85 LITRE ALL-ROUND WAVE BOARD TEST 2022
The time is once more upon us to look at the offerings for the new season from the major board brands of our sport, and as is tradition, we start with wave boards. 85 litre remains the go-to size for most; the one size that fits neatly into typical quivers. This test has been a game of patience to put together, whether the delay has been due to kit not being available or lack of conditions. The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice a few notable brand omissions from the lineup, and the Fanatic tested here is in 2021 graphics. All this is due to stunted production cycles as a result of the pandemic, but rest assured that the 2021 board trialled remains unchanged for 2022, barring a graphical update. So, sit back and pore through the next few pages to find your new stick with which to charge into the autumn and winter swells. Due to COVID and delivery issues the Quatro Pyramid Pro 87 and the RRD CULT 88 LTD y26 were added as catch up tests and featured in our March 2022 edition of Windsurf Magazine so we have posted our full test line up!
EDITOR: TRIS BEST // SECOND TESTERS: JOE NORTH, SCOTT STALLMAN, SAM ANSTEY, ROB YORK // TEST LOCATION: OVERCOMBE, KIMMERIDGE, GWITHIAN.
We’ve mentioned this many times in past tests, but it’s worth repeating here to drive the point home: the fin type used and their setup is a key defining part of the ‘board-behavioural’ jigsaw puzzle. Concepts come and go over time, but fins and their influence in what is experienced on the water has remained constant throughout. This is also consistent through all board types and disciplines … and shouldn’t be too hard to comprehend, when you consider how much area of the board is in contact with the water, and the vital role that fins fulfil. The emergence of multi-fin setups in the mid-noughties, and the development of the fin box technology to make them viable, transformed the wave board market. And the progression continues, helping us to understand just how important they are. One significant design aspect that has been exposed by the different approaches amongst the brands this year is the position of the boxes themselves in the board. Shift the boxes rearwards towards the tail and you tend to improve directional drive and stability; shift them forwards and the pivotal response of the board increases. Of course, this is a sweeping statement and it plays just one part of the formula that makes up the character of a board. Other parameters include the types of fin used, rider stance position, deck plate position, rail shape, board outline, rocker line, bottom shape … we could go on but I think you get the picture! It’s just interesting to see the very marked difference in approaches used amongst the brands. Got to love progression – long may the iterative process continue.
Onto the summaries and we’ll start with the Da Curve from Tabou. A true out-and-out wave board, with a familiar feel underfoot. It’s small and needs to be powered, but the more the conditions turn on, the more this board is in its element and thrives at being pushed hard. The Starboard UltraKode is a wide, stable, fast contender and a demon at making the most of all conditions. Just spend time playing with its fin setup to achieve the right level of response for your riding style and ability. The Grip from Fanatic hasn’t been changed and for good reason! It is just so easy to get on with; so dependable and with a massive range considering its quoted volume. It will take you anywhere you want to go. The Magic Wave from JP was new for 2021 and brought with it a new concept. Narrow in the tail and with a very forward placed fin setup, it took a little to get used to, but has definite dynamic carving benefits. A refreshed design for 2022 is the Nano from Severne. Not a million miles from its predecessor in terms of design, but a million miles in terms of practicality, accessibility and range. The last contender in the lineup is the new Custom 4 from Goya. Wider in the tail, fuller in the shoulders and with refinements to its rocker to maintain harmony. Refer to the full write up in a few pages to read our assessment, suffice to say it packs the minerals befitting of a champion in Marcilio Browne … and makes you feel like you’re sailing not too dissimilar on the water!