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As time goes on I will be posting some of my impressions on boards sailed, in particular those companies that I work with. For clarity purposes, I illustrate below the abbreviations used for trim settings.
The abbreviations are:
For mast foot position (measured in cm from the tail or from a line touching the back most part in contact with water.
Foot strap position relative to Front or Back (F, B). Inside, Center, Outside (I, O).
And which hole used smallest number towards the front.
Hawk 110 review and settings:
Picture of a Red Hawk that hangs around our place. She took particular interest on my grey Hawk 110...
7.6 race type sail, slalom set up:
T = 142cm,
Fin: upright 38 cm, Freerace 37, Freerace 34
6.2 super X type sail and ride (jumps, going fast , and maneuvers)
Fin- Standard 34, Freerace 34, Freerace 32, Wave 26 cm
R,I, 3 or 2
Sail -5.6 Wave or Super/freestyle
Fin - Standard 34, Freerace 34, Freerace 32, Wave 26 cm or Freestyle specialist
R,C, 3 or 2
Impressions: This was probably my biggest surprise so far. I sort of ignored this board, most of the time as I had a lot of interesting boards to try and sail. I finally decided to give it a spin in the spirit of fairness and impartiality to all boards. Well good thing or I would have spent the entire day on this board. It handles everything from 9 knots to 25, and it was always FUN!!! What a novel word! I just could not have enough of this board. I like boards that can handle a lot of different conditions and styles of sailing. This is the sign of a well researched and developed board. Fast, great on jibes, gives you a high performance ride, yet it is totally fun and easy to sail. No white knuckle out of control rides.
I sailed it in big chop, flat water, jumps, or just drag racing. It handles everything great. I cannot fault it anywhere.
The standard fin is just that, even though it does a good job, but if want to bring the best out of your purchase, I have also found some pretty sweet fins for it. I am waiting on some other for testing and I will report in a month or so.
Sail range I recomment: 7.8 - 5.0
Sailors should look into this board: 98 kilos to 85 kilos as a high wind board, 6.5-5.0 (18 + knots)
70-80 kilos alround do everything board for 12- 25 knots, 7.8 and down sails. Bigger guys (80-85 kilos) should use this board in sideshore and onshore winds preferably.
Smaller sailors can use this board for anything above 10 knots(use 38 cm fin) on a 7.5 - 7.0 sail, up to 25 knots of wind.
Fanatic Freewave 88
After a few rides on this board I can honestly say that if there is a board than can score a perfect 10 out of 10 this board does it.
Let's start with the balanced shape that gives you an natural trim and relaxed stance as you schlog out to the wind line.
Add to it a very easy board to plane, great maneuverability and no rails sticking anywhere, anytime. No matter what the placement of components.
Then the jibe. This board is the very best jibing board in the wave board category I have ever sailed. Not necessarily because it carves a tight jibe. But because you can carve any type of jibe, and it carries speed through, and maintains its predicted arc, evening out sailors mistakes. Tight or wide, snappy or tricky, the board turns you into a pro.
While sailing I kept daydreaming (yes even in 20-25 knots) and thinking that this is the first wave board I could take anywhere in the world with a 5.3 and a 4.7 and handle just about any conditions any time. The wind dropped down many times to about 10-11 knots and I still could keep it planning through huge holes. Good static stability, so you can uphaul a board in dead winds.
I can always find a little quirk on just about any board I sail, then learn to override it.
Not on the FW 88. I just cant find anything at all that I could fault. Not even the fin. I would add another one to it for higher winds, but that is not a quirk.
So resuming. Super light and solid feel, fast , easy to plane, perfect jibes, carves, and jumping. This is one super bump and jump board!! Well done Fanatic !
Sail range used 5.3-4.7
Fin leading edge 3 cm from front of box
Sail range 5.4- 6.0
Fin leading edge 5 cm from front of box
Fanatic FW 78
Very similar behavior as the fw 88, but surprisingly it was even quicker planning for its relative wind strength.
Super lively and fast, feels like a faster design than a wave board should be.
I took it out with huge holes in the wind, between 10 knots and 22 knots. I was able to pump it onto a plane in about 12. Amazing. I also was sailing the board in side off winds and had no problem coasting in, nor did I have a problem sailing it upwind after having to "milk" the board's speed in dying 13-12 knots. I could also tack the board with relative ease, it stays under foot quite well so static stability is about a 6 for my size ( 70 kilos). For a 80 kilo sailor it would drop to a 4 out of 10.
Bear in mind all boards of this size would have a static stability of 2 up to 5 max for a 80 kg sailor. For a 135 lb sailor static stability rating would be a 6.
I felt the jibe was great but not a perfect 10. I rate it a 7 out of 10. (Average is 5) I suspect the fin maybe on the big size for this board, or that it has too much tip flex. I will be trying that as soon as I have conditions as the wind died down for me to give it a fair shake. Will report soon. Already I know this board will be a great Bump & Jump for 4.7 down to 3.5, and I do know as well that it needs a smaller less tip flex fin for the higher range.
More on this board soon.
Sails used : 4.7
F4 ( in retrospect I think I need to move it to F3)
Falcon 111 impressions
I went out sailing in 18-25 knots NW-NE wind with a 7.6 Race sail.
The board is simply fantastic. The speed is great, but better still is how fast you can make it go while totally comfortable. When huge gusts would hit the board, it would stay put and flat, never lifting the nose.
One time I was really pushing it, just riding the fin and letting the board as free off the water as possible, and going upwind as high as I could, towards the causeway. I know this area and there are some really tough gusts that come in from a higher ground, hit the water and bounce back up. I have had some pretty spectacular lift offs in the past. Sure enough I get into the killer updraft and to my surprise the board barely flinched. Just a quick correction and I kept the speed and trim. The confidence this board gives is excellent. I must emphasize here that the speed indicator is right at the top while all this is going on.
And the jibe is fantastic. I know I have a chance at winning races as the board was always predictable through any arc or any condition or water surface.
Frankly I was pretty skeptical of the concave around the fin area, as most truly fast boards had a flat V around this area.
But NO. It works. And not only it works; it keeps the board from bouncing even when I make mistakes. I love this board. At the end of the day I was tired but kept going out, wanting more of this totally addictive rush of high speed and comfortable control.
Even going deep downwind it felt great.
Comparing with the awsome Hawk 110, The Falcon has less flotation for hesitant tacks, so big guys in the 100 kilo range need to be agile around the mast track. Otherwise its width makes it very easy schlogging upwind in dying breeze as it happened to me twice. Taking upwind was not a problem which is a novelty for a slalom board.
Second day around and this time with 13-20 knots onshore, short nasty chop. Going out the board flies effortlessly over the chop, very comfortable but exciting and fun ride. It is smooth and not jarring , which I felt in many board brands these past two years.
Coming in with a bad chop direction (shore wrap around so you bear off at maximum speed going perpendicular to the waves), it is a little more tricky, and here I know why the supplied fin has a little bit of curve as well as being narrow cord. This will help the board a lot in the chop. Unfortunately my fin is too loose on the board so I cannot test it, but am looking forward to it.
I recommend a slightly more raked fin than a totally upright one for choppy water. My tectonics 38 was a little on the edge. Even then, this was only a slight issue on one tack, as on the other tack the chop had a more normal direction and the board easily surfed and set itself on jibe autopilot.
All in all a blast of a board if anything just to go out and have a totally exhilarating session. Highly recommended to any advanced or advanced intermediate sailor.
The construction on this board makes it extremely light and solid feeling, adding to the performance of the board.
I will come back to this report and edit it as soon as I have had the opportunity to test properly for optimum footstrap positions for choppy water, as well as fins, as no doubt a board this good deserves understanding what to do and how to tune it to its max potential.
Fins: 45-43 in light air,
38 cm powered, 34,
32 to check how far back your eyeballs get pushed into the skull.
Settings: 7.6 sail
T = 135-138 cm
F4, R2 flat water
Onshore, short chop
Use curved blade,
T=135- 138 cm
After a good amount of time on the board, I am even more enthusiastic about this board. The Meanline Slalom fin I tried, ( 38 cm), in really powered conditions (20-25+) on a 7.6, made a big difference when it started getting on the edge. Jibes were no problem, and the board easy to handle. The speed is phenomenal.
I put the straps at F4, R2, on one side and dont seem to have many issues with this set up, even though I would have to do a side by side test to verify any advantage.
FAlcon 131 impressions
Boy, was I looking forward to this board. This board represents that fine line drawn between a board designed for people that want a thrill, without the finicky stuff of racing details, and a seriously fast board for those that must be the fastest of their pond, no matter what.
