Starboard Evo XTV 75, Windsurf UK, October 06
At a Glance
The Evo series from Starboard has a lot to be proud of, taking much of the credit for kick-starting the stubby wave-board revolution back in 2003. After several years of only minor alterations, it has finally been superseded by the Evo XTV - the initials standing for 'extra tail vee'. In addition to the increased tail vee, the new models (in 5 sizes) also benefit from more drawn-out tail outlines, designed to help the boards get more vertical in the turn. The Evo is available in either Wood or Technora Dur-X construction. Finished in a very attractive blue livery, the board comes supplied with the brand's excellent 'Slick Strap' including anti-twist inserts, fish scale uni-directional pads, and a very flexible G10 fin.
Ride and Handling
Taking the Evo out in marginal conditions, we found ourselves a little disappointed with its performance, its early planing and upwind tracking seemingly below par. Not what we expected from a board of this pedigree! Investigating the reason, we tried the board again, but this time with a stiffer G10 fin...and the board was transformed completely. Up and on the plane early, it feels smooth yet lively underfoot, the fittings providing a supremely secure and comfortable connection to the board. In light winds there is plenty of stability available to take a 5.4m sail easily, the stiffer 22cm fin we used seemed to compliment the board well. Fluid and responsive to alterations in foot pressure, the Evo can be used to pick your way through onshore conditions effortlessly, its speed and acceleration offering plenty of impetus for some aerial antics along the way. As the wind increased and the conditions became more severe, the Evo's temperament was unfaltering, handling short sharp chop well and adapting seamlessly to the sailing style of the rider. In these conditions we reverted back to the fin supplied to gauge its performance, but concluded that for cross-onshore conditions a stiffer fin is much more practical.
On the wave, the Evo XTV lives up to the reputation of its predecessor offering a combination of ease and performance that defies the rider's belief in their own ability! No matter how you approach the bottom turn the rails never seem to even hint at catching, biting and gliding through the water as if on rails. Carrying its speed effortlessly through the turn we were constantly amazed at how tight and vertical we could get back up the face with such little effort, making us continually hunt for that extra wave in the session to go that bit further. When well powered the supplied fin really helps for expressive sliding cutbacks, the fin twisting and releasing for some extra snap. At all other times however, a stiffer fin provided more drive through the turn, helping to maintain the board's speed.
Ease, practicality and incredible wave riding prowess.
For cross-onshore conditions invest in a stiffer second fin.
The Evo XTV had a lot to live up to and with the use of a stiffer foil it certainly produced, coming very highly recommended for expressive, captivating wave riding whatever the conditions or rider ability.
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