The Flare is the choice of Kiri Thode and reigning PWA Freestyle World Champion Sarah-Quita Offringa, developed by the world’s best freestyle team.
The Flares are boards that pop air easily and respond to a rider’s move instantaneously. They are fast in acceleration and feel compact and light in sliding and aerial maneuvers.
The following test was featured in the 2014 annual edition of Windsurfing Jahrbuch.
Length: 227 cm
Width: 62 cm
Tail Width: 41.2 cm
Weight: 6.70 kg
Volume: 101 liters
Thickness: 12.1 cm
Fin: Drake Ready to Freestyle 18 (Slot Box)
Sail range: 5.0m² – 6.8m²
The new Starboard Flares come in superb green and black colors, with a refined and simple design. The Flare 101 is the second largest board in a 4-board range going from 81 to 111 liters. The sizes in the range are very similar to those of the competitors, with small volume differences never exceeding 3 or 4 liters. The Flare 101, at 62 cm of maximum width, is the narrowest and most compact board in the test. When you take a closer look, the Starboard has a lot of volume in the front and around the mast track.
The sharp and straight rails seen around the tail end at the front footstraps and make the nose look quite round and soft. The pronounced domed deck in the back half allows a comfortable stance. The soft Drake Deluxe straps delivered with the board are the best of the test, especially for a barefoot sailor. If you windsurf with booties all year long, you could eventually consider stiffer, harder straps.
The Drake Ready to Freestyle 18 cm long G-10 fin sits in a very short Slot Box 10. This saves weight and eliminates water turbulence but doesn’t allow as many options in terms of tuning. If you’d like to use fins with a base longer than 10 centimeters, trim them with a saw first.
On land, the Flare 101 looks small compared to other boards in this test. And on the water, it feels a bit wobbly at first, in the light winds near the shore. Additionally, the board requires more power in the sail to get on the plane passively. However, if you are more active and with a few sail pumps, the Flare gets planing quickly, with a strong acceleration. After the powerful acceleration, the Flare 101 reaches an incredibly high top-speed. Even at these speeds, the board remains in control at all times, boosting confidence in the rider when going switch-stance over choppy waters.
The domed deck and the natural stance, in combination with the soft footstraps offers high levels of comfort, but needs a bit more power to get the board on the rail. However, the board has no limits in sliding moves. Want to add an extra spin after a flaka? With the board of Kiri, Taty and Sarah-Quita, this is a no-brainer. The small fin helps too, obviously.
Riders who would rather rotate through the airs instead of sliding will love the sensational pop and the unlimited speed. But because the board sits flatter on the water than its competitors, it’s not as easy to initiate forward loops and other traditional jumps compared to other boards in the test panel.
The 2015 Flare 101 Carbon feels smaller than the other boards in this test. It rotates extremely quickly through any move, bringing joy to all freestylers, whether they are trying vulcans or landing air bobs. Once they make it on the plane, it’s just happiness thanks to the unlimited top speed and the excellent control… It’s a board for the ambitious freestyler!