Freestyle / freeride performance with bombproof built quality
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #93 IN JUNE, 2018
TEST TEAM NOTES:
A bit kaleidoscopic in its look, the Fusion is a real head-turner when it comes to all-round riding prowess. It’s light but still weighty enough that you can feel it on your feet when you jump while the parallel outline helps with driving upwind and is matched with an ample rocker for comfort. Fairly thick ABS rails in the middle thin out dramatically in the tips, so there’s lots of comfort and grip in the tail.
There is loads going on in the Fusion design and channel configuration. For a carbon board there’s lots of feeling underfoot and it’s kinder to your knees, tracking easily through chop with no slapping. The fluid grip makes it easy to initiate turns and transitions and there’s enough pop behind your back foot to create freestyle shapes too, but all the while it’s not fatiguing at all. We not only rode this board in Cape Town but also for a solid week in Cape Verde, so we know it really well… and it rocks. Whether you’re gouging turns on a wave, unhooking and throwing a bit of freestyle or landing a million loops on it – there’s enough absorption to be comfortable, but enough response in performance to propel you nicely forward on landing.
The Fusion could also cross over for boots and particularly the tip flex would work well. Commonly you’re looking for a stiff board for boots, but if a board is stiff and flat it doesn’t work so well as you’re constantly trying to fight against catching your rail. The stiffer central section combined with good tip flex and generous rocker mean that the Fusion will be a comfortable transition into boots.
Generally, this isn’t the fastest or grippest freeride board, but it is very easy with loads of good ingredients for a low stress ride that won’t hold you back for pretty much whatever you want to do.
The Fusion is available with two different footstrap options – the Union Pro 2 are the more technical design for rigid support. Covering more of the foot, they have a huge range of set-up positions, and you need to spend the time getting that just right for your feet. We found that if you don’t they’re a bit uncomfortable, but suddenly when you find the magic setting, they’re great, and of course they’ll mould to your feet the more you use them. We used the more basic softer single Velcro fastening Union Comfort strap most of the time with the simple soft pad and it was lush. Not the tightest and most locked-in feel, but we quite like that for comfort and tweaking your foot at acute angles for board grabs. Felt like coming home to your favourite slippers!
The Fusion is a superb all-rounder and blends a light and lively feeling of speed with control, easy edging and rewarding pop. Always comfortable, the Fusion never feels out of control or out of sorts with the conditions. Yes, you’ll find harder popping, higher top speeds and quicker planing – but for 99% of kiteboarders and conditions, this is superb. (As a note, we also tried the bigger 139, and for some reason it felt slower and bit more sluggish, but this 137 is an absolute gem – so on our recommendation, opt for that one).
Fluid ease-of-use. You can switch your brain off and just have a ball on the Fusion.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
For us, the Union Pro straps are just a bit too technical to set-up for comfort – but bear in mind that we swap boards a lot, and we have different size and shaped feet, so between two testers it’s quite difficult to keep finding a setting that suits. If this is your board, it’s unlikely you’ll be sharing it, in which case you can find the magic spot and get excellent locked-in grip.
FUSION BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 8.5
Fixtures and fittings: 8
Slider proof: No
Boots applicable: Yes
Freestyle: 7.5 Ease-of-use: 8.5
SIZES: LW152 x 46, LW147 x 44, 144 x 43, 141 x 42, 139 x 41.5, 137 x 41, 135 x 40 and 133 x 39cm
FUSION 3 PRODUCT VIDEO