Wakeboard Sidecuts: 3 Designs & The Affect On Your Riding

Abby Delgoff Using Sidecut

Four ‘Parts’ Of A Wakeboard

The word board in ‘boardsports’ generally defines a rider as standing sideways on a board. Obviously a board is typically longer than it is wide. This lends itself to the board having 4 main ‘parts’. Those 4 parts are a nose, tail and two sides. These parts weren’t invented, it’s just how surfers naturally learned to float and balance best when they were riding logs into big waves centuries ago. The shape of one of the parts of the board, the sides, is referred to as a sidecut. In this article I want to talk about the wakeboard design aspect that has been neglected in wakeboarding, the sidecut.

Here’s the thing- the sidecut of a board greatly factors into how a board rides. Actually, much more so than other design factors frequently marketed. First, let’s start with a simple analogy to help wrap your head around the definition of a wakeboard sidecut.

What Are Wakeboard Sidecuts?

 Let’s imagine the perimeter shape of the board. It has a distinct shape and each board is cut out with the same perimeter shape. On the longer sides of this perimeter shape [the sides of the board], you have the sidecut shape of the board. Most wakeboarders don’t really pay much attention to the details of this sidecut shape. They visualize a shape more by the overall perimeter shape rather than the details of each section of the perimeter shape. But this is why it’s important to pay attention to the details! It improves your understanding and leads to quicker progression.

Ok, moving a bit deeper, sidecut shapes can be broken down into three sections much like board rocker. Sometimes there are no ‘sections’ of the sidecut because it’s  designed with one smooth arc from nose to the tail. Think about this single sidecut arc like cutting a section of a large circle out and pasting it on the side of the board. No hard angles or sections exist within the sidecut sections. As I said, it’s just one smooth arc from nose corner to tail corner on that side. This would be like a single section sidecut.

The Single Section Sidecut

Wakeboard Design Sidecut - Single-Section

Randall Harris’ Circus Pro Series board is a great example of this type of single section sidecut in action on a boat specific wakeboard. The single side of the board has a radius that measures 125.42 inches (3.1856 meters). It’s one sidecut section of a circle that allows the board to roll through turns smoothly. This prevents any weird wobbles as the board transitions from riding flat to edging in towards the wake. This makes the board feel really fast.

I designed this arc shape from the center width of the board and taper to a slightly narrower nose and tail. This tail would then sit lower in the water and allow Randall to build really aggressive edges to fit his “go as big as possible on everything” style of riding.


The Multi-Section Sidecut


Wakeboard Design Sidecut - Multi-Section

Next, let’s discuss the multi-sectional sidecut shape. These sidecuts are typically designed by using a combination of different lengths of arcs (usually 3). A good example of multi-sectional sidecut at work is the sidecut shape on our Oracle Crossover wakeboard. On the Oracle, I used a combination of two arcs and a straight line to give this board a very distinct sidecut shape.  This is for a very specific function when riding on the water.

Middle Section

The middle section of the sidecut is a straight line. When the rider is not turning [the board is riding flat on the base], the sidecut will make the board ride very stable. The board will also rely on less fin tracking to do so. This straighter middle section of the Oracle sidecut also helps the board lock into an edge when turning.  The board wants to fall into this straighter section of the sidecut after initiating a turn. It feels a bit like a magnet holding your edge, instead of having to position it where you want it. This is very helpful for riders who struggle with the correct board position for toeside edging and approaches.

Nose and Tail Section

The nose and tail sections of the Oracle still give the board smooth turn initiation by tapering its arc. This arc shape is designed more abruptly toward the nose and tail rather than designing a flat arc. This will increase the board’s volume so that the pop off the wake is more abrupt. If the nose and tail arc was tapered more flat, the sidecut would be narrower. This decreases the volume of the nose and tail which decreases the pop. This would also make the board sit lower in the water. When the board sits lower, it will edge better through the wake for an edgier type of pop.

It’s amazing how you can subtly change just one small arc shape section of a board and completely change how the board edges and pops off the water.

The Bi-Section Sidecut

Wakeboard Design sidecut - bi-sectional

So, we’ve talked about multi-sectional sidecuts that use a combination of arcs and also single section sidecuts that use only one arc from nose to tail. But there is one more sidecut! It is called a bi-sectional sidecut, using only two arcs. We define it as bi-sectional because the two arcs join in the middle and are continuous to a tangent point in the middle of the board. The Mitch Langfield Pro Series park board is a good example of this type of bi-sectional sidecut.

On the Langfield Pro there are two sections because I’ve designed two arcs. The reason I use two arcs is to allow the control of the curvature of the arcs on the ends of the board. Controlling this dictates the volume and taper of the nose and tail sections which dramatically affects how the board rides. If the arc is pulled towards the end of the board, the tail is more round so the board sits higher in the water. This translates into a more loose & playful feel on the water. That forces the rider to turn a bit more slowly. If the arc is pushed more towards the center of the board,  the tail is less round which makes the board sit lower in the water for a more aggressive turning board. In short, two arcs joined in the center, a bi-sectional sidecut, allow better control of the sidecut shape without the need to add an additional center section.

Find Your Ideal Sidecut

So there you have it! Three very distinct examples of sidecuts outlined for you along with why this affects how the board rides out on the water. Remember, all these sidecut designs are affected by the overall width of the board and the width of the nose and tail of the board. Now as you browse through our line of wakeboards you will notice the differences in these sidecuts. They can help you choose which is best suited for your style of riding.

If you still have questions and need our help directing you toward the setup that works best for you and your style of riding, check out our H+ subscription program and gain direct access to me or one of our H+ pros.