THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #106 ON OUR NEW FREE DIGITAL PLATFORM IN SEPTEMBER 2020.
Eleveight Master 136 Board Review
‘Easy to hold down power, easy to jump, easy to land, easy to carve and easy to just get on and ride.’
TESTED BY: JIM GAUNT – FIND HIS DETAILS AND TEST SCORE BREAKDOWNS HERE.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
This is our second season testing the Master and, while Eleveight say they’ve re-designed it from the ground-up, they are still truly hitting the bullseye when it comes to all-round performance levels. Their marketing headline may boast that ‘The Master is a high-performance freeride to freestyle twin-tip for riders with a powerful style, to boost staggeringly big airs and send handle-pass tricks’, but don’t overlook this board if you’re not quite at that level. The Master’s upgraded, clean look is incredibly tidy this year and the board itself can deliver an accessible ride to a broad array of ability levels.
This is one of those boards that if you walk into a shop and really like the look of it, you should probably save yourself shopping headaches, buy it and just go riding. Usually competitively priced, the Master is strong but adequately light and there are no water conditions or situations that it will feel out of place in.
The colours may look understated but the closer you get the greater the level of detailing comes to your eye. Run your hands over the surface and the sleek top deck finish and detailed 3D channeling underneath exude quality in the finish.
Inside a Paulownia wood core is strengthened with a polyamide base and glossy top deck; both of which are UV resistant, so the deep contrast in the colouring and the wood will retain optical appeal. Spread tow carbon reinforcements add a refined and comfortable level of rebound and flex, while the heavy duty block plywood inserts deliver a robust contact point for straps or boots.
AIRGO PAD / STRAP SET
New Airgo pads and straps are a worthy upgrade this year and extremely easy to assemble and fit. There’s no hard driving down of the screwdriver to get the screw to bite in the thread and, once in position, if you want to alter the angle of stance, just untwist the screw a little and the sliding track in the pad allows for easy adjustment of your stance angle without having to entirely remove the screw. It’s really quick and easy to do mid session – and if necessary could even be done with your kite up if have a screwdriver at the beach and are confident and careful. The stiffeners inside the straps can also be reversed if you need a wider fit. The double Velcro tighteners underneath the soft top layer of the strap pull down nice and tight, and should fit most feet well. They’re also very easy to adjust when you’re on the water. You’ll enjoy loads of grip in the pads and after several sessions we have to compliment this system. Once you’ve found your position, your feet remain nicely locked in.
Parabolic rails provide a sense of directional stability and reassuring grip, while the relatively soft rail and generous rocker help the Master adapt easily to different wind and water conditions.
Lock it in and charge, or come off your edge and push your front heel round to get the board to release playfully; the Master always feels capable and reliable, but also easy and fun.
We really have to give the Master the stamp of approval because it may not be the fastest, sharpest or lightest board, but 95% of kiters will enjoy this and be able to throw any moves they want. A lot of that comes down to the fact that it’s so unbelievably constant. The relationship between speed / grip / comfort / stiffness / pop are so well balanced. There’s no area that lacks or outshines the other. Many boards with a strong performance billing will feel that they’re biting the water too sharply or carrying too much speed for lighter or inexperienced riders, but that’s just not the case with the Master.
If you’re trying to hold down a lot of kite power, the Master seems to automatically help you find more heel purchase and with a twist of your hips, the board will angle further into wind and the kite will drive forward in the window. The steady pace will help you relax in more difficult conditions, knowing that no matter how much the kite tries to pull, the tapered flex from the stiffer central section and the softer tips will work with the tail and rail channels to smoothly disperse the water. There’s never a sudden sharpness where you feel in danger of losing your rail. Eyeing up a kicker on the outside, but with lots of chop to get through first? The Master will transport you to your ramp in control and then allow you to edge harder with constantly increasing grip until you release.
Similarly in lighter winds the flatter central section ensures a pretty decent get up and go, though anyone over 75 kilos or so should probably be looking to size up from this 136. Jim at 70 kilos was happy with this size, especially in windier conditions, whereas Bully who is closer to 80 kilos would always choose the 139.
The curve in the central hips of the board and ample, softly shaped rails ensure there’s never any spray in your eyes and plenty of grip round a carve. This isn’t an epic carving machine like some performance freeride boards we’ve tested this year, but it has more sturdiness on landing. It’s also very forgiving when ridden flat, delivering decent grip with the softer rails helping to prevent a nasty toeside rail catch.
Suited to straps or boots, the even pace, linear increase in load / pop performance and comfort put this board bang in the middle of all aspects of the performance spectrum. Few would outgrow it, but if you’re used to quite a stiff board with high levels of pure load and pop performance you might want to look to the Master carbon C+ model, in which the Paulownia wood core is entirely coated with carbon fibre. Eleveight say that’s their lightest performance model in the range. Without having tried it, but going on all our experience of the brand in the last three seasons, it’s bound to be an uncomplicated ride and that extra stiffness from the carbon will add the sharper flex and rebound to suit more aggressive riders.
We may be in danger of making the Master sound so well rounded that the absence of harshness in certain areas mean it’s hard to describe peaks and troughs in its performance, but this really is a plug and play ride. Fast enough, grippy enough, loose enough and with more than enough pop and comfort for pretty much all non-pro kiters, above all it’s just easy. Easy to hold down power, easy to jump, easy to land, easy to carve and easy to just get on and ride.
Easy performance with beautiful build and finish.
KW WOULD CHANGE
Very aggressive riders will be looking for more zing when pushing for that extra 10% performance response. They should look to the C+ carbon model.
ELEVEIGHT MASTER – KITEWORLD TEST RATINGS:
Build quality: 9
Fixtures and fittings: 8.5
Slider proof: NA
Boots applicable: Yes
Ease of use: 9
SIZES: 142 x 43, 139 x 42 and 136 x 41cm
Find out more: www.eleveightkites.com
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