New to Nobile for 2010 is the 50fifty wake-style range – the board of choice for KPWT event winner, Mike Blomvall. Built especially for the differing needs of pure wake-style riders the 3D deck shape and channels allow accurate control of the flex side-to-side and front-to-back. Stiff in recognition of the specific requirements of the advanced wake-style moves to achieve maximum pop (without the use of the kite for lift), Nobile increased the radius of the curve, in both the outline and the rocker. The result is a smoother but more aggressive curve making it possible to achieve more height when the kite is held in a powered position. In addition an all-wood core provides maximum strength. The all-new 3D construction mould allows for the use of smaller fins, drastically decreasing the chance of tripping over the tips during high-speed landings. Of course the 50fifty is ready to be ridden with either straps or bindings. Providing huge levels of control at speed, aggressive carving and unbelievable pop, combined with butter-smooth landings in all water conditions, it's also kicker and slider-proof with wider stance options for more extreme and stable riding positions.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
At first glance the 50fifty looks really narrow. It's not at 40 centimetres across, but it doesn't have the 'look' of a modern freestyle board. How deceiving graphics can be! There's no getting beyond the loud, bright yellow foot pad and strap set-up. This is all new and, has to said, is a welcome upgrade by Nobile. There was nothing wrong with the original Nobile pads and straps, but it wouldn't be out of order to call them standard. These little beauties are like a pair of slippers in comparison. So easy to adjust and get locked into, they also easily accommodate wetsuit boots when it's cold. The cushioning in the pad is lovely. You get lots of nice squash under your feet but not so much that you don't get any feeling through the board; the connection with the deck combined with the support the straps offer are a notable quality.
Running your hands over her sheen the board is obviously wellconstructed and as you pass your palm over the bottom you can feel the heavy channelling. By current market standards this is quite something and it's good to see people doing something different. What's the idea behind it? Grip. And lots of it. Often a heavily channelled twin-tip can feel slow, however, this is anything but. Somewhere between the number and depth of the channels combined with the steady amount of rocker, Nobile have nailed it. The balance between speed, looseness and grip is just about right. Instead of having to rely so much on getting your weight outboard and digging a rail in and engaging fins for grip, the 50fifty allows for a much more overboard stance, which is always a bonus. You don't have to be so extreme to get the grip you want. With more going on under the board the water seems to flow through the board, rather than just over an edge; look behind at you wake and you can see it all happening. This added grip makes landing from your tricks a lot better. What you don't want when you're coming down hard – from either wake-style tricks, or sent jumps – is a lack of grip. You want the board to lock in and grip straight away, giving you control as quickly as possible. If you're sliding all over the surface, your kite lines will go slack, leaving you not only fighting with the board, but also the kite. The 50fifty locks in beautifully, so for learning to land blind or switch it's fantastic. And not too technical either. An average rider may find it a bit more technical and hard work to switch from heel-to-toe or toe-to-heel because of that locked in feel, but anyone with good technique will be able to make a little pop to release the board. There's lots of pop on hand and, as well as being controlled, landings aren't knee crushers either. Twin-tips have no real credible place in wave talk, but as it carves well with all that grip, slashing and hitting up some waves gives you a much better feeling in your back foot than most twin-tips.
For a board being pushed as a hardcore wake-style machine, there are plenty of less-focussed riders out there that will also find good benefits in this. Being good in chop and a comfortable ride being just two. Of course it is a wake-style machine, but I hope we've made clear that it's so much more than that. Plus, it's not a face sprayer either!
KW LIKED: Surprising all-round abilities and forgiving landings when you come down a bit off-track at speed.
KW WOULD CHANGE: Nothing. Top performer. This will be amongst the boards of the year for us come the final reckoning.
SIZES: 141 x 43, 140 x 41 and 139 x 40cm
This test is in issue #44