Century Martial Arts Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag Review

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Century Martial Arts Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag Review


If you’re looking to get the benefits of working out with a water heavy bag then the Century Tidal Wave Hydra Core bag should be on your shortlist



Water core is very responsive, variable weight, doesn’t fatigue like a traditional heavy bag, fairly portable.


Can burst, might not be big enough for really heavy/experienced fighters


If you’re looking to get the benefits of working out with a water heavy bag then the Century Tidal Wave Hydra Core bag should be on your shortlist. This bag provides a realistic feel and gives you a great workout for the price. Since it’s self-filled you can vary the weight and it saves on shipping which lowers your overall cost.

Rating: We’ve given the Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag a 5-star rating. There aren’t many negatives to the Century Tidalwave heavy bag. If you’re looking for a water heavy bag then you can’t go wrong with this one.

Continue below to read the complete review. Or search for the best price using the following links.

Features & Benefits

Century Tidal Wave Hydra Core Heavy Bag was one of the first water-filled bags to hit the market more than 20 years ago. It comes in Large and X-Large sizes – obviously, the bigger bag has more water volume and therefore more weight.

It’s made with a durable vinyl exterior that covers a foam layer combined with a water core.

The X-LARGE bag is just over 52″ tall and has a hanging height of approx. 64″ and a diameter of 14″ when filled. The LARGE bag is 13.5 diam. x 42H in. The cover comes in a black and yellow design. It hangs from reinforced web straps, sturdy steel hanging chains and an included D-ring. It also comes with Century’s standard warranty against any defects in workmanship.

Strong Hydra Core Water-Fill System

The Hydrocore system is designed around a very durable water bladder at the center of the bag. When filled this brings the total bag weight to between 90 and 120 lbs. depending on the size.

The bladder is surrounded by a layer of foam which is covered by a tough vinyl exterior. It’s designed to give the sensation of hitting a real opponent with just enough feedback and flex. Because it’s water-filled it’s considered a variable weight bag since you can control how much or how little water you add. This also makes this bag fairly portable because unfilled, it’s very light.

Vinyl & Foam Shell Increase Function

Century has long used vinyl covers for their home gym line of products. With years of research, feedback, and experience they have created a very durable and heavy-duty vinyl that stands up to the abuse. The shell surrounds a thick layer of foam that surrounds the water bladder. This helps protect the bladder as well as gives you a supple punching surface.

Four web straps are attached to the cover and are attached to sturdy steel chains and a 2″ ring for hanging.

These are the benefits, but how do you know if it’s right for you?

Century Tidal Wave Hydra Core Heavy Bag - XL
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Testing the Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag

Most people buy a water heavy bag because they want to get a great workout, have the ability to vary the weight and they want the realistic feel that comes from hitting a water-filled punching bag. But you have to make sure that you get a bag that is best for your money.

More importantly, you have to find a bag that will work for YOU and how you will use it. A heavy bag can be rated well but if the size is wrong or it isn’t the right style for your training goals then it does you no good.

When shopping for a water bag you have to consider a few things. The first of which is the size and type of bag you need. This is based on the type of activity you’ll be doing, your weight and your experience level.

A quick way to find what size bag you need is to get a bag that has a max weight that is about 1/2 your weight. Of course, more experienced punchers will want a heavier bag. Location, activity and training style will also play a part in bag choice.

Next, you should look at the cover or shell. When we test a heavy bag we focus on the shell material because it’s the most abused part of the bag and, aside from the straps, will weaken the fastest. You want something that will hold up to the abuse and not burst open – not to mention you need the cover to be sewn together VERY well. The most important part of a water heavy bag, after the shell, is the bladder.

The bladder is what you fill with water so you want something that is durable, has a realistic feel, is surrounded by padding of some sort so you don’t injure yourself while working out – or have it burst open and end up all over the floor.

After cover and bladder, we consider the durability of the bag; testing how it handles additional weight, workout sessions and if possible how it stands up to punches over time.

Some manufacturers back their bags with a warranty. This is the final thing we consider when testing/buying a hanging heavy bag, the support, and warranty offered by the manufacturer – this all helps YOU make the best purchase decision. For more information check out our Heavy Bag Buying Guide.

