STARBOARD KODE FSW 103L CARBON 2014 TEST REVIEW
The Kode freestyle-waves consist of 3 singlefin sizes (86/94/103) that sit ‘on top’ of the ‘Kode wave’ collection. A fast bottom shape (vee and flat) offers a different approach to the predominantly mono-into-double concave offerings in this medley of designs on test. For 2014 Starboard say they’ve lowered the nose and overall rocker line on the 94 and 103 to enhance control and top speed and given it a ‘bullet’ nose that’s similar to the world-cup-winning Flare freestyle shape. All models keep the freestyle ducktail that make it stand out as a potential pick for the budding trickster within this group’s spectrum of use. This 103 came supplied with a Drake 30-cm. freewave fin in US box, which might suit most of the fins you already may have, despite a lot of dedicated freestyle fins coming in powerbox configuration.
‘The Kode Freestyle Waves are Starboards award-winning do-it-all boards. They are aggressive, fast and manoeuvrable with a balanced blend between wave, freestyle and freeride. Whether used in the waves, in freestyle or for freeride, they aim to please. Their nature is to be aggressive, fast and manoeuvrable yet comfortable.’
Just like the 2013 incarnation, the 2014 Kode Freestyle Wave delivers an instantly comfy sailing stance for all sizes of rider. We liked that there’s just a few strap positions (the forward options have nice outboard settings for blasting use) and that the two options aft are, more or less, exactly where almost every size or shape of tester needed them. The hull’s noticeably quick to plane and smooth-riding with rapid acceleration elements that matched our freestyle-esque expectations. The nose shape does make for good reception in tricks and the tail shape is obviously a major benefit for sliding moves too. Out in our Dahab test venue you don’t get breaking surf to speak of, so it’s hard to judge this model on it’s wavesailing prowess, but it certainly copes with a range of water states with a nice flat, fast sailing position (immediately from middle track settings) free from any unwanted tailwalk or lack of control. Turning-wise we felt the nature more akin to a freeride board than some of the out-and-out wave-program-derived shapes this carbon version went head-to-head against. That carving action is nice and steady and will be forgiving to relative novices as they progress to a smaller board and familiar to those coming from a more slalom or freeride background who want push their turns harder. In that respect, in the conditions we had to hand, this had the Kode 103 ranked highly amongst both the core and extended testing group. The volume distribution is positive with plenty of pop in the tail and corkage for sub-planing manoeuvres. In relation to wave use once again, the singlefin and pop would be handy in, say a cross-onshore blasting and jumping scenario, where serious wave riding is of less importance.
Starboard have nailed it again with another rewarding shape that simply works straight out of the box. The Kode 103 definitely leans towards the freestyle and freeride end of the FSW range of use, but would still be an excellent coastal companion for ‘real world’ wavesailors worldwide.
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STARBOARD KODE FSW 103L CARBON 2014
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