STARBOARD FOIL FREERIDE 150 WOOD SANDWICH 2021 TEST REVIEW
With distinctly more leaning towards freerace than freeride, this 150 can be ‘detuned’ with inset straps to help temper the ride, but ultimately thrives on being charged with an efficient foil for long cruising adventures and flight explorations!
The Foil Freeride lineup from Starboard remains unchanged for the 2021 season, sitting between the more compact Foil X / Foil X Wing series and the competitive Race / Slalom ranges. What has altered for the new season are the construction options available, both this 150 and its smaller 125 sibling, now produced in either Wood Sandwich (tried here) or the more price-pointed Starlite Carbon, incorporating Australian pine wood. This 150 has particularly parallel rails, maintaining width and volume in the shoulders, said to enable the nose to act “like a wing, giving maximum lift, speed and stability during flight”. Its length is shortened and mast track moved rearward for improved manoeuvrability, whilst the deckpads fitted are thinner than the brand’s standard seen on other boards, for improved connection and control. The Drake Slick footstrap is supplied, employing responsibly sourced Yulex foam, and there are a number of strap options available, including three rows for the back foot. On the underside there are thin simple cut-outs in the tail, an extra-long rocker flat for early planing and quick take offs, and a hard, defined edge with zero tuck along the length of its rail, allowing the board to “ricochet off the water during touchdowns”.
“Starboard’s Foil Freerides have become our best-selling boards. What makes them so popular? Their design formula is simple: fly at maximum reaching speeds with minimum fuss – foil gybe with speed while staying in total control. What more do you really need?”
Wide and voluminous, the 150 is super stable and easy off the plane, capable of carrying large rigs and riders. Having taught wind foiling at the OTC centre for a number of years, we’ve come to understand that, unlike conventional ‘fin’ windsurfing, the greater the volume in a foil-specific board doesn’t necessarily equate to a more user-friendly or practical capacity for the progressing rider. Quite the opposite in fact. Wide bodied foil-specific platforms, with their straps placed far away from the board’s centre line are unquestionably harder to foil well than their narrower siblings, 25-30 litres their junior. They are harder to trim and more awkward through transitions. So it comes as no surprise that Starboard recommend this 150 for use with their new Freeride+, GT or GTR(+), or even their Race foils – more directional and efficient engines than the Super Cruiser for example. As such, the 150 thrives on being loaded with a larger rig and a higher aspect, more performance focussed foil. The straps are found with a good step out, securing feet in both straps to really connect with (and pump) the foil to maximise marginal wind release. There are inset plug options for both the front and back straps, which can serve as training options, or to help temper the ride … but it’s like buying a supercar and driving it around town to do the food shopping; there is so much more to give! Once flying the Foil Freeride feels large and purposeful, covering distances with ease, the straps and deckpads offering assured and reliable contact with the foil through the board. There’s plenty of width in the tail to drive the foil and explore its performance. It’s not going to be a match for the 91 cm+ wide race-specific foil boards out there, yet as a recreational freerace-esque board blending accessible performance with comfort and enjoyment, it fits the bill well. In the gybe the 150 does feel its size, encouraging the rider to nurture good technique such as the double step-over with the back foot to settle the board initially, before moving the back foot to the rail and applying pressure through the turn.
Volume (Quoted): 150 L.
Length: 210 cm
Width: 85 cm
1ft off: 74.8 cm
Weight (‘Naked’): 9.15 kg
Foil Box: Deep Tuttle
Sail Range (Quoted): 6.0-9.5m
Sizes Available: 125, 150.
PRICE WOOD SANDWICH: £1999.00 STARLITE CARBON: £1499.00
OTHER FOILS IN THIS TEST: