FANATIC BLAST LTD 130L 2017 TEST REVIEW.
The new Blast range has drawn a great deal of attention amongst the freeride sector of the market, clearly influenced by Fanatic’s Stubby wave-board concept, with its distinct parallel rails. Less obvious to the eye is that the Blast has also gained from the brand’s Falcon slalom program, adopting a performance rocker-line. With its boxy nose, straight and narrow mid-section, and diamond tail, it has a very unique ‘shoe-horn style’ outline, whilst its thin profile and subtly domed deck provide some normality and convention to the design. The Blast is available in two constructions – high end Textreme with its visible carbon hull and rails, and Ltd (as tried here) using a biax glass and PVC layup. Fittings are excellent as usual amongst Fanatics, with the brand’s Premium straps combining with the heel-bumpered deck-pads to provide a secure connection to the board. There are also plenty of strap options, more inboard than the stereotypical freerace designs in the group, whilst the Blast is the only board here that comes with a Powerbox fin.
“Drawing inspiration from last season´s most successful models – the Stubby and lightning fast Falcon – the Blast does exactly what it says on the tin. A hot new addition to the line up, it represents everything that got us hooked on windsurfing in the first place. Get ready to have a Blast!”
At 70cm wide, the Blast is noticeably narrower when you step on, and understandably requires a lower boom than the others in the group as a result. Directionally stable, it accelerates smoothly when power is provided, feeling easy and conventional underfoot, despite its snub-nose appearance. The ride is smooth and composed even through confused seas, the straps more inboard than others, placing the rider in a comfortable position, allowing for easy redirection by changing weight from heel to toe. It is distinctly freeride in nature – more forgiving and accessible than a classic freerace platform. In overpowered conditions we tried to load it with a high-end sail to really release the Blast and get it to fly on its fin … but it didn’t really respond as you’d expect of a typical board in this category. Yet, when we compared its speed to others in a drag race, it is certainly no slouch, perhaps losing out marginally when really lit, but in most conditions, the Blast was right up there. Its performance comes easy, the board actually responding better to a more relaxed upright posture – just provide the power and the board will do the rest. When the sea state becomes severe, the Blast’s narrower width, smooth response and controlled character really make it a pleasure to use – long after other boards of 130L would be put back in the van and exchanged for a smaller option. The narrow width and short nose length do mean you need to treat it like a smaller board in the tack … yet its effortless bite and extended glide through the gybe will have you coming back for more every time. The dome in the tail encourages the rider to push hard, whilst the rail simply grips and holds, enabling the corner to be tightened at will. The Blast is much more orthodox in feel than its appearance lets on, with a performance range that comes easy.
The impeccable manners of a modern freeride, combined with easy accessible freerace-esque speed, the Blast is a stunning fast freeride option that truly captivates when you carve your first gybe.
Other sails in this test: