STARBOARD ULTRAKODE 86 2022
Fast, stable and user-friendly, the UltraKode has impeccable manners and masses of tuning capacity to make the most of any wave environment.
The UltraKode lineup has been refreshed for the new season with new graphics, and encompasses seven designs from 65 to 100 litres. Starboard claim that its Reflex Carbon construction is the strongest wave board technology out there, whilst also claiming that they weigh in as ‘the lightest ever’. The smallest of the pack (65 litres – one of two Liam Dunkerbeck signature ‘Wildcard’ models) grabs the headlines by tipping the scales at a quoted 5.1 kg, whereas this 86 litre version weighs in at a more conservative 6.4 kg – still relatively light, but not the lightest on test here. If weight is paramount though, there is a lighter option, choosing the ‘Thruster only’ option and saving a quoted 300g. On test here we have the ‘Fivestar’ version, with a central US box and four of the brand’s unique Star Boxes, so that the board can be setup as a quad if desired. It comes supplied with Drake Stone fins in a thruster setup, the side fins being relatively flexible, whilst the central fin is stiff. Short and easily the widest in the group, the UltraKode has a rounded outline, retaining plenty of width in the shoulders and tail. The deck is significantly domed throughout the board’s length (intended for “more consistency” and “performance in dodgy conditions” Starboard say), tapering to very thin rails, said by the brand to give “endless grip”. Supplied with 10 mm thick diamond grooved deckpads and the brand’s comfortable and eco-conscious Yulex footstraps (double screwed on the back strap), all fittings are fitted using the TX30 tool supplied. And for 2022 the UltraKode adopts a Goretex self-regulating valve, for practicality and piece of mind. One other point: once these Carbon Reflex boards were the priciest on the market, but at £2149, they’re now £150 cheaper than some of the main contenders!
“Imagine this… You’re carving through your bottom turn and push as hard as you can. You approach the lip, perfectly transitioning from rail to rail – your board bites into the water, throws you around and pushes a fountain of water over the wave. That’s the UltraKode for you.”
With its extra width, the UltraKode feels planted and balanced underfoot at rest, easily capable of carrying the 5.5m sail quoted, perhaps more. Tracking well off the plane, as power is delivered it releases with little encouragement and accelerates willingly to an impressive top speed. The fittings are supportive and comfortable, cushioning the ride as it releases and skims over the surface, the ride crisp and alert when fully powered. And with the fins located relatively far back in the tail, the UltraKode is a master at pointing high and making ground upwind. It was one of the best in the group for really owning the wave arena, blasting out the back to be first in position for the next wave ride. On the wave the UltraKode was easy to get on with, biting cleanly and maintaining its speed well, back up the face. The rearward fins again play their part here and make the arc of the turn a little prescribed; it’s an engaging and rewarding carve but proved harder to adjust once the rail is set. That said, the central fin box is plenty long enough for a little tinkering, and moving the fin forward certainly helped to loosen the ride up. Indeed, this Fivestar version can also be setup as a quad, providing an extra variable of versatility to really get the most from the board and conditions. Due to limited time and the magazine deadline, we didn’t get a chance to fully explore its quad potential, but initial findings were impressive, loosening the board up through the bottom turn.
STARBOARD ULTRAKODE 86 2022
Volume (Quoted): 86 litres
Length: 219 cm
Width: 60 cm
1ft off: 40.8 cm
Bottom shape: Pronounced vee with double concave in the nose and shoulders, becoming less pronounced in the mid-section, before returning under the front straps, finishing with a vee in the tail.
Weight (‘Naked’): 6.4 kg
Fin: Drake Stone Surf 19 (US Box) + 2 x Drake Stone Surf 11 (Star Box)
Sail Range (Quoted): 3.5-5.5m
Sizes Available: 65, 72, 78, 82, 86, 93, 100.
THE LINE UP