Kode FreeWave 81 Carbon, PlancheMag (France), April 2015

The Kode FreeWaves are Starboard’s aggressive, fast, award-winning do-it-all boards for waves, freestyle or freeride.

For 2015, the Kode FreeWave 81 is introduced, the most wave orientated model of the range. It comes supplied with a thruster fin setup, emphasizing its wave side. For more top-end speed and acceleration, plug in the thrusters and use a single fin.

The following test was featured in the April 2015 edition of Planche Mag.

Starboard Kode FreeWave 81 Carbon: “More performance than a waveboard”



Find out more about the Kode FreeWave here!

Length: 230 cm
Width: 57.5 cm
Tail Width: 37.5 cm
Thickness: 12.2 cm
Weight: 6.40 kg
Fins: 2 x Drake Natural Wave 11 + MFC TF 18 (2 x Slot Box 10 + US Box)
Sail range: 3.7m² – 5.7m²
Available Volumes: 81, 86, 94 and 103 liters.

Shape:

Big novelty in the Kode FreeWave range for 2015, the small Kode 81 is slim and thin. It comes with three small fins and two rows of footstraps positions. Thick signature Sponge pads ensure comfort.

On the Water:

Narrower, with finer rails and with less volume than the other boards in this test group (around 85 liters), the Kode FreeWave 81 isn’t as stable due to the reduced volume. Naturally, the early planing abilities aren’t as great as the bigger boards in this test, although it’s very much acceptable for an 80-liter board.

The Starboard Kode rides relatively low on the water, with slightly less fin support than some of the single fin boards in this test. In bump & jump conditions, the thruster setup provides a bit less power to keep planing between white water in on-shore conditions and less speed when attacking the ramps.

It simply requires a little bit more wind to get in its comfort zone. Lighter riders will appreciate the excellent control and radicalness in the surf. The Kode’s fast rocker allows the board to accelerate in the bottom turn while the thin rails and thruster fin setup provide grip and speed in narrow turns.

In strong winds and when going down a sail size, riders will take advantage from the Kode’s versatility to alternate between jumps and surfs, always with power under the back foot to accelerate, on the wave or in a straight line. The limits of this board? Just the fact that the three fins can lack a bit of grip when freeriding in chop and high-winds; a deeper single fin would be more suited to that aspect.

Verdict:

Lively and fast for an 80-liter board, this Kode FreeWave 81 is an excellent bump & jump board, as well as “jump & surf” to sail between 3.5m² and 5.5m². It remains easy to control in high winds while being fast and radical in the surf. It’s also more comfortable and suited to straight line in-and-outs, ultimately offering more overall performance than a pure waveboard.

Pros:

+ Control
+ Speed and Stability in the Surf
+ Performance to Maneuverability Ratio

Cons:

– Less Fin Support when Freeriding in Chop

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