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Old 15th August 2010, 02:06 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,191

Sorry if I permit myself to "stretch out" a bit on this issue, but here goes my take on the subject.

The original EVOs were indeed awesome and a big hit right off the mark, particularly the 74. I even heard that what became the original EVO 74 was one of the first, or even the first, proto made. And like you say, the EVOs really did provide something new to the wave board market when it comes to making wave tiding accessible. It was not only the width and compactness and general easy of turning, but also _how_ they reacted in a turn, basically making the hardest part of the turn (when you go into the second phase of the bottom turn and want to go back towards the wave, preferably to hit the lip) much easier, almost like the board was on autopilot. And I would say the original EVO 74 was the king of this. I often sit and witch at various "real world" breaks, watch many "real world" video clips etc and EVERY time it strikes me that more than half the people would sail twice as good on an EVO (even if some of them would hate the feel). It's just remarkable how many wave sailors that seemingly do everything right, but yet don't get it together and manage to get back to the wave and hit the lip. In many, many cases, I'm 100% sure a board like the original EVO would instantly help.

But you have to remember that even from the beginning, EVOs were not only marketed as "beginners wave boards" for onshore much, but as all round wave boards for all sorts of conditions and riders. For the more performance oriented wave sailing it provided a new style that not all liked but that some people loved. And another thing to remember is that the EVOs were criticized by some for feeling to slow and "inexact". After the first wave of more or less quick and dirty EVO copies from other brands, the market segment got a bit more diverse and many brands opted to go for faster and crisper feeling boards with almost the same level of "bad conditions performance" but with sacrifices in all round prowess.

With the XTV in 07 the EVOs took a step further towards the all round wave board, where all models got noticeably better in faster riding and in most cases the "bad wave performance" was hurt very little, if anything. The exception was the 75 which in its first XTV iteration went to far towards the control end of the spectrum so light wind and planing performance got hurt. But even this model was improved in 2008 by some adjustments to rocker and rails. Worth to note is also that in the last incarnations of the EVO xtv, rockers on the bigger boards (75+) got a bit faster in an effort to find a better (or at least differnt) compromise between get up and go, "crispness", upwind, speed on one hand and good turning qualities on the other hand.

I would say that in 09 before the EVO XTVs were put to sleep, they were really excellent all round wave boards with a clear twist towards performing in not so perfect conditions.

But despite the excellent looseness and turning qualities of the XTVs, when you stepped on one after having used some of the twin fin boards that appeared on 09 they clearly felt a bit dull. And even though twin fins were in the beginning perceived as "elite" boards for good quality waves, in practice they were often big successes for making shitty (and good) conditions feel more fun to intermediate wave sailors. I would still say though, that the "autopilot character" of EVOs was still better than on most twin boards, but since the latter was so loose overall they still for many people _felt_ like they helped the sailing more than a board like the EVO. This and the fact that EVOs never competed in the speed/upwind/crispness sector either (ie they were far, far, from fsw boards) as well as the novelty factor of twin fin boards, led to that the space where EVOs previously ruled was sort of filled out by other boards.

So in 2010, all effort were put into the Quads which offered upwind and planing performance much better than the EVOs and also in must situations a much more exciting wave riding experience. The shapes were developed from the ETs (except the smaller ones) which some felt were to slow in 2009 so speed and a "grippy feel" was a high priority. Early on in the quad development it was found that these boards worked well also as single fins (and as thrusters btw) and I suppose that somewhere along the line it was decided that these boards would pretty much outperform the EVOs across the board so the EVOs went. There was still a lot of the "autopilot" feel built into these shapes, maybe not as much as in the original EVO 74, but still a lot. In quad mode this gets slightly overshadowed by the fin drive, but some of it is there in single fin mode.

So with these shapes in the bag and with the next generation quads drifting a tiny bit more towards "performance sailing" a space was once again open for a new EVO. Essentially, the '10 quad shapes in s single/twin convertible version (made possible by the light slot box) became the new EVO IQ. I would truly say these ARE the modern version of the original idea from 03. Some of the plug and play aspect is lost by the double fin system, but for those who are prepared to change some fins once in a while, the new boards even covers a wider spectrum of sailor expectations and performance as well as a wider spectrum of conditions. The board are inherently faster than the older EVOs, but the main ideas with a straight mid outline for drive in longer turns and a curvy rear ("hip") for back foot turning and going vert are still there. IN single fin mode, the sailor get the fast and almost fsw like board the original EVO never was but with more than decent turning. Like a sharper version of the original EVO. And in twin fin mode, you get a combination of the "autopilot" stuff and drivey outline in the middle and the looseness of a twin fin. The number one qualities are then super easy and quick turn initiation (Twin), ease of keeping a rail in a longer turn (straight mid outline), ease of turning back towards the wave (outline hip) but now also fast and effective straight line sailing (for a twin, and again, in single fin mode better than most). So if you ask me, the new boards in every sense earns the EVO name and even encompasses more all round qualities, both for intermediates and experts, than the original did.

Last edited by Ola_H; 15th August 2010 at 06:36 AM.
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