STARBOARD ISONIC 107L REFLEX CARBON 2018 TEST REVIEW
The iSonic needs no introduction, being Starboard’s flagship performance range for countless years and claiming numerous race and world titles in the process. Their development is spearheaded by Brand Manager Tiesda You, working closely with Remi Vila – a champion racer in his own right and with a reputation for being meticulous in detail. There are a staggering fourteen sizes in the iSonic lineup, from the replica 53L speed special, up to the monster 157L model that is 2mm shy of being a metre wide. The 107 is described by the brand as a firm favourite amongst their team, and has been completely redesigned for the new season, with extra width and thickness in the tail, and revised shallow cutouts, which extend deeper into the tail to reduce the wetted area. Supplied with the brand’s latest Ultralight MK4 straps (that resist any water absorption to keep weight down), and thin deckpads (particularly under the front straps), it is available in either Low Carbon Footprint (L.C.F.) technology, or their premium Reflex Carbon construction as tested here. You have to pay a pretty penny for it, but my gosh it is light! Both options use Sicomin Bio Resin in their manufacturing process – a plant based resin that is said to possess “half the carbon footprint of conventional petroleum based epoxy resin”. It’s a small but significant step in becoming more environmentally responsible, and can only be commended.
“The iSonic 107 is a bit bigger in 2018: up to 1cm wider and also thicker in the tail to increase performance with a 8.6m² sail size, as the gap between the 137 and 107 had grown too big. To keep the top-end speed and performance levels with a 7.8m², the wetted surface area was reduced by adjusting the cut-aways, like on the iSonic 97. As a result, the iSonic 107 accelerates faster than before, even with a 7.8m². The winning slalom machine for medium and heavy weights in medium winds.”
The widest in the test group yet with the lowest quoted volume, the iSonic was a stand out board in the medium slalom board size last year, and we have to say this new 107 continues in the same vain. It feels big when required, carrying an 8.5m sail well and bursting into life when power is supplied. And when the conditions become interesting, the level of control the board supplies is like you’ve dropped down a board size. It is as if the board comes dressed in a cloak of invincibility … making racing your peers almost like you’re cheating! Used with a 38cm fin in light to medium winds, we dropped down to a 36cm for fully powered conditions, which seemed to provide just the right balance of feeling loose and free on the water’s surface without igniting any control issues. It cuts through heavy seas like a board possessed and trims instinctively as if immune to impact, taking much of the stress away from the rider and enabling them to conserve energy. The straps are again deceptively comfortable and easy to locate, the only niggle being that you need to spend time adjusting their sizes between pilots – less of an eyebrow-raiser when there is just one user. In the gybe, the iSonic bites in effortlessly given that you’re carrying such speed, retaining its light and responsive nature, allowing the rider to pick their path or adjust it accordingly. There’s also plenty of volume in the tail, right where the rider stands, enabling the board to glide through the turn whilst supporting the stance change and rig repositioning for a rapid exit. Its potential is immediately apparent and the response and feedback it provides becomes addictive. Slalom events on both a national and international stage have hotly contested fleets, yet spend a moment on this board and you can’t help but feel that you may have just received your calling to enter!
The exhaustive time spent by Starboard’s R&D pays off again. It comes with a healthy price tag in Reflex Carbon construction, but the scintillating iSonic pedigree lives on in this 107 – its performance and range is spellbinding.
Other sails in this test:
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