North Freestyle Fish *Photo Review*
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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:36 AM
First thoughts when I heard about this board was: "What? It has hooked pads so you could jump it w/o straps! That rocks."
First impression when I saw it in the shop was that is going to be a perfect board to learn how to ride strapless. Then I started wondering if it would be a little small for my weight Currently @ 230 Wind wasn't working with me the day I picked it up for the review so I had to wait a couple days for the wind to show up. When it did it was a little light but what the heck.
Wind 10-12 out of the north
Waves 0-1' small rollers further a way from the pier
Location: Grand Haven State Park South side of pier
Kite 08 Cabrinha Contra 3 14m
Like I said the wind was light for my weight and kite size but that wasn't really all that bad to test low end of both the kite and the board. I also had a 6'6" Yancy surfboard with me to compare back to back. Skip was also there and had the first ride on the board while I rigged up so I expect him to chime in as well. First tack out I was surprised at how fast the board was easy to get going and get the right balance with the your foot placement. I instantly felt comfortable and ready to call this board a old friend.
Now since I am learning how to ride strapless I can't really comment on the wave characteristic or turning ability of the board since I have not yet figured out how to make a complete transition and get going in the other direction but I will tell you this: With my limited experience on surfboards I felt more in control of where this board was going and less intimidated due the the shorter length. While on the Yancy I have a harder time getting the board to go in the direction I want, Likely caused by the incorrect foot placement and being unbalance on the board. With The Freestyle Fish I felt balanced and ready to tackle some waves feeling more in control.
Although I was unable to make a completed transition due to my lack of experience the hooked pads did help me get the board going in the right direction and I even was able to land a small jump (1-2ft) coming off the back of the wave and yes the board did stay on my feet. It was great. The Front and back pads both have an arch bar that helps with correct foot placement. The hooked pads also allow you to maneuver the board into position while you are trying to water relaunch after you fall off, yes you will fall off. With a quick flick of your toes you can be setup and ready to go in a couple seconds.
In riding the two surfboards back to back I was quite surprised that the Freestyle Fish almost had as much low end and the 6'6" Yancy and it is about 18" shorter. The flatter rocker and fuller tail really make a big difference.
I suspect that the Freestyle Fish will get a little hard to handle in higher wind and bigger wave since it does have such a flat rocker and full outline but we will see how that works out for me in the upcoming months I will keep you posted. I plan on picking one of these boards up for my own board quiver that is how much I liked this board. If you are looking for a functional board to learn how to ride strapless this would be a great option that could also be used in lighter wind. It isn't as unmanageable as a traditional surfboard and it had more stability then a skim so I would consider this board a secret weapon if you have any intent on going strapless.
Here is another great review on this board regarding more of it's riding characteristics in waves.
Have fun, be safe and enjoy what you do!
Rocker profile is flat and fast .
Base profile shot showing fin placement
Closeup of fins
Rear footpad detailing hooked pad
Front footpad detailing hooked pad
Tip detail Showing Weathered graphic look
Right side shot
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