FANATIC FREEWAVE TE 95L
2020 TEST REVIEW
Quick to release, smooth to accelerate and effortless to control, the Fanatic FreeWave is as easy to get on with as it is on the eye, giving it an excellent range of use and rider appeal.
The all-new “FreeWave” series is “designed to shine” according to Fanatic, offering five sizes and three different construction options to suit every purse. There’s even a ‘budget friendly’ graphic on the brand’s website board finder to depict the sliding scale between the three technologies. An evolution of last year’s FreeWave STB, the new designs have a similar outline, with parallel rails in the mid-section and a pulled-in nose and tail. The diamond nose has been smoothed over to the point of becoming nigh on rounded at first glance, whereas the width is retained in the tail (giving it one of the widest one-foot off readings in the group), before finishing in a well-proportioned swallowtail. One of the more significant refinements in these 2020 FreeWaves though is a faster, flatter rocker-line, and this 95 litre certainly demonstrates that, with next to no tail kick evident. Yet, like its predecessor, the stance of the rider and fin boxes are placed well back on the board, said to provide more manoeuvrability, control and response. More wave/manoeuvre-oriented in the two smaller sizes, and flat-water/bump and jump biased in the two larger sizes, this middle sibling is said to be the most versatile, happily fulfilling all roles. In Team Edition (as tested here) and Textreme technologies it comes supplied with MFC thruster fins, “Premium straps” and dual density diamond-grooved deckpads, whereas the standard BXF version comes with Fanatic’s standard straps and a single G10 fin, with blankers for the side slot boxes.
“An evolution of the Stubby outline blended with our legendary FreeWave DNA, the all new 2020 FreeWave is the true chameleon – ready to adapt and excel in all conditions.”
Stable and settled underfoot at rest, the FreeWave responds willingly when power is delivered, requiring little input or encouragement from the rider to release onto the plane. One of the longest boards in the group, its length is accentuated further by the rider’s stance being placed further back on the board than most. Nevertheless, setup with inset straps for use in waves initially, the fittings are easy to reach and provide a clean secure connection to the board. Accelerating smoothly, it provides a naturally fast and loose ride, the fins providing plenty of traction to drive and push against. It allows the rider to cover distance in confidence, pushing through lulls and negotiating through confused seas, the rider’s stance directly over the tail for a real sense of connection and manoeuvre response. In a wave arena this rearward geometry accounts for a lot of the FreeWave’s character. Heading out, you can really make the most of the board’s speed and looseness, hitting ramps and releasing easily for expressive aerial antics. On the wave it responds best to a back-footed riding style, driving hard through the tail to make tight pivotal transitions back up the face, before slamming through the back heel, the board extended out in front of you to be redirected by the face. It is this same quality that makes it a great tutor for the novice wave rider, holding its speed and rarely stalling through the turn, even when direction is hesitant or weight distribution is mistimed. Taking it out in overpowered conditions, the FreeWave’s drawn out length and geometry does make it feel larger and more clattery over harsh chop, its wave riding more forced than others in the group. But for making the most of typical UK coastal conditions, the Fanatic is a delight to get on with, its ease and manners helping to flatter the passive and inspire the enthusiastic. Used with a larger single fin (28-30 cm) and outboard straps, the FreeWave can reach a very respectable straight-line speed on flat water, flying well on its fin, whilst its control and turning capabilities once again shine through in the corners.
Volume (Quoted): 95L
Length: 230 cm
Width: 61 cm
1ft off: 41.7 cm
Bottom shape: Vee with double throughout, although the double concave is pronounced in the mid-section, the vee becoming pronounced in the tail, finishing in straight vee.
Weight (‘Naked’): 7.06 kg
Fins: MFC TF RTM 20 cm (Power) + 2 x MFC TF RTM 12 cm (Slot)
Sail Range (Quoted): <6.2m
Sizes Available: 75,85,95,105,115.
Price: TEXTREME £2399 | TE £2099 | BXF £1759
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP