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SpeedChaser
3rd January 2007, 06:35 AM
I'm looking at replacing my 2003 105L hypersonic, and I need some help. There's so much great info on these forums, and I've read a lot of posts about the hyper, the isonic, the sonic, s-type, etc. It's a little overwhelming. So I'd like some advice. I'm about 6'1" and 150lbs, pretty experienced. I want to replace it with a board to use primarily with my 7.6 and 6.6 in choppy water, 13-25knts. I don't mind, and actually enjoy, a technical ride. I do a lot of GPS sailing with those two sails so I'm looking for a very fast board that could also be used for slalom racing.

Ok...it might be obvious that the iSonic 101 would be the best choice, but I'd like an experienced opinion.

Thanks

SpeedChaser
3rd January 2007, 06:41 AM
Just to add, I'd like a 2 board quiver. The board that's replacing my Hyper will be my largest board. At the moment I also have a 2005 95L Kombat but it's just too big for me as my smallest board. So I'll probably be switching to a smaller board around 74L. With that board I'll be using a 3.7, 4.5, and 5.3 in 20-35knots.

So I'd like a quiver like that:
small board around 74L
large board around 100L

Thanks

steveC
3rd January 2007, 09:18 AM
Hi Speedchaser,

Even though I'm not with the Starboard team, I think you're right on target. While I'm not near as tall as you at 5'8", and I'm a tad heavier at about 154lbs, it's hard to criticize your focus here. The only thing that you need to discern is whether you want to go EVO or Pure Acid on your smaller board. Really, you need to decide if waves or B&J are your best focus. Also, a good secondary focus would be fins, to appropriately extend your range at bit with the two boards.

SpeedChaser
3rd January 2007, 10:08 AM
Right now I'm more focused on the board that will replace the hyper. I can't afford to buy 2 new boards, so the smaller board will have to be bought used, therefore price and availability will be the most influential factors in that decision. For the most part I'll be sailing on Lakes and rivers with both boards, so the 74L will mostly be in big swell and the occasional wave session on Lake Ontario.

geo
3rd January 2007, 02:53 PM
Speedchaser,

one year ago I was exactly in your same position. Well, almost. I am 6'3" and 185 lbs.; I also decided to focus more on more usual 5.0 - 5.8 range for the small board.
In the end I bought a Sonic 95 and an Evo 83, replacing an Hypersonic 111, an RRD Avantslalom 278 and an RRD Wavecult 260 ('99).
After one year, and after reading a lot of posts about iS 101 vs. "narrower" slalom boards, here are my thoughts.
1) The Sonic 95 (iS94) easily rides on a 7.6 in order to maximize low end range; nevertheless, wider boards will have big advantages at the low end of a 7.6 range.
2) Modern sails are so much powerful that my guess for next season is that I can do (better) with 7.0 and 6.3, instead of 7.6 and 6.6; and 7.0 will be right the perfect sweet spot sail size for the S95, ensuring optimal balance and therefore probably approaching much the 7.6 low end performance on that board.
3) With a two board quiver, the smallest one should be a wave oriented board; so if one does not like to renounce to slalom performance in high winds, IMHO a bigger slalom board than a Sonic 95 (or iS94) is not advisable as "one-board-do-it-all" slalom choice in the wind range you described.
4) Moving everything "one size down", expecially at your (lighter) weight, it should be a perfect match to choose an Evo 74/75 as the smaller board and it should be as much nice with 5.3 as my 83 is with the 5.8, ensuring at the same time better high wind range.
5) Probably, after last year sailing experience, I would do the same choice I am advising to you (Sonic100/95/iSonic94 + Evo 74/75) even at my higher weight, since the Evo 83 will have a lot of overlap (wind strength wise) with the Sonic 95 + 6.3, while it is not the right board for the occasional high wind (30+) good day.
6) I like the Evo for general "coastal" sailing; but who knows better says that between Evo and Acid it is a matter of taste. Anyhow, if you have any doubts, the Evo doubles nicely as a bump and jump board, althought not much fast. Probably a '06 Acid 80 would do even better as a bump and jump board, due to its higher speed; but I fear it is not as well behaved as an Evo in higher winds (check with Ola).
7) All of the above can be useful in the assumption that you, like me, prefer to optimize the high wind "fun" side of slalom performance, say 18+ knots. Of course, if you rather prefer to optimize the "be first at the windward mark in 13 knots" side, then everybody will tell the 101/105 (or bigger) is preferable to the 94/95/100.

steveC
4th January 2007, 01:42 AM
Hi Speedchaser,

geo has opened an interesting door in suggesting the iS94, especially since it would support your 6.6 and 7.6 sails. However, you did indicate that one of your goals was to slalom race. There has been some interesting discussion in recent thread where geo was one of the participants, and the iS94 and iS101 were both at the core of that conversation. Width (narrow versus wide) was a key point in the discussion. I tend to think more like geo, with a preference for a narrower design, but much of this is because of my lighter weight and my focus on "fun" free sailing. Still though, Starboard's Ian Fox was a strong proponent for the iS101 because it offered a strong straight line performance through rougher waters, yet it had a bit more width to allow it to excel through and out of the transitions. Of course, he's a bigger guy, so I can understand why he might find it a better all round choice.

The question that you need to ask yourself is what sail you tend to use more often. A heavy use of the 7.6 will probably point to the iS101 as the optimum choice, particularly if the conditions are somewhat up and down. Fortunately, you've had the Hyper 105, so I'm sure that you're quite familiar handling the extra width and volume. Also, even though your weight is on the light side, you have an advantage with the added leverage possible with your tall stature.

On the other hand, the iS94 still remains a very attractive alternative. It would be arguably faster in the windier and rougher conditions. If the 6.6 sail sees a lot use, the scale could more likely tip in favor of the iS94.

SpeedChaser
4th January 2007, 02:05 AM
I originally got the hyper because I wanted to get into slalom sailing and I found it at a great price. But I do have a preference for narrow designs, and the iS94 was originally my first choice. The thing is, where I sail most, it's up and down and very gusty, plus the sail ratio is probably about 7.6-60% and 6.6-40%. So I'm thinking ideally the iS101 would suit my sailing better. I'm wondering though, at my weight could I get away with using the iS94 with the 7.6 in say 13 knots (with a 38cm fin).

The other issue is using the board for racing. The iS101 would give me a much better range in the lower end and still allow me to be competitive in the high end. Whereas the iS94 would be at more of a disadvantage in the low end when racing, especially in varying conditions, but really be in the zone with the 6.6 in 20-25knots.

Is my reasoning correct so far?
For racing and more 7.6 use: iS101
For speed sailing with more 6.6 use: iS94

geo
4th January 2007, 03:24 AM
Considering the review Ian gives of the 101, I think your reasoning is perfect.
I would add that at your weight the 7.6 would be more light wind oriented than at mine, making the 101 even more apt. Nevertheless, I think that I must have been sailing the S95 with a 34 fin and 7.6 in about 12 knots (almost no whitecaps) with ease and fun.
My orientation towards the 95/94 derives from my sailing spot providing 7.0-6.6 conditions more often than 7.6 conditions.

GEM
4th January 2007, 09:22 AM
Hi

I feel a bit sheepish because I'm not experienced with any of the specific boards you are debating, but forgive me that and just consider theory of board quivers. I live in upstate NY, so am at least familiar with your conditions, and sail a LOT on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

First...

Inland great lake sailors are predominantly frontal sailors, with maybe a touch of summer afternoon thermals 1 day in 10. Well, the thermals work more than 1 in 10, but they only make the difference for a windsurfer 1 in 10. Moreover, you're talking fresh water and the boards are built / sized for marine conditions (salt water).

