View Full Version : Reviews on Boards mag.

22nd December 2007, 12:50 AM
On the Boards mag forum the Editor wrote..

So we have to be really really sure of our facts when we give a bad test out. And the chances are that the brand will then cease to cooperate with any further testing. So we negotiate an extremely perilous tightrope walk in our relationships with the industry when it comes to testing. Right now, we don't have any Starboard products in our tests (nor advertising in our mag), as we pissed them off so much with our Kombat test last month. So be it - it is their prerogative if they want to pull out. Hopefully they will return to the fold eventually. But there are several other brands who have not let us test them for quite a while now.

Can Starboard comment on this?

22nd December 2007, 05:38 AM
Lord No.........
Please dont drag the drivel (any of it) from the Boards site over here.

22nd December 2007, 10:23 AM
Here in Australia the UK and USA windsurfing or ski mags cost around $US17. Two of those for the cost of a good book! So I don't buy many.

22nd December 2007, 04:15 PM
Did you read the review of the 12'6" SUP Board - summed up saying that none of the SUP boards are really very good with a sail. Absolute rubbish, the 12'6" is fantastic and contrary to what they said points very well upwind even with a wave fin because of the length of the waterline. I'm certain that they didn't even try it. There seems to be a smugness form Boards Mag that really leaves me cold.

22nd December 2007, 04:49 PM
I highly enjoy the analytic approach of the boards.uk mag, and also their courage to stand up for what they believe (and find while testing). In some other magazines it is virtually impossible to find any negative comments. It is of course true that "all" boards are good nowdays, but there are still differences.
And the boards test team do have their preferences, for example with regards to what style of FSW they like (and oddly enough, what the guest testers like).

Another area where Boards.uk have strong opinions is in the area of longboards. And they don't seem to understand the philosophy behind them, neither flatwater nor wave-oriented longboards. In the latter case it is like "if the longboard cannot do shortboard wavesurfing (bottom/cutback) like a 75 l waveboard then it is crap".

Sometimes one just has to take opinions with a bit of salt, and "agree to disagree". So, as a christmas whish for Boards.uk: "Please continue to honestly flag your opinions"!

23rd December 2007, 02:31 AM
Boards is the best testing magazine in the industry with their analytic approach and put a lot of resources into it. You can agree or disagree with their findings, but they are good at explaining on what they base their finding on and their general thinking behind it. The also has a lot of integrity which is underlined by some companies not letting their test their gear and stopping advertising.
I don´t know the behind the scene scenario on the Kombat case, but I am sorry to hear that Starboard not send boards to Boards.

I´m also sad to see that Starboard has put a test result from Windsurf UK on their start page. Windsurf tests are bad. If you read them its often hard to separate one board from another, the test seams inaccurate and full of faults. I am prone to believe a manufacture putting a lot into test results from Windsurf to either not having other good tests to show to or having a bad product.

I know Starboard is a good product, but I strongly recommend them to get their act together and give us the opportunity to read Boards test of their stuff.

Bill Dawes
23rd December 2007, 06:27 AM
Did you read the review of the 12'6" SUP Board - summed up saying that none of the SUP boards are really very good with a sail. Absolute rubbish, the 12'6" is fantastic and contrary to what they said points very well upwind even with a wave fin because of the length of the waterline. I'm certain that they didn't even try it. There seems to be a smugness form Boards Mag that really leaves me cold.

Actually, I own a 12'6 Starboard (bought as a result of doing that test), and use it regularly in both windsurfing and SUP mode. I've been out on it in both styles this morning, in fact. There were other issues going on in that test write-up though, with regard to the windsurfing suitability of SUPs. The UK importers felt, and we agreed completely, that pushing SUPs for their windsurfing potential simply wasn't a wise plan for the UK market. Firstly, they wanted to see Starboard SUPs sell as quality boards in their own right, and not be seen in any way as glorified windsurfing boards (seeing as we have a strong surfing market to compete with here). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it is a tricky one for other reasons. SUPS are not built strongly enough to cope with regular whacks from the mast, which is what is very likely to happen if the board is used by beginners or intermediates for windsurfing. They had nightmare visions of a long stream of 'warranty' crushed decks coming in. And also, yes, if you're good enough to ease a board upwind on its waterline length, they do go upwind perfectly well. But we put early intermediates on one, in about half a knot of tide, and they simply couldn't cope. It is not an ideal board for upwind performance compared to other boards with daggerboards. So again, it's all comparative really. The bottom line we felt is that people should buy the 12'6 because it is a damn good SUP, and if they are a competent windsurfer and want to use it as such as well, then fine. But to actually promote its windsurfing capabilities at all will inevitably mean that some people will buy it primarily as a windsurfer. And then the problems will start.

As for the long board waveriding issue, our problem was actually the other way round. We have absolutely no issues with long board waveriding. It IS different to short board waveriding. What we were concerned about was the sudden plethora of pictures appearing showing people hitting big lips and getting huge jumps on long boards, at the same time as the "you can use these boards in the waves" message. Which simply wasn't right. Unfortunately I guess on both these issues we didn't really explain ourselves as well as we should have, since quite a few people have ended up getting the wrong end of the stick about what we were trying to say. Apologies for any confusion caused.

23rd December 2007, 01:55 PM
Well Bill I appreciate your response. I guess I have some issues with magazines taking responsibility for effectively controlling the market "The UK importers felt, and we agreed completely, that pushing SUPs for their windsurfing potential simply wasn't a wise plan for the UK market." Certainly let Starboard define this in their own literature, implying that the boards are not suited for use with sails seems to be a blanket statement that is certainly not the usual Boards minute detail examination of the issues. Your simple explanation in your response above would have been enough - it particularly irked me because I find that the 12'6" works so well with a sail and in fact this board has provided me with a fun solution for light wind with or without waves after years mucking around with Formula style gear and big sails.

I'm perfectly happy for you to criticize a board in a test - in fact it is essential if the tests are to have any credibility. I don't own a Kombat 89 but have tried one in non planing wave riding role and found it worked amazingly well considering it is an all round board - sure it didn't have the original fin, just a 24cm MFC wave fin (I'm 70kg). I was astonished with your findings but admit I've only used the board in this role and do have some personal Starboard preference. It concerns me that the mag. tests are taken as gospel and I do have some sympathy with Starboard or any other manufacturer getting pissed off with the whole nature of the testing and reporting process. Stopping advertising seems a little petty I must admit, maybe there is some middle ground with board users and manufacturers being able to respond to the test results and those responses printed a couple of editions later on. I believe that the gear testing is such an important role for the mags that to introduce some sort of ordered feedback would only enhance the credibility of the whole process - just an idea.

Thanks for responding.

23rd December 2007, 04:04 PM
Just like the old days.
It's just that Starboard is now the new Mistral.

24th December 2007, 01:32 AM
Your simple explanation in your response above would have been enough -

We did explain it in the article though, pretty much exactly as per my previous post. Did you see the whole test, or just the Starboard write-up? We went in to the whole windsurfing issue in quite some detail in the section entitled HYBRID BOARDS. The UK importers brought the potential warranty issue to our attention, and it did seem to make excellent sense.

The Kombat 89 is a different issue, and I would feel a bit impertinent arguing our reasoning behind the test here on Starboard's own forum, so I'll leave that topic alone, if it's OK with you.

Bill Dawes
24th December 2007, 12:11 PM
My apologies, just had it brought to my attention that the previous posting didn't have my name on it. But it was indeed from me.

27th December 2007, 08:29 AM
The Kombat 89 in the test, if this is the board in question, I did not feel received a BAD write up, BUT did not make it to the "OUR Favourites "list which included 7 of 11 boards tested, reported as not popular with guest testers, more appreciated by pro-testers. Windsurf UK tested the Kombat 96 and it received a nice review, quicker to plane than last years model, I dont have the complete test to compare others.

29th December 2007, 04:51 PM
Like many purchasers of windsurf gear, I would like to know what I am getting before I buy it. I have been windsurfing for 25 years and I could decide for myself, if I could have the chance to test them all. The best I could do is spend the money to go to the OTC in Tenerife and test all the boards, then have spent the money I would have spent on the board. Just explaining why independent testing or reports are important to me.

