There are many factors that determine how a wakeboard will perform, but without a doubt, rocker profile is one of the most prominent contributors to the overall feel of a wakeboard on the water. Understanding how different rocker shapes influence the way a wakeboard rides can be a huge advantage when it comes time to by your next wakeboard. So sit back and relax as we school you on wakeboard rocker.
Basic Rocker Profiles
Rocker is the amount of curvature in a board, from the center to the tip or tail (on modern symmetrical boards, the measurement is the same regardless of which end it’s taken at). If you lay a wakeboard flat on the floor, the amount of rocker is how far off the ground the tip and tail sit. When it comes to wakeboard rocker, there are two basic outlines for the shape of a board:
- Continuous Rocker: One smooth bend from tip to tail, as if the board were a section of a very large circle.
- 3-Stage Rocker: Appears as though it is constructed from 3 flat planks joined together which results in a large flat spot at the tip and tail, and one under the rider’s feet.
Below is a brief summary of each type of rocker design, along with the more general pros and cons for that given profile. Of course every board will be different, but here is what you can expect from a wakeboard based on it’s rocker shape.
Essentially the original model for how wakeboards were designed, continuous rocker was on all of the first wakeboards. Thanks to shapers like Scott Bouchard and Jimmy Redmond, though, today’s continuous rocker boards are a far cry from the first wakeboards in the early 1990s.
Pros of continuous rocker:
- Smooth, predictable release off the wake makes for a very controlled pop. Carries riders out and up, ideal for taking tricks out into the flats.
- Incredibly smooth landings thanks to the water dispersion effects of the board.
Cons of continuous rocker:
- Board has more drag and is slower into the wake (think of pushing a ball through the water).
- Continuous rocker boards to not get as much pop off the wake, which means more rider skill is required to get the same height.
Verdict: If you favor a more forgiving board that will release off the wake in a smooth, controlled manor, and land soft even if you take it out in the flats, a continuous rocker board may be the choice for you.
Experimenting with variations on rocker design, and borrowing from other board sports, resulted in the 3-stage rocker profile. As board shapers sought out new shapes that would offer variations in riding characteristics, the unique profile of 3-stage boards offered drastically different performance on the water.
Pros of 3-stage rocker:
- Board rides higher in the water and is faster into the wake for more line tension and better response.
- More abrupt, explosive pop sends rider up more than out for additional height and more time in the air.
Cons of 3-stage rocker:
- Large flat spot under foot translates to a very hard landing board, especially if taken out in the flats.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a fast riding board with explosive pop off the wake, and don’t mind sacrificing your knees on landings, a 3-stage rocker board is right up your ally.
As the name describes, hybrid rocker boards combine characteristics of continuous and 3-stage rocker wakeboards to blend the best qualities of each into one shape. This is most commonly achieved by using one rocker profile that extends from tip to tail through the middle of the board to provide the dominate characteristics on the water, with the opposing rocker shape on the edges of the board.
Depending on the particular design of the board, and based on the multitude of possible combinations, almost every hybrid rocker board will have a very distinct feel on the water. Because of that, it’s almost impossible to characterize a hybrid rocker board based on its design.
Verdict: If a mixture of continuous and 3-stage sounds just right for you, chances are there’s a hybrid rocker board out there that will make you happy. It may take a little more work to find it, but the end result will be well worth it.
The next time you’re shopping for a new board, take into consideration what features you desire, and how the rocker used in the boards design will effect the feel of the board on the water.
Have questions about wakeboard rockers and how they effect how a board rides? Ask away in the questions and we’ll give you answers.