Wake9.com Review: Tige RZX
Our current boat and the official towboat of the 2015 Endless Wave Tour has been our black and orange 2015 Tige Z3 with AVX. To date it has been our favorite wake surf boat and we truly have loved that boat. Our family and close friends are somewhat fanatical about wake surfing and our Z3 makes a great wake that is super adjustable and allows us to quickly make almost any surfer happy. RJ and I have had many discussions about whether or not we could be happier on another boat and what it would take to make an even better wake. Side to Side switching surf systems have been all the rage and we have been a bit slow to embrace them. The reason for that is that every one of those surf systems we have experienced didn't make the best surf wake while weighted level. In other words, if you listed those boats without the system, they usually made a better wake. Maybe our expectations are too high, but if we are going to use a surf system we want that wake to be the best that boat offers and a world class wake, period. So what are we looking for in a great surf wake? Here are some general characteristics that I think most people will agree on.
Push or Power: this is the sensation you feel while riding that propels you in the same direction as the boat. It allows you to gain more speed for fun and tricks, and allows you to recover after tricks and catch back up to the boat. Generally speaking more power is almost always better.
Length: the wave has to have sufficient length to allow you to speed up and slow down, and room to recover. The length of the wave is the usable section you can ride in without having to pump. This is your playground and the bigger the better.
Transition: the transition is the part of the wave that is between the flat water and the ramp, or face, of the wave. When you go up the face of the wave the transition is either abrupt or smooth. An example of an abrupt transition is a curb on the side of the street. An example of a smooth transition is a skateboard vert ramp. The skateboard vert ramp has a smooth rounded surface that "transitions" you from riding on the flat surface to riding almost vertical.
Shape and Cleanliness: this is the one not everyone agrees on. All would agree that a good shape is a vital aspect of a great surf wave and that a good wave should be clean. The argument is over exactly what shape makes the best wave. Some like it steeper with a well defined lip and some like it more rolled over and shallow. A boat that can adjust between these types of shapes is a great asset, which allows you to make more people happy. The AVX on our Z3 has allowed us a ton of adjustability in this area.
Firmness: riding on a soft wake is like skate boarding in the grass. Riding a firm wake is like skate boarding on the side walk. It effects speed and also the ability for your board to release well from the water when doing aerial manouvres. As you progress, a harder wake is preferred. Hardness can usually be achieved by speeding up, but if you go too fast you can lose push. A great surf wake has good firmness at the speed you want to ride.
Efficiency: this one is last because it isn't really about a great wave, but how much it costs to make it. How much gas does the boat use to make a great wave. Some people are more concerned about this than others. Our Z3 with the Indmar 400 engine and the ACME 2775 prop have no equal in this area that I am aware of.
The side to side surf systems we had seen to date were not all equal. The best of them usually did very well with the first 3 of the criteria above. The problem was mainly with the 4th, the shape and cleanliness. The surf systems require the boat to be weighted level for them to be able to switch to any side at will. The problem with that is that most of these boats don't have a very good shape without listing over to one side. Usually there is no well defined lip and the top of the wave is very flat and can be "slippery". Slippery is not the best word but when you watch a surfer ride one of these wakes when they are not used to it you will see them slip off the top of the wake, because it doesn't push back. It is soft with little to no lip. Often these systems also leave a lot of wash along the top of the wave where the lip should be. Interestingly enough, you can list one of these boats over and they make a great wake, just not while level. It is important to understand that some riders (usually some skim style riders and not surf style riders) like the wake just fine without a well defined lip.
If you follow wake9 then you know that we have been involved with some of the R&D, testing, and validation for Tige boats as it relates to surfing. This was especially true when it came to the Z3 hull and the AVX. Over this period as switching surf systems became more popular Tige asked us for our opinions and what we would like to see in a side to side switching system. They were working on several options at the time but were also waiting on the results of some patent ligitation between Malibu and Nautique. We told them emphatically that if a side to side surf system could be created that made a great surf wave that was clean with a great shape and a well defined lip, it would be ideal and an evolution forward. Tige surf wakes are known for their shape and well defined lip and we love that shape and wanted to see that maintained in any surf system going forward.
The RZX hull was specifically designed and tested with the lofty goal of being a great wakesurf boat with an even better surf wave than the Z3 or any other boat. The RZX was designed to make that great surf wave and shape with very little list. The TAPS3 system was designed to switch very fast from side to side and to list the boat over just the right amount for the RZX to retain that great cleanliness and shape we have grown to love. TAPS3 and the RZX were made for each other like the Z3 and the AVX before it. So what is the end result?
We have put about 30 hours on a new RZX with TAPS3 equipped with an Indmar 575 SC. Yes, that is a super charged Ford Raptor motor with 575 ft lbs of torque. We made a video of the last 10 hours or so. We went out with some friends and a camera rig from Curl View over 2 days at the Thermalito After Bay. The last 10 hours are the best because it is after 20 hours of dialing the boat in and learning what makes it tick; learning how to get the best surf wave with the best shape. Watch the video here for yourself.