I was interested in the Kombat 96 and asked on here. I value the opinion of people who have no connection with a brand but have spent their hard earned money on it. I basically want unbiased, informative opinions. I do not blindly follow Boards test reports, but am constantly studying test opinions from any source for bias. I think generally, most windsurfers are smart enough to realise that a lot of what we read is influenced by people with financial links to the product.

I think replying to test results and putting a counter argument is a better way to deal with a less than glowing report. Withdrawing advertising infers to me that the company is 'leaning' on publishers to bias their results.

29th December 2007, 11:51 PM
Very well put.

As a Rocket, have you looked at the SOS or Tabou Rockets ?

30th December 2007, 02:25 AM
I hope that Starboard and Boards resolve their differences in private, face to face, no emails or phone calls.

I believe that the present situation is damaging to both businesses and UK windsurfing.

30th December 2007, 03:52 PM
I think both organisations are very professional and will sort out any differences.

I've only heard part of one side of the story so it would be unfair for me or anyone else to judge based on that.

31st December 2007, 03:14 PM
Very well put.

As a Rocket, have you looked at the SOS or Tabou Rockets ?

No. A friend has sailed a Rocket and it did not sound like my type of board. I might reject many boards which would be perfect for other people, because I know what I want from a board.

2nd January 2008, 04:02 PM
Pathetic attitiude by Starboard. Well done Boards for standing up to them. Obviously, Starboard's transition from a design/innovation led company to a marketing driven, Mistral clone is complete.

3rd January 2008, 02:21 AM
Starboard would be the major brand that talks direct with its customers via the web discussion forum and where 'unregistered' commentators can say their piece. From where I sit their business model is clearly different for example to Boards & More or the NP group. Having used product from all three I am simply pleased about the way they have all brought WS along over the years. With regard to Boards mag I think it a good read, but as previously mentioned the prices here in Aussie land are a bit steep (and that goes for all WS mags).

4th January 2008, 11:27 PM
Just popped across and read the boards thread.

I regularly read both Boards and Windsurf Mags and enjoy the board reviews within both. Boards reviews do make one think and theri panel includes guest testers as well. Windsurf on the other hand rarely makes any real negative points.

Surprised to see an advertising boycott by Tushingham and Starboard.

Tushingham is the UK importer for Starboard so perhaps it is only Tushingham….

Whatever, on the face of it, in my eyes, this apparent attitude of non-dialogue and withdrawal of advertising revenue as a result of a test report will be bad for windsurfing in general and for Tuhingham and Starboard in particular. Shame…

Incidentally I have within my ‘stuff’ 2 Starboard boards (carves) and 3 Tushingham sails (Lightning & 2 T3’s) amongst others….

Kind Regards

5th January 2008, 01:34 PM
...i remember that american windsurfer mag ( now defunct) stopped board testing for many reasons also some of the reasons listed here.
but some of us need these tests, heres why.
One comment here rings so true, going to tenerife and testing gear to buy, and then finding one has blown all the cash on said trip ( including bars booze and broads too) trip that otherwise would have been spent on a board is not a good way to pick gear .
( had lots of fun though)
Well, think , maybe this scenario is not such a bad thing when the 8'3" wave god board you bought sailing in tenerife like conditons
Turns you "mr cool into fool" as you sink on it in 8 knots back home in that blistering 8 knot zephr that regularly happen.

Ive sailed many venues , maui 6 times, dom rep tiwce,costa rica the gorge and the gear there aint going to work back home ( and home gear wont work at these place either , i found out when i took home gear to the gorge, a week long "body slamfest/ advil feast" ensued) the tacos/ cascade brewery malt took my bowels for a ride but i digress .

but i have always wondered what would it take to get a manufacturer to show their products off at a demo day(s) at a popular venue so people can sail and buy
Better yet a do it for a week at a time .I would have to drive for ten hours from where i am to get to a good sized shop for a demo weekend.
i say that as it just doesnt happen over here in canada , (does it elsehwere ??)

but if a shop sells a manufacters kit they should be obliged to demo gear on a regular basis.,
Give them incentives. Give the shop a better wholesale price on the demo stuff to make efforts worth their while.
Hey better yet, set up a starboard demo team for a few countries . "stopping in at a shop near you". It would not have to be Antoine Albeau or Kevin Pritchard.
There plenty of a wet behind the ears but keen eager youth to do the job , (i believe in youth they can do it, in fact when your young a stupid you can do anything i am old and stupid and still think i can ) no really young eager kids are capable.

