Monday, November 10, 2014

2015 Starboard Flare Review

The 2015 boards and sails are in! For 2015 I decided to change things up with the equipment. I always like to ride what I feel is the best gear available. After getting a chance to ride the newest version of the Flare in September, I had made up my mind. It will be Starboard and Severne for me going forward! The first thing you'll notice is just how good looking the Starboard lineup is. And the Flare just might be the best looking board I've ever owned. But looks are only the icing on a very tasty cake.

A couple years ago I helped Windsport Magazine take part in a Freestyle Board review for many of the 2013 models. On the top of that list were JP, Starboard and at that time, my favorite board, the Fanatic Skate. Two years have passed since those tests and Taty Frans along with the rest of the Starboard freestyle team have stepped up the game. My complaints about the 2013 Flare were small. It bounced around in the chop a bit and the rails were a little too sharp to make the spinning tricks easy in the chop. Well, for the 2015 model those things have been more than fixed! The board spins effortlessly, and the ride is really smooth and very lively. And the pop!! Amazing amounts of pop!! The domed deck also makes the 2015 Flare effortless to sail. From my first runs on this board I noticed that my level just went up a notch. But what might the best thing about the Flare is that it's easy to sail! So that means not only will guys working on double burners be happy with the Flare, guys that are working on their jibes will be just as stoked with the Flares ability to carry a carve jibe at full planing speed with minimal effort.

For a closer look at the 2015 Flare, check out the video below. I'd also love to answer any questions you might have about these incredible boards.

And if you're in the market for some incredible sails, check out a close up look at the Severne Freek. It's a durable and extremely maneuverable sail all wrapped up into an incredibly light package.

2015 Starboard Flare Review from Mike Burns on Vimeo.

84 comments:

  1. Hey Mike,

    nice work on the review.I'm looking to upgrade my skate 100 team edition from 2011 with something more dedicated to freestyle. Right now i'm debating between 3 boards: 2015 JP 101, 2015 skate 101 and 2015 Flare 101. I'm really looking for a dedicated freestyle board to progress into the more aerial power trick. How would you compare these boards. Early planing is also a priority.

    Thanks you, Idriss

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  2. Thanks Idriss,

    For working on the power tricks I've definitely been liking the flare more than the Skate. It keeps it's speed better and is fast in the chop. The Flare also has noticeably more pop. For the JP, I haven't tried a 2015... I do remember the 2013 model being very capable of all the new school freestyle. My only complaint about the JP (2013) was that is wasn't as comfortable to sail along in a straight line as the Flare. I think the flare is the best all around board right now..... That's why it's my personal board this year :-) I was out yesterday on the 91 and was hitting my first burner 900s and soooooo close to an air skopu....... The flares are insanely good boards...... Soo much pop and control. And they still slide really, really good too for spicks or for getting that extra planing spin on the end of another move. It's also just such comfortable board to sail in a straight line. Go with the Flare!!

    Happy sailing,

    Mike

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  3. Hey Mike,
    how does the Flare 101 works in choppy and higher wind conditions? Is it more easy to control in choppy and higher wind (4.0) conditions for lighter sailors (75 kg) compared to the 101 freestylers, wich are 2cm wider? I mean the Board in only 62 cm wide. I'am looking for a one board freestyle solution.
    Thanks a lot, ben

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  4. Hi Ben,

    I'm the same exact weight as you. I usually change over to the 91 liter by the time its 4.4 and I'm definitely on the 91 when I'm on 4.0. That said, I used the 101 with the 4.4 today so I could get back to someone else that was asking this same exact question. With the 4.4 VERY powered, the 101 was doing great! It flew through the chop just like when I use it with 4.8 and 5.2. It really does a great job at keeping speed and not letting the nose dig in on the chop, which is what I was finding would happen on the larger skates. So to answer your question, you will be able to use the 101 with the smaller sails, but you would also be much happier with a 4.0 on the 91 liter..... So if you only sail 4.0 once in a while, you might be able to get away with the 101 to cover all sizes. If you use the 4.0 fairly often, you might consider something smaller. Also, what's you're big sail? If you only use up to a 5.2 like me, maybe the 91 liter could be another option.....

    Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Mike

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  5. Hello Mike, really incredible blog, I'm a fan of skate but I would like to know from you something about the strength of the tables that you've tried, I know some board break very easily, maybe It is a useful info at all. (RRD twinTip 2014 ?? ) Ciaoo da sud Italy :)

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  6. Hey Mr. Nice! I agree that the durability of the boards is vey important! We spend so much money on our gear, it would be nice if it lasted more than a couple years..... But it would be impossible to really conduct a durability test for the amount of time we actually have the boards. That goes for sails too. When conducting the official tests, whether it's for one of our US magazines or even the the guys over at Board Seeker (who do an incredible and fair job), testers just don't have the gear long enough to really conduct a durability test. Usually we have the gear for a few weeks and then it goes back to wherever it came from. I would imagine it works the same way with other tests as well....

    I've been on the Skate for the past 4 seasons with at least 2 sizes each year. I've had some minor repairs needed on a couple of them, but I think that would be expected for what we put the boards through..... So I can say for sure that the Skates will take a beating pretty well. The only board I had a real issue with was a 2009 Mistral Syncro that cracked in half on the 1st day of use....... So the Fanatics have been good for the most part over the years. The pair of Flares seem really solid and are taking a beating very well so far also...... It's hard to comment about durability of other brands since I haven't sailed them for more than a week or 2 during some tests.... Also, the construction might change within the same brand from year to year, so it would hard to generalize a certain brand as the one that breaks. If there is a durability issue one year, I would hope that they would correct it in the following year.....

    That said, I know there have been boards known to be weaker than others over the years, but you do't really know that until it's been on the market for a while. I think the worst was the yellow F2's from the mid 1990's. I broke 6 of them in one year....... They were known as the yellow boards that break.... So I can say for sure, don't buy a yellow F2 from the mid 90s to work on any power moves :-)

    Also, if any manufacturers are paying attention, I think the 2 main improvements needed in ALL boards are:

    1) Double screw front foot straps. They double up the screws in the back footstrap, but not in the front! I can't tell you how many times I've broken the front footstrap screw because it started working it's way out while I was on the water and had it snap with 1/2 the screw staying in the board. What a pain!

    2) Beef up the slot box! It's the perfect design (theoretically). It just needs to be beefed up a little so it will withstand a hit like the power box. I don't think there's a human on the planet that would notice the weight increase from beefing up the slot box just a bit.

    Happy sailing,

    MIke

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  7. Mike:

    Can I say "I love you" on this blog? Haha! I can't remember which post you had your kono instructions in to add this comment to, so I'll just put it here. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

    I have had your text "Stuck in the water? Not keeping front arm stiff when you push on the back hand. If you let your front arm bend, the lift will go out of the sail when you push on the back hand. Then play with how far you go upwind. Too far upwind will be super easy to go in the new direction, but you'll stay really low. Not far enough upwind and you'll get blown up and land on your head. There's a certain point of turning back upwind where the board will release easy and also be able to rotate." written up in front of me while driving for a while now.

    Couple days ago on the way to sail I decided to forget everything but stiff front arm and not turning up at all (trying...). Magic feeling, and repeatable! So nice to finally pop so hard and awesome feeling of getting shot backwards! For sure different than what I was expecting...backwards "float" instead of over-shoved shove it. Must still be turning up? Still so surprised I'm falling down. For your potential amusement, example of my "old" way turning to far into the wind, front arm unknown but likely wrong, at about 1:55 here http://youtu.be/_zsh7p2A81Y Too bad the epic conditions of the other day have changed to snow...but I am warmed by the memories of success and what will come. Thanks! Wouldn't be feeling it right now without your blog!

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  8. Hi Beric!! Glad you're getting it!! And I'm happy I was able to help!! I love to hear success stories from people I've helped to try something new. Glad you're tarting to feel the kono. You'll start landing them before you know it!

    All the best,

    Mike

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  9. Hello Mike,

    I find your reviews very interesting (thanks!). What about a choice of freestyle board for a sailor like me: 90-95kg, newbie in freestyle but exprienced in bump/jump (forward loops) and freeride.

    Any chance to compare with RRD TT 101 2015?

    My main criteria are (in order):
    - easy to learn moves, easy to pop
    - hard to break ;-)
    - good for other uses (bump/jump and free-ride)

    Kuba

    --



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  10. Hi Kuba,

    I'm sorry, I don't have any experience with the newer RRDs. The twin tip is virtually non-existent in the US. The Flare, Skate and JP have been much better choices for anyone over the recent years, so the twintip kinda died out here. Not to say the newer boards are bad too, but I just haven't had the chance to try one since there aren't any around. I would say your choices should be between the Flare and the Skate TE. I personally like the Flare better now (after the past 4 seasons riding Fanatic). It's just more comfortable to ride and a little better in the chop at keeping up it's speed. I've given both of those boards a through stomping in some pretty windy conditions and no issues with breakage except for a footplug that was ripped out of my 2013 Skate. But it had that coming..... Better the plug than my ankle..... Check out the Gorge video on the right column of this page to get an idea of the conditions I usually sail in. I don't live in the Gorge, but choppy stuff like that is usually what I'm dealing with here in New York.

    Hope that helps,

    Mike

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  11. Hi Mike, great review. On the construction, does the 2015 flare have the wood on the bottom (what starboard calls 0.6mm of australian pine) or is it the full carbon reflex construction with no wood? thanks ranjith

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  12. Hi Ranjith,

    I don't believe the Wood version is offered for the Flare for 2015. Most people looking for a freestyle board are looking for early planing with the most maneuverable board possible. The wood construction on any board will take away from both of these performance traits. The Flare is the Carbon Reflex version of Starboards construction. For more info on the reflex construction, check out this link: http://www.star-board-windsurfing.com/2015/products/technology/

    Happy sailing!

    Mike

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  13. Hey Mike,

    Good review.
    You're very correct about the Flares being very versatile.

    But: I guess you also have knowledge about Starboard's history of warranty issues with the slot box?
    I use US box boards these days, as I fear the slot box when it comes to lasting quality. Really a shame, as the Flares truly are great boards.
    I've heard first hand from various riders that the slot box tends to get broken in the channels for the screws.
    A friend of mine is on the international Starboard team, and from what I hear, Starboard is changing to either US or powerbox for the 2016 Flares.
    To me, this sounds good.

    Windy regards, Tom.

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  14. Hi Tom,

    Yes, I have heard of some issues with the slot box in the past. Starboard has since re-designed the slot box and solved the problem you're describing for the new version of the box in 2014. This box is on the 2015 boards and I personally haven't heard of any issues with the new design. ON a side note, I think Starboard would sell a lot more boards if they switched it over to a power box. So many guys I talk to are hesitant to buy the new boards (both Fanatic and Starboard) because they will need new fins.

    Here's is a video describing the redesign of the box:

    http://youtu.be/FUqwI8uLFFw

    Thanks,

    Mike

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  15. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the prompt reply.
    You're right about the 4.0 generation, of course. The 2014 design is a lot better. The earlier slot box generation was a disaster, so kinda about time.
    Slot box on thruster fins are a different story, due to less pressure load, so I don't worry about slot boxes in general, just for freestyle.
    The international SB team rider I mentioned, had two 2014 boards defect because of the tightening mechanism being broken (don't know exactly how in detail).
    Point being: the slot box flaws aren't completely solved yet.

    Do you think power box will be better than US box on the Flare?
    I'm thinking about the fin position under foot. The bolt head on the top deck will be foreced to be behind the rear strap.
    This wouldn't be a problem with a US box.
    Is the power box lighter than the US?

    Windy regards, Tom

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  16. Hi Tom,

    Yes, I know the slot-box isn't perfect, but the newer version is definitely an improvement. Not over-tightening is a must! I keep this in mind, and so far so good. That said, would I give up the perfect fin placement for a tried and true powerbox........Hmmmmmm..it's a tough call. Officially, I really can't say much about the 2016 Flare since it's still a little top secret :-) But, if I had to choose between US Box and Powerbox to go on a future Flare I would go with Power Box for a few reasons. Personally, I use weed fins for at least 1/2 of the year. On a powerbox, the weed fin can be placed forward to allow for the proper center of effort for the fin, where with a US box most weedfins seem to put the screw in front of the fin, making the center of effort for the fin shift very far back. Secondly, the power box is a stronger box and many freestylers opt to sail in less than 1 foot of water where a hard landing will have them hitting bottom and blowing out a US box. And third and most importantly, from a Starboard sales point of view, people already own powerbox boards and have powerbox fins. So a powerbox board will be MUCH easier to sell than a board where folks have to buy a new set of fins to go with the new board....As for weight. It's really minimal.... I think it's the difference between a wet footstrap and a dry footstrap :-)

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  17. Thanks again.

    Good point regarding the US box. The arm on the fin with the bolt hole of course limits the possibilities to mount the fin forward.
    I also think you're on to an important point as why the problems on the slotbox occure.
    Riders probably tighten (too much) on the slotbox, because of exactly the reason you mention: shallow waters.

    However, the problem I mentioned with the team rider, actually wasn't that the brass female part in the board got loose. Just found out.
    The bolts actually got stuck inside the brass nut on both boards.
    I don't know if this has been a big problem for SB througout 2014, but obviously SB will rather pay the cost for using power- or US box,
    rather than wasting time and money on warranty issues.

    By the way, you rock in freestyle!


    Windy regards, Tom

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  18. Thanks Tom!! If you ever need any freestyle tips, I love to help.

    I'm pretty sure the problem you're describing was because of the old design with female part being only a cylinder. With no edges to catch on anything inside the box to prevent it from spinning, it would eventually just start spinning along with the screw and you wouldn't be able to tighten or unscrew a fin. Either way, I know both Starboard and Fanatic did end up warrantying the boards with this issue. At least the boards that I know about. And I really do like the idea of the slot box, but someone with a brain needs to come up with a better build :-) Wouldn't think it would be this hard...... Just make a metal "T" shape out of the brass female thread so it can't budge up or down or start spinning...... But still, in the big picture I still think that they will sell many, many more boards with a powerbox, and I think that option would be the best all around choice for Starboard in the future.......

    Happy sailing,

    Mike



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  19. Hi Mike. Thank you for your blog. It is super useful. I am a former LI sailor now in SF. I wonder if you have tried the RRD twin tip? How it compares to the other boards? Thanks

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  20. Hi Glenn,

    I'm glad you're finding the blog useful. Honestly I haven't tried a twin tip in a few years. The last one I tried was a 2012ish model. That board was incredibly slow to plane and very sticky compared to other freestyle boards on the market at that time. Really, it was the absolute bottom of the list of things I was looking for in a freestyle board. I didn't want any part of that board and never felt the urge to try another one. All things being relatively equal price wise, for 2015, the Flare, Skate and JP are the boards to have. I liked the comfort and ride of the Flare the best, so that's what I'm on. And I'm actually hitting harder moves more often than when I was using the skate! But the Skate and JP and also incredible boards! I haven't tried the 2015 RRD, but I can't imagine it has made a huge leap into first place.....

    Hope that helps.

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. That is a great reply. We have lots of chop in SF Bay. It seems that you think the flare is best for bumpier conditions? One thing I did like about the rrd was it was a very stable platform and not as skittish and hard to control as a twister. I'm not as advanced as you are and wanted something that it was not too radical to learn the more basic moves - Vulcan, air jibe, speed loop, etc. And still do carving tricks well. You think the flare would be prime for those considerations? Thanks .

