To continue on the subject of boards I will just mention some additional concerns and observations.
One of my problems with the industry is the shortage of small, fast freeride boards. I need a board that is no more than 80litres in volume and 56-no more than 58cm wide. Once you get into these sizes a small freewave is the closest thing most manufacturers provide. This often comes with a US box. We have a need here for small freeride boards. Naish's Grand Prix would probably do and, as I've said, Thommen's CrossX sounds like a great thing but where are the other manufacturers? Surely a Rocket 80l would sell. It would certainly be used here on our windier days. Fanatic used to make the Hawk in 93l but now their smallest Hawk is 100l. The 93l board was too big for smallest in range and the current 100l is way too big!
Tabou have the 3S which I have not ridden but which looks like the right sort of thing. What spoils the 3S range for me is the weights - far too heavy. If pushed to buy something in this segment and if funds were available I suppose I would buy the new Fanatic Freewave 75l (team edition of course) and the 95l Freewave textreme (a nice development by Fanatic). I would fit Select SRX Free Slam fins to enhance the straight line performance.
Boards which would be interesting to ride are Marco Copello's DPA ranges. These boards employ what he calls the "bioflex" system which is a semi-flexible underside which tilts when the board is turning and flattens out while going straight to give you a board which turns like a wave board and blasts like a slalom board. Not a new idea (I seem to remember Mistral had a flex-tail board in the dim and distant past) but Marco has refined and improved the concept. He is one of the innovators in our sport. He also designs for HTS Boards another company not familiar to us here but which has some really tasty products. I like the look of Marco's products - carbon fiber everywhere - very cool.
Mistral have dropped out of sight (certainly here in South Africa) and one wonders what happened. They were the main players at the start of it all. Their current range looks great and with Anders at the helm you know that every board is going to do its job perfectly. I recon their Screamer is every bit as good as the Tabou Rocket and maybe a bit more involving to ride.
AHD's Fury looks like the sort of thing we could use here but the smallest board is 88l/58.5cm wide. A bit too big for what I have in mind and also too heavy.
Exocet have always been an interesting brand and I had a good look at the models the testers brought with them. Their freeride models look nice but are (surprise) too heavy for me. Incidentally they have lost Gonzalo Costa Heuvel as a rider to Fanatic this year and so will not be seen so much on the PWA tour. Not good
Ok to bed. Tomorrow's wind is expected to be light so we may be lucky enough to see the Reflex2 7.8 on the water. I will rig my trusty Ram and see how it stacks up. Good winds and talk to you soon.