The 2009 Aboards 5'6 and 5'11 kite surfboards are high-performance shapes perfectly suited to general strapped-in riding. Experienced riders will also love the strapless feel. Both shapes are built with multi-layer glass epoxy and have specially reinforced areas around the foot straps, pads and fins. Wooden stringers in the board allow optimal stiffness for confident riding. A progressive rocker-line gives excellent manoeuvrability while sharper edges at the rear ensure clean exits and the utmost control and the squash tail gives stability for powered bottom turns without sacrificing the quickness and feel. The boards come equipped with two wide EVA ergonomic 3D deck pads, Velcro adjustable symmetrical straps and a set of thruster fins.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
NEAL: A nice traditional 5'11 outline. The fins felt on the basic side when setting the board up and they are an
unusual variation of the FCS system, so you just need to pay attention to getting your centre fin set up right. Pads and straps are basic, but nice and comfortable. Notable that there's no grip between the pads so just remember to wax it up in the middle or you'll be sliding all over the place when gybing, but again not a big issue.
CHRIS: I like this. It's got your standard outline looking like a typical, normal surfboard, it's not gunny at all and there's plenty of shape up front in the nose. Nothing radical but it does the job. Pads were OK and the construction seems solid.
NEAL: Nice and easy to sail upwind and it felt lively and quick. At slower riding speeds you could really chuck it around and hit the sections. A wide tail and healthy volume that gets you up and going well did show itself when bottom turning really hard with a slight tendency to bounce when pushed. The tail felt like it could have benefited from being thinner and possibly narrower when you really tried to carve on it and a heavier rider would perhaps benefit from this increased lift. But it's a really all-round shape that was comfortable off the wave as well. A great fun board to throw around in the smaller stuff and easy enough to ride in bigger surf overpowered on a five metre as well. It was very well suited to throwing little turns on the face and dealing with the chop getting out. I did miss the extra length of the 6'0+ boards though as soon as I tried to ride any
waves over head high.
CHRIS: It was fun to ride. Not too bouncy off the wave, carries moderate speed so is really manoevrable, is easy to gybe and quite snappy in the top turns as well. There's not a lot of tail rocker, but enough for good wave performance. The more tail rocker in a board the slower it tends to ride off the wave but
the more you can feel it suck behind you where the board is gripping the wave. There's nothing complicated about the 5'11, it just works really well. It even looks plain and could creep up on you without you noticing, but I personally like the clean white look, and it handles similarly; you don't really notice it under your feet, it's just doing its thing. This is a great starter for someone wanting a good, basic wave board that would become even better by treating yourself to some really good fins. Carved nice and tightly when I was throwing the kite
round. There is a big difference between going with the kite on small waves and dropping down the wave and going round on your front foot. But I definitely didn't get it to skip out and it did drive me round. It's a good all-rounder. Absolute wave heads may want something a little more focussed, however, more focussed boards are compromised in their general comfort and aren’t this quick riding off the wave. This is a good compromise between riding on and off the wave - a lot of the time we're riding and searching for waves to hit in shitty conditions and that's what the ABoards does well.
The more general oval outline almost puts this in a 'freeride wave board' category. Most of us would be happy riding a board of this shape as it does the job. Not every kitesurfer wants a dedicated weapon on which your general riding is compromised. Comfort and user-friendliness rates highly (if we're all honest).
All-round usability, comfort off the wave and funfactor for hitting random sections.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
5'11 x 18 1/8'' and 5'6 x 18 1/8''
This test is in issue #36