MONSTER V2 116L
2019 TEST REVIEW.
This is the second generation of Simmer’s freerace Monster series, which dispenses of the eyebrow-raising stepped rail of the original designs. The four board Monster lineup is shaped by the same hand as the brand’s reputed 3XS dedicated slalom range – Italian Aurelio Verdi, who has over twenty years of experience shaping slalom boards. The design of the Monster is much more in keeping with convention than its predecessor, with a wide rounded outline, maintaining a lot of width in its tail before being pulled in quickly in the last 30 cm, finishing off with small subtle cutouts. The deck is scooped out around the mast-track, and there are noticeably few footstrap permutations available, with just two options per strap. This 116 comes with Tuttle box as standard, although its two larger siblings possess foil-ready Deep Tuttle boxes, to help extend your wind range further. Produced in the brand’s Pro carbon construction, a great deal of care and attention to detail has been taken in material layup to achieve the best stiffness to weight ratio, without compromising the board’s strength. And as with all fourth generation Simmer boards it uses a self-regulating Goretex valve to regulate core pressure, so just leave it alone and let it do its job. Said to be modelled around the “winning performance” of its slalom stablemate, yet in a “more user-friendly package”, it also mimics its slalom counterpart by coming supplied without a fin.
“Insane top speeds with full control at all times, combined with impressive early planing and easy gybing. This is what makes the Monster one of the most fierce freerace weapons available.”
Whilst being one of the widest in the test group (particularly in the tail) the hollowed out deck shape does make the Monster feel smaller than its quoted volume and did lead us to question its suggested sail range of 7.0-9.2m? Nevertheless, deliver power … stuff it off the wind and step back earlier than you might anticipate … and the Monster jumps to life. It accelerates impulsively yet smoothly, feeling feverish underfoot and wanting to be governed. Its stance is high on the water’s surface, hunting and accelerating through every gust. It provides real connection with the fin and for this reason is quite fin critical – partner it with a sluggish blade and the board’s wings feel clipped. We tried a number of different fins with the Monster and have to say it prefers a larger fin than you might expect, providing some clarity for the larger recommended sail sizes. Whilst many of the boards here are supplied with 38 cm fins, this Monster responds best with 42-44 cm fins and loaded with bigger sails to make the most of lighter airs. In this way it becomes a real master of its trade – a lively responsive platform for covering great distances in comfort. It is particularly electric off the wind, the vee in the front section of the board helping to cushion the ride as you skim over the back of the chop. In transition the 116’s pinched tail helps to counter the straightening effect of the board’s parallel mid section, giving the rider the ability to drive hard through the tail and maintain pressure through difficult terrain. It is certainly more technical than others here, and will stall upon exit if timing isn’t right … yet the Monster’s ability to carry weight and large rigs will mean that it has a size advantage over its more voluminous peers in the same wind strengths.
A pocket racer with a big board demeanour, the Monster is one of the larger boards in this group, feeling most at home when empowered with bigger sails, and being used to upset boards 10L its senior. A big board in disguise!
Other sails in this test: