TEST TEAM NOTESThe Monk! What a precedent this board set for the freeride category when it first came out making crappy conditions feel like powder for intermediate riders and beyond. It was a game changer and for the last few years it has been the definitive easy-riding freeride board. Incredibly usable, it was hard not to recommend it to anyone who was still not really pushing their freestyle boundaries hard.
Perhaps we’ve just got too used to it now – and Shinn shouldn’t change the recipe too much – but we kind of feel like there’s not much more we can say about this board after a few seasons of reviewing and revering it. In previous years the Monk has done such a good job of giving you that extra layer of comfort; as if you’re riding on a pocket of air, without feeling slow and sluggish at all. As your first or second board, the Monk makes your kitesurfing energetic but, most of all, easy. This year it still does that but feels a bit more grippy, there’s a bit more feeling and that pocket of air is just a bit smaller.
In terms of freestyle performance the Monk lacks a bit of recoil and punch when you load it up. Freestylers will want something that growls back at them whereas the Monk just purrs all the time. For 80% of kitesurfers, this is where it excels. One day we will all have bad knees and have a Monk in the quiver as we’ll need something creamy. It’s just the staple diet of a lot of freeriders.
This year the Monk is just a little more grippy, but essentially it ticks all the same boxes – it’s a knee and back saver that makes truly average conditions feel like fresh powder. A totally uncomplicated and comfortable, quick, smooth ride. If you’re ready to step a level, Shinn offer a range of twin-tips that are flavoured for all sorts of twin-tip tastes. Dive in!
SIZES137 x 44, 135 x 42, 133 x 41, 131 x 40 and 129 x 39cm
MONK BALANCE POINTSBuild quality: 8.5
Fixtures and fittings: 7.5
Slider proof: No
Boots applicable: No
More info at: www.shinnworld.com
Here’s the official Monk product video from Shinn