View Full Version : I sonic 94

ole timer
28th October 2006, 07:49 PM
For what use do you recommand this board , and specialy , what differences with the 101 which seems very close in volume ...

Is it a good choice for a slalom board with 6 m and 7 m sails ?

ole timer
30th October 2006, 07:57 PM
Thank's for answering, i am waiting to buy the good one !!;)

Willy B18
30th October 2006, 11:25 PM
i.m.o. the iSonic 101 (due to its wider tail) handles bigger sails with more ease and will be easier to control in choppy conditions (that is what I found out sailing the iSonics).
I own the iSonic 101 and 122 and I think they are just fantastic (compared to the Sonic 100 which I did not like - I am 84 kgs).
The iSonic 94 (more looking like a Sonic) may be a bit faster in ideal conditions...


31st October 2006, 02:20 PM
Hi ole timer

I have the 94 and I can say you the fin will smoke as soon as....

don pietro

31st October 2006, 05:33 PM
Hi ole timer,

I haven't the iSonic 94, but the ideal size for the iSonic 101 is 6,7 and 7,7, with this 2 sails this board is extremely fast. So the Isonic 94 must work really well with 5,6 and 6,7.

Ian will probably give you more info

All the best

ole timer
2nd November 2006, 04:01 AM
if i resume, the 94 must be for flat and windy conditions, 101 more efficient in choppy ..is that correct Ian ?

hans kleingeld
2nd November 2006, 09:04 AM
I don't have any experience with the 87 and 94. But I have surfed the 85 two times and the 105 a couple of times. According to my experiences the oldschool 85 (2005) is really great in high winds and chop. The board feels small, controlable and reliable. I surfed it in avg 28 Kts and gust 35 Kts conditions with a GTX 6.0 and the board never left me alone even when the sail was to big and had to get rid of the gust while opening the sail. The board just stays upon the water. I heard recently that the 87 is even more controlable!

Compared to the 85 the 105 was much more orientated to low and medium winds. I carries my Overdrive 7.5 with a lot of ease. The 105 you really can surf with big sails over 7.5 mtr and relatively small fins. I also surfed it with sails down to 6.0 mtr, but 6.5 to 8.0 seems to be a very nice range the board performs well. In the 85 compared to the 105 is much easier to ride to my opinion. You have to work less and the 85 finds its way more easy. The 105 you really have to keep full on power and than it goes on like a rocket and can handle a reasonable amount of wind.

However some things have changed this year when you look to the shapes, 85 and 95 or 87 and 94 seems to be quite comparable.

Watch also out for what conditions you want to use the board. Concerning your own specs and equipment the answer of suggestions may answer. People use the 94 even with 7.7. As a simple first guess answer the 6.0 really works better with the 94 and the 7.0 works ideal with both, but your individual wishes are most important;)

3rd November 2006, 03:09 PM
As a Sonic 95 user, addicted to older style narrow designs and starting to think about next season gear, I would really love to read Ian's comments here.

Just to add my personal experience to this thread: I use a Sonic 95 with 6,6 and 7,6 TR-2 sails and 30, 32, 34 Deboichet SL2 fins. My place can get nice winds but the water surface is choppy and one encounters a lot of wakes from other sailors/kiters. I think the S95 behaves a lot "narrow" despite its discrete 58,5 cm. width.
The thick rails help a lot in carrying the 7,6 with ease, but the tail does not give too much leverage on the fin. I could use a 36 on it in lighter winds, but the 34 already starts to display some nervousness once at full speed. Nothing that would disturb a racer during a single slalom heat, but probably something one would rather like to smooth out if he is planning to have a full afternoon long ride. The board seems to like small fins better. I like the full volume tail and just can't understand why it has been thinned out in the '07 iS94.
In higher winds the 6,6 (fully downhauled) feels just perfect for the board. The ride is crisp and easy, I guess a somewhat smaller sail (meaning even higher winds and faster ride) would still be perfectly OK (in fact I am planning to purchase 6,3 and 7,0 for next season, instead of 6,6 and 7,6). When it gets really good, switching down from 32 to 30 fin makes a noticeable difference as it tames the ride and the board feels faster and easier; at full speed, of course, going upwind is really no problem: one just has to foot steer the board in the desired direction and let it go.
I must admit however that in marginal "nicely powered" (not overpowered) conditions the chop/wakes tend to slow the ride down and a more powerful board with a longer fin would be quicker in the end. My big doubts are about the trade off with the more powerful iS101 since I am addicted to the efficient flowing ride of narrow boards at speed and probably I would not like a "power" style board. I experienced the Hypersonic boards (105 and 111), I admit they both were incredibly fast and probably faster than the S95, nevertheless I returned to a classic design because I did not like the "power on" ride.

hans kleingeld
4th November 2006, 11:19 AM
geo wrote:
As a Sonic 95 user, addicted to older style narrow designs and starting to think about next season gear, I would really love to read Ian's comments here.

