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  1. #1

    What's more important: technique or board shape? Rails or rockerline?

    In one of today's threads someone asked about the Starboard Black Box and the Reactor two boards which some raved about in initial reviews but which didn't sell to the masses.

    Why was that? Were they crap designs, or were they too 'niche' in what they could do? Or could most people simply not sail them?

    When does a design become a big seller and when does it get a 'bad' reputation?


    Is it rocker that makes our boards turn, or is it the rail shape?

    If there is less rocker, will the freeride/freewave market turn away?

    Are some modern boards just too short or too twitchy for the general sailor?

    Why do some of us really like one design and yet others hate the same board?

    Discuss.
    Now back in the UK.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jeroensurf's Avatar
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    I haven,t read any raving reviews about both Black Box or Reactor besides yours.

    Shapewise: I can,t really pin-point it to one single detail:
    I used to have a 84l Goya quad 2015 a rather flat board with just a bit of tail and nose kick. I loved how it sailed and I think it got away with the little amount of rocker.
    Then I got an 86l Witchcraft Haka. Nice board but the last 10% just didnt turn the way I like it while it had more rocker, but also the backstrap a bit more forward.
    Changed it for an V4 86l with more or less the same railsshape but a lot more rocker and a smaller tail...love it!

    I really cant set rocker apart from strapposition. I guess railshape is important, but for me by far less as the rocker-strappositioning and outline.
    Nowadays with my Witchcrafts I have very sharp rails in the back but with my former SOS boards and Flikka,s the rails were somewhere between serious tucked and almost round, and like both.

    Something to think about: Starboard sup use for almost all there allround/ wavesups from beginner to small high end Pro boards the same rocker and mostly the same railsshape, just a diff outline and thickness.
    188x92kg 43y old, Supper/Windsurfer.

    Witchcraft Flextail 104l + Witchcraft V4 86l HDD

    2016/17 Hotsails KS3: 5.5+5.2+4.9+4.6+4.0+3.4 Ultra + Kauli + CAAS masts, AL360+ TL cont@ct booms lots of fins.

    SUP Starboard 2015 Airborne 8.8x31.5x123l / Pro8.5x29x112l / Race14x25 / 2012 AST Coastrunner 14x28 / Gong9.4x29x135 Freak

  3. #3
    Senior Member Witchcraft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basher View Post
    Is it rocker that makes our boards turn, or is it the rail shape?
    .
    There are 3 main design aspects that makes a board turn with the following good and bad sides:

    Rocker, good: very good and flowing turning, like on rails, less to no speed loss during the turn. Bad: planing, loss of windrange.

    Tapered outline (bigger difference between max width and tail width), good: helpful to initiate the turn, increases wind range. Bad: twitchier through the turn

    Weight placement (straps) backwards. Good: faster. Bad: more tecnical to sail, less drive, less control in the turn.

    Ola, feel free to add if I missed anything. Off course there is more to it, for example, if you use outline taper, making the rail in the back half of the board sharper will make it more effective.

    Rail thickness does not have that much to do with the ability to turn but more at which speed. A thinner rail will turn better at speed but may catch at low speed and visa versa.

    A shaper can mix these ingredients together with endless possibilities.

    My guess by looking at the shapes and how others sailed them, without having sailed them myself, is that the Black Box had too straight a rocker over too much distance and boxy rails, mainly relying on the weight placement to make it turn but in the turn did not have enough flow and was catching the rail.

    The first Reactor had too much rocker for the strap placement reducing windrange and making it too technical. My first proto for the Reaper also had too much rocker. The outline was 220x60 with 90L, not as extreme as the Reactor but I found it too technical and too limited windrange to put into production. I still use it for windy days with medium to small waves.



    People who have actually sailed them can say whether my observations are correct or not.

    Ah, I see Jeroen wrote something similar. As for sharp or round rails, it is about grip. In serious waves you want grip, after all it is water, not tarmac. But in small waves it can be fun to have round rails with less grip. Round rails also cost planing and upwind ability.
    Last edited by Witchcraft; 12th April 2018 at 08:27 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Hazzabee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeroensurf View Post
    I haven,t read any raving reviews about both Black Box or Reactor besides yours.
    I'm a fan of the original 2016 Reactor 82L and would be happy to have one in my quiver for big wave days e.g. trips to Gwithian. I'm guessing it needs a smaller bucket i.e. less rocker though for more all round appeal, hence the changes they made to the 2017 version.
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  5. #5
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    It's easier to ask, what makes you sail better, being fat or being thin? Being thin,right,sorted.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeroensurf View Post
    I haven,t read any raving reviews about both Black Box or Reactor besides yours.

    If you do a google search you'll find good reviews for both boards. (I did a search yesterday)

    I didn't like the Black Box when I tried it, but I didn't get to own one either, and it was clearly a board you needed to learn to sail.

    In the UK, the Boards mag and Boardseeker reviews seemed well impressed with the Black Box. Then again, that design now dates back to 2012 or before and you have to wonder what reviews would say now, given the development that has gone on since with stubby boards.

    I still think that boards of a 215cms length have limited use for the wider wave sailing market where many people want just one wave board in their quivers.
    Now back in the UK.

  7. #7
    Senior Member max111's Avatar
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    for me the whole concept of a board being niche and or difficult to sail or just over hyped is crazy we only get to sail in good conditions say 50% of the time the rest is iffy gusty wind / flat or not quite enough so why would you keep a board that could make even the good days frustrating ?

    for me any board's weakness's should have been ironed out in the shaping development and build phase and then the decision not to market the board or maybe even apply some tweaks or bin the whole project if its a non starter not force it through because the brochure is printed and we have a release date to keep to

    for the Reactor being the big new thing did anyone ever use one in competition ? i don't think they did
    Danny Bruch developed the black box for Medano onshore conditions but then didn't sail it at the PWA comp in Medano ?

    and if we start going up our own arse's again developing boards that only the few can sail like we have done at certain times in the board development journey we are defeating the point of wider wind range multi-fin + volume simplicity

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