STARBOARD KODE 105 CARBON REFLEX SANDWICH 2021 TEST REVIEW
The Kode continues to impress with its chameleon-like ability to be tuned to different roles, without the feeling that it is compromised in any way. Cheap it is not, but this Carbon Reflex package really feels something special, and Starboard should be commended with their double fin setup provision.
The Kode range has, in true Starboard form, been expanded for the new season, with two additional sizes added – the 125 and 135, designed as “super-sized wave boards ideal for the heavier riders”. There are also two new sandwich constructions to choose from – the brand’s flagship Carbon Reflex technology, as tested here, or a wood sandwich, with each size available in both. We tested the Kode in both 85 and 95 litre versions last season and were impressed with just how adaptable they were. This 105 litre follows a similar design ethos – short and wide, with a diamond tail and wide rounded nose, supplied with two complete fin setups, for which Starboard should be commended. There is also a colour coded key on the mast track, fin boxes and even integrated into the deck pad, to help provide tuning guidance when setting the fittings for varying roles. The profile of the 105 is quite unique, with a low nose and flat deck forward of the track accentuating its extended rocker flat. Underneath the Kode 105 combines pronounced vee with subtle double concaves to increase the curvature along the rails, said to help the Kode “bite and engage … into its carving arc”. The deep vee is also claimed to improve “rail to rail transitions and for better comfort and control when blasting through rough chop.” Finished beautifully, it is super light in this premium construction, the Starbox side fins super easy to switch in and out, whilst the Yulex straps are simple to adjust, and have in-built size markings to help tuning on the go. All in all, it is a very well thought out board and we couldn’t wait to get it on the water and try it out.
“The Kode. The board that does it all. The Kode aims for speed, power gybes or surfing the lines. Bump and jump, rough conditions, surfing wave… control and comfort.”
Albert Pijoan, R&D, Designer.
Taking the Kode out into blasting conditions initially, we placed the straps in their outboard positions, plugged in the 30 cm freewave fin and loaded it with a powerful engine. And the response from the Kode was impressive! Quick out of the blocks, it tracks very well despite its short length, and has plenty of stability in the tail, providing lots of time to find the straps, even for the clumsy footed. The wide tail combines with the fin to deliver ample drive, enabling the pilot to point high and glide smoothly through any prolonged lull. The domed deck and superb fittings offer comfort and a real sense of connection, whilst the nose of the Kode seems to trim itself intuitively, requiring little concentration on the rider’s part, yet keeping low and out of trouble. Light, responsive and lively underfoot, it is good fun for charging around a break at full speed and carries its speed instinctively into carving transitions, helping to inspire some old-school freestyle. Changing the fittings to inboard straps and the thruster fin setup, the Kode is ready to be taken into typical coastal conditions. Its early planing ease and practicality remain unaltered; its dampened ride through heavy seas becoming even more apparent as the rider adopts a more upright stance over the board. A keen bump and jump advocate, it feels light and compact in the air, releasing from the ramps easily and providing little distraction so that the rider can spot their landing. On the wave the Kode is also very capable. It is noticeably wider and chunkier in the tail than some in the test group and required more force through the back foot to redirect. However, we did find that a little extra time experimenting with the setup, moving the back strap and deck plate to the back, and the central fin further forward in its track, helped to loosen the board up and make it more dynamic in the turn.
Volume (Quoted): 105 L.
Length: 224 cm
Width: 65 cm
1ft off: 43.8 cm
Bottom shape: Rounded vee in the nose, to pronounced vee with a wash of double concave from the shoulders all the way into the tail, finishing in rounded vee behind the fins.
Weight (‘Naked’): 6.55 kg
Fins: Drake Freewave 30 G10 (US) / Drake Rush 20 G10 (US) + 2 x Drake Natural Wave 11 G10 (Starbox)
Sail Range (Quoted): 5.0 – 7.0m
Sizes Available: 85, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135.
Price: Wood: £1999.00 Carbon Reflex: £2569.00
Other boards in the line up