Carve 131 Carbon, Windsurf (UK), July 2014

The Carves are Starboard’s all-time freeride classic boards. As freeride boards, they are designed to be fast, exciting and fun, while delivering their best performance regardless of rider skill.

The all-new 2014 Carves, with their slimmer shapes and reworked rocker are the class-leaders in wind range and accessibility.

The following test was featured in the July edition of Windsurf.
A total of 6 “seabreeze sizzlers” freeride boards between 129 and 135 liters
were tested and the Carve is still considered to be the benchmark.
Read more below.

Starboard Carve 131 Carbon: “Perfect for hassle-free progress”

Length: 252 cm
Width: 75.5 cm
Tail Width: 48.7 cm
Weight: 7.75 kg
Volume: 131 liters
Thickness: 12.2 cm
Fin: Drake Freeride Power 44 (Tuttle Box)
Sail range: 6.0m² – 9.0m²

Low Down:

For pure entry-level freeriders, Starboard make the ‘progressive’ GO series (suitable for learners as well as those mastering the straps and basic planing skills), which sits alongside the Kode Tufskin family boards and Carve line of dedicated freeride shapes. They also produce the Atom IQ freemove and Futura freerace models.

Performance:

After reading our test report on the impressive Starboard Atom IQ 120 Carbon, the U.K. distributor asked us why he should stock the Carve any longer? “Don’t write it off yet” was our reply, for a couple of reasons.

One, in freemove terms and in this newly emerging category that will, undoubtedly, eventually replace all “traditional” freeride boards, the Atom IQ is at the racier end of the scale and not as suitable for first-time freeriders as some similar 120 liters x 80 cm wide boards. And, two, Starboard had already developed the Carve to be quite a wide-and-thin shape already, so many of the aspects pertaining to intermediate freeriding still exist in abundance – but with the added benefits of something freemove boards lack, which is, ironically, length. Yes, off the plane, upwind and for general stability, length, often sacrificed now in the name of producing “compact” boards, is underrated.

In our minds, the benefits of the wide-and-thin revolution lie mainly in the reduced thickness rails, something the Carve boasts more than the rest in this group. So how did it get on?

Firstly, early planing is the key benefit of this shape. It’s very easy for those with less active technique to “ooch” onto the plane, often without heading as far downwind as they might need to on less forgiving shapes. That said, it’s also very quick when sailed broad and accelerates rapidly. We found with the straps set wide apart (stance spread) it sailed nicely up on the toes and, when narrower, gave a more ‘push-against-the-rails’ sailing position with the edge near the back foot nicely shaped to drive against, especially upwind in combination with the overall length.

The ride is positive, flattening out nicely once flying and feels awesomely refined. The Carbon version here was also definitely crisper than the Wood versions we’ve previously tested. Carving-wise, it’s a dream. Stable, soft and forgiving while carrying good momentum – but also allowing more radical ‘hooking’ on gybe exits without slowing. The freeride board ain’t dead yet… and, for us, the Carve is still the benchmark.

Verdict:

An extremely easy and forgiving board to sail, but with all the speed, acceleration and upwind prowess of a much racier model. Perfect for hassle-free progress and honing early-planing and carving skills.

Find out everything there is to know about the Carve here!

And for more test reviews, just head over to Magazine Test page, with more than 200 reviews going back to 2006!