FANATIC STUBBY TE 88L 2017 TEST REVIEW
Fanatic have emblazoned the Stubby with the title “the game changer” for 2017 … and to be honest, we have to agree! Far from an attention-grabbing exercise thought up by a marketing whizz, the Stubby took wave-board design in a new direction last year, showing what the vanguard-inspired concept’s true potential was. Whilst there’s a new 99L sibling in the range, the 88’s design is unchanged for 2017, with its distinctive short and wide nose, wide tail and parallel outline. It has a tail channel to provide extra grip and control, (compensating for everything moved so far back on the board), and comes complete with the brand’s excellent deckpads incorporating heel bumpers, and premium straps. What is changed for the new season is the Stubby’s construction, using a new Biax Innegra Carbon technology that is reported to provide improved flex and stiffness, their layup offering the best strength to weight ratio possible. The fins supplied have also been changed to some stiff polyester foils designed in collaboration with Choco Fins.
“Everything is easy on the Stubby; speed and early planing, control and slashy turns. Its characteristics open up the potential to learn all of the latest moves, and with a new sensation for almost every style of wave conditions it has an incredibly wide range of use. Try it to believe it, then you’ll realise what all the fuss is about!”
Despite the Stubby’s design being a year older than all the other boards on test here, its performance is as fresh and exciting as the first day we tried it, over 12 months ago. Whilst it may look a little leftfield in appearance, it feels familiar and conventional underfoot, tracking well and feeling balanced off the plane (a good bog-out platform as a result). Deliver power and it releases from the water effortlessly, easily one of the earliest in the group to plane (albeit the extra quoted volume is noticeable – it is certainly the largest here). It accelerates willingly and has a fast, lively and loose character, making it a lot of fun on the way out through a break, feeling compact and manageable in the air. And like last year we found the Stubby simply motors upwind, imparting the rider with the confidence to chase down the line, confident that they have the speed and early planing to get out of any tight spot and back up to the line-up. On the wave face the Stubby responds best to being driven through the backfoot, the wide tail (whilst forgiving of a novice pilot’s more relaxed upright stance), thriving under a more forceful riding style. Useful and fun in all wave-riding conditions, from cross-on to cross-off, the Stubby’s wide shoulders and nose help the board to float out over broken waves, and to punch off the tightest section of the wave during the top turn. When fully lit to over-powered, the Fanatic’s speed and tail width did mean it became harder to redirect for our light (<75kg) testers. In this instance, the option would be to move down to the 77, of which we have also been hearing good things.
With the early planing, speed, upwind ability and practicality to make the most of any coastal environment, the Stubby is a lot of fun on the wave and flatters all who use it. It’s loose and lively, yet controllable character also gives the 88 a genuinely inspiring crossover nature.
Other sails in this test: