The Sector V3 60 remains in the fleet as the benchmark model and is joined by the 66 and updated 54. Major changes feature in the deck shape, fin position / options and tail design, all contribute to improvements in carving, cruising and racing. All sizes have a cohesive feel but are more manoeuvrable in the smaller sizes, while the bigger sizes focus more on light wind performance and racing. Fin positions are optimised for the board's primary use but can be altered for different characteristics. The V3 54 is the carver of the pack, combining blistering straight line speed with a highly manoeuvrable turning ability. The stock fin set is ready for carving while the optional race fin set is ideal for maximum stability and tactical upwind riding, ideal for slalom. The Sector V3 60 is ideal for light wind freerace and freeride and this all-round slalom and carving machine is also an incredible coastal cruiser. The stock quad fin set-up is optimal for light wind cruising and comfort while an updated single back fin increases manoeuvrability and a looser feeling. The tri fin carver set (Tuttle box) provides the most manoeuvrable ride. Sector V3 66 takes light wind performance to another level.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
We had two Sectors to try this issue: the 60, which was set-up in quad fin mode with four straps on the deck; and the 54, set-up as a trifin with three straps. The Sectors have impressive build quality with a wood sandwich construction and focused reinforcements in the fin and heal areas. They can take a knock or two in the back of the van and aren't going to fall to bits. They are also surprisingly light. Side by side, they're quite similar in their make-up, the main noticeable difference being in the tail (and obviously in the fin set-up). The 60 is much wider at the back where the 54 is more pulled in and narrow. As a result the 54 feels looser, which is also not surprising as we had the 60 set up with the extra fin. The 54 has racing genes, but it feels much more freeride inspired than the 60. If you're used to gybing and turning a directional, both are easy, but if you're not, you'll need to practice, but it's about time we all got over the fear of learning to gybe. These are easier than surfboards, very stable and there's nothing tippy about them; the 60 is just even more stable. What both these boards do well is offer a relatively untechnical introduction to racing/light wind directional riding. If you haven't ridden this kind of board before, don't be scared. Before long you'll start to notice just how much effect your foot pressure has. Riding these boards is about a lot more than just going backwards and forwards; there are lots of subtleties and trimming techniques involved, it's addictive. Once you get your back foot pressure sorted, stop riding it like a twin-tip and begin to drive off the fins, you'll literally feel as if the board drops down a couple of gears and takes-off; a phenomenal feeling and never gets old, especially on the 60. The 60 screams upwind in very light winds indeed. If you'd asked us which one we'd buy/recommend to most people to start with before we tested them, we'd have said the smaller 54. It looks more traditional, more friendly - like a directional surfboard and so would presumably be easier, which it is, to a point. The 60 is a serious bit of kit and has lots more performance being fatter and with a quad set-up ? it's just a dream in light winds. The upwind and downwind reaches are so fast, and unlike out-and-out raceboards, the downwind reaches are surprisingly untechnical and the board doesn't keep rocking about, trying to throw you off. The 60 locks in beautifully and handles speed very well, which is where the 54 starts to reach its limit, feeling looser and just threatening to lose its grip when you're really pushing it. The 54 is more about having fun in terms of manoeuvrability and sits nicely between a surfboard and a raceboard. You also need to be careful when walking to and from the water with these fins. Compared to your twin-tip, there's a bit more to think about, especially when launching. So remember to walk out to a depth above your knees if you don't want to rip your fins out.
We seem to have run out of space! These boards represent the future. How can we sum up the pair? We love the 60. Lots of people have shied away from buying a raceboard because in the past they became obsolete so quickly. You can buy the 60 knowing that it's going to be as fun in a couple of years as it is now and turning up to a race you're not going to be let down by your gear. It's smooth, but not so smooth that you can't feel anything but it doesn't pound your knees either. The low wind performance mixed with relative ease-of-use compared to full-on raceboards in incredible. It's like it's got an electronic power management system from a MotoGP bike, analysing the conditions and delivering appropriately. We went out on the 15m North Dyno and these and left windsurfers who were out on their battle ships and enourmous sails for dust. They couldn't believe how we were going so fast. The 60 is a rocket ship. If you want to get out in light winds, want a reasonably competitive board for any comps you might fancy entering
(you can switch up to the quad fin remember), but also want a board with room to grow on that's faster and better than a surfboard in light winds, then the 54 is great.
Dropping down a few gears and flooring it up the coast. Woo hoo!
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We'd get more people to get them so we can have regular races at our local spot! Seriously, they are more technical to ride than a light wind twin-tip and you do have to commit to a slight change in technique, but we promise you that the skills needed to ride these are well within your reach.
182 x 66, 178 x 60 and 172 x 54cm
This test is in issue #58
Airush Sectors 60 and 54 (2012)
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