Following on from the 75-80L All-Round 2013 Wave Boards Test, this time we’ve stepped it up a size and tackle some serious 80-90 litre, mainly hardcore-focused wave boards.
Report by Dan Newman Pics by Julia Toms
(This review originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Windsurf Magazine. To read the latest features, print and digital subscriptions for readers worldwide are available HERE.)
This category is very popular for a wide range of different riders, particularly with the modern multifin shapes that allow you to ride in larger sizes without sacrificing much manoeuvrability or agility. For medium to heavyweight riders this size will pretty much cover everything – so buyers looking at these as ‘one-board solutions’ should read carefully, plus lighter guys may look to this bracket for a change-up board for lighter wind or sketchier conditions.
FAVORED FIN FORMATS
We have seven shapes in the line-up and the quad fin appears to be the preferred fin setup format on the market in this sector, but there are a couple of three-fin boards included as well to keep things interesting. When it comes to the top level of wave riding many riders and board manufacturers are putting most of their efforts into their quad fin programs. A quad delivers high levels of grip and drive on the wave and, as we mentioned last month, for either novice wavesailors or Pros alike, their ability to both forgive less sensitive turning skill and handle high-energy carving means that there isn’t much that can touch their performance in the surf. However, as we’ve said before, when assessing your individual needs and suitable candidates for your dollar, try to take into the account the big picture of the combined package of board outline, rails, rocker and intended use, before you set your heart on a particular number of fins. The fin debate could rage on for pages and we’ve not even got into discussing singles and twins as we did in the October issue board test. So, in relation to this selection, that only includes thrusters and quads, which is best? In simple terms the Thruster will be a bit freer and faster, and therefore a strong consideration for onshore use, and also useful if paired with a larger centre fin too for stronger current, whereas the quad may have slightly more drive and grip, but it really does depend on those other critical factors of overall board profile.
We aim to really put all products through their paces and to do that we need the right team of testers as well as the right location to deliver the spectrum of conditions required. The team was made up of four experienced and skilled riders from different backgrounds and mixed weights that could cast their feelings from every angle and allow us to see how each board delivered dependant on rider size, demands and conditions. This time we had ex-PWA super star Jamie Hawkins, Devon hot-shot Dan Lobato, Western Oz and Tenerife regular Justin Stuart and, of course, myself.
THE TEST GROUND
Our regular choice of El Médano in Tenerife is unbeatable for offering a wide range of conditions for all levels. The town’s south bay lays-on bump & jump or small cross on-shore waves, the ‘Wall’ delivers cross-shore wave riding and Cabezo, which hosts the PWA world cup event, throws-up some more hardcore, thumpy, albeit onshore, surf and jumping. We set up our test HQ at the OTC (Official Test Centre) that has easy access to all three areas for easy rig and board changes and quick discussions on each model’s merits. In the summer of 2012 we scored some of the best conditions we’ve had in years with waves over head high and winds ranging from 15 up to around 45 knots. We were also well kitted-up with a full quiver of sails ranging from 4.0 up to 5.4, keeping us well-covered to fully put this equipment to the test.
WHICH ONE IS FOR YOU?
Apart from putting all the boards through the mincer in terms of finding their limitations and strong points, the aim of this side-by-side testing is to obviously find out how each board compares and therefore suits different riders and locations. In this test there was a wide set of results and we discovered a pretty broad scope of usages. There truly is something for everyone in this selection, so to find out which one’s going to be on your Christmas list, read on! DN
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