Thruster, quad or twin, the UltraKode is the dream wave board by the Dream Wave Team, that weighs 400 to 500 grams lighter than a classic thruster.
Comes with 4 x Starbox and one US box, as well as plugs to suit your fin set up. The new Starbox allows you to fit Slot Box fins in five seconds each, and remembers your last setting to get you on the water faster. It is also compatible with US box fins.
The following test report was featured in the November 2016 edition of Windsurf.
Volume: 86 liters
Length: 224 cm
Width: 59.0 cm
Tail Width: 37.1 cm
Thickness: 12.4 cm
Weight: 5.80 kg
Fins: MFC TF 18 Red + 2 x MFC TF 12 Red (US Box + 2 x Starbox)
Sail Range: 3.7 – 5.7m²
The UltraKode range is completely new for 2017, the result of input from some of the most notable characters on the world’s wave scene. Jaeger Stone and his father Mark are responsible for the two smallest sizes in the line-up (72 and 76), with PWA World Champ Philip Koester and wave specialist Dany Bruch pooling their efforts for the four largest sizes in the range. That leaves the UltraKode 80 version, which is influenced by them all.
The UltraKode 86 looks bright and attractive in its clean, bold graphic. The fittings are excellent (more about them later) and there are good indicators for fin and deckplate positions provided by the tracks. It is tested here in the brand’s top UltraCore Reflex Carbon construction and as a ‘Pure Thruster Edition’. Its weight is staggeringly light, matching the quoted 5.8 kg. Starboard claims it is the “lightest wave board ever”, and we’re inclined to agree. For most, however, the standard UltraCore Carbon version with five finboxes would probably be the more affordable and versatile option.
The widest in the group (both at its widest point and in its tail), the UltraKode 86 feels very secure and stable at rest, capable of carrying weight well, or being used in a ‘float and ride’ role. Deliver power and it releases effortlessly, requiring little persuasion or input from the rider.
We have to say that the fittings supplied on all the 2017 Starboards we have used to date are super comfortable, the thick deckpads providing excellent shock absorption and traction, whilst the straps are some of the most securely fitting and padded on the market. Combine this with the UltraKode 86’s low planted riding style and it is easy to understand why it scored highly in ease, comfort and control with all who tried it. It rides low to the water, cutting a clean confident path at speed. A small point, but worth of note, is that the UltraKode 86’s nose is deceptively short and low in volume and took a little more concentration to master in the tack.
Used around a break, the UltraKode’s ‘UltraCore Reflex Carbon’ lightweight construction is also noticeable, feeling incredibly lively and alert underfoot. It pops and releases off the smallest ramp and can’t help but inspire you to try a few stunts on the way out… and on the wave face. Properly powered as the wind increases, the Starboard retains its manners well, sitting down in the water and staying connected, whilst converting the extra energy into speed.
On the wave, it grips beautifully and keeps its speed through the turn well. The radius of the turn does feel a little more prescribed and fixed compared to some others in the group, taking a more forceful style to drive the board through the back foot and make the tighter section. Tinkering with the fin setup undoubtedly helped to refine this sensation (after all, an 18 cm central fin is the largest supplied in this test), and the 5-finbox UltraKode option would also provide even more scope for experimenting.
Stable, easy and perfectly mannered, the UltraKode planes instinctively and offers impeccable control through a wide range of conditions. With time spent tuning its fin setup, its raw wave riding potential can be realised.