FANATIC FREEWAVE 106L TEAM EDITION 2014 TEST REVIEW
THE LOW-DOWN Last year Fanatic took the plunge in the freestyle wave shakeup that saw a number of brands throw thrusters into their FSW lineups. For 2014 their FSW range is all-new, with the pintail outline replaced by a shorter, more compact swallowtail and notably larger, rounder nose as well as a flatter deck and updated rail profiles. The 106-litre model we tested was an Innegra/Carbon Light Finish Team Edition version. The 106 is also available in the stunning TeXtreme® (most expensive) or Custom Wood Sandwich (affordable, singlefin only), constructions. The fixtures and fittings are all quality and well thought-out, with comfy [own brand] heel-bumper pads and straps and quality G10 fins supplied. (29-cm. Maui Fin Co. G10 Powerbox centre fin. Smaller sizes of the TE come with glass fins. Blanks are supplied for the 106 TE SlotBox system thrusters.)
‘The original FreeWave was built with one thought in mind: to offer ultimate freedom on any wave the ocean can create – for every sailor. As we approached 2014 we were tasked with a new challenge: how to make the best even better? This is a question that we have been trying to answer for years. With our flagship FreeWave range being one of the most loved boards on the market today, it was out of question to introduce a new board that might not beat the highly decorated shape. Better was the only option.’
Straight up you’ll notice the steady feeling off the plane, not unlike the feel of a wider, more voluminous board, which will be reassuring to heavyweights hunting for some added security. Next up you’ll be impressed with some positive early planing power, with excellent acceleration up to full speed. That lifty ride is refined and you can almost feel the hours of testing and year-on-year evolution under your feet. The sailing position is positive, stiff and direct with testers commenting on how well connected they felt to the hull. That said, we found, after trying the rear straps in twin mode, that the positioning could be a little more outboard to maximize that flat-water speed even more. Also notable is the upwind performance, which is a nice surprise as the forward rails aren’t boxy, but actually tucked and generally rounded up front – something that lends itself to the other fun aspects of sailing – cranking around the bends! Well, the gybing and turning prowess is sophisticated, with a nice, easy, fast bite in the edge and smooth rail-to-flat – and vice versa – behavior. Although Dahab’s not a wave location, you can tell this 106, probably with a smaller centre fin and the thrusters in, will be a handy wavesailing weapon, especially as the rails in the tail are not too thick. The overall feeling from most of the crew was that this size would edge slightly into the wavier end of the Freestyle < > Wave spectrum of use. Freestyle and jumping wise, the news is positive with a good rounded nose for reception in sliding moves and there’s some good volume left centrally and aft for pop in wavier conditions.
A fast and refined all-rounder with plenty of pop and a clean-carving nature.
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