Length: 227 cm
Width: 62 cm
Weight: 6.18 kg
Volume: 101 liters
Fin: Drake Ready to Freestyle 18 (Slot Box 4.0)
Sail range: 5.0m² - 6.8m²
Available sizes: 81, 91, 101 and 111
Available constructions: Carbon
The Flare is Starboard's pure freestyle board. In 2014, some changes have been made within the range: an 81-liter Flare is introduced to replace the Flare 60 and the Flare 72. The Flare 91 and 101 have been revamped with many key innovations. For example, the Flare 101 has seen its tail get thicker, making the board more forgiving in sliding moves while providing more pop and grip. Additionally, the Flare now has a flatter deck for better balance when not planing. The mast track has been moved back by 3 centimeters for extra lift and the foot straps inserts have been moved forward for a higher stance. A new Vee bottom configuration comes from the iSonics and gives the Flares their speed. Three insert options are offered for the front footstrap and two are offered for the back strap. The board comes with a specific and unique Drake Ready to Freestyle 18 cm polyester fin fitted in the new Slot Box 4.0.
On the Water:
Although Starboard's completely new shape loses a bit of ground against the best boards of the test in terms of early planing, the Flare compensates with a strong acceleration, pushing faster and faster. While the Flare 101 requires an active rider in light-wind conditions, the narrower shape is efficient and easily controllable in choppy and stronger wind conditions. In these conditions, you hardly will find a better board in our test!
As soon as you get in the footstraps, you immediately feel the difference on your back leg compared to all other boards: the deck shape is extremely rounded. Why do we mention this detail here? This specific shape feature automatically rotates the leg when landing a move, which forces almost automatically the board into another extra rotation. Because of this feature, intricate moves like Futures, Burners 720° and most double moves are easier to land while on the Starboard than on any other board.
Thanks to the "bullet-nose", the top speed is very impressive. Combining that speed with great popping ability, the Starboard offers everything you need to pop and land the modern power moves. The Flare 101 is not always as easy as the other freestyle boards but all the sliding moves will go in without problems, provided that the rider weights the board correctly. In terms of carving, the Starboard, like all other freestyle boards in this test and in general, has its problems: it's probably easier to pop a Flaka than to slice through a carving 360°.
The completely revised version of the Flare is great for power moves. Advanced freestylers and pros will love the new Flare! If Kiri Thode won the 2013 PWA Freestyle World Title on that board, there must be something special! Keep in mind however that the Starboard requires good windsurfing skills. Those looking to get into freestyle will need to concentrate a bit more. But as soon as you have made your first steps in freestyle, you should be very happy with the Flare: efficient and forgiving.