View Full Version : Shox.xtr

5th May 2010, 03:35 AM
Does anyone have experience with the SHOX.XTR of North ?


It looks cool.

But does it work like they promise ?

7th May 2010, 12:52 AM
No one tried the shock absorber yet ?

11th May 2010, 09:56 PM
There was a test in one of the latest issues of boards. Didn't look at it in detail but I think the verdict was that on shortboards it was useless, but that on bigger boards, like formula, it was beneficial.

12th May 2010, 12:17 AM
Hi agrelon,

Do you have the URL of the test report ?

12th May 2010, 01:48 PM
It was in the magazine at the library here. Next time I'm near I'll pop in and get more details. Unfortunately, the magazines are only for reading, no borrowing, so I'll have to jot down the key points they mention.

12th May 2010, 01:59 PM

This was the issue.

12th May 2010, 04:38 PM
The Boards article, gives a bunch of general information generally from North as far as I can see and then gives their initial impressions and overall which are as follows:
Initial Impressions - We tested the shox head to head against standard North bases with cammed sails in a freeride/freerace capacity as well as with smaller rotational sails for freewave and freestyle. In all situations, the first thing you notice is there's movement in the UJ, meaning it's definately working. With bigger cammed sails, the testers said the whole experience was smoother, which gave them more confidence to push harder and go faster. Some felt it more through the gybe, whilst others said it helped them keep the board on the water in overpowered situations in steep swell and chop. With smaller rotational sails, the testers said the impact of the shox was less noticeable but still made transitions much smoother. It was difficult to tell whether or not it increased pop for freestyle. As for the claims of making all sailors immediately faster, listen up. One tester returned to the beach saying that he felt faster without the shox and was adamant that he'd beaten his shox GPS speed. However, the GPS doesn't lie and he was in actual fact 3 knots faster with the suspension!
Overall - Available with both RDM and SDM masts, North have the system ready to roll out for sailors of every discipline and all abilities. After using a shox, all the testers said that they'd rather sail with one than without. It doesn't stop the board bouncing in chop, but certainly reduces the impact that has on the rig. It seemed more noticeable when used with bigger boards and rigs, perhaps because smaller boards tend to have more rocker and therefore bounce less. The shox definately helped riders feel more comfortable through gybes and blasting over chop, therefore allowing them to push harder and increase their speed.

So a slightly wishy-washy summary in my opinion, as I've been watching independant opinions on the shox with interest to see if North's claims could be confirmed by independant sources. My personal feeling is that if it really does add a knot or two extra speed then it's well worth the money, as to get this extra performance from rigs, boards and fins one would have to spend significantly more!! So I'll carry on watching the market comment for a bit and see if I can get a demo sail with one at some point soon before taking the plunge I think - however I'm keen to hear comments from anyone else who's had a chance to try one - after all forums are a great place for sharing thoughts on these things!!

12th May 2010, 06:25 PM
There is a test in Planche Mag (FR) this month. I only had a glance at the conclusion. It says that the Shox increases comfort and possibly speed for intermediate sailors, but the difference is not significant for advanced ones. Various sail/board combinations are tested. I will post more details tonight.

When the tendon joint was introduced, it was supposed to be faster because stiffer. Mostly a matter of feeling, maybe.
I wonder if an old school joint would not do 80% of the job.

12th May 2010, 06:27 PM
Thanks Charlie for filling that in! Definitely interesting to know that it does work.

12th May 2010, 09:03 PM
Thanks Farlo too! I'd be interested to know what Planche Mag's view is - I guess we'll also know in the next week or so whether the North world cup race team are using them, as the Ulsan event kicks off this coming weekend, and therefore if they do indeed make a difference to their performance - for me that'll be quite a strong indicator if it's definitive one way or another! Also thinking about the old school UJ versus the tendon joint versus the Shox a few thoughts:
In theory the shox only allows damping in the verticle plane, hopefully giving the same forward drive as a tendon joint in the horizontal plane, so only absobing wave/chop energy and no forward sail drive. I guess the problem with the old UJs was that they "felt" slower as they probably had some vertical give in them, not transmitting 100% of all the vertical bumps into the rig, however I can't imagine that they would have allowed anything like the 6-8cm of absorbtion travel that the shox does, by the same token a tendon joint probably "feels" faster because it transmits every small shock and vibration into the rig! Only my thoughts here though!

