Shinn El Stubbo / Zeeko foil review

 

SHINN EL STUBBO / ZEEKO FOIL – 40 & 70CM MASTS

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

Shinn claim that the El Stubbo is as close to a one board quiver that they’ve ever produced, for sliding skate-style, wave and hydro-foil action. It can be ridden with none, one, two or three straps in quad fin, twin fin or hydrofoil flight mode.

 

Zeeko Foil Shinn El Stubbo Kiteworld Review

 

Vastly smaller in board shape and volume than the other two on test this issue, Shinn use a unique foil plate on the base to add rigidity for the foil. Although the board is very short in length, it’s fairly wide in relation to its length to make a little more allowance for less than perfect footwork, there’s a high nose rocker to try to lessen touch-down catapults and the tail is pulled in for easy control when carving. On the water, or above it, there’s no doubt the El Stubbo looks fun.

 

Zeeko Foil Shinn El Stubbo Kiteworld Review

 

There are three options in the plate for where to set the mast. For our session we had it on the nice all-round middle setting, but Neal has experimented with this board in different settings prior to this test. The basic idea of this set-up is that you have an all-round board and the stiffness for foiling comes from that added plate, rather than the board itself. Attachment wise it’s a good solution. In terms of positioning, the further forward you have the mast the easier it is to get foiling, but the easier it is to ‘over foil’ and max out. Move it back as you start riding quicker and quicker or for when it’s windy. In the light airs we had, the middle was a good balance.

 

As the El Stubbo is wakestyle construction, it has less volume than something more like a surfboard design, and we’re undecided what is right or wrong… it’s all about what you get used to and personal preference, it really is. It comes down to building up the knack with whatever you ride when it has low volume. One benefit of the smaller board is that it’s very obvious where your correct foot positioning is, and the pad is very comfortable on your feet.

 

There’s no doubt that when you first get going on a smaller board like this, the touch down transitions are much more challenging. In lighter winds and when learning to foil, a higher volume board will generally make the touch down and getting going easier. There’s also more technique needed to get the board in the right place for a board start as the aluminium foil on this is relatively heavy in relation to the board weight, so it needs some man handling into position.

 

But, and it’s a big but, the foil itself is the easiest to ride, so it means that once you’ve built up a bit of technique, you’re going to touch down less. The foil itself is very flat with a fin to stop sideways movement. Almost certainly it’s cheaper to produce, but the lift is nevertheless extremely nice and consistent. The front fin is in between the Airush and Levitaz in terms of the amount of delta shape in it, and as such the Zeeko set-up offers performance bang in the middle of the two.

 

shinn-el-stubbo kite world review

 

This set-up offers you good directional stability and it makes a lot of sense in terms of figuring out what your body is doing to make it work very quickly. It foils early but also doesn’t have an early limit on its top end speed. It’s directionally stable, but not so rigid that it’s boring and early on you’ll find yourself making little carves this way and that with your body weight right over the foil.

 

As a side note, we also tried the shorter 40cm mast. If you’re serious about wanting to foil, and don’t mind paying for an extra mast in the early stages, then we’d highly recommend taking a session on a short mast like this. It’s so much easier. The touch down angle of your board is much less, so the base of the board tends to bounce off the surface of the water and keep going. You can quickly build up muscle memory for how the foil feels and how it needs to be controlled, and that transfers really well as you step up in mast height. It also inspires you to try carving as the level of control you have is so high! If you did get one of these masts, you’d probably hold onto it and try it in waves, or lend it to your friends when they first start out. 70 centimetres is a perfect length for intermediate riders, though, so if you’re only going to get one mast, that’s the one.

 

Zeeko Foil Shinn El Stubbo Kiteworld Review

 

SUMMARY:

The Shinn El Stubbo / Zeeko partnership is an incredible all-rounder. Perhaps there are times when you’d benefit from a bigger board, but the ease of use with the Zeeko design means you’re going to be touching down less anyway… and there’s something exciting to be gliding effortlessly over the water on a small board. You can foil and have fun, in control, very early on this and it many ways it makes a lot of sense. Neal’s been riding it a bit with his friends who all have racing foils – they beat him upwind, but they can’t keep up with him downwind because the Zeeko foil is easy to ride.

 

One thing we will say though is that there is an undeniable feel from carbon products that’s hard to describe. Considering the weight difference between the aluminium foil and the small El Stubbo board, the carbon version of this foil is almost the same shape and will undoubtedly add to your riding enjoyment. There’s nothing wrong with the aluminium version. Of course it’s more robust and easier on the wallet, but if you’re in two minds and can afford it, then carbon’s properties and stiffness really makes sense for foiling, especially as you speed up and start to push your foil harder and harder.

 

Here’s the official El Stubbo product video from Shinn:

El Stubbo from SHINNWORLD on Vimeo.

 

For more information on the Shinn El Stubbo and Zeeko foil visit

www.shinnworld.com

www.zeeko-kites.com

 

This test appeared in Issue #83 of the magazine. Subscribe to Kiteworld for the most comprehensive tests out there!

 

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