View Full Version : 2006 Sonic 95L vs. 2003 Hypersonic 105L
10th November 2006, 07:36 AM
I currently have a 2003 Hypersonic 105L (Dram) and I'm thinking of replacing it this year with the 2006 Sonic 95.
Can anyone tell me what the major differences are?
I'm 150lbs, 6', and will be using it with a 6.3 and a 7.6 in gusty and choppy conditions.
10th November 2006, 03:32 PM
I owned a 2003 HS105 DRAM and changed it for an HS111DRAM in 2004 and a S95 2006 after that, so I could have some answers. Only, I am 185, 6'3".
The Hypersonic is a very, very fast board with an ugly ride. I love speed but can't have fun on the HS, so I first tried to tame it going to the newer version 111, after that I gave up and changed to a classic design. Nevertheless, I think that in choppy and gusty conditions the ability of HS boards to eat up all the chop and fly through gusts is unsurpassed.
S95 is a classic design. It is fin sensitive, as opposed to the HS that even worked on those odd squared Drake '03 designs. It likes to fly on a beam reach, as opposed to the HS that only wants to go either upwind or very broad and, if one wants to keep that about 90 degrees angle, he has to force it. S95 can be de-powered when maxed out at full speed, taking advantage of reduced sail angle of attack and lesser fin drag to push even more upwind or to stand up and gain speed in gusts if needed, while the HS requires a dedicated, no-exception, fully totally power on ride with lots of continuous pressure on the board and lots of leg fatigue. The S95 JIBES, not as smoothly as my older narrower RRD boards but it jibes nicely, while the HS... well, you know it. It will be perfect with 6,3 and will still be plenty useable but not perfect with 7,6, while IMvvvHO the HS was in its sweet spot with 7,5. At your weight, I doubt you will see big differences in early planing; in fact the HS developes a lot of lift once at speed, but is rather sticky; while the 95 is slippery and needs less input to start up planing. I mean that a big guy could easily pump the HS up to a plane in lesser wind than a S95, but I doubt that a light guy could exert enough pressure to see a big difference.
In the end, if I was in your shoes, I would do that change. Only, please get yourself a good 30 fin for the 6,3 and a good 34 fin for the 7,6. Deboichet SL2s work greatly and the moulded construction will keep up for years, as opposed to machined fins.
10th November 2006, 06:20 PM
Is there a particular reason that you are making the enormous jump from a 77 cm wide board "Course-Race" to a 59 cm wide "down-wind slalom" board?
These two boards are about as far apart as two boards with just 10 liters in volume difference can be. You question "can anyone tell the difference" sounds as if you REALLY are looking for racy slightly smaller board.
If the assumption above is correct then the iSonic 105 would probably be a better fit. It sails a lot smaller than the HS, and is much more manouverable. Your sails also seem to be much closer to the sweet spot of the iS 105 (except of course if you major significantly on the 6.3).
10th November 2006, 11:41 PM
I'm looking for a change. I don't want another board like the Hypersonic. Not that I didn't absolutly enjoy it, but I'd like to get a more classic style Slalom board. I feel the hyper even though it's 105L is just too big for me, it feels like a small formula board. I was in Margarita for a couple months this past spring and had the chance to try an old style Pro-Tech WorldCup Race board, and I loved it so much. The hyper's great for all around wide range of conditoins and you're garanteed to go fast and have fun, but what I want now is something that's more dedicated and no comprimise. Plus, I've always wanted a sonic. The reason I bought the hyper in the first place was because I found one locally at a very good price.
So I guess my question here isn't should I switch to the Sonic 95L, but if I did what major advantages or disadvantages would I see.
Keep in mind, another factor is price. I major reason I'm considering the Sonic is because a local store has one in stock and at a good price. If I were to get a new iSonic, I'd have to spend an extra $400 or more...and I'm a student so money's tight.
11th November 2006, 07:05 AM
I feel the hyper even though it's 105L is just too big for me, it feels like a small formula board.
Yes, it does with my 143 lbs x 6' frame (183 cm x 65 kg) as well. One crucial point with such a special board is to tweak your fin quiver with your sail quiver when considering our light body weights. Forget the stock fins if you really want to enjoy it up to its full potential.
Here is what I'm using since 4 years (constant wind range) :
1) 7-9 knots : NP RX2 10.6 sail with Select Team Zero 54 cm fin
2) 10-12 knots : same sail as above with a race/slalom Fin's 40 cm fin
3) 10-13 knots : NP RS2 8.2 sail with same fin as above
4) 13-15 knots : same sail as above and Select Elite S03 32 cm hard fin
5) 15-17 knots : NP RS1 6.6 sail with same fin as above
6) 18-20 knots : same sail as above and Deboichet speed slalom 26 cm fin
7) 20-25 knots : 5.4 sail with same fin as above.
As you can see from above, the HS is all about its huge usage range. No other hull can achieve that range. The trick is to use very small fins when overpowered with a given sail. Even with tiny fins can I go upwind like crazy, unlike all the other boards that I have or have tried so far and still be in total control. And yes, this is a race/slalom board that requires some pretty high technical skills to be able to enjoy it up to 100%.
