In our recent 2007 Gear Guide issue we ran a two-page spread devoted to a new “category” of wakeboards called flexboards. Some of you may have glanced at it quickly on your way to looking at all the new graphics and new models from the pros. But if you have that issue close, you might want to open it up again and take a second look, because there is a good possibility that flexboards are going to become more and more prevalent in our sport.
One of the companies producing a new line of flexboards — Slingshot Wakeboards — brought their team to town this week for a series of photo shoots leading up to the Surf Expo this weekend, and after only a few days, the buzz about their new fleet of boards and boots is already dominating the Orlando telegraph. In addition to hearing the praises of team riders Collin Wright, Jeff McKee and Nick Valliere, I know of at least one non-team rider that has taken the set up for a spin and been blown away. It is a strong indication that Slingshot has tapped into a new evolution in board and boot design, and I believe that 2007 will be the year in which riders take flex construction seriously for the first time ever.
While the flexboard concept is not entirely new (I remember Core Wakeboards mass producing a crude version in the late 90’s, and obviously when Paul O’Brien was with Hyperlite he got the ball rolling again with the Roam) it’s never before been tackled with the intent of purpose that Slingshot has shown. The company’s creators, Jeff and Tony Logosz, have a long history of all types of board design, but draw their main inspiration from years spent in the snow, and hope that board sport participants who are used to the flex characteristics of snowboards and surfboards will connect with the feel of their version of flex wakeboards. If the initial buzz is any indication, it seems like flexboards are going to produce a whole new interpretation of wakeboarding for those eager to break the mold. Look for them in about a month, and make it the must-demo for the Spring.