22 with Surf Gate.
    • Liquid Force Axis A-24 with Surf Gate, wedge, and 450 HP LS3 Corvette motor.
    • 2014 Mastercraft X10 with Gen 2 Surf System.

    2014 Mastercraft X10 with Gen 2 Surf System
    I am going to just skip over this boat to some degree. Not because it was bad, RJ thought it threw a decent wake with 800 lbs of stock weight. It was small and probably not the best representation of what this boat could do, especially being in salt water. The system seemed to work to help clean the wake up but this was not a "no list" system, this boat listed to make the wake.

    Scott Blanchard's 2011 Malibu 23 LSV
    This was a frankensurf boat. What I mean by that is that it was no where near stock and can't be compared to a factory boat. I put Derek's MB B52 and our previous Tige 24Ve in this category in that they are owned by guys that love to tinker and make the best damn wake surf wake they can regardless of what needs to be welded or bolted on. These are always some of the funnest boats to ride on and I love em.

    This was a fantastic wave and I am sure was enhanced by the fact that it had a boat load of people which included Dennis (280 lbs) and I (400 lbs) sitting next to each other on the surf side. This boat was also very unique in that it had a Malibu dealer installed surf gate system and was capable of doing a no list wake and a listed wake. This boat has the 350 HP monsoon motor, high altitude prop, and I believe 3500 lbs of ballast when surfing listed plus about 1500 lbs of people and the power wedge. Pictures say it all.

    Ryan from Calgary getting some serious air.

    IMG_9948 by wake9, on Flickr

    RJ riding backside, his Soulcraft had a crack in it, so he rode a unfamiliar Brigade board.

    IMG_9965 by wake9, on Flickr

    Thomas rippin' his new Chaos Skywalker 4.4. This was his first ride on it and he was all smiles.

    2014-02-22 11.13.19-1 by wake9, on Flickr

    Plenty of wave, with lots of push.

    IMG_0238 by wake9, on Flickr

    Even with an unfamiliar board, that lip gave RJ lots of boost.

    IMG_0256 by wake9, on Flickr

    Scott was proud of his wave, and he had good reason to.

    IMG_0111 by wake9, on Flickr

    So after we rode the listed wake I asked Scott if we could see the Surf Gate wave. He said sure but said we had to let weight out or the boat wouldn't surf. We took weight out, quite a bit, and it still wouldn't make a wake, the motor couldn't take the weight. So we let out more and it made a wake, but it wasn't anything like the listed wake.

    IMG_0160 by wake9, on Flickr

    Probably not the best Surf Gate test but very interesting none the less.

    Nautique G23 with NSS
    So then we got a chance to ride the G23 with NSS. Greg Dick was at the helm and he was extremely helpful and had a great attitude. Greg is the West Coast Account Manager for Nautique and was very knowledgeable. I think RJ asked him 1000 questions and he didn't seem to get tired of em. ;-) Greg explained that the boat was weighted stock with an additional 500 lbs of steel. I like to call the boats like the G series and the new ASR "3 story" boats. They are immense. Our Z3 and all other wake boats are what I call 2 story boats, they have the passenger deck/cockpit and storage above floor level and then the "basement" with hard tanks and plumbing and such. Its not the best analogy, but it works for me. This boat had room to hide an additional 5000 lbs of water ballast easy and you would never see it without opening compartments. The wake was great for a stock wake as far as size, push and length. It did suffer from a dirty lip that was more than cosmetic on both sides. When RJ went up for air the wash at the lip would grab and keep his board from releasing properly severely hindering tricks like airs, 180s, etc. The wake looked like it could use some more weight and some list to clean it up. I have seen enough video and pics of the G23 surf wake to know that more weight would be even more fun.

    IMG_0409 by wake9, on Flickr

    It was hard to get a good idea of the size of the wave from up high in the cabin, so I hung my camera off the side.

    IMG_0417 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_0420 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_0430 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_0561 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_0579 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_0634 by wake9, on Flickr

    Except for the lip issue, it was a very good stock wake and I am sure this has much greater potential.

    Ronix Axis A-22 with Surf Gate
    On Sunday morning we moved to the San Diego bay and got a chance to ride a few more boats. RJ and Dennis were asked to help teach 2 boat loads of brand new riders. Of course we jumped at the chance to help new people learn. The A-22 with Surf Gate was great for teaching new folks. It didn't matter if they were goofy or regular, they just jumped out and the driver threw a switch. This boat was weighted with more than stock, but definitely not weighted for a world class wake. It also seemed to suffer a bit from a washed lip, but the new riders had a blast.