      Delete
  21. Hi Glen,

    We have plenty of chop here in NY too :-) Having control in chop is one of the qualities in a board that is absolutely necessary here on Long Island. We also need the same qualities in a freestyle board for doing all the high flying crazy moves that first timers need to learn the tricks that start their freestyle career. If there isn't enough control for a vulcan, how do you think changing your feet, ducking the sail and then doing a backwinded trick would work out.... I know plenty of people at the beginning stages of freestyle and are loving the Flare! The biggest thing for any freestyle board at any level of freestyle is to have control. If the board is bouncing around everywhere, then it doesn't just make a vulcan hard, it makes every other freestyle trick in the book hard as well. One of the biggest things I've noticed is that the ability to carry a smaller sail helps a lot when learning the sliding tricks. If you have a board that doesn't plane as well or is sticky to pop, you need to use a sail size bigger just to get going. Then during every single trick you're trying, you're getting a lot more resistance from the rig than you should. This is what I love about the Flare. It's great in the chop and keeps it's speed making all the tricks much easier. The board also jibes incredibly easy too, so all those carving tricks should be a piece of cake. Long story short, I like gear that help me land more tricks. I've never been sailing better than when I switched to the Flare.

    Also, if you don't have a dealer that you usually shop at, Ocean Air Sports is great! They just started carrying Starboard/Severne so the new gear isn't on the website yet. www.oceanairsports.com I don't get anything for the referral. They just have great gear and the best service I've ever experienced in a windsurfing shop. Most boards are usually in stock. They're in Cape Hatteras, NC

    If you have any other questions, just let me know.

    thanks,

    Mike


    All the best,

    Mike

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  22. Thanks mike!

    On the 100L board do u think it sails well with a 4.5? Starboard states sail range is to 5.0. A 4.5 or 4.7 is a common summer sail here. Thanks!!!

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  23. Hi Glen,

    I've used the 100 with my 4.4 and it was fun, but I prefer the 91 with my 4.4 Severne Freek. I'm loving the 4.8 with the 101 though and usually opt for the 101 with the 4.8. How much do you weight? I'm 165 lbs.

    Mike

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  24. I am 185 to 190. Would love to get by with just one board

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  25. I would say go for the 101. It will have more stability for learning the moves than the 91 and you can use a 4.5 on there no problem. The only draw back is that it will start bouncing around more in 4.5 conditions compared to the 91. My buddy that is about 190 lbs uses the 101 for 4.0 too and he says he likes it, but I think that's just because he's never tried the 91 :-) Anyway, if you're looking at 4.4, 4.8, 5.2, 5.9 then the 101 should do you well. If you get more 4.0 days than 5.2 days, then maybe try of the 91. From the sound of it though, I think the 101 is you're best bet.

    And let me know how you like it!!

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mike,Just got 2 freestyle boards 2015 models.The JP 101 and SB Flare 101.I am very disappointed with the weight of the boards though.The JP weighs 6.7 kgs and the SB flare weighs 6.8 kgs.
      Freestyle boards of this size and construction should weigh 6.0-6.3 kgs.
      Measurements were done on an accurate device.

      Delete
  26. Hi Anon,

    The weights you mention still fall into the productions standards advertised of those boards with the +/-5% difference in weight. The JP is advertised for 6.4kg which leaves a .335 margin, and the Starboard is advertised as 6.7kg. So a .1kg is exceptionally within spec. The lightest freestyle board I'v ever picked up (and I still have here) is my 2009 Mistral Joker which weighed in at 6.0 kg. I would trade the performance of that board for the performance of the "heavy" JP or Flare in a heartbeat. Also, on a side-note, the Mistral Joker, at that extremely light weight, is the only board I've owned that didn't survive my use, which is why I still have it here. I'll take the extra weight for a board that can take a thrashing all while performing even better in every aspect. So don't obsess about .? kg and see how they perform on the water!!!

    Happy sailing,

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mike, I totally agree with you that shape is very important but if you combine a good shape with lightweight is even better. Afterall we pay so much extra money to get the lighter versions when the option exists.In the case of Starboard Flare the quoted weight is 6.7 and the 2014 was 6.1 for the very same shape. If the shape is really the same I would rather be on the lighter same board which weighs almost a kg less.Why the 2015 SB is so much heavier than the 2014?
      I tried the JP once and it pops much better than my previoulsly owned Tabou twister 2014 107 which scaled an amazing 6.1 kgs.But a light board feels great under your feet and I can only imagine how a great shape like the JP and SB would be in a light version.
      As for the 6%+/- weight tolerances the companies advertise is a shield for the board companies to cover up the inability of the factory to control board weights .If you calculate the span of the 6%+/- it would be more than half kilo. So 2 customers can pay so much money to buy an expensive board and the one can get half a kilo heavier board than the other one,which is something I consider unacceptable.
      I have seen this many times as I have the chance to measure weights of many boards of the same brand and model. This is a factory problem and not something related to a particular board company.

      Delete
  27. Mike:

    Again "wrong" thread, but following up on my thankfulness for your kono instructions, would you please detail what the motions are once airborne? I'm just kaino-ing, so switch, and with your front-arm-stiff and right-amount-of-turn key tips, board is getting ripped off my feet when I land going backwards. Surely I need to pull up with my back foot, but what are the tips to get the sail back in action to pull the nose back down? To explain differently, once I pop, board stays perpendicular to the water and sail stays horizontal, all flying backwards with me. Tips to get everything back upright? Thanks!

    Beric

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  28. Hi Beric,

    Good to hear you're making progress!! I think you might be throwing your weight back with the rig. Meaning when you push against the sail with the back hand, try to keep your body momentum moving forward. This will give you the right body position to sheet the sail in to be able to get the rig back upright and the nose of the board down. The more powered up you are, the easier it is to land upright. Keeping your back foot close to you helps keep the board on your feet. Also, sheet in almost immediately after you get airborne. It's great fun flying through the air, and it's easy to forget that you need to sheet back in to complete the move :-) I know this is my main problem with the regular kono and I still forget to sheet in because exploding upwards backwinded is so much fun!!

    Good luck!!

    Mike

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  29. Mike:

    Thanks for your immediate response! My reply delayed by trying to be able to report results. Extra incentive with the need to get back to you! So...going for the full rotation instead of trying to "kaipu", no claim, but thanks again Mike! Things are better, so much better, with your body momentum forward tip. Let it flow...staying right with the swell, feels so good! Tough to try the "pu" part now with the relative ease, but the timing of the sheet-in will arrive! Thanks!

    Beric

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    Replies
    1. Great Beric!!! Good to hear you're doing good with it!! Keep it up!!

