THE KLOWN WHACKER
tipspacer: white ABS plastic
inserts: stainless steel M6, 7mm for
G3 Targa binding pattern
damping elements: rubber strips
placed above metal edges
The graphics of the Klown Whackers
were created by laminating black fabric underneath the clear topsheet layer with the "K" logos cut
of out colored paper.
Kam K. Leang, Kam S. Leang
October 30, 2004
download the *.dxf file for the Klown Whackers
This is the first pair of skis that cousin Kam (S.
Leang) and I made. The core of the ski was profiled with a linear taper from cord center. At the
center, the core thickness is 9mm, which at the time didn't seem too thin, but after
riding on the skis, they felt very soft. The core tip and tail thickness is 1.5mm. Aside from the
fact that they are too soft, the Klowns skied very well in soft conditions. They hold an edge
well on groomers and you can really let them run. Interestingly, I never base grinded or
tuned the skis. After they came out of the press, I simply gave them enough time to cure and
then rode them. I've had a handful of days on them, and they are beginning to show signs
of abuse; in particular, the skis are starting to lose their camber and the tails are
bent from landing switch. But they are not bad for the first pair of skis that I ever made
November 21, 2004: Mount Baker Ski Area, WA by Kam K. Leang. It was
opening weekend at Mt. Baker resort and Allyson and I decided
to take my first pair of homemade skis for a test ride, the Klown Whackers.
Why are they called Klown Whackers? I guess they look like a couple of paddles for whacking klowns:
When Allyson and I arrived around 9:30 am at the
parking lot of Mt. Baker, we were greeted by an overcast sky. A handful of lifts were
open with about 8" of new snow on the ground.
I mounted a set of Black Diamond O3 bindings for the
test. I had never been on O3 bindings and immediately I noticed the difference in stiffness
compared to the G3 targas I have been skiing on. But overall, the skis performed well,
except for the fact that the tails were a bit soft. because of the softness, I found that the skis
performed well in soft snow, but they were too soft to hold a good edge on hardpack or icy
terrain. In my opinion, they skied better alpine style and I was able to get them to run,
but they felt somewhat uncomfortable in a tele turn. I think the core needs to be thicker,
say between 10-11mm at cord-center.
After a couple jumps landing switch, the tails bent slightly.
But I skied them the entire day and by the end, I started to get use to the way they skied.
Being one of the first home-made skis that I've tested, I was pleasantly surprised by their
performance. Based on this experience, the next batch will definitely be an improvement.
January 15-18, 2005;
Crested Butte, CO by Kelvin Wu. A
group of old college friends and I decided to go to Crested Butte, CO, for our annual ski
trip. This was the perfect opportunity to do some ski testing, and I was able to ski the Klowns for 2 days and then compare them to the Atomic Teledaddies, which I skied for 2.5
The Klowns are amazing on the soft groomers. The soft flex
and deep sidecut really begs to be skied fast with huge arcing turns. They are very lively
and have nice ‘pop’ from turn-to turn. Short radius turns are also very easy on these skis.
For these conditions, they blew my Teledaddies out of the water. The Teledaddies felt dead
and would not hold a good edge. On flat cat tracks, the skis felt a little
squirrelly, probably due to the lack of camber and also because they have never been tuned, or even grounded.
On the cut-up crud and tracked out steeps (e.g., the North
Face of Crested Butte), the soft tails were a problem. I would get thrown
back a little, and since there is very little support in the back, it would dump me on my ass. I
had the same problem in bumps. While this is most likely, “operator error”, it would be nice if the skis
were a little more forgiving in these situations
very little camber when I started (because Kam K. had already had his way with
them), and by the time I was finished, there was basically no camber and maybe
some reverse camber. The topsheets look a little beat up
especially around the edges, however, everything is holding together, and the Kams and I will
continue to ski them until they fall apart.
February 13, 2005; Mount Rainier backcountry, WA by Kam K.
Leang. Kelvin Wu and I, along with a huge group of others, spent the day ski
touring near Mazama Ridge on Mount Rainer. There was about 2-6" of new snow on a firm and
crusty late January/early February layer. The skiing was decent, although the area was
relatively crowded, but we did find untracked snow. I skied the Ahmas the entire day.
Kelvin was on the Klown Whackers. During the ascent, Kelvin noticed that skinning was a bit
difficult with the Klowns. We finally concluded that it was the lack of camber in the ski that
causes the climbing skin and ski to"drag" more on the snow. Basically, when a ski is unweighted,
the camber causes it to flex up and away from the snow. Without camber, more of the ski
effectively contacts the snow and as a result, during skinning Kelvin was experiencing
significantly more drag. Overall we thought our skis performed well in the backcountry. I really
like the 135mm shovel on the Ahmas and Kelvin likes the soft feel of the Klowns. The
highlight of the day was when one of the Klowns ejected itself from Kelvin's foot, and the ski ran
all the way to the bottom. Luckily, it was stopped by a terrain trap, or else it would
have been a long walk home. Below Kelvin skis the Klowns: