Bump & Jump
High Wind Freeride
Its clear that the Cross 84 comes from a different line of thinking than most of the other boards here. With 84 litres of volume and a tail width of 37.5cm (one foot off) its perfectly matched against the other boards, but when you examine the width (55.5cm) and length (228cm), the Exocet reveals its diminutive proportions. It is in fact 3.5 cm narrower than the Starboard and 7cm shorter than the Fanatic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but certainly illustrates the narrow, straight sided plan shape of the Cross 84.
Exocet have built a reputation for user-friendly ‘high comfort’ board shapes. The Cross 118 that we tested (and loved) last year was a prime example of this. Whilst this 84 Cross is another member of the ‘comfort’ family, it actually feels quite different in nature to the 118.
The first thing thats noticeable is the size. It just isn’t a straight match for the other 85 litre boards here. It feels and rides like a much smaller board and its performance is affected accordingly. In strong winds it feels small, agile and comfortable, whilst in light winds it just doesn’t have the same sail carrying capacity and ‘get up and go’ as the other boards.
This is not necessarily a negative trait on the shape, just simply that it is a smaller board. You really have to think of it as equivalent to an 80 litre board from the other brands.
On the water the board is controllable, relatively fast and (for its size) has reasonable get up and go. The comfort and control are there, but at the same time, the Cross 84 rides with a more free, slightly less grippy ride than most of the other boards, which gives it a skatey, maneuverable and playful feel.
In bump & jump conditions its a really fun board to sail. Where we were slightly dissapointed was in wave conditions. With its small maneuverable feel, we thought it was going to be a peach to wave ride. Whilst it is good, it isn’t great and couldn’t match some of the other boards in this group. The initiation of the turn is good, but somehow the rails have a tendency to catch and mess things up a bit when driven hard.
Overall, the Cross is unique version of the standard Freestyle/Wave concept. If you like a small, narrow and skatey feel, then the Cross is great and really shines in coastal bump and jump conditions. If you plan using sails bigger than 5.3 regularly and are concerned about early planing, then you should probably look at one of the bigger Cross boards. Make sure you get the free DaKine upgrade on the footstraps (UK only) - its a must!