GOYA PROTON 116L 2017 TEST REVIEW
New to Goya’s range for this season is their first ever race dedicated, PWA approved slalom range of boards. Made up of three sizes for now, this 116L Proton is sandwiched by 96L and 136L versions, all available solely in ‘full carbon sandwich’. It also comes FOIL READY, same as the 136. Gabriel Browne is on the Goya team and says of the 116, “it boasts incredible wind range and suits sails from 6.5 to 8.5 perfectly. It is designed to be in the top level of efficiency and performance on any race course.” With similar dimensions to all the other boards on test here, the Proton keeps width in its shoulders and tail to draw out a parallel rail outline. The rails themselves are hard in the tail, as you’d expect, although unlike others here, display a degree of tuck further forward, even becoming soft in the nose. With plenty of volume concentrated under the rider’s feet, the Proton doesn’t possess an extreme hollowed out deck per se, opting instead for a subtle longitudinal scoop just in front of the straps to make the deck flat around the mast track and in the nose. In the rear, the rounded tail sits above a detailed cutout pattern, its relatively shallow design extending either side of the fin box and up much of the planing rail. Fittings are of a high quality as usual, with MFC’s excellent easy-adjustable straps, thinned diamond-contoured deckpads and an up-to-date foil-ready fin box for those looking to extend the board’s wind range further.
“It is a dream to be here today as we launch our new race board program. When we started Goya Windsurfing 12 years ago with only a couple of wave board models, I would imagine the day our race boards would become available. Finally they are here, and we are ready to embrace this new challenge as we have done with the rest of our models, bringing all of our best forward.” Francisco Goya
On the water the Proton provides a fast connected ride that is both far reaching and practical enough to have a wide user appeal. One of the largest feeling in the group underfoot, it can carry the quoted 8.6m easily and accelerates smoothly once power is provided. Feeling conventional and stable thanks to its flat deck, it is easy to locate the straps and plough more energy into the board, rising it up onto the surface of the water, the thick chunky shoulders sitting high and clear of any danger. In light to medium winds, the Proton is such an accomplished board to use – fast on every point of sail, it covers ground effortlessly, feeling incredibly comfortable and efficient and requiring relatively little technical input from the rider. It remains connected to the water, providing plenty of control and feedback and making it easy to change direction in an instant. We did play around with a larger fin and altered deckplate position to try and enact a looser, more flighty feel and this was achieved to some degree, but essentially the Proton’s nature is such that it prefers to sail planted. As the wind increases and the water state becomes unsettled, this plays into the Proton’s hands. Picking your path through the troughs and crests, the board’s smooth response to changes in foot pressure enables you to keep the hammer down and compete at the highest level. And if you feel things beginning to get away from you, its forgiving nature enables you to stand more upright and take a breather. This sense of control and connection is also very evident in the gybe, allowing the rider to push confidently through the turn and prescribe an arc of their choosing.
A slalom board with ease and range, as the conditions become more challenging, the Proton’s disciplined nature puts it into ascendancy. Making as bold a statement as its attractive graphics – Goya have certainly arrived on the slalom scene.
Other sails in this test: