At six inches shorter than your regular board, the Compact fits into every section of the wave imaginable; at the same time it has the stability and drive to deal with high wind and bigger wave conditions. The vee bottom in the tail area allows for smooth rail-to-rail transitions, while the wider nose area in the entry of the board help increase planing speed over flat sections, maintaining the low end of a much longer board. Its narrow tail and reduced hip give it more control in high wind, which, in conjunction with the bottom shape, ensure the smoothest drive in the toughest conditions.
The Compact is also available in Airush's Active construction, made from a high modulus carbon fibre for much more reflex and strength and is 20% lighter than a standard sandwich construction.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We tried the 5'6'' in the Active construction, which results in a very light weight board indeed! It's like a feather, yet feels tough and solid in your hands, rather than hollow and airy as you might expect from something so light. Stunningly well finished it's a very good looking board; all serious wave business out back and all party boy up front carrying lots of volume up to the nose. The idea with the Compact is that the performance and utilised shape remains until almost as far forward as the performance oriented Converse but the nose is shorter and stubbier. The Compact works in a huge range of conditions. In strong winds it's nice to have something short and not so cumbersome in the water. The narrow tail allows the board to really turn hard, whether you're throwing tight thruster-type shapes in small surf or when you need to bank long and hard around a section to set up for a powerful off-the-top. It would be a rare occasion for most places in the world when you'd have to change up to something more serious. The Compact was our board of choice for most of the time in Cape Town when all we wanted to do was ride waves in strong winds (that, and it fit easily into the back of our Acker 80's Mercedes saloon!)
Wide and stable, yet short and manoeuvrable. Good at high speed yet with plenty of get up and go at the bottom end. Tough yet light. Confident in head-high waves and loose enough to smack the crap out of the small, windy stuff. Add all that up and it equals a winner.
The Compact has a really strong bottom turn for its size.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We wouldn't have left it in South Africa.
5'8'' x 19'' (available in Active), 5'6'' x 18.5'' (available in Active) and 5'4'' x 18''
This test is in issue #57
Airush Compact 5' 6" (2012)
Kitesurfing Test - Boards 2013
Kitesurfing Test - Kites 2013
Kitesurfing travel directory