Mark Shinn firmly believes you don't have to be a modern freestyler to be a good kiteboarder. For many, the freedom to ride in whichever style the conditions best suit is still the goal. The 2009 Shinn twin-tip has been built to appeal to riders who are led by feelings and not fashion. Even the word 'freeride' struggles to define its purpose according to Mark. 'Our Dynamic Asymmetrical Outline concept was first designed for the Shinn range in an effort to make it THE one board for all riders?carving, jumping, wake-style, wave? whatever your taste.' The Shinn will be the choice if you're looking for super-smooth feeling and lively performance. It also has a three year warranty against breakage.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Cosmetically this board looks the business. It's not overly flamboyant but oozes quality with slick matt black looks and leathery texture. There's no plasticky feel about this board, there's a bit of prestige with it and it's very alluring and will wink at you suggestively every time you have to walk past it in your garage.
The outline looks good, sitting comfortably between a freeride and freestyle oriented shape. The pads and straps haven't changed, but are still comfortable, giving a good, solid, robust feeling.
Riding the board it was fast and has really good bite when edging. Good flex, it's not super-stiff, but not sloppy either, only adding to the feeling of speed. Load it and pop and its responds well, feeling very well balanced in the air. Switching from heel to toe-side is easy and smooth.
We had this out over a couple of windy and increasingly wavy days. The waves were messy, but close to the shore there was less chop. The further out we went, the nastier the conditions got. Close in, the board was brilliant. Fast and aggressive, you felt like you could go for things and be rewarded, slicing effortlessly through the water's imperfections. When pushed a little further outside of its comfort zones into the bigger chop where the waves were converging we realised how flat the rocker really was. Yes it gets the board up and going early and allows you to hack upwind, but here took a change in technique to ride the board well in those conditions and left us thinking that this is a top freeride/freestyle board that leans more towards the freestyle end of business. The wide stance settings on this board are incredibly wide ? another indication of this board's advanced freestyle attributes. The relatively flat rocker and width feel much more at home being loaded up in smoother waters than dancing and buzzing through the peaks and troughs of ocean chop.
Caught in the middle between the freestyling 666 and freeride excellence of the 555, the Shinn definitely forms more of a bond with its trick-popping sibling. Having said that, this is comfortable, very fast, lightweight and gets up and going quickly. Anyone wanting a board that can handle all-round conditions but can step up to the freestyle plate when the conditions are on will find this refined looker a good purchase.
Great looks and awesome build-quality.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Add a little more rocker for more freeride comfort.
135 x 42, 132 x 40, 129 x 39 and 126 x 38cm
This test is inissue #37