      Mike

      Delete
  30. Hi Mike
    First of all thanks for your perfect description of the the flare 2015
    I am from Austria 40 years and still in freestyle,actually more then ever.
    I rode the Skates for a couple of years only the 2013 I didn't buy.
    For the Skate 2014 I had to get used with it but after a certain time I got along with it very well
    It was planing easily pop was really good sliding is more on the controlled side overall it was new and perfect for me.
    The only thing I noticed which was disturbing me was the fact to sail in choppy conditions. It was bouncing more than the 2012 TE und not so easy to control
    90% we have choppy conditions on our lake .I surfed the skate 6 weeks on flat water in strong wind on Karpathos last year and I was sure it is the best board for me.
    This march a had the option to try the Flare 2014 on my same choppy homespot.
    What can I tell you,what a difference......
    Easy to ride lively even better pop than the Skate always under control and it feels like a windsurf board again.so much fun and as you said it flys over the chop.
    So I had to get one and change my equipment.Today I was on the water the first time with my Flare 2015 in gusty 5.3 conditions.
    It took my only five min. To get used to it ,planning outstanding the pop is phenomenal the balance of the board is stable on the other side every little push
    with your toes will be immediately noticed by the board,overall I sure it will bring to a different level soon......
    The only thing I noticed the original fin with 18cm and a small square is little bit challenging if the wind is on the minimum side.
    I am 83 kg and for sure my choco fin 20cm would be the better solution on light wind.
    I just wanna say thank you for having your blog, it helped me a lot .
    Greets from Vienna

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  31. Thanks for the feedback Rene!!! It's always nice to hear back from people that are feeling the same things that I'm feeling with the gear. Good luck with you're Flare!! I'm still loving mine!! More on order for 2016 :-)

    All the best,

    Mike

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. Hi Mike
    I want to change my old freestyle board Fanatic Skate 2014 and I wonder between Tabou Twister 2015 and Starboard Flare 2015.
    The Twister It is lightweight 0.5 kg and I thing that there will be more pop and fast planing.
    I will using in light wind with my sail 5.6 and 5.2 for oldskool tricks like spock and flaka.
    I'm 185 cm and weigh 75 kg what size is better for me 100L or 90L?
    What you would recommend Twister or Flare?
    Thanks
    Peter

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  34. Hi Peter,

    I'm also 75 kg and for 5.2 and up I ALWAYS prefer the 100 liter size boards. With the 4.8 I start switching to the 91 liter, but still use the 101 if I'm under powered. I haven't tried a 2015 Tabou, but that board was years behind the Skate and Flare when we did the tests for the big 2013 Freestyle board review. http://purewindsurfing.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-big-2013-freestyle-board-review-100.html

    One thing I've noticed over all the years and all the boards I've tried is that most of the 90 liter boards are pretty good. That's the size the pwa guys go to for 90% of their sailing. So those models are always the ones that get the most input and R&D. So finding a good 100 liter that not only does freestyle well, but is also fun to sail is harder than finding a good 90 liter. From what I've heard from more than one pro level rider is that the Tabou 100 is a big step down from what you'd expect if you have tried a 90 liter Twister. This is kinda what we found in the 2013 test. Very slow and no pop on that Tabou 100........With a 5.2 and 5.6, I would definitely say 100% you should be using those sails on the 100 liter size board. Honestly, I would think that the 2014 Skate is a much better choice than the 2015 Tabou. But, if you're looking for something with more pop than the Skate, the Flare 101 will definitely deliver. And for spocks, it might be the easiest board I've used. I couldn't do double spocks all that well on the skate, but the first day on the flare I was banging them out. I'm also pretty good with the shuv-it spock now too which wasn't happening with the Skate...... So for spock-ability, the Flare wins!!! This was my complaint about the 2013 Flare, but they've softened the rails and also made it much better in the chop than the 2013 model. The 2015 Flare is also a faster and livelier board than the 2015 Skate. That's what sold me on it over the Skate for 2015 and I've already got my order in on a set of Flares for 2016 :-)

    The Flare 101 is your board.....

    All the best,

    Mike

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  35. Hi Mike,
    Many thanks for great answer! Now comes the next question :)
    Should I wait for new model Flare 2016? Will it be lighter than Flare 2015?
    What would you advise me?
    Thanks
    Peter

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  36. Hi Peter,

    That's a tough one. I don't think I'm going to know the weights on the new boards until they pop out of the molds and are here in Sept. What I do know is that the 2015 Flare 101 absolutely rocks for exactly what you want to use it for. If your'e in North America, Ocean Air Sports had two Flare 101s in stock a month ago. www.oceanairsports.com They don't have Starboard on the website yet because it's under construction, but trust me, they are in the shop and ready to go. If you go that route, tell them I said hello!!! It's always nice seeing those guys when we head to Cape Hatteras and all their customers I talk to are really happy with them.

    All the best,

    Mike

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  37. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for everything! I am in Еurope
    You're awesome and yours blog too! :)
    Best wind!
    Peter

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  38. Thanks Peter!! Glad I could help! I just sailed the 101 Flare and 4.8 Freek yesterday. I haven't been on that board in a long time and I still can't believe the pop. Such a great day yesterday.

    All the best,

    Mike

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  39. Hi Mike,

    Any thoughts on the 2016 Flare? specifically the 93, I'm thinking either that or the JP Freestyle 92 2015.

    Currently on the Skate 89 from 2013. I'm 68kg and hitting up shakas, trying culos and Konos :-)

    Cheers,
    Nico

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  40. Hi Nico,

    My 2016 boards haven't arrived yet. They've been delayed a bit for delivery to the US and might not be here until October....... I can tell you this though, in all the years past, the Flares have been better at carving and have a livelier feel than the JP and Skates. That said, I still have not tried a 2016 Flare or a 92 liter JP. In all the tests we've done, I've always preferred the Flare and Skate over the JP for the ride. I'll have a review posted up on the 2016 Flare as soon as the boards come in. I'm really looking forward to that 93!!

    All the best,

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  41. Since you were hyped about the slot box & fin position under footstraps, how do you feel that the 2016 have reverted to power box?

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hello Mike, I am 69-70kgs and sailing on a 2011 100lt skate for the last two years. I can vulcan and now landing about half of my spocks at most. Not tried to flaka yet. I think i should go to 90lt board, most of the time I sail on a 4.4, but when I am on my 4.0 I feel very bouncy on my 100 lt skate. Will the 91lt Flare make me progress, or I will experience difficulties in landing all spocks and get to flakas? The fact is that I cannot wait for long, as for the next weeks there is a 91lt Flare on sale here. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Anon,

    I've got mixed feelings about the powerbox coming back...... I've had the slot box for 2 years now and I remember the first time I had the feeling of the fin being directly under my foot. Total control!! However, after using the slotbox for a couple years now, I have come to find some definite drawbacks of the design which has me eagerly awaiting a powerbox back in the board. One big thing is that when I get an aftermarket freestyle fin, I always have to make adjustments to the fins to get them to fit correctly in the box which can be annoying when switching between my weedfins and freestyle fins regularly. I think the biggest drawback of the slotbox is huge for me as a team rider. NOBODY has slotbox fins!!! I can't let people demo my board unless they are used to a 15 cm weed fin or 18 cm freestyle fin. So many guys are eager to try my new boards, but when they can't get them to go in a straight line it leaves them with a sour taste in their mouths.. So many guys buy a 100 liter freestyle board for the early planing and ease of jibing. These guys have never sailed a freestyle board before so putting them on it with a 15cm fin never results in a happy ending. Back when I had a powerbox, I was able to put a 24 or 28 cm fin in there and EVERYONE would love the boards.

    I've heard really good things about the 2016 version of the Flare and I'll be sure to post up some reviews as soon as my boards arrive.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Meres,

    YES!!!! definitely get a 91 liter Flare!! It is a faster board than your skate 100, but you'll get used to the speed pretty quickly. The control that you'll have on the 91 over the 100 will be huge! I very rarely opt to use the 100 liter boards for a 4.4 and never really like the 100s with a 4.0. They are simply too big. With the 91 liter, the 4.4 and 4.0 days will be much more controllable and setting up for the tricks becomes much, much easier. If you only use 4.4 and 4.0, you might even think about ditching the 100 liter skate..... I usually only start breaking out the 101 with the 4.8, but I still opt for the 91 liter if I'm really powered on the 4.8.

    Grab that 91 liter while you can!

    Mike

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  45. Thanks Mike.. I've noticed Fanatic has also reverted to powerbox..very likely it was a reliability issue.. anyways, hope it will come back in future models!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hey Mike,
    I've got my new 2016 Flare 93 which is awesome with its smoother rails and thicker tail. Just wondering if you have used the 2016 model yet and, if so, what your thoughts are compared to previous models. Also I'm using older Freeks (2013 5.2 and 2014 4.8) and interested in whether you think the newer Freeks have more power than these older models as, to me (78kg) they seem to take quite a lot of wind to work well. For example I am still using my 4.8 when mates are changing down to 4.4 and even 4.0 on north. Perhaps I'm over-rigging them.
    Your comment would be much appreciated. Cheers Andy (from down under)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Andy,

      Glad to hear more good feedback from the 2016 Flare. I have a 103, 93, and 81 here for a while now. I had surgery at the end of November and I'm still out of commission until the end of the month, so I haven't had the pleasure of trying them yet. Everyone seems to really like them though so I'm looking forward to getting on those boards as soon as I get the doctor's ok.

      For the sails, I've been a North rider for 15 years until I tried the 2015 Freek. I hadn't tried any of the previous years freeks personally, but from what I've heard, they were lacking some serious power, especially compared to the North Idol that I was using. On the 2015 Freek the planing power was pretty on par with the regular idols of the past. But for 2015 North dumped the regular idol and went forward with only the Idol LTD which had a hair more power, but the control and handling made the sail absolutely useless for me in gusty/choppy conditions. My ducking percentage went from 95% to 5%. Even going switch stance on those sails, I would get catapulted if a gust came through. I got so frustrated with the sails after trying to get used to them for 6 months. I had some great days on those Idol LTDs when the wind was nice and smooth, but when it got gusty or choppy, the control just wasn't there. That's what got me searching for a new brand. I had narrowed it down to a few brands and ultimately went with Severne. Now after sailing with other guys on the newer north idol LTDs, we were planing at the same exact time on the same size sail for 2015. For 2016 the Freek got even more smoother and a hair more power again. I'm always on the same sized sail as the other freestyle guys and riding smaller than the bump and jump guys. So for the new 2016s, I can confidently say that the Freek is on par with the power. It's funny though as the power doesn't feel like it's there. The power is so steady and smooth that you're moving without the pull that you might be accustomed to from other brands. Then the handling of the Freek is second to none. It's hands down, no comparison, the best handling sail for freestyle on the market. The construction of the Freek is not only lighter than the majority of the comparable sails, but it's also built more durable as well.

      When rigging the Freek, only give enough downhaul to make the wrinkles in the leach come in to the end of the mini-batten in between the top 2 battens. Any more downhaul than that and you'll start loosing power. With the 2016 Freeks, the power will be there and so will that light feeling that you're used to. I've been meaning to do a review on the 2016 Freeks, but I've been waiting for the boards to arrive figuring I'd do everything together. I'll get those reviews up online as soon as I have a chance to try the new boards in a wide range of conditions.

      Happy sailing,

      Mike

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    2. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for the extensive reply, and sorry to hear about being off the water. Just found out I might be off too for 1-3 months with elbow tendon issues - annoying my ponches were just coming together. Yes, could see in your Freek review video the foil looks heaps better. My old ones are just too flat. The new Flare is great though - the thicker tail helps hold speed better and smoother rails make for an even smoother ride. It seems to slide backwards better too. I also had older Flare's which were quite sharp in the rails which made flakas hard work, but this model seems great.
      cheers,
      Andy

      Delete
  47. Hey Andy,

    Bummer about the elbow. Another buddy of mine is off the water now too after he had surgery on his elbow. It sucks, but man are we amped up to get on the water again!! Especially with some new boards to try out!

    Yeah, those older Flares were fun boards, but I kept tripping on the rails with anything slidey during the testing on the 2013 model. But it still had loads of pop back then too. The previous model, 2014/15 was great and the 2016 just looks amazing!!

    For the Freek, the 2016 has even a little more shape to it than the 2015. It's a great sail. Very subtle changes from 2015 which is great that they're not messing up a good thing....

    All the best,

    Mike

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  48. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for writing up the review of the 2015 Flare.

    I am Andy Ackland's cousin, and a good friend of another blogger Andrew Bain who you may know.

    I couldn't help but notice your original post reviewing the 2015 Flare, and also one or two of your comments in responses to other bloggers. I felt I had to say something for the benefit of windsurfers who stumble across this site looking for accurate info.

    In regards to one of your comments, you mentioned:
    "control and handling made the sail absolutely useless for me in gusty/choppy conditions."

    From my experience the Ltds handle chop and gusty conditions pretty well. I sailed for 6 weeks in Brazil back in 2014 when the Idol Ltds first came out, I took with me a 4.2 Idol and a 4.8 Idol Ltd so was able to compare them well. I sailed in Camocim where it's pretty gusty and in Jeri where it's not exactly smooth... I noticed the complete opposite of what you said. The foil shape in the regular Idols is more pronounced compared to the Ltds, and they are heavier sails as you’d know. The Ltds also have a 'springy' feel to them which absorbs and makes ducking experience more forgiving as well. I found ducking A LOT easier on the Idol Ltds because of these features. One down side (of Ltds) is that they are not the most stable sails, compared to say, a Wizard which I tried on flat water a few weeks back. To say your ducking went from "95% to 5%" is, well, pretty unfortunate. Did you not have the sail rigged correctly? Did you give yourself enough time to ‘switch over’ to the ltd? They are quite different sails. Aside from Brazil, I’ve used a 2014 4.0 Ltd here in Melbourne Australia for 2 years on the most horrendous bay chop you’d ever imagine, and can only say it has helped me progress my normal/switch ducks massively. Since it’s a 4.0 I use it in strong/gusty winds and pretty choppy conditions, both which you noted as being “useless” for the Ltds.

    “The first thing you'll notice is just how good looking the Starboard lineup is”, “…attention to detail (video review)”
    The first thing I notice is that Flares over the last few years have sported a substandard mostly two colour paint job, I don’t find this good looking at all. But that’s personal preference I guess.

    I haven’t used the Flare for any great length of time as well. I did read your ‘review’ on this page and watched your video ‘review’ as well. For me it was more of a commercial in that it didn’t touch on the negative/questionable/improvement aspects of the board (we can always find something to mention in this space) or draw many comparisons to other 2015 boards.

    Chris

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  49. Hi Chris,

    I noticed that guys really do seem to like the Idol LTDs when the conditions are good, so I'll elaborate a bit more about my experience with the 2014 Idol LTD. Also, to me, Camocim and Jeri are PERFECT windsurfing spots with incredible windsurfing conditions. That's why the very top guys in the PWA go there to train for months on end. I have no doubt that the sails will work great in conditions that might be gusty but perfectly flat like Camocim and a place like Jeri where you have nice smooth water in between perfectly shaped ramps. To me, these are ideal places..... Here in New York however, the chop is typically heading in all different directions from boats and bulkheads and the wind is frontal winds which can vary dramatically not only on each run but during the duration of the trick itself..... So many days I could take a 4.0 and be perfectly powered in the gusts while not even be able to get going on the 5.2 in the lulls. So most of the time we choose a sail somewhere in the middle, like the 4.8 or 4.4. So when trying to duck a 4.8 when it's blowing 4.0 simply wasn't working at all with the Idol LTD for me, where the Freeks can duck well for as long as you can hold down the sail.....

