As promised, here is the review of the 2015, 3S (106).
You may recall that I included this board in my ideal quiver. It is the smallest board recommended for the 90-100 kg blaster. Being a non-slalom shape, it needs to be a chameleon (able to rock with a slalom fin or play on swells with three straps and swept back fin).
My objective with the test was to ensure that this latest 106 is able to fill these requirements. This size has undergone some pretty significant upgrades over previous models. It now has fairly complex tail cut-outs and Fabien has moved the outboard strap positions further out. On paper, what we now have, is a machine which should be able to rival Patrik’s biggest FreeStyleWave design accross a range of conditions.
I took the board out with my Cross 6.4m sail and a 34cm slalom fin (elliptical for rough water). I was pretty much overpowered for the entire session so – perfect conditions. The water was rough and the wind blew hard – Nice!
The 2014 3S models all have one thing in common. They are kind to the rider. They are also compliant and will do anything you demand of them. My impression with my 2014 116, is that the board treats me with care. The 2015 model – not so much. Sheet in, blast off and stuff happens! The board is far edgier and performance orientated than the previous model. I’m sure that I could tame it with a smaller, swept back fin but with this biggish slalom fin, the board rocks at speed. It is still easy over the chop but slightly more concentration is called for. The properly situated footstrap positions are perfect for control over the fin at speed and the board goes as fast as most of us would dare to go.
I eventually became totally overpowered and had to come in. This very rarely happens on the 2014 116 so the new shape is less of a plaything and more of a missile (unguided when the wind really gets up). My feeling is that the board will be happiest with a Select Edge 33 for normal sailing and an Edge 29 or 31 (I would need to compare back-to back) for strong wind/ small sail conditions. What I would do to complete that package is to add a 33 cm Select S1 Hi-Wind fin for faster blasting across smaller chop. We have yet to see the new G10 fins from Select but they look really cool and are very likely to be awesome for controlled speed.
So the question is – does this board meet the requirements for a small, high performance machine when teamed with fast, soft sail and fast fin but also able to play in small waves and swell? You bet! It joins the Turbo and Reflex sails on the list of the top equipment tested this season. Congratulations Fabien – a platinum grade product though perhaps not for the faint hearted.