2018 Gear Guide | Boat Board Test
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, allow me to introduce you to this year’s Alliance Board Test! Just like in years past, this test has been split into two categories: boat and park. The boat boards tested this year were somewhat of a mixed bag, with some being tried and true shapes and others being completely brand new for 2018. Our testers were handpicked this year based on their riding ability, board knowledge, and overall badassedness. They were pulled behind a Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV which gave them plenty of wake to work with. No biases here, just facts!
We had each rider rate each board according to specific criteria that you’ll read about below. Those ratings were added together to come up with a Board Score for each deck. Some scored high, some scored low but it’s not all about the scores. They help, but check out what the testers had to say about each board and why they liked (or disliked) one. There will always be boards that favor a certain riding style over another and your riding style is going to be your best friend in finding your next shred stick. So let’s get to it!
The Rating System: Pretty simple … each board is scored on different aspects in your standard “1-10” scale. But remember, 1 doesn’t necessarily mean bad and 10 doesn’t mean good, it all depends on what trait is being tested.
On The Water: Speed (1 = Sloth, 10 = Cheetah), Turning (1 = Won’t turn, 10 = Carves all day), Edging (1 = Slick, 10 = Locked in), Tracking (1 = Loose, 10 = Locked in), Landing (1 = Brick, 10 = Feather)
Off The Wake: Pop (1 = Velcro on the wake, 10 = Blast off), Release (1 = Easy, 10 = Late)
In The Air: Swing Weight (1 = Heavy, 10 = Super light)
Connelly Standard 143
(Josh Twelker pro model)
From the style master himself, the Standard has is back for another season to get you tweaking out your grabs just like Twelker. Ok, probably not just like him but you’re definitely free to try! It boasts a simple design with subtle bottom features to give you just enough grip while still being nice and playful on the water. It also comes with specially designed fins that can be adjusted forward or back to help you dial in that perfect feel. “It’s got a very skatey feel to it,” said Darren, “and with the adjustable fins, it gives riders more options which is always a good thing!”
MSRP – $399.99
Sizes – 139cm, 143cm
Hyperlite Vagabond 142
(Trever Maur Pro Model)
Straight from the Dirty Delta, Trever Maur’s board the Vagabond is a free-rider’s dream. Hyperlite’s first board to feature full-length Curved Flow Channels, which help to pull the board’s edge deeper into the water, maxing out the pop off the wake. Darren felt it saying, “This board is epic! It’s super fast on the water so there’s barely any strain on your upper body while edging.” In keeping with Trever’s mantra, this was one of the most playful boards that we tested. Trever is known for his carefree surf style and his board is no different. Tim said, “The Vagabond is super smooth for how aggressive it looks. It’s like a good bag of trail mix … well balanced and something for everyone!”
MSRP – $399.99
Sizes – 138cm, 142cm
Liquid Force Timba 140
New for 2018, the Timba is an all wood core board that’s a good fit for beginners to pros. With its continuous rocker and medium flex throughout the board, it stays predictable with its snap off the wake. Tim really enjoyed its consistency saying, “This board reacts just like you want every time and it lands just like soft butter.” With guys like Tom Fooshee backing this board, we’re sure that it’ll tickle your boat riding fancy.
MSRP – $449.99
Sizes – 136cm, 140cm, 144cm
Never Summer Rooster 139
The Mind Bender was designed for the cable, but the Rooster comes out swinging for the riders looking to take things behind the boat. Just like the Mind Bender, the Rooster has the unique 7-stage rocker that creates loads of pop while keeping landings extra soft. All the testers were stoked on how well this board performed and everybody agreed that is was the kind of board that anyone could strap into and feel right at home on. “This board is rad! Never Summer never disappoints!” said Jake. So when the snow melts, give the Rooster a go for your next boat set!
MSRP – $549.99
Sizes – 135cm, 139cm, 143cm
Ronix One Timebomb 142
(Danny Harf Pro Model)
Arguably the best wakeboarder of all time, Danny Harf has proven time and time again that not only does he know how to ride a wakeboard well, he knows how to design one too. Committed to the progression of the 3 stage rocker, Danny has incorporated Fuse Stringers into his latest deck which gives the rider the most explosive 3-stage pop out there. Our testers definitely took note of how the One reacted off the wake. “This board has tons of pop,” said Darren, “and is great for going huge wake-to-wake. I love how lightweight it is. Keeps you spinning like a top!”
MSRP – $599.99
Sizes – 134cm, 138cm, 142cm, 146cm
Slingshot Pill 142
The stiffest board in the Slingshot lineup, the Pill is just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking to take your boat game to new heights. It has an explosive 3-stage rocker to take you out into the flats and a V-spine profile running down the center to help cushion your landings. Just like the rest of the Slingshot lineup, the Pill has an all wood core but with a much more rigid flex pattern for riders who are accustomed to traditional construction boards. “This thing is a beast,” said Tim. “Once you’re on edge, you’re locked in and it just boots you off the wake. Thumbs up!”
MSRP – $549
Sizes – 138cm, 142cm