The only negative that I've found so far with my HS105 is that in high swell > 1 m high, it does get really scary to fly it over big chop and wind > 18 knots. I'm honest to say I much prefer to step down to a narrower board (Carve 111 or Kombat 86) to enjoy blasting in such B&J conditions.
So, if you get really choppy conditions even with your largest sail, I presume it will feel much less "mini-formula"-like on a narrower board such as a Sonic 95. However, this is a pure slalom shape that requires some high skills to be able to enjoy it up to its full potential (racing jibes; full cambered sails, sailing in overpowered state pedal-to-the-metal all the time, narrow usage range windows, etc...). This is no easy laid back freeride or freewave board. If you can demo it before buying, go for it : you will see it surely has nothing in common with your actual HS105.
11th November 2006, 09:25 AM
With Jean-Marc's comments above concerning slalom boards, I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to respond with some of my thoughts. I guess that the thought that one needs to follow this strict path with slalom boards, and ultimately deal with a bunch of hardcore and difficult parameters is quite arguable.
Actually, if the rockerline is sweet, regardless of the hard rail lines, I find slalom boards can be quite maneuverable and forgiving, and still wickedly fast. Much of performance, as Jean-Marc correctly pointed out above is subject to proper fin use. Also, in my experience, I've found that varied sail combinations can create similar synergies. The idea that one must use 4 camber slalom race sails to gain performance is a misnomer. Of course, competitive pro level results are usually grounded in full cambered race sails, yet that doesn't mean that very respectable speed and control can't be achieved with much simpler well designed camless sails. So much of sailing performance is grounded in a sailor's experience, control and style. Life isn't nearly as always as difficult as some might want you to believe.
A fast slalom rocker through a minefield environment can be demanding, but so much of it is understanding how power sailing can level the playing field. That's the real difference in my mind. No hard criticisms, just a different opinion about the value and fun of slalom board performance, even in a free sailing environment.
11th November 2006, 10:43 PM
After reading JM's and steveC's comments, I like to add this.
No, the Sonic 95 definitely will never feel "mini-formula" like. And, IMHO, and after having sailed both, it will ask much less skills and input to enjoy when compared to the HS105. By sure it eases the rider to "pedal-to-the-metal" sailing, but can do without it much better and easier than the HS105. Yes, it has a narrower usage window when compared to the HS; let's say it works very nicely with a 7.5 (but probably a wider iS does it better), is everything one can ask for with 6.5 and 6.0 and probably is still very useable with a 5.5: no more than that...
The S95 is just an easy sweet board, manouvrable and forgiving and wickedly fast, that is a joy to use with any good speed oriented sail. Nevertheless, IMHO again, the best and easiest way to enjoy its performances is to complete it with full on, cambered, top of the line slalom sails. I see really no reason to do without a rigid leading edge, a super stable profile and a correctly twisting leech. I'd even say that with full on slalom equipment... "life isn't nearly as always as difficult as some might want you to believe".
12th November 2006, 12:32 AM
Thanks for all the opinions guys! There are a lot of good points made. I'm probably going to get the S95 and I'm sure it'll be a great board, especially if I do a few races. Right now I'm using a WindWing Hammer 7.6, so not a full on race sail but I'm very impressed with it's speed and performance in overpowering conditions. I'll be getting a new 6.5, but I'm not sure if I'll go with another windwing or try to find a true full cam race sail, depends what kind of deal I can find.
12th November 2006, 02:05 AM
Regarding Windwing sails, Bill Hansen is no longer associated with Windwing, so they lack a sail designer to keep things alive. I was a committed Windwing sailor for over 20 years, and I have always appreciated Hansen's awesome talent and noteworthy sail designs.
You should be aware that Bill Hansen has started a new company. It is called Hansen Sails, and you can check out what's going on at the following website:
Hansen has very recently developed a new concept in leach design with his recently released HCL Technology. It's a very novel design approach that has the strong potential to affect changes in sail design across the industry. Hansen Sails in the process of applying for a patent right now. Despite the newness of the concept, this new technology is available in a number of sail lines right now. In fact, Hansen Sails is taking orders right now. I'm currently in the process of ordering a new wave sail right now. I think you find everything very interesting.
12th November 2006, 09:36 PM
personally I chose Maui Sails TR-2 sails. I think they are somehow like the S95: no revolutions, just refined, tried and tested performance. Indeed they work. The 9 batten frame provides total stability, despite a "soft" feeling; one just has not to worry about their phisical weight, I can assure that once on the water the weight disappears and is replaced by a feel of well balanced rig. Only, they require proper masts (Maui Sails, '05 and earlier Gaastra, maybe some Fiberspar) because of a specific luff curve.
15th November 2006, 06:11 AM
You might consider reading these 3 years old posts about what you can expect between Sonic vs Hypersonic :
15th November 2006, 04:32 PM
About those old threads...
The first one was started by me.
Now, after a few years, I think I did the right thing buying my first Hypersonic 105, so that I was able to test and sail a revolutionary concept board.
After that, I did a mistake the following year, when I decided to give that concept another try and I bought the (slightly) improved Hypersonic 111, instead of returning to a traditional, high performance modern slalom board and take advantage of the (then) newly released Sonic 100.
Now I have a Sonic 95. It is my biggest board and I do not regret it.
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