    As for my time put in on Northsails. I was a "team rider" for North for about 15 years and absolutely was in love with the regular idols. They were a game changing sail for me. I used the Idol LTDs for 6 months and just got absolutely frustrated nearly every day. I did have good days on them where the wind was steady or chop was to a minimum and my sailing was on par with the regular idols. The majority of the time my sailing was way down from where it was on the regular idols. And guys were noticing my sailing going down hill... It wasn't in my head. On the regular idol I would hit my backwinded tricks at least every other run and only miss a duck a few times a day. On the idol ltd I was only making a few ducks a day that would even allow me to try a trick. The day that sealed the deal I remember well. I was at one of my favorite spots where I would normally land 3 out of 4 backwinded tricks. I was sailing for 3 hours and only hit one ducking trick the entire time!!! Then my buddy showed up and had a regular Idol on him. We switched rigs and I was instantly on fire!! He even noticed how much better I was sailing than he's seen me sail since the Idol LTD. That day I made the call to order up a quiver of regular idols and ditch the Idol LTDs. I know I'm not alone in this feeling.... The only 2 other North riders in the U.S. that I know can do the backwinded tricks are both choosing the hero for freestyle in the small sizes because even they duck and remain controlled better backwinded than the idol LTD in gusty conditions.... The only reason they go with the Idol LTD in the bigger sizes is because of the light weight. This is where the Freek steps in. It does have the control of the regular idol with the light weight of the idol LTD..... Best of both worlds... Believe me, the time was put in to learn to use the Idol LTD. And you can tell by the way the progression of the Idol LTD is going that others thought the same thing. The big dacron patch has been getting smaller each year bringing the draft back to where it should be and for 2016 it looks like they've lowered the batten above the boom. Now the idol LTD more closely resembles the regular Idol that I loved. I haven't sailed the 2016 idol as there still aren't any in the U.S., but it looks like it's getting more focus on control again instead of just giving as much lift as possible without any thought about control. Now durability is an entirely separate issue with the Idol LTD.....


    Mike

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    Replies
    1. For the Flares, if you look at the 2013 board review we did where there were other boards involved we listed positives and negatives about the boards. At that point, the only thing wrong with the Flares were that the rails were too sharp, as Andy had mentioned, and the ride was pretty bouncy in short duration chop. Both of those points are taken care of in the 2015 Flare. So what's left to improve? The boards are great! Early planing, fast, jibe great, incredible pop, very comfortable to ride and good at sliding. I guess I could say that they don't sail in waves as good asa quad, but that's not what the Flare is for. For a freestyle board, the Flare is spot on.... Every aspect of what I need from a freestyle board is right where I needed it to be on the 2015 Flare. The only thing that I'm happy about seeing on the 2016 is the power box. I liked the slot box for having the fin under my back foot and that extra bit of control, but it was making the board un-demoable. By that I mean that there weren't any fins laying around that were big enough to let guys take the board for a spin. With a powerbox, guys will be able to just take the fin that they are used to and slap it on the board and get blown away by it like they used to do when I would let them try my older powerbox skates....

      Also, yes, the attention to detail and graphics on the 2015 Flare are way up in the charts for me. Since I demo the boards, people change the footstrap sizes, so it's great to know exactly where to set the straps when I get the board back. I also like the strap inserts which are better than what I was used to on Fanatic. The little arrow pointing to where the mast base goes is right on the money. On the 2014 skates, I remember having to play with the mast track setting the entire first day on the board. I played with it on the Flare and the best spot was right where they said it should go. For graphics, in the past the Flares were pretty bland... For 2015, in person, the gloss around the edges and the slight hint of green in the black areas really made it something to look at. I much preferred the look of the 2015 Flare to the previous models or even the 2016. But you're right. To each their own in the graphics dept.

      I realize that I'm stating to sound more like a commercial again, so I should also mention at this point that I don't get a paycheck form anyone in the windsurfing industry and only receive a "team rider" deal that I would be able to get on any other brand of my choosing. Many brands offered me much better and even paying gigs to ride their gear, but at the end of the day I want the very best gear out there and Severne and Starboard is that gear right now. I'm fortunate enough to make a good living with my company that I can afford to buy whatever windsurf gear I'd like. So you may not agree with some things I'm saying, but I've tried and put time in on any of the gear I ever mention. That's why I haven't put up a 2016 board or sail review yet. Believe me, guys have been emailing me left and right to please post a review on the 2016 Freek and Flares!! I haven't had the time to ride them enough to find the strengths and weaknesses if there are any. To post up a review without giving them a good thrashing wouldn't be fair, and testing the gear here in New York will definitely give me the chance to find out where the gear excels or falls short. The worst place to test gear is a perfect windsurfing destination like Bonaire, Hawaii, or Jeri..... Everything will work well in places like these......

      Delete
  50. Hey Mike,
    Finally got my 2016 Severne Freek 4.4 (months too late due to distribution error). It's a brilliant sail. It's got an excellent mix of power, stability and control. After battling on 2013 and 2014 models for years (which seemed way lacking in power) yesterday I was planing easily on the 4.4 in wind between 20-24 knots when the 2014 4.8 Freek would only be barely powered. Shakas and flakas are great on this 4.4. It feels so stable but still really flicky when u finish the rotation especially on shakas. Ducks are also really light and stable. I was riding the new 2016 Flare 93 and this is where it gets interesting and keen to hear what you think. It's got a super smooth feel when tracking along which can make it less lively and does have a good top speed but seems to take a bit more power, time and effort to really break into it, particularly compared to the skate and Jp I tried on the same day. When u get to top speed it's good, don't get me wrong, and the smoothness at speed keeps u settled going into moves, but it's just not as lively in feel to rivals. Perhaps in really strong wind this might give it an advantage but don't know yet. I'm going test against the skate some more but seems almost similar to the sail comparison in terms of power and liveliness versus smoothness and control. Haven't seen much on the net of pros on the new flare yet so waiting to see if they charge on it like the 2015 model.

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  51. Hi Andy,

    That's great to hear that you have the same feeling about the new Freeks that I do. It's interesting to hear what you think about the Flare 93.... I'll FINALLY be able to try the board this week in Bonaire! I'm curious to see if I find the same thing too. Bonaire is a horrible place to test boards though..... EVERYTHING works really well in Bonaire...

    You can try this with any board if you're finding it a little sticky, and I'm not saying it will work for sure, but try moving the mast base back in the track a bit. I know on my 2014 Skate, the mast track placement was VERY critical. It would become very sticky, just the way you're describing, if the mast track was even just 1 cm too far forward. I'm willing to bet that the Flare livens up quite a bit for you if you take the mast track back a hair. Find that balance point that will make the board fly.

    All that said, you could be right!! I haven't sailed it yet, so maybe it's not as lively as we would like... Only time will tell. I won't post a review after Bonaire though.... I want to wait until I sail these boards in all types of conditions. The conditions at home in New York are much more demanding... I will definitely post up a review of how it compares to the 2015 model which I loved probably some time towards the end of March (assuming March is windy in New York)... One thing is for sure... I'm not going to ride a board I don't like! Also, when I talked to Kiri about the new design asking him if it was good, he was pretty excited. He usually doesn't like ANY of the new gear because he's so used to the old stuff..... But for the 2016 93 liter, he was much more excited about it than normal....

    I'm sure we'll start seeing some good reviews on the Flare. They had production issues on the first few 2016 Flares that popped out with the board being the wrong shape and weight than what was given to Cobra, so most guys waited for the correct design to be ready. The correct 2016 design didn't arrive until mid Dec. to anyone, so I'm sure we'll start seeing reviews as the boards are just becoming available...

    Thanks for the feedback Andy!

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mike.
      I'll experiment with position in the track. Might have also just been use of my 4.4 in low end. Going for more full power 4.8 might have been better.
      I'm curious now if I have the wrong shape. I got mine before mid-dec before u say the correct shape was in. I'd hope to be able to get a warranty replacement if this is all correct.

      Delete
  52. Hi Andy,

    After 2 weeks in Bonaire on both the 2016 103 and 93 I figured I'd give a little report. I don't want to post a full review until I try both boards here at home in different conditions though. These boards are two totally different beasts. The 93 liter is incredibly lively, and flies above the water like the 2015 101 liter Flare. It's almost like they took the 101 and made it smaller and perfectly balanced. I'm absolutely loving that board!!! TONS of pop, super fast, very well balanced. I really couldn't ask for much more from the 93 liter. The fin placement, because of the powerbox, is a little further back than what I got used to from the slot-box boards over the past two years. I noticed the fin hooking up a little more on the slidey tricks, but it wasn't really an issue. I got used to adding a little foot pressure to release the fin after the first few runs. I also was able to take the Skate 100 for a spin and I can say for sure that the 93 Flare is a livelier feeling board, which is what I like..... My favorite sail on the 93 was the 4.4, but the 4.8 was also really, really good and the 5.2 is definitely do-able. I can definitely say I'll be using the 93 every time I use the 4.8 where last year, I would mix it up between the 91 and 101 with the 4.8 depending on water conditions. This year, I'll probably bounce back and forth between the 93 and 103 only with the 5.2.

    The 103 Flare on the other hand is a totally different ride..... This board seems to sit in the water much more and really needs to be powered to get the full potential. I also needed to switch to the 21 cm Makani Freestyle fin as the width of the board for the 18 cm didn't let me get the board up to full speed without it sliding out in the small chop. The 103 has a clear top speed that it won't push past where the 93 just keeps pushing faster as if it was an isonic. I think the 103 will be great for beginner freestylers looking to vulcan or spock for the first time. I couldn't pry the 103 away from my wife who is working on fully planing jibes and she found that the width of the 103 really helps to make things easier to exit jibes with some speed. For myself, I was finding I could plane up the 93 liter in less wind than the 103 with the 4.8 and 4.4. I honestly didn't care much for the 103 until I had the 5.2 on it but I can see this board being the go-to board for guys learning spocks and the basic sliding tricks. The very rounded rails on the 103 leaves LOADS of room for error and the short and wide platform lets the rider wobble around in the wrong position and still sail away from the maneuver. After talking to Taty, he likes the 103 for being extra stable and slidey for landing his shuv-it spocks into spocks..... I can see his point there too since you don't need as much speed to get the second bounce on the 103. I'd love to see this shape with slightly sharper rails to help with the entry speed in lighter winds which is when I use the 100 liter sized board....

    So for now, I'm finding the 93 liter to be the ultimate freestyle machine for advanced freestyle while the 103 might be suited better for the slidey tricks or maybe to help the PWA level guys land that second bouncing trick like double culo or shov-it spock into spock since the slide part can be achieved at a much slower speed than normal due to the very round rails on the 103. But I think bringing the sharper part of rails a little more forward would help the cause for the pwa level guys in gusty or marginal conditions.

    I hope to have the video review up as soon as I have a chance to sail here at home. The water is ice free so all we need is some wind!!!

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  53. Andy, I forgot to mention, definitely move the mast base back in the track help get the "sticky" part of the rounded rail out of the water. I'm also only using these boards with the Makani freestyle fins as I find the stock Choco fins to be very slow and draggy..... After talking to Taty, he said the same thing. He never uses the stock fins either and he said the board changes dramatically when you have a fin that sets the board free..... I noticed this with the 101 last year.....

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Mike,

    I was wondering your opinion on the Flare 103 as a freeride board?
    I use a skate 100 as my light wind blaster/ occasional vulcan attempt and i love the early planing and speed (normally can pass some freerace kit on 1.5m less sail). I weight about 70kg. I want to buy something similar for my brother who weighs about 85kg and i've seen a flare 103 at a good price. Is it not a great early planer or too fast?

    What freestyle would you recommend for someone 85-90kg for really good early planing and lively blasting?

    Thanks, Tom

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Tom,

    I havne't spent all that much time on my 103 liter. I'm so in love with the 93 liter Flare this year, that I just don't want to ride anything else!! I'm 165 lbs and I only ride up to 5.2 (usually 4.0 - 4.8 for freestyle) so the 103 is a little big for me. I will say that I've demoed my 103 liter many times mostly to people that aren't really into freestyle. My wife absolutely loves that board. I've also let a few people try it at some of the local spots and everyone comes back saying the same thing. It planes really early and is just so much fun to ride. I think it will make your brother a great freeride/ intro to freestyle board. One note is that you should run the mast base toward the back of the track. It will really loosen the board up and let it feel free. When the mast base is in the front or middle of the track the 2016 boards feel sluggish. With a powerbox this year, he'll be able to put in a fin he's comfortable with.

    Mike

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  56. Thanks so much for the reply Mike.

    Keep up the good work on the blog... its a great resource!

    Tom

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  57. Hi Mike,

    To follow up on Tom's question. I am a 200lbs windsurfer looking to get into freestyle. I am looking into the Flare. I'm riding a 110L freeride board right now with 5.0m, 5.7m or 7.0m sails. I would use the Flare on similar wind conditions so I'm leaning towards the 111L. Given my weight, and my level, would you recommend the 103L or the 111L? Would I be able to do the basic maneuvers (vulcans, spocks, etc) with the bigger board?

    Thanks for the insight.

    Fred

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hi Fred,

    It's kind of a toss up for you between the 103 and 111. With the new design and extra width of the 103, it really has a lot of overlap with the 111. I believe that Starboard plans to discontinue the 111 for 2017 so if you want a 111, get one while it's hot........ I've ridden both sizes and like them both. The 111 is more of a classic shape and I was surprised how nice the ride was. I was able to put it through the paces for the sliding freestyle stuff, but for the slidey stuff the 103 is better. The 111 is longer and more directional so it might be an easier transition to get used to coming off a free-ride board especially if it's an older design. The 103 is easier to spin with less effort and easier to pop. Normally I would say go with the 103 but if you're using that 7.0 a lot and want to use it on the new board, the 111 will be your best bet. The extra board volume will help hold that big sail. I would say go with the 111 so you can get that 7.0 moving earlier..... Both boards are great and you're going to be really happy with either one.

    Happy sailing,

    Mike



    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you for the quick reply. Much appreciated!

      Delete
  59. Hi Mike,
    we met briefly at the ECWF on the Cape a couple years ago, back when you were doing some impressive moves via jet ski tow !
    I was hoping for your thoughts on the 2016 Flare 103 versus the 2016 Skate 100 BGS.
    I weigh 72 kg, my go to board is a 2010 Skate 110 BGS with 6.8 and 5.8 as well as LWFS.
    I can plane out of 1/3 of my jibes, duck jibe on one tack, hit 1/3 of my carve 360's. LWFS duck tack (25%), push tack (70%), UW360 (90%) but looking to transition these to high wind as well as start aerials flaka/vulcan. Also would like to use it for general free riding 50-60% of the time. I have my sights set on a 2016 Skate 100 liter BGS as most of my sailing is on a 5.8, so a smaller board would only get used a handful of times a year. My thought re the BGS version was that it was a better all around board than the Skate TE and would better for old school carving free style as well as my level of aerials (i.e. none except chop hop). I've read through your posts about the 93L but was wondering what you now think of the 103 Flare vs the 100 BGS Skate particularly for my level. Is there a hands down difference or are they close? (Cost difference is also about $400/500). Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    Jeff

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  60. Hi Jeff,

    People that aren't too much into freestyle yet have really been liking the 103 for the extra volume and width compared to the biax skate. The 5.8 would be perfectly at home on both boards. Planing is about the same on both. I think the 103 will be a little more forgiving due to the tail thickness if you're just trying to get some vulcans.... Really, both are good boards for you. I think the 103 will just be a little more forgiving...

    I'm not sure if you're close to Cape Cod, but I'll be up there next week with my 2016 103 in tow.... You're more than welcome to try it out. My 2017's will also be arriving within a couple weeks, so you might be able to twist my arm into selling it early for $1,500.00 Only 6 months of use on it and it was mainly used by my wife. I'm too in love with the 93 liter to use anything else :-) And my big freestyle sail is a 5.2... My wife loves the 103 with the 5.9 and she doesn't do any freestyle. It's actually the first board she's tried to give me the green light to sell her old trusty mistral.

