I have owned and sailed the first generation Phantom. (I think it was 308 long).
I now have a 2nd generation and a 3rd generation Rio M. I also had the older Rio M that
was simply a Start without the roller wheel on the back.
The 2nd and 3rd generation Rios are much more like a longboard/transition board than the
older Start based Rio.
In my opinion the Rios make a much better transition to a giant shortboard than the Phantom I had.
Please do not put me in your "categories".
I spend at least a hundred hours a year teaching newbies in the "A Taste of Windsurfing".
I sail a Rio M for 4-6 hours per day when teaching.
I sail alot (again a hundred hours or more) in non-planing conditions.
My students learn more (during their first time on the water) in non-planing conditions.
I sailed and raced (got a few trophies to prove it) longboards for several years, and vintage longboards (Tiga Swift, F2 Phoenix 340, F2 Lightning Race and 380 Race, Mistral Superlight) so I miss your category here as well.
Your points are well taken.
The Phantom is a very nice board, I'll have to see if I can try one of the newer ones.
I have tons of experience on the Rio M, and find it exceptional for beginners (once past the super wide early Start with a center fin stage).
I also have sailed the Rio M with a 6.5 m2 in about 20 knots, and not very many shortboards seemed to be getting by me.
So I guess the Rio M might be as fast (faster maybe?) than the Phantom.
Also, I do not know about the availability of the Phantom 320 in the USA.
I do know that there is a stock of Rio M boards.
Hope this helps,
Last edited by Roger; 12th May 2010 at 08:03 PM.