RE: SB Hybrid Carve and Phantom VS. Kona Exocet
Hi GEN and Scotty,
Since I've sailed both the Hybrid Carve (extensively since Sept. 05) and recently the Exocet Kona for a day, I can give a little more information here.
Don't know about the Phantom yet nor the Serenity but from the photos I've seen, the Phantom/Serenity aren't going to be "dual mode" boards in quite the same way as the Hybrid Carve and Kona.
By "dual mode" I mean a board that has good performance in sub planing conditions with the center board down and good performance in planing mode with the centerboard stowed up inside the board and the gaskets closed.
Here's my "take" on this.
The Hybrid Carve is shorter and wider and weighs significantly less so in planing mode it really does feel like a big Carve (only a little heavier).
In fully planing conditions, with the centerboard up, you can plane along at nearly the same speeds as the big Carves. It's a pretty nice ride, the board goes upwind well on the fin, and it even jibes fairly nicely.
The Kona does this as well, but it feels alot bigger as the Kona is much longer so you have a lot of board up out of the water in front of the planing surfaces.
So overall the light wind feel and performance is probably similar.
When the wind comes up, both of these "dual mode" boards really take off and have pretty good planing speed.
The only real difference would be the extra weight and length of the Kona (which may to some degree enhance the sub planing performance) which does not allow it to "feel" like a smaller board when being sailed in higher winds.
There was a Kona out yesterday at the Canadian Hole in about 20 knots of wind, and (similar to my experience on the Kona) it was pretty much "keeping up" speed wise with people on 90-120 liter free ride boards.
So, overall, the Kona and the Hybrid Carve (and perhaps some other
"step hull" boards) are in a class by themselves.
I think the Phantom will compare favorably with Equipes and Div. 2 boards, but without the "step hull" it won't be a true "dual mode Hybrid".
Hope this helps,