I guess Ian is temporarily not at home:(, otherwise he really would have made up his ideas about his topic;)

9th November 2006, 03:10 PM
Pity there is no answer.
Starboard offers a 6 model competition slalom lineup. Compare this to other manufacturers: JP covers the range with just 4 models; F2 offers 6 models too, but their SX XS is way smaller than iSonic 87 and the SX XXL is way larger than iSonic 133; super specialized CA offers 6 models, but the smallest is just 52 cm. wide and the second one is 55 cm., so both are smaller than iSonic 87... and so on.
There is a lot of overlap in the Starboard range, and this is good for sure, since one can carefully choose the right board for his style and conditions in which he will use it. But then again for the same reasons one needs lots of support when choosing in the Starboard range, expecially where the overlap can be better explained in terms of "style" rather than "size", so exactly between the iSonics 87 and 94 on one side, 101 on the other. Expecially the 94, if one reads the enthusiastic comments about the 101, seems to be a useless board... but I do not think Starboard developed a new shape from the 100/95 series for no reason.
IMvvvHO, such support could usefully be made available through more complete info in the web site; with the forum still there for the remaining curiosities. In a former post Ian seemed to share this idea, so maybe he is working on it and this must be why he does not show up here.

ole timer
9th November 2006, 04:01 PM
I agree with you geo, i dont understand why, each time on this forum we ask something about the IS94 , the answer is : the is101 is fantastic, much better, my choice etc .... why do they make the 94 if it has no place in a quiver ?

I wanted to buy an is 94 which seems very adapted to my quiver ( 6 and 7 m Ezzy Infinity) but i begin to get in trouble ...

hans kleingeld
9th November 2006, 04:17 PM
Maybe it also had to do that the iS101 (105) has a much larger range of use. This board can handle bigger sails (tailwidth) and is of good use with much more curcomstances.

I uses the good old sonic85 with a 6.0 sail with strong winds and chop. I also used the iSonic105 in these conditions, but the sonic85 performed way better despite my 90 Kg's. The S85 feels smaller, softer and more comfortable in really highwind conditions. You keep it in the water more easy and the board itselfs doesn't make troubles by real on the edge surfing. More the sail will be the controlling part. With medium wind conditions and bigger sails the S85 really wasn't an option and the 105 a lot of fun while cruising or speeding around.

In the case of the iS101 and iS94 it might be the same story, maybe a little pronounced than for me, but the 101 will remain the board which has a wider range of use. For a two board option a 101 as a larger board gives more possibilities concerning wind, water and sails, but the 94 will certainly have conditions in which it will be more fun to sail than the 101, at least for some surfers:p.

9th November 2006, 11:11 PM
Probably the 94 takes the same style and behaviour of the 87 into 101 realm, where power is more an issue and wider tails are favourite. Nevertheless, if one wents to do with just one board instead of 87 and 101, I guess the 94 could be the solution. 6.0 and 7.0 instead of 5.5, 6.5 and 7.5. In my experience, once nicely powered up with a 6.6 and 30 fin my S95 (meaning: "iS94ish board") left nothing to be desired. Would the 101 be even better there? Maybe, but it would have been a really difficult task to convince me (85 kg.) to ride a board with a wider tail.

ole timer
10th November 2006, 03:32 AM
With one of my friends, we had to day an exceptional session with our two IS 94 at Six Fours ( known as Brutal Beach..)B)
The wind was close to 20 Knts ( in fact 18/25 knts) and there was shopy sea and waves about 1 m .
I used an Ezzy Infinity 6m and my friend a Gaastra GTX 7m
the board has a very hight speed and very safe feeling in that conditions, even overpowered like my friend was...( isn't it Don Pietro ?:D)
I am really curious to try a 101 to see is the feeling is much better, but i can hardly imagine ..

