The concept of the State wakeboard by Hyperlite is to have a board with a toe side edge that is different from the heel side edge in order to assist riders with their edging technique. Each edge of the board is specifically designed with features that helps the rider while edging on either side of the board. But doesn't that make the board directional? Not at all. You may have never realized it, but whether you are riding switch or regular, you always use the same sides of the board for toe side and heel side. The only thing this does mean is that your bindings can only be put on one way to take advantage of the State's unique features.
When we were first introduced to the Hyperlite State wakeboard back at the 2004 Surf Expo, it instantly became one of our most favorite new products for 2005. Because everyone on our staff are avid wakeboarders, we knew how difficult it can be for some riders to master the toe side edging technique. For some it may come natural, but in our experiences, as well as world famous wakeboard coach and creator of the State, Mike Ferraro, we too find that the majority of riders are not as comfortable edging toe side as they are edging heel side. This is why we knew that Hyperlite would be successful with the State wakeboard.
The Hyperlite State is based on the shape of the Hyperlite Premier. It has a very subtle three stage rocker with a convex bottom, but it really feels more like a continuous rocker because it is so subtle. Hyperlite also made this board wider to create more pop. The State is available as a 125, 130, 140,and 145. For our test, we tried out the 140 package that included the State bindings.
The highlight of the State are the edges and the different features of the edges that make the State so special. At first glance you may not even notice that the edges are different, but once they are pointed out, you can easily see them. On the toe side edge, the first thing Hyperlite did was take out some of the curve. Giving the board a straighter edge helped it create more grip on the water when edging and landing. The grip basically helps you stay on the edge. The toe side edge also has a larger molded fin than the heel side edge of the board. The toe side edge has a .7 inch molded fin that also has a sharper point than the heel side edge. Finally, tabs were added to the toe side edge in specific locations that helps water flow through the bottom of the board to help the board generate more pop, but not lose it's grip.
The heel side edge was based on the Hyperlite Premier/Era heel side edge and has more curve to it. This edge was chosen because of the combination of tracking and release. It tracks well, but releases easy. There is also a obvious channel near the top of the heelside edge that allows more water to flow through the bottom of the board and makes the board release later off the wake. This helps the rider edge all the way up and through the wake. The heel side edge also features a .5 inch molded fin. The important part about the heel side molded fin is that it isn't as sharp as the toe side fin so it can keep the grip, but release easier.
Due to the fact that I have spent the majority of my available water time on a wakeskate the last three seasons, I was chosen to test our the State. Our theory was that I was the closest we had to a beginner due to my lack of time on an actual wakeboard recently. As it turns out, we were right on.
The edges of the State really do work. Although we liked the State and the concept behind it when we first saw the board, we were still not sure if it was really going to make a difference until we got it out on the water. During our test, I made noticeable improvements to my toe side and heel side wake jumps throughout the entire day and the overall feel of my riding was much more comfortable. I also felt like I was doing less work on the water rather than fighting myself trying to stay crossed up on my toe side edge. Unfortunately, the State did not help me land a 720 or a Pete Rose, but I was pleased with the performance. Most of all, I was happy that the State was for real and not just a gimmick.
The pop on the State was what you can expect from a continuous rocker. It does not have an abrupt bucking pop, so it is a lot easier to stay in control. The pop off the wake is also more consistent and predictable. That makes the State an easier board to ride, but you may not get that straight up pop that you get when ride a board with a full three stage rocker.
If you like a loose feeling board, then this is not the board for you. This board is very edgy and is difficult to slide around on the surface of the water. If you are used to riding a Premiere or similar board with only the molded fins, you may find that the State has too much grip. We did not ride the State finless and we should have, but do have that option to remove the fins once you feel that your edging technique is strong enough.
The Bottom Line
If you have trouble edging toe side, then Hyperlite has created the answer to your prayers, but you can't expect miracles. The State performed exactly like we were expecting it to and is a really great feeling board. We think that the State will help you with your edging technique. If you are having an extremely hard time getting the proper edging techniques down, then you may need to work on it with some additional drills before the State can do it's job. You have to at least be able to get the board on edge before you will notice a difference.
As mentioned above, we tested the State package, which also included the State bindings. The State bindings are not the best that Hyperlite has to offer, but are perfect for someone just getting into the sport or for riders that share a board. The entire State package retails for $419.00, which is extremely cheap for the quality of the board and binding combo. Anyone getting into the sport of wakeboarding for the first time should seriously consider the State package for their starter board. That doesn't mean that the State is for beginners only because even a seasoned veteran can still have trouble with toe side jumps and will also like the way the State feels on the water.