FANATIC GRIP TE 82L 2018 TEST REVIEW
With Fanatic updating their Stubby outfit to include a much requested 82L version, they have taken the decision to consolidate their ‘conventional’ board offering to just one range. The Grip TE is described by the brand as their “all-in-one wave weapon” with five slot boxes in the tail to enable it to be set up in the fin configuration of your preference. It comes in five sizes, from 68 to 99, the 82 here being the middle sibling … and looking at its design, it is easy to see its line of succession from the Tri Wave of old. Possessing similar increments and outline, there are nonetheless plenty of new design subtleties to leave us pondering its capabilities. The bottom shape is new, the vee in the nose and tail diminishing to leave flat double concave under the mast track. The fin positions have also all moved forward in the board, whilst the fin option supplied with the Grip is a quad setup as opposed to thruster. Small and compact, its profile is thin throughout the 82’s length, but is noticeably very thin in its swallowtail compared to others in the group. Produced in the brand’s Biax Innegra Carbon Light Finish Technology, it comes supplied with excellent cushioned deckpads, Fanatic’s Premium footstraps (incorporating internal size-adjustment indictors) and resin transfer moulded fins, designed by Choco.
“PWA Wave World Champion Victor Fernandez sealed the deal in 2016 with the exact same shape of the new Grip under his feet. Finely tuned over a period of over two years, the Grip has the planing power of our previous TriWave and turning capabilities beyond the 2017 Quad. Customise the amount of grip you want through your fins. From back to front foot riding, intermediate to World Champ level, the carefree and intuitive Grip is designed to follow your lead.”
At a quoted volume of 82L, and with one of the narrowest tails, it was no surprise that the Grip felt one of the smallest boards on test. What was impressive though was how balanced and controlled it felt underfoot, even when underwater, the flat deck and even volume distribution no doubt playing its part. Deliver the power and the Grip is keen to respond, releasing from the water smoothly and accelerating well. The straps are easy to locate and along with the deckpads provide excellent connection to the board. Cutting a clean, fast path through the water, it is incredibly well mannered and really enables the rider to settle into their preferred stance, feeling loose yet composed at all times. Set up with the supplied quad fins, the Grip sits with its tail lower and more connected to the water. It was a real gem to use in cross shore to cross off waves, the connection and drive through the tail of the board almost accelerating it at will back up the face, before the narrow tail made it easy to redirect at the apex. For variable, tidal UK conditions however (and unanimously amongst the test team), we found the Grip more auspicious as a thruster. We set it up using the two side fins supplied and an 18cm central fin, (Fanatic can supply an MFC thruster set as an optional extra). As a result, it had noticeably more drive, the tail sitting higher in the water – better for more marginal winds and heavier riders. On the wave it seems to glide through the turn, balanced through both front and back foot, and keeps its speed effortlessly, allowing the pilot to keep driving to get impossibly vertical. It’s a fantastic all-rounder – with the capacity to adapt to any riding style, it is both easy to use and practical, with an appetite to charge and carve up any face.
Possessing all the magic we recall of the TriWave last year, the Grip 82 provides the extra dimension and versatility of being set up as a quad. Comfortable in any coastal environment, it was a delight to use on a wave and became a strong favourite amongst the team.
Other sails in this test: