Berg, Im still on the old 161 so no fin expeience on the HWR. But the following might give you some pointers
First impressions of the HWR and LWR
First impressions of the HWR & LWR from Jesper Vesterstrom.
Jesper recently was in Japan competing and used the board during the event with 12 and 10.7 ... Wind was between 6 - 20 knots. Water was from off-shore (flat) to onshore with big chop...
When I first got on it, I straight away felt that the board sits a lot more free on the water, being used to sail with the track rather back than recommended on the 162 I quickly found that doing so on the HWR the board was sitting nervous on the tail. I moved the track to where it was marked from the factory and it was spot on. The board rails up really easy and there is no need to push hard like on previous boards. I felt I sat comfortably and was enjoying the smooth ride.
The board offers good control in strong wind and chop and the mast track can easy be adjusted to the front without the board loosing to much speed upwind and downwind.
The new Carbon/Wood technology gives you a crisp felling while sailing the board and I didnít feel like I was sinking into the board when pumping hard in light wind. The Carbon on top really makes a difference. The new cut outs made me get on the plane super early - and testing against the Japanese top sailors in the light winds was a good match as they are relatively smaller, compared to myself. I was on the plane way before they where and last year they planned way to early
I must admit that this board is my favourite in conditions from 15-20 knots.
The round noose offers a lot more control going trough chop, both up and downwind and with the more narrow tail it is just to easy. The board is a ROCKET and the best formula board I have had under my feet to date.
I did not test the board in light winds, however want to compare the 2 when I get them - as I think over a competition with strong winds this board will have an edge on the other formula boards which are more all round. I actually think its a luxury to be able to make a choice.
I will get back to you with more when I have compared the 2 boards.
First Impressions of the Starboard HWR & LWR from Wojtek Brozowski
HWR is a great evolution of 161 which was the best board I have ever sailed. When sailing HWR you feel it seats much higher on the water. You feel like the board is not touching the water, which is extremely pleasant for reaching and downwind, just like riding a slalom board. Upwind performance is also much improved in regard of upwind angle. The board has more press against the fin and the feeling that you can go much higher upwind. The production HWR that I tested in Santa Pola Worlds was much better in upwind angle and much, much better in downwind speed and depth than my best 161 that I used in World Championships. HWR and LWR are with my opinion by far the best boards on the market today. This boards advanced in design a lot comparing to 161.
First Impressions of the Starboard HWR from Chris Ting
Chris Ting, from VMG Blades, received an early release of the new Starboard HWR board. After 3 weeks of testing, here are his first impressions...
So far I've had the Starboard HWR board for over 3 weeks. I've had many different conditions to test from 6 to 25 knots; ranging from light flat waters to messy chop. I've also competed at two events in the NSW Windsurfing Series.
I've tested with the following sails 11.8 Neil Pryde RS Racing, 12 & 10.7 Neil Pryde RS Racing Evo II. Being 90 Ė 95 kg and over 182cm, this is the recommended board for my build.
The first impression of the HWR is that it looks very similar to the old Starboard 161; but with closer inspection there are significant differences. The outline is very similar, however the rocker, cut outs and the bottom shape are quite different. I'll go into more details on how this affects the performance in the next section. In short, the new HWR is an evolution that has improved on previous Starboard models.
There is significantly more scoop rocker than previous models, which is very obvious when the HWR is placed next to a 162.
The bottom shape of the V and concave has also increased; making the ride much softer downwind and helps the board ride higher over the chop.
Looking at the bottom of the board, there is the Tiki sticker, which shows the wood finish. I think it looks cool. There's also a long Starboard sticker running down the middle of the board. It has very thick edges, but I've been told that this will be removed on later batches of boards.
The mast track is the same distance from the tail as per the 162 designs. I'll talk more on this in Settings.
Starboard has also made changes to the new hybrid wood construction. Moving away from the previous generation's wood decks. The new carbon deck feels noticeably stiffer than the old boards and feels sturdy underfoot.
The new construction has brought the weight of the bare hull down to about 9 kgs, which is lighter than the 162.
Initially I set the mast track at the recommended position. At this position I was not able to get any back foot pressure and felt like I had too much weight on my front foot.
I gradually moved the track back at 5 mm increments to find my sweet spot. For me, this was 3 cm past the recommended mark and 1 cm behind my 162 setting. Upwind at this spot I now have great back foot pressure and the board trims well.
The foot straps have returned to the thinner, less bulky design from a few seasons ago. I positioned them all the way back, which works well for me.
Also note, the new boards no longer come with a screwdriver so hang onto your old ones.
Overall the HWR is a livelier board than its predecessors yet retains that familiar 'Starboard feel'. The HWR has a wider groove, making it freer and easy to sail. I like that this can give me more options around the racecourse.
The board rides high above the chop, making it less physical and more comfortable to sail. The increased rocker contributes to the nose riding higher and is noticeable when compared next to other boards on the water. This is not a concern, as the trim is stable and the board does not tail walk.
In rough and overpowered conditions the board remained stable, even with the mast track set so far back. Downwind, the ride is much smoother and forgiving.
Downwind over the back of steep waves, the 162 (and to a lesser extent the 161) could make me cringe as the nose sometimes caught the wave. The HWR rides over waves smoothly and without that imminent feeling of being catapulted due to a bad wave.
In light winds, the HWR needs more vigorous pumping to pop it up onto the plane. I'm thinking with the increased nose rocker, you are initially pushing more water before it pops up onto the plane. When I got it onto the plane, it would stay there and once the conditions filled in, it was no longer a problem.
The new Starboard boards aren't provided with a stock fin. So I did my testing with various VMG Blades' fins, including prototypes. The existing fins for K70, K73 and K76 all work well, immediately auto-trimming and complimenting the board's performance.
It feels like the board still likes a fin with reasonable amount of rake, i.e. not too upright. This is important especially considering the placement of the mast track.
The prototypes I've tested are showing excellent results. I won't say much more until the development process is complete, but I believe the ideal fin will further enhance the HWR's performance.
If you would like to pre-order or register your interest in the fin, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Starboard HWR at first glance appears much like its older predecessor the 161. However, there are significant changes to the rocker, V, concave and cut outs making the board much livelier and easy to ride in all conditions. The board has a wider groove and works well with all VMG Blades' fins. I can easily say this is the best board I have ridden from Starboard and it should not be confused with previous models.
If you'd like to learn more about Chris Ting or VMG Blades,