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Kiteboards: Carbon Vs Wood - Versus w/Rygo Ep 10

Posted by Rygo on

Part three in our kiteboard comparison series.

Wood and fiberglass boards. 

These tend to be heavier but more, durable, and damp. What I mean by damp is that they absorb the vibrations from chop much better than their carbon counterparts. This means you’re going to have a more comfortable ride even in those locations with choppier water.

The response and feel of the boards is obviously going to vary from brand to brand and model to model however, there are some basic concepts to consider. With the wood & fiberglass boards, you’re going to get a more predictable and gradual response from the board. With Carbon, you’ll get a more immediate and aggressive response and feel. Again, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this but these are the basics.

Regarding the flex and stiffness, we talked a little last week how the stiffer the board, the more pop your going to get. Now, with the wood and fiberglass boards, a stiffer board will require a thicker core or more glass. Naturally the stiffer these boards get, the heavier they get.

Jake M from the shop throws a front roll with a steazy Stalefish grab on the 2018 Cabrinha Xcal Wood

Riders who prefer to ride boots and riders who are hard on their gear often gravitate towards boards like this. The entire slingshot line up is a good example of high performance wood boards. I really fell in love with these in 2015 when I started experimenting with gear and they remain amongst my favorites even to this day. In 2018 Cabrinha has a couple of options where you can get the same board in carbon or wood. Depending on what you’re looking for in your ride.

A lot of the principles in this video will apply to that line up however, there are other things to consider and I’ll make a point to test these and do a proper comparison as soon as possible.

Carbon Boards 

What about Carbon boards? Where do they stack up. Again, it varies, some brands have experimented with implementing carbon into the board in different ways. From layering, to rods, you name it.

With these boards, you can expect a lighter feel, more pop and as I said, an immediate and aggressive response. Making them incredibly high performance. However, remember you will feel the vibrations from the chop significantly more in these boards.There are ways to dampen by implementing other materials into the board sometimes this can increase the weight. These boards, as I said are known to be lighter and the stiffness and weight varies depending on the other materials implemented. For example a carbon board with a wood core does not need much carbon to be stiff A carbon board with a foam core requires lots of reinforcement equals stiff

MACkite team rider Blake Olsen uses a variety of boards yet he often favors the carbon North Jaime Textreme

Typically riders who gravitate towards carbon boards use footstraps or they need a lighter board. Whether thats for travel or simply a lighter feel on the water. It should be noted that a lot of carbon boards are not suited for the pressure of wearing boots. Some are, but if they're not reinforced, It’s a great way to tear out the inserts. If you do ride boots but you want a carbon board, make sure it’s designed to be used with them. 

A great example of my personal favorite carbon board would be the North Jaime Textreme. This board is incredible but it's designed to be rode specifically with footstraps. While I do often opt for boots, sometimes it’s really fun to take out a light board and experience the freedom and flexibility of kiteboarding in footstraps.

Wood Boards & fiberglass boards 

So what are the benefits with going with a wood board over a carbon board?

If you’re hard on your gear, or you ride boots maybe you want a more laid back smooth feel on the water thats easier on the knees, these really are the ticket. If you’re going for performance check out the carbon boards. While, their not as durable as their wood counterparts they are going to have the most pop, have the lightest feel and simply perform. Now it’s important to remember, There are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a board from the rockerline & concave to the shape, the construction and honestly there are a lot of weird little things that everyboard brings to the table. So again as always there is no right or wrong here. It’s simply what do you prefer and what benefits appeal the most to you.

Here's a quick cheat sheet Tucker here made me when I was first learning about board construction. 


Strong core material

Stiff board will require thicker core or more glass = heavier

Damp - absorbs vibrations from chop

Terminal flex - Amount of flex needed to break - lots, core will crack/ buckle before glass

Response and feel are gradual and predictable.

Cost: $ - $$

Application - boards where cost, durability, and flex are the highest concern. Average riders, wakestyle, slider park

Carbon boards

Wood core does not need much carbon to be stiff

Foam core requires lots of reinforcement = stiff

Requires additional dampening material inside the board to absorb chop. Carbon resonates vibrations.

Carbon does not need much flex to snap - generally, a violent two piece snap when broken.

Response and feel are immediate and aggressive.

Cost: $$ - $$$

Application - boards where stiffness and weight are the highest concern. Strap freestyle, big air, speed lovers.

Lots of boards blend the two technologies these days to make a great board for a variety of situations and address the pitfalls of each construction.

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Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic

Many people dream of quitting their job, traveling theworldandpursuing their passions. Rygo is one of those people. About eight years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a freelance videographer & writer. This took him from coast to coast and a variety of countries. Nowadays you can catch him on the phones, doing lessons, or working on videos. Of course, he still makes a point to travel as often as possible. He is passionate about helping people and sharing the stoke with his customers and students alike.