Happy Thanksgiving! Maybe thanksgiving is not the best day to release a video, but it took us a few days to get the video and audio edited the way we wanted it. I have been so excited to share this with the wakesurfing community that I just can't wait....
When we started wake9 as a family we had several goals we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to promote wakesurfing as a sport the entire family can enjoy, and we wanted to help educate people about how to do it safely. Most still viewed wakesurfing as something you do when the water gets rough or when you are done with a killer wakeboard session. I always felt that if more famlies got involved, it would really grow the sport because it seemed to me that wakesurfing would appeal to both the young folks like my kids but definitely to older guys in my demographic that could do it without hurting themselves. These guys, unlike a 20 something wakeboarder, are also the guys with the $$ to go buy a boat. Seemed to me wakesurfing could really become extremely important to wake boat manufacturers when they started to see that. So one of our other goals was to see a boat actually engineered specifically for wakesurfing. We wanted to see a boat engineered to make the best wakesurf wake possible, and a loftier part of that goal was to actually be a part of that process in some way, to have a contribution. That is what this blog post is about.
A couple of months ago in September Tige asked us if we would like to play with a brand new boat they were building, the 2012 Tige Z3. At wake9 there is nothing more fun that playing with a new shiny boat, and the pictures we saw of the Z3 really piqued our interest. The boat was gorgeous, and it was rumored that it was designed to replace the aging Ve line. We loved our 24Ve and even though it took a ton of weight, it made an amazing wake. We also loved our previous RZ2, but it should was nice to get back in the cockpit of a roomy 24 foot boat. Our family is large and we are always hosting. The plan was to take a black and green Z3 brochure boat and drive it from Texas to us, but make stops and dealers and the Tige Owners reunion in Las Vegas. Ben Pigeon was driving and we were very excited. We made a trip to the World Wakesurfing event in Parker AZ and then stopped for a day at the Tige owners reunion to meet with folks, give them rides on the 24Ve, and take a peak at the new Z3. It was gorgeous, and we couldn't WAIT to see this thing surf.
These pictures are of that first prototype brochure boat and taken at Lake Mead during the Tige Owners reunion.]
We didn't get a chance to ride in the Z3 at all at the event because we spent the entire time towing with the 24Ve. One of the guys while we were riding took us aside and said they threw some sacs in the Z3 to surf with it and had trouble making a decent wakesurf wave, and he hoped I would have better luck. I didn't think much of it, sometimes its hard to find a boats sweet spot.
The boat made it to us just a few days after that and we planned a day trip with sacs and lead and invited our buddy Dennis Horton to help. Dennis is great because he is the perfect wake tester. His size and weight and wake snobbishness make him perfect. RJ can ride just about anything, but Dennis needs a good wake with lots of push and a smooth transition to ride behind. We weighted the boat with every configuration we could think of. We tested with just the stock setup and then went from there, different list angles, you name it. It surfed, but it definitely had issues. It was not as good as the RZ2 or the 24Ve. The plan was for us to take this boat, buy it to replace the RZ2 and surf all year with it. It was to also tow our West Coast Open event. The wake was not good enough to tow a comp or for us to host all the other wake snobs we had helped create. ;-) It was very difficult because we felt bad but we gave Tige detailed and honest feedback. The boat can surf recreationally, but its not at the par of the RZ2. This was also difficult because the new Z3 interior was the best I have seen. I can say without hesitation that every member of my family felt the Z3 was the most comfortable boat we had ever been in. It also felt so safe, the rub rail was higher than normal and you didn't feel anywhere near the water when weighted down. My wife was particularly frustrated with me that I would send this boat back, just cause it didn't surf as well.
We had no idea where it would go from there, but I started to get pictures and videos of some testing. This Z3 was not final production, but in order to make it better, it would require significant hull changes which I knew would have to be SUPER expensive for any boat company. So we decide to give an RZ4 a try and Tige allowed us to use another brochure boat to see if we liked it and if it could meet our needs. I know, tough life, huh? The RZ4 has been great, and we will be putting out some great video and pics. SO MUCH room.
So in late October something happens that I don't expect. Danny Gutierrez from Tige (he is the designer of the boats) gets on iChat with me and asks me to look at a video of Dominic Legace surfing. I look at it and the wake looks great but doesn't look like the RZ2 or the 24Ve. I ask what it is and he says its the Z3. My first reaction was one of shock and I was sick to my stomach. My first thought was that they found a setup for the boat that we missed and I felt like a fool. We REALLY tried hard to weight every combination we could think of and never saw this beautiful long wake with such a smooth transition. Then Danny tells me that the actually took the boat back and decided that they didn't want the Z3 to be an OK recreational surf boat. They wanted it to be a badass wakeboard and wakesurf boat. They had spent hundreds of hours cutting and altering a hull to get it right. They wanted RJ and I to fly down to Texas to see for ourselves and also to give our input if any other changes were needed, or sign off so they could go back into production. They had held up on Z3 production this entire time! Well, they didn't have to ask us twice. We always wanted to take a trick to the Tige factory someday, and this was a great reason to jump on a plane. So I called my buddy Dennis because we can't test a boat without him. We packed up our camera gear and such and headed out for the 16-18 of November. RJ, Maddie, Dennis and I were extremely excited to see how the new Z3 was going to work. Dennis and I were giddy, because we had both dreamed of some day seeing a boat get manufactured with wakesurfing as a priority.
So we get there and meet everyone and take a tour with Charlie Pigeon (owner/founder), Danny, and Rick Correll (President). What an amazing place. That factory tour was cool, but we will blog about that in the future. The best part of the tour was that they took us to the "skunk works". There was this large room that was closed off from the rest of the factory that a normal tour does not include. I was not allowed to take any pictures or video, and I cannot even speak of details. But I will say this; I saw in that room something that was both incredibly sexy and incredibly ugly at the same time. I actually said that out loud and I heard someone retort, "You just described my Ex-wife". That was funny, that person shall remain nameless. ;-) What I saw was a test rig that was built for testing wakes. Dude, I SO wish I could have taken pictures and posted it. Any one reading this that is a tinkerer with wakes would have immediately seen the beauty of it. I believe Duffy Mahoney would have got inside, asked for a pillow and a six pack and never leave. He would have been home.
So now it was time to test the new improved Z3. We went outside the factory and they had 2 boats waiting for us. The Z3 we had returned had been altered/cut/bondoed and then a RZ2 for chase. There was 25 MPH winds a blowing and it was like 50 degrees. It was cold for us Texans and Californians. It wasn't cold enough or windy enough to keep us from testing, and Tige was just as excited. Everyone was there, and even Charlie was bundled up and rode in the chase boat with Maddie. We all went to the lake.
I know I have been going on for some time here, but the story doesn't yet have that storybook happy ending. The wake was very good, it was SO much better than it was before, but it still wasn't at least as good as the RZ2 wake. We met with Tige in the AM and told them again, our honest and detailed feedback. They were disappointed but had another card to turn over. Tige's commitment to this was extraordinary. They test hull changes on the test rig and see how it works, but then know that unless that works on a real boat off the line it isn't a proper test. So they test on the rig, build a boat and test it. If needed, rinse and repeat. They said they made some additional changes beyond what we tested that they think will do the trick based on their testing on the rig. If we come back tomorrow they will have a boat ready enough off the line to test with these new changes. I asked about what the changes were and one of them I was very excited about. There was a attribute of the hull that I had wondered if it would help move the curl up and back and make a smoother transition. The new boat had this alteration I was thinking about and so we got excited, again. The weather on Saturday also should be a bit less windy (15-20mph) and warmer in the 70s.
So we head down to San Angelo for the night to have dinner with our friends, the Kinseys. Dude, huge Texas ribeye and homemade beans. You wouldn't have wanted to share a room with us that night, but it was some serious good eats with amazing Kinsey hospitality. We head to Tige in the AM and we are all both very excited and very nervous. What if this boat isn't as good as the RZ2 also? Where do we go from there? We were humbled by Tige's commitment to wakesurfing but at the same time wanted something that set the bar even higher.
It was still windy, but not as bad and it was and it was like 75 degrees. We first tried the boat stock. Keep in mind the Z3 pro ballast system will have 2300 lbs of ballast. This boat has only 2000. The rear sacs and hard tanks made only 600 in each corner, vs 750 in the system. They used the older sacs because they just didn't have the newer ones in yet. We filled up the goofy side rear, all up front and then just filled the 250 hard tank on the port rear. Thats about 1650 of water plus people. The wake was great. This boat was engineered to make a great wake at a small amount of list, only about 7 degs. It is safer that way, and you won't ever be pulled over because you look like you are sinking. On top of that tige raised the rub rail about 4.5 inches higher than it was on the 24Ve. This boat has some serious freeboard. At this weight, with Dennis and I on the side also, the rub rail was a good 7 inches from the water.
So then we filled up the port rear all the way, and added a 400 lb sac under my seat, 2400 lbs of water. The wake was amazing. I could go on and on, but how about some video? This video was taken right as we got off the lake on Saturday when we returned to the factory. We had to leave to get out of town and didn't have time to pull the boat in the factory and do the interview in a quiet place. So the audio is dealing with wind and cars from the highway, but you can hear us well. I wanted to capture how we felt after this long ordeal. We were excited, and had so much fun and you can see it. After talk a bit, there is video of the actual wake using the new GoPro HD Hero2 camera. Amazing quality bump, you will see it. Also, we are now starting to master our videos in 1080P, so go ahead and watch in full screen. You may want to wait til after I am off camera to go to full screen 1080P. ;-)
<iframe width="832" height="496" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/bGQjpivMcy8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
We are going to post much more video and images over the next several months. We will be featuring this boat at our West Coast Open and other events we may do. You don't need to take my word for it, come on down to oroville and we will be happy to give you a ride and you can see for yourself.
The sport is growing, the game is changing. I believe we will be seeing more of this from Tige and from others. I believe the Z3 is the first boat that has been engineered to surf and make a great wake. You may still prefer another, and that is cool, but you have to appreciate the commitment this took. We felt privileged to have a contribution.
Can't wait to get our new Z3. It had a wake better than the RZ2 (in our opinion) yet was EASIER to weight. It has the room of the 24Ve but with the new interiror design and doesn’t need to be listed over or slammed to make a good wake. More to come...
Great story and fabulous outcome.
Very cool! I really like the look of the Z3. I was going to test drive one before I bought the new Enzo 244, but I had heard bad things about the surf wave. I am glad they got it figured out.
Y, I really like the looks also. The RZ2 is great, but I have never been a huge fan of the pickle forks, just preference. I think the Z3 is going to make the list of world class wakesurf boat, can't wait to get some real time with it.
I got a chance to organize and put up several photos on Flickr today...
[NOTE: RJ corrected me that when we added 400 lb sac under my seat, we only got maybe 300-350 lbs of water in it. So the OVER stock setup is about 2350 lbs with me in corner.]
Here is dennis at taps 2 or so, stock ballast, and you can see that long wake with the skim table top shape.
IMG_8022 by wake9, on Flickr
Here is a good one of Dennis, this is now at the 2350 lb setup, taps at I think 3, and you can see the smooth transition.
IMG_8064 by wake9, on Flickr
Dennis hanging out at the back at 2350 setup. He had more room to go if he wanted. You can ask him about the push.
IMG_8122 by wake9, on Flickr
One more of Dennis. This was a funny pic, he can't wait to get more time and try a bunch more 360s. He said when he threw his 360, it just spun him around much faster than he expected. You can see the look on his face, and he yelled "whoa".
IMG_8157 by wake9, on Flickr
RJ had the same exact thing to say about throwing the 360.
IMG_8400 by wake9, on Flickr
RJ couldn't get over the combination of the push, length, and position of the curl that he felt gave him TONS of room.
IMG_8268 by wake9, on Flickr
And a couple of RJ boosting, remember the water was like 60, it was cold. Side story that RJ didn't want to test the boat without his beloved Soulcraft, he really does love that board. So Jeff Wahlers really stepped up to get us the board to Texas to replace RJs broken board. Thanks Jeff!
IMG_8237 by wake9, on Flickr
IMG_8326 by wake9, on Flickr
All of the video was taken at 720P60 wide, which is the same as all the go pro shots we always take, and the photos were taken on our Canon 60D with 18-200 lens, almost all at focal length of 18, same as we have been taking recently at the polar bear event and recent outings on 24Ve.
Look forward to when we get to dial it in more, have no wind, and blue water.
sounds like a dream...so jealous!
Speaking of Wakesurfing History,
here's a link to a short clip about wakesurfing folks may find interesting
A guy from the Daytona, Fl PBS station is supposedly putting together a documentary about watersports called "Boards On The Water", and this is a sampling of the wakesurfing Segment.
Some great surfers on here!
not to hi jack, I'll take 43 for the Supreme (2011, 125 hrs) in the video, free shiping up to 1500 miles
Don't forget to give a cut to the chase boat :)
I'll have to take RJ's word that the wake is better then anything else he has surfed but, it really doesn't look any longer or bigger then some of the good wakes I've seen. Photos of a wake can be very deceptive.
Moreover, TAPS is nothing other then a trim tab that changes the attitude of the boat in the water. It's not some miracle device that is only used by Tige.
None the less, thanks for the write up, Robert.
Robert love the pic of RJ boosting.I heard rumor that Jeff at soulcraft really stepped up and made a board for RJ and Jimmy sparling for the event in four days any truth to that??if so he must have burned some serious midnight oil LOL
@h20 I don't know if it was 4 days, but it was pretty darn fast, def within a week. Basically, I emailed Jeff and let him know we were going to be doing something kind of exciting, that I couldn't really talk about. I told him that RJ REALLY wanted to be using his Soulcraft board for this "thing" and could he help? Because RJ had just broke his older Soulcraft board for that 4 board review he did. RJ is really tough on boards and Jeff is really working to make a great performance board and pushing the envelope. I think Jeff likes the fact that he can test the boards on RJ and see how they hold up. Either that or when he hears we broke it, he curses our name. ;-) Jeff didn't even hesitate, he just said he was on it, and he shipped 2 boards, yes 2, to Texas for us for this testing of the Z3. RJ wanted to be using a familiar board for the test, and he really does love his Soulcraft. You have to know RJ to appreciate that, he is a funny kid. If you have been on the boat, or ever taken him out, you will know that he is so happy to surf, he will tell you "thanks so much for taking me surfing today" every time you come around to pick him up. He even does that with me. Gotta love the boy. Rick Correll was driving for him while testing, and he was laughing because RJ was freezing, but having so much fun, he kept thanking him.
Anyway, Jeff made RJ a new board, like his older one with some minor tweaks, and then sent him a board that I think is for Sparling, with the fang tail. He loved em both, I think he liked the sparling fang tail a bit better. The fang tail was a 4.8, and probably better sized for RJ, and his is a 4.10. Due to conditions, didn't get to really compare in Texas, and when we got back, we had those horrible winds. But we just went out on Saturday, Dennis came out with us and RJ finally tried out his drysuit. RJ said he liked the fangtail rail to rail speed better a bit, and also felt he had more control on the fangtail rails. The swallow tail had better down the line speed, but it is also 2 inches longer, and so that may be the reason for the speed. Not to say the actual tail is what made the difference, that is just how I am distinguishing the boards from each other. Jeff could probably say more to the differences in the boards. RJ really does love em.
We are going to be posting a full review of this RZ4 and the boards, but here are some pics. The setup on the RZ4 was as follows:
Fill up everything stock, pro system, about 2000 lbs, then add weight to goofy corner and under seat to get the list at rest to about 9 degrees. We found the RZ4 weights very different to the RZ2 and the 24Ve. Both of them don't like any or much weight at all on the opposite side. When you have weight on the opposite side with those, the wake washes out some. The wake on the RZ4 was great, but not quite as good as the RZ2 or 24Ve. Mainly the RZ4 wake is a bit more touchy, not quite the push of the RZ2, but very close, and RJ just liked the shape of the RZ2 a bit more. But at this setup he really liked the wake.
Oops, need to clarify something. The RZ4 wake is better than the stock 24Ve. Above I am comparing to our modified 24Ve with monster weight. The 24Ve didn't have good push until that monster setup. The RZ4 had good push with several setups, but the above setup was the best we have done.'
From a family perspective, or perspective of surfing with buddies, this is an amazing boat, its HUGE. Add to that that it likes weight on both sides, and you can put hide all your weight and have people all over and still make a great wake, that is a big plus to me. Also, at 9 degrees list at rest, it doesn't look like your sinking. I have to measure what we do on the 24Ve, but it has to be 15-20 degrees. Its pretty nuts. This was totally safe in my opinion. So here is a picture of the wake with RJ near the back, but not all the way back.
IMG_8457 by wake9, on Flickr
Here is a good one of RJ on the fangtail.
IMG_8476 by wake9, on Flickr
Another, the sun in the afternoon made a cool pic.
IMG_8488 by wake9, on Flickr
And another ...
IMG_8506 by wake9, on Flickr
Good picture of him on the rail..
IMG_8507 by wake9, on Flickr
I love this one, I think this is my favorite, you can really see the logo, and the definition of the fangs on the tail with the better lighting.
IMG_8529 by wake9, on Flickr
Man, this is a good one too...
IMG_8560 by wake9, on Flickr
Combination of the board and the great wake, RJ rode this out, without any kinking of the boat. Maddie was driving, and we have no mirror on this boat yet, so she couldn't see behind. RJ pumped this out.
IMG_8562 by wake9, on Flickr
Here is one with the Swallow tail. He didn't ride this as much, it was cold and dennis needed to ride, and he was going to have much more time on this one.
IMG_8766 by wake9, on Flickr
Gotta give props to Maddie for getting out there. It was 56 air and 53 water.
IMG_8636 by wake9, on Flickr
Dennis was actually able to ride the Swallow tail 4.10, but had to stay very close to the boat.
IMG_8780 by wake9, on Flickr
Dennis old board.
IMG_8872 by wake9, on Flickr
Good pic, but D didn't ride this out. He was having trouble with suit, booties, and old board. Not sure if he would have road it out with his Goofy board he had in Texas.
IMG_8847 by wake9, on Flickr
I think that is the last ride on the RZ4. Great boat, so much room, but we can't wait for the new Z3. The Fangtail is going back to Soulcraft, but RJ will be riding his Swallow Tail much more. I am guessing he may opt for a Fangtail in his future. ;-)
(BTW, something tells me I know you or have met you, but I forget screen names all the time and I am an idiot sometimes when it comes to remembering that stuff. So remind me if we have met. ;-) )
The context is that it was windy and not much more than stock weight for one. RJ and Dennis took those facts into account. I mean, I am sure neither of them would say that that wake was the best period, even with those conditions. But RJ and Dennis both said the wake had ridiculous amounts of push. RJ's words to me just now were, "the push was addicting, and I just wanted to keep playing in it." It was funny because RJs final ride was the last one, and Dennis and RJ already made it clear that this boat was a winner. But RJ fell and just wanted to keep riding. I had all the pictures and video that I needed, but he wanted to keep going. I turned to Rick who was driving and told him that we were done, RJ was just having fun now, and he could tell him to come in any time. RJ was thanking Rich on every turn around, and Rick was just getting a kick out of it, and kept going. It wasn't just the push, the shape was exactly what he liked, and we could adjust it steeper and it didn't shorten. That was new, we have never seen that before. It kept the lengthen even when steepening, and it kept its push, even when shallowing. Dennis was the same way. They forgot the rope at the factory and they found just this T handle thing that Dennis could barely get up on, but he said he wanted to keep riding, it was so much fun. Same thing, the push was ridiculous, he said. And at stock weight with taps down to shallow wake, he rode in the back without issue. I was laughing at the look on his face, but with the sun behind him it didn't really come out in the pics. He was pretty surprised.
Also to add to the context, keep in mind that we had turned down 2 boats before this. This was the 3rd prototype and we informed Tige as kindly as possible that the first 2 we could not tow our event with it. Also a fun fact to this story, Tige didn't tell us there was a 3rd boat til the morning after our test of the 2nd boat. We felt really bad that the 2nd boat still wasn't quite "competition level". But they said they had another prototype that we could try with several other just done changes. Now, we have been to many comps where the wake wasn't so great, so when I say competition level wake, that is the standard Dennis and I have set for our own events. We made a pact when we decided to research doing our own event. The pact was that we would NOT do the event if we didn't have a great wake on both sides, and we would not do the event if we could not find a venue where we could control the water/course to prevent boat chop. The Sanger 237 through a good enough wake, the Enzo if we had a reg and right surf boat, the RZ2, the Supreme V226, probably a couple more, but that was how high we set the standard for ourselves. If we couldn't get that done, then no reason to go through the effort.
That said, the Z3 fits in there, we all agreed this boat could tow our event. Also, you won't have to take our word for it. You can make your own judgement by coming to the West Coast Open in May, or coming to our polar bear event, or just flying/driving down to surf with us. We love sharing! Come on up, or down, wherever you are.
Lastly, about the TAPS. I agree, the TAPS plate is just a trim tab. But in combination with the convex V hull, is where I think the "magic" so to speak happens. If you put the taps all the way up and hit it, the boat won't plane. Its a non-planing hull. Many other boats the trim tab is an option. The boat works without it fine, but add it for the ability to adjust some prop wash, or get some fine adjustment to shape. The Tiges with the convex V hull doesn't work without the taps, it won't plane, it will just ride bow high due to the fact that it lacks a hook at the back of the hull that other boats have. What that means is that when you put the taps up, you actually feel the rear of the boat sink down in the water more, and the wake gets bigger and steeper, and then the opposite when you put the taps down. You can see in the video I posted that we put that white line to see the wake get 5 or 6 inches in height.
I can't find any real good pics of other hull bottoms, but I have gotten down and looked at many, but I do have some good pics from the Tige Factory (they gave us a tour) of hulls at different stages of builds. Tige goes through the expense of using special mounts for the hulls and entire boats that allow them to rotate the boats along the horizontal access so they can put the boats/hulls upside down or on there side. Here is boat upside down and you can really see what I mean by convex v or non-planing.
IMG_7455 by wake9, on Flickr
IMG_7450 by wake9, on Flickr
But this one of the hull while still inside the mold, and you are seeing the outside of the mold, but you can really see the convex v all the way to the back.
IMG_7423 by wake9, on Flickr
Here are some other cool hull pics:
Here is the inside of a hull while still in the mold and rotated on its side, in this setup, it looks like a ship, not a boat. HUGE.
IMG_7391 by wake9, on Flickr
Here is a pic of a hull as it is being removed from the mold.
IMG_7433 by wake9, on Flickr
Now this is really cool, because you can see some detail work for the graphics/gel coat, and you can imagine how hard this would be if the boat was NOT on its side. Rotating the hulls as they do as far as I know is only done by Tige, but I could be wrong on that. Pretty cool.
IMG_7421 by wake9, on Flickr
IMG_7422 by wake9, on Flickr
More pics here:
Anyway, if you look at the bottom of other hulls you will most likely see the hook towards the back of the hull which provides lift and allows the boat to plane. So the combination of TAPS and the convex v hull do something that together that others don't. Doesn't mean another boat can't also make an amazing wake, but we are really looking for maximum adjustability. I don't just want a boat that makes a great wake on both sides, but also adjustable from shallow to steep to appeal to surf and skim style on the same boat. We thoroughly explained that to Tige and showed them how the 24Ve adjusted more than the RZ2/RZ4, and told them how the RZ2 appealed more to surf style riders and not so much skim riders. We even showed them video that illustrated our point. They listened and went to GREAT expense to achieve it. The Z3 adjusted more than any other boat we have seen. When it gets warmer, we will show it off. Feel free to join us.
@ Robert - " i think that is the last ride on the rz4 " ........ aww arrrrrggggg eeeeek ...... what a shame!!! Rob really owes me big time now!!
Yeah, sorry about that Frank, I know you really liked the RZ4 wake. We even got it a bit better than it was that day, it was really nice this last Saturday. I would have invited you on Saturday but it was COLD and I honestly was afraid of what your nipples would do at that temperature. Could'a poked someones eye out for good or something. ;-)
so yall are gonna have the z3 for next year at your house?
Yes, not sure when yet, but will find out soon. The worst case would be early spring.
Robert great pics.Would love to hear a complete review on the fang tail.I just had one made for my wife and I want one bad.We are looking foreword to the west coast open just waiting for you to post the details.
We are going to be holding on to the fangtail instead of sending it back, RJ is pretty stoked about that, he really liked it. Not sure when we are going to get more time on it, though.
The West Coast Open is the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, we have pretty much locked that down every year, and will be at Camp Far West again. More details coming after the holidays!
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