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Old 16th January 2015, 05:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 52
Question Isonic 97 wood or carbon?

When the wind is good for a 97 board, I have always choppy conditions in my spot. Planning to use it with a 7.0m race sail.

I was reading the report of the Special Test edition of WIND Magazine, where they wrote in the final verdict:
"The only CLOUD on the horizon is the excessive stiffness for some riders in choppy conditions.

My question are:
1 - is the board working nice in choppy conditions?
2 - is better a wood model to control the board in those conditions? what are the differences in performance between the 2 models?


PS: really don't like the blue color of the board and it's completely useless. If you need to be rescue, they will never see and find you in a board with the same color of the sea.
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Old 20th January 2015, 10:00 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 104

Hi Emil,

The differences between a carbon iSonic, and the same model in wood, are:
- the carbon board will plane slightly earlier, and will accelerate marginally faster
- the wood board will be much more comfortable, especially in the chop; and it will be more durable: apart from the inherent superiority of wood over carbon when it comes to longevity, Starboard and Cobra started building wood boards a dozen years before they started the current type of carbon construction. I would guesstimate that for every wood board that develops a problem, there are 7 to 10 carbon boards, that do.

For slalom racing, you have to use a carbon board, because after every jibe, it will pull away from a wood board. But for long distance races, or drag racing with friends, over choppy water, the superior comfort of the wood board will enable you to pull away from the guys on a carbon board.

I also sail over choppy water, and my rule is that all my iSonics up to and including my 107 are in wood, and anything bigger is in carbon, because when I use bigger than 107, there is no, or very little chop, so comfort is not an issue, and for those bigger boards, the difference in weight between wood and carbon is quite significant.

I hope that this helps.
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Old 31st January 2015, 11:55 AM   #3
kapten k
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 56

Not with the team, but i had the carbon 97 from 2011 with a wood bottom and changed to the 97 in carbon from 2014. the new shape and rockerline is a huge inprovment, the 2014 feels a lot faster and glides through lulls like crazy. And both boards are very controllable in chop. but the 2014 version is a lot more tiring for your feet when sailing in chop. i mostly sailed both boards with a 7.9 and 6.7 vapor.. the 2014 carried the 7.9 alot better.. and i can even sail with a 8.6 although its not completely balanced.

I have seen more problems with the wood versions in my spot. And the carbon version is easier to repair (for me). But if you make a big crash the wood will hold up a lot better.
And i absolutely love the blue color and will never buy a wood version if a carbon one is available.
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Old 15th February 2015, 06:34 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 52

Except for the blue color (better say “sea color” or “no-meaning color” or “they-never-find/rescue-you color” or “sorry-for-the-crash-the-boat-didn’t-see-you color”), I share your opinion about the wood model.
It's definitely stronger in case of crash but I'm seeing in my spots a lot of problem with almost all the wood board. It tends to change color of the wood very soon as like some parts absorb water (see pic attached).

I had a 107 model 2012 carbon and wood bottom. Not very impressed by the control in the choppy, compare to the full carbon board. Plus, last year all the grey painting at the bottom was falling apart. I am not really encouraged to buy a wooden model again.

It’s even true that: “A full Carbon board is very stiff and often in rough conditions the bottom of the board will impact hard on the water, which results in the user experiencing a very nervous-like feeling. Wood contains the right characteristics. but would be too heavy and lacks durability.”

So even if I could get a little more control on the wood model, with the cost of the board nowadays and the devalue of the wood model, in case of selling, that looks like damage, I will buy a carbon one, even if I have to paint it ;-).

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Old 16th March 2015, 09:57 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Greece
Posts: 103

Hi guys

I have been riding Starboards since 2005. I have had both wood and carbon boards. I have to say that I will never buy another wood board. I read what Thierry P said about them but I personally disagree. The wood boards started to crack after 2 years and looked as per the photo posted by emil. They looked like they were dug out of some ancient ruin where as the carbon boards looked as good as new (with the exception of the 'yellowing'). Also on my wood boards I had to get and resurface anti slip coat after 2 years cause of the cracks and I was scared that it would start to absorb water.
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Old 16th March 2015, 03:42 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 52

Perfectly share your opinion Van.
Plus I add: try to sell a board in those condition. You need to super devalue it and still difficult.

Just noticing how Starboard is far away from this thread mmmhhh!!!!
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Old 17th March 2015, 05:14 AM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Thailand
Posts: 2,478

Hi Emil,

We have since 2012 a sticker who cover the wood who stop this bad effect completely.

Wood construction is more comfortable as is less rigid and responsive than Carbon but personally I prefer Carbon as is lighter and is always more easy to run with light shoes than rangers
But also Wood for long distance is better make less painful in knee and back, also cheaper and more durable product. Both have their advantage.

Hope this help

All the best

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Old 17th March 2015, 06:24 PM   #8
mark h
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NW England,
Posts: 724

I must be one of the lucky ones. In the last ten years I recon I have had about 25/30 SB formula's, Free formula's, F-types, sonic's, iSonic's and speed specials and never had any issues.

Most keep't for around three years before upgrading, and never had any problems with the wood finish. The only issue I ever had was with a deck strength on a Formula 158. Apart from the F158, all the other boards where still looking good when I sold them on.

A lot of sailors at my beach also use wood iSonic's, and I have not seen any as bad as the emils isonic, you must have been unlucky.

The only area which does get damaged is the white gel coat edge, but this is from the carpark where I rig up, a rigging mat would prevent this.

For this reason, I will always stay with wood versions. Wood I can sail "all" day, carbon made me much more tired.
Cheers - Mark H

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Last edited by mark h; 17th March 2015 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 17th March 2015, 11:47 PM   #9
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 257

I can see the advantages of wood over carbon but I do not like the look anymore. It looked good when it first arrived but now looks very dated. Are there any plans for Straboard to paint the wood boards the same as the carbon models?
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