THEREFORE: the vast majority of days will be light to moderate and, given that, anyone who's top of a two-board quiver is designed for anything but 6.0 - 8.0, has made a BIG mistake. The lower your biggest sail is, the MORE LIKELY you are to be sub-planing. Now, I'm no fan of formula or free-formula stuff, but I think you want a board that will do well in marginal to good 8.0 conditions.

Second...

Your second board must complement the first. In Lake Ontario, that is going to mean pretty good size swells any time the wind is bigger than 6.0 conditions. So I would probably pick a second board designed for moderate to big, to VERY big swells in the 4.0 - 6.0 range. In fresh water, I think 74 may be a tad small for that, especially in a full 5/4 or dry suit (as it is most likely to be that windy in cold weather / water), but it depends on your efficiency and true weight, the local break, etc. Not having sailed it, but having sailed a sister board, I almost certainly would recommend the Kombat 79 as this board (at your weight I think it'll be a 4.0 to 6.0 board...you probably will be able to squeeze it to 3.5). I don't have an Acid, but I have a similar board and I think it'll leave you with a gap if you size your moderate wind board correctly. A slightly bigger Acid would probably work, but I think a Kombat will be more versatile.

In sum, the problem with inland great lakes sailing is that it's kind-of difficult to do it in a 2-board quiver. It really needs 3 - a 120L+ size, a ~100 L size, and a ~75L size (or smaller). If you really must do two, I'd recommend 100-110L SLALOM style board, and ~80L WAVE / CROSSOVER board.

Good luck!

SpeedChaser
4th January 2007, 09:54 AM
Thanks for the input Geoff. It's nice to hear from someone that sails up North near me (I'm in Ottawa). What you said is very true for the average sailor in our local conditions. However, I'm not looking for the average quiver. I'm more oriented towards high powered speed sailing when I'm out on the 7.6 and 6.6, so I'm definitely not going to get a board over 101L. My goal isn't to be able to plane in the least amount of wind possible. You're correct when you say a three board quiver would be much more ideal, but as I'm sure you know, it's not financially logical, especially when, with a bit of compromise, you can do it with 2.

Another point I must make is that my 6.6 sail is a 2007 KA Koncept. With that and a good slalom board I can sail in up to 25knots, or more. So when I make the switch from my larger board to my smaller board it'll be to a 5.3 and only when the waves/swell get good for wave/swell sailing. So I personally don't think I need a small board that's big enough to take a 6.0.

So I guess I've sort of answered my own question through these posts, with help from geo and steveC. Now I just have to make the choice between the iS94 and the iS101.

GEM
4th January 2007, 11:59 AM
Well, I would include the iS101 in my category of 100-110L boards. Barely, but it's in there.

Even though you are wanting SPEED, where the 94 probably outdoes the 101, it won't do that in marginal conditions. So even though you're limiting your wind range a bit, I'd STILL go for the bigger of the two (i.e., the 101). The main reason is that, statistically, you're more likely to have marginal wind that powered-up wind. So I would spend my money where the odds are greater. If you don't, the only valid reason in my view would be to go for maximum speed.

Best of luck!

geo
4th January 2007, 02:21 PM
Speedchaser,

please take note that I am strongly biased towards the fast efficient ride of narrower boards with smallish fins.
That said, it seems the trade off is between having an iS 94, that will SURELY work very nicely with a 7.6 and be perfect or almost so in fully powered 6.6 weather; and having an iS 101, that will handle the 7.6 even better and SURELY be faster and more competitive in marginal conditions... but, will it work AT ALL with a fully powered 6.6, 25 knots or more, for a 150 lbs. sailor? I guess it would for AA or for Ian, but both are more likely 200 lbs..

Some help from people who have experience of both HS and wide iS would be helpful here. From my experience of HS 105 and 111, they needed a fully committed ride, but that way they were able to swallow chop, literally; but my guess is that an iS 101 would be comparatively much more bouncy in big winds and chop.

steveC
5th January 2007, 02:29 AM
Hi Speedchaser,

In light of your latest post responding to Geoff's input, I thought I might come back for an added post.

In a recent thread, the discussion centered on the iS101, iS94 and iS87 boards, and one of the interesting questions was why the iS94. The principal thrust of the conversation was focused on picking a two board slalom quiver, and Ian Fox highlighted the iS101 and iS87 as the most ideal medium/high wind slalom quiver. However, it was also stressed that if one was thinking of only a single slalom board, the pick would clearly be the iS94, as it could more suitably balance both ends of the intended wind spectrum.

Because your latest comments you indicated that your interests centered on high powered sailing, and not on marginal conditions, I think that the scale more readily favors the iS94. If you were signifiicantly heavier (20-30lbs more), the path would point more obviously towards the iS101.

In answer to the question whether you could plane in 13 knots with the 7.6 and a 38cm fin, I have to side with geo and say yes, particularly because of your lighter weight. I know I can, and as I noted earlier, I'm just a tad heavier than you. In practice, I think that you can probably do it with even a smaller fin, like a 34 or 36. A 38cm fin might be a bit on the large side for a 59cm wide board, yet its viability has a lot to do with the physical and performance characteristics of the fin.

Overall, I hope this input helps you in our decision. Maybe Ian Fox will jump in and offer his thoughts. If available, I've found that he usually has a lot to say about the iSonics.

Ian Fox
5th January 2007, 06:51 AM
Hey... some very interesting and finely detailed discussions going on here. Good stuff. It's a very fine line between each perspective, and (strange enough) almost everyone above is correct in their own points.

In summary, one of the key differences remaining "open" is the choice of an ideal board (or quiver) for "slalom" c /w "speed" (in this case, GPS speed). Although basically the same thing, when it comes to the super fine levels of discussion here, we need to note (at least) 2 key factors : 1> Optimal "Slalom" board usually includes a higher % of choice weighting for range/accel/jibe/handling as well as potential (relative) upwind ability (esp in more marginal conditions for this board choice) - while with "speed" pretty much only Vmax (top end speed) potential counts and all other practical factors go back a long way in the ratings (noting in typical GPS speed use nothing counts as much as how fast in sheer top speed you can get that board going for 10 seconds) ...and 2> as GEM correctly identified, if speedchaser is using this (new) board in gusty, patchy (even if windy) inland lake conditions, then again the "optimal" choice can be (should be) correctly varied (from "typical" ) when considering variables down to the level of detail we are here.

Depending on your %focus on GPS speed (c/w lighter wind slalom racing - and note as opposed to lighter wind "slalom" B&F or drag racing, where accel and "upwind" matter less), I'd be siding more towards iS94 as geo and SteveC, BUT the weighting of GEM's point about speedchaser's gusty, patchy conditions can easily tip the very tight decision in favor if iS101.


Cheers ~ Ian

GEM
5th January 2007, 09:10 AM
Wow. This is one of the best threads I've seen in a while. I'm very humbled to play a role with the distinguished discussants.

Some thoughts on my biases...

I've watched since the early 90s, when I started windsurfing. I've seen a lot of people standing on the shore, waiting for sufficient wind to plane, when it's capping and 'wanting' to go off but not quite getting it. TYPICAL inland lake conditions, even great lakes, though the great lakes tend to be substantially less gusty than smaller inland lakes; the great lakes tend to be more up and down in ~90 second periods. Not as good as ocean sailing, but WAY better than little inland lakes. Lots of side shore to side-on frontside conditions.

In my view, there is NOTHING worse than sitting there knowing you could sail but not having a big enough kit. Getting good at WS'ing is all about time on water, and I think it really pays to have stuff to get out in light winds. EVEN FOR EXPERTS.

