Starboard Quad IQ 77 Wood Carbon, BOARDS (UK), Dec 2010

The Quad IQ is completely new for this year and offers three main fin configurations: quad with bigger fins at the back, quad with bigger fins at the front, or twin-fin which uses a larger set of 15cm fins.

In terms of volume this is the second biggest board on test, but the width of 57.5cm makes it much wider than anything else here. Underfoot it does feel a bigger board, but thanks to its good control at the top end is still able to cope fine fown to 4.0 - 4.2 sails for an 80kg rider. Hull weight is very oimpressive (6.93kg complete), making it second lightest to the (much smaller) Tabou Da Curve.

Starboard straps are excellent this year - such an improvement on previous years. The adjustment scale is a nice touch indeed and helps them to get all sized correctly. The finbox is the new 'Slot Box' which uses a system similar to FCS, but with position adjustment available that can be operated with a Philips screwdriver rather than an Allen key.

We tried the Quad in all three of the fin configurations, but largely preferred it in its 'sideshore' setup with the bigger fins at the back. We struggled a bit with the 'onshore' setup, which puts the bigger fins at the front. The twin setup worked well and did loosen the board up even further, but to be honest in 'sideshore' quad mode the board seems best set for al-round performance, and is the position most riders seemed to prefer for all types of sailing. This is the option we chose for most of our testing.

Despite its generous width, on the water it feels relatively long and gunny compared to many tested here. It has a soft feel to the way it rides that makes it feel very loose, flowing and slippery across the water and on the waveface - which is great. Straps and fins are positioned relatively far back compared to the other boards, and you notice this in the ride, where you feel like you're very much on the tail of the board. The back strap is actually 6cm further back than many of the other boards, which is quite a difference. We preferred the straps set in the forwards positions, which gave a more stable straight-line performance and encouraged a carve rather than snap in the turns.

In a straight line the Quad IQ has excellent 'get up and go' and a decent top speed. It feels more lively on the water than the Quatro and Fanatic quads, although not quite as rapid as the JP and RRD. Backside turns in onshore conditions are fantastic. The quad-fin grip and being positioned so far back on the board really lets you snap a super-light backside turn with full control. On the waveface the Quad IQ has a very easy, flowing and safe feel to it. The bottom turn offers two styles - you can lean forward and drive through the rail, or flick the board through a tighter turn using your back foot, which is great. If we were being very critical we'd say that the transition between these two styles is more noticeable than on some of the other boards - almost like it has two modes. It's more of a characteristic than a problem though.

The top turn is very good. Again that rear positioning of straps and fins seems to allow the rider to snap an extremely tight top turn with noticeably less effort than some of the others. Riders accustomed to last year's Quad will notice the reduced grip of the fins, but in our opinion it's so much better this year. You can maintain the grip through the turn or let the tail slide in control - you have the choice this year.

Target buyer
The Quad IQ is such an improvement on last year's board, and is now a fantastic all-round waveboard for all conditions. The ride is soft, flowing and almost slipperyin feel, and the board feels very loose and predictable on the wave. It offers lots of configuration options to suit different styles of rider, but in our opinion the 'sideshore' Quad setup (big fins at the back) is the one that will suit most riders in most conditions.