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Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

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Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby Toby » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:25 pm

Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker - Versus Ep09 - MACkiteboarding

If you're looking at picking up a new kiteboard or even your first kiteboard, you’ve probably noticed there are a lot of options out there and every board seems to have some sort of advantage over the others. One of the main points to consider when picking a board is how much rocker does it have.

So when I’m referring to rocker line it’s simply how rounded out the bottom of the board is from nose to tail. For you wakeboarders out there, in case you're wondering, Kiteboards only come in continuous rocker.

Being a sailing vessel, where you are resisting the pull of the kite, rather than riding nose forward at a boat. Kiteboards, even the high rocker boards tend to be flatter than your average wakeboard. We have no use for a three stage rocker as we’re not jumping wake.

So, what does rocker do, Why would you want it? What are the benefits of opting for a flat board vs a rockered board?

Let’s start with flat boards. So in kiteboarding, speed is the name of the game. Really, everything related to tricks and jumping comes down to board speed. Even when using a pull and go kite that does most of the work for you, if you have good speed, your going to get more air and more pop. Typically, the flatter the board, the more speed you can generate. Now there are other factors like how stiff or flexible the board is and we’ll cover that in next week's video regarding construction materials. But to give you perspective, the stiffer the board, the more pop you are going to get and the harder the landings.

So what are the trade offs for opting for a flatter board? Well, to start the landings can be a bit rougher and while they might pop better in the chop, you’re going to feel everything a whole lot more. This is why you often see performance freestyle boards that are extremely stiff and extremely flat, They are built for maximum pop, maximum upwind ability and not much else. I recommend opting for something between all out performance and a softer ride.

So on the other end of the spectrum, we have rockered boards. Now these are characterized by slower speeds, less pop and softer landings. And for this reason, like I mentioned in last weeks video if you’re going for a rockered board, opt for a couple cm bigger than you normally ride. You’ll be glad that you did.

Now, you’re probably thinking wow, rockered boards don’t sound that much fun and you would be wrong. While they don’t have as much pop as their flatter counterparts, they are much more playful in the water. Often they have a faster turning radius and they feel so much better riding in the chop or landing powered.

For this reason you see riders who opt for boots usually are riding a more rockered board. This is to keep the board on their feet and to soften the impacts. Also wakeboarders who want one board for the cable park and kiteboarding often opt for boards like this. The slingshot refraction or the cabrinha CBL work great in both sports granted if you were to ask me, I would tell you to have a board for kiteboarding and a separate board for wakeboarding. Use the right tools for the job.

So what’s the takeaway here? Well, for most people, I would recommend opting for a board in the middle of the road. No need to go for the flattest board out there or the most rockered one either. On the other hand, if you are after maximum performance, opt for a performance board, if you want to mimic wakeboarding, go for a rockered board. Like I always say, at the end of the day it’s all about having fun so pick a board that suits your needs or give us a call and we can walk you through it.

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby tegirinenashi » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:28 pm

Can anybody please name one kiteboarding company which publishes the rocker value? The issue is even more urgent for foilboards, where the nose rocker indicates how prone to nosediving the board is, and the only way to robustly tell one product from the other is knowing the elevation of the nose relative to the foil mounting plate.

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby Frank82 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:35 pm

Slingshot does.

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby plummet » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:20 pm

20-35mm low rocker.
30-45mm medium rocker
45mm+ high rocker.

Note that rocker amount is also related to board length a 160mm board with 3.4cm rocker is the same rocker radius as a 140mm board with 2.6cm rocker

The points in this vid a reasonably correct with the exception of the statement that ALL kite boards are constant rocker. This is not correct. There are some with varying rocker. My board is!

Also it fails to discuss concave and the relationship between rocker/concave and the water line. When riding upwind the board as at an angle to the water. The waterline represents the flow direction of the water. To have an efficient board for upwind you need to look for how flat the board is along the waterline. The flatter the more efficient. Now as the video describes flat boards are harsh to ride and less playful and worse in waves. How can we get a board that is efficient but also fun, playful and not harsh in chop?

The answer is to add rocker and concave. The concave offsets the rocker and flattens the rocker across the waterline.

So when appraising a board on rocker for efficiency you must also look at the concave aswell.
20150419_065358_ waterline.jpg

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby DWX » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:48 am

I like flat boards, no rocker, minimal concave... sure landings are harder but it’s good for you: teaches you precision. The tougher teachers are the better ones. Flat boards ride like rails vs rocker & concave, which feel like a sloppy ride on a banana peel. That’s as far as TTs go, Waveboards are a different story...
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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby jeromeL » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:27 pm

technically a flat board might have more "pop" because you can ride faster and no loss and suchbut jn practice a rockered board allow you to carve into the pop easier and will hold a lot more power sitting deeper.
Anyway I haven't tried tons of board but comparing a few boards while on 12m in 25 knots my Nobile fifty/50 138*39.5 with moderate rocker was killing the flatter liquid force element 133. Even though the Nobile has a bit more flex it was tracking super straight, deep and cutting though the tiny chop. When going for the pop the board turns upwind so fast and you can really lean into it and snap it. Never had a loose feel regarding flex on that board.
In comparaison the LF felt a lot loose, board wasn't tracking straight and kept slipping, wasnt sitting that deep in water.
Though my Nobile is much slower, you need to be quite powered to overcome the lack of speed when compared to flatter outline.

Anyway it's really hard to compare board so many variable, next year I'll try to demo many more style and size...

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby Jukka » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:09 pm

Keeping all other board properties the same, how would you estimate upwind capability to differ between for example 35 mm and 45 mm rocker in a 140 cm board?

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby BWD » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:15 pm

keeping other properties the same: construction, concave, width, outline, 140 with 35mm rocker should more easily go upwind with less power than 140 with 45mm rocker.
The interplay between outline and rocker is key, with square outline giving tracking and upwind, round outline giving carve and chop eating, and concave letting each act a bit like the other.

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Re: Kiteboards: Flat Vs Rocker

Postby fluidity » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:49 am

Bit doubtful of the sweeping statements about kite vs wake rocker types at top but I'm curious about something else:
I ride a low rocker board very similar to the OR Mako.
I get maximum speed with more back foot pressure and keeping my feet and the board very loose over chop.
Because it's a low rocker board I can easily face plant or screw up a take off if I muck up my back foot pressure over unpredictable chop and catch the front end.
With a higher rocker board it will still reward back foot pressure but I should be able to ride more over powered and blitz through messy chop more reliably. So.. I should be able to jump higher and even more consistently?

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