The Fanatic is unusual in the fact that it is the only board in the test that is not made with a sandwich or painted epoxy skin. It is constructed from the more typical polyester transparent skin akin to surfboard construction seen in many designs last year. Stereotypically easy to damage Fanatic seems to have struck a good balance between weight and durability, as this model despite its size remains relatively light. On the water this board has a very smooth feel, rail bite is progressive, never loosing traction with the water without plenty of warning. It is quick to plane, and makes steady progress upwind despite having moderately thick rails in comparison to other boards on test. There is a foam sandwich version of this board that addresses the weight problem.
Likes - smooth, easy to ride, ideal as a first time board, is attractive and well finished with comfortable straps.
Dislikes - Has hard foam deck pads which are a bit slippy in bare feet, polyester construction easier to damage in the long term and a bit on the heavy side.
SPECS Length 205cm Width 44cm
Fins 3, 2 thrusters + 1 central.
Weight 11Ib 13oz Price £525
FLEXIFOIL 7' LOOSE UNIT
Constructed in sandwich technology in the same factory as the best inThe world. The new Flexifoil boards are refreshingly light in comparison to their older polyester boards. One of the longest boards on test the Flexifoil uses a very long waterline length with a high degree of rocker and relatively thin rails. This makes it easy to get planning with only a Small amount of power and presents a great deal of rail into the water at low speeds. The thruster fins come with two positions enabling tuning to your style as you improve. It is very effective at getting upwind at slow speeds in lighter winds with minimum power, ideal for first time kite boarders, Under more power and greater speed the high rocker makes the rails misbehave, becoming unstable and despite their length they start to slip, forcing you to either slow down or developed a deliberate slide to control power. Overall a fantastic board for beginners and riders who like a slower cruising board with the safety of size should the wind drop. It can suffer when extremely powered up and the ambitious rider could grow out of it but for your first seasons riding it would prove an excellent tool to learn the sport on.
Likes - Very early to plane, light, excellent at getting upwind
Under powered, easy to use at slow speeds, an excellent beginner board.
Dislikes - Loses performance when fully powered or overpowered.
Specs Length 214cm Width 47cm
Fins 3, 2 thrusters + 1 central, has two positions for side thruster fins
Weight 10Ib 10oz Price £479.95
A classic Naish design the board we tested was made in their
highest performance construction using a full sandwich technology. This board is extremely light for its size and has a great deal of width under your feet coupled with a very rounded plan shape which makes for a very easy and forgiving ride. You can use the least graceful of stances and the board still rides with impeccable manners, ideal for newcomers to the sport. It needs little power to get it up and running and will cruise upwind easily. Everything about this board is easy, giving a thoroughly rounded performance whether underpowered or overpowered and is forgiving and reassuring in the most unsure of hands. It has good grip far its size. There are boards with more rail bite at slaw speeds, and boards that go upwind better but the Naish behaves itself much better when overpowered and as a result has a really good range of use.
Likes - Very easy to use, perfect for beginners and performance light wind use, weight, finish, fittings and the ability to bite relatively hard when the wind picks up.
Dislikes - could have more rail bite, but it would be at the expense of a smooth and easy feel.
Length 214cm Width 50cm
Fins 3, 2 thrusters + 1 central.
Weight 11Ib 8oz Price £599
The Juice 6'6" is a classic directional board made in the UK.
The board has a fairly parallel outline with a squash tail and high nose rocker. The rails are fairly sharp for the overall volume of the board and its size lends itself to both beginner and intermediate. The board has a very easy to use and progressive feel on the water. Rail grip is good, and it works well powered up, and yet still planes relatively early. Comfortable at speed and in rough chop the Juice is a good all rounder, while not being as easy to learn on and quick to plane as many of the big boards on test it holds a great deal in reserve for when your standard improves. Very capable upwind it has a very progressive feel though the rail letting you know how much pressure you can put through before it starts to slip. When it gets windy the rails and rocker will hold a great deal of pressure, making it possible to sail very powered. It comes as standard with comfortable Da Kine proform straps and thick comfortable footpads.
It's a good beginner/ intermediate board with performance to grow into, and offers good value for money.
Likes - very easy feel with excellent grip. The price!
Dislikes - on the heavy side in comparison to the full sandwich boards.
Specs Length 204cm Width 46.5cm
Fins 3, 2 thrusters + 1 central.
Weight 11Ib 7oz
The biggest of the Brunotti boards on test this is a boxy railed design with considerable volume for its size. Colorful decorated with full deck graphics it also boasts full sandwich construction, not fantastically light but is very strong. It has channels on the nose designed primarily to give grip if you have a fetish for riding backwards (quite a trick to see on a board this size!). On the water this board has a very large feel, with the straps placed well back on the board there is a considerable nose overhang, making it feel bouncy under power. It does go upwind well in light winds and we expected much more bite under load with such a flat rocker. The rails are very boxy, they bite to a point but do lose traction very early and as such this board can be a handful when its windy. Having said this the board is a good stable platform for the beginner but once the basics are there you will be looking for more performance.
Likes - attractive and high volume for light winds and very beginner friendly. Dislikes - a little on the heavy side with poor rail bite when it gets windy.
Specs Length 200cm Width 47cm
Fins 3,2 thrusters + 1 central.
Weight 121b 6oz Price £525