Big Guys Ride a Big Board

6'4" Twins Try Out the Slingshot Nomad

Several years ago when Slingshot first introduced the Nomad wakeboard and its extra large sizes and surface areas, a lot of people were left scratching their heads.

“It must be a tank.” “Who’s that for, Shaq?!?!”

Fast forward to today and the big board “quirkiness” of the Nomad is now a bonafide way to ride - and not just for bigger riders. Pros and amateurs of all sizes are embracing bigger boards and the advantages they offer. Plus, for many of those pros, the feeling is different and new, which makes it fun and is a way to mix up the routine.

Big Guys Ride a Big Board
At 36 and 6-foot-4, Mark White isn't your typical wakeboarder. But the Slingshot Nomad isn't your typical board.Garrett Cortese

Of course, words from smaller pros who can do tricks in their sleep are one thing. But we wanted to see how a board like the Nomad performed in real world conditions, with real people. Enter two of my best friends who I grew up riding with throughout high school and college. Mark and Dave White are twin brothers who, other than the fact that they stand 6-foot-4, are probably a lot like you: they have families and careers now, they don’t get out on the water as much as they’d like, and they aren’t as limber as their high school selves. They still love wakeboarding, but they aren't as interested because it hurts more than it used to.

Big Guys Ride a Big Board
Impressing your kids is important. The Nomad helped the Whites with just that.Garrett Cortese

Last fall I was able to make a trip back to our home riding grounds of the California Delta for an upcoming feature on the region in Boating Magazine. With a new Centurion Fi21 and Slingshot Nomad at our disposal (and blessed with near-90 degree temps and glassy water) we set out to have some fun and test out the Nomad.

For guys who don’t ride regularly, it took both brothers a bit to get used to being on such a big board. This was also their first time riding a board that has near as much flex as the Slingshot. Within minutes though the smiles on their faces and the laughs that came from each jump were clear indications of how they felt. The board didn’t just work, it was a ton of fun.

Big Guys Ride a Big Board
"It feels really different at first, but it doesn't take too long to get used to. It's a really comfortable ride." - Mark WhiteGarrett Cortese

“It has a snowboard type feel to it,” said Mark after his initial ride. “It took a bit to get used to edging up the wake, but it’s pretty crazy how much it pops and how soft the landings are. Basically it’s the perfect board for 35-year-olds who still think they can ride like 25-year-olds.”

For Dave the feelings were nearly identical.

Big Guys Ride a Big Board
Within minutes the White twins were sold on the riding characteristics and advantages of a bigger, flexier board.Garrett Cortese

“This board is amazing! It felt so much easier, not just the landings because of the flex, but just riding around and cruising,” he said. “I could see how it would be awesome for guys who are bigger or older, or who don’t like riding a gigantic wake. I think we'll both be finding ways to ride more than the last four or five years."

Big Guys Ride a Big Board
A warm fall day on the Delta was a great introduction to the world of plus-sized wakeboards.Garrett Cortese

Therein lies the power and appeal of boards with bigger surface areas. For bigger guys like the White twins, who grew up on boards like the 137 O’Brien Evil Twin, 125 Liquid Force Squirt, and a 140 Hyperlite Belmont, the 155 Nomad is the perfect board for how they ride now. The larger surface area makes it easier to plane, which reduces arm fatigue from holding the rope. That same larger surface area can also help increase pop off the wake and decrease the impact of landings. Those landings are further dampened by the board’s flex, thanks to Slingshot’s design and core layups. Plus, with the addition of an impact base and sidewalls, the Nomad can more than hold its own in a wake park.

Big Guys Ride a Big Board
The Slingshot Nomad - small graphic, big performance. The Nomad is available in 145, 150, 155, and 160 cm sizes. MSRP $449.Garrett Cortese

At the end of our day on the water, Dave summed up what he and his twin brother were feeling. “Why couldn’t this board have been around back in 2002?!”