View Full Version : Which High-Wind ISonic 87/94/96 ?

Tim Fast
16th September 2007, 07:53 PM

i am using ST115 and PA86, and i am very pleased with the performance of this boards !

I am 90kg and using the ST115 with NP RSS 6,2 and 7,2 and the board works perfect with this combination - very fast and controllable; outperforming mostly anything else on the water. Love it !!

I discovered GPSSS with the ST115 and made it to 33 kts with 6,2. However, i want to push my personal limit further now (without going to the extremes) and feel the ST 115 a little bit to big for this.

I am looking now for some of the smaller Isonics; so either 2007 87&94 or 2008 87&96.
my trend goes to the large 94 or 96 as i think there are the better compromise between GPSSS and hi-wind slalom sailing. Also i think the larger ones might better carry the RS7.2
(remark : i will keep the ST115 for 7,2 slalom conditions!)

What would you suggest ? Which boards fits best to my objectives ? What are the differences between 2007 and 2008 models again wrt. my objectives? ( I think i might still get an 2007 model for a good price) What are the sweet spots of the boards wrt. sail size ?

What fin size you suggest for the given sail sizes either for GPSSS or hi-wind slalom sailing ?

Sorry for asking so much questions, but i am really uncertain which board to choose.
I would appreciate your advise.

Thx and regards

Ian Fox
22nd September 2007, 09:44 AM
Hi Tim,

If you're retaining the ST115 and want a new hi wind slalom board to push GPSSS performance then without question either the iS87 from 2007 or the new 2008 iS76.
(Yes, these will overlap on your PA86 in volume but not in usuage in terms of sailing style/conditions - and if GPSSS in more wind than ST115 is your thing, then taking a slighlty "smaller" than typical next board is also a good move.)

I'm only 92 kg and for me the iS76 is still a big GPSSS board.
(it's also clearly proven to 40+ kts - even with your front foot stuck outside the strap - as I found out on my very first run on the production 76).

For GPSSS speed obviously tuning still varies with conditions but for GPSSS "sweetspot" on boards like iS76 and iS87 think about sails in the large 5m (5.5m+) to around 6.5m range. Fins will vary accordingly but for downwind GPSSS think about 28-30cm (for your weight and these sails), or maybe slightly less with a more raked fin. The use of "slalom" boards (especially ultra modern wider tail designs like iS) for speed general requires (and benefits from) the use of a little more fin (extra lift for extra board) in the same conditions where a smaller speedboard (45-50cm) would be tuned with a smaller fin.

Cheers ~ Ian

Tim Fast
28th September 2007, 09:15 PM
Hi Ian,

thanks for your reply!!
I got your point you made concerning choosing a smaller board than typical for GPSS, however I am still sceptical to go for the 87. As GPSSS is not the only objective i have (unfortunately the conditions are pretty rare for 'real' speed surfing) , I want also a versatile board for 'ordinary' hi-wind slalom (fun)-racing. I typical sail in european conditions, choppy waves, some gusting, on-shore winds.
Considering this bunch of requirements , i still consider the IS96 the best compromise for me.
I am concerned that the 87 will be to small for normal surfing with my weight of 91kg.

So am i right with me concerns ? i would love to test one of these boards, but unfortunately they are hard to get as test boards here in germany.

Do you think the Is96 can handle the RSS7.2 ? Which speed potential you see inside the IS96?

Just another aspect: i recently went speeding with my PA86, just in wave trim i was pretty fast. I can't really say how fast, as i didn't had the GPS that time. I was out in 30+kts wind with 4.7 and i guess it was well above 30 kts speed. What is your experience in using such boards in flat water? which trim and other speed tuning measures you can recommend, e.g fin size & type etc.

Thanks in advance again for your reply.

Cheers Tim

29th September 2007, 12:22 AM
Hi Tim,

I have experience with the iS87 and also the S95 in GPSSS speedsurfing.

You ask whether the iS96 can handle a 7.2 racesail. Should be no problem.
I used a 7.4 racesail on my -smaller- iS87. No problem.

Of course iS87 is not a lightwind board, but for early planing you already have a bigger board. The Sonic95, which is the "father" of the iS94 and now iS96, is but also FEELS a bigger board. Sweetspot of this board is around 6.6-7.0 SqM. It is suitable for light-to-medium wind speedsurfing, but a bit too big for stronger winds.

In the 2007 range, the iS87 was the best board (in my opinion).
Not only very very fast (Martin van Meurs did 44 knots on 500 metres on this board). But also nice to jibe, and wide windrange. Planes up much earlier than you would expect from a board this size.

Be aware that the bigger iSonics (101 and up) have a different design. This makes them very good for long distance and slalom (average speed), but less good for speedsurfing (all-out topspeed).

What region of Germany do you live in?
If it's near to Holland, I know that Telstar in Harderwijk has got demo iS87 boards that you can test or rent.

Anyway, in your position you cannot go wrong with the iS87. Would recommend it over the iS96. My weight = 88 kgs, so just a little lighter than you.

mark h
29th September 2007, 03:49 AM
Hi Tim
As Ian and NED 321 explained, the iS87 is the one to go for. Even if on paper the the iS94/96 and ST115 appear to be very different, you will soon find out that they share a similair sweet spot I.E. 6.5 to 7.5m. Where as the iS76/86 are ideally 5.5 to 6.5m (one or two forces up in winds). I'v not tried a iS94/96 but have been told they feel slightly smaller than my S100. I'v tried a iS87 with a 7.6m NS Warp in light 15-20 knot winds and was real suprised to find that it worked well (I'm 105kg). I got a iS76 last and tried it on monday in gusty 25 to 37 knots, I'v got a sprained wrist that is giving me problems so I could'nt sail real fast, but the iS76/NS Warp 5.8m/Tec F1 30cm fin got to mid 30 knots very easily. For GPSSS, the iS76 will easily go past 40k (with a good rider on it). The feeling of the iS76 is much much smaller compaired with the iS87 which suprised me as they are similair dimensions. iS76 is easy to get planing and rides accross confused chop comfortably. Nice board, worth considering.


Ian Fox
29th September 2007, 08:00 AM
Hi Tim,

As Menno and Mark already commented, the iS87 actually is a good "compromise" between too small (ie : suitable really for GPSSS only sailing) and too big (great for rec slalom but not so competitive when push comes to shove in GPSSS speed etc).
And right now in end of model "run out" mode against the 2008 season voards, iS87 could almsot be the performance "bargain: of the year. It will still do OK on the RS 7.2m in lighter slalom conditions, althouth not nearly as sweetspot as the iS96 in marginal 7.2m conditions (where the iS96 is really flying early, all the time, the iS87 has to be guided with a bit more skill/trim and is a little more vulnerable in lulls or mark rounding if the rider is heavy. But considering your described use, this really should not be a huge problem, especially when considering the iS87 proven GPSSS range as well !!)

The whole thing about recommending boards for GPSSS is that most often the guys focussed on this side of the sport (or selecting equipment for it) are not very "compromise" type guys (at least when it comes to discussing the "best" board for the job.) That's to say, they often don't care about the 100 great fun days they had on iS101(etc) when on one epic GPSSS day they all got beat by iS87 (etc). You get the idea. (Mark and Menno, that was not commented at you guys, I know you have a good balance on that ) But in the end it's all about making a balanced choice ("compromise" is a bad work to hardcore speeders ~ but that is what it really is !!). iS76 would be the hardcore choice but not enough compromise towards what you will be using the board for on those other 99 days..

Boards like PA ride very lively at speed and so they naturally feel fast/er than a calmer board at the same actual speed, so having an accurate GPS (etc) benchmark is important. Having sad that, PA86 (bigger brother to PA80) is definitely a fast board and although he never fronted to defend it, I once bet a guy a case of beer I could beat his speed board using my PA80.
One of the key factors with "speed" is really about expanding the window of performance(potential) as much as possible, to ensure the best chance of the best performance on the best day. With PA80/86 etc, a suprising performance may (!!) be possible if absolutely everything else is in "perfect" mode, however the reality is that this is a very difficult (or rare) scenario, and on most occassions having a board (or equipment) that widens the opportunity for optimum performance in given conditions is the choice most likely to deliver. If you had to tune up a PA86 for GPSSS, I would suggest a small A (US) box fin of freerace or raked slalom style, fast foil and size around 24cm, with a sail around 5.5m. If you REALLY wanted to be serious, fill in the spare fin box sot with a (removeable) poly filler etc. My bet was with wave fin (22), no tricks. But no doubt eiether the iS87 would have been an even safer "bet". And I'm not a gambler.

Cheers ~ Ian

Tim Fast
29th September 2007, 05:41 PM
Hi Guys,

thanks a lot for all your extensive and profund comments!!
I think i am convinced now and will go for the IS86. I hope to get one out of the 2008 series already as 2007 seems t be pretty sold out here in Germany.
My plans is to go testing it in first week of november in South france.
Stay tuned for the GPS results !
Thanks again to everybody !