After a rather drawn-out period of anticipation for the new Wave Sport design, the Project X is here and real humans have them out on the water!! Craig Parks and Sam Ovett braved the cold weather to check out the new boat and see what all the hype is about….
By Craig Parks
Putting cold weather whining aside, I took the new Project X-56 for a spin yesterday. I have been waiting a long time for the Project X—as much for the new sizes as anything (I was in between the 52 and the 62). Initial impression of the new Project X: pretty incredible boat.
It was fast and loose on the not-so-great Nantahala Wave, and the volume felt very balanced from end to end. Unlike the Project (45, 52 or 62) that always feels a little unstable behind the seat if they are small for you, the X boat feels a lot more stable for stern landings and better balanced when people are on the heavy side.
The bow is quite nice, buoyant and springy but slicy and sharp at the same time. I could occasionally flat loop past the stern and land flat on the hull with a boof (and some spinal compression).
Even though I have always felt in between sizes, I have stuck with the Project because I felt that it was the best play boat hull there was up to now. The hull design is unique—hard to describe; they surf edge down, so when you hold an edge it kicks down and tilts upstream a little. That is a part of what makes the hull so loose, but if you are coming from a different playboat it can be a bit disconcerting. I have always had the sense I was about to get windowshaded when lateral to the current, but it was actually ridiculously slick under there. Paddling the new design for such a short time I couldn’t get a feel yet for the edging on the X56. My initial perception is that it holds a little flatter, and runs as loose but perhaps with more stability. The hull is very balanced and feels easy to control pitch when front surfing. I will need to get to top wave at Hell Hole later and do some more testing.
Boat designs are all about the detail. At any stage of playboating, if you put two different boats together the initial reaction is that they look the same. But it is the details of each design that makes the differences really stand out.
Final assessment (before hypothermia kicked in) is that the Project X has the comfort that is hard to beat in a Wave Sport boat–and the new outfitting is even better yet. The hull is fast, loose and has the stability that I like in a boat. And it will allow me to push some things I never maxed out in the original Project: airwheels and loops on the top wave, in particular.
Can’t wait for some more time in it after Ecuador!