12th May 2010, 09:09 PM
p.s. - I saw this quote from Kevin Pritchard on the PWA site.....

PWA: Are there any new products that you think will give someone the edge?

KP: "I heard that the new North Sails mast base with the shock absorber is going pretty well, but Nik Baker (Fanatic, North) told me that... and he works for them! I think everyone has little bits and bobs that will make them fast."

13th May 2010, 12:45 AM
Let's see if they will be using the Shox next week in the PWA Ulsan Korea Slalom competition.

13th May 2010, 01:29 AM
A few more things after reading the whole article in PM. The Shox makes all boards less nervous (as you would expect) and slower to plane. No difference in top speed or even average speed, except in rough conditions where intermediate sailors will feel more confident. In some occasions the Shox was slower. Not very enthousiastic, indeed.

13th May 2010, 01:45 PM
Hhmm that doesn't seem very positive at all, I'm a little disappointed, I was hoping it would receive positive reviews everywhere! - I guess on the early planning front it might even reduce mastfoot pressure??

13th May 2010, 08:35 PM
Early planing could indeed be the thing where the shoe pinches.

Especially when pumping is involved to get planing, you can use a lot of lift excercised by the sail and mastfoot onto the board. This is probably where you DON'T want vertical movements of the rig. Once planing though, I can see and "feel" intuitively a lot of benefits.

It's probably a little bit the same like with a moutain bike. When going uphill, a back wheel suspension often causes the back wheel to slide on slippery surfaces with a loss of performance as a result. While going downhill, the back wheel suspension has only advantages in absorbing the shocks.

If anyone has already used the shox.xtr, please share your experiences.

13th May 2010, 10:46 PM
i read in Boards mag they loved the shox. it said something about every tester would rather sail with one than with out and that it did help the speed a lot... also the north team have won every uk BSA slalom even this year using the shox extensions so they must be fairly good.
i hear most of the north dealers have demo extension available which is what i will do to really test them for myself. i gather you should use a gps to really see how much faster they are when you go from a normal extension to the shox then back again.
i look forwards to hearing more about this.

13th May 2010, 11:13 PM
As far as I know there's only been one UK BSA event run and as you say it was won by Guy Cribb, with Mat Pearch and Ant baker second and third, all North sailors and all apparently using the Shox - however this may be as much down to their sailing ability as to the extra performance from the shox - however next week in Korea might give us more indication! I asked Andy Biggs - if they'd have a demo extension and he replied that Nik Baker (as North importer) has the only current Shox extension available in the UK at the moment...

20th May 2010, 10:55 AM
Hmmm... Rumour has it the North riders are not using the shox in Ulsan. So it's claims of "increased speed" and "control in gybes" might not be quite as effective as the marketing makes it out to be.

21st May 2010, 04:22 PM
That's interesting - It was impossible to see from any of the photos whether they were or not! However even if they were it didn't really make any difference to the results!! Apart from maybe Jimmy Diaz....
It would be good if we could confirm that rumour, I'll try and make some enquiries!

22nd May 2010, 01:37 PM
I got an answer to my enquiry - apparently most of the North guys were using chinook extensions in Ulsan!!! Make of that what you will!

22nd May 2010, 03:25 PM
jimmy ended up with one of his best results ever - and what i hear is that most races he was on the shox

mark h
24th May 2010, 05:45 AM
I really like most of Norths products, especially their Warps, masts and booms, but for £300 for the Shox, I'm not convinced its worth the extra .001% gain or hassle with breakages etc. I loved the concept of the XTR extensions, but spent loads of time sorting repairs. Also, we use loads of effort maintaining mast foot pressure for early planing, speed etc and I feel that the Shox could counter this. Could be wrong, but until im 100% certain that there are easy gains, I'll not be getting one, "for now":)

P.S. Jimmy D has been training very hard this year, that could be why he has had a great start to this session. Would like to see him do well this year as he's a top guy.

