I brought a Naish surfboard with me to Baja last winter and gave riding it a shot. The results were not pretty. It was so floaty and different from my twin tip boards I had a hard time adjusting to it. I ended up selling it and figured I’d ride my twin tips a bunch more then try another surfboard later. Now that I have quite a few more days of riding under my belt I had the hankering for a surfy riding board again. So I did some research and came across the Ocean Rodeo Mako King as an interesting option.
The Mako King is a hybrid twin tip and surfy snowboard style kiteboard. You can mount the straps/pads in the centre of the board and use on fin on each end like a typical Mako. You’d have a nice big 165cm x 45cm light wind board. You can also ride the Mako King with the bindings shifted to the tail with a 3 fin thruster setup for carving and slashing turns like a surfboard. Want more options? You can add custom deck pad and ride the King strapless. Learning how to ride toe side? The King can be ridden backwards even in directional mode so you can hit the toe side when and as much as you like without any pressure if you aren’t feeling uber confident.
Since I’ve got a Mako 140cm twin tip I setup my Mako King in Mutant directional mode. I used 3 H1 56mm fins [1 at the tip and two at the outside tail] as well as an 85mm surf fin in the centre. I shifted my pads and straps to the rear as shown in the second picture from the top. The result is a really floaty Cadillac ride…like plowing through 30cm of powder on a snowboard. Carving turns and slashing waves was a blast. Going upwind was crazy….I just kept cranking the board on its edge and pointing upwind and it didn’t complain. I was able to angle way further into the wind than anyone riding with me. The massive amount of flotation made me feel like I had so much time to correct any mistakes or adjust my kite/board without any worries. Definitely a forgiving ride.
I rode the King backwards on the single fin at the tip no problems and was able to cruise upwind like that. Popping or carving to toe side was easy and I’ve never been able to ride toe side so naturally before. This is a great option to have. If you need to to change direction you can do whatever makes the most sense and gets you out of harm’s way fastest. Quite a contrast to most people learning on a surfboard where falling in and swapping the board around is the usual drill.
The Ocean Rodeo Bliss pads and straps are the same as on my Mako 140. They work great, are comfortable and look sweet. Nothing to complain about. Some folks are using a deck pad and either going strapless or using surf straps on their Mako Kings. The Ocean Rodeo deck pad has holes so once you stick it on your King you can still go back to straps and pads if you like for some sessions. I like having all those choices.
Build quality and fit/finish is really nice on this board. I especially like the classic graphics on the 2010 Makos. They look sharp. The King comes with all the fins you need to set it up as a twin tip or Mutant as well as pads/straps. The custom Mako King deck pad is an aftermarket item as are surf straps.
Mako King Specs:
- Duraclear top and bottom for extreme durability
- Tapered ABS rails to take the hits
- Massive Concave
- Rugged snowboard style construction
- Contoured 3D EVA foot pads for added riding comfort and grip
- Grab Handle
- Velcro adjustable foot straps
- Sizes: 165 x 45cm
- Max. 18 mm concave
- Thruster fin configuration on Mutant end of board
The King has a ton of concave and rocker as well as rounded outline. This makes it butter smooth in chop and when using it in twin tip mode gives a nice skatey feel when you aren’t edging hard. In Mutant mode driving with the fins or in twin tip mode when you are edging hard it digs in and lets you power up wind easily.
What I really like about the King is all the options I have in one board:
- large twin tip light wind board
- sweet directional wave board
- full pads/straps
- strapless with a deck pad
- deck pad and surf straps
- ability to ride directional toe side, gibe or backwards
- lots of fin options
5 mins with a screwdriver and you can walk down to the beach with a totally different board than you started with. I don’t know of any other kiteboard that is nearly this versatile.
I would definitely recommend the Mako King to new kiteboarders over a skimboard or surfboard. The King gives you the essential light wind board everyone needs as well as lets you progress from twin tip to directional at your own speed. I think that’s ideal. I wish I had bought a King as my second board rather than buying 2 or 3 boards I now have to sell since the King does everything they do and more.
The King is a big board and like all big boards it’s not as nimble as a smaller/lighter board. I had no problem jumping with the King and spinning it, but it’s nowhere near as mobile as my Mako 140. On the other hand the King is so easy and relaxing to ride it puts you into a different head space – definitely the right board for a soul session. The kind that makes your face hurt from all the grinning and lets you appreciate each and every wave that crosses your path.
I think the Mako 140 and King are an ideal combo for me. The 140 is fast, light and great for ripping up the water and jumping aggressively. The King is slower more chilled out when I want to cruise and carve.
I’m using 3 big fins on the tail of my King. I’m not sure I need that much fin back there so I’m going to try a few different setups with smaller fins and see what I think. I’ve also ordered a Mako King deck pad so I can ride this board strapless when I’m feeling the need for something new and challenging to learn. I’ll report back with a long term review next spring.
I picked up my Mako King from Bellingham Kiteboarding. They had the best prices on OR gear that I could find and the service was great so I decided to take a drive over to WA and visit them. I’ll post a bit more about the shop and kiteboarding in the Bellingham area when I get some free time. Right now I need to wash my stinky gear and dry everything out!