    Mike

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  61. thanks very much for your thoughts.
    Actually I'm on vacation starting the 30th, ( also free 7/28) and will probably be down the Cape, and if not, could drive down.
    wow, I didn't realize that you might be selling it, but certainly would be very interested ! I'm not sure how best to contact you ?
    LOL, I actually own one of your old Nolimitz Sumo 400 mast through another party.

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  62. Hey Jeff,

    We're heading back to Long Island on the 30th but we might be back up to the Cape again in August and definitely again for the ECWF Cape Cod in Sept.

    Yes, I turn over all my gear every year. boards, sails, masts, booms, bases, extensions. My 2017 gear will start arriving in August.... Going with the same boards again this year for sure!!!

    Shoot me an e-mail and I'll give you my phone #. Mewindsurf@aol.com

    Thanks,

    Mike

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  63. Hello Mike,
    What about the new skate TE 100 l 2017? Is onze of THE best boards?

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  64. ITS me again Mike
    Cause i have a skate TE 100 liter 2017 & the new severne Freek 2017 4.8 & 5.2 (very light sail by the way.. So is this board gonna give me an easy feeling? Are tricks gonna be easier and is jibing easier on this freestyle board?

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  65. I haven't seen the 2017 skate in person yet. We're always the last to get gear here in the U.S. And fanatic specifically ahs always been way behind. The first Fanatic boards usually dont show up until December... The skate has always been a great board though. They've had a great design and I doubt it has changed bery much for 2017. Anything new is going to take some getting used to, but the skate and Flare are two really great boards that are stable, plane early and keep going theough all jibes and tricks. There is no replacement for a good freestlye board when trying to learn some new tricks....

    Mike


    Personally, I cant wait until my 93 liter flare ( which is my favorite board) looses a full kilo for 2017:-)

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  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  67. Hi Mike,
    Good to catch up on your blog. It's been a while since I've looked at it. Immediately something jumped out to me about fin choice in the 93 and how you find "the stock Choco fins to be very slow and draggy." You said "After talking to Taty, he said the same thing. He never uses the stock fins either and he said the board changes dramatically when you have a fin that sets the board free.."
    I've been struggling a bit lately with this stickiness of my 93 flare and this confirms to me that it's a fin issue. On Saturday it was annoying me big time but then every now and then it would come alive and I'd bust a big'n'fast shaka but then the board would restick and return to its slumbery feel. Kinda feels like 2 personalities in it. I did plug in a 21.5 mfc wave fun back in summer a few times which totally helped but that was too much fin for decent freestyle. In interested in what size makani fin u find works best.

    Also on Saturday tried it against the 2016 Fanatic Skate 94 TE and that has confused me a bit. The skate didn't have this stickiness at all; quite the opposite - could bolt up to speed and go for a move in much quicker time but then again I could tell that, as I got up to full speed in choppy water, it perhaps didn't feel quite as smooth and controlled as when the flare had broken free and was firing on all cylinders. I mean they're both brilliant so not much in it, and I may even get both boards to be honest.

    Switch stance was the main aspect annoying me with the draggy stock fin on the flare. It was sticking big time preventing me getting enough speed for a good duck and kono. I do also have to get my stance better to milk more speed but the skate had no problem at all. Then again, earlier in the same session when the flare was alive i nearly got right around on my first burner so it's a sick board when it wakes up. Maybe it really is just fin choice. Hope your summer going well. Still hitting the 11 deg water temp here in Melbourne which is brisk but manageable.
    Cheers
    Andy

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  68. Hey Andy,

    Good to hear from you! I wish I could be over there and try to sail your Flare in person to see what's up....My 93 planes right off the bat and once it's up to speed, it stays there. I'm on the same sail size and planing up at the same time as the guys on the skates...... I'd love to see what you have to say after you change out the fin. Starboard ditched Choco Fins for 2017....... I've never used the board with the stock fin. I use the Makani Fins 18 CM Koi. It's really fast and slides like a dream. I just realized that they have this exact fin on sale for only $69.00 when I went to get you the link!! http://www.makanifins.com/collections/windsurfing-freestyle-fins/products/koi-freestyle-windsurfing-fin

    Let me know what you think after changing out the fin.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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  69. Great!! Be sure to report back!!

    Mike

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  70. Hey Mike, just tried my new makani 18 freestyle fin. Sooooo much better. It definitely planes earlier and has a faster, livelier feel. My spocks seem to rotate better too. The flare was feeling like a different board. At times it's thick tail feels a little too much in the chop in strong gusts but then again this helps coast thru lulls and pop better.

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  71. Great Andy!! I'm glad that fin helped. I always use the same fins so that the only thing that changes is the board. The 93 does have a thick tail, but I remember so many times that I didn't get wet because of it..... With a fast fin on it, that 93 will do anything you need it to!! Awesome board!!

    All that said, I'm back on Fanatic now. Starboard put a new kind of box in the 2017 Flare that doesn't fit a weed fin properly!! Epic fail on Starboard's part!! I really, really did like the Flare 93. I thought it was the best board that I've ever ridden, and was really looking forward to the 2017 UltraCore board being a full 2 pounds lighter than the 2016!! But Fanatic was able to deliver some boards and now I've got a full range of 2017 Skates and they're all really nice. The 93 Flare I think is a little more forgiving than the new 93 skate for the sliding tricks because of that thick tail, but the Skate is a bit more lively and ready to hit the air for the bigger moves. Both 93 liter boards plane up about the same but the skate feels smaller. Pure preference as to the ride as far as the 93 liter goes. I would love to keep sailing either one. The thing I do like is that Fanatic has an 86 liter which is the perfect size for high wind for me and works much better than the Flare 81 when it's blowing 4.0 or 3.6. I felt there was too much of a gap between the 93 liter Flare and 81 liter Flare. The 81 was a little small and a better compliment to the 2015 91 liter Flare which felt much smaller than the 2016 93 liter. Starboard needs to update the smaller model or fill the gap... The 100 liter skate also planes up quicker than the 2016 103 Flare which is exactly what I need from the light wind board. The powerbox in the Fanatics also let me use a weed fin that is mounted forward on the base so that the board sails properly with a weed fin on there so it was a no brainer for me to make the switch.

    I'm glad you're in the groove on that 93 liter Flare!! It'll let you push the limits and make you happy for years to come. Enjoy it!!!

    MIke



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  72. Yeah great comments there, and thanks again for the advice on the fin. I did really like the 2014 91 Flare - it felt smaller and better in high winds than the 93, with a better tail width. It was bit livelier but maybe the rail sharpness made it a tad more technical for sliding moves. The 93 has a smoother ride and yes that thick tail helps finish sliding moves. I guess just once it's starting to get overpowered 4.4 the chop becomes bad enough for that tail to become a bit cumbersome. I have used it in overpowered 4.4 on dead flat water and it is epic, especially for konos, but I just don't think it is that great in chop. I'd probably just switch over to a mid 80L freewave with small wave fin once that choppy and wavey.
    So on another note, I'm about to pick up my 2017 Severne Freek 4.8 so can't wait to try it out. Perhaps we can comment on that over in your Freek thread. The 4.4 is just so brilliant - I have no complaints at all about it.

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  73. Thanks Andy! I'm going to get a nice review about the 2017 Freeks together soon. The 2017s are really nice!! Very similar to the 2016s. Very locked in when you're going in a straight line and for the backwinded moves, the power shift to the front of the sail seems to happen a split second faster. Ducking the sail is even more predictable than last year which is crazy because I've already been told I was cheating when guys using other sails tried to duck the Freek for the first few times. You're going to love the 2017 4.8!!! Please feel free to comment on the Freek post.

    Mike

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