Tester's Top Choice
From the evolutive range by Starboard, this Kode 86 is a freewave model. The smaller sizes are pure waveboards. The largest sizes are freemove. In this model, we still have lots of strap position choices: centred one for waves and freestyle, outboard ones for flat water. The equipment is excellent, including the pads and fins (even though a G10 fin would have been more durable).
On the Water
This is without doubt one of the highest-riding boards in the group. The Starboard Kode is quick to plane and probably even the best here. It is very fast and gives a sharp and tracking feel for your back leg, on the tail and into the fin. We have lots of power to go upwind even in low winds, and to accelerate between waves for example. The speed is lightning quick in a straight line with acceleration that is on par with the best. Only the control in choppy conditions is a little bit less natural, since the board rides so high and lively. In the surf on the other hand, it is the most natural and probably the best one at turning. The rails penetrate the water well and allow excellent control a high speeds on long bottom turns, just like the way it jibes. There is enough volume in the tail to turn in a pivot, even at high speeds. This is the versatile and accessibility side of the board. In rollers, it is not as cutting-edge as pure waveboards, especially multi-fins, but it is close and gets you turning well.
Starboard offers here a Kode 86 that is among the very best freewaves on the market. At ease in flat water or choppy water, it offers a fun and fast ride, then also fun for surfing and jumping while being versatile and accessible all at the same time. Our Tester's Top Choice.
+ Early planing, speed, maneuverability and carving, user range, equipment level
Tester's Top Choice
This Starboard Kode 103 has an outline that is quite round, rails that are fine and the only board in the group with a US box. The Kode is also available in Wood and Technora.
On the water
Offering an early planing performance that is very competitive, the Starboard Kode 103 riders with more wetted surface than the average but it is not the most extreme. This is reassuring, which gives the board some smoothness in riding over chop. The outboard strap positions are very comfortable. With a good tracking feel on the fin, you can push and accelerate well. Compared to the group, it is on par. The advantage however, is that you keep the reactivity when carving and changing directions. This means that you have a board whose direction can change and respond quickly, unlike the feeling of being stuck in ice, yet with an impeccable tracking feel from the fin. You go where you want, when you want, and the moment you decide to do so -- because it's an easy board to control. This gives you the desire to play, you find yourself jumping and turning in chop when you wouldn't have imagined yourself doing so with any other board in this group. Jibing: the Kode allows you to carve hard to turn nicely on the rail and draw a nice turn, with a great sensation and control. Its smoothness and reactivity reminds you of wave boards, with versatility on top. It was actually a revelation to see it surf, in small waves or light winds.
+Reactive, maneuverable, fun, jibe, control, equipment