Need to remember that that spot in Fortaleza is really like nowhere else on the tour. It's a very difficult place to get your gear tuned up for as the chop and swell work in really strange ways there. No doubt the 161 is still a competitive board, but I think what you see happening with Gabriele (as well as other guys like Wilhelm etc) is that they are choosing boards for specific events because they own every size starboard board. I know Briel has +10 boards in his garage in Forta!! There's a big difference in what gear top riders would register if you had to use ONE board all season compared to bringing 2-3 models to an event and finding the best shape for the conditions. But great to see you can literally buy any board from the last few years and still be competitive.
Also on the sails ... Briel's in a great position in that he doesn't have a sail sponsor; which means he can just go and buy the best sails for him and get them SUPER dialled in over many seasons. The sponsored guys have to take the new sails each year. Those 6's he's using have no original battens in them and I'll bet he spent a long time finding the right mast. The 6's were a pretty amazing sail though... lot's of guys still hunt around for them in stores if there are any left. Wojtek rocked up in Puerto Rico with 3 of them for the Worlds... brand new ones even... !!
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