WITCHCRAFT SHAMAN 88L 2014 TEST REVIEW
OK, we only tried in onshore conditions – and that’s what it’s designed for – but we’d be interested to see if the ‘turning circle’ would be too tight for cross-off perfection …
The track is quite short, but small changes have quite pronounced effects dependant on the conditions. Larger sailors may want more sail power to drive the width.
“The Shaman is our new on shore biased wave shape. It’s a high performance board, fast and loose. The shape is shorter and wider with a flatter rocker and the straps, fins and mast box a bit further back.”
Outline: Wide-nosed teardrop outline with trademark Witchcraft snub nose tapering into narrow squashtail.
Deck: Flat from nose to stance area.
Rail Profile: Thick and bulbous tucked nose sharpening aggressively by front strap where they remain noticeably sharp to tail.
Bottom Shape: Almost rounded under-shape in nose, into sloping rolled shoulder-style vee forward of track. Double concave and sharper raised vee by track, deepening by front straps through to fins where concave disappears and only soft vee remains to tail.
Rocker Line: Flat section at front strap – on centre line – even straighter in concave. A lot of overall nose lift. Curve steepens aft towards fins.
Fin Configuration: Thruster – or true trifin really – carbon, super swept-back, asymmetric, pre-twisted flexible tips – no progressive flex. Back 14 cm and 2 x 13.5 cm front sidebites.
Pads: Dual density own-brand pads with slight instep lift. Tail kick at rear.
Straps: ProLimit with excellent adjustment, placed right in middle of thruster cluster.
Construction: SDT (Single Double Triple sandwich, Glass (50%) Carbon (15%) Dyneema (5%) Epoxy). We tested the HDD version (Heavy Duty Dyneema).
So what does a board primarily intended for onshore wave riding need to deliver? Pretty much the same as a ‘regular’ wave board really – deal with current by get going quickly from shallow water, reach ramps swiftly and slice the living bejaysus out of a wave – but with welcome added extras that won’t exactly hinder you in down-the-line conditions. Namely, excel in sailing and staying upwind, turn tight to keep right in the pocket and generate drive to keep speed through slacker sections when the wave’s hiding the wind. Well, stepping aboard the Shaman 88 you feel as if you’re on a hard-core sideshore board, but the added benefits, particularly early planing, are all there in great force. The trademark sharp Withcraft rails absolutely stonk upwind. Those edges are remarkable as they never seem to dig in too tight or dictate the radius of turn as you’d expect. There’s also amazing acceleration out of the bottom turn and positive glide across the flat spots. With plenty of float for bigger guys the outline feels small and loose and compact but the corkiness has the sensation of a 90-plus-litre board. Obviously revelling in the dead onshore setup we had on this trip, the Shaman impressed with it’s ability to carve tight and at speed in challenging conditions.
A compact, tight-turning board that excels in onshore conditions. With super glide, impressive upwind and early planing performance and amazing acceleration out of turns Witchcraft have absolutely nailed it with the fast and easy-to-control Shaman.
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