Surf Gate - "Fun with Physics"

You’ve probably all seen the video of Brian Grubb, wide-eyed and amazed, as he seamlessly crosses from one side of the surf wake to the other within the span of a few seconds, and with that one transfer, changes the face of wakesurfing forever. Is it that easy? Can a boat really change from goofy-foot surfing to regular with the flip of a switch and no weight changes? In a word, yes. It’s hydrodynamics that Malibu figured out to produce the most revolutionary surf wake the sport has ever seen. Recently the Malibu Team shared the developmental path and the physics behind its new timesaving, game-changing Surf Gate.

Brian Grubb wakesurfing behind the 2014 WAKESETTER 21 VLX equipped with SURF GATE.

Why It Works

Why does a boat have to be rolled at an angle to produce a traditional surfable wave? Malibu’s quick answer is that it’s a function of displacement and the location and timing at which water converges after it passes around the transom. Essentially, the Surf Gate prevents water traveling around each side of the transom from converging at the exact same time, which it would with the transom of a normal, evenly weighted boat. The key design goal Malibu set out to accomplish was the elimination of rolling the hull to one side in order to produce a surfable wave. Instead, with the flip of a switch, the gate extends out on one side or the other to create a long, smooth surf wave almost instantly.

Weighting

You might be thinking there’s some sort of catch, and that ballast water is moving around in the boat very quickly as the surf wake is changed from side to side. But Jack Springer (CEO) says, “You can remove prior notions of offset ballasting, as it is no longer necessary. You will now basically weight your boat for surfing just as you would for wakeboarding.” In essence, an evenly weighted boat is ideal because it allows the Surf Gate to do its job and create a wave on either side without having to force the boat into an off-center roll angle. This makes for incredibly quick changes from wakeboarding to wake surfing, as well as in wakesurfing from side to side, which will undoubtedly appeal to the multisport crews.

Integration

As you might expect, Malibu incorporated the Surf Gate into its existing boats so well that it could have been around for years. It not only deploys through a button on the MaliView touch screen, it also has safety features that allow it to deploy within certain safe ranges of hull speed. Program it into a Malibu Rider Preset and you’re ready to go without even having to think about it.

Conclusions

“Beyond nearly instantaneous surf-wave creation with an evenly weighted boat we’re especially excited to open the minds of the market to what is effectively doubling the amount of tricks you can do in one surf session.” Springer says. Transferring across the wave from frontside to backside, or switch to regular, is literally only a button press away, so you’ve got plenty more tricks at your disposal. Who knows? Maybe someday Surf Gate will be a huge part of the contest scene.

Tarah Mikachich wakesurfing behind the WAKESETTER 21 VLX equipped with SURF GATE.