Yesterday I took the 97 out with the RS Racing 7.2, Tectonics Goldwing 38 and 36. It was great!
In the morning the wind was not very strong, so I could test the planing abilities of the 97. I think the board planes like the 101, maybe slightly better. The straps are positioned great! Natural stance. The masttrack is moved back. Therefore the board rides on the fin more, is more loose on the water, is better upwind maintaining high speed upwind. Gybing is remarkably better than on the 101, the thin nose cuts through the water.
Later the wind picked up, 7.2 was quite big sometimes, I changed the GW 38 for a 36. Here comes the biggest difference compared to the 101: what a control in this 97. The 97 feels much more in control, stays flat on the water and reaches high speeds due to the control.
For me the 97 is the better board, it's actually more "clever" with better strap postioning, deep deck and mastrail backwards with better control. I did not think the difference was this big!
Great job you all did Remi, It will not be easy to make the 2012 edition much better!