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ChrisN 20th April 2010 06:50 PM

Light-wind Blaster 140-155L - iSonic or Futura?
Dear SB team

I am considering a light-wind board - not a Formula though! Looking for either Futura or iSonic in the range of 140-155L for planning in 5-15 knots.

I'm appr. 90 Kgs (185 pounds?) proficient (np to waterstart in smaller boards), yet I am learning slalom gybing. I expect to sail that board in relatively flat waters with wind chop (typically off- to sideshore winds).

I have 3 freerace sails in 6.5, 7.5 and 8.5 m2 (Simmer) and consider a 9.5 (if I can fit in on a 490 cm mast w. extender).

I need to fit this board in between the following:
  1. Naish 11'9 SUP (for light-wind fun) for 1-5 kns
  2. NEW BOARD for 5-15 knts
  3. RRD X-Fire 120L 2009: 15-20 knts
  4. SB HyperSonic 105 (from 2003, yet acquired new in 2007): 20-25 knts

What board would you recommend me :confused:? Should I go for the:
  1. iSonic 144 or 150?
  2. Futura 141 or 155?

Finally, should I go for WC or Wood? Also seems that the 2009-10 models are VERY similar! Any recommendations are highly appreciated! :rolleyes:

Best Regards and thanks for this great forum :)


Ken 20th April 2010 08:40 PM


Not on the team, but here are a few points.

At 90 kg, you will not plane in 5 knots on anything with any sail.

Your best bet for the earliest planing board is the iSonic 150, a wider board both at the mid point and the tail than the Futura.

All of the boards are great below 15 knots

Even with the iS 150 and your 8.5, the threshold for planing will be about 9-10 knots at best with a lot of pumping. If you want to get going in 7 or 8 knots, then you need a much larger sail. The 9.5 will be a good choice, but an 11.0 will give you the best bottom end (new mast and boom?).

The smaller iSonics are a more technical ride than the Futuras, but I don't know anything about the differences in the larger boards. Someone from the Team will have to help you here. They can also help you with the WC or Wood choice.

Hope this helps a bit.

ChrisN 20th April 2010 09:42 PM

Thanks a lot. Your comments are already putting things in perspective. Sounds that in the 7-15 knts range the best board would be the iSonic 150!

For my weight (~90kg), is the difference btw. iSonics 144L/85cm and 150l/93.5cm so large? Do the 8,5 cms in additional width and 6L volume help planning in the 5-10 knts?

What you also wrote about the sails makes sense. I would need a 11-12 m2 sail, yet even from 9.5 m2, I would need a new mast+boom!

Thanks so far!

agrelon 21st April 2010 01:39 PM


Originally Posted by ChrisN (Post 40563)
Thanks a lot. Your comments are already putting things in perspective. Sounds that in the 7-15 knts range the best board would be the iSonic 150!

For my weight (~90kg), is the difference btw. iSonics 144L/85cm and 150l/93.5cm so large? Do the 8,5 cms in additional width and 6L volume help planning in the 5-10 knts?

What you also wrote about the sails makes sense. I would need a 11-12 m2 sail, yet even from 9.5 m2, I would need a new mast+boom!

Thanks so far!

Hi Chris,

I posted a thread a while back about early planing and the conclusion reached was that for planing in 6 knots and above, at your weight, you're going to need an 11m2 rig, with a formula/super wide board and 70cm fin. I reckon an iSonic 150 (definitely WC for lightwind planing) with maybe a Severne Overdrive 11m2 (I wouldn't go for a full on race sail as it will probably be too heavy and more expensive).

The good thing about this set up is you will get the earliest planing possible and the range should be perfect from 6 to 15 knots of wind.

The bad thing is that it's probably going to be quite expensive (new mast, boom, fin, board) BUT you will get as close to formula style early planing as possible without being on a full on formula board.

I'm just regurgitating what I've learnt in earlier threads so you definitely want to hear back from someone on the team.

ChrisN 21st April 2010 02:16 PM

Agrelon, thanks for your reply and recommendations given previous threads.

It does make sense as you say to go for the 11 m2 Rig (which is going to be quite expensive) on an iS150. Many people like that board in the forum so it would probably be beat choice.

My question though is whether an 11 m2 on an iSonic 144 would be as good for early planning as the iSonic 150 in my weight-class (~90kgs).
While the iS144 is only 85 cm wide to iS150's 93 cm, you can buy the iS144 in WoodCarbon (iS150 only in Wood), which is ~1,5 kg lighter!

Thus the question to the team (Remi, Roger, etc) is iS144 WC vrs. iS150 W on an 11m2 - which one will plane first in flatwater conditions in 7-9 knots?


agrelon 21st April 2010 03:23 PM

I didn't realize that 150 wasn't made in WC. Interesting trade off between a WC 144 and W150, weight for width. I would probably go for the 144 WC. I think the reduced weight will make it more fun to sail, and at least partly make up for the reduced width compared to the 150. I'm pretty sure both with an 11m2 rig and the same fin would plane up in 7 knots.

The 150 might plane up tiny tiny bit earlier (again, for the team to answer) but I would rather trade off that very marginal planing ability for a livelier, lighter board which is going to be more fun when the wind picks up a bit.

Ken 21st April 2010 09:45 PM


I think the extra width of the iS 150 is more critical to early planing than the weight difference, plus you can use a longer fin which will also help. The extra volume of the 150 may help a little, but it is somewhat insignificant.

At your weight, to plane in 7 knots, it will take a 12.0 sail and a formula board, so don't get your hopes up. I have an 11.0 and a formula board (last 8 years) and weigh 78kg, so I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to plane. I sail were the winds are variable (up and down), but with pumping, I can get on plane in about 8 knots. At 10 knots, planing and speed increase significantly, at 6-7 knots, I fall off plane.

With the 150 and an 11.0, you will not have much fun unless the wind is at 10 knots or more. You may be able to plane in 8-9 knots, but you won't be able to point or bear off much, so you will be stuck with just beam reaching. With the wind over 10 knots, you will be able to point moderately high and run off the wind about 110+ degrees with good speed & much deeper with more wind. It's a lot more fun if you can take advantage of the large board and sail all over the lake/ocean rather than staying in one place.

mark h 21st April 2010 10:49 PM

Hi Chris
Sorry to cut in on the SB team, but just read this and thought I'd chip in with my 2 cents worth:)

I have tested the iS144 and the iS150 back to back with 9m, 10, and 11m Warps. Here's what I learn't. Bear in mind I'm 105kg and 196cm.

*iS144 with an 11m will "not" go any earlier than a 10m. Too much sail weight on board and slogging is fairly hard going if the wind disappears. 9m and 10m are best for this board.

*In winds ranging from 10 to 20 knots (9m and 10m), the iS144 feels faster, is faster, gybes better and is generally more fun c/w iS150.

*In the winds that you state, 5k to 15k you will need the iS150 and at least a 10m and a grunt 64cm fin. In reality, 5 knots is not do-able, so 7 or 8 knots to 15 knots is more like it. In this lighter spectrum, the main difference between the iS144 & iS150 is that the iS150 will feel more "powered up" and better upwind/down wind angles c/w the iS144 which will be struggling in sub 10k winds. Yes, the iS144 will get going (with active slalom style ridding) in sub 10k, but its very physically hard work to do "all day long" and you will feel "under powered" with poor upwind/down wind angles.

*If your sailing in sub 10 knots most of the time, then your much better going with a Formula board and 10/11m. If your sailing mainly in 10 to 12 knots than iS150/10m is fine. If your sailing in 12 to 15k the iS144/9m is fine. Just depends on whether your in the up or lower end of the wind range you quoted.

As a guide for minimum winds to get planing, and ideal winds to feel fast and powered up, I'd go with this (but bear in mind there are lots of variables):

iS144: Min wind in 10m, 9/10 knots (feeling under powered and pretty slow)
Ideal winds in 9m, 12k to 20 knots, Feeling powered up, big smiles all

iS150: Min wind in 10m, 8/10 knots (feeling ok powered, much more powered than iS144)
Ideal wind in 10m, 10 to 15 knots, feeling powered up nicely.

Jean-Marc 22nd April 2010 05:01 AM


Good advices were given above for a true planing hull above 7/8 knots winds with +11 m2 sails. You will need to extend the upper wind range of your SUP up to that wind value to cover it all.

However, for true 5-15 knot wind range, you can also consider a Phantom 380 with a grunty 9.5 sail. You have both world of gliding and planing with only 1 setup. Much more fun than schlogging on a Formula/wide iSonic below 7/8 knots wind limits but slower than a full-on wide planing hull above 8-10 knots. The bonus is that you can skip the costly addition of a newly complete +11 m2 rigg setup.

By playing the devil's advocate, have you tried your SUP in 10-15 knots winds already? What kind of sails are you using ? How good/bad is it WRT schlogging/planing ? Most importantly, is it fun to you ?



ChrisN 22nd April 2010 05:29 PM

Jean-Marc I agree, the Agrelon, Ken and Mark H. deserve a Medal, and I hope SB appreciates the time & effort they put into advicing and sharing their great experiences with your products for newbies of low-wind windsurfing like myself. I'm impressed by details of Ken's and MarkH's responses - Ken's experience in sub-10 knts sailing, and Mark's excellent comparison of the iS144 and iS150.

No doubt that sub-6 knts windsurfing is a major challenge, yet for a guy like me that started windsurfing in 1979, and continued for 25Y as a short-board, sinker dude, coming up to a SUP has been quite a deja-vu from my haydays of Mistral Competition Epoxy (18 kgs masterpiece in '79), and my Division 2 racing in 81-82. Then everything about low wind dissappeared for these 3 decades until after a 5Y break I thought I should return into the Windsurfing ratrace. Yet, to get into shape I bought an SUP (11'9, 230L) from Naish, which actually got me into this whole exciting puzzles of Slalom and Low-wind gear.

The Naish SUP with a 8.5 Simmer 3XC can sail from app 2 -10 knts without a problem, yet its length and weight (have you remarked that no SUP manufacturer state "weight"?) make it a snail when it comes to planning. Love Ken's points on "pumping", cause coming on a SUP you really learn what the word means, as the surface is not easy to "unstick". As I sometimes sail a spot with swells, in no wind it's important to have some speed, so to get onboard and waveride (which is a LOT of fun). So SUPsailing in low-winds is fun in waves, while on flatwater not exactly exhilarating; not the way Ken described it as coming up 'n down. Maybe a better fin (=longer weed fin), would make the SUP come up to plane faster?

Above 12 knts the SUP even with its loooong, small pintail becomes a chop-smacking, "slamming door" type of experience with massive volume in the front-end to mid sections (like the Cobra boards of the mid 80's). I've sailed a Formula board once and it gave me a different feeling, yet the door effect was still there!
The difference btw the SUP and Windsurfing boards became very apparent as I switched from the SUP to sailing the RRD X-Fire 120L right after. It was such a transition of sensation of acceleration and sound - going from the bang-bang of a snail to the shwwww of a fast-moving racer - both on a well trimmed 8.5 Cambered sail with a 48 MFC fin. It was a trip and then I catapulted in a damn weed island!

What is also evident in your own marketing, is that light-weight is important in low-winds acceleration! I tried a Technora & WC Futura 122 in 7.5m2 (15 knts) winds last year in Egypt, and there was definitely a difference in acceleration and keeping the board on plane - ít felt like the "lightness" took you faster through lulls.

That's why I kept asking the question to you/Team on "Width versus Weight" for 2 boards (iS144-150) that are extremely close when sailed in 10-11m2 and around on avg. 2,5 Beauf. or 10 knots.
a) If I put a 11m2 Overdrive on a WC iS144 with a 6x cm fin, it's still a floater for me (as I'm 15 kgs lighter than Mark, yet my bad technique will make me follow his recoms). It will blast then from 10 knts.
b) The "heavier" iS150 Wood will be able to reach planning faster given its width (Ken mentioned: "only slightly"!), thus I can just as well go for a monster sail (12> m2) for 8-16 knots range of sailing. Yet we are not abs clear here!

Have you done any such weight to width comparisons? If WIDTH is more important than WEIGHT, then why did you launch a WC line at all? JP has a GOLD line with Carbon+Honeycomb, often >1-2 Kg lighter than their normal Wood cousins (e.g. JP Super Sport 74 V127 with Length: 250 cm /8'2" , Width: 74 cm /29.1", rec sails: 6.0-9.0m2 and Volume: 127 liters, comes in 3 variants GOLD: 6.6 kg/14.6 lbs, PRO/Same as SB's WC(?): 7.0 kg/15.4 lbs, and FWS/FULL WOOD SANDWICH/similar to EB Wood(?): 8.0 kg/17.6 lbs - all with variances of ±6%). If WIDTH as in the Formula boards is such an issue, why does everyone makes boards on the 120+ cm ranges - my suspiction is that they are not FUN to sail in "normal" = Choppy seas. So, can you please chip in in this final round - if Width is IT, then I'll go for it, and drop all pretenses of buyng a cool lighter board for lighter winds...

Non-team folks, thanks for all the given advice so far! Let SB then enlighten us on the Weight vrs Width issue (unless all of you gurus have done that too) ;-D


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