I CAN SEE IT NOW, a team of hand picked eager, young guns on minimum wage, maximum stoke ,high G trip.
travelling over hill and dale , on a windsurf pilgrimage, spreading the stoke, to convert the heathen masses

( oh ohh is this the start of windsurfing fundamentalism? ,ah but i digress)

fueled by nothing except cases of red bull and chicken flavoured potatoe chips to a sailing venue near you, to ply these wares, and show how damn good this kit is!!!

It is that good,

isnt it manufacters?

then POP goes my baloon.

Obviously ......i am a dreamer,...and cash is king.

any marketing peon for a major manufacterer worth half his weight in salt ah er, ( windsurf reference) bottom turns , is going to make the big wigs damn as "the goods' can easily and more cheaply be pimped by glossy pamplets, websites , or in a rag with equipment reviews, ahh er make that rave equipment reviews!! ...

anything else doesnt wash ,
so again, maybe for these reasons the status quo will not change and unless starbord or any of the major brands shows up at my door with lots of kit on
1. a windy day
2. a day I have off work.
3. a day my wife lets me out of the house.

logical conclusion??

" jeff you need reviews ,"my mental spock speaks.

hmm yes, better yet i will keep sailing that old plastic tiga 268 slr and save my money for those maui trips.

spock, " a smart fiscal move captain"

me "but spock, not as fun"

"shred ", spock speaks " the vulcan temple of logic was not rebuilt from its lowly origins of a lava tube into a marble palace , to increase enlightenment of the logical mind, the addition of marble would do nothing of the sort and therefore be illogical"

he continued, " much like your rotomoulded tiga , being built copied and rebuilt soley of carbon fibre with a gold leaf covering , marble being too dense, would make feeling the free wind in your face or cool waters lapping at you heels which you have mentioned is the core of you shredding experience really any better in the end"

" yes spock true, but that board would get me the chicks in maui"

spock, "you cant go to maui they closed down the vacation rentals'

"damn them spock damn them, and pass me the rag with the reviews"

loose bowels be damned cabarete here i come


7th January 2008, 11:49 AM
Whatever that guy is on.... I want some! :-)

Good ideas in there though............

8th January 2008, 10:00 AM
wow, shred, don't bogart that, pass it to the left!

But Starboard DOES participate in some demos in Canada, at a venue complete with young zealots at minumum wage (though I think they had different sponsors).

At the Nininat WindFest two years ago there was Starboards a-plenty, and another manufacturer too (RRD maybe?-I forget) and young Wyatt Miller and Rob Warwick came with an inability to sail forwards holding the boom in both hands, a van full of North sails and other goodies, and a plea to buy their DVDs so they would have gas money to get back to Hood River!

Not sure what happened last summer, I was away. I know other years Starboard has had demo days, which I greatly appreciate!

9th January 2008, 12:20 AM
Roger Jackson (the gruff looking fellow in the photo above) does demo days all over the US. He is in Texas every year with a truck loaded with boards and sails for anyone to demo.

When he is not talking boards, he is giving free sailing lessons. I guess we are just lucky to have Roger come through ever year. Great promo for Starboard. Keep it up.

12th January 2008, 06:13 AM
The latest issue of Windsurf has test reports which to me seem to be prepared to say things other than nice things. I think that is a good sign. I understand that all design is a compromise in boards - if you make it good in a straight line, it generally loses something round corners. You cant have everything.
I think they mixed up the 'Conditions Bias' chart on the two Starboard boards (they need to employ a proof reader?). Again, the conditions and attributes vary with what the boards are aimed at, so the freeride test setup probably was not ideal for comparing the Kombat which would probably score better in a wave (or freestyle?) environment.
This seems perhaps a similar situation to the Boards one which this thread is about, in that the Kombat did not get a glowing report?