FANATIC FREEWAVE TE 106L 2016 TEST REVIEW
2016 marks the 12th year of the Freewave in the Fanatic line-up – a range of board that has been deservedly successful and popular over the years for its blend of crossover appeal. Available in three constructions across five different sizes (albeit the TeXtreme® construction only being available for the middle three sizes), the design of the 106 Freewave remains unchanged for 2016, save for a paintwork update with what the brand are calling “polished on trend graphics”. Whilst only supplied with a single fin, irrespective of the construction you choose, it’s worth noting that the two dearer constructions offer the adaptability to be set up as a thruster, housing long thruster boxes, whilst the CWS construction option doesn’t.
“Improving a winner isn’t easy. It might seem as though we are resting on our success with this range, but in reality we can’t find anything that represents the FreeWave category better than its existing shape. With a compact outline, snappy fish tail, flat deck shape and smooth rails, incredible easy wave performance is guaranteed. The powerful bottom shape, slight V and double concave, when combined with the board’s quick rocker line, ensure outstanding speed and early planing performance on flat water and across chop.”
On the water the Freewave provides good stability at rest, the flat deck and low shoulders help it to carry weight and large rigs easily. It releases onto the plane effortlessly, responding smoothly as power is provided and has an almost instinctive and passive nature, requiring little rider input to make the most of the energy available. In marginal winds it was noticeable that the fin provided was smaller than others in the group, slipping on occasion as you tried to drive against it, yet the problem disappeared as the wind increased and sail size reduced. In a straight line the 106 tends to prefer a more upright stance, the outboard strap positions remaining relatively inboard. Yet relax and let the board do the work for you, and it accelerates to a surprisingly good top speed, particularly off the wind. It sits low in the water, practically ironing out any impact as it rides over chop whilst retaining excellent control even in harsh conditions.
The true capabilities of the Freewave came to light, however, when it was changed to a thruster set-up and taken into waves. It carves beautifully on the face, feeling compact and gripping much like a wave board. You actually forget about the size of the board that is under your feet, such is its ease and response, making it a stunning float and ride option for those marginal days. Tracking upwind well and retaining its easy tempered nature, it was a lot of fun to use around the break, responding smoothly to changes in foot pressure and capable of making the most of less than ideal conditions.
The 106 continues to uphold the Freewave’s reputation for ease and practicality, combined with fantastic versatility. Fast off the wind and always in control, it was a delight to use in a wave break in thruster set-up, rapidly becoming a favourite amongst the team. Well recommended.
Other sails in this test: