Alright, I have an amazing price on a 2007 Flare 88 that has been used for 2 hours total. I am looking to get into freestyle and think this board would be awsome. I am going to be sailing it with a 5.8 down to a 4.2 in conditions that varry from flat water to choppy conditions. I sail a hypersonic, and am aware that the freestyle boards do require a front foot riding style. I can learn that for sure.
Should I go for it? I am 150 pounds/67-68 kg
Or, I have the choice of getting a 2006 RRD FSW 85 for the same price. I hear that RRD is one of the best makers of FSW's and read lots of reviews. I am only worried, w ith its weight of 5.9 kg, that its going to get damaged easier. Not the thing to worry abotu when trying new tricks and forwards etc
The RRD is a nice board which a few of my friends had an liked, but its more of a wave/crossover board and not as dedicated for freestyle as the Flare. I personally never used the 88 but used to have the predecessor the 06 Flare 94 (actually a few liters smaller, I think, so pretty close to the 88). I weight as you and the 94 was very easy to get going also with bigger sails like 5.9 and even 6.3. For pure light wind freestyle efforts, a bigger board will be easier maybe, but for a more all round performance over the 4.2-5.8 spectrum the 88 is probably a very good choice. Its good both in flat stuff and in chop and has a very nice freeride feel to it also, when you get tired of just busting tricks. You might wanna get a bigger fin for 5.8, especially before you get the hang of sailing with super small fins like most freestyle guys do.
I have the 88 litre flare 07 and It's just the best board I've ever ridden. It's a board that's all about control and fast freestyle. It's pretty wide for its volume and it doesn't slide around as fast as other boards which gives you the feeling that you have time to flip the rig or to do whatever you need to do and it makes you feel comfortable. It's also pretty fast so when you are powered up it pops effortlesly, but in my oppinion feels a bit sticky when you are underpowered. A great board for spocks, grubbies, flakas and switch moves, you can easily step into switch stance because the board's not tippy at all. It's also a good board for the old school tricks like carving 360s and jibes and stuff like that.
I'm 60 kg and the board is just about the perfect size for me, i use sails from 5.6 down to 3.7 and my fin is 13 cm(just cut down the stock drake crossover fin).
My dad also uses it now and then, he's 70 kg and mostly uses a starboard sonic 95 (2004), not a freestyle type of person, rides more on the back foot similar to what you've written and he hasn't had any spin out trouble with his 6,2 and the 22 cm stock fin, and also no major spin-outs with a 5,3 and my mini 13 cm fin.
I've also ridden the RRD fsw 85 2006, it's not as good as the flare for spinnig tricks, can't say that it's not a good board for freestyle but it's just not the Flare. The RRD is I think 2 cm narrower which makes a surprisingly big difference even when riding in a straigh line, and the difference is pretty obvious when not planning, in tacks and in carving maneuvers. It is a bit easier to pop in my oppinion, because you can feel the board come off the water, which isn't so with the flare. Because of that, the RRD is better at speedloops and jumps in chop.
All in all, although both boards are great, for freestyle you should go with the flare.
And lastly - as much as i'd love it, i'm not in any way connected to starboard and therefore not obliged to promote the boards. This post is just a statement of me as a proud owner of the flare.
All the best and have fun in the world of freestyle
the selection of the board depends on your home beach and the beaches that you visit, if they have a really small chop well, i would go for the flare, but if your home beach is bump and jump, get the rrd, i like the rrd verymuch, the rrd boards are really easy to pop out of the water, i can do lightwind stuff with it and if im tired of freestyling i can practice some waveriding because the rrd fsw is truly a nice hybrid board, the best in my opinion(i have tried alot of hybrids,(syncro,kombat,jpfswand spice) and its lighter,tho that depends on the riding style ofcourse, me myself i like very light boards, they are easier to start freestyling with and doing newschool tricks, better to control in the air, and later if you get really into freestyling get a flare or another pure fs board!
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