STARBOARD ATOM IQ CARBON ULTRACORE 140L 2016 TEST REVIEW
The 140 is the second largest design in the AtomIQ line-up and was introduced last year along with its siblings either side, the 130 and 160. It is tested here in Carbon Ultracore – a new technology for 2016, claimed by Starboard to be the world’s lightest construction. It uses a new sandwich core material combined with a unidirectional carbon layer and a full rail carbon Innegra rail-band to provide vastly improved properties, from rigidity to crispness of response. Dressed in its bright green livery and housing a mass of footstrap options, the AtomIQ certainly looks the part, supplied with Drake straps offering softer flex than their wave straps, and double-layered sponge deckpads for extra comfort. Interestingly, the sponge cushions are placed under the balls of the back feet, dropping the rider’s heel low to the rails. One of the widest in the group, yet with one of the narrowest tails, it has a very rounded outline before pinching rapidly by the back straps, with long straight cutouts radiating from the tail to the 1ft off mark.
“Slim and fast with the wind range of two classic freeriders, the AtomIQ takes the complication out of windsurfing. Advanced windsurfers should choose the AtomIQ that is the same width as their current board for enhanced efficiency. Progressing windsurfers should choose the same volume as their current board for more stability.”
Balanced and easy at idle, the AtomIQ 140 releases onto the plane willingly as soon as power is provided, accelerating efficiently. Once in the straps, the narrow tail and low heel position of the back foot takes a little getting used to. In marginal winds, it feels as if you’re lacking feedback from the fin, struggling to get the board really flying, despite it cruising through lulls as well as any other board in the group. Comfortably powered, you begin to realise the benefits however. The 140 feels compact and responsive underfoot, transitioning from rail to rail like a board of 20, even 30L less volume. And as the pressure in the sail increases, the board begins to come alive, flying on its fin and encouraging you to trust it. There is plenty of traction to help drive at an impressive angle close to the wind, and pushed off the wind, the AtomIQ has a fantastic top speed for a board of this size, the small tail shape helping to retain control even over severe chop. It really is a diverse board – smooth and steady for the nervous passenger, yet with enough life and response for the advanced pilot. In the gybe, the 140 does need to be driven in with confidence – the tuck in the rails starting as soon as the extended cut-outs finish, yet still quite a way from the tail. Push hard and the board will bite, carving a smooth and even arc under constant pressure.
The AtomIQ offers something for everyone, combining control and ease of use with enough life and performance on every point of sail to keep the experienced rider captivated.
Other boards in this test: