We live in a world of instant gratification.

Hungry? Their is an app for it. Want to find a date? Yep, an app for that as well. So many tools at our disposal to get what we need instantly, in real time, without much effort. All of this great tech has changed our mindset and patience with things that don’t have an app to give us that instant answer we are accustomed to. One of those things is setting up surf boats. 

Since the days of listing a boat over on its side, setting up a boat to surf is something I often here from customers as being more hassle then fun. Something that is always changing and never consistent and most of all extremely frustrating. In 2016, Tige as well as most other MFG’s really started to hone in on Surf systems. This was an attempt to alleviate the hassle of an inconsistent surf wave day to day hour to hour. While these systems have closed the gap in terms of boat setup they arent the fix all. 

Tige’s Taps 3 is great and was an evolutionary jump forward in the surfing realm. The taps 3 surf plates in conjunction with the center Taps 2 plate work in harmony to do all the things needed to create a wave without the hassle of rolling a boat hard onto its side. While Tige preaches that the system is push button their needs to be some pause and understanding that we still need to understand the basic principals of how the system functions and what that means in regard to how we set the boat up. 

The basic function of Taps 3  is the deployment of an outer plate which induces a small amount of list and yaw into the running attitude of the boat. The system is designed such that you can do all of this from a more level weighted starting point. Key words *More Level*. As a plate is deployed into the water, the boat is rocked over slightly onto its side, a wave forms and away you go.  What’s important to understand is that as you deploy more plate into the water you also induce more lift back into the rear of the boat. All of that ballast you filled is now being leveraged slightly back out of the water.  Understanding that concept alone can save you loads of time. Why is that important? Surf system boats need to be somewhat evenly weighted down (flat). When the boat is flat it takes much more ballast to weight it down in the water then a boat that is tilted on its side  (Listed). This is why we want to run as little amount of plate as possible to achieve a clean wave face. Taps 3 equipped boats will run better as you increase the amount of total ballast. The positive change in wave in relation to weight added is substantial. 

So, we have a grasp on how the system works and that the heavier we can comfortably get it the better. The next thing we need to understand is that the system still needs the end user to make sure its operating within a certain window. While the system can induce list and yaw, we might need to help it in those areas a bit via ballast or where passengers are sitting. Make sure your ballast system is functioning. Make sure its filling completely, and please please make sure its holding water. Its so important. Often times I will go out with customers on demos who might be having a hard time setting the boat up, and rather then start from the basics by checking each box, they jump right to adjusting taps 3 back and forth and changing a ton of variables. The system is super adjustable, its what makes it elite but it also opens Pandora’s box for customers that don’t understand the system. If your boat isnt filling all the way or is passively draining water, you will never be able to get a solid platform to go off of. 

With the ballast full and an understanding of the plates its really a matter of putting it all together. Like I mentioned above, surf systems allow the boat to run more level but not completely level. Taps 3 will do most of the work but you still need to understand that each boat still needs a certain amount of lean side to side in order to produce a clean wave face. While each boat is different, most boats need 4-5 degrees of lean as a starting point side to side while underway. The heavier you have the boat via ballast or people the less lean it will need.  

The last piece of the puzzle is speed. Speed  is the least talked about thing in the industry IMO, yet I feel it is one of the most important things. Speed determines length and determines how hard the face of the wave is. So lets just go fast! Here is the problem with speed, it also induces lift. So the key thing is knowing just how fast you can go in relation to the weight you are carrying. Again, the heavier the boat is, the less the affects will be in regard to the lift generated by speed. We like to surf smaller ballasted boats around the 11.2-11.4 mark, and we like to surf big heavy monsters around the 11.9-12.3 realm. The heavier the boat is the faster it can run without flattening out like a pancake. 

These are the basic principals. If you understand them you can make one heck of a wave. Play around with settings, change one variable at a time and see what the system does, you will be able to learn so much on the fly. Most importantly have fun. An app doesen’t exist to help you here so be patient and enjoy the process. 


Jason Robertson  

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