10th November 2006, 03:02 PM

glad to know "classic" board designs still have aficionados other than me.
I have your same curiosity. 18 to 25 knots must be the perfect "sweet spot" range not only for S100/S95/iS94 boards but, generally speaking, for slalom sailing itself; and in that range I can hardly imagine a better board than a narrowish, classic style 90 to 100 liters slalom board.
Here is the real point, IMHO. I am sure that if it was, say, gusty 14 to 28, the iS101 would have been better; but if one wants a prime board for prime conditions, meaning he will accept compromises in less perfect days but wants top fun on good days, then it arises the doubt that we would like Ian to solve.
After all, we are not team riders and we do not have to win at all costs each time. A bit like what happens when picking wave boards: people won't compromise on the best days, so mostly own a smallish radical wave board; but on lesser days will accept compromises, and use the same 100 lts. FSW they use in flat waters and Summer thermals. Specialization is accepted and seeked for prime conditions, not for else. Of course, if one can/wants to own lots of boards, he will get everything "specialized", but in a classic general purpose two board quiver you will see a small radical wave and a 100 lts. FSW. iS94 is equivalent to the "small radical wave": a prime board aimed at prime conditions.
We should also consider that the iS101 was developed for racing after a season that, as stated elsewere, gave KP problems in holey winds with S95, and is perfectly suited to the "animal" style of newly consacrated king of speed, AA.

Ray Timm
10th November 2006, 07:38 PM

I would like to see Ian's response to this discussion too. I have a S100 that I use with TR-2 6.6 and 5.9 and it is a wonderful ride in 18-25. I find it as smooth as my ST93, maybe smoother, and totally dialed for those conditions. I'm thinking about ordering an iSonic 101 based upon all the good things the team riders are saying. I know at times one can be suprised at how well something performs, like formula gear, that is different than what we're used to.

15th November 2006, 02:18 PM
You have the reason Ole timer
IS 94 on the brutal beach spot was a great fun board session with you.A slalom board with a such speed and such control on 1 good meter waves it's too strong.It's my first Starboard but I think there will be others.
The 13 on the Fos ,spot very flat ,40 knts off shore , 6 m Gastra GTX ...Unfortunatly ole timer and his GPS was elsewhere.The speed ,despite the origin fin(I wait for a Gazoil)'was fantastic.The jibe full speed very easy.
A board with a very large range. :pB)

20th November 2006, 01:59 PM
Really no hope to read Ian about this?

Ian Fox
20th November 2006, 06:11 PM
Hi Geo,

Apologies to all, for too long I was away from www and travelling.

It's a good and long discussion, I'll give some detailed comments ASAP. Please excuse the delay, it's not my normal trend :)

Cheers ~ Ian

20th November 2006, 07:15 PM

glad you are back!

Ian Fox
21st November 2006, 04:25 PM
Ok, so here we go. Not sure where we should start or finish so lets just do it and see what happens..

The main question in discussion looks like "are traditional slalom shapes [or the guys who prefer them] falling behind the times ? Do the benefits of the [so called] new school slaloms really dominate enough over the more traditional boards to make the traditional boards redundant??"

Like many aspects of our sport, the answer (unfortunately) is never black or white, but in this case a very definite "maybe". So let???s look a bit more on the factors that can make EITHER choice a valid option (and considering at the end of the discussion there is a better understanding overall if not a final clear verdict).

Why does the iS101 seem to put the iS94 in the shadow ? I guess the history of this goes back to the HS, which was more about being more fast more often (wider fast range) than being lightning fast in a narrower range but more compromised at other times. This you can think of in terms of a power or torque curve for an engine : some engines (like F1) are super fast but have a very peaky powerband/torque curve. Others like a good diesel or big V8 have a lower overall output but deliver it over a much wider (flatter) curve; difference is one is faster (but only if you can always be in the peak), other might be pure vMax slower BUT easier to be faster on over a wider range of conditions (ie : when the F1 peaky engine already fell well out of it's peaky sweetspot).
Of course, here we can see the traditional slalom (F1) and the HS(diesel V8) ...
There's no doubt that if you take a guy who already has plenty of experience and conditions to make the F1(S95) sing, then lump them with a HS, he (she) may be unimpressed. but take a guy who doesn't have the skill/experience/conditions focussed around getting the best from slalom board, and that rider may (!!) find the versatility and "speed/range" combo of something like HS a more compelling and satisfactory choice than the (arguably ?) more technical narrow slalom like S95.

So what about iS ? Easy. After HS, we still searched to combine the range of the HS with the more pure top speed of narrow slalom and get closer to the holy grail. No, it doesn't mean that our racers don't need skills to race the iS, quite the opposite; rather we give them a tool that doesn't compromise much in raw speed or handling but can verifiably deliver that performance over a wider range than older designs. Out on the race course, in the varying conditions of real world racing (PWA, National or local beach drags) it often adds up to a better chance to be in front more often, hardcore or not.