Our Findings & Rating

PROS: Water core is very responsive, variable weight, doesn’t fatigue like a traditional heavy bag, fairly portable.
CONS: Can burst, might not be big enough for really heavy/experienced fighters

The Hydrocore bag (sometimes call the Hydra Core) was one of the first heavy bags that got its weight from filling it with water. They basically created the Water Heavy Bag category. Over the years they have updated their logos, the look and the function of the Tidalwave line of bags but they continue to stand out as class leaders for the category.

All testers said that the feeling you get from the water core is very realistic and not painful. They said they were able to get a good workout and not feel the compression strain that you can sometimes get with a stiffer heavy bag filler. This works especially well if you’re looking for a bag that will give you a good cardio workout since you can punch for longer periods and not hurt yourself.

Not only that but there are several users who report that this bag can be used outside without fear of the elements damaging it over time. It’s designed to keep water inside so it works pretty well outside too. But we have read that this could void Century’s warranty since it’s not specifically designed for “outdoor use”.

The Tidalwave bag that was reviewed was the X-LARGE which is the bigger option of the line. We chose this one because we had some pretty experienced fighters punching on it during the testing session. We liked how the bag held up to the abuse.

Filling the bag was very easy. You open the padded top flap so you can gain access to the bladder. A quick turn of the lid and the bag can be filled using a hose – or if you wanted, many trips using a pitcher!

Pay attention when filling the bag so it doesn’t tip over. We recommend hanging the bag before filling it. This way it’s already where it needs to be and you don’t have to worry about lifting it up, hanging it or having it tip over.

The foam shell that surrounds the bladder helps give the bag a very consistent rebound. We noticed that the punching experience was the same from the bottom of the bag to the top. And the vinyl cover was very durable and didn’t stretch or get disfigured after many hard-punching sessions (albeit a little slick for some people).

One thing that really stood out with this bag was the fact that it comes with a D-ring so you can tie it down from the bottom, and restrict its movement, which gives you more control when delivering combos, and kicks. We recommend getting a weight specifically designed to tether to a heavy bag – otherwise, it’s hard to control.

This bag is great but there are a few things we noticed which you should watch out for:

The first is the fact that while this is variable weight, you can’t fill it too much more than the recommended max. If you fill the bladder the top then there isn’t any room for the liquid to compress when you punch it and you run the risk of bursting the bladder (just like if you throw a full soda bottle against a gym wall… trust us, we’ve tried it!).

That’s the other thing of which you should be cautious – there are very few reports of this bag bursting, but it can happen. This bag has a polyethylene, or hard plastic, core which can handle A LOT of abuse. We’ve seen a water heavy bag burst in a gym and you can imagine how wet 100 lbs. of water makes a carpet (just to be clear, the water bag we saw break wasn’t a Century Tidalwave bag, it was a knock-off). But it can happen so be aware of that when choosing a place to hang it.

Who should get this?

Who should get the Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag? Anyone who wants to have a dependable water heavy bag that doesn’t get rock-hard as some hanging bags do. This XL bag is big enough for 250 lb punchers but they’ll probably want to get the tether/weight for the bottom. Because the bag absorbs strikes so well it’s fairly quiet. You could possibly use it in an apartment if you had a heavy bag stand.

Who should avoid it?

If you don’t have a “safe” place to hang the bag then you might not want to risk it. But ruptures are rare so the risk isn’t that high.

Have you tested it out? Add your rating and comments below!

**The Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag is also sold on Walmart.com! Check it out!**

This is an individual product review for the Tidal Wave HydroCore Heavy Bag, if you want to read about the best Water Heavy Bags, then you need to check out our Best Heavy Bags Review.

About Century Martial Arts:

Century was founded In 1976 by L. Michael Dillard. Due to a very traumatic experience early in life – involving a robbing and kidnapping – Dillard began training in martial arts. In the late 1970’s Dillard began selling uniforms specifically designed to fit American martial artists. Century Martial Arts started in his garage and has grown significantly ever since. Century MMA has broadened its product offering to include yoga, boxing, MMA gear, and physical fitness equipment. Find more information about Century Martial Arts here

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