Coming from the AHD camp, I had the GTS and GT boards from that line, up to 05. So I was happy. And so were my discriminating customers.
On the entire offerings of all companies for 05, the AHD GTS 158 and Starboard TF 158 were the only truly outstanding boards in this fine category.
The customer wanting an AHD GTS, wants more than the plane Jane Tabou rockets, Tiga x?s, or Starboard Carves. He wants control and high speed, and pro jibes. The Tabou Manta gave you high speed but forget control... The S4 Exocet was nice but a little on the edge in particular in gusty winds. You had to be big and athletic.
Enter the Falcon 131 from Fanatic - Control - 10. Speed - the gas pedal is there, baby, just let it rip!!
Jibe- It was so uneventful I actually forgot about how it jibed. Before you thought, you were on the other side. This is a step above the super AHD GTS 158 and 120. And boy am I a fan of those boards. Much smoother and predictable.
Upwind- The AHD 158 or the 120 were both superior, due to their wider tail and boxier rails. They are still the king of the hill. The GT75 (or TF 75) from AHD were about on par with the Falcon 131.
Now here is the difference: notice how I am comparing a board of 158 Liters of volume and a 120 L volume board against a Falcon 131?
The difference is, while the Falcon 131 is giving up angle to the GTS 158 and 120, it has the same handling in the strong wind as a 120 liter board, yet it can plane and get itself upwind like a 160 liter board. Granted, not as high and direct upwind, but it gets there no problem. It can handle powered up 9.5, 9.8 sails, all the way down to 6.5 sails, just change the fin. As I had predicted, this board responds very well to fin change. Much better than a 150 L board or any formula board. Some of these wide boards (like the Tabou 80, Exocet Speed Sliders), if you change the fin down, the boards become sluggish and unresponsive. This is especially true with the Starboard 158 and the AHD 158 with fins below 54 cm. On the 131 I have not yet taken it down to a smaller fin than 49 but I am totally convinced it will handle down to 44 cm. I am sure it will handle a 54 with a 10.0, and I will verify that.
In the lighter winds I was comfortable with a 51 cm fin and a 9.0 race sail in 12-15 knots of wind. When the bigger gusts came, I felt too light for a fin that size. So I came back in, changed to a 49 cm fin, same sail, winds building to solid 18 knots, and voila, super ride, total control, never a nose lift, but smooth, exhilarating ride. I feared the fin would be too small for my powerful 9.0 race sail, but no problem. I will share some tricks here:
When you feel a gust, slightly lift the heels and touch your toes down on the rear of the board so the windward rail lifts ever so slightly. The leeward rail sets in and frees the center of the board, and the Falcon simply flies in the most addictive ride. This is why you pay extra for this board. Just the feel of hovering/flying over the water in super smooth trim, and the board just notching up the speed in a very linear and powerful way. What a ride!!
Sails used 9.0
Sails recommended: 9.8-6.5
T= 132-136 cm
Boom height- Chin Height.
Fins 54-46 cm (to be updated)
FalconTT06 first pictures.
I have finally had the chance to sail the board with some buddies so as to check performance and also sailing on my own for a comfort feel and fine tune the obvious details.
It has taken me a little longer as I did not have sails that were powerful enough for this board.
Light winds: this is what in principle Formula boards where designed for.
So I give it a "stress test"
I took it out with a 9.8 in about 9 knots and the board was difficult to get planning. This puts it immediately on the same league as the AHD 05, Exocet 05, Starboard 147, ML boards, and some of these super short and super rockered boards.
The only board truly outstanding board in this area is the AHD NT98 of two years ago.
Conclusion: you have to put some power on the rig.
Then, once planning, the board was surprisingly easy to keep going through the holes.
That sets it apart from the others. The tail has tons of power to keep it motoring.
Later I have discovered that a sail with lots of shape really gets the board going with much ease.
Still, I was not totally convinced of the performance of the board. I felt that I must play with fin rake angle before I would draw any conclusions.
As of late, I have changed the shape of an older Nitro 5 I had, and changed the rake of my fin so it would be close to vertical.
It made a huge difference right way! The board planes and especially drives upwind in the lightest of winds. Against my benchmark board from the last 2 years, it takes more effort to get planning (6-7 knots) but once planning, it holds better angle and higher speed than my benchmark board, especially when going through chop.
The Falcon TT 06 likes to be sailed pretty flat, particularly in light winds.
It is super smooth and feels efficient through wind fluctuations, as long as you are planning (winds 7-9 knots?after that the board works as expected)
Still, and this is true with all the latest formula boards from the last two years forward, you need planning conditions on this board, this is not a comfortable board to hang on to a large sail and just cruising around, non planning. This is a serious race board designed to deliver when Formula race conditions exist. It is strictly made for sailing on a plane.
I have sailed against other sailors in some pretty light wind and the biggest advantage I see is at the point of getting on the plane. Against several different boards and rig combinations, they need to bear off quite extremely to be able to get the board up to speed whereas the Fanatic drives upwind as you are trying to get it going. So by the time two racing partners are at speed, the Falcon has climbed several meters upwind just on those first few seconds. This will be a big advantage in crowded starting lines and in marginal conditions.
Finally the wide tail and the rear strap way out make it totally comfortable to sail long distances upwind. The body is not twisted as opposed to many boards I have sailed on.
My biggest concerns have been about the light wind performance of the Falcon. And so far I am totally confident that I can compete with the best and only my skill will prevent me from winning. The board makes that job easy, no question. In a light air race I have done quite well to my surprise.
I have sailed the Falcon in stronger winds (up to 18 knots with a 9.0) and the board flies off the wind, and is rock steady upwind. As to how much better it is relative to others remains to be seen as so far I have not had the experience. But comparing with my own experiences, again fin rake plays a huge role, and the type of sail used will be key. I used an older design in side by side testing and the performance was poor. The Falcon needs a deep draft, forward pulling sail downwind, no doubt about it. The Gaastra sails I had do not work well. The neutron 9.0 I had in 18 knots worked great.
The proof is in the pudding as they say so we will see how the board does in some wind and in a real race.
- will work from 8.5 knots and up.
- needs fins with rake ranges from +1 to +4
- drives very well upwind
- Easy sailing downwind in short chop
- Great for short guys- maximum leverage in the tail area.
- does not schlogg well in non planning conditions, get to the start line early.
Foostraps F4, R1
Fin Dave Kashy XS modified to aprox +1
Sails used, 11.5, 9.8 Nitro 4 and 5.
Tuesday Jan 17 update:
I sailed the Falcon TT in SE winds (Choppy) that begun at 12 knots and went to solid 15 knots, using the 11.5 Gaastra N5. We get a short steep chop up the middle of the Banana River (not quite a river, more like a sound). As the chop approaches a large bridge, on either side of it it hits a sea wall that reverberates the chop and magnifies it. It makes for some quite challenging runs, going head onto chop while sailing downwind). This is the site of countless sunglesse lost, and too many catapults to mention.
So sailing in the building breeze in conditions I had yet to encounter, and most likely people wil face here during our Calema Midwinters, my conclusion is....
This board is awesome!
It climbs upwind like a bandit, planes very easily, and downwind is very easy to sail.
What I really liked, when you round the upwind mark and are trying to bear off, normally the board is fighting to go upwind. Then as you keep steering it downwind, the board suddenly lets go and spins downwind, sending the sailor over the handlebars. So for me this is a big deal as I have had many of these experiences before.
On the Falcon TT though, it gradually turns, in a predictable accelerating turn. So by the time you are settled blasting straight downwind, you are more relaxed and not so gun shy. I think this board is going to kick butt, come race time.
It was hard to plane in non- race conditions, but very easy to get going as soon as there is raceable wind.
Listen to this: I have never sailed so high upwind and so low downwind until this board. I could not believe the angles I could take!!
So the upright fin definitely does not hurt the board, only helps. And amazingly I was able to sail it always with the track at 135 cm.
April 17 update:
The latest update is a little less rosy: the above statements have been true in steady onshore winds.
In gusty and holy winds, the board displayed its weakness. In the really strong winds, 20 knots and up, it flies downwind, but is tough to keep speed upwind. In the gusts , it lifts, lurches and stops. In the holes the board looses a lot of speed comparing to the competition. I still love the condidence this board inspires off the wind, but racing is more than that and the Falcon falls short when it is gusty. So far it seems that the best conditions for this board are in 12-18 knots steady wind, using a 70 cm fin.
Fanatic Shark 145
This board surprised me the most for how easily it planed. I put a 9.8 sail in light winds when no one was out sailing , everyone waiting for winds to build. With the conditions I had, I was expecting a fair amount of schlogging to the windline, but the minute I was on the off the shore, the board surged, wanting to plane. A smooth pump and the board was off on a plane. Frankly I did not expect this from a board that is fairly short, and having compared to boards of similar size in the Exocet, Starboard and Tabou line.
Once on the plane, the ride is quick and the board is very maneuverable. The Jibe is OK , predictable and very accommodating to different techniques and rider input, always reliable.
The mast track is quite far back, so be careful to place it well forward of halfway.
The footstraps are placed perfectly for different rider stance and weight, as well as skill level and type of sailing to be done on this board. One thing I really like on these new fanatics is the multiple footstrap positions you are offered. Most European boards feature a footstrap width that is so extremely wide (for booties) that sailing barefoot feels like your feet are dancing around constantly. Not with these boards. You can close or widen the attachment position so your foot is either super snug or comfortably loose.
The overal looks of the board are very appealing with a polished and very harmonious outline. I don't usually pay attention to this (other than wincing at some butt ugly noses on some boards out there..) But the fact that the board behaves so well in rough conditions has me looking closer at what the nice outline is doing.
This is the same I found on the Eagle boards.
The Fin supplied is of very good quality and performance, and very light for its size.
I highly recommend this board for those looking for a board in this category, especially if you deal with choppy or wavy conditions. This board deals with rough conditions with total ease.
Heavier weight guys in the 100 kg category should love this board for its high wind abilities. It has the volume for underpowered sailing and it does not become too big when it blows.
This is also the board for light weights and women that seek that first high performance board to advance their skills such as using footstraps carve jibing, and planning.
Sails 9.8 ? 6.0
For 9.8-8.5 sails:
T= 145 cm
T = 145 cm
Stronger winds, sails 8.0 -7.0
T= 142-140 cm
3/6/06 Lately I have tested the LTD with a Meanline B 46 cm and the board became an excellent jibing board. Nice surprise!!!
Fanatic FW 88 impressions
This is the very first 06 board I sailed from Fanatic. And it is the board that confirmed my feel that this company has knowledgeable people that care about what they produce, and are intimately in tune with how a board should work for each specific segment.
What struck me was how light it is and the custom feel this board has. Strong, stiff, but not overly stiff that all vibrations get transferred to your elbows and knees. I have sailed boards before that had me limping at the end of a full day, so bad was the vibration from an overzealous carbon lay-up.
On the water the feel of comfort and confidence was instantaneous. No need to adapt your style, no trying to guess the perfect placement for anything. Because it works no matter where you put your components. Sure it works better when you really get it in the right place, but it is not like to need me to tell you where to put track and foot straps for fear of the board not being up to decent performance standards.
Not even ? hour had passed and I was totally in love with this board. All my anxieties of switching companies, gone in an instant (well I thank the Falcon 91 and 111 for that as well?)
The first time I took it out was during the passing of a hurricane which had brought winds between 55 and 12 mph for my trial http://www.calema.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=17. And with a 4.0 the board took it all in stride, never feeling too big. This is quite unusual for my size. I usually sail a much smaller board.
The next few times I took the board in what it was designed for. I had in 5.3, - 4.7 conditions, winds sometimes dropping to 10 knots. Amazingly I could plane in 10 knots with the board, and maintain planning in 10-11 knots. Not pretty but doable. Then in 12 knots the board would start working and the more wind, the better it worked.
Static stability is decent, not the highest I have felt, but very good.
The jibes were phenomenal. No matter how dumb the mistakes I made, I was able to pull each and every jibe. The shape is totally balanced, fast feel, and smooth. It allowed for many different jibe techniques. Jumps were easy and the board totally controllable in the air.
The stock fin is very good and light, a rarity on production boards. I love the ability of really tuning the width of the footstraps for barefoot sailing. For my short legs I also have the luxury if fine tuning a proper width for my stance.
From all the high wind bump& Jump and wave boards I ever tried, the FW 88 is the closest you can get to a perfect 10 in all aspects.
To me this is the ultimate ?take anywhere? board.
Plan a trip: Cross the globe from Maui, to Australia, to Africa, to Lake Garda, Waves in Portugal, stop in Cape Cod for some West Dennis action, back to Florida East Coast waves or inland bump and Jump.
One board, 3 sails, 3 fins. This is heaven brought to you by the FW 88.
Foostraps F4, R1
Fanatic Falcon 91 impressions
This is the first Falcon I sailed, but it took me sometime to digest the information gathered. Sailing other Fanatics and the newer crop of slalom machines from other manufacturers gave me an appreciation of how well rounded the Falcon 91 is.
The first ride I took it on, I had flat water and light winds, and with a 7.3 sail the board took off without hesitation and proceeded to get going at a very fast pace, even if the wind was fairly light.
I had to learn not to push on the fin in light winds, rather to stand more upright on the tail and let the rails do the work.
Nevertheless, it had more difficuly sailing upwind when uderpowered.
Jibing on it underpowered gave me some questions as well, and in retrospect, I was in the learning stages of what to do with a board that instead of having a flat on the tail, it has a concave. Later, sailing the 111 and the 91 again, it is clear that what you do with your rear foot on the tail has a lot to do with your exit speed out of a full on slalom jibe.
The second day I took it out, I was fully powered on the board. The board was very easy to ride at max speed, you can let the nose fly and reduce the wetted surface, and the board does not easily get upset.
Sailing it upwind was easy. And taking was not as easy as , say a Hawk 110, but defenitely possible.
The more powered I was and the faster I went, the faster the board became relative to others. Top end speed in really powered conditions is where the Falcon 91 is clearly above the rest, as you can sail comfortably and with confidence while your buddies are coming unglued. Spin out was never an issue either.
For my own weight I would have liked more of a volume/thickness distribution like the 111. Clearly this 91 will be the darling high wind slalom of guys in the 75 kilo and up range.
But the interesting thing about this board, as soon as I changed from a SR6 B 34 to a Tectonics Goldwing the board immediately became smaller for my size, so volume no longer became an issue.
When I changed from flat water powered sailing, where the jibes where silky smooth, to short steep chop, where I felt the extra thickness affecting my size, I came in and changed fins again. Put on a curved GSport freerace 32 and Voila! Instant success. No more problems jibing. I wish it was this easy with all other boards!
From my experiences later on with the Meanline fins, I would highly recommend the slalom 34, 32 and possibly a 30 or 28. I have had no experience in super windy conditions, I have not had a 91 ever since my first trials. I have sailed the 111 in 30 plus to know the fins make a big difference.
This board will reward those who live in high wind areas and will want a board that will thrill them , even years after owning it.
F4, R1 in flat water, F3, R1 in choppy water
Fanatic Ripper Impressions
After a good variety of kids (myself included, HE HE) sailing this board, parents of small ones will have one very cool looking and well performing board that not only their kids can enjoy, but the parents can also use as a high wind short board/ freestyle.
On a board like this I am immediately on top of the placement of all components. It is so rare to find what you will find on the Ripper:
The track is on the right place, relative to the total board trim, and relative to its rocker ?sweet spot?
Perfectly placed footstraps, and more importantly, perfect footstrap width for not only the leg width but also the ability to snug the side of the foot of a young kid.
The fact also the board is not totally dumbed down and places the footstraps so far inside that if a kid falls on the water with the feet on the footstraps, they will seriously sprain their feet ligaments. I have found this on some manufacturers boards.
The EVA Deck is what is found standard on many dedicated recreational kids boards, but the graphics have them fighting for the board. This is probably one of the nicest looking boards I have seen. In lighter winds, with the center fin installed, the board will perform as a great beginner board for kids up to 10 years old. The size and type is questionable but an easy fix. For this board, the older the child, the flatter the water must be. You could potentially teach a 14 year old on it, but I look at numbers. I take 200 kids we teach each summer and I mentally think how many of each age group I can teach on this board. No need to make lofty claims. I call this reality, not marketing.
The board will work best for up to 10 years old and up to 3.0 sails in beginner mode. However, once the kids have the basics and can sail anywhere, including upwind, They can sail this board into older ages, no question. On my Junior Team, the kids that started two years ago get on this board and on the footstraps effortlessly, and love the ride.
A few words of caution here. The board needs a longer, larger fin, like a 51-52 cm fin for planning on the footstraps in advanced mode, using sails up to 5.0 sails and small kids.
The ripper did not come with the center fin slot cover, and I hope Fanatic supplies it as very quickly kids graduate from the center fin to planning mode on this board.
The worst and at the same time best attribute of this board is its weight. It is a little heavy when you consider how light all fanatics are. But because of it, the board is very stable for kids sailing and progressing in choppy water. The board does not cork around and the static stability is a perfect 10.
This is the most important trait of a recreational board.
I took the ripper on a choppy ride and could easily uphaul it and do light wind freestyle on. It is remarquably similar to the skate.
I have yet to sail it in planning conditions, myself, but will report when appropriate.
T=124-125 cm , forward when using center fin.
Fanatic Eagle Impressions
The Eagle is such a well placed board for a specific type of sailor; it will be a favorite of this specific group.
So let me introduce the profile of who should seriously look at this board:
You love to go out and ride on a board but are a little intimidated by the super fast boards.
Most important, you like to be IN CONTROL. And maybe you are not a control freak. But you like to sail in control. And from my years teaching and coaching, I can comfortably stereotype the vast majority of Women, particularly the (less committed) spouses of (totally committed) husbands or boyfriends, as a match made in heaven for this board. But read on there are some surprises ahead.
This board is also perfect if:
You are working on your jibes.
You don?t want to be seen on one of those really wide boards, but want the stability and CONTROL they have to offer.
You sail in at least 12 knots and up. You are the perennial Hatteras or Lake Garda sailor who goes to the lake or place every year for a few weeks, can sail on the footstraps and wants to look and feel great without having to ?work at it?.
This is the board.
In particular the 127 liter version. The static stability is excellent for a board of this size and volume, it is responsive and has a high performance feel without being a high performance board.
For more advanced sailors, the jibe is lazy, but for those wanting the go through the jibe mental checklist of what to do next, this board is perfect.
Let me tell you another discovery: I had to do a quick photo shoot with my 10 year old son and put him on that board since it is such a nice looking board. He LOVED it. He sailed much faster on it than any other board he has been on. The mast track is placed so far back, it fits small sails perfectly. So here is another great kids board, totally by surprise.
The best part is how smoothly and easily it accelerates, how easy it planes, yet it does not reach ludicrous speed. It is a really fun board to sail, and so far it has been a great board for most intermediate to advanced sailors.
Check out this board for sails between 7.0 (Women) and 7.5 (Men) ideal sizes are 7.0-4.0
Kids on 4.0 sails T=125 cm. Footstraps FO4, RO1
Adults on 4.5-5.5 T= 132 cm. Footstraps FI4, RI1
Adults on 6.0 and up T= 135 cm. Footstraps FO4, RO1
Fanatic Shark 130
My introduction to Fanatic this year was made via the Shark LTD 130. The entire line was available, but I really needed to check this board out. I have been short of a good all-round 130 liter board on my center for over 4 years, ever since the AHD FD 70 disappeared from AHD?s line up.
This category of boards is important as it doubles as a high wind board for heavy weights, all-around board for medium weights and women wanting enough flat to uphaul, and one board-does-it-all type of thing.
And the Shark 130 does all that plus some. It starts with it being super easy to plane, very responsive, light on the feet.
Yet, I experienced this on other boards that had lots of rocker but were horrible to sail for an extended period of time. The Shark, however, does not sacrifice stance comfort and posture, for the sake of liveliness and nervousness. And it is smooth.
Many other boards slap the crap out of the chop and you loose your dentures at the end of the day.
Not the shark 130. It swallows the chop. Actually, it flies over it. There is an occasional tip tap on incoming chop just to remind you of how fast you are going, but nothing like any of the bothersome clanker and raucous clatter of the competition.
The jibe is great. Tight arcs, wide arcs, no problem. The standard fin is outstanding, light, proper twist, and perfectly matched to the board?s function.
The boom height drops to the more traditional chin height area.
The static stability is quite good on this board size, especially since the board sails like a much smaller board.
Think of this board not just on the 130 liter range, but doing the job of many 115 liter boards out there.
The LTD version is very light and a total pleasure to ride. You can purchase a nose protector, which is a 5 mm thick exact copy of the board?s nose and top of the rails. You glue it with silicone and voila, you have a nose crack obliterator.
The HRS version is obviously heavier, with a plastic skin over the composite. The feel of the board is slightly different but not bad. It adds the durability for those that have the occasional ?oops? both on land and on the water. For seasoned windsurfers looking for total fun both in flat water and Open Ocean, this is one definite board to purchase.
T= 140 cm
T= 138 cm
Flat water, freerace, freeride
FO4, RO1 (or RO2 for tall guys)