So where's this relate to iS94 vs 101 ? Easy, narrowing it down to these two boards, there is a really strong potential overlap in there range. Especially as the boards are really very close in performance size, which further complicates choice more than expected, to be really open about it. By design, the difference should be a bit more, with the iS101 more a lighter wind version and the iS94 a higher wind version which is largely based on previous S95/S100 evolution, but with iS detail adders. What happened in final outcome is the 101 really does rock (and PLEASE, look past the team guys comments to the broader public on both predecessor iS105 and now even more the 101) - so the "expected" performance trade off of the iS101 when used into S95 and iS94 conditions was not so bad ( actually a lot better), with the overall result that in MOST (NOT all) conditions the iS101 is a very strong challenger to the iS94 if the rider is concerned about mid and below conditions. If only used in hi wind conditions (or pure speed etc) then the 94 remains the better choice between 101 and 94..

But, if the rider takes a 2 board solution, then the obvious choice is the iS87 (S85) + iS101(iS105) and yes, that leaves the iS94(S95) seemingly looking less popular. But, reverse the situation and take only ONE board that would need to cover (or semi cover) the full range of two (say, equivalent to 87+101 / 85+105 etc) and the choice is very clear: iS94. Of course, water conditions and rider variables do play a difference in where these choices really apply, but the general trend is clear. the "animal" style, while useful on iS101 in hi wind is no so essential as some might think (but yes it does work: A2) - BUT a rider with more animal style will be able to successfully use the 101 even further into the 94's range while still maintaining more bottom end and sail/fin oversize advantage with 101.. What really counts is a slightly higher level of commitment (physical and mental) to the iS101 (wide) boards c/w more traditional as the conditions get tougher.
In some ways, this is a bit like HS - BUT please don't confuse the HS ride with iS because it's also vastly different (HS was a "power" ride c/w more "glide" on traditional; iS is basically a traditional "glide" but with a mild bonus in taking more power as/when needed, but far less "compulsory" than required by HS to get decent performance.)

Other small factors can also influence the choice : for example when true slalom racing (M or Fig8) then often maintaining high speed is more important than pure top speed -and so factors improving planing thru lulls/holes/jibes/upwind(fig8)and recovery/reacceleration to top speed can be more productive than just pure top speed. (advantage iS101). Conversely, in pure powered hi wind, and/or speed trials or just pure ???drag racing?? (where accel or recovery to speed or upwind speed etc is less critical) then a more traditional design like iS94 is less compromised (or even more advantaged..) vs 101. Obviously, the more the ???speed?? is about real top end(vMax), the more a low drag (smaller) board/sail/fin tuning combo really starts to come into play ; the more it???s about accel or full power at all times, the more a high power/high/er drag combo may prove to be a winning combo even if technically (slightly ) slower vMax.

Narrow boards can (with certain riders) also win extra points for a sharper, more surgical type ride/jibe and/or even potentially a more relaxed (less committed) technique in the mid power/mid speed range. Taking that example to extremes, there???s no doubt riding a super small speed needle is super exhilarating, certainly moreso than a minislalom speed board, even if the needle turns out to be overall not as truly fast as the minislalom in many (most?) conditions. To some guys, this is a very valid factor in what they ride also.

Summary ?
Well, maybe not. But hopefully a better understanding of the merits of the boards in question, and some background to how they got to be where they are.
iS101 : a really outstanding ride in the mid slalom range. It is not ultimately a high wind weapon but makes a very, very good job below that.
iS94 : a really outstanding compromise between hi and mid wind slalom boards.
iS87 : Pure hi wind, not really compromised towards mid wind much but still very versatile (safe) c/w previous narrower (range) hi winds.

2008 ? More of the same ? No, I think some simplification (some could say ???rationalization??)could be in the plan, but only after everything???s proved beyond doubt.

Questions ??? I???m sure. Fire away.

Cheers ~ Ian

22nd November 2006, 12:46 AM
It's a long way off I know but are we likely to see something to sit between the iS50 and iS87 in the 2008 range or is there already enough overlap?

ole timer
22nd November 2006, 05:57 AM
thank's ian for this very complete and sincere analysis ....
i am very glad with my is 94 as only slalom board but i am very curious to test the is 101 ....
In fact i am not a racer, and i only look for exhilarating sensations ...that's makes probably an item which is very difficult to measure ....:D;)

Ian Fox
22nd November 2006, 10:49 AM
Hi Phill,

Yes it's a long way off, but yes you are likely :)))))

Hi Ole Timer,

For sure it will be a really great opportunity for "pure" slalom guys to check out the iS101. It takes a couple of sessions to (re) learn the optimum iS technique (more focus/concentration on drive thru the rig/mastfoot pressure to get the best over chop or at super hi speed).
In just one session, quite likely a "narrow" slalom guy will say "nice, but I stay on my old one". Then after 2-3 good sessions, they automatically re-acclimatized to the iS and found the ideal technique (it's NOT quantum change like HS, more just a fine point, but one that makes a difference to taking the iS to the very top end. Without that extra detail, likely the short test results don't show the best top iS potential. but the more time you spend on iS the more you get from it, so it is true it "grows" on you.)

For exhilaration, I'd actually say the iS94/87 and previous S95/85 ec are more "exciting", the iS101 is almost too calm, steady, flat trim.
It's the same as the speed example mentioned; needle vs minislalom.
Many choose freeride/freemove boards simply for the exhilaration (very valid), no rule at all to suggest riding a slalom shouldn't be chosen more for the fun "feel" of the ride rather than the "thrill" of having the most competitive machine.

It's a very true point and perspective. Smiles per hour vs miles per hour. ;)

Both are winners. Depends on the individual.

Cheers ~ Ian

23rd November 2006, 02:05 AM
Thank you Ian!
Things are clearer now, and your explanation is a confirmation for my thougths.
After one season with modern rigs I discovered them to have so much low end power, so my choice for next year will be 6.3 and 7.0 (instead of 6.6 and 7.6). This makes things even easier for me. I will keep my S95, or maybe go for the iS94.

mark h
23rd November 2006, 07:33 PM
Hi Ian
In a previous thread you said that the iS94 rides smaller than the S100. Would be right in thinking that the iS94 rides more like the S90 than the S100?

I'm on S125, S100 & S90, and was going the drop the S100 in favour of a iS101. But I'm now thinking that I should drop both S100 & S90 if the iS is some where in between them. This might give me more time on board instead of switching between two boards!

The S100 & S90 are used for 5.5m, 5.8m, 6.4 & 7.6m race sails. The S90 only comes out in solid 25k upwards or if its very choppy conditions.

Is it viable to do this? or does the iS94 ride alot smaller than the S100 so iS94 not so hot in 7.6m conditions.


Ian Fox
24th November 2006, 09:28 AM
Hi Mark,

The iS94 rides about midway between the S100 and S90 (not just on "size" but performance range etc) with the added difference that the S90 has a pretty hard mid section rocker, which tends to bounce a bit too harshly for some riders (most medium rather than heavy riders, but get "on top" of this harshness and the 90 is very quick).
iS94 rocker definitely not as harsh as the 90. However, in general terms the iS87 should be considered to be more the replacement (equivilent) of the S90.

Which steers us back to the current "favorite" 2 board quiver iS101 + iS87...

If you had to go to only one board to replace S100+S90 then the iS94 would definitely be the one as it will handle the 7.6m fine, but getting close to the upper sail size end of sweetspot - especially for bigger riders. At the other end of the scale, with West Kirby being a fast speed location, the iS94 won't double quite so well in "pure speed" conditions as the S90 or iS87 (in open water "speed" the performance disadvantage to the iS94 is a lot less). Same applies to the iS101; its open water speed is very competitive, in pure top end speed (super flat, super fast) there can often be a small but noticeable edge to the iS94 at the top end of the range.

Of course, there is quite a difference to what works best in open water "speed" (where competitive board speeds may be realistically 20-30 kts ) and/or open water slalom racing (accel/jibing etc) c/w pure high speed (flat water, where slalom speeds are 35-40+kts and accel/upwind etc is a lot less critical than topend)

Summary : iS94 would be a good one board replacement to compliment S125, especially if you focus on speed but don't often get to full S90 conditions. Consider the change to the iS101 over the 100 as you'll likely find that a better all round combo with 7.6 (and 6.4 in less than "pure speed" conditions). If you're happy with the ride of the 90 (it was fine by me but as above many suffered too much bounce to be super quick) then stay with that for 5.8/5.5m - or iS87.

Cheers ~ Ian

mark h
24th November 2006, 08:06 PM
Thanks Ian, its all clear now. Will go with iS101 for now and swap S90 for iS87 early next year.