Starboard Futura 111L Carbon 2014 Test Review
The Futura sits in between the ionic slalom and speed lines and the AtomIQ and Carve Freeride boards in the Starboard collection. Supplied with Drake Venom 42 Tuttle box fin.
“The Futuras are Starboard’s freerace boards. Freerace boards are designed to go extremely fast, like slalom boards, but with more user-friendliness and more comfort. They are the sports cars of windsurfing”.
We thought we’d tested this model in hectic conditions last year in the U.K., but this trip was a whole different ball game! Now up against some newer rivals, it was interesting to see how this Carbon 111 would fare? Well the early planing and acceleration are still there and strong against the competition. (Although this time the lightest wind we had it in was about 18 knots!) As is the super-smooth comfort and control that the thin rails provide, largely due to the wide-tapering-into-thin tail. But it’s the gybing nature that’s the pièce de résistance of this shape. OK, it’s not the most manoevrable, but the glide and momentum out of turns is superb and it’s possible to easily, efficiently pull-off a good range of tight, wide and hooked arcs with changes of direction not being too much of an issue. In El Médano’s mix of swell and chop we found a little bit of nose slap (we’d have liked a longer mast track really in such an extremely challenging sea state), finding it slightly harder to fully let it fly than before, but generally it’s still pretty amazing when sailed super broad and more like a dedicated racing board this way than a ‘reach-back-and-forth’, pure blasting product. (GPS sailors take note.) Generally we think this size still likes sails with the draft a little further back, although you’ll need to tweak that mast track to control the liveliness and prevent unwanted spinout at the top end of the range, which is probably around the 30 knot mark with a 36 or 38-cm. fin – although, in fairness, Starboard do recommend that you need three fins to cover the range of this model. (30 knots is a more than respectable top-end for an 111L board using the standard fin!) More traditional draft-forward sails do pressure the back foot a lot, so bear this in mind when matching up your choices. Our major point on the wish list would be for the margin between the inboard and outboard strap options to be a little greater, to leave some growing room for less experienced riders to be able to squeak that extra bit of speed out of it once they’ve reached the required level. The inboard setting is fine for intermediates, but more accomplished riders might benefit from the straps nearer the rails. All-in-all this is one hell of a sweet stick still that offers performance that’s pretty close to a specialist slalom board but with the suspension, ride and cornering of a luxury touring car.
Smooth, forgiving, sweet to gybe, satisfyingly fast off the wind. The Futura’s still a luxurious and refined-feeling board that delivers heaps of control and allows you to concentrate on reeling in your rivals.
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STARBOARD FUTURA 111L CARBON 2014
Other boards in this test: