Yes, I'm talking about a boat in the general wakeboarding section. It's good to be the king!
It seems like a lifetime since I stood in the Tige Boats
booth at Surf Expo salivating in front of their 2012 Z3. I was like a kid in a candy store as I rifled through every compartment and took pictures of every nook and cranny of this brand new Tige model
. Since I had just spoken to Tige’s marketing director, Daniel Gutierrez, about the future production and delivery of WakeWorld’s very own Tige Z3, they had a tough time getting me out of the booth when the show’s closing time rolled around.
Tige spent a little more time in this fall tweaking the hull of the Z3 to make sure they got it just right before unleashing it on the public. Those extra few months were excruciating, but now that the fine folks at Tige are sending me photos of our boat’s first days in production, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Those of you that have been following our quest have probably happened upon the thread in which we asked for your help in determining the design for the exterior and interior of our new ride (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=790346
). Dan Balich (PLR) provided the best-looking design, in my humble opinion, so he was awarded some WakeWorld clothing for his efforts. Since our tow vehicle is silver, we ended up settling on a silver and black color scheme that would make any Raider fan giddy with excitement! In fact, the boys over at Boatmate
even went so far as to hook us up with tires and rims for our truck so that it matches just perfectly with the trailer that they generously pimped out (more on that later).
So without further ado, let’s get started with this build…
Prep and Gelcoat
My first reaction was that red was definitely the wrong color, but that’s actually the mold you’re looking at in this photo. It’s the mold for just the bottom half of the boat. The top half, or deck half, is a separate mold (see second photo). The surface of the molds are slick just like the outside gelcoat of a boat. In fact, they clean and wax the surface of each mold after each use to make sure it’s super clean for each boat build.
They build the boat from the outside in, so the first thing that goes into the mold is the outside gelcoat. They spray the colors in layers by first taping off the areas that won’t be getting hit with the main gelcoat color. Once they spray that in and it dries, they pull some of the taping off and hit the recently exposed section with the next color. They repeat the process until all the gelcoat colors/layers have been shot. Then they do it again with the deck half of the mold (although there are usually fewer or just one color). When they’re done shooting the gelcoat into the mold, it looks like they’ve only shot one color, but you’ll see how the layers turn out once they pull it from the mold.
If they try to pull the gelcoat out of the mold at this point, they’re going to have a mess on their hands because there is no structural strength to the boat hull or deck just yet. That’s where lamination comes in. They hand-lay several layers of fiberglass onto the gelcoat to build the hull and deck. This job looks like a complete pain in the butt because they have to use sprayers, rollers and squeegies to get resin on every square inch of fiberglass and make sure it’s all laid down perfectly with no gaps or bubbles. At least they’ve got those cool racks on which the hull sits so that they can tilt the whole thing and make it easier to work on.
After all the fiberglass is laid, they drop the Tige Lifeplus Core Stringer System into the hull. This one-piece stringer is made of high-density closed-cell foam and fits like a puzzle piece into the bottom of the hull and provides a sturdy foundation for the hull. It’s also supposed to suppress noise and give the boat a more solid overall feel. They must be really confident in the way they build these bad boys because they offer a lifetime replacement warranty on composite hull construction!
After the installation of the engine mount beams and floor systems, they get the satisfaction of pulling the hull and deck from their molds and seeing the beautiful gelcoat that will grace the outside of the boat. You can’t really see it in these photos, but we opted for Tige’s optional pearl metallic finish for all the colors on the boat, so it should have a little twinkle to it when we get it in the sun.
Scroll down a few beats to see the next update of the WakeWorld Tige Z3 build...