I think a lot of Formula advocates have the same view, and have decided to get huge stuff in order to plane in almost any conditions. I personally burned out on big stuff; it's just harder to use on my body than I care to venture (I get blisters on my hands). I'd rather do light wind freestyle or go running / cycling / whatever. So I think a lot of people got underboarded, and the reflex reaction was Formula. That was a good development in that it pushed the design envelope. That said, board designers, and *B in particular, have really learned a lot and offer more traditional volume boards that have range we never dreamed of in 1990.

Without question, I would therefore err on the side of larger board, and experiment extensively with fins, mast base, downhaul and outhaul. With the right fin, heavy railing pressure and the straps / mast way back, sheeted in as hard as you can (sail optimally set), my experience has been that heavy chop is dramatically easier because the board is not in the water very much. It's more like skipping from crest to crest, in a surprisingly smooth ride, but it requires tender foot and ankle work and being massively overpowered while sheeting in as hard as you can. That's my idea of fabulous 6.5 slalom / B&F sailing. You know you've got it right when it doesn't "feel" fast, but nobody can match you and the GPS numbers are impressive. In that mode, I would expect the iS101 to be more versatile, though a tad slower in maximum speed than the 94. I doubt you'll notice the difference, really, without formal racing or a GPS. To do it right, you'll need a fabulous race sail, top end mast and boom, and you can expect to break a lot of masts, booms, and even fins (done all of that, more than once each).

Of course, I'd do the same thing on the 94, but have to live with a 1-2 of knots less wind. Doesn't sound like much, but for Ontario that would translate to as many as 14 days a year, maybe more depending on your local access. I suggest you seek out records from Environment Canada and do your best to quantify what you would be missing.

You've had a lot of good opinions, I think. Nobody has the right answer, it's all what's right for you.

Best wishes.

steveC
5th January 2007, 09:47 AM
Hi Geoff,

Thanks for hanging tough on the conservative side of the fence, as I feel it was an important contribution. Being a local guy in Speedchaser's neck of the woods, I'm thinking that your input has particular interest that says much about what you've learned and have targeted in your personal focus. I have a 5 board quiver that includes a couple larger boards (still markedly narrow by today's standards), so I too can truly appreciate catching the lighter end of the wind spectrum to augment one's total sailing opportunities.

In his post, Speedchaser has fortunately seen a fair response to his questions, and the final decision is ultimately his. While I still wouldn't change my latest recommendation, I'm glad that he had some interesting input to work with.

SpeedChaser
5th January 2007, 09:49 AM
I'm glad everyone is taking their time to provide such useful constructive information. I really appreciate it.

Well, I have to say I was pretty much decided on the iS94...until your last post Geoff. I must say you make a very good point, and really, that's what my conscious is telling me. Although it would be fun to have the iS94 in real powered up conditions, I think it's just not practical for where I sail, at least as my big board in a 2 board quiver. I do sail with GPS but I'm sure the difference in speed is not enough to make the compromise in the low end range. I think I'll be much happier with the iS101 in the gusty conditions around here, and overall I'll have more fun, which is more important to me than GPS speed readings.

Thanks again everyone!

Erik Loots
8th January 2007, 04:24 PM
Hi,

I replaced my hypersonic 105 wood for an isonic 105 dram.

Difference: (1=bad 10=best)

hypersonic 105:
lowwind: 9
highwind flat water: 8
highwind choppy water: 5
highwind chaos water: 4
big sails: 9
small sails: 7

isonic 105:
lowwind: 8
highwind flat water: 9
highwind choppy water: 8
highwind chaos water: 7
big sails: 8
small sails: 7

My hypersonic was more allround and isonic range is just higher (read better in more wind)

hypersonic use 10-32 knots wind best performance was (for me) 12-22 knots wind
isonic use 12-36 knots wind best performance was (for me) 15-24 knots wind
isonic best performance

Depending on circumstances of use... I would choose

isonic 105 (101)
= more matchrace board
+gusty wind
+choppy
+average windspeed of 18knots

(i)sonic 95 (94)
= more slalom board
+constand wind
+open sea (lang waves)
+flat water
+average windspeed 22knots