24th May 2010, 03:22 PM
The cost was also pointed by Planche Mag. The Shox leaves me a bit skeptical, although I've been a North fan for a while and like many of their products too. A slack of 6 to 8 cm seems exaggerated if the main purpose is vibration damping. Stiffer is not always better, but simpler often is. An old school UJ may do 80% of the job for a fraction of the price, without compromizing too much on nervosity.

26th May 2010, 03:03 AM
Motion Windsurf Magazine has in the latest edtion also an article about the shox.

It sounds rather positive.

In summary they say the following:

- Shox has no sense on mirror flat water

- In chop, it WILL make you faster. They ground on experiences of speedfreak Alex Lehman, chief editor of the German Free Mag and Windsurf Journal. It made him 4,5 km/h faster on "simple" freeride equipment, which is quite much at 60 km/h.

- it absorbs shocks quite remarkably with flat landings of high jumps.

26th May 2010, 04:56 PM
That's interesting, it makes sense and is perhaps consistent with the conditions in Ulsan - from the footage and pictures that I've seen the breeze was relatively light and therefore the water was flat - hence no advantage really to be had from the shox, therefore inconclusive, perhaps the real test will be on the Canaries leg of the tour when it is traditionally windy and therefore pretty choppy - we'll have to watch out for those events!

2nd June 2010, 10:16 AM
I have one. It´s wonderful. I freeride mainly 150 liter, 100 liter boards and speed and comfort is a hell of a lot better. Now sailing with the Shox for a couple of times going back to the hard hitting old base is terrible. Downwind i chop it really stands out. Everyone will use suspension in the future after trying this.

4th June 2010, 11:27 PM
Is it really that good? Another quick question I had too was this: In some of the pictures I've seen it looks as though the inner shaft for the shox (painted black when new I think) gets worn quite quickly, I guess it must be easy to get sand etc in it - have you found this to be a problem, or is it just paint coming off?

6th June 2010, 03:25 PM
Hello #26, what is your level of practice? Have you measured speed improvement or is it mostly feeling?

6th June 2010, 07:13 PM
All right, that does it.

Gonna get one too.

Is it true that the rig sits a bit higher up off the deck of the board c/w a normal extension ?

10th June 2010, 05:13 PM
I'm thinking about getting one too - I did ask on the PWA ticker whether the North sailors were using them and apparently Jimmy Diaz used them for every race in Korea - as they say the results speak for themselves!

15th June 2010, 09:40 PM
I wont be buying one.

I work in a shop in the uk and bought some power XT needles.

They stopped working after 2 uses each.

All i got from North was an "FO son".

IF we need shock damping how about using a rubber "wave" uj as opposed to a tendon joint (which is supposed to be faster cos the power transfer is more direct ??)


9th January 2011, 10:35 PM
Her my experience with the piece maybe that help you for your decision.
I have used the Shox.xtr for wave (Baltic and North sea) since September 2010. It works and it reduces chops tremendously. That´s the main problem on the baltic sea, especially for light sailors. Now I can sail faster and get later overpowered. The buttom turns get more smooth as hard hits after jumps.

The downsides are the high price and the lack of a security line for the tendon joint. I have build my own one for critical conditions and I will replace the base afetr 100h, as NP recommands.

The metal tube in the side gets scratched during use, but since the wall is think it is mainly a optical issue.

Victor Fernandez used it on all rigs during the PWA in Klitmøller and he did crazy jumps.

In October I was told that a supplier in Germany was starting the production, because North was skeptical about the quality a Asian supplier could reach. That seems to be the main reason for the high price. I do not know how easy it is to get the piece now.

Btw, I have use the North Power XTs for several years and they are reliable and wel functional. But in case you have an older model, make sure you replace the plastik insert with the metal one to stop the robe sliding. And rinse it in fresh water regularly.

Greetings from Denmark