There's a new trend in board design. And so far, 3 windsurfing companies have brought to market this new kind of board. The board makers call the new category freemove. These freemove boards share some common features. They are all wide for their volume; have thin rails and short lengths; claim early planing mojo; and tout a special zeal for turning and easy jibing.
This new freemove group was started when RRD introduced the Firemove in 2011. And this year, similarly styled boards were also made by Fanatic: the Gecko and Exocet: the XCross. RRD must be really confident of this concept because the Firemove characteristics are showing up in some of their other board lines.
RRD: The Firemove comes in 5 different volumes and 3 different constructions. Here's the volume - width - length dimensions: [100 - 69 - 236] · [110 - 75 - 236] · [120 - 80 - 236] · [130 - 85 - 236] · [140 - 90 - 238]. There's no U.S. distributor for RRD at the moment. Many shops retail their products. Contact Isthmus for availability.
A & O Sports reported: This was 'THE' standout in the Spring test (2011 WindSurfing Magazine) in Cape Hatteras this year. By far the most testers picked this board as one of their favorites. The best quote from the test has to be: "We. Want. This. Board. Everybody wants this board." Or maybe :"Awesome in every way. quick to plane and speedy with control.” Or maybe: "the RRD offered endless thrills in the least amount of wind, and often in the most wind. An absolute blast."
James Lawrence reported "...this board does not sail at all like it looks. Firstly it gets on the plane effortlessly, even when you can barely feel the wind (I weigh about 82KG and was using an Ezzy Freeride 3 in 7.5m), second it is very fast and stable through the chop with the straps in their middle setting, and thirdly, it turns effortlessly like a much narrower board maintaining a lot of speed through the carve. It really does feel like you are sailing a different board than the one you are looking at..."
John Skye added: "The RRD Firemove 100 is so versatile I have used it in loads of different conditions. Everything from small waves, bump and jump style, through to flat water slalom style blasting with big sails. As the Firemove is wider than normal, you have to basically add about 10-15L to the volume to get an idea of its relative size..."
- WindSurfing Magazine 2011 Boardtest
- Roberto Ricci introduces the 2011 Firemove
- Roberto Ricci presents the 130 & 140 Firemove
- Dave White on the Firemove
- Jem Hall explains the Firemove
It's a new board and I haven't found any real reviews. I did run into the local Exocet team rider who was sailing the 82 wide XCross. The wind died, so no board testing results. The report below is more an explanation of potential than experience. The Windsurfing Shed from Australia reported: "The program for the Xcross is freeride/bump & jump and occasionally some small waves. The rails are really thin (same as the USurf 62), a fair bit of V but still quite a straight rocker. The volume is low compared to the board width. This versatile concept should be fun."
Fanatic: The Gecko comes in 3 different sizes with one construction. The volume - width - length dimensions: [105 - 69 - 239] · [120 - 77 - 239] · [130 - 83 - 239]. Information on this board was posted to their website just weeks ago. Reviews are not yet available. Contact Next Sports in Miami for availablity: 305 255 0111.
Long time, Fanatic Shaper Sebastian Wenzel talks about his recent creation: "To say this board is cutting-edge is an understatement – the ultra-thin rail edges let you dig as deep as you want in turns and extra width will save you from buying a bigger sail. If you’re looking for a board that planes early, with a balanced, compact outline to jump, slide and carve like never before all with way less volume – then the Gecko’s your perfect playmate."
Tips & Tricks · Ever been waiting in the whitewater when the next set forces you to dive for safety and you come up to find your mast is broken? ~ Need some help with your bottom turn in onshore winds? ~ You've seen the better sailors fast tack. Now learn how. ~ Does it ever end, the help we need with jibes?
Postcript · I added another report to last week's, Around the Marks · Da Interview, Kona North Americans segment including a new video from the event.