Thursday, July 18, 2013

The big 2013 Freestyle Board Review (100 ltr boards)

It was a little over 2 years ago when I decided to share my experiences with different freestyle boards to help give everyone looking for a board a little direction to what would fit them best. Two years later, I'm still getting questions extremely frequently about which board someone should buy, or how a certain board would perform like that person is expecting. Well, in chatting with Pete Dekay over at Windsport Magazine, we decided it was time for an updated list of freestyle boards. A 2013 Freestyle Board test NEEDED to be done. So through all of our available resources we were able to gather a really nice group of boards to test. We were also able to gather a wide range of testers for the official Windsport Magazine test. The results below are based on what I found personally along with talking with other testers. The testing was done in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina which has small chop. Just big enough to catch an edge if the rails are too sharp, and just perfect for for popping some nice height on the moves. The perfect real world testing grounds. No butter flat spot behind a sand bar where you could pop and spin the front door to your house. So the stage was set, and the wind more than cooperated. The wind ranged from low 5 meter sails to very powered 4.5 which would be about 16 to 25 knots. Perfect for the 100 ltr sizes.

So what boards were tested? They were all 2013!!

Fanatic Skate 99 TE

Fanatic Skate 100 Biax/glass

Starboard Flare 101 - Check out my updated review of the 2015 Starboard Flare (My new board of choice)

JP Freestyle 100

Goya AIR 99

Naish Freestyle 100

Tabou Twister 100

I'll start off with a short rundown of the overall performance and my impression of all the boards. Then I'll rate them in order in the different categories that would interest guys looking into the boards, like early planing, pop, sliding, etc. I do have to say that we were all expecting some things from certain boards, but then after sailing got a totally different reaction. So to start off, I'll go with the pair of Skates.

2013 FANATIC SKATE 100

For 2013 Fanatic decided that both of their newer designs were so successful that they would go ahead and just make both! The Fanatic skate 100 is and incredible freestyle board that offers extremely early planing, really good spinning, a very comfortable ride, and maybe the best board to nail your first jibe in all the world. It was by far my favorite board in the last test I published and is still right there in the top of the pack. It's a step down in performance form the 99 ltr TE which is a slightly more radical design. Compared to the 99 ltr which is a more compact shape, the 100 ltr is a more slidey board than air type board. So the 100 ltr really likes the spocks, flakas, and grubbies along with all those carving style ricks like donkey jibes and such. For burners, air funnels, air flakas, ponches, and the like, the 99 ltr TE is the pick for sure.

2013 Fanatic Skate 99 TE

What can I say.... The 100 ltr was my past test favorite. When Fanatic updated the design to the 99 ltr it only got better! This board was the earliest planing and one of the most comfortable to ride board in the test in a straight line. The pop and sliding of the 99 ltr is just incredible! Double and triple moves are ready to go on this board if you're up for it. Even if you're not up for bouncing around more than once per trick, the 99 ltr will slide like a dream for the vulcans, then it will spin through a spock without catching a rail even with some chop. The balance of the board is perfect. So when you're rotating, whether it's in sliding across the water, or spinning through the air, the board won't pull you forward or back, and the wider nose keeps it from getting buried if you get your weight too far forward which was happening on some of the other boards. Even though the 99 ltr Skate was ready for well.....Gollito, those that were only interested in going back and forth with some jibing found it to be among the top, if not the best in the test for that too. I should also mention that the 99 ltr was the easiest board in the test to maintain speed on while going for switch stance tricks, which didn't surprise me since it was also the earliest planing and one of the fastest boards in the test. After falling in love with the 100 ltr skate from a few years ago, I was afraid that Fanatic was about to mess up something magical when they announced the re-design to the new shape. But from my first few runs on the new skate, I could tell it was another step forward. The shape was changed in 2012 by the way and for the most part carried over to the current 2013 board. The 99 ltr Skate is my pick of the test for not only being able to perform the most difficult moves with ease, but also being one of the most user friendly boards for just going back and forth on. That "easy high performance" formula that has been working for Fanatic has only gotten better. If you're shopping, grab one of these boards while you can!!

Goya Air 99

This was one of those boards I wasn't expecting all that much from. Goya's got some killer wave boards (from what I've heard) but hasn't been in the freestyle seen all that much. My first run on the 99 ltr Goya was when a really strong wind surge came through. I rigged the 4.5 and was very, very powered, right at the edge of out of control. I got on it and just couldn't help but think, wow, this is way better than I expected! It actually feels just like the Skate! Then I went for an air funnel. Bang! Right around just like the skate. On the way back in the slidey stuff is when I noticed the first differences between the Goya and the skate. The Goya slid ok, but gave a little hesitation going around in the full 360 for the spock. Then back out for an e-slider, no problem. But coming in again, time for a double flaka, and it was still hooking up and the nose was going under. The real difference in this board appeared when the wind started to back off to "normal" amounts of power. If the Goya isn't extremely powered, it's really hard to keep it at full speed. So setting up for switch moves, the board would just die while changing my feet. Also, while having what would be plenty of power in the sail to get the Skate, JP, or Starboard up to speed, the Goya was still just poking around, with not enough speed to hit any of the advanced tricks. All in all, you need a .5 meter bigger sail and much more power to make the Goya perform to it's ability. But as any freestyler knows, any trick is easier with a board that holds it's speed with less power in the sail. Definitely better picks out there for any level of sailor.

JP Freestyle 100

This was another one of those boards that I didn't expect much from. The last test of a JP that I did in the 100 ltr size (98 ltr I believe) was a major fail. That old board, didn't pop, spin, or really do anything a freestyle board should. So I sucked it up and stepped on the 100 ltr JP with very low expectations. "Well, this is much better than that old piece of junk," I thought to myself as I planed away from the beach. Again, first trick in the bag was an air funnel on the way out, and holy cow!! Kiri Style!! I got tons of pop out of that one. Coming in I go for a shaka. No problem! In fact, I had so much speed on the landing that I just popped it through to a shaka-flaka. Then I thought, "this thing actually spins faster than the skate." The ride wasn't quite as comfortable as the skate, but as far as fast spinning and double moves, the JP takes the cake. My first flaka attempt coming in turned into flaka bounced into a second flaka and spinning right through a third. The JP is a multi move machine and is the first board I can say actually holds it's own against the skate. But the JP is for the extremely advanced rider. It wants to spin one speed. Fast! A super fast spin is great for me, but maybe not so much for the first time spocker. Still, the JP is one nice board that planes early carves really good, and if you want a double move, this board is right there with the skate 99. The skate planes up a slight bit earlier, but the amount of early planing you give up in the JP from the Skate is equally gained in access to the double move pop. That said, there wasn't anything I could pull off on the JP that I couldn't on the Fanatic and vice-versa, but man that Jp can spin!!

Tabou Twister 100

Now here's a board that going in I heard so many good things about. Looking at the giant tail you think that it would spin like a dream and plane up super early. Sitting on the beach it was voted most interesting graphics to look at while waiting for wind. Stepping on the Tabou and getting in the straps I noticed that the footpads were extremely comfy. But the neat graphics and comfy deck pads were all that the twister 100 has going for it. It was one of the most interesting boards to look at on the beach, but once it hit the water, everyone felt basically the same thing. It's slow to plane,slow at speed, extremely uncomfortable to schlog, and not much pop. I didn't think it spun that good either for spocks, but someone else thought it was ok in the spocks so putting the spinability at the middle of the road of test boards would be a gift. I've been doing flakas for about 6 years and for the first time I actually pearled the nose while carving into a flaka, not once but the first 2 times. I had to back off the speed to get the flaka. So this is a board that like to go slow, so maybe it's ok for someone doing their first attempts because it has to go slow. That's not to say that the skate, JP or any of the other boards won't go slower if you wish and still be just as effective. This was my least favorite board in the test and really took away any sort of confidence going into tricks that I had after pearling the nose twice while just setting up for a simple flaka......

Naish Freestyle 100

This is one crazy looking board. It's got some funky rail and tail shapes going on. The deck is also as flat as a pancake. I was really curious as to how it would sail. Getting on it, the board got moving just fine, but it hits a wall in the speed department pretty quickly. The flat deck and I mean flat like you're standing on a piece of plywood also makes the ride in a straight line kinda tiring on your legs. On the way out, again, right into the air funnel and the Naish banged it right out. It takes a little more effort to hold the speed, but it was definitely capable. On the way in, it was time for a spock that the Naish had no problems with. It actually rotated really well through the spins. I just wish it had some more speed. It was too slow for me to pull off any multi-spin moves, but for the single spin tricks it does what it's supposed to. If they just fixed the deck and made it a little faster it would be a board worth having. I was actually surprised how good the board was in the middle of the tricks while at the same time being kind of uncomfortable to set up for the tricks.

Starboard Flare 101 - Check out the 2015 Flare review - the board has been updated and the drawbacks about the 2013 model have been taken care of.

The starboard was another one of the test favorites among all levels of sailors. It planes up easily, and has great speed like the pair of Skates and JP. The ride is nice and lively and feels really fast. The lively direct feel is something that I really like in my boards. The flare was also king of the carve and a power move monster. So for carving into a shaka, the Flare would set the rail and never trip or slides out. It's got that same sure footing as the 100 ltr skate while going for a trick that you need to start with a quick carve like a shaka or ponch. For the new school power moves it doesn't lose any speed while switching your feet just like the JP and Skate 99. One thing I did notice is that the mast track was placed a lot farther forward on the board than all the other boards in the test, so I kept missing the footstraps when I was trying to get in them. That's simply a mater of getting used to the strap positions though. The one big negative of the Flare is that the rails are really, really sharp and catch the chop too easily. In the chop it was more difficult to rotate through double flakas and the Flare catching on chop would stop a few moves from being completed that would have otherwise been made on some of the other boards like the skate, JP and Naish. The ride can also get really bouncy in the chop compared to the other boards. But even with these drawbacks, the Flare overall, is a really, really nice board and would be one of 4 boards in the test I wouldn't mind owning.

So now that we know what to expect form the boards, how do they directly compare to each other? Here's a rundown of certain performance aspects we expect form a freestyle boards and how they directly relate to the other boards in the test. I'm going to rate each quality as to how the board does that specific task from 1 to 7. There are 7 boards in the test so 1 will be the best, 7 will be the worst. It's not a scale, it's a direct comparison and it's the direct place that the board falls in. If there's a tie for certain placement then all teh bards that are even will appear in that place. Keep in mind there are 2 different skates in the test. So....drumroll please.....

Early planing

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

2) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya the Air 99

6) Naish Freestyle 100, Tabou Twister 100

Top Speed

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya

6) Tabou

7) Naish

Maintains speed while in lull or while switching feet for switch moves

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

2) Jp Freestyle 100, Fanatic Skate 100

4) Starboard Flare 101

5) Goya Air 99

6) Tabou Twister 100, Naish Freestyle 100

Carving tricks like donkey jibes, carving 360s, and other classic style moves where the board doesn't leave the water

1) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101

2) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

4) JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya Air 99, Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Twister 100

Tricks that require a quick carve to initiate like a shaka, ponch or kono

1) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

4) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Goya Air 99, Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Twister 100

Pop - how readily does the board want to leave the water without a ramp

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, JP Freestyle 100, Starboard Flare 101

4) Fanatic Skate 100

5) Goya Air 100

6) Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Twister 100

Sliding Control - This means the amount of control you have to alter your sliding rotation speed and the forgiveness the board gives while sliding

1) Fanatic Skate 99TE, Fanatic Skate 100

3) Naish Freestyle 100

4) JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya Air 100, Starboard Flare 101, Tabou Twister 100

Sliding speed - The speed of which the board will rotate while planing across the water through a funnel, spock, flaka, etc. 1st is fastest, last is slowest

1) JP Freestyle 100

2) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

3) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, Goya Air 99

6) Naish Freestyle 100, Tabou Twister 100

Double Moves - Shaka/flaka, double flakas, double spocks, and anything else where the board needs enough speed, and pop to get more than one rotation out of a trick.

1) JP Freestyle 100

2) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

3) Starboard Flare 101

4) Fanatic Skate 100

5) Goya Air 99, Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Freestyle 100

Balance - how the board feels when in the tricks. Is it front heavy, back heavy, does the nose get buried or does the tail always want to go under? 1) = most balanced

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Fanatic Skate 100, JP Freestyle 100

4) Naish Freestyle 100, Starboard Flare 101

6) Goya Air 99

7) Tabou Twister 100

Forgiveness - How much room for error do you have when sticking that new trick

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Fanatic Skate 100

3) Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

5) Naish Freestyle 100

6) Goya Air 99

7) Tabou Twister 100 So after all this info, what board do I want to own? For me there are 2 winners this time. the Skate 99 and the JP 100. I'd be perfectly happy on either one. The thing is what would you guys be happier with? The Skate is a little more forgiving because you can control the spin and has a really nice ride for anyone, not just the freestyler. Anyone whether they want to try freestyle or not will enjoy the skate. The JP is the king of double moves for sure so at the Pro-level, the JP even outshines the Skate. I think the Skate will be the best choice for 99% of the sailors out there though for it's ease of use and early planing. The other notables would be the Flare 101 and Skate 100. The Skate 100 is a little better in the chop than the flare, but the flare is a little bit livelier of a ride. The Flare does suffer though in the chop because of the bouncy ride and sharp rails sticking in the chop. Happy sailing, Mike

92 comments:

  1. Mike,
    really great review. Thanks for writing it up. DennisG

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  2. Great review but your missing the two game changing boards from the last 2 years, the Rodeo and Patrick

    Have you had a chance to ride either of these? General consenses is that they (esp the Rodeo) are way more suited to air moves than the trad boards in your review.. shorted, very thick/ wide tails, no rocker....

    Also the maintaining speed is in my opinion the most important for ducking the sail, what do you think its the main factor for this?? bottom shape springs to mind...?

    Al

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  3. Thanks for the great review Mike !

    What do you think of the new skate 101 2014, do you have any feedback yet ?

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  4. Hey Al, You gotta make some more videos!!! I love watching those. I totally agree with you about those being key boards. In the states those boards aren't really around. I think Patirck just started getting imported this year. I had an older rodeo (2010), which I loved and you're right, it was a game changer back then. Now, most of the boards are in the 220 cm length range. The new rodeo has a narrower tail than the older ones and looks A LOT like the new JP. I wish we could have gotten those boards for the review, but F2 and Patrick are scarce to say the least in the U.S. I did see the F2 in Bonaire though and it was looking good. I haven't seen a Patrick anywhere newer than 2010. My buddy has a 2010 nd the Patrick was almost identical to the 2009 Mistral Joker as far as planing, sliding and overall feel.

    And yes, you're right with maintaining speed being very important. It makes the board more forgiving and you can do the bigger moves in less wind. This is where the skate beats out the JP. The JP has the high-speed spins even faster than the skate, but the skate will hold speed better, plane sooner, and because of this is overall a little more forgiving than the JP. For me those 2 boards are head and shoulders above the rest and it's really splitting hairs to pick one if you're at a really high level of freestyle doing burners air funnels etc.

    All the best,

    Mike

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  5. Hi Anon, I haven't had a chance to see the 2014 skate yet. The U.S. is the last in the world to get the new gear. We'll probably see the first Skate around the end of September if we're lucky enough to get any on the first shipment.. The overall shape looks pretty similar with a flatter rocker. Fanatic usually doesn't completely change something when it's working really well, so I would suspect that the 2014 101 will ride very similar to the 99 ltr from this year. But, until I get to actually sail it in person, it's hard to say how it will act in chop, or slide or anything like that.

    Happy sailing,

    Mike

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  6. Hi Mike,

    Based on your review I've bought a 2ndhand JP. After 20 years of non windsurfing I've to get used to the new gear, everything has changed so much.
    I can't wait to take the JP out in some nice conditions.
    Thanks a lot for your review.

    Arthur

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  7. Glad i could help Arthur! Treat your new baby nice :-)

    Mike

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  8. Mike,
    From your review and comments so far it seems like overall the skate te would make a better newb board than the skate 100. It looks like for marginal wind and tolerance to foot placement it is better. Would you mind contrasting the 2 for a first board for a 150 lb guy?

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  9. hey RDM, Sure thing. I've owned both models and know guys that currently own one of each design, some don't do any freestyle nor want to do any freestyle. If you're not doing freestyle, either the 99 ltr TE or the old 100 ltr version will both work for you. I think the biggest deciding factor will be if you're taking the board into surf to use as a super-early planing wave board. The 100 will be better in the surf as the rails are more drawn out and it can do a slightly tighter carve than the 99 ltr TE. The nose on the 100 is longer also so it has less of a chance to pearl coming down a steeper wave. The 99 ltr might plane up a hair sooner and is definitely a better freestyle board for anything sliding or in the air. That said, the 100 ltr still does freestyle stuff better than most of the other boards in the test anyway......

    Anyway, to sum it up, the 100 ltr offers better carving and 99 ltr TE offers better pop, speed and planing. Also if you want the Lighter construction, you gotta go with the 99 ltr TE anyway. I've never talked to anyone that was extremely impressed with both designs. Freestyle or not.

    Hope that helps,

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. I don't really plan to take one in the waves. I was thinking more pure freestyle in the lake- pump like crazy in marginal wind and trying to learn to slide. Sounds like the 99 has the clear planing and pop advantage for marginal. With the power box I bet my wife would enjoy it too with a freewave fin.

      Delete
    2. Mike - Great detailed review. or some Any thoughts of doing another review soon? Maybe some expert advice. Here's my goal: Trying to trim the board quiver to two boards. I live on the South Carolina coast so most sailing is in the mush-swells offshore. I have 84L JP Freestyle-Wave (pro edition from a couple years back when nose rocker was still cool) that satisfies 5.5 and lower. I'm looking for something in the 115L range with a sail range of 5.5 - 7.5 that will be the magic combination of straight line fast, on shore wave friendly, maneuverable, etc - you know, the perfect board. In the past year, I've bought and quickly sold a 2013 JP and Naish Freestyle Wave 102. Didn't like the flat profile on either and the weight of the Naish. Just looking at specs, the Tabou 3S 116 and Naish Starship 115 look interesting, but I don't want to throw down the $$$ without a test flight or input from a qualified pilot. Any advice / tips? Thanks...

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  10. Yeah, then I would go with the 99 TE. I've put a bigger fin on them before and those things fly!!! Very fast boards! Grab the last of the 2013 99 ltrs while you an still get one. Someone called me a couple weeks ago looking for one. He had called around to a couple shops and they said they couldn't get that board anymore. From what I understand, the only ones around are the ones already in the shops. Your best bet is probably Ocean Air Sports in Cape Hatteras. Hopefully he didn't get the last one :-) www.oceanairsports.com Tell them I said hello.

    Glad I could help,

    Mike

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  11. Hi Mike
    Great review. Please keep doing them :-)
    One thing (or two) I was thinking about is sail and fin.
    I notice myself being on Patrik 99 with Makani Koi weed fin that there are some differences depending on what sail I use.
    I started with Simmer Blacktip and then moved to Simmer Whitetip and now to Sailloft Quad. The behaviour of the board changes quite a lot in my opinion.

    Do you have any comments on this with the regards top the review you made.

    BR

    Lennart Svensson
    Sweden

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  12. Hi Lennart,

    Yes, some sails pull more forward, some pull more back and the centre of effort changes from sail to sail makeing the board react different, but those things will change across all the boards assuming the person is using the same sail on each board. That's why we were all using the sails we were accustomed to. We had riders from NP, Naish, Mauisails, Point-7 and Northsails. I agree different sails will obviously impact the performance of the board, but it should do the same thing to each board. All the riders regardless of sail brand were coming back with the same general impressions. Everyone agreed the slow boards were slow, the early planing boards planed early and the ones that went bump in the chop went bump in the chop. So I'm very confident that the results above will prove to be true regardless of the sail that the rider is using. What you're talking about with the feeling of a certain board being changed from sail to sail is exactly what a sail test is for :-) Hmmmm.......... You've got me thinking.......

    Thanks,

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mike

      .... Yes, that would be interesting... :-)

      /Lennart

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  13. Really enjoyed your review Mike - thanks ! Cheers,Brett

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  14. Hi Mike

    Have you had any experience with the 90Ltr versions? As a lightweight rider I prefer the smaller size but its hard to find any reviews. In your last review you said there was quite a difference between some of the 100Ltr and their smaller siblings e.g. 2010 JP 98 vs 89.

    Thanks
    John

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  15. Hi John,

    Yes, there were huge differences in a couple of the 90 ltr and 100 ltr boards last time. This time the companies only brought the 100 ltr versions. the only 2013 90 ltr board sizes I've sailed are the 89 ltr Skate that I own and and Flare. I heard the 90 ltr Tabou is a lot better than the 100 ltr, but it wouldn't take much to be a lot better than that 100 ltr taboo..... I definitely like the 89 ltr skate better than the flare. The flare was a really nice board though. Just didn't have that feel that the skate has. It's hard to describe, but the skate just sat in the water cleaner so setting up for the tricks was easier. The flare tended to bounce around a little more.

    I'm absolutely loving the 89 ltr skate. I've been sailing it 5.0 and smaller for almost all of my sailing. You can easily take it in the waves, great bump and jump sailing and or freestyle it's absolutely unbelievable. The rails NEVER catch on the sliding tricks and for all the new school power moves, it's perfect. In fact, i like the 89 ltr skate so much that instead of ordering a 100 ltr and 85 ltr next year I ordered the 93 ltr and 85 ltr so I can stay in that sweet spot for board and sail sizes every time out!!! My favorite combo is the 4.5 and 89 ltr this year by the way. Then the 4.0, then with the 5.0 I bounce back and forth with the 89 ltr and 99 ltr depending on how much power I have. The thing that I love is that bouncing back and forth between the different size skates takes no adjustment period. They both have the same feel during the tricks, same balance with the volume, and your stance is exactly the same on both boards.

    Go for the skate if you want the sure thing.

    All the best,

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mike

      Yeah the 2013 Flare 91 is the only one I've had a chance to try, nice board. Fast, released well and as you say felt lively under the feet. That was in near perfect flat conditions so can imagine in chop it might get a little bit harder. That said I do like lively boards!
      Secondhand skates a rare thing here in the UK and tend to hold their value so probably out of my price range at the moment. Been offered a 2013 JP 90 so hoping to hear its as good as the 100.
      Would be nice to have a 90 and 100ltr too but cant afford or transport them both :-( so looking for a one freestyle board to cover me from 5.4 to 4.0 flat water and chop. At my weight find 100lt gets a bit bouncy in chop.

      Cheers
      John

      Delete
  16. Thanks for your hard work Mike... just got a skate 100 and sailed it for the first time today... wish i had bought one sooner. Magic

    Tom

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  17. Thanks Tom!! Glad you're liking the Skate!!

    Mike

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  18. Hi Mike

    Thanks for the review. Have you sailed the 2013/2012 109 l skate? I'm 85kg, and sail mostly on a 5.4 in 17 knots. I'm learning flakas and flat water shove its and can do Spocks. Which board do you think would be best, the 99 or 109?

    Thank you

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  19. Hi Ryan,

    Yes, I've sailed the 109 Skate and like it lot. I sailed it a couple times with my 5.4 North ID and it was really nice for that size. But when the wind picked up it got big pretty quick, especially with some chop. It does plane up significantly quicker than the 99 ltr though. in 17 knots you should be able to plane on both the 99 ltr and 109 ltr. So it's just a matter of you want a little more low end, or a little more high end. In 17 knots I'm usually doing pretty good on my 5.0 Idol and 99 ltr skate at 75kg .

    The 109 itself though is the first 110 ltr sized board that I really liked. The older 110 ltr design felt too big to me, where the new 109 TE was just right and I was able to do all the tricks on it. Also, what might help you make the decision between the 99 and 109 is knowing what other sails you might use. If you're going bigger than 5.4, then definitely the 109. If 5.4 is the biggest sail you have then the 99 ltr might be a good idea. I wouldn't sail anything smaller than a 5.3 or 5.4 on the 109 personally.

    Good luck,

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mike.

      Thanks very much for the advice, it definitely helped me to make a decision.

      I borrowed a 100l GDS Skate this weekend, it works well for my 85kg weight. It planned really quickly and I was able to easily uphaul the sail when the wind shut down. I found the Skate took a bit of getting used to after years on a Freestyle Wave board, but after three days I am starting to get my usual moves again. The unfamiliarity might also have something to do with a different set-up in terms of distance between foot straps and distance between foot straps and mast base. I did experiment a little and for me Spocks were easier with the mast way forward.

      I'm definitely going to get the 100l GDS since I like doing old school carving moves too, definitely not the bigger board since I think 100l is more than big enough for me and I think moves would be even harder which more board.

      With regards to the GDS vs TE choice I compared the GDS 100l to a friends 2013 TE 99l and see that on the 2013 99 TE the distance between the front footstrap and the mast track is at least an inch shorter which might mean that I could not get things setup in a way that would be comfortable for me, unless perhaps I could move the foot straps all the way back, but am not sure what that would do to other aspects of sailing. There is lots I would need to experiment with.

      Thanks again.

      Delete
  20. Hi Ryan,

    I'm glad you're liking the 100 ltr. Yes, the 100 ltr is a little bit easier to transition to and the mast track on the 99 ltr is closer to the footstraps than the 100. I still run the mast track on the 99 ltr almost all the way back. You're going to love your 100 ltr. And like everyone else I know that bought a 100 ltr after coming off a freestyle wave, you're not going to like going back to that freestyle wave. So I'll probably talk to you next year when you have the 100 ltr dialed in and you're asking if I think the 89 ltr will be good for your small board :-) Congrats on your new board!!! Just wait until you get it dialed!!

    On the 100 ltr I liked the footstaps 1 back from the front. The narrower stance also helps you get planing much earlier than a wave type wide stance. You'll see..... And for mast track position, if the nose goes under at the end of a spock, move it back. If the tail keeps sinking, move it forward. Then you'll find that sweet spot with the balance of the board. For me it was pretty much right in the middle.

    All the best,

    Mike

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  21. Genius! really great and useful review, thank you very much Mike!

    Can I pose you a little question? I have a 2007 f2 chilli 107 lt (236 x 67 cm), I like it, I don't know if it's favorable for me to buy a new one (maybe for 2014 i will be graduated from univerity and I can have many more days than the usual 20 windsurfing days/year, so if I have to buy a new board, I want to do it before next summer!).
    I only can do some vulkans, spocks and speedloop, I would like to improve theese moves and try for grubby, spock 540 and maybe, if I'm very lucky, some other "mortal" moves.

    What do you think? Is it better for me to maintain my loved, trusted, longer board or I can go for a new compact board?
    I'm 80 kg, I was oriented for JP 100 but I've never tried it, i tried (for 30 minutes) my brother's SKATE TE 99 and I felt more confortable in freeriding, faster and easyer for jumping, but my chilli looked more forgiving and better in rotation and sliding backward... but probably it's only the first feeling of a "poor windsurfer"!!

    thank you very much!

    All the best,

    Giovanni

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Giovanni,

    The Chilli was a really good board!! But there are a lot of boards that are better. Earlier planing, more comfortable to ride, etc. The skate would be the best board in the test for your level. It's plenty forgiving in spocks and vulcans, but it will push just as hard as you can push it with any move. The balance will be different than your Chilli becaus it is so much shorter, but after you get the hang of how it balances while sliding, you'll be very, very happy on it. Don't hesitate to get the skate!!

    All the best,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooook Mike,
      I'll start to look for a good offer, thanks a lot again!

      Delete
  23. Hi Mike! Thanks for a very good comparison! Now I am choosing a first radical Fs board for me. I think Skate 2013 100l is a very good option. It is good for firts tricks like vulcano, maby flaka and also some old school style like carve etc, but I can sail on it like on the freeride board on little choppy spot :) Am I right? What do you think about those 7cm more length? Is there a big differnce in length and in weight between TE and non TE?
    Best Regards from Poland :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Jq,

    Choosing between the 2 skate versions is tough!! The 99 ltr planes a hair earlier, has more pop and will rotate through tricks faster. The 100 ltr is a little bit better of a freeride board and is in no way going to hold you back from learning the freestyle basics. I hit my first air funnel and first bonka on the 100 ltr TE!! So it's up for the task! I think you'll be really happy with the 100. That said, you'll be really happy with the 99 ltr too. The big difference is that the 99 ltr TE is made to be a little faster through the tricks while the 100 ltr is a little more tame.

    For length, I noticed a big difference with rotating moves like air funnels, and ponches with the 99 ltr. The nose would catch a lot on the 100 ltr, but on the 99 ltr it never catches. So for more advanced air maneuvers, the 99 is better. But since there's not much nose there on the 99, the 100 ltr is better for the "old school" carving tricks where you step in front of the mast.

    As for weight, there's not a huge difference. You'll notice more that the TE boards are more crisp and lively feeling than the Biax glass boards. Non TE boards are also a hair slower to plane than the TE versions. With the Fanatics I've tried it's not as big a difference as other companies. JP for example, I would never ever get a non pro editions board. Those are like night and day. My Mistrals were like that too. The red dot versions were soooo much better.... Anyway with the pair of Fanatics you're looking at, it's not even the same board, so it's more about choosing which shape will suit you best. The 100 will be tamer and easier to ride for older tricks, the 99 will be much livlier and explosive but might take time to adjust to if you're not used to the shorter length boards.

    I hope all this helps. I think you're right thinking the 100 is the board for you. It's like trying to pick between a Ferrari and a Lambo....... You know you'll love both....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike, thanks for reply, it helps me a lot :)

      Delete
  25. Awesome!!
    I chose my one there...go for it :)
    http://www.nauticexpo.com/boat-manufacturer/windsurf-board-890.html

    ReplyDelete
  26. Mike,

    Hope you don't mind the slightly off-topic question. Looking for a new board for 5.0-7.0 range and was looking at the Fanatic Freewave for Hecksher/Cape Cod in the spring/summer. Any thoughts? Also, any thoughts in terms of volume: 106 or 116?

    Thanks in advance,

    Joel

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Joel,

    The new Freewaves are really nice! Really though if you'e not going into the waves, the skate might be a better board even for those not doing freestyle. Think hard about what you're looking for. The skate is faster and planes up earlier and will have you planing through many, many more jibes than the freewave. The freewave carves a little tighter, and is more ready to take in the ocean though. On a skate you'll always be sailing 1 sail size down from what you would on a freewave, so think about how turning a 7.0 day into a 6.0 day might be nice. For free-riding a 100 ltr sized skate would be good for 5.0 - 7.0. For a freewave, the 106 or 116 would be good depending on if you're looking to use more 7.0 or more 5.0. Personally, on my 99 ltr skate and 5.0 Northsails Idol this past year, 17-18 mph winds do the trick. When coming off more classic style gear, the freewave is easier to adapt to on the first session, but after giving the Skate 3 or 4 days on the water to get the hang of, most flat water sailors that have tried both, prefer being on the skate on a smaller sail getting going in less wind. Ocean Air Sports have some left-over 2013 skates and freewaves in stock on close out right now!!

    Let me know if you have any other questions,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Mike,
    Thank you for this great review. The average condition is 6.0/7.5 for a 120L freeride here. Do you think Skate 110L is a good idea as a first FS board?
    Cheers,
    Sg

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Sg,

    Can you give me a little more info, like the wind range and your weight? I know guys my that don't use their 6.0 until it's blowing 20 knots. On freestyle gear that a solid 5.0 easy. The 110 ltr was a little too big for me to be able to pop well. The 2012/2013 109 ltr TE was a better board. It planed up just as early and is much smaller feeling than the 110 ltr so popping the 109 ltr wasn't a problem for me at 165 lbs. I haven't had the chance to try the 2014s yet except or my 85 ltr TE Skate. These boards plane up MUCH earlier than their free-ride counterparts. My 5.6 and 109 ltr is used in the same exact wind range as my 125 ltr Falcon and 7.3 x-type freeride sail. About 14 knots and you're off to the races on a 7.3, or sliding in circles fully powered on 5.6 Idol depending on what type of sailing you want to do. the Skates will really open your eyes to the size sail you really need to carry.

    Just give me a better idea of the wind range and your weight and I'll let you know which size skate should work best for you.

    If you're in the US, Ocean Air has the 99 ltr, 109 ltr and 110 in stock at really good closeout prices right now, so let me know and grab one while you can!! The skates are in huge demand and I still can't get my hands on any of the 2014s even though I placed my order in July!!!

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you for the information. In general,10-15 knots; however, a couple of months in the summer, we can get days like 15-20kt and just a few days 25kt. Salt water, minor chops (max. 1/2m), more likely tide runs in the same direction as the wind. Staying upwind sometimes can be a challenge. I am 178 lbs and on top of it I wear 4/5mm full suit most of the time. Which 2013 Skate would work the best?
    Sg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sg,

      Yes, definitely one of the 110 ltr sized boards. I personally like the 109 much better than the 110. It planes up earlier and is much more maneuverable than the 110. Since the tail on the 109 is a little narrower than the 110 it's easier to pop and also holds it's edge better to head back upwind. I think the 109 is your board!! Give Ocean Air Sports a buzz. I happened to talk to the owner Brian a couple days ago because I ordered a couple of SUPS and wetsuits for my kids he said the gear on the website is pretty up to date. The skates fl of the shelves and i'm sure the left over skates will be snatched up toward the end of the month as people start returning to the Outer Banks. Be sure to tell them I said hello!!

      http://www.oceanairsports.com/cat/WAVEBUMPFREESTYLE22.cfm?CFID=56479746&CFTOKEN=b68c0fd56a609571-9389F8CF-FC55-B4AF-811ED399F6B9501F&jsessionid=c430b2d8c22d127fd948a584f65163832252


      Let me know how everything turns out and how you like the 109!! It's a great board!!

      All the best,

      Mike

      Delete
  31. Great. I will call Brian sometime soon and say hi from you. I really appreciate your comments, it helped a lot. Looking forward to reading your 2014 reviews.
    Best Wishes,
    Sg

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Mike,
    have you already had the chance to try the new 2014 skate TE?
    I have the choice between 99TE 13 and 93TE 14.
    My weight is 70kg and I sails most of the time in light wind conditions.
    (can do spocks, and learn flaka, eslider ...)
    Would be great if you could post a comment...
    Milli

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Milli,

    It's funny you posted this yesterday, as my 93 ltr TE skate finally arrived yesterday. I haven't had a chance yet to sail the 93 ltr. However I have been sailing the 2014 85 ltr TE for a few months now. My impression of that one is that it sails just as big as the 89 ltr, so for me the 2014 85 TE was a direct replacement of the 2013 89 TE. The 85 ltr is faster and has more pop than the 2013 89 ltr too. It's also a more balanced board with more volume under the tail, so it's easier to complete spocks on even with the lower volume.

    As for your choice of the 2013 99 TE or the 2014 93 TE, it' hard to say without sailing the 93 ltr yet. I'm kinda going to assume that the 2014 93 ltr will be very close to the 2013 in light wind ability. Can you give me an idea of what "light wind" is for you. Light wind to someone that lives in the Gorge is 20 knots on a 90-95 ltr and 4.7, while light wind to me in NY (assuming you can plane) is you're largest freestyle sail along with a 100 or 110 ltr freestyle board. So that would put the wind in the 12-18 knot range….. This year I'm using the 93 ltr as my large freestyle board with the 5.2 Idol Ltd. I'm expecting to be able to plane in 14-15 knots and be well powered for all the tricks in 16-17 knots. Below that I have a 125 ltr Falcon and 7.3 x-type that's lots of fun.

    Anyway, let me know what your big sail is going to be, and how much wind you're planning to sail in.

    On a side note, I will be posting reviews, mainly about the differences from the 2013 to 2014 Skates as soon as I have a chance to try out more sizes. A review to help people decide between the Idol and Idol LTD will be up soon too.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Mike,

    thanks for your reply.
    light wind is for me 11-15knots (in sweat water//europe). My biggest sail is the 2014 pure in 5.4.
    For me it´s super important to plane as soon as possible. Moreover, I want to improve my spock rate and learn flaka and my first switch moves.
    Best philip

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hey Phillip,

    In the 11-15 knot range I would definitely go with either a board in the 100 ltr or 110 ltr size. If your only choice is the 2014 93 ltr or the 2013 99 ltr, I would go with the 2013 99 ltr. They will probably plane up close to teh same time,but the extra volume of the 99 ltr should be able to hold the 5.4 easier through the sliding tricks than the 93 ltr. When a sail starts getting too big for a board, it starts loosing pop and the nose tends to dive a little earlier in the spinny tricks. I actually liked the 2013 109 Skate the best for my 5.6 Idol. The 99 ltr was perfect for the 5.0, but also held the 5.6 Idol nicely too. And then I used the 89 ltr for 4.5 and smaller. Anyway, if you're big sail is the 5.4, then I would go with the 99 ltr for a one board quiver. the 2014 101 might be even a better option if you can find one of those. I haven't sailed the 2014 101 yet, but just going off my 85 ltr, there were big improvements to the boards this year.

    I hope that helps,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello Mike (sorry for my poor english, I'm french)

    I would like to have your advise because my weight is 92kg for 1M91, my sails are 4.2 to 5.3 on a JPA single/thruster 93. I have a good level in waveriding (front, back,surf...) and I really want to improve my level in freestyle (I already do the spock but don't control it perfectly yet) and I really hesitate between a 100ltr or more like JPA 106 or other 110.

    I want to have an easy board but I'm afraid 106 or 110 is a little too big for windy conditions.

    Thank you for your help

    S├ębastien

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Sebastien,

    You definitely don't want anything in the 105-115 ltr range for the sails you're going to be using. I only recommend a 109 ltr for those primarily using 5.4 and up. I have a friend who is your weight and he uses a 2013 Fanatic Skate 99 TE as his freestyle board for his 4.0 to 5.6. However if your big sail is a 5.3, Fanatic came out with a 93 ltr Skate TE for 2014 that you might find really nice!!! It will work better with the smaller sails than the 99 ltr. I always notice that my friend has trouble with the 99 ltr when he's on 4.0 compared to when I'm on my 85 ltr skate in the same wind. If you're already making spocks on a 93 ltr JP Single/Thruster, the 93 ltr Skate will definitely do the trick. I think the main thing you have to ask yourself is if you'd rather have a better board for the 4.2, or a better board for the 5.3. Both the 100 ltr size and 93 ltr size will be able to cover all those sails. My instinct is to tell you to go with a 2014 Skate 93 TE to make those really good days on the 4.2 that much better, but if you don't get that many 4.2 days and mainly use a 5.3, then you'll be more happy with a 2013 99 or 2014 101. A board bigger than the 101 should not be an option for you.

    All the best,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Mike, great reviews and windsurf stoke!
    Have you had chance to get to know the 2014 93? How does it compare to the 99 2013? How is it's lighter wind ability compared to 2013 99.

    Many thanks for any info on this board! Cheers, Alex

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi Alex,

    Yes, I've had the 93 ltr now for a couple weeks now. The board is just so alive!! It's the only way to describe it. It planes very early, (like all the skates for their size), tons of pop, slides really well...... It does EVERYTHING!!! For me at 165-170 lbs, I feel like this was a custom board made just for me. Last year I liked the boards, but felt with the 4.5 that the 99 was getting too big, and the 89 needed a little more pop. So far I've used 5.2, 4.8, and 4.4 Idol LTD and 4.5 regular Idol on the 93. 4.0 might be ok, but I've got a 85 ltr for that. AND that 85 ltr is just as nice as the 93 with 4.0 and 4.5. The 2014 93 ltr Fanatic Skate TE is the best board I've ever used!! It's hard for me to compare head to head vs the 2013 99 ltr as far as early planing. I haven't had my 99 ltr since September..... I think it would be really, really close to the 99 ltr. Maybe the 2013 99 ltr would plane earlier with something like a 5.9 on it, but then I'm sure the new 2014 101 TE would beat the 99 ltr in planing for sure with any size sail..... I think the better thing to do is go off of what your big sail is. I would say the 93 ltr is good up to 5.2. If you're using 5.9, then maybe go with the 99 ltr or even better, the new 101. So far, I have absolutely no need for a bigger board than the 93 ltr though. The size is just perfect and so well balanced. My friend who weighs a bit more than me has the same praises for his 2014 Skate 101. I would definitely go with one of the new designs if you can. They are a good bit better than the 2013. More balanced, more pop and more forgiving all at the same time.

    The feel of the new boards just flying along is different too. They feel more like they are flying like a slalom board instead of more in the water. Really nice lively feel. Can't say enough good things....... I will say this though. the mast track position is more important on the new boards. There is a definite sweet spot. For me it's a little towards the back. There, the board won't catch in the spins and flies over the chop without the nose catching.

    Hope all this helps!!

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  40. Brilliant! Cheers Mike, great help. Happy windsurfing!

    ReplyDelete
  41. You too Alex!! Enjoy the new board!!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ia Orana (Hi) Mike,

    I'm writing you from French Polynesia. I do windsurf since 1990 (I'm 34 years old). I'd like to go into freestyle...light wind freestyle.
    The average wind range in my home spot are about 14-18 knots (wet season) and 15-22 knots (dry season).

    I've read with a lot of attention all your reports about boards. I was happy about the idea of buying a Rodeo 98, but I can't find it even in used condition. I've decided to go for a used 99te SKate (2012). But I'm sucked again and I really need your advice and your expertise :)

    For a windsurfer weighing 75-77kg (no wetsuits in French Polynesia ;)), what do you recommend as sails quiver ? I have the opportunity to buy a 2011 duke (5.4) code mad and a 5.0 Ice (code Mad) for a very nice price. According to the wind range (cf. above) and my limited budget, do you think that is relevant to buy only 2 sails (5 & 5.4) or not? Just to let you know that 25+knots are really rare here...maybe 3 or 4 days per year I would say.

    Hope it wasn't a nightmare for you (and all the readers) to read me, my English is really rusty!!!!!!!!

    Cheers,

    Mike (another one) from French Polynesia

    ReplyDelete
  43. OoOpsSs, sorry...I am "stuck again" and not "sucked again"...quiet funny actually, but nothing to do with freestyle...well, it depends about the interpretation of the word "freestyle", but that's another story :)
    I do apologies for that :)
    Cheers
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Mike! Haha!! You speak better English than many Americans I know :-) And we all have to suck at some point. Especially in freestyle!! It was actually pretty funny. I know what you mean though. I'm also about the same weight as you and it looks like we started windsurfing in the same year!! Great choice with the board too!! The skate is a better board to get into freestyle on than the Rodeo anyway.

    Anyway, with your questions on sails. I think that 5.4 Duke will work good for you for the lighter wind. 14-18 knots is perfect for that sail. Then the 5.0 will work as the next sail down just fine. I think you've already found yourself the right gear. For 22 knots, I was usually on the 4.7, but I think the 5.0 you will probably get more use out of, and you'll find that sail to be more maneuverable than the 5.4 Duke. So I would say grab those sails that you mentioned, then if you find you're getting overpowered on the 5.0 more than you expected, get a 4.5 or 4.2. Even though it only gets that windy a few days a year, those are the days that are the best!!

    Happy sailing!!

    Mike

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  45. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Mike,
    Thank you so muUucCccCHhhH for your quick reply and all your precious advices.
    Now, what do you think about an Idol 5.3 and a 4.7 (instead of 5.4/5.0)? Maybe the gape between both is to big...
    Cheers buddy and have a nice day.
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  47. The Idol is the way to go if you can get your hands on those. 5.3 and 4.7 will work perfect. Check out my thoughts on the idol from last year.

    http://purewindsurfing.blogspot.com/2013/02/2013-northsails-idol-review-taking-red.html

    For 2014 I tried the Idol LTD for 3 months. I had to have the Regular Idol back!!!! So now I'm happily back on the regular 2014 Idols!! I use 5.0, 4.5 and 4.0, but Last year I had up to the 5.6 Idol. Every size Idol is VERY rangy and has both more low end AND high end than the same sized duke or ice (volt). If you have the choice, go with the Idol over anything else. Much better by a long shot for any type of sailing!! Especially freestyle.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thanks a lot for your advice and the link.
    Much appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  49. Wow, Your reviews and feedback are great! I also have a size question. I'm a California coast wavesailor. Typically during mid Summer the coast gets flat and less windy and San Francisco Bay and the Delta get good wind. I'm thinking of getting a skate to force me to get out in the bay for learning some of the freestyle moves that can translate to wave moves such as takas and goiters. I can Vulcan and forward, but nothing else in terms of new school madness. I've got most of the old school carve moves in my bag. I would really like to get a sweet duck tack figured out. I'm 162lbs. And my are 4.3/4.6/4.9. Any feedback bout skate size / year will be great. I want to get the size that will help me progress quick snap! Thanks greatly - Alex

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi Alex,

    If you're deciding on a 2013 board, the 89 ltr Skate will be your board for those sail sizes at 162 lbs. That's what I was using on 5.0, 4.5 and 4.0 last year while we were in the Gorge and most of the season here in NY except for the lighter 5.0 days when I needed the 99 ltr. For this year, Fanatic has 2 sizes that will cover your wind range. For 2014 they have 2 higher wind models with a 93 ltr, and an 85 ltr. I own both and love them both to death!!! Don't even think about the 101 if your big sail is only a 4.9. My sails again this year are 5.0, 4.5 and 4.0. Both size skates work absolutely amazing, but I notice clear advantages of each board. If the water is flat, I tend to lean toward the 93 ltr, and when it's choppy, the 85 ltr just eats it up. The 93 ltr is a bit bigger, so of course it will be more forgiving for carving type maneuvers and give you a wider, more stable platform for that duck-tack!! It's got the planing of the 99 ltr from last year, but much better control when the wind picks up. But with the 4.0, and heavy chop, there's nothing like that 85 ltr......

    I would tend to send you towards the 93. That's what most guys are on this year and are loving it from 4.0 to 5.2. It's just a little more forgiving when learning all those slidey tricks.. For bigger jumps and power moves, the 4.0 and 85 ltr is my personal all time favorite. Total control in any conditions...

    Also, a side note on the Skates this year. Make sure to play with the mast track position. If it's too far forward the nose bites a little on the chop. I keep it 3/4s towards the back and I'm flying smooth :-)

    Hope all this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'm always happy to help.

    Happy sailing,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Mike,

    thanks for the awesome reviews!

    Apologies if some of this is repetitive. I am a 130lb SF bay area sailor, doing mostly B&J sailing in typical 17-25kt bay area conditions. My gear:
    boards: 85l RRD FSW, 72l Goya Custom Quad
    sails: Naish Session 4.2/4.7, Boxer 5.4

    My next goal is to properly ride a wave and I believe I need to seriously improve my tacking skills for that. While I am training on those I figure I might as well try and pick up some freestyle moves as well. So I am looking for a good, easy to learn on, board that could also serve as a light wind board for me (i.e. picking up from where the 85l FSW will stop being fun). From reading around, I am honing in on a Fanatic Skate in the 100l range. For 2014 the choices would be 93l or 101l TE, or 100l BGS.

    Given all of the above, do you have a recommendation at all? Given my light weight I guess I should look at the 93l. But if I want a really stable platform for old school maneuvers and tacks (incl heli tacks, etc) as well as a light wind platform (and given that I have a 85l FSW board), would that make you advise for the next volume up? I suppose I could also conclude that freestyle boards are just more fun than FSW boards and I should look for a board to basically replace my 85l FSW.... Decisions...

    Thanks!

    Albert

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi Albert,

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I'm organizing a windsurfing event for this weekend and I've been crazy with setting it up this week.

    From what I see, you've got 2 different scenarios. 1 - you get only 1 board. At 130 lbs, the 93 ltr would be your best bet. For comparison, it would plane up and be about as stable as a 105 ltr FSW. So you'll have the stability and control and that board is ready for anything from donkey jibes to double burners. I love that 93 ltr.

    Your other option is to go for 2 new boards. The 85 ltr skate and a 101. The 85 ltr is the most fun board I've ever sailed! So much control, but so lively and tons of pop. Just the perfect board!! But, you won't be happy at all on the 85 and a 5.4 for freestyle, especially learning to tack. SO then you add to that the 101 and you have the best of both worlds. If you're working on lighter wind tricks, teh 101 will give you tons of float and all you'll ever need at 130 lbs in the planing dept. Then the 85 ltr will have you covered for anything short of Gorge-Like epic conditions.

    I think the 93 ltr will have enough float and will also be able to carry all your sails and be a one board wonder It's better than any past model skate with it's ability to plane early and still carve. But man that 85 ltr....... It is just awesome!!!! I'm on a hole different level when I can break that board out!! Only thing is you NEED something bigger to go with the 85.....

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thanks, Mike. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond in such great detail!

    So you would always stay with the newer shapes (TE); e.g. prefer the 101 TE vs the 100 BGS?

    I like your way of splitting up the decision into 2 options. When it is really blowing (22kts+) I usually go out on my 72l quad which is great fun in those conditions (no hope in doing any tricks on that). My 85l FSW is getting long in the tooth (and is kind of close to the 72l), so perhaps the 93l Skate is the perfect complement. Also not sure I could get 2 new boards, near term, passed my "audit committee" (aka wife) :)
    Btw, how much easier do you think it would be to learn things like heli tacks on the 101l vs the 93l? Just curious if I should factor that into the ultimate decision.

    As it happens our local shop here just got a new 93l TE in. I am going to go check it out later today.

    Thanks again!

    Albert


    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Albert,

    I think the 93 ptr would be a good decision. I think just the 101 by itself would be too big. My buddy that is a little over 200 lbs uses the 101...... The skates ride much bigger than the boards you're used to. At the same time they are lively, give a nice stable platform and extremely fun to throw around. With last year's TE shapes, they were a little more unbalanced than the boards this year. So the TE boards this year carve better and are better for the old school moves than the 2013 TE boards were. Yesterday I was sailing my 4.5 and 93 ptr and one of the guys working on donkey jibes kept egging me on to do one. I haven't tried one on the 2014 boards yet. Last year on the 99 ltr, I kept burying the nose, but yesterday, no problem on the 93 ltr. And I was far from graceful with the footwork. So the volume flow on the 2014 93 liter is a little more even like the BGS model is, but the TE is so much more alive, early planing, faster, and poppy. the 2014 TE boards are the way to go for anyone at any level of freestyle.

    As for 101 vs. 93. The bigger the board, the easier it will be to helitack. But that 101 is going to get real big for you in a hurry once you're planing. I wouldn't go bigger than the 93 unless you've got something fun to move down to pretty early. For me, the 101 is best around 5.0 and up. 93 is perfect for 5.0 and 4.5. Then my 85 for 4.5 and 4.0. Definitely wouldn't want to be on the 101 with a 4.0....
    Have a look at that 93 TE. I think it will be your best bet if you're "only" doing the one board.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, again Mike.

      I guess 93l TE it is then for me. Can't wait. I actually tried a friend's 90l Skate (2010). Amazing how quickly those things plane. And I could feel what you mean, it felt big quickly once planing. Still, my few tack attempts till i had to give the board back were pathetic. And uphauling in chop was still really hard. So I feel good about 93l (101 will likely get too big too quickly to be really useful). Can't wait.

      Best,

      albert


      Delete
  55. Glad I could help Albert. The 93 ltr will be a big improvement from your friends 90 ltr in planing, stability and pop. Enjoy!!

    Mike

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  56. Picked up the 93l TE yesterday and took it right from the shop to the water - father's day present to myself :)

    It was not a great day condition wise and almost all sailors decided not even to go out. Now, here in the bay we are spoiled; it was gusty and from weird direction (15-20kts gusting to 25, I would say). I was on a 4.7 and it was great. Super early planing and actually nice to jibe. I didn't try any tricks yet, just wanted to enjoy the session and get a feel for the board. And yes, it felt big in the gusts. I am glad I didn't go with the 101 (though we will see how I feel about that when I start falling in practicing tricks).

    Anyway, thanks for the help again!

    Albert

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  57. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for putting out great information. I too have a question about Skate. I sail in San Francisco Bay. Mostly free ride, bump and jump. I weigh around 150 lbs. I have a 93 liters 2010 JP fsw board that I want to upgrade. I have never used a freestyle board but I am considering the Skate after hearing all the great comments about it. I need a board that will get me to the water when it is 18mph but I also want to be in control when the wind gets stronger and water gets choppy in the bay. My sails are 2010 5.3 Neil Pryde FireFly, 2011 4.7 North Sails Ice and 2012 4.2 North Sails Volt. I was wondering if I should get a 99 liter Skate TE or 89 liters? I would like to have 2 boards at the most. I have a 2012 Tabou 3S LTD in 86 liters and a JP wave board in 76 liters. I am trying to downsize to 2 boards that will cover from 18mph to 30mph. I read that the 99 liters could get bouncy in choppy conditions but I am wondering if the 89 liters would be enough for marginal conditions at 18-19mph for my weigh.

