My Ocean Rodeo Mako King is my go-to board for light wind days and when I’m feeling like cruising on a soul session mission. It’s fun, it’s easy to ride and it’s soooo smooth!
I’m riding 100% in mutant mode with the straps towards the rear of the board and three fins on the tail in a pseudo-surfboard configuration. The only trouble is the stock foot pads and straps are really meant for a standard twin tip board where you ride it both directions in a duck stance. So they don’t allow you to vary the of angle your feet very much.
One upgrade a lot of folks are doing is getting the optional Mako King deck pad from Ocean Rodeo and installing surf straps on their boards. This lets you move your feet around on the board much more easily and also lets you transition to riding strapless when you want to.
The deck pad comes with a glue backing and goes on super easy. Just be sure to clean the surface of your board really well and let it dry first. The deck pad has cut outs for all the inserts so you can use the board just like you did before in any setup. You can put the TT pads and straps on over top of the deck pad if you want to ride the Mako King in twin tip mode. You’ll just need some longer bolts to account for the extra thickness of the deck pad.
The deck pad itself is high quality and features a raised diamond pattern to allow water to drain and keep your feet gripping the board. It is thick enough to add a touch of padding under your feet while still keeping you fully connected to the board. You don’t get the same padding as the TT pads/straps offer so when landing jumps you need to adsorb the impact by landing on the tail of the board and flexing your knees.
Andy at Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf turned me on to the Dakine Vario surf straps. They are high quality and quite adjustable. They mounted to the Mako King without any issues. I set the straps up fairly loose so I could move my feet around easily, but still have some control for water starts and jumps.
I was excited to head out with the Mako King at Nitnaht Lake last weekend. The wind was uncharacteristically light which made riding the King a perfect choice.
Here are my thoughts on the new straps:
- very easy to get feet in and out [even with booties on]
- easy to move my feet around so I can adjust position on the fly
- easy to get more angle on front foot when riding King as a directional
- more comfortable riding toeside than with TT pads/straps
- no problem jumping, but had to put some effort into keeping board on feet and not as much padding when landing
- very grippy [especially with booties]
One thing I liked about this setup is I can go from TT pads/straps to surf straps to riding strapless in a minute of two. This adds a whole other level of versatility and options to the Mako King arsenal…sweet…=-)
Another mod I’ve done on my King is to replace the 85mm OR surf fin with a 56mm fin and replace the two outside 56mm fins with smaller 51mm fins. This smaller fin setup still provides lots of traction for the small wind swell I ride typically without slowing down the board as much as a huge 85mm fin does. It also lets me turn the board easier and allows me to ride the mutant Mako King backwards easier.
I’ll be keeping the larger fins in the parts box I take with me kiting. I can definitely see the need for a bigger surf fin when I get the King out into some real waves. The more I ride this board the more amazed I am about how versatile it is:
- twin tip or directional
- surf straps, TT straps or strapless
- many fin configuration options
- strong winds down to really light winds
This makes for an ideal second board in your quiver.