STARBOARD ATOMIQ 120L 2014 TEST REVIEW
First launched in 2009 the, then ‘Atom’, dropped out of the Starboard range for a few seasons after probably being a little ‘ahead of the curve’ in the wide-and-thin revolution. Originally an EVA-decked model that was offered as a strapped or strapless option for those looking for a new, ‘on-the-toes’ sensation, the AtomIQs have furthered the original concept first introduced by AHD’s Inspiro collection back in 2002.
The AtomIQs have notably more aggressive rail edges than the rest of this group as well as sporty tail cutouts to reduce drag and aid fin grip. Available only in stiff and light full carbon layup with 40-cm. Drake Freeride polyester fin. The AtomIQ sits between the entry-level GO and Carve freeride lines and the Futura ‘de-tuned’ slalom freerace collection.
‘The slim & wide shape of the Atom IQs allow them to plane early like a board with 15 liters of extra volume, yet remains as maneuverable as a board with 15 liters less. With the right tuning, you get a wind range that covers three classic freeride boards. Very thin rails and profile combined with the compact and wide outline give the Atom IQs their sporty and comfortable character with aggressive and easy jibes and a lively planing.’ (Sic.)
While a lot of the new crop of wide-and-thin freemove boards are focused purely on the first-time gyber, the AtomIQ offers a refreshing level of sportier-feeling performance for those undecided on a ‘traditional’ freeride board or a more technical to sail freerace shape. We loved this 120’s fast and lively feel, with a sweet ride that’s not particularly planted and sticky in the water – or over skittery either. There’s heaps of positive acceleration from stationary through to excellent high-end speed that’s easy to control. The sharper rails are handy upwind too and we found this size equally happy in either chop or smooth surfaces in wind from 8 to over 30 knots. More advanced riders will fall in love with the gybing capabilities of the AtomIQ. With bucket loads of grip you can really overcook turns and vary the radius of your carve with the edges always holding well with strong feedback ever present through the toes. The turning characteristics are not exclusive to the more accomplished sailor, but it will be the more motivated and determined intermediates only that will cope with the ‘lack of set radius’ in the AtomIQ’s makeup.
With an electrifying blend of pace and control the AtomIQ 120 delivers a sensationally sporty and hard-carving ride. Rapid acceleration and superb range of use make for a mouth-watering new freeride experience.
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