FANATIC VIPER AIR PURE WINDSURF 2018 REVIEW
The Viper Air range has been reduced to just one size for 2018, the 11’0”, now available in two different constructions – Fanatic’s premium ‘Double Layer HD’ lay-up (with silicon rail edges in the tail for planing release and retailing at £1099.00) or this ‘Pure’ version, produced in a drop stitch light technology. With its single layer PVC surfaces, the idea is to provide a quality product from one of the most reputable manufacturers without breaking the bank! Whilst the dimensions of the Viper are identical to the Viper Air we tested last year, its fittings have been updated slightly, the Pure now supplied with a 19.5cm Fly fin for the rear box, but a larger 22cm Fly Race fin for the central box, to increase directional stability further. There are soft grab handles on the nose, tail and central position, a large diamond-grooved deckpad over much of the deck, a towing eyelet and deck-net (for adventure needs) on the nose, and lastly, a leash-eyelet on the tail. It comes complete with the brand’s ‘HP2 Power Pump’, capable of dual-action inflation to help reach the desired 15 P.S.I. The board then folds down easily after a session to be stowed neatly in Fanatic’s blue Pure Air backpack, with padded shoulder straps to assist transportation.
“Windsurf enthusiasts and SUP lovers are equally stoked about the diversity the Viper Air has to offer. With years of experience in building the best entry level windsurf boards, we made sure that the Viper Air is spiced with similar characteristics: optimum glide, stable platform, great turning potential and all-round manoeuvrability.”
Fanatic describe the Viper Air’s outline as ‘stretched’ and we’d have to agree, its parallel rails, broad nose and blocky tail giving it a particularly box like appearance. Interestingly, it is no longer the only board in this group that is 6” thick (as it was last year), the extra depth making it is easy to pump up, and providing extra stiffness at lower pressures. These features combine to provide incredible stability on the water, the Viper Air sitting high on the water’s surface and feeling reassuringly dependable for the nervous or heavier passenger. Used for stand up paddling, the board glides beautifully, its lightweight and buoyant nature helping to translate every stroke into forward momentum. Its long wetted area and wide tail make it feel secure and forgiving as the pilot develops their turning techniques, shifting their weight about the board. With a sail attached, and the larger central fin fixed in place (which, like the rear fin, doesn’t require the use of any tools) the Viper Air is equally user-friendly in windsurfing mode. Used in light airs, it tracks perfectly and was an excellent platform with which to teach all bar the largest adult. In transition, the Viper’s buoyant stance allows it to be easily influenced by the rig, slipping smoothly over the water whilst the rider can move confidently about the board. And as the wind increases, the extra area of the central fin certainly does seem to mitigate some of the sideways drift we can recall last year’s Viper suffered from. This Pure version is not intended for planing wind strengths (look to the Double Layer HD version with its hard edge rails for an increased wind range), but if you’re looking for a fun, accessible platform for all the family to enjoy this summer, there’s no safer bet than the Viper Air.
One of the largest, most buoyant platforms around, the Viper Air tracks and glides beautifully, making it a fun secure tutor for both SUP’ing and windsurfing in light winds.
Other boards in this test: