Loads of rocker, hipped in and floaty rails so it grips in the turn and has a fair amount of buoyancy so it will carve for longer than your average twin-tip. It's not an out and out freestyle twin-tip, it's a bump and jump carving, enjoyable ride for cruising around or ripping carves in the lumpy stuff.
The most underrated board of 2006 has been further refined for '07. A new 144cm version for larger riders and lighter winds has been made and the Hammer still goes against the perception that snowboard technology is the future for kiteboards. The construction technique is based around the design specifics and gives the Hammer its unique combination of a rounded shaped rail in the centre of the board and flexible tips with hard release edges. Developed from a traditional twin-tip, Airush has worked to enhance the wave riding capabilities radically without losing the ease of use of a versatile twin-tip in choppy conditions.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
NEAL: I don't think we should compare things too much to last year's twin-tip wave test, but this board did so well in it. Last year there weren't so many wave-focussed boards alongside it and the conditions were super-gusty, super-windy cross-off, whereas this time we've been riding in a lighter and more cross-on set-up. There's a big difference between how much you have to load the kiteboard to get it all the way round a bottom turn to carry it through the sections in on-shore conditions without running out of steam. In off-shore winds you can get away with a smaller board as the kite can just sit there and will always be powered.
GEORGE: I'm not sure they've changed it much from last year. The fins feel bigger, though, as it is really locked in and tracks aggressively. It is hard to push the back end out to spill power when you are over-powered like you can on a normal twin.
NEAL: It gets you out through the sets well and because it's quite a big twin-tip you can make it back if the wind drops a bit. I like the fact that it tracks well.
WILL: I like a bit more skatiness in a twin-tip ideally because I like freestyle, but you can do raileys on it and things like that. It's a bit more of a one board solution for somewhere like the south coast of the UK where it's always lumpy and bumpy. It's comfortable and enjoyable in conditions like that. Perhaps there is too much rocker to make it really good upwind.
NEAL: When you bottom turn, the duck stance is a bit weird because it's got such asymmetric straps that lock your stance in. It doesn't really let you get into a nice bottom turn position; try leaning forward with your feet spread apart and facing away from each other – you'll fall on your nose. On a proper surfboard your feet point forwards and are nicely spread apart, so you can lean much further. You can't however do on a surfboard what you can on this board in such all-round areas. The nice thing about the Hammer is that it handles everything – it just copes without a worry.
138 x 38.5cm
144 x 42cm
This test is in issue #26