On the beach
Last year we tested the 77 Starboard Quad IQ and were really impressed with it – particularly for its easy, all-round performance. For 2012 Starboard have left the range unchanged in terms of shape, except for a redesign of the 87L model. The only major change for the 92 (tested here) are the graphics, which we think look pretty cool.
The Quad IQ offers three main fin configurations: quad with bigger fins at the back, quad with bigger fins at the front, and twin-fin. Having experimented a fair bit last year with the smaller model we opted to test this board in what we feel is the best ‘all-round’ setup, namely in quad mode, with big fins at the back and small at the front.
Detailing and quality of fittings on the Quad IQ is extremely good. Our only point of concern is the width of the straps (the width across the top of your foot), which feels wider than last year and is certainly the widest within this group. It does give a comfortable feel on the top of your foot, but those with smaller feet found it a bit trickier to get a decent grip with them. The finboxes are all slot box, which minimises weight, allows for adjustment and improves the ease of attachment.
Measurement wise, the Starboard was the second longest board (to the Quatro) and second widest (to the Tabou). The tail width (at 30cm) was also one of the widest. Weight is very good and at 6.71kg (bare) the Starboard was the second lightest in the test (despite also feeling one of the biggest).
On the water the 92 definitely feels like a big brother to the 77 we tested last year. It feels relatively long and gunny and has a lot of nose rocker, which visually makes the nose sit quite high. Like the 77 it has a really soft, flowing and almost slippery feel in the water. Many quads feel a bit sticky and draggy, but the Starboard is one of the most ‘free riding’ that we’ve tried. With the high nose rocker and very rearward strap positions, the board rides very much off the tail and relies on the fins to get upwind. The fins feel like they have marginally less bite than some of the others, so you have to exercise a little caution on how hard you push through your back foot. Upwind performance is compromised slightly because of this. With 14cm and 11cm fins the Starboard has the smallest set of rear fins (and largest fronts) of all the quads tested here, so you could try fitting some larger fins if this concerns you.
The loose, free feeling in a straight line gives the board an exciting ride, with plenty of pop for chop-hops and jumps, making it surprisingly good for bump-and-jump sailing.
But it’s not only in a straight line that the Starboard scores well. On the wave it has a very easy, flowing and safe feel to it, carrying and maintaining speed extremely well (as good as anything here). The bottom turn is very versatile, allowing both back and front foot turning styles. It has plenty of drive when required and was good in both underpowered and overpowered conditions. This all adds up to a very easy board to ride: advanced riders will love the combination of looseness and drive, while intermediates will appreciate the ease of turning and ability to hold speed.
The top turn is very good. Again that rear positioning of straps and fins allows the rider to snap an extremely tight top turn with noticeably less effort than some of the other boards. You can maintain grip through the turn or choose to let the tail slide in control.
Backside turns in onshore conditions are also really good. With everything positioned well back on the board and the quad-fin grip, you can really snap it around tightly.
Weight (bare): 6.71kg
Weight (complete): 7.69kg
Fins: 4 – 14cm & 11cm
Range sizes: 69, 74, 77, 82, 87, 92
The Quad IQ 92 is a fantastic all-round waveboard, offering as much to intermediate riders as it does to advanced riders in a whole range of conditions. It feels slightly bigger underfoot than some, which will suit heavier riders – but at the same time it feels looser underfoot, which will suit lighter riders. It is a board with a huge range of appeal.