FANATIC FREEWAVE TE 105 2021 TEST REVIEW
The FreeWave really is the complete package, displaying incredible versatility without the need for any setup adjustment or tinkering. Fast, engaging, but always in control, it proudly upholds the FreeWave’s notoriety.
The FreeWave is the stuff of legends amongst the Fanatic lineup; a solid fixture over the years and one of their best sellers. Last year saw a complete overhaul to the range, taking the lessons from the ‘Stubby’ concept and combining it with a more conventional drawn-out nose shape. For 2021 the five shapes in the series remain unaltered, save for a graphic update, although they haven’t had the 40th anniversary treatment and rebranding as seen in other models. Three technology options also remain available, from the premium TexTreme finish to the price-pointed FreeWave using Biax Fibre. All board sizes are available in Team Edition (TE) construction, as tested here, with all bar the 115 (the largest in the lineup) supplied with a resin transfer moulded thruster fin setup. One of the longest, yet narrowest boards in this test group, the FreeWave 105 has a somewhat elongated appearance, accentuated by the rearward position of the fittings and rider’s stance. Rounded in the nose, the board’s outline is relatively parallel, before being pinched in, to terminate in a bold, thin swallow tail. On the underside the FreeWave’s rails are sharp in the tail, but tuck early, its bottom shape exhibiting a mix of double concaves and vee throughout. Fittings are up to Fanatic’s usual high standards, the ‘Premium’ straps possessing integrated size markings and proving easy to adjust, whilst the dual density deckpads provide excellent traction.
“An evolution of the Stubby outline blended with our legendary FreeWave DNA, the FreeWave is the true chameleon – ready to adapt and excel in all conditions.”
The FreeWave has been a real success story for Fanatic over the years, and we have to say, this 105 is testament to its heritage. Secure and composed at idle, as power is delivered it releases smoothly and effortlessly onto the plane, allowing the rider to shift their weight back and into the straps early. From there it provides plenty of useful feedback, feeling agile and exciting underfoot, without it ever giving the sense that it is getting away from you. Fast on all points of sail, but particularly off the wind, it marries traditional freewave board design with the modern compact concept seamlessly, being both user-friendly and familiar, yet possessing all the advantages of the latest design theories. However, the biggest attribute of the FreeWave is that it can fulfil all its diverse roles in just one setting! Tinkering and tuning are all very real propositions for all the boards here and can improve specific facets of performance. And sure, for the FreeWave you could eek a little more top end speed out of it using a larger, more upright fin and the outboard strap positions and its manoeuvre potential could be pushed further with a softer central fin, but the FreeWave’s shining strength is that it simply works beautifully with its stock fins and inset strap positions. It doesn’t feel out of place or uncomfortable going for a blast over flat water, and a match for most here. Take it into rolling coastal seas and it feels light, responsive and inspiring underfoot; a real gem for hitting ramps and boosting some aerials. It has plenty of life and fervour, its excellent straps and deckpad offering real connection and the confidence to push. And on the wave it can adapt to different riding styles, capable of being pushed through both the front and back foot, and maintaining its speed effortlessly through the bottom turn.
Volume (Quoted): 105 L.
Length: 231 cm
Width: 63 cm
1ft off: 42.7 cm
Bottom shape: Subtle vee in the nose, leading to straight double concave by the shoulders, the vee washing back in by the front straps and becoming increasingly pronounced in the tail.
Weight (‘Naked’): 7.21 kg
Fins: MFC TF RTM 21 cm (Power) + 2 x MFC TF RTM 12 cm (Slot).
Sail Range (Quoted): <6.8m
Sizes Available: 75, 85, 95, 105, 115.
Price: TEXTREME: £2549.00 TE: £2199.00 BXF: £1849.00
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP