One of the best pure-fun boards we’ve ridden so far in 2019
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Words: Matt Pearce
When it comes to fun factor, this is one of the best boards for me that I’ve ridden this year. The Amp II looks a bit like the Hayden Shapes Hypto Krypto surfboard so the (not-so closet) hipster in me was instantly drawn to it. I’ve not actually seen another kitesurf board with this kind of outline and supposedly Clinton Filen and co at Airush are big fans of this sort of shape, so they decided to transmute it to kitesurf board form.
There’s quite a lot of volume packed in there – 28 litres in the 5’6” that I tested – a full five litres more than the Duotone Pro WAM 5’8” (an increase of almost 22%).
The Amp feels buoyant under foot but it’s only 19.5” wide, so also isnt cumbersome or corky. Upwind performance is easy and as a platform it’s very stable for tacks and gybes, but because the Amp is only ¾ of an inch wider than the Pro WAM (which I’m referencing because it’s in this issue and is a good contrast against a more familiar shape), it still rolls fluidly from rail to rail.
You can cut soulful lines along a wave and with the extra volume you can pump to gain speed and it flows beautifully. The Amp isn’t as fast as the Airush Comp V2, but it has that same true surf feel and it makes you want to go out and throw fluid carves like Alex Knost or Dave Rastovich every time you ride it.
I’d say this is more tuned for a surf-influenced riding style, but you can still get lairy and kick the tail out for cutbacks and roundhouses. Thanks to the extra volume, you can also depower the kite, kill the power and focus on just surfing the board and it won’t bog down and sink so it carries speed out of landings as well.
This sound like I’m painting the picture of a bit of a surf log here, but it’s not slow. The rocker remains quite flat for a good proportion of the board, which helps it get planing in lighter winds, and it carries speed well through the bottom turn without relying on much kite power. Because it’s so short, you can also knock out tight radius turns off-the-lip in smaller waves and it won’t hang up like a traditional surf shape might. I was also surprised that when the wind and chop picked up, how well it handled those difficulties.
Rocker-wise; I did have a couple of instances when the nose caught on turns that I would probably have ridden away from with a little more nose rocker, but that reasonably flat rocker-line also helps it carry speed when you land an air. The width and volume helps the board stick to your feet midair for more successful jumps. Supposedly it’s a really fun board for strapless freestyle if you go down a size, but with my body weight of 90kg, I wouldn’t have wanted any smaller than the 5’6” in waves.
In onshore, lighter conditions over at Muizenberg the Amp shone because it’s nimble enough to crack out a turn on workable sections in the crumbling shore-break, but the volume makes it very efficient riding upwind through the chop or when edging upwind over whitewater. On one occasion I managed to squeeze out a session over there on a nine metre, when I really should have been on a 10 or possible even a 12, so it basically adds a couple of knots onto your kite’s low end. When powered, the Amp also isn’t skittery (which is apparently down to the diamond tail), so blends the two ends of the performance spectrum well.
I’d buy this for the conditions I have at home in the UK. It’s got enough grip and drive for bigger waves but can also make knee-high surf fun, too. It makes you feel like a surfer (even if you aren’t).
An added bonus, is that the Reflex Bamboo is made with ethically sourced bamboo and the board’s made in line with EcoBoard Project fundamentals that include a reduced carbon footprint, renewable, recycled and/or up-cycled material inputs and construction processes that reduce toxicity during manufacturing.
So it gives you the sustainable ‘warm and fuzzies’ too!
Go behind the design of the Airush AMP II below with designer Clinton Filen
California cruising surf-style, but bigger riders will also be able to crank it. The Amp II is suited to those who like to ride with little influence from the kite, or in more onshore conditions where the added natural drive will help around sections where your lines may slack. Good eco vibes, too.
A unique shape that’s easy to get to grips with and one of the most true-surf feeling boards we’ve ridden this year.
KW WOULD CHANGE
A little more nose rocker might help on steeper small waves.
AMP II SIZES: 5’8” x 20”, 5’6” x 19 1/2”, 5’4” x 19”