For 2020 we have put some heavy focus on the wave range. Our Head of Wave R&D Klaas Voget was mainly in charge here, that´s why we caught up with him for some details!
What are the main news on the 2020 waveboards:
We’ve left our Grip, Stubby and FreeWave unchanged for the 2019 range, as the feedback was really good and honestly – we also didn’t manage to improve them last season. Every year Sebastian and I work on lots of new Custom boards with our team riders and last year we managed to improve on some points, especially the turning, but we always lost some of the planing power. We tried to make a turnier rocker line plane as good as the production board, which we never really managed to achieve. Towards the second half of last year we went the other way round and worked on making the same fast rockerline turn better through subtle changes of the bottom shape and outline. This was the game changer for the Grip! We managed to bring an entire new range with six sizes from 68 up to 102 – all with greatly improved turning without real compromises on the planing side. The FreeWave was another board we tried to improve for more than a year. The parallel rail concept changed the classic FreeWave into a much faster, livelier and sportier FreeWave 3 years ago. The efficiency and control of the Stubby-Concept was the spice needed for the evolution of the FreeWave – one of the most successful boards out there. For 2020 we finally achieved the ultimate goal: We increased both, the playfulness on the wave and the straight line performance when blasting.
Sounds too good to be true! The previous shapes have a lot of fans out there – what exactly makes the new boards so much better?
Let’s start with the Grip. As I said, we went with the same rocker line in the end, as the planing performance of that rocker is just too good. To not affect it, we added V in front of the widest spot, in order to lift the rails. You don’t see much of this change, but it makes the board follow your lead much better and tighter through the turns once using the front foot and bringing the rail into the water. On the back foot, it still has that same great snap and planing power, as the change is mainly in the front part of the bottom and not really hitting the water when just straight planing. At the same time we reduced the tail width especially on the larger sizes – making the new 86, 92 and even 102 feel super close to the new 75 and 82, which were our favourite sizes of the 2018/19 range. Basically you can ride a larger board that turns like a smaller one. For the FreeWave we started playing with the outline. We pulled nose and tail in and turned the double diamond into a wide swallow tail. The result was unreal wave performance, even though we initially wanted to focus on the other end of the spectrum. Next we reduced the rocker curve on the models 95, 105 and 115. The result was a faster, earlier planing and overall more user-friendly FreeWave with even better manoeuvrability compared to it’s predecessor. The smaller models ride slightly higher, more wave-oriented and the larger models have a bit more focus on Bump&Jump and power to get going – all sizes beat our own expectations, so we’re pretty excited really!
I’m sold! But why did you only change Grip and FreeWave and not the Stubby? I mean FreeWave and Stubby have the same DNA right?
We did try similar changes as we did to the FreeWave also with the Stubby. Victor and Adam ordered Stubby-Protos into that direction straight away after trying a new FreeWave Proto, as they both ride the Stubby a lot in competition. Even though we managed to have some awesome turns on these new Stubby Protos, we were not so convinced a pulled in Nose helps the much shorter Stubby to become more user friendly, as the effective rail line gets really short. We decided to keep playing with that concept for the Stubby, which is a favourite especially for its really easy behaviour in poor conditions and we don’t want to loose any of that!
OK understood! Last year the Grip came with 5 boxes in the key sizes. Will that concept stay the same? Can they be still used with Quad and Thruster Setup? What about Fins for the new FreeWaves?
The new Grip comes with 5 Slot Boxes in all sizes from 75 up to 102. The smallest 68 and the Grip XS still only come with Quad option, as that’s the preferred set for lighter riders and also windier conditions with these shapes. 75, 82, 86 and 92 come with Quad fin set and a Centre box to opt for thrusters for anyone who prefers that. The 102 comes with a Thruster set, but has the option to change to Quad fins. Like this the range is adaptable to different spots, rider weights, levels and riding styles. We personally really like the Quad set which comes with the board, so that’s a safe option if you don’t want to experiment any further. The FreeWave Team Edition and Textreme Models comes with the same MFC Thruster Set we’ve used previously, except the 115 and all BFX Models, which come with single fin. All boards have the Powerbox Centre Fin and slot boxes on the sides, which can be closed for single fin use for Flatwater performance or used with side fins for better manoeuvrability and wave performance.
More about our new wave range here: