I’m Parks Bonifay, professional wakeboarder and proud owner of a company called Ronix Wakeboards. I have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of different companies that make a lot of different varieties of boards, and now riding for Ronix and and being part of owner of Ronix, it changes the game and the way you think about, the way you actually break down the product and go about designing it from a marketing standpoint to a production.
It seems like it’s my baby right now. I care so much about all the boards on the line, just not mine, when in the past, you only cared about your boot and board and that was it. Being part owner in a company, it just changes the way you really think about it and it makes it a lot more gratifying when it all turns out as good as it did in 2011, this year. It’s getting better and better. I’ve been wakeboarding for about 15 years and I was fortunate enough to get into the sport of wakeboarding when it was just an infant. I kind of got to see the sport and the product change. As the ropes got bigger, as the wakes got bigger, the ropes got higher, you notice that the boards get wider. What that is because the wakes get steeper, so you’re not coming in with so much cut and angle at the wake. You’re actually using the steepness and the girth of the wake to do more tricks, which is why I personally, like the board with the most surface area on it. It has the widest tip and tail, the widest belly, and I think overall, that’s the way the wakes are going nowadays – that’s the way it’s going to benefit your riding. I’ve kind of been synonymous in the past for having a very aggressive style and very aggressive boards. With Ronix, I really wanted to take the features of boards, of things, that I liked in the past and tone them down.You get a lot more forgiveness with this beveled rail through the belly and having a wide tip tail definitely makes it more stable when you’re learning advanced tricks than just beginning and getting up. My board actually has 864 square inches of surface area. That’s about 10% more than any other board in the Ronix line. The more surface area you have, the better it is for your riding, for sure. With a wide tip and tail and a three stage rocker, it’s going to have a big sweet spot as you come off the wake, so you don’t really have to come in with as much speed and aggressiveness as you typically would on a continuous, narrow kind of board; you can come in flat and off and it’s going to give you the vertical kick that you want when you hit the wake. With my 2011 Ibex Wakeboard, one thing I ultimately wanted to get was a board that has two different things; I wanted it to feel loose when I was riding flat on the water, to give you more forgiveness when you are doing butterslides or when you’re coming up short on a trick. But I also wanted a rail in the back, where you could lean on it and really have a lot of bite when you’re coming into the wake. To get those two things, I put a beveled rail through the belly so when you’re riding flat on the water, you get more of a looseness, kind of a forgiveness, riding higher on the water. But then, when you put it on the edge, you sit from about the last 14 inches of your rail, which is why it goes from this bevel right into a really thinned out rail with a tail, which is really what you sit on and you can really cut as hard as you want on that. So you get two things: you get a good bite coming into the wake when you need it and you get a lot of forgiveness when you’re riding flat doing your butterslides. I’m sure most of you know — and if you don’t — Herb O’Brian pretty much designs all the products for Ronix. Now, with Ronix, we actually have a mob-core foam, which is the lightest, most stiffest foam that you can get. And the benefits we get from that is having a board that we can make a lot thinner than we have in the past. So, not only do we have the best foam, with the mob-core foam, but we also have a carbon that we lay into the foam which really gives you a stiffness that maintains the shape of your board, whatever that shape may be, whether it’s continuous or three-stage. Over time, as you hit the wake, as it sits in the sun, and in the water, they continue to go flat. With the carbon, it maintains the life of your board and keeps that energy that you initially had when you first bought it. That’s what you need — that’s what you get. So, the widest stance on my board is 28 inches wide. It’s wide, but it feels really stable, so if you’re really into cables really having a wide stance, it gives you a lot of stability when you are on rails, and just riding on wake and grabbing your board it really, overall, makes it feel better having a little bit wider stance. I am really pumped on my graphic this year. One of my favorite things is my actual DNA pattern that I have on the bottom of my board. We did a contest for Red Bull, called Red Bull Wake Clap. And before the contest started, they swabbed my mouth and they actually gave me a print up of what my DNA looks like. With Ronix, I was like, ‘that’s a perfect combination of what we need to do’ and I actually already had my DNA printed up, so this is actually my DNA on my doohickey on my board. So, in 2011, not only is there the IBEX, there’s the IBEX ATR – all terrain ride. All terrain means that we have a center base at the bottom, which really makes it a lot more durable on rails but often maintaining the speed. Like, a lot of boards, if they have different types of bottoms, they can change the way they grip on certain types of materials and rails, so with this, you get a really good glide and maintaining its durability at the same time. Another addition that comes with the IBEX ATR edition is the fin option. We have regular fins that come on the regular IBEX for the boat riders out there that want a good bite and grip. We also have a slider fin; slightly wider, doesn’t really get hung up on rails at all. It also has, when you ride on the water, it also has more of a looser, snowboard kind of feel, so if you like a board that is a little bit looser, a little bit more forgiveness, then you can ride the board with the slider fins. The regular IBEX 2011 comes murdered out black. One thing I like about the ATR boards is that they come with a different kind of graphic on it, usually a different color switch up. Mine, bright orange on the bottom, running them with the bulls, and it’s true – this board actually looks as good as my mustache.