Interview with Dan Ellis on the Eagle
We asked Fanatic Teamrider Dan Ellis about the Eagle:
Firstly, when have you sailed the Eagle and why?
Up until a couple of years ago I would never have sailed on a “freeride” board; to be honest I never saw the point. If I wanted to go fast I’d take out my slalom board and if there were some waves I would be on my wave board. That was until I organised the Camel Cup with Club Dahab and was forced to use one and I quickly realised I’d been missing out. I couldn’t believe they actually went fast!
Dave White was also out at the time and as you may know he loves all the gybing tricks: the essex duck, the front to sail or monkey gybe – he loves them all. I’d never really seen the point in these before either but another thing about Dave is he’s a pretty good motivator, and not wanting to be outdone by the fast man I was straight into the old school tricks with the Eagle under my feet. So that was my first experience and since then I jump on them at any opportunity. The last time I went on one was at Ho’okipa during the Fanatic photoshoot. The guys were shooting the big FreeWave and AllWave boards and as the wind was really light and I wanted to sail, I jumped on an Eagle 113. I got some funny looks walking down the beach but it was great fun and I even got a few bottom turns!
So tell us about the 2008 Eagles?
The Eagle shapes have remained the same for 2008. The boards all got great test reports and feedback from sailors so why change them? What has changed is the construction technology and you now get the choice of two constructions. Now for 2008 you can choose from the high performance HS version which is very light and comes with a G10 fin orthe HRS which is more durable yet still boasts a great weight to performance ratio.
What is the difference between the Eagle and the Shark?
The Eagles are basically the smaller Sharks. The difference is that the Eagles are slightly more performance oriented with narrower outlines. The Eagles are more orientated towards manoeuvrability and speed rather than the Sharks where the main focus is ease of planning and getting you through your first carve gybes. But the philosophy is consistent throughout the Fanatic freeride range and that is to give you something that is both easy and exciting to rid. Just because you’re freeriding why should you be stuck on a board that’s sluggish and dull under your feet?
Would you be able to win a race on the Eagle?
Simply, yes. Not only could you but I have! The first year I organised the Camel Cup half of the people bought their own kit and the other half were on Eagles. I joined in a few races on my Falcon Slalom boards and won. After a bit of friendly banter on the beach about me cheating on my World Cup equipment I decided to jump on and Eagle and won again just to keep them quiet!! It was also much less effort sailing around the course. For a lot of freeride sailors and recreational racers what you loose in a small percentage of very top end speed you can make back and gain by the ease and forgivingness of gybing and not falling off!
What makes it easy to sail for the average freerider?
You just need to hook in and go. The boards have been refined through the testing program so that they fly onto the plane and stay there through the lulls. Along with that the rail shapes, tail shape, rocker line, volume placement have all been designed and fine tuned for manoeuvrability and ease of use. But, just hiding under the surface is the top end performance, the speed and the ability to turn tighter and faster gybes. It’s there waiting any time you want to tap into it.
Finally, what’s the biggest and smallest sail you have used on them?
I’ve just used them with 6m & 7m sails but now the range can accommodate you from 9.0m down to 4.5m so they’ve got it all covered. My advice to anyone is just give it a try ASAP. I waited 15 years of windsurf ing before I jumped on a freeride board and I wish I hadn’t!
PHOTOS: Courtesy of D.Wong.