Starboard Evo XTV 80, Windsurf (UK), Nov - Dec 2006




At a Glance

The Evo 80 replaces the 83 of last year and has, like the rest of the five-board range, been refined in its bottom shape, now incorporating a single to double concave (between the straps) to an increased amount of vee in the tail. Over the years the Evo has established itself as the definitive stubby wave-board, offering more speed through tighter turns and an uncanny ability to project aerials effortlessly...and all possible across greater sail range compared to a conventional wave-board. For 2007 the emphasis has been on increasing the board's carving response and fluidity so that it can get even more vertical in the pocket of the wave. Available in two constructions (all sporting the Dur-X construction label), it is finished beautifully in blue livery and comes supplied with a G10 milled fin, Starboard's superb Slick straps II with extra padding and their uni-directional fish scale deck pads.

Ride and Handling

On the water the 80 has really come of age and rightly sits alongside the 75 as one of the standout models in the Evo series. Early to plane, incredibly smooth and with a massive wind range, it stood out in this test as one of the team's clear favourites. Stable at rest, it responds quickly yet progressively as power is delivered, gaining speed without unnerving the anxious passenger. With your feet locked securely yet comfortably in the straps, the 80 feels very compact and responsive underfoot yet remains controlled at all times. It is extremely versatile and can adapt to any rider style, the fin providing plenty of feedback for blasting, whilst the board sits low and pins itself down intuitively when sailed in a more relaxed manner. Even in severely overpowered conditions it never loses its composure, giving the rider a real sense of trust in the board's character. In this respect we even thought the 80 coped with harsh chop better than its smaller sibling at times, ironing out the clatter and jolting affect as the board travels over confused conditions.

Manoeuvres

Last year we thought the 83 was a cracking wave-riding board, but trying to recall its performance, we believe that this 80 has gone one step further. With its smooth outline and wide yet thin tail it can be turned off both the front or back foot, making it a scintillating wave tool in cross-onshore conditions of any size. Force its rail into a committed turn, or lean off the back-foot to snap it round at the last second, anything is possible on the 80, flattering the rider and allowing then to pull off stunts they only dreamt of. Carving fluid vertical turns; exploding off the lip for expressive aerials, or even punching off broken white water, the 80 was the complete package and provides that extra bit of float from the 75, giving it more range and practicality, especially for the heavier rider.

For:

Massive range, ease of use and stunning wave riding versatility.

Against:

As a state of the art wave board, it cannot be faulted.

Verdict

Combining early planing with range, control and fantastic wave-riding capabilities, the Evo 80 comes thoroughly recommended by us, especially as the heavier rider's small wave board.