THE GO TO SIZE
85L Wave Board Test 2015
The 85L waveboard has become the staple of many wavesailors due to its large sail carrying capacity; being comfortable with 5.7 to 3.7 in the modern shorter, wider, multi fin form. It’s a board size that is commonly used both at Ho’okipa and in competition on the PWA circuit where riders utilise the extra volume for float in lulls and ensure they are not under gunned in heats if the wind dies. As a result, 85L shapes are some of the most heavily researched and developed in a brand’s range which has great benefits for us as the end consumer.
This test was originally published in the January/February 2015 issue.
What is becoming increasingly apparent, especially in this category, is the massive influence of width and rockerline for planing ease and stability, volume alone just doesn’t tell you enough though is still an important indicator. This is borne out by the two earliest planers in this group being the biggest (RRD Hardcore Wave V5 @ 88L) and the smallest (Fanatic Triwave @ 81L) with nothing to choose between them. The RRD is thicker with a more beveled deck shape and even volume distribution whereas the Fanatic is thin top to bottom but still with an even flow throughout. Both boards are exactly the same length, 228cm, with the RRD just 0.5cm wider at its maximum. Conversely the two boards requiring the most power or technique to get going just happened to be the narrowest, most highly rockered, groundswell hungry boards here; the JP Radical Quad and Quatro Sphere but these still out plane most older boards and once powered offer a more front foot driven surfing sensation. Of course this is only a basic comparison and the real detail only comes from analysis of our in water testing reports
Realistically most of us with an 85L do have a bigger board to turn to if it’s just not blowing properly, which means that not having enough power to drive the little shredders is actually rarely a problem. According to the sales figures most people are choosing either 105/95l freestyle wave boards or bigger wave boards, 95L+ for float and ride conditions depending where they sail most. Though as you will discover from the individual board reports, quite a few boards of this size wouldn’t leave you sat on the beach procrastinating whilst your mates blast around on their 95L or more boards.
These 85L beauties had the same set of conditions for evaluation as their larger 95L siblings which were not “epic” but representative of ‘real world’ conditions. Despite this when it did blow consistently, the 85’s came out. Mostly used with the 5.3m rigs we still had an immense amount of fun on them and 85L waveboards still remain the go to board size for most wave sailors, professionally or recreationally and with good reason.
All of these modern 85’s are capable of fulfilling the one board quiver for the 75-90 kg pilot, with fin tuning options a plenty to provide extra light wind drive or top end control. Our main test team consisted of 80, 85 and 95kg pilots supplemented with some lighter riders input for balance.
Within our main test team group, our favorites vying for top honors in the marginal conditions were the Fanatic TriWave 81 and RRD Hardcore wave 88 for their ability to get going, keep going and still turn easy and keep speed. For its all-round plug and play ability the Goya Custom 84 will satisfy you without the need for tinkering. If you get to sail in groundswell conditions then the JP radical wave 83 is the fastest turning board we have set foot on and definitely sets pulses racing. Whether it is a one board do it all or quiver addition you are after, read on for our thoughts on what made each board tick and what may be the right shredder for you.
Great times, great rides. JDV
Special thanks to the Tenerife Windsurf Solution (TWS) centre for hosting us – the best demo/hire centre in the world and I Love Meet and Greet Airport Valet Parking Services. The Principal Test Team were Chris Rainbow, Julian Da Vall, Brian McDowell