    IMG_0837 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMG_0853 by wake9, on Flickr

    Liquid Force Axis A-24 with Surf Gate
    This boat was slammed and it made a very good wake. The driver was Tim from Liquid Force, and he knew every pound of ballast. He said the stock system (1000 lbs) was full, plus 750s in the rear lockers and a 750 horseshoe sack in the front, plus the 800 lb water bed on the floor. That is 4050 lbs of water, plus about 1500 lbs of people and the wedge. I think its safe to say about 6000 lbs of ballast accounting for the wedge. This boat had the 450 HP LS3 Corvette motor in it and the high altitude 1235 prop and it needed every bit of it. It took at least 30 seconds to a minute for the surf wake to form, but it formed a really nice wake. It was big, hip to waist high and lots of push. It was decently long but could have been longer; they were only going 10.3 mph. Remember this was also salt water and so the wake is going to be a bit smaller in salt water. The wake on the goofy side seemed about the same but I was on the wrong side of the boat and couldn't get a good picture or perspective.

    2014-02-23 09.55.08 by wake9, on Flickr

    2014-02-23 10.00.45 by wake9, on Flickr

    Here is a shot of water mattress 800 lb ballast on the floor.

    2014-02-23 09.10.08 by wake9, on Flickr

    I have some video of Marco riding this wave that I will post later.

    Final Thoughts

    No list vs Listed
    Which is better? I think it depends on what you want and what you are willing to pay for. I think the question has now been answered for me personally regarding whether a no-list wake can be a weekend warrior or world tournament level wake. You can make a really good wake without listing. The issue is that in order to make a wake like that, it seems from my own observations and the anecdotal evidence from around the web that you need LOTS of weight and LOTS of motor. That means you are going to burn a ton of fuel. There is a cost of ownership and cost to a day of wakesurfing that may be prohibitive to some. I am also not very fond of the water mattress ballast in the boat, but you may be able to put lead all over and not need that. There are lots of young guys that want to wakeboard and surf that don't mind a mattress on the floor, but I am too old and I think most families wouldn't like that. The G23 on the other hand would never need a mattress and so you could hide the weight you needed without issue, but you would still need the motor and lots coin for fuel costs. That boat is expensive so maybe that owner wouldn't mind. There is one other issue with the G23 that I haven't mentioned yet. The first generation Surf Gates had a problem that if you added the extra weight to make the big wake the water rolled over the Surf Gate and the wake didn't form correctly. This is now resolved on the boats we saw, the gates are quite big compared to previous years.

    The Surf Gate now goes from the bottom of the hull all the way to the top of the swim deck.

    IMG_9807 by wake9, on Flickr

    The NSS as you can see in the picture below, doesn't go up very high and suffers from this issue that the previous Surf Gates did. When you add more weight, you have to list the boat. We didn't go on it on Sunday but they loaded the G23 down more and it was running listed. That may not be a bad thing, it seems that when adding more weight it may be better to list to not put such a load on the boat. Whether or not that is feature or a bug is up to the buyer.

    The NSS on the other hand does not go very high.

    IMG_9777 by wake9, on Flickr

    IMHO the days of 15-20 degrees of list are done, it is just uncomfortable compared to a boat that lists around 10 degrees or less. If it were possible to make a world class wake with no list, all water ballast and hidden, and only burn around 4-6 GPH, that would really blow up my skirt. ;-)

    What a great time to be a landlocked surfer. So many choices, the tides are definitely changing.

    Click Here to see the full set of pictures on Flickr.
    by Published on 02-21-2014 06:57 AM   

    The Polar Bear event sure has been one of those things that sort of came out of nowhere for us. It started as an idea for larger guys to challenge surf board manufacturers to build some "big guy" boards. ...
    by Published on 11-19-2013 07:22 AM   

    So Ashley Chugg edited together a new video that shows as many riders as possible. Check it out.

    The Rider reviews of boats and boards ...
    by Published on 11-06-2013 09:14 PM   

    The reviews are almost done, but check out this video edited by Ashley Chugg.

    by Published on 10-09-2013 06:07 PM   
    Article Preview

    So we have been getting boards in from all over the last couple of days. If you are attending, we had to wait to make sure we had all hte boards we were expecting to finish the questionnaire form. The form will be up and out tonight and you will have all day tomorrow to fill out. Here are some of the boards we have unpacked so far.