It is the strapless big sister of 5'6 and slightly longer, for better control when strapless. Showing the same qualities as the 5'6 it fears no waves. It is also a great board for strapless cruising in light wind conditions. The overall volume and 46cm width helps out a lot in the gybes and the Vector 2 fins provide speed and drive off-thebottom as well as having a flat-sided foil at the tips for releasing the pressure. Featuring strap inserts it can also be used with one or two straps of the surf style light and comfortable straps.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
NEAL: A big, floaty board with a fairly straight outline. The straps were quite small but comfortable. I'm not sure they'd expand big enough to be able to wear boots, though. Really nice deck pad that also runs between the straps providing fantastic grip for moving all around the board when riding strapless and for gybing. The main thing about the initial impression is the beautiful bamboo deck finish. I think this could have added to the weight though. Really nice set of G-10 fins in the classic thruster set-up.
CHRIS: I love the look of it. This is also gonna look great in your garage and when your mates come round they can dribble over it. Everyone likes a natural wooden look but my initial feelings were that it was heavy, solid and a little bit unforgiving in the crap we were riding in. Not much tail rocker and it's quite flat in the nose too when you look down it – a bit like an old school windsurf board. It bounced around in the rougher sections but held good speed and after ten minutes I got into it and figured it out. I like the way it turns, its' weight and size just makes you work a little bit harder. You have to be more aggressive and its size really invites you to move your feet around to find the best position strapless. Also a great quality and confidence builder for first time surfboard riders. This board likes being treated roughly. When you weren't being aggressive it ran away with you. Could have done with being smaller in these choppy conditions though I think.
NEAL: Planes really easily and it's definitely more directionally stable and therefore easier to ride than many other surfboards. Very easy to go fast on and deal with the gusts. It stays smooth on the wave but has that more locked-in feel, while nice on the bottom turn, does seem to restrict your snappy top turn and those straighter rails carved steadily rather than letting you really tighten up a turn. On a bigger wave or a choppy day when you really don’t want to be getting it wrong at the bottom or the top you would feel really comfortable on this. That locked in feeling would be a real benefit in hollower waves, but a really good rider might find it a little under-responsive in anything under head high. At an entry-level it is really forgiving and pretty easy to ride and you would be able to develop your riding confidently in bigger surf.
CHRIS: Quite an aggressive ride all-round. I think it would excel in good, big conditions. It wants to be ridden quickly and it definitely grips. A good light wind alternative, too. It's not a snappy wave puncher, more of a high-speed wave charger. A Cabo Verde gouger rather than a nimble flicker. Not much tail rocker, it's pretty flat. In selective parts of the world it will be brilliant, everywhere else it will be solid.
A really stunning piece of work. Substantial dimensions keep it from being a small wave ripper and it would suit a heavier rider as their first surfboard or someone wanting to lay down long, fat turns on some big ones.
Touching it, carrying it down the beach and trying to turn it as hard as possible.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Bulkiness and lack of snappiness in the cross-onshore mush. Look to smaller boards in the range for these conditions.
6'9 x 18.11'', 6'0 x 18.11'', 5'6 x 17 3/4'', 5'6 x 16.9'', 5'4 x 17.72'', 5'4 x 16.9'', fish 5'2 x 18.9'' and fish 5'2 x 18.11''.
This test is in issue #36