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Former test team member, Rob York, takes over the reins as test editor from Tris Best, who is still very much part of the test team, but is stepping back from editor duties to spend more time on his OTC centre where the team is still based. And so Rob kicks off the 2023 testing season with some sizzling new 85-litre wave boards, read on for his and the team’s thoughts.

Editor: Rob York // Second Testers: Joe North, Luke Williams, Tris Best, Isaac Lines, Henry Bloodworth, Tom Squires, Mia Adcock. // Test Locations: Overcombe, Kimmeridge. // Photos: Rob York

After a summer steeped in high pressures, the usual melancholy brought on by the decline of good weather has been rejected by windsurfers as the enticing prospect of stronger winds grows as we move into winter. Along with the fall of the summer, we draw a line under the 2022 testing cycle and begin to look at the 2023 gear offerings, kicking off with the 85-litre all-round wave boards.

On test, we had nine wave boards in the lineup that will certainly spark your interest. Of the nine here, several come with a completely new design for the coming season, making for some exciting testing of new ideas. Fortunately, we were blessed with a range of conditions for the test, from onshore bump and jump, to cross-off down the line riding, giving us plenty of opportunity to test the versatility of these boards and find their sweet spots.

As most windsurfers can relate, this is an exciting time of year for the sport, with plenty of opportunity to get out on the water in some epic conditions. So strap in and pour through each report to find your next weapon of choice to ensure you are well equipped to get the best out of this season’s swell.


In previous years we have seen significant changes in board shape with the trade-off between compact and conventional designs. More recently, we are beginning to see a blurring of the lines between these two extremes whilst the brands look more closely at developing the hull shape of the boards. A number of the brands on test have opted to focus on improving the board’s speed with faster rocker lines and a range of bottom shapes from mono concave to vee. On several of the boards on test, we are beginning to see noses being drawn in to improve their down-the-line ability, whilst they still obtain parallel sections in the board’s mid-section to ensure that speed is maintained even in onshore days.

For the fins, many brands now opt for slot boxes, meaning the board’s weights are kept low whilst also retaining the ability to change the position of the fins, setting them further back, further forwards or even changing the distance between them. This significantly impacts the board’s riding style, allowing the rider to choose to set the board up with a looser feel or produce a more drive-orientated composition. We have also seen a vast range in the fins themselves, from plastic composite production providing extra flex and reflex to stiffer, more responsive carbon fins, which has significantly impacted how these boards behave on the wave.

Other areas of note include rider stance position, rail shape, deck plate position and so on. All these areas lead to differences in feel, and what was interesting to find was the variety of ways each board could be sailed, whilst there also was a riding style that best suited some boards.


Starting with the Da Curve from Tabou, this board is a true wave board that begs to be ridden over the front foot. Whilst bigger than the 82 on test last year, the board still feels small and playful underfoot with the addition of some extra speed. Starboard’s Ultra is an inspiring new design that provides an agile and adaptable feel. The board planes well despite its minimal volume in the tail and again, feels nimble whilst planing out. The Grip from Fanatic has once again seen a change for the new season and, with its ease of use and versatility, has a massive wind range making a one-board quiver an achievable goal. The Goya Custom 3 is exhilaratingly fast whilst maintaining stacks of hardcore wave-riding potential, and with its stunning graphics, it looks the part. Similarly, Severne’s Pyro has a lightspeed ability that can launch you into the air at unbelievable heights, whilst its multiple fin configurations offer the ability to adapt your riding style with ease. The JP Magic Wave produced standout performances in onshore conditions and clew first down the line sailing, with its soft rails its ability to maintain speed with little rider input was clear. Another board with softer rails, along with a diamond tail, was Quatro’s Cube, which also had an exceptional ability to charge down the line without skipping a beat, and with the traction provided by the quad fin setup, the board made positioning on the wave a breeze. Finishing off with the two more freewave orientated boards, RRD’s Freestyle Wave introduces a rider to the differences between front and rear foot riding in a versatile and exceptionally balanced package, whilst AV-Boards offered up the Nytro, a board that can be sailed for hours with ease, making smooth turns and comfortable riding accessible to any style of rider. Both these boards are a great choice for riders who are looking to extend their sessions and improve their wave sailing ability.



AV-Boards Nytro 87

Fanatic Grip TE 87

Goya Custom 3 Pro 86

JP Magic Wave 89

Quatro Cube Pro 87

RRD Freestyle Wave Y26 84

Severne Pyro 83

Starboard Ultra 86

Tabou Da Curve 88


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