    Thanks in advance,

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  58. Hi Enzo,

    18-30 is a big range. Especially if it starts getting choppy. The 2014 93 ltr TE might actually be your best choice. It will definitely get going in 18 mph with a 5.3 and then have more high end than the 99 ltr. I use the 93 up to about 25 mph before I switch down to the 85 ltr skate, but I've used the 93 ltr in more wind. But in that much wind I'm definitely favoring a smaller board. If the 2012/2013 89 ltr and 99 ltr are your only choices, it's a little harder. The 89 planes very early for it's size, but it's sweet spot is more when the wind is in the 20's range. The 99 ltr is best from16-17 to low 20s before it starts to get too big. (although I know guys that use the 99 ltr in 30mph with a 4.0 and love it) I think it's just because they don't have a smaller skate though :-) For you, I think the 2014 TE 93 ltr and you 86 ltr Tabou would probably cover just about everything.. How often do you use that 76 ltr? I sold my board under 80 ltrs about 10 years ago and have maybe really needed it 5 or 6 times since then. But then I would have needed something way smaller than my 3.7 anyway...... By the way, 18-19 mph won' t be marginal anymore with the 93 ltr. If it's 18-19 with my North Idol 5.0 and 93 ltr skate I'm doing full power burners, air funnels and loops. I'm 170 lbs.....

    If you have iwindsurf check out this graph to give you an idea. This was from yesterday and this wind is full power for North Idol 4.5 and 93 ltr TE skate. That's what I was on yesterday, and my 200 lb buddy on his 2009 99 ltr Skate and Idol 4.7 full power!!
    http://www.iwindsurf.com/windandwhere.iws?regionID=105&siteID=111&days=1&Isection=Wind+Yesterday

    Good luck,

    Mike

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  59. Thanks Mike. I use the 76 wave board when it is averaging 28mph and gusting +30. However I sail closer to where I live and these conditions happen 10 times a year at the most. I noticed that I use the wave board in fewer sessions every year. I can slog with it but I cannot uphaul. So I have to be very careful when I take it out.
    You are right I think the 93 Skate and 86 Tabou are the best choices. Thanks again for taking time to respond.
    Have you ever used the 2013 Fanatic Freewave TE in 95 liters? I considered that board for a while too but I read some reviews. Most people said they love the 85 liters Freewave but did not like the 95. They say the character of the board is a lot different and they were not impressed with it. Skate on the other hand sails same for different sizes. I was wondering what you think about the 2013 95 Freewave TE.

    Cheers,

    Enzo

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  60. Hi Enzo,

    I know people that like the 95 ltr freewave too. It's kinda natural to like smaller boards because they're used in better conditions :-) So any time you're on the small stuff, it always feels better.... That said, the 93 ltr skate is a much earlier planing, faster and livelier board than than the freewave. The freewave will do a classic carve a little better, but that's about it. I will say this though. The skate puts you in a different stance than you're used to with the wave style boards. So right now if you hopped on a freewave, it might feel more like what you're used to than a skate. Almost all non-freestylers need a couple days to get used to this "new school" forward stance that the skate has, but when they do, the next time I see them, they have 2 skates :-) They won't sail anything else..... Also, the 2014 skates have slotbox fins. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it's a really nice alternative to the a-box and you can really fine tune the board being able to move the fin a little further forward for turning or back to let the board ride higher for speed and direction. The fin that comes with the skate is pretty small, so give it a try, but one of the fins from Makani will definitely improve things....

    Let me know how you like it!!!

    All the best,

    Mike

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  61. Many thanks for all the comments. Your blog is awesome to get information. When you talk to shops most of the time you get recommendation based on what they have in stock :) I plan on taking an ABK clinic. So I can get the proper instruction on how to change my stance among other things I want to learn.

    Thanks again and I will let you know how it goes.

    Enzo

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  62. Hi Mike

    Epic review. I AM sailing the 93L 2014 and the 99L 2013 skate TE. They Are just awesome.

    I AM 66kg and are landing Spock, volcan, switch volcan and learning flaka, Shaka, Spock 540, funnel and e slider.
    (i have only sailed 3 years, but I AM on the water at least 3 times a week.)


    I felt a big improvement going from 99L to 93l, and allmost never use My 99L any more. I AM mostly on My 4,8 sail. Sometimes on My 4,2 and about 8-10 times a year 3,6.

    I AM thinking about getting the 85ltr 2015 skate TE, do you believe i will improve faster on that then the 93? And is it a better board for My Weight.

    Thanks
    Math4975

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  63. Hi Math, That's great you are getting on the water so much!! And improving so fast!! It's funny, but I did the same thing. Even at 75 kg and still found that the 93 ltr is the biggest board I need. I also have the 85 ltr and that board is just absolutely amazing. It's my favorite board I've ever used. I think the 93 ltr will work best for the 4.8, but if you get enough time on the 4.2 and 3.6 the 85 will be just amazing. It will work ok also with the 4.8, but you will loose a little pop and forgiveness compared to the 93. I use the 85 with my 4.5 if it's choppy or with some waves for bigger jumping tricks. With the 4.0, i feel like there is nothing I can't do with the 85 ltr. The 4.0 Idol and 85 Skate TE is just the best, and most fun windsurfing setup I've ever owned.... So much control and so alive at the same time..... If you're big sail is a 4.8, I would sell the 99 and pick up and 85 for sure... At your weight you might even be using it with the 4.8.... I was doing fine with it with the 4.8, but just prefer the 93 when the winds get a little lighter.

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  64. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the awesome reviews and also taking the time to respond to everyone's comments!!

    I've been sailing for 6 years now and most of my sailing is bump & jump and the occasional front loop. This year, I started getting more into freestyle and tried a couple vulcans (unsuccessfully so far) but hopefully I can start hitting a few this year. Next year, I would like to progress to spocks and flakas. I weigh around 80kg and typically sail in the Gorge or some lakes in Washington State.

    From reading all of the reviews and comments, I've narrowed it down to two boards assuming that I can find them in stock somewhere: 2014 Fanatic Skate 101L TE or 2014 Fanatic Skate 100L BGS.

    For a beginner freestyle board, do you think the BGS will be more forgiving than the TE or should I just go for the TE as it'll last me a lot longer?

    Many Thanks,
    Adam

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  65. Hi Adam,

    I'm around 165-170 lbs, so only a couple pounds lighter than you. I've ben out to the gorge a couple times and for me, it's mostly 4.0, 4.5 sailing where I choose to sail and my pick is always the smaller skate for the Gorge. So in the past I've brought the 89 and 90 liters and they're been perfect!! This year I was going to be out there this week but had to cancel the trip. My 85 liter Skate would have been the board for sure. That said, you're just starting out in freestyle so maybe a little extra float will help. The 93 liter skater would be a really good option for the Gorge. I'm not sure how much you sail the Gorge vs. the lake. I would imagine the Gorge is much windier...... The new 101 is a handful with the 4.0. A friend of none has it and doesn't enjoy sailing 4.0 conditions with the 101 so much. Another friend of mine also brought his 100 liter skate out to the Gorge and said it got big really quick when my 89 liter was perfect. He was 200 lbs....... So for the Gorge, the 93 liter would probably be your best bet. If you do more of your sailing in lighter winds, like 5.0, or 6.0, then maybe the 101..... By the way, the 93 liter TE will plane up just as early as the BGS 100 liter...... Just a little less float when you stop planing... But the 2014 TE boards are very balanced and easy to use. I would go with one of the TE boards over the BGS boards if you're looking for freestyle. I have friends that love the TE boards that don't have any interest in freestyle, but wanted an early planing easy to jibe board...

    All the best,

    Mike

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  66. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the reply. Sounds like I need to decided between the 93L TE and the 101L TE. I doubt that I'll go wrong with either :)

    You did bring up an interesting point by suggesting the 93L. Currently my quiver is 3-boards/6 sails which is a pain to pack & rig and typically I'll end up leaving the small board at home because it doesn't all fit in/on our car. Currently, I have:
    Boards: 2000 Naish 8'5" Wave (85L), 2006 Starboard Flare 104L, 2012 Starboard Carve 131
    Sails: Naish 3.7/4.2, Severne 5.0/5.7, and Neil Pryde 6.3/7.8

    I would say that 65% of my sailing is on the Flare with a 5.0/5.7, 20% is on the Carve with a 6.3/7.8, and 15% is on the Naish with a 3.7/4.2/5.0. I was thinking of getting a 100L freestyle board to replace my Flare but going with a 93L board might allow me to get a board that also replaces my old Naish Wave board a lot of times. The Carve 131L is a board that my wife uses so we won't be replacing it anytime soon.

    From the comments above, it sounds like the new freestyle boards usually require 0.5m less sail to get planing which means that most of my sailing would be on the 4.2/5.0. There might be the occasional session where I use a 3.7 or 5.7 with the TE.

    Do you think that the 93L would have enough range? If I could use 1-board/3-sails for 75% of my sailing that'd be excellent!

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  67. Hi Mike,

    This might be a little off the Board topic, but it seems that North has discontinued the "regular" Idol in 2015 (the still have the Idol Ltd). I seem to recall you preferring the "regular" Idol over the Ltd. Plus the Ltd is advertised as very light and therefore compromises on durability. I wonder if this means going forward if one wants a relatively durable sail that leans more to a freestyle design?

    Just an observation so I'd be curious on your thoughts.

