[part title=”Bouke Becke”] We have recently spoken with another shaper, Bouke Becke of Witchcraft, on the future of waveboard design. So here, in one easy hit are all of Bouke’s answers… scroll back in the numbers below to compare his answers to others:
1. What would you say have been the biggest noticeable improvements to wave boards over the past 5 years?
My boards or wave boards in general? In my boards, I am allready doing trifins since 1997. Boards have become shorter and wider, my rails in the back half have become much sharper. Toe in and pretwisted side fins. Improved fin profiles which can handle bigger angles of attack and as such can be sailed smaller making the board faster and turnier again And a bottom shape that gives up to 2cm more rocker in the shoulder than in the centre line.
2. What influences you to think of new wave shapes and designs?
My own sailing at first, than feedback of customers and teamriders. I also like to use science to speed up evolution
3. Recently there seems to be more variation again on the tail shape of wave boards and in particular, we are generally seeing wider tails. Why is this?
I think tails have not become wider, tails have been cut off from the back. Then you have to think what this bit of tail does. It helps planing since it is a bit of planing area, it helps preventing tail walking-nose dancing up and down, it gives drive and helps against stalling when there is less power in the sail. It gives grip in a turn. Without that bit of tail you can turn tighter and the board runs more free. It becomes more technical.
4. Fin configuration – where are we up to? Please briefly describe in your opinion the strengths and weaknesses of each: single, twin, tri, quad.
Single: fastest, smallest windrange, less up wind, less turning, less control
5. Do you think all of these fin configurations will continue to be offered or do you think that with time it will narrow down to one or two styles? If so, which ones?
2 styles: single and trifin
6. Some brands are now producing boards with 5 boxes to give the rider ultimate choice of fin configuration, whereas other brands believe a board needs to be designed around its fin configuration, so offer only one option. What are your thoughts on this?
With a trifin (providing it is set up correctly) you adjust it enough to cover everything and still be better all over in any of these settings.
7. What are your thoughts on the new wider style waveboards such as the Starboard Blackbox and the Simmer Frugal? What purpose do they serve? Are they a niche or a new direction?
As described above with the cut off tail, I think they are more a niche. We tried it with a board and we lost more than we gained. So unless the improvements are more important then the downsides, there is not much point. I have made some tuned down (or better said less extreme) versions which we are testing. It seems like the wide nose is sticking a bit so try to make the nose a bit narrower to have a shorter rail line for tighter turning.
8. With 5 batten, 4 batten and now even 3 batten wave sails on the market, how much effect does the sail style have on how the board performs and can you describe briefly why this is?
I can´t really say. I always think that if a sail has more back or front hand pull, your harness lines are not placed correct. To go forwards a sail needs to pull forward.
9. With the increasing cost of materials, are board constructions still improving, or is it just a case of keeping costs at bay these days? What new materials are we likely to see in the future?
I do not find material costs are increasing that much. Some stuff has gone cheaper, some more expensive. Wages are also increasing slowly.
10. One of the biggest improvements we have seen over the past 5 years is the increase in range that boards are offering eg Freewave boards that can now turn nearly as well as wave boards, but still have great speed and wave boards that can be used through much bigger wind ranges. With this in mind, why are we not really seeing a decrease in the number of models offered by the brands?
In reality, shape possibilities are endless. Making custom boards, we still get people who will want something in between one range and another, or between one size and another. Since we produce by CNC without mold costs per size and we make to order, we can offer more sizes and ranges even if for some sizes we would only sell a few.
12. Looking into your crystal ball, what would you say the next 5 years have in store for wave boards?
If I´d know, I would do it allready and I would not inform my competition here first before having it out on the market…..