The AHD Fast Forward shape has remained unchanged for 2 years. The Fast Forward is available in a range of five sizes from 107-160 Litres. The board is offered in just one construction and is produced in the same factory as the Drops in Tunisia.
All the boards in the range are shaped by Pascal Gerber and we tested the 117 Litre model.
"Easy and tolerant, they will enable you to accomplish a big jump ahead and to progress many of your skills. All the parameters dedicated to your progression have been reunited in this shape. Capable of working and adapting itself this board has a harmonious outline and a big simple concave evolving into a double concave nearer the back. This enables the rider to accelerate easily, due to the support of lateral flats, its voluminous and round rails stabilises the floater." – AHD Website
first impressions, fixtures & fittings
The Board comes standard with a select 41. Whilst a high quality fin, we felt that it was a little too full-on for purpose and the board did benefit when we tried it with our more forgiving MFC Liquid Pro 40cm quiver fin. The footstraps offer 6 fixture hole options for each screw, allowing a great amount of versatility with regard to shape, angle and size.
The AHD is the lowest volume board in the test. It is also one of the narrowest and longest. This is perhaps a reflection on the age of the design, but it also characterises the way the board feels on the water.
Impressively, for just £700 the board is the second lightest in test. A great accolade indeed for AHD’s production.
ease of planning
The AHD is a comfortable and effective board to get planing. The straps are adequately inboard, the fin is plenty big and powerful enough and the board releases nicely without need to bear too much off the wind.
In terms of raw performance, the board isn’t quite good enough to match up to the larger boards in this test, but certainly holds off the more comparitive, manoeuvre orientated boards with considerable ease.
If your priority is drag racing your mates, then don’t gamble too much money on you winning unless your mates are on the Drops, Goya or Exocet.
However, if ultimate speed is not your thing, you will be glad to know that the AHD is not a slow feeling board. It actually feels fast to sail with its gunny, traditional shape, stiff hull and low nose. The fin is quite big (and race orientated) which did make the board harder work on your back leg and a little more prone to control problems in the bigger gusts when pushing for full speed. A smaller, more forgiving fin (approx 38cm) would definitely help this situation.
The AHD was our third most controllable board in strong winds and chop, beaten only marginally by the Exocet and Goya.
The size of the board no doubt helps (being the lowest volume and one of the narrowest boards in the test), but it’s the good manners of the shape that do it most justice. The nose stays nicely down and by putting the mast track slightly further forward, we were able to combat the extra lift of the large powerful fin without much adverse effect such as nose or shoulder catching.
advanced carve gybe
This is the AHD’s forte. It really is a dream to gybe. Overpowered or underpowered, wide arc or tight arc, lay down gybe or duck gybe, this board is pure fun when it comes to the corners!
The board grips very predictably and allows you to gybe either with full commitment using the whole rail or instead using the tail of the board with less commitment as you might do when overpowered or gybing tight between chop/waves. The radius of the arc can be changed mid gybe without worry and the board really allows you to drive tightly out of the last part of your turn.
beginner / intermediate carve gybe
As with many of the boards that excelled for advanced gybers, the qualities that make the board great are the same qualities that disadvantage it for beginner and intermediate gybers. The high degree of responsiveness, the narrower shape and the low volume all combine to make a less stable and forgiving platform. It’s not that the board isn’t suitable for gybers in their early stages, it’s just that progress will be easier on one of the less agile boards.
overall feel, ride & foot comfort
The AHD errs towards the more active end of the spectrum when it comes to rider input. The narrower shape gives a lively, blasty feel and the comparatively large fin gives plenty of lift.
The strap positioning is slightly too inboard for full blasting, but that’s not what this board is really about. Never-the-less, the hull shape underneath your back foot is a little uncomfortable when going flat out as your heel seems to sit right on top of the rail curve.
When pushing hard at full speed, the fin can get a bit ‘lifty’ but the board responds well to moving the mast track forward to compensate for this. A smaller fin would probably be a better alternative in the long term.
set up recommendations
The standard fin is big and racy which helps compensate for possible inadequacies in early planing due to the boards smaller size. A smaller fin would be recommended particularly if lightweight or using the board with sails of less than 6.5m
AHD claim the sail range to be 5.0m to 7.8m. The board coped fine with our 7.7m test rigs, but we wouldn’t really want to go much bigger. We are confident that the board could handle down to 5.0m sails at a push, but you wouldn’t want to be using it with much less than a 6.2 without getting a smaller fin. However, considering the great price of this board, you should be able to stretch to an extra fin!
The mast track is quite long and positioning does make quite a difference to the responsiveness of the board. Too far back and the fin overpowers the board too easily. Too far forward and the control is great but the board becomes less exciting to sail.
The board doesn’t have the option of inboard/outboard straps, coming with just one position. The position does match the characteristics of the board well though.
If you weigh less than 85kg, want a board for 7.5m and below and you get your kicks from the corners rather than the straights, you are going to LOVE this board!
It’s a fun ride, with great turning abilities, sold at a superb price.