    Mike

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  68. Hi Mike,

    Yes, I did personally prefer the regular Idol over the LTD for 2014. But for one reason, and one resin only. The regular Idol was easier to duck more consistently for the backwinded power moves. My problem is that the only moves I'm working on are the backwinded power moves..... So every run for me was extremely frustration unless the wind was very consistent (which it never is in the spring or fall here on Long Island) For any other freestyle trick, even the 2014 LTD provides more lift and easier rotation than the regular idol. Durability wise..... The real difference is only in the top 2 panels. They are a thinner monofilm than the regular idol so potentially could be damaged easier. The main panel is the same and there is still x-ply where you always crash at the foot of the sail.

    I think the reason they ditched the regular idol for 2015 was because both the Hero line and the LTD took a step more towards the design of the regular Idol... The 2015 LTD has supposedly had the ducking issue fixed by making it a little more backhand sensitive, just like the regular idol was. So that should be an absolutely amazing sail if it really has carried over it's incredible lift and ultra-light handling while at the same time having the ducking control of the regular idol. Then with the Hero, there is the ME (full mono film) for 2015 which just might essentially be the old regular idol... the draft in the Hero has been getting more centered over the years, and adding a full mono film sail version should add that nice crisp handling that the regular idol had for 2014.

    Any which way you put it, the 2013 and 2014 idols impressed more people than I've ever seen a single sail impress before..... If it bit the bullet, I'm sure it was not for a lack of fans, but instead for something even better...... So I'm thinking if freestyle is your thing, the LTD will be perfect! If you're dabbling in the waves, the Hero ME..... But both of those sails should cross over nicely.

    But, we'll see for sure when they make it to the US and I get to actually ride them. Right now, I'm just going off of reactions from other riders across the globe that get their gear long before the U.S. market.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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  69. Interesting comments and I appreciate the clarification on your thoughts on the previous Ltd. My freestyle is much more basic (spocks and flakas are in progress when good opportunites arise). This is for next year so I'll give it some thought but I may lean to the 5.2 Ltd and keep my aging 5.3 Ice for the rare true wave or big B&J settings.

    Mike

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  70. Hi Mike,

    The LTD is an incredible bump and jump sail too!! You'll jump higher with less wind...... The regular idol and LTD is MUCH more powerful than an ice........ Maybe save that ice for just the waves :-) The guys that bought my LTDs don't do any freestyle at all and were both replacing Ices with the LTD. Now they're loving life!! They both had the same reaction. Much more power, so much lighter and a much wider overall wind range than their old ices. I had the same feeling when I first used the regular idols 2 years ago.... Good luck with the new sail!

    Mike

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  71. Hi again Mike

    I know got the 85ltr skate, as u adviced.
    And It's awesome, allready got the onehanded spock 540 and now trying for funnel, burner, Shaka and double spock.

    I am using it with 4,2 and 4,8 Mostly and i can diffienently feel less Forgiveness, but the pop is not problem. And It's just so much fun.

    Do u think a should go for ponch before burner? i am getting sail Duck all most everyone time now :)

    Thanks for ur advice
    Math

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  72. Hi Math,

    That's great that you like the 85 ltr as much as me!! We haven't had enough wind here in New York to sail anything small enough for the 85 ltr in months though.....

    For the ponch and burner..... They look like the same thing, but the sail move is pretty different. So you might as well try both and see which motiion is easier. I think a burner was easier to learn if you have a good sail duck.... Especially if its 4.0... So for a burner, get the sail so that there's not much power in the back hand after you duck it. Then to make the rotation, extend the sail far forward and push on the back hand. That will send the sail around. Then you need to keep the mast really close to you so that it doesn't hit the water. A really high clean burner is my favorite move to do!!!

    For a ponch, you use the speed you have and force from the sail being thrown to get you around. You don't push against the sail in a ponch until the very end, but you need to keep the mast very close to you as it goes around. You can only feel pressure on the sail to push against in a ponch at the very end. When I was learning burners, it screwed up my ponches because I was trying to push against the sail.

    Good luck and remember to keep having fun!!

    Mike

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  73. Hi Mike,
    I'm looking at the 2013 109 ltr. skate, not sure how significant a difference the 227cm length on the 109 ltr is in comparison to the 237cm length of the 110ltr. I have been told that the shorter length is more difficult to tack and do carving freestyle. I am assuming that I can grow into the shorter length for these maneuvers and am interested in beginning to learn basic aerials. I sail on the Hudson river, primarily 6.5, 5.7 and am retiring my 2010? JP freestyle board. Also wondering how significant a difference the TE boards are.Always inspiring to watch you sail. Any thoughts?

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  74. Hi,

    I've tried both the 110 board when it was the TE in 2010 and 2011 and the 2012/13 109 liter. I wasn't at all interested in the 110. It felt too big and made the aerial freestyle much harder than the 100 liter. But I had a chance to try the 109 a few times and it was the first board in that size that I seriously considered buying. The tail on the 109 is a little taller, but at the same time it's also narrower than the 110. So for carving, I found the 109 much more capable than the 110. It was also much more comfortable to sail with the arched deck on the 109 where the 110 has a very flat deck. I should also mention that the 110 I tried was in the TE construction and I felt that the 109 was a much better board. Now the 110 is only available in the non-TE construction, so it wouldn't even be a close call... Go with the TE 109..... I know guys that own the 2012/2013 109 liter and don't even want anything to do with freestyle. They absolutely love that board for just cruising around in lighter winds with bigger sails.

    I also have to say, the 2014/15 Flares are killer boards now too. Killer enough to get me to switch to Starboard...... So now I've got a 91 and 101 liter Flare for 2015!! My minor complaints about the 2013 flare in this review have been taken care of, and now I think the Flare out-handles the Skate. It's just a little livelier feel and cuts through the chop much better than the bigger sized 2014/15 skates. But you'll probably be able to find a used 2012/2013 skate easier than a used 2014 flare right now.....

    I'll have an in depth review of the new Flares and Severne Freeks shortly.

    All the best,

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Hey Mike,
      So appreciate your quick response. Have learned so much from all the Q&A previous to my question, an incredibly resourceful sight. So I have my sights on a new 2013 109 skate and you throw in the Flare factor! Is there something comparable in that volume? Keep in mind, I am an aging, 50 something sailor, who is holding on to the dream of spinning and sliding through at least one ariel maneuver. Help me out.

      Delete
  75. Hi,

    Yes, Starboard makes the Flare 111 as well. Honestly though, I haven't had a chance to try it. I know someone that really likes his and was raving about it. He was workng on his spocks and he said it spins a lot better than the previous versions, but I haven't had a chance to try it personally. Starboard seems to do the kind of R&D that Fanatic does (really well developed gear), so I would assume the 111 Starboard will rock, but like I said, I haven't tried it personally. The 91 and 101 are killer boards and today I just got back from a day on the 4.4 Severne Freek and 91 liter Flare. I'm definitely sailing on a hole new level with this gear.... Full planing burners, air funnels, and even my first fully planing shove-it spock. Absolutely loving the gear!!

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  76. Mike,
    Immense knowledge of this stuff. Now to find one. Cheers.

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  77. Mike,
    So psyched, I picked up a 2014 111L TE skate from Don at world winds. I need a sail to replace my 5.7 JP fire fly. looking for low end power and have been checking out the north Idol and Maui loco. I use the no limitz 90% carbon mast. Any recommendations?

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  78. Nice!! Congrats on the new skate! You're going to love that board. For sails, the Idol is on a whole different level than the Maui. If those are your only choices, definitely go with the idol. Not even close. I've used both of those sails in depth. I've been using the idol for the past 2 years and really liked that sail. If you have a chance, you should also check out the Severne Freek. It's my new favorite sail and I've even gone and changed from using North for the past 10 years to Severne to use these sails. Soooo smooth, plenty of power and soooo light. Check out my review of the Severne Freek. Much lighter than the idol and better built. http://purewindsurfing.blogspot.com/2014/11/2015-severne-freek-review.html

    Happy sailing,

    Mike

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  79. Hiya Mike .... great website and review ... can you tell me , what shaping details are good for konos (ie quick carve , pop etc) ... Ive earmarked some boards from yr review for learning this move , 2013 - Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100 as you mention above , and from another review Fanatic Skate TE 93L 2014 , Starboard Flare 101L 2014 , Starboard Flare 91L 2014 ... Ive currently got an old 07 - rrd 99wavetwin chunky tail (225 x 62) , which has a very fast rocker thru the tail , but quite alot of rocker lift under the track which I think might ????? make keeping speed switch tricky for this move (the board is fast for instance when rocked back and planing - but presuming theres alot more wgt needed thru mastfoot /frontleg when ducked ? And also , can kono be learned with say light-medium powered up conditions , or does it need full power ? and is a smaller freestyle board better for my 75khs (ie 93 ltrs etc ) I freestyle mostly when its lightish and flat , any waves and more wind and I ride and jump ... thanks in advance .... I stopped freestyling a few years ago after learning spock / grubby variations etc - but now have the bit between the teeth for kono and skopu ...

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  80. such a detailed and informative review..wow, the Mike Burns gear test rocks..

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