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Old 21st November 2006, 03:25 PM   #21
Ian Fox
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Default RE: I sonic 94

Ok, so here we go. Not sure where we should start or finish so lets just do it and see what happens..

The main question in discussion looks like "are traditional slalom shapes [or the guys who prefer them] falling behind the times ? Do the benefits of the [so called] new school slaloms really dominate enough over the more traditional boards to make the traditional boards redundant??"

Like many aspects of our sport, the answer (unfortunately) is never black or white, but in this case a very definite "maybe". So let???s look a bit more on the factors that can make EITHER choice a valid option (and considering at the end of the discussion there is a better understanding overall if not a final clear verdict).

Why does the iS101 seem to put the iS94 in the shadow ? I guess the history of this goes back to the HS, which was more about being more fast more often (wider fast range) than being lightning fast in a narrower range but more compromised at other times. This you can think of in terms of a power or torque curve for an engine : some engines (like F1) are super fast but have a very peaky powerband/torque curve. Others like a good diesel or big V8 have a lower overall output but deliver it over a much wider (flatter) curve; difference is one is faster (but only if you can always be in the peak), other might be pure vMax slower BUT easier to be faster on over a wider range of conditions (ie : when the F1 peaky engine already fell well out of it's peaky sweetspot).
Of course, here we can see the traditional slalom (F1) and the HS(diesel V8) ...
There's no doubt that if you take a guy who already has plenty of experience and conditions to make the F1(S95) sing, then lump them with a HS, he (she) may be unimpressed. but take a guy who doesn't have the skill/experience/conditions focussed around getting the best from slalom board, and that rider may (!!) find the versatility and "speed/range" combo of something like HS a more compelling and satisfactory choice than the (arguably ?) more technical narrow slalom like S95.

So what about iS ? Easy. After HS, we still searched to combine the range of the HS with the more pure top speed of narrow slalom and get closer to the holy grail. No, it doesn't mean that our racers don't need skills to race the iS, quite the opposite; rather we give them a tool that doesn't compromise much in raw speed or handling but can verifiably deliver that performance over a wider range than older designs. Out on the race course, in the varying conditions of real world racing (PWA, National or local beach drags) it often adds up to a better chance to be in front more often, hardcore or not.

So where's this relate to iS94 vs 101 ? Easy, narrowing it down to these two boards, there is a really strong potential overlap in there range. Especially as the boards are really very close in performance size, which further complicates choice more than expected, to be really open about it. By design, the difference should be a bit more, with the iS101 more a lighter wind version and the iS94 a higher wind version which is largely based on previous S95/S100 evolution, but with iS detail adders. What happened in final outcome is the 101 really does rock (and PLEASE, look past the team guys comments to the broader public on both predecessor iS105 and now even more the 101) - so the "expected" performance trade off of the iS101 when used into S95 and iS94 conditions was not so bad ( actually a lot better), with the overall result that in MOST (NOT all) conditions the iS101 is a very strong challenger to the iS94 if the rider is concerned about mid and below conditions. If only used in hi wind conditions (or pure speed etc) then the 94 remains the better choice between 101 and 94..

But, if the rider takes a 2 board solution, then the obvious choice is the iS87 (S85) + iS101(iS105) and yes, that leaves the iS94(S95) seemingly looking less popular. But, reverse the situation and take only ONE board that would need to cover (or semi cover) the full range of two (say, equivalent to 87+101 / 85+105 etc) and the choice is very clear: iS94. Of course, water conditions and rider variables do play a difference in where these choices really apply, but the general trend is clear. the "animal" style, while useful on iS101 in hi wind is no so essential as some might think (but yes it does work: A2) - BUT a rider with more animal style will be able to successfully use the 101 even further into the 94's range while still maintaining more bottom end and sail/fin oversize advantage with 101.. What really counts is a slightly higher level of commitment (physical and mental) to the iS101 (wide) boards c/w more traditional as the conditions get tougher.
In some ways, this is a bit like HS - BUT please don't confuse the HS ride with iS because it's also vastly different (HS was a "power" ride c/w more "glide" on traditional; iS is basically a traditional "glide" but with a mild bonus in taking more power as/when needed, but far less "compulsory" than required by HS to get decent performance.)

Other small factors can also influence the choice : for example when true slalom racing (M or Fig8) then often maintaining high speed is more important than pure top speed -and so factors improving planing thru lulls/holes/jibes/upwind(fig8)and recovery/reacceleration to top speed can be more productive than just pure top speed. (advantage iS101). Conversely, in pure powered hi wind, and/or speed trials or just pure ???drag racing?? (where accel or recovery to speed or upwind speed etc is less critical) then a more traditional design like iS94 is less compromised (or even more advantaged..) vs 101. Obviously, the more the ???speed?? is about real top end(vMax), the more a low drag (smaller) board/sail/fin tuning combo really starts to come into play ; the more it???s about accel or full power at all times, the more a high power/high/er drag combo may prove to be a winning combo even if technically (slightly ) slower vMax.

Narrow boards can (with certain riders) also win extra points for a sharper, more surgical type ride/jibe and/or even potentially a more relaxed (less committed) technique in the mid power/mid speed range. Taking that example to extremes, there???s no doubt riding a super small speed needle is super exhilarating, certainly moreso than a minislalom speed board, even if the needle turns out to be overall not as truly fast as the minislalom in many (most?) conditions. To some guys, this is a very valid factor in what they ride also.

Summary ?
Well, maybe not. But hopefully a better understanding of the merits of the boards in question, and some background to how they got to be where they are.
iS101 : a really outstanding ride in the mid slalom range. It is not ultimately a high wind weapon but makes a very, very good job below that.
iS94 : a really outstanding compromise between hi and mid wind slalom boards.
iS87 : Pure hi wind, not really compromised towards mid wind much but still very versatile (safe) c/w previous narrower (range) hi winds.

2008 ? More of the same ? No, I think some simplification (some could say ???rationalization??)could be in the plan, but only after everything???s proved beyond doubt.

Questions ??? I???m sure. Fire away.

Cheers ~ Ian

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Old 21st November 2006, 11:46 PM   #22
Phill104
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Default RE: I sonic 94

It's a long way off I know but are we likely to see something to sit between the iS50 and iS87 in the 2008 range or is there already enough overlap?
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Old 22nd November 2006, 04:57 AM   #23
ole timer
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Default RE: I sonic 94

thank's ian for this very complete and sincere analysis ....
i am very glad with my is 94 as only slalom board but i am very curious to test the is 101 ....
In fact i am not a racer, and i only look for exhilarating sensations ...that's makes probably an item which is very difficult to measure ....
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Old 22nd November 2006, 09:49 AM   #24
Ian Fox
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Default RE: I sonic 94

Hi Phill,

Yes it's a long way off, but yes you are likely ))))

Hi Ole Timer,

For sure it will be a really great opportunity for "pure" slalom guys to check out the iS101. It takes a couple of sessions to (re) learn the optimum iS technique (more focus/concentration on drive thru the rig/mastfoot pressure to get the best over chop or at super hi speed).
In just one session, quite likely a "narrow" slalom guy will say "nice, but I stay on my old one". Then after 2-3 good sessions, they automatically re-acclimatized to the iS and found the ideal technique (it's NOT quantum change like HS, more just a fine point, but one that makes a difference to taking the iS to the very top end. Without that extra detail, likely the short test results don't show the best top iS potential. but the more time you spend on iS the more you get from it, so it is true it "grows" on you.)

For exhilaration, I'd actually say the iS94/87 and previous S95/85 ec are more "exciting", the iS101 is almost too calm, steady, flat trim.
It's the same as the speed example mentioned; needle vs minislalom.
Many choose freeride/freemove boards simply for the exhilaration (very valid), no rule at all to suggest riding a slalom shouldn't be chosen more for the fun "feel" of the ride rather than the "thrill" of having the most competitive machine.

It's a very true point and perspective. Smiles per hour vs miles per hour.

Both are winners. Depends on the individual.

Cheers ~ Ian
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Old 23rd November 2006, 01:05 AM   #25
geo
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Default RE: I sonic 94

Thank you Ian!
Things are clearer now, and your explanation is a confirmation for my thougths.
After one season with modern rigs I discovered them to have so much low end power, so my choice for next year will be 6.3 and 7.0 (instead of 6.6 and 7.6). This makes things even easier for me. I will keep my S95, or maybe go for the iS94.
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Old 23rd November 2006, 06:33 PM   #26
mark h
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Default RE: I sonic 94

Hi Ian
In a previous thread you said that the iS94 rides smaller than the S100. Would be right in thinking that the iS94 rides more like the S90 than the S100?

I'm on S125, S100 & S90, and was going the drop the S100 in favour of a iS101. But I'm now thinking that I should drop both S100 & S90 if the iS is some where in between them. This might give me more time on board instead of switching between two boards!

The S100 & S90 are used for 5.5m, 5.8m, 6.4 & 7.6m race sails. The S90 only comes out in solid 25k upwards or if its very choppy conditions.

Is it viable to do this? or does the iS94 ride alot smaller than the S100 so iS94 not so hot in 7.6m conditions.

Cheers
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North Warps: F2012 5.2m, 5.7m, 6.3m, 7m, 8m, 8.6m, 9.5m F2006 11m.

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Old 24th November 2006, 08:28 AM   #27
Ian Fox
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Default RE: I sonic 94

Hi Mark,

The iS94 rides about midway between the S100 and S90 (not just on "size" but performance range etc) with the added difference that the S90 has a pretty hard mid section rocker, which tends to bounce a bit too harshly for some riders (most medium rather than heavy riders, but get "on top" of this harshness and the 90 is very quick).
iS94 rocker definitely not as harsh as the 90. However, in general terms the iS87 should be considered to be more the replacement (equivilent) of the S90.

Which steers us back to the current "favorite" 2 board quiver iS101 + iS87...

If you had to go to only one board to replace S100+S90 then the iS94 would definitely be the one as it will handle the 7.6m fine, but getting close to the upper sail size end of sweetspot - especially for bigger riders. At the other end of the scale, with West Kirby being a fast speed location, the iS94 won't double quite so well in "pure speed" conditions as the S90 or iS87 (in open water "speed" the performance disadvantage to the iS94 is a lot less). Same applies to the iS101; its open water speed is very competitive, in pure top end speed (super flat, super fast) there can often be a small but noticeable edge to the iS94 at the top end of the range.

Of course, there is quite a difference to what works best in open water "speed" (where competitive board speeds may be realistically 20-30 kts ) and/or open water slalom racing (accel/jibing etc) c/w pure high speed (flat water, where slalom speeds are 35-40+kts and accel/upwind etc is a lot less critical than topend)

Summary : iS94 would be a good one board replacement to compliment S125, especially if you focus on speed but don't often get to full S90 conditions. Consider the change to the iS101 over the 100 as you'll likely find that a better all round combo with 7.6 (and 6.4 in less than "pure speed" conditions). If you're happy with the ride of the 90 (it was fine by me but as above many suffered too much bounce to be super quick) then stay with that for 5.8/5.5m - or iS87.

Cheers ~ Ian
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Old 24th November 2006, 07:06 PM   #28
mark h
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Default RE: I sonic 94

Thanks Ian, its all clear now. Will go with iS101 for now and swap S90 for iS87 early next year.
Cheers
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The toys:
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North Warps: F2012 5.2m, 5.7m, 6.3m, 7m, 8m, 8.6m, 9.5m F2006 11m.

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