Unlike the XXX and EZs, WaveSport stepped out of the flat-bottomed, kicker rocker trend. Instead of a completely flat planing surface with sharply upswept ends, Eric Jackson (EJ) built the ACE with continuous rocker. He maximized the planing surface by bringing out the edge and narrowing the width of the release chine. The WaveSport ACE, like the EZ has plenty of flare and the shear seam (where the hull meets the deck) is high. So what does this all mean on a wave?

WaveSport ACE Specs
(4.7 / 5.1)
Length: 7’1” / 7’4”
Width: 26” / 26.5”
Volume: 47 / 51 U.S. gal
Standard Features:
F.A.T. 2.0 outfitting, bow and stern grab loops, stainless steel security bars
MSRP: $1,688 CAD

WaveSport’s ACE is a flatwater phenom

Front surfing the WaveSport ACE, especially as a C1, you’ll notice it feels as though you are continuously blasting. We think this is due to the rounded hull rocker; instead of sitting flat on a pronounced planing surface, the ACE teeters back onto the stern. We’re sure some paddlers will appreciate how easy it is to front surf as the bow rides high, but it is trickier to spin because you have to bring your weight forward to get it planing. We found moving the seat as far forward as possible helped balance the weight over the centre pivot point, helping to level the boat on the face of the wave and drastically improving performance.

ACE gets into the groove

Sliding sideways down into the trough, the WaveSport ACE wants to hop instead of planing out on stable hull surface. It is less retentive than the similar sized EZ and more likely to flush off smaller river features. Don’t get us wrong, it’ll spin, just not as well as larger, flatter boats. As the size and speed of the wave increases the ACE has no problem breaking loose.

One of the big techniques leaps for kayakers and especially C1 paddlers is when they realize how useful a pivot turn is for running rivers. In low volume boats it is easier to make course corrections by slicing the stern under than dragging the bow around using cross-bow draws. The ACE’s stern is so slicey it offers little or no resistance in a pivot turn. The ACE has a couple of other nice river running attributes: the continuous rocker provides better slide—especially important for C1 paddlers—than a similar length, flat hulled boat, and it holds a line better than the EZ.

EJ seems to be designing boats that require a very active style of paddling. This seems a design direction that reflects the paddling style of WaveSport pro men paddlers, who are all fairly beefy guys. The ACE doesn’t have the huge cockpit volume that makes a boat retentive in a hole. Instead the ACE requires constant retention strokes, or super clean technique. This allows more advanced paddlers to control the boat with strokes and body movement instead of letting the water do most of the work. Essentially, you can flatwater cartwheel anywhere in a hole. Getting it into the groove, the WaveSport ACE is super smooth from end to end, and an incredible flatwater toy.

Featuring new adjustable bulkhead

The F.A.T. 2,0 outfitting available in WaveSport boats is outstanding. This year WaveSport switched to the proven fixed-rail, moveable seat system and opened the hip pads so pre-cut bits of foam can be stuffed in for a customized fit. The seat cover opens so you can layer foam for a higher seat position and added leverage. For C1, WaveSport cockpits are large enough for a wide knee stance and allow your legs to fit under the coaming providing lateral support. We’ve heard rumblings of a bolt-in console but for now, gut the boat and buy foam.

While other companies were busily working on the best way to pre-cut and glue foam foot blocks WaveSport developed an adjustable bulkhead. The internal plastic nosecone is roughly shaped to fit the contours of your foot and connects to a cam strap accessible in the cockpit. Comfortable and novel for experienced paddlers—imagine how inviting this system looks to the new paddlers.

Get active with the WaveSport ACE

The WaveSport ACE is going to sell well as a kayak or converted C1 on the virtue of its easy surfing and super-easy, ego-boosting flatwater performance and off the shelf fit. It doesn’t perform as well on small waves and is less retentive in holes, making it a better fit for intermediate and advanced freestyle paddlers who have the control to throw it around. As a kayak or C1, once you master the slicey system the ACE is a smooth boat to get down the river.

This article was first published in the Early Summer 2005 issue of Rapid Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

 

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