Developing and manufacturing a superior wakeboard takes a lot of time, energy and experience. The process is not at all “cut and dried.” Instead, it is equal parts art and engineering. Here is just a broad overview of the process.
The Mold – Creating the perfect mold is a long and laborious process but is essential as it defines the characteristics of the finished board. Trial and error informs every aspect of this part of the process. Once the mold is complete, the actual manufacture of the wakeboard can begin.
Injecting the Foam – A two-part, resin polymer forms the core of most quality wakeboards. Each material is injected separately into the mold but upon “mixing and fixing,” the two chemicals bind to each other and form a remarkably solid but flexible basis around which the rest of the board can be built.
Rough Prep – As one would expect, there are quite a few rough edges on a resin-cast wake board. There are no machines currently capable of finishing the process, so all superior wake boards are hand finished. The first step is to remove the excess resin that has leaked out of the mold and to fill any extraneous holes. The surface of the foam core board is then sandblasted to prepare it for the next stage of construction.
Adding the Fiberglass – Sheets of fiberglass are then cut in specific patterns. These sheets are then laid on top of each other and coated in resin. The accumulation of multiple sheets – sometimes as many as fifty – builds up a specific “profile” that will later be added to the board. It is this profile that gives each wakeboard its particular surfing characteristics.
Including the Graphics – An essential detail for the manufacturer is to advertise their product by including name recognition on the board. A thin layer of plastic with the name of the manufacturer and some aesthetic elements are now laminated onto the surface of the board.
Molding the Board – In this step, the foam core, the fiberglass sheets and the graphics are all combined while the board is given its final shape. Once the individual elements are combined, a little bit of heat and a little bit of pressure creates the final shape of the board.
Finishing the Board – The rest of the wake board building process entails multiple repetitions of sanding, buffing and polishing. It is not unlike waxing a car but takes a lot more skill and experience. The next time you ride one of these beauties, don’t forget to consider the time and effort that went into its creation.