On the beach: Starboard has spent some more time in the paint shop this year; the Flare stands out a little more as opposed to last year. Like in the previous years, the Flare has an accentuated dome deck. The shape looks relatively long, while the nose has more scoop than most of the other shapes of our test group. Speaking of which; the Starboard is the last board of its kind without a truly round nose. Although not too wide, the thickness of the tail suggests consistent sliding characteristics. The straps are mounted in a remarkable square angle to the centreline of the board and are very easily adjusted. They're probably the most comfortable ones from the entire test group. What's also very useful is the indicator right next to the US-finbox: "more slide" - "more grip". The fin is relatively long with 24cm.
On the water: Even though the changes are minimal on paper, the characteristics of the board remained the same. The stretched shape feels a little twitchy when floating but as soon as the wind hits your sail, the Flare just goes. Whether you like it or not, the Flare is the best passive planer of the group. Also when in the straps, the board feels nimble and small and will reach a very high topspeed while it feels hard and direct. This is not so surprising as certain slalom elements have always found their way into the Flare's shape. The domedeck allows you to stand comfortably on the board, but the take-off requires a little more applied power. Replacing the 24cm fin that unsuitable for newschool freestyle will neutralise that, without having to worry about diminished speed- and planing performance. The board slides just as fast and hard as it navigates. And while flatwater will allow you to slide every move effortlessly, the board will become less forgiving in choppy conditions, forcing you to land just right. The rider who wants to bust out his oldschool tricks every now and then should definitely look into the Flare. 360 Carves, one handed duck-jibes, the board has a tight turning radius and will allow you to put down the rails hard.
Conclusion: The Flare looks small, is very fast and transmits a hard direct riding sensation that advanced and very advanced newschool riders will appreciate, for it allows very high and radical powermoves.
Weight: 6.45 kg
Fin length: 24cm