STARBOARD KODE FREEWAVE 103L
ULTRACORE REFLEX CARBON 2017 TEST REVIEW
The five boards that make up the Kode Freewave series were introduced last year and remain current for the new season, bringing with them a conscious shift from freestyle bias to more wave oriented designs. Incorporating thinner, softer rails and a pronounced double concave in the hull, the 103 displays its wave-focussed traits, yet combines it with a low nose angle, long rocker flat and wide shoulders to enhance its stability and straight-line potential. Under closer inspection, the changes for 2017 can be seen in the Kode’s construction and fittings. Produced in UltraCore sandwich technology, the board is lighter, stronger and stiffer than its predecessor using a ‘smart carbon’ layup to make its mid-section stiff, whilst the nose and tail are able to flex more. For most, the Hybrid Carbon version is the key contender (there’s a Technora version also available), but we’re testing the 103 here in the brand’s super premium Reflex Carbon construction, which is staggeringly light. The new fittings are equally worthy of note, with 10mm thick deckpads harbouring a grippy square contour pattern, the brand’s excellent Drake Deluxe straps and the new Starbox in the side-fin positions. This box is simple yet effective, making fin location both quick and practical.
“The Kode FreeWave is an awesome, amazing board. I can do everything with it: freeride, jumping, waves or even a bit of freestyle!” – Boujmaa Guilloul
Last year we summed up the 103 by saying it “challenges convention and in doing so redefines adaptability”. Having tried the 103 once again, we certainly stand by that statement, its character changing dramatically as the fin set up is altered. With the 30cm fin supplied in place, the 103 releases smoothly once turned off the wind and accelerates to an impressive top speed. It has a loose gunny nature, becoming even more noticeable in this Reflex Carbon lightweight construction, the low nose trimming efficiently to the water’s surface, whilst the raised deck in the tail of the board provides plenty to push against for a secure, locked in stance. Releasing and flying off the fin, it is certainly one of the fastest in the group, particularly off the wind where it seems to engage rocket afterburners – easily a match for more traditional freeride designs. Carry this speed into the corner and the Kode cuts the sharpest arc, gripping purposefully as it responds to the change in foot pressure. You can really feel the rails and the board’s willingness to respond. Change the fins for a thruster set up (Upgrade pack including MFC TF 20 Carbon + 2 x Drake Natural Wave 13 G-10 available for £99.00) and the character of the 103 alters instantly. It is a little sticky to get going and doesn’t have the same drive, but what it loses in straight-line talent it more than makes up for in rail to rail potential. Compact and responsive, it has a planted assured stance, transitioning fluently and providing positive response the harder you push. It just asks to be thrown around, and will not feel out of place in and around small to medium waves, from cross-onshore mush to glassy cross-off.
Morphing from a downwind rocket ship to a heavyweight’s wave machine, the Kode Freewave retains convention-defying tuning capabilities, made all the more apparent in this premium Reflex Carbon construction.
Other sails in this test: