While down in San Diego hanging out with the Liquid Force team this Spring we got to get out on the water with Troy Tageder, the inventor of the Wakesurf Edge to learn more about his innovative product, his recent partnership with Liquid Force, and how together they are reshaping surf wakes for a more enjoyable wakesurfing experience.
Can you give us a little self introduction and share your professional background?
Yep, I'm Troy Tageder, from Temecula, California. I have a Master's in mechanical engineering. Worked in the rocket science industry and now moving into the wake shaping industry. It has been awesome.
What is your background in boating?
No previous professional work in boating but I’ve wakeboarding and surfing on the boat since I was just a kid. I’ve always enjoyed wakeboarding, snowboarding, and these sorts of board sports.
As the inventor of the Wakesurf Edge, how did the idea come about?
One day I was out on my boat thinking there's got to be a better way than weighing down one side of the boat “listing” it to get the wave nice. Just thinking about how surf gate works, I figured there's got to be a solution for older boats out there. Someone has to have come up with an aftermarket thing that I can just buy and make my wave awesome. I started looking online and at the time there was only thing available that required I had to glue velcro on my boat and it was really expensive. I thought no way, I'm going to make one that I can just suck onto the side of my boat using suction cups like those used on glass lifters. It was that moment where the idea was spawned.So I began to make some prototypes, started doing some engineering to continually improve it, and then eventually got it dialed it in. When I saw how awesome the wave was, I thought this could be a product others might want. I realized that I needed to sell this as there's got to be other people like me who want a great wave without buying a $100,000 boat. I started selling it online, and it's been crazy ever since. We're now on version two of the Wakesurf Edge that has a lot of improvements over the original product I brought to market.
What was the biggest challenge in developing this product and bringing it to market?
The most challenging part in the beginning was in regards to maintaining inventory. Keeping stock was tough. More specifically, it was developing the supply chain of all the subcomponents. Lining everything up for manufacturing was not easy and as market demand increased I needed to keep pace with that. It was a few months before that whole process was streamlined. I mean, not having enough because demand is high is a good problem to have after all.
If someone is looking at surf devices, why choose the Wakesurf Edge?
Great question. There are a few innovations that are key to the Wakesurf Edge design. One is the water channeling face. As water hits it from the side of the boat, it actually accelerates the water, pushing it back a little bit further, pushing it into the trough, which deflects it back into the main wake a little bit further back behind the boat. This helps further lengthen the wave out compared to a surf device with a flat face. I've even had multiple people who own boats equipped with Surf Gate or other OEM systems that actually prefer to use the Wakesurf Edge. The improved performance can be attributed to the water channeling face.
You said that Wakesurf Edge can outperform some of the factory surf systems but you also market that it works well in conjunction with them. Can you further explain how the two can work together?
The way that the side tabs versus the underneath trim tabs work is slightly different. When Wakesurf Edge is used in conjunction with the side tab, like surf gate, it can turn an already awesome wake into just top of the line. Best wake you can get. What you would want to do is place Wakesurf Edge above and in front of the surf gate, and that way, the surf gate is still working and the Wakesurf Edge is channeling that water above the surf gate so you get that much extra push. For the trim tab style wake shapers, I know you've probably noticed, they don't work quite as well as the side ones or the ones that go underneath. We found that just using the Wakesurf Edge without even engaging those bottom ones makes a great wave, because if you try to use Wakesurf Edge or any wake shaper with an underneath trim tab, they kind of fight against each other and it doesn't make a great wave. However, Wakesurf Edge works great alongside side tab style surf systems.
Wakesurf Edge has taken you on quite the journey so far. Where is the coolest place you've gone so far?
I would say the coolest physical place ... wow there has been a lot. I’ve gotten to wakesurf with pros in Florida to California and lots of places in between. Those have all been neat experiences. It's fun to be in the industry and meet people. Everyone in this industry is so cool. I guess a more metaphysical place that it's taken me is just being able to create something in this industry that I absolutely love.
What is the best part about making a product that helps build a better surf wake?
It's just that. I love getting on a boat and seeing somebody look at their new wave for the first time. I mean, sometimes I'll go to events where people are just kind of lined up on their boats, whether it's a boat reunion or just an event at an expo or something. I'll show them the Wakesurf Edge, put it on their boat, and tell them to go try it out if we are on the water. Even if they have already have a wake shaper, many times when they see the difference they get super stoked and want to upgrade to one.
WakeMAKERS is now a Wakesurf Edge dealer. How does that sound?
I couldn't be more excited. As a consumer, WakeMAKERS has been one of my go-to places for years. I shop online through WakeMAKERS and buy ballast, wakeboards, vests, and all sorts of stuff. Nearly everything on my boat is from WakeMAKERS. It's been a great company to work with as a consumer so I know it will be a great relationship with them working as a supplier now. They do a good job in educating customers on wakesurf devices and will be great building hype around the Wakesurf Edge.
Can you describe what it has been like partnering up with Tony Finn and the Liquid Force team?
In a word, I'd say it's fun. There's a big blur between work and fun. When we come out and do product testing, photo shoots, or even meetings ... they always have such a positive vibe to them. Tony specifically is awesome. Such a fun guy, a positive, go-getter kind of person.
What are you looking most forward to this summer?
Honestly, I'm just stoked to keep boating more, keep product testing, and keep pushing the envelope with future products. A big goal is to continue pushing the Wakesurf Edge by educating more people as to how it makes their wave better and why it is better than other products out there.
The Wakesurf Edge is $299.99 and includes the WakeMAKERS exclusive 30 day performance guarantee.