Equipment Testing

Starboard Evil Twin 80

 

2008

Starboard Evil Twin 80

Starboard evil twin 80 2009

Board Feel

Starboard last offered a twin fin waveboard in 1997. Now they are back with the Evil Twin – and what a fantastic name to give it!! The Evil Twin is claimed to be a development of the very successful Evo theme, with focus on being able to carry more speed through tight turns and offering a more flowing ride.

Not only does the board have two fins, but it is offered in two constructions (Wood and Wood Carbon) and two sizes 74 and 80 litres. We tested the 80 litre Wood Carbon model.

manufacturer's claims

"The new Evil Twin - a variation of the Evo theme. With new shapes developed around the concept of a twin fin set-up, the Evil Twins offer the opportunity to ride powerful waves in a new style that is as close as it gets to pure wave surfing. The Evil Twins hold more speed in tight turns with more top-turn drive and more squirt for a new wave-riding style with flowing transitions carrying greater speed” – Scott McKercher

first impressions, fixtures & fittings

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, they were a little too stiff for our liking, which was noticeable on the top of bare feet when bottom turning.

Starboard should be well commended for having a ‘recommended setting’ marked on their mast track (and footstrap positions via a card tag). Its considered so important on sails to give buyers a tuning guide, why don’t more brands do this on their boards?!

measurements

The Starboard is the lowest volume board on test at 80 litres. However, the most noticeable thing about the board is the width. It’s the second widest board at 58cm, but has the widest 30cm from tail measurement at 36.5cm, which is more than 3cm wider than the Quatro. Its quite noticeable that the widest point of the Evil Twin is considerably further back than on the other boards in test.

get up and go

The Evil Twin is the ‘stickiest’ board in the test to get going. Its top speed is not bad, but it does feel noticeably slower to accelerate than most of the other boards in this test. In powered up conditions its not really a problem, but in lighter conditions, you will need good technique to get yourself going as quickly as some of the other boards in this test.

However, it was noticeable that the standard fins are very wide at the base and when we tried the board with our MFC quiver fins, it felt a lot less sticky in a straight line.

jumping

The Evil Twin is a fun board to jump. It is very light underfoot and the shape gives good lift from the wind and control in the air. Performance is let down only marginally by the lack of ‘get up and go’ that this board has compared to the other boards in the test, which means you are usually reaching the wave at a slightly slower speed.

cross-on riding

We found that the Starboard was more consistent when driven off the back foot in cross-on conditions. In bigger waves where you had to lean forward a bit more, the board wasnt as predictable.

It seemed to work best when you link your bottom turn straight into a top turn. It wasn’t so comfortable in the switch stance, clew first position you can find yourself in after bottom turning in cross on conditions.

Off the top it was nice when the tail broke out on white water sections. It felt quite predictable and controllable in this style of turn. Carving turns off the top were good, but not as loose as the Mistral and RRD boards.

cross-shore riding

The Starboard definitely felt more at home in cross shore conditions and with a more vertical style of riding.

The bottom turn was still a little unusual. Very good if you drive through off your back foot, but not so comfortable when leaning forward and trying to do a more traditional drawn out style of turn. In this position, the board could become bouncy at times and liable to skipping out in the choppy conditions we experienced.

The carving top turn was a lot better in cross shore conditions, now that the radius of turn does not have to be so great as in cross on. When you get it right, the board grips exceptionally well and throws a bucket load of spray as it carves around the top turn like a train on rails.

Bigger waves and more power in the sail seemed to suit the Evil Twin better as it isn’t quite as good as the other boards at holding speed in the turns.

wave-ride control

The Starboard certainly felt loose enough that you could position it anywhere you wanted on the wave. The fact that it was a little prone to skipping out on the bottom turn at times (usually if you tried to lean forward too much in a bottom turn), is the factor that let it down slightly in overall waveriding control.

Overall feel, ride & foot comfort

Even after 16 full days on the twin fins, it is still a difficult task to characterise the Starboard. It is a board that seems to have many different moods and characters.

At times you think you have got it sussed and then suddenly it will do something completely unexpected.

Overall, ‘playful’ is probably the best word to describe the board. In small mushy waves, with good power in the sail, you can rip, grip and slip to your hearts content.

As the wind drops, you notice the sticky nature of the board a bit more and its fondness of turning off the back foot makes it more difficult to keep speed up.

Underfoot it feels light, stiff and balanced, albeit with a slightly ‘draggy’ feel (which in good part can be attributed to the fins).

The pads are great with their unidirectional grip, but straps are a little stiff for our liking (as described above).

set up recommendations

The standard 160 fins certainly allow the board to carve with good grip, but when we swapped the fins for our MFC quiver fins, we noticed the board felt considerably more ‘free’ in a straight line. We found our 165’s to be the best size. Our 160’s were ok, but the board sacrificed too much grip with such small fins.

The recommended setting on the mast track is spot on and we commend Starboard for this feature, which is a great tuning aid.

The Starboard is the smallest board in test (at 80 litres) and like the Quatro our 80kg test Clones agreed that 5.3 was probably the maximum sail size. The Evil Twin coped fine with 4.7m sails (right up to fully overpowered), but we wouldn’t recommend going smaller than this on it for proper waveriding performance.

target buyer 

Whilst competent in all the conditions we tested in, the Starboard was at its best in side shore winds.

Although we never got an oportunity to try, we get the impression that the Evil Twin will come into its own for cross-off riding in proper waves.