RE: Evo75 vs. Evo74 range
Nice to read Scottys view one things.
I haven't gotten as much time on the 75 as on the 62, 70 and 80 but I do have some thoughts. I'm 69 kilos.
The first thing is that just as on the other sizes, the performance on wave is better on the 07 than on the 06. This particularly applies to the cutback, or to be even more exact, a fast cutback on a clean wave. The new XTV shapes simply go rail to rail better and is more forgiving when setting the new cutback rail, so you can get away with a bit less precise setup for that type of turn and still not bounce out. Or conversely, with a good setup you're rewarded with a more precise feel from the board. This also makes clearly makes it more tolerant to lots of sail power since with a bit too much power, it gets noticeably more difficult to get the top turn setup right. This adds to the range of the board in the sense that if now handles both "super low power" conditions where you only use the wave power, and also more sail powered surfing which is effective when you want to add some flair in cross onshore and/or slow wave conditions.
Other than that the 75 has lots of similarities on a wave to the 74. Its still the loosest board of the EVO bunch. It does not "stick" to one place on its rail but lets the rider change radius incredibly well any time in the turn. In slower waves this also makes it the most "surfy" EVO (maybe the most surfy board on the market?) and you can really find speed from the wave by setting a lot of rail and use the shape of the wave to accelerate.
So, how is the "straight line" qualities then? I would say it has indeed changed a bit. For me it has taken a few sessions to get a feel for it. The first session was sideshore powered up 5.3 and it felt just fine (24cm Drake Natural fin). Then I had a super underpowered cross-onshore 5.3 day (same fin) when the board felt unresponsive (until in a was on a wave where it just came to life "from nothing"). Then I had a more gusty day with 5.5 and the Natural 25cm fin which was kind of enlightening since the board very small changes in sail power did lots to the board. My conclusion is that it prefers a tad more sail power than the 74 (and compared to other EVOs). It simply has a more defined lower limit and once you get above this is breaks free and then "glides" very smoothly and as Scotty writes actually rides livlier than the old EVO 74. When you're below this limit it feels like it will take a lot to get it planing, but it is in fact only very little. Last friday I again had a light 5.5 session. The wind strength did not feel much different to the previous session. It was still not really "fully powered up" but the sail was at least reasonably "filled out". This time I was flying all the time (25 fin again) and pretty much didn't loose planing a single time (despite kind of tricky conditions with noticeable downwind current). I aslo used the EVO 80 and Kombat 87 (24cm fins on both) this session and the EVO 75 was just as effective keeping upwind as any of them (but the Kombat was still more natural in a straightline, but that comes with the concept of that board).
So, from my experience so far I would say that the 75 likes a bit more power when its marginal. I think it can be so little that a differnt sail trim might do it. Since the board handles powered up sails VERY nicely, you can also safely try a larger size if possible.
To that I would add that the 22 original fin is probably too small for most. It may be a good compromise for the total sail spectrum fo the board (down to 4.0 or something) but few people will be happy with the 22 with sails over 5.0 (which is a range where many people will use the boord). The 24 or 25 is a good complement. I tried the board with a stiffer fin (Drake Crossover) and that works, but personally I prefer a big but still soft Drake Natural. The big sizes of the Naturals are wonderful, just like the small, and all of them have a super big range, so you can safely get away with a quiver of 22 and 25 and then enjoy the whole spectrum of this board perfectly. I personal choose fins at least as much depending on the wave riding speed on the particular day as on sail size.
As for the Boards test, I think some of it has to do with where they were testing and what they were expecting from the board. My understanding is that they tested at an onshore spot with small waves in fairly marginal conditions and they have this "class" which they call onshore riding boards. While the EVOs of course ride frontside on onshore conditions pretty good, I think its is very far from the "core" of the EVO-project to deem it an "onshore riding board" only. For me its rather a "all round riding board". I haven't come across another boards which covers such a big spectrum of winds and waves. I don't doubt that there are more specialist boards which feel more lively when riding wave in marginal onshore stuff but I seriously doubt there are boards which challenge the EVO when it comes to just how big a range of conditions the sweet spot of the board covers, both regarding different types of waves and regarding high and low wind.
Just read the test from the other british mag Windsurf (who tested in different conditions) you'll see more of this all round ability described (its clickable from the EVO product page, I think).
Hope this helped a bit too. Hopefully you will form your own opinion soon and we'll love it if you report back.