To get the best of both worlds, I’ve always found it’s better to use a flex board on rails and a regular core on the wake. The new Ronix Phoenix Project wakeboard has solved that two-board conundrum. I expected to have fun experimenting with different nose and tail presses on rails — after all, the board was designed by rail-riding heavyweights Erik Ruck and Pat Panakos — but I wasn’t prepared for how cool this board is to ride on a regular wake.
It’s always kind of awkward for me to pull off a real press on a non-flex board because it’s hard to really bring the nose or tail way up off the rail and hold it with control. Normally, you rock up to the nose then try to get a little extra lift but hope to not go too far and out the front. On the Ronix Phoenix Project, I felt just like Ruck or Panakos laying into a deep press on a rail. To press this board, it’s less a rock and more a shift of weight. You really feel the board flex, and it stays balanced throughout a press because of how it flexes in the tip and tail.
The Ronix Phoenix Project’s flex has another purpose: storing energy. You really feel this come into play when you get into wake tricks. I’ve never actually felt a board that pops off the wake like ollieing on a skateboard — until now. The very first time you land in the flats there is an overwhelming awareness of how well the board holds momentum — it doesn’t sink or slow down — and locks into a landing. I thought the board would be slippery or land kind of spongy, but it really holds an edge through the wake and sticks the crap out of the landings without making a popping sound or giving your body the jolt that often comes with hard landings. The Phoenix Project is a very forgiving board, but it also has crazy pop. The longer you wait on the takeoff, the higher you pop straight up. It’s an awesome combination because the board feels slower than any of Ruck’s other pro models when you’re just cruising around on it, but when you put it on edge, it really frees up without slipping out.
The Phoenix Project is probably the coolest board I’ve ever ridden, and I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to take this board into a competition versus just free-riding on it. How many King of Wake podiums have ever had a flex board? We might just see that change with the Phoenix Project.
Words: Nick Weinacker Photo: Meddock.com