You know you've done something right when your board is described by independent testers as 'Board of the Year'. Shinn tweaked, fettled and honed and now bring you the Monk Forever; re-defining the board that re-defined the genre. Grippier, slashier, speedier... what more could you want? If your idea of kiteboarding is ripping, gouging and all round high-speed action, then look no further. A Monk this good was always going to be Forever.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Well, the Monk Forever is certainly a Shinn! While you may not enjoy every single graphic that comes on Shinn boards, they are certainly unique and have a certain vibe about them. Some of you will love it and get on with it straight away, others perhaps not, but personally, all of us loved this Monk, and up close in the flesh, that blue base is just fantastic.
And this isn't just another twin-tip on the water either. At 132 we thought it was going to be a bit small, but it wasn't, it was super nimble, versatile and very light. As mentioned on the SuperShinn last issue, a major difference this year is the new pad and strap set-up. When the first generation of Shinn pads and straps came out they were definitely different in feel. Nice and thick and quite raised in the heel but we felt that we did want a bit more support from the strap a bit higher up the foot. These new models are very, very soft, there's no rubbing at all, they cover your foot beautifully, tighten nicely and just work. There are no shortcuts with any Shinn boards and these are definitely among the top three pads and straps available on the market for us; they just help you ride... in comfort and with support. They look so simple and rounded, but there's no chicken-dance to get your feet wedged in. You're locked in straight off the beach, this really helps with the fantastic connection you feel with the board and there's no rubbing whatsoever anywhere on your foot.
The conditions in Cape Town are best described as challenging, especially for a twin-tip. On any given day you'll be up against some sort of a swell - wind swell at the very least - chop as well as lovely smooth sections between the waves. You'll get out on all your kite sizes, although primarily the seven metre will be your most used size, so you can get an idea of what the board riding conditions will be like.
The Monk is just the ultimate weapon. If you've ever had the pleasure of carving rail to rail down the side of a mountain side covered in a fresh layer of snow on a snowboard, then you'll have some idea how the Monk feels, transforming lumps and bumps into a lovely silky smooth feel underfoot as if you're riding around on a cushion of air. What you'll have no idea of is how it's done. Shinn only really reveal that they use a constant rocker, other than that, the bottom is smooth flat and all the magic is contained within.
It's a very special board and very difficult for freeriders to look beyond. There isn't the highly sprung trampoline effect that you get from a flatter bottomed, bouncier board with more lively flex, so if you're a hard charging, new school freestyler looking for the ultimate pop, this isn't for you, although if you do have a go on one you might question your dedication to such powered freestyle as the Monk will suck you into its lovely warm chocolatey clutches. Job done.
This is for any rider that wants to go out in any conditions and ride all day long in comfort and in style, carving rail to rail, boosting huge, landing soft, riding fast, throwing a range of tricks and generally having more fun than the next guy.
That it's back and it's Forever.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Bigger hardcore wake-style freestylers will want more pop.