FANATIC GRIP TE 86L
2020 TEST REVIEW
When using an 86 litre wave board is this easy, it can’t help but inspire. Early to plane, fast and engaging, yet wonderfully loose on the wave, has the Fanatic Grip TE 86L just stolen the compact design’s thunder? And whilst its design and fittings encourage diversity in setup, we found ourselves loving the quad configuration this year.
Fanatic hit the 2020 season with a “new logo and new look”, yet the same business-like wave board range, made up of the flagship Grip and compact Stubby. There is real heritage and R&D structure in the brand’s wave programme, seeing Klaas Voget lead development with the input of various team players, including World Champ Victor Fernandez and the UK’s own Adam Lewis. The Grip range remained unchanged for the past two seasons, since the team was struggling to improve upon the existing rocker line. So instead they decided to look at the Grip’s outline and bottom shape, which eventually achieved the breakthrough. The 86 is one of six completely new designs, said to be a slightly thicker version of the best selling 82 litre and is targeted for the 80 kg+ rider. Marginally wider than the 82, its wide-point is well forward of the board’s mid-point, tapering smoothly to a narrow swallow tail in the rear. The bottom shape sees a mix of vee and double concave, differing from its predecessor with a reduction of vee in the mid-section, becoming straight double concave under the mast track. With a smooth, fluid outline and evenly domed deck, there’s nothing outlandish or unsightly in the Grip’s form, making it very easy on the eye. Fittings are up to the usual Fanatic standard, its plain white dual density deckpads complimented with their ‘Premium’ footstraps, which retain use of single screws throughout. The footstrap plugs have only four options available, yet the 5 x 13 cm long slot boxes provide a wealth of tuning potential for fins.
“This year’s board achieves the ultimate goal: vastly improved wave riding performance, without sacrificing any of the accessibility, speed and early planing. Through subtle changes to the outline, tail width and bottom shape, the new Grip TE offers a new level of looseness and control.”
Stepping onto the Grip, the first thing to say is that it feels perfectly balanced and comfortable underfoot. Carrying sails up to the suggested 6.0 m without issue, it simply does nothing untoward or out of character, but just sits there waiting for direction. Deliver power and it springs to life, releasing smoothly and requiring little input or encouragement. It then accelerates effortlessly to an impressive speed, whilst still feeling settled underfoot – you don’t really realize how fast you’re blasting out through the surf until you compare your path to others. You can relax and enjoy the ride, when others seem to be having control issues. The resultant effect is aerial antics coming at will – if the ramps don’t line up, you can manoeuvre around the crests until you spot your ramp of choice, hitting it at speed. Fast, loose and exciting yet always in control, it makes light work of any wave environment, from cross-onshore messy maelstroms, to large cross-offshore days. However, the real difference in the new Grip is experienced on the wave face. Whereas in the previous few years we found the quad setup of the Fanatic provided almost too much grip through the tail, locking it in to feel a bit stiff in the tightest pockets, the new Grip keeps carving through the tightest turns. Push through the front foot at entry and it holds into the turn instinctively, before driving through the narrow tail of the board to tighten the radius of the arc. The connection and feel provided through the fins and thin rails really allows you to adapt the arc at any time through the turn. The fins supplied work well, and the option to vary their position in the long slot boxes gives the Grip fantastic tuning versatility to match conditions and riding styles. We did try it as a thruster, yet felt the enhanced carving capabilities of the board were complimented better by the quad setup supplied.
Volume (Quoted): 86L
Length: 225 cm
Width: 58.5 cm
1ft off: 37.4 cm
Bottom shape: Slightest mono in nose, to vee with double in shoulders, becoming straight double in the mid-section. The vee returns to compliment the double under the rider’s feet, becoming flat vee in the tail.
Weight (‘Naked’): 7.12 kg
Fins: 2 x Choco Fins Carbon RTM 14.5 cm (slot) + 2 x Choco Fins Carbon RTM 9.5 cm (slot).
Sail Range (Quoted): < 6.0 m.
Sizes Available: 68,75,82,86,92,102.
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP