The Starboard Evo range was first introduced in 2003. The Evo concept was to produce a compact waveboard that would perform in the widest range of conditions.
Now into their 7th generation, it’s fair to say that the concept has been something of a success! The Evo revolutionised the way that modern ‘all-round’ wave boards were shaped and with a PWA World title under it's belt, the proof is there that these boards not only perform for less experienced riders, but also for the World's best.
Offered in two constructions (Wood and Wood Carbon) and six different sizes (66, 70, 75, 80, 90 and 100 litres), we tested the 75 litre Wood Carbon model.
"Many have followed, yet the Evos continue to set the bench mark in their ability to maximize wave-riding performance in the widest variety of wind and wave conditions. Suitable for all riders from pros to progressing wave-sailors, the Evos make the most of every ride with their ability to maintain speed on the wave face, to flow through tight turns and to project big aerials off the lip.” – Starboard website
The Starboard achieved a GOLD Quality rating with the following scores:
Footstraps are much better than on last years Starboards as they now hold the size you set them to rather than self-tightening on your foot. However, like the Evil Twin that we tested a few weeks ago, the straps were a little too stiff for our liking, particularly noticeable on the top of bare feet when bottom turning.
Its great to see that Starboard recognise the importance of people setting their mast-tracks and foot straps in the correct position, by providing ‘recommended settings’. Quite why more brands don’t do this remains a mystery to us, but well done to Starboard!
The Evo is supplied with the biggest fin of the group (23cm), but the extra tail width of the board means that the fin is actually well suited for size.
The Evo sits right in the middle of the group of boards for length and overall width. It's not until you move towards the tail of the board that you start to find the defining character of this board. The Tail width (30cm from tail) measures 36cm, which gives it the second widest tail in the group and a massive 3.5cm wider than the Quatro.
As with other Starboards we have tested this year, the Evo is incredibly light in Wood Carbon form and tips the scales at 5.55kg, the second lightest board.
The Starboard felt one of the bigger more floaty boards within the group. The wide tail and big fin gave it good acceleration and it could wind itself up to a respectable top speed. It therefore scores highly for ‘get up and go’. It doesn’t have quite the same top speed as the group leading Fanatic, but is plenty fast enough for the job.
Good ‘get up and go’ and a nice compact and lightweight hull shape make the Evo a great jumping board. The wider tail and bigger fin combination also seems to help when trying to boost air off smaller ramps.
Cross-on riding is the Evo’s forte. Scot McKearcher made this point clear when he won the PWA World Wave title on the Evo several years ago and this year's model is no exception.
What makes it so good? Well, it maintains speed through the turns allowing the rider to carve tight or wide. It delivers super hard carving turns, but can also allow the rider to break the tail out and offers a very controlled slide in the top turn. But perhaps most impressive of all, somehow the Evo manages to be extremely easy going and forgiving of unpolished technique, yet at the same time can deliver absolute magic in the hands of a pro rider. It’s such a fun board to ride in cross-on conditions for all levels of rider and ranks as the best performing board in the group.
The Evo is also a good performer in cross-off conditions. It doesn’t shine quite the way it does in cross-on conditions, but it still works well and should offer everything that most riders require. It is reliable through the turns, versatile in the radius of turns that can be made and holds its speed well.
Compared to boards like the Fanatic and Quatro the Starboard is a little softer and not quite as lively in feel. Less experienced riders might well prefer this (as it irons out the errors to some degree), but advanced riders will probably prefer a slightly faster and more responsive performance.
The Evo appeals to the biggest user range of all the boards in this group. Inexperienced riders will love how the Evo flatters technique, helps keep speed through the turns and generally makes life pretty easy going. Advanced riders will revel in the awesome cross-on performance that the Evo offers and still find it good enough to keep them entertained in cross-off conditions.
Underfoot, the Starboard has a light, stiff and nicely compact feel to it. The footstraps are on the firm side and definitely add to this sensation. The pads are excellent and offer good grip and cushioning.
The Evo is an easy board to sail. In terms of responsiveness, it isn’t the liveliest board and definitely has an easier going feel to it, but in many ways this is a good thing and makes life a lot less complicated at times, particularly for less experienced riders!
At top speed in chop, it wasn’t quite as smooth as some of the other boards, where it did become a little more bouncy and skittish.
Despite the biggest fin in the group (23cm) the Standard Evo fin suits the board well. We positioned the fin slightly forward of middle track position most of the time.
Starboard have their excellent ‘recommended mast track position’ marked and well marked it is, in exactly the right place.
The Evo felt like one of the biggest boards in the group. It certainly felt better matched to the 4.5 and 5.0m test sails than the 4.0m, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work perfectly fine with 4.0m as well. We anticipate the board could handle up to around 5.5m sails, but we wouldn’t like to go much below 4.0m if we had the option of a smaller board.
The Evo has the biggest all-round appeal of any of the boards tested here. It’s certainly biased more towards ‘Euro cross-on conditions’ but whether this is your first 75 litre wave board or you’re a seasoned competitor on the PWA tour, the Evo has a huge amount to offer.
If comfort is high on your agenda, then some softer straps will be appreciated.