AHD SEALION XL 2018 REVIEW
The Sealion series has been in the AHD lineup for ten seasons now, and has such a following on the continent that they even have a ‘Global Sealion’ event, now in its seventh year. The concept is easy to understand – a one-board-does-all platform that can be used for teaching early stage windsurfing before being used by the experienced for float-and-ride fun in waves. It can also be used for SUP cruising and is far from feeling (or looking) out of place in a SUP surf lineup. Extending the range and appeal of the concept further, there are two Sealion ‘Wings’ boards, designed to also be compatible with foils for either windfoiling or SUP-foiling. The XL itself remains unchanged for 2018, sitting in the Sealion lineup as the second largest in a four-board series. Available either in one-shot epoxy sandwich construction as tested here (with the option of three bright colour schemes), or as their Summer Board, with a full EVA deck and plenty of reinforcement to withstand the rigours of a windsurf/SUP school.
“The Sealion concept is a unique windSUP concept. With outstanding performance when light wind windsurfing and freeriding or when stand up paddle surfing, the Sealion will have you multiplying sessions in all conditions – waves, flat water, strong or absent winds; you just need one board to experience it all.”
We tried the Sealion XL in last year’s windSUP test and were impressed with the versatility of its performance. Used in our windsurfing school, it was a real hit with smaller riders (around 50kg or less) as their first platform, providing plenty of stability and directional predictability with the central fin in place. It tracks upwind beautifully, turns well and responds positively to shifts in weight, getting the rider to really sense the difference their movements make. It’s also got to be said that they loved the graphics! Replace the central fin with a blanking-plate and the Sealion is a cracking board for a potter out the back to catch some waves on. It makes float and ride sessions a real pleasure, carving cleanly and dependably on the way in, before gripping instinctively on its windward rail and outboard fins to point high back up to the lineup. Again, as with last year, we only got the chance to try the Sealion in small local waves, but have got to say we haven’t had a bad session on it yet. The same can be said in SUP mode – the Sealion XL tracks forwards very well and offers plenty of stability, even for the novice paddler. Its carving style is smooth and progressive rather than sharp or instantaneous – just relax and enjoy the flow. The rocker in the board negates its flat-water planing capacity and at 150L it is too small to be useful as an adult’s first windsurfing platform. But for those looking for a summer family platform from which to introduce their children, before doubling up as a tremendously fun coastal play-craft, the options available don’t come much better than the Sealion.
A secret weapon for any quiver (but particularly for families), the Sealion XL is a lot of fun to use, and has the versatility to save the day time and time again.
Other boards in this test: