Surfing The Game Board Waves

Would you believe me if I told you that water is not needed to surf? Yes, traditional surfing still requires a surf board and waves. However, a new game allows you to surf some imaginary waves at home.

The game is called Waimea Wipeout. Through the roll of a 10-sided die, you will determine just how good of a move you have pulled off. The higher your score, the better. At the end of the game the top two scores are combined, and whoever has the highest score wins the game.

Jeff Cicatko was kind enough to answer a few questions about his unique game and the inspiration behind it.

Tell us a little about your game, Waimea Wipeout.

Waimea Wipeout is an old school board game with a 10 sided die and charts for different surf breaks around the world. Players, or “surfers,” compete against each other in a “heat” trying to get as high a score as possible on each wave they ride. Just like in a real surf contest, the top two wave scores are added for a “combined score”…highest combined score (20 being the highest possible score) wins.

How does it work?

Up to 4 players choose a surf break to stage their “heat.” 8 breaks from the north shore of Hawaii are included. Each player then begins a string of die rolls with the 10 sided die. They refer to the surf break chart for each section of the wave…TAKE OFF, DROP, TUBE… and if they do not “wipeout” they accumulate decimal portions of the total wave score. Each portion is added to the previously accumulated amount. If they make it through these 3 parts of the wave, they get to try up to 3 maneuvers. All points in the maneuvers section are on the table all the time, so a wipeout there lowers the score to the DROP & TUBE total. So, the longer you ride, the bigger the risk.

What inspired it?

Living on the north shore for 15 years ( Hawaii for 19) and being surrounded by surfing combined with having children made me yearn for something to share that didn’t just use buttons and leave kids looking at a screen. I also knew from my youth that playing board games allows for interaction that develops people skills as well as intellect. I wanted the challenge of captivating kids with a board game in a video game world.

How long did it take you to bring your game from idea to final product? What was that process like?

From the first thoughts I put down on paper to having a manufactured game in my hands was roughly 18 months, which I would imagine is pretty fast, since the patenting part was extremely fast and easy due in great part to Donald Min, our patent attorney in Washington, D.C. He was a real blessing to the process. Overall, the process was a true test in perseverance, as the manufacturing portion provided some challenges.

Do you have any other game ideas in the works?

I have always had game ideas. In fact, I created many when I was a kid living in Pittsburgh. Winters there were real conducive to board games. I have a couple ideas for subsequent games currently, especially given the final product on this one, and the way it has been accepted in the schools. As I said, it is a game for all ages, but seeing it captivate kids’ interest while also teaching them some important lessons… well, that is satisfying beyond words.

Would you say that your game is limited to people with an interest in surfing, or do you think your game would be enjoyed by everyone?

Naturally, an interest in surfing helps, just like other sports games. But just like OPERATION appeals to more than doctors and nurses, WAIMEA WIPEOUT has proven to be captivating for non-surfers as well. I think surfing is one of those things that intrigues people if it does not interest them…the waves…the ocean…the power of the water…and the danger…if not the razor sharp reefs that are beneath the surface, the sharks that everyone seems to visualize. Since I tried to keep it true to the sport of surfing, it can be a great way to learn the nuances of competitive surfing. Everything comes down to a roll of the die…games like that have wide appeal… so does this one.

What are some goals that you hope to accomplish over the next year or so?

I am realistic, and this type of product—one which involves learning something new—takes time to travel. People like you showing interest, doing this type of interview, only gives me more confidence that we can reach our goals. Naturally, getting the game around the world, knowing there are people in Australia as well as Florida, New Jersey, and Virginia all enjoying the game…that’s one of our goals. Also, having the website as our tool for trade is another goal, and this type of product is a little tougher to sell on-line. People want to put their hands on it. But once they see the board…the photos…and roll that funky 10 sided die…it becomes real enjoyable. Maybe not within a year, but close to that, I’d love to be a primary choice for educators looking to engage students with a relative tool that teaches not only the math of decimals and chart analysis, but also the interactive lessons of taking turns and learning how to not come in first. Now that’s a little bigger challenge there.

What are some lessons that your business has taught you?

The main lesson is to be determined, and try to find some sort of satisfaction in the tougher times…even if it’s just kicking up your feet at the end of a hard day saying “one more person knows about this game today.” In addition to that, it would be to make sure you realize that you can’t do something like this alone. There have been so many people who have helped me out enthusiastically—Brian Bielmann with the photography, surfers Kohl Christensen, Dave Wassel and Kalani Chapman…all of them. Matt Wood provided mock print outs of pretty much every phase of the development. All of them, and many more, have become part of this little dream, and I am hopeful one day I can surprise them with a “Mahalo” of big proportions. Remembering who has helped along the way is something every business owner should do.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to add that every entrepreneur needs the support of his family, and I have that. Ultimately, the goal is to have your dream allow you to follow more dreams, and that is my hope with this venture. Eventually, the dream has to be marketable, and profitable. That said, dreams, like all things, take time. Each day seems to bring a new avenue of interest, and I get a new thrill travelling down each avenue. My son recently wrote on his 2nd grade “Star Student” poster that I was his hero because I invented a board game. Every father dreams of being his son’s hero, and in this world we live in, heroes take many forms. I am just thankful that at this time at least, I can be one. Spending time with your kids is the best way to become their hero.

Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs that are just getting started?

That’s kind of a funny question because I feel that I am just getting started. If I had to give advice, it starts with the same thought that I have seen in many places… even on your website. Find something you love, because like love, it will take lots of work, and patience, and perseverance to succeed. But if you find the right path, the satisfaction you will feel, is like nothing else you have ever felt. Probably like the surfer who catches that perfect wave that nobody else witnesses. The feeling is still pure exhilaration. Good luck… we all need a little of it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *