The much acclaimed Fanatic Eagle freeride range consists of three boards: a 100, 113 and 126. All three shapes remain unchanged for 2008, but are now offered in two levels of construction: HRS (heaviest) and HS (lightest). All shapes are by Sebastian Wenzel and we have tested the 126 HS.
"The Eagles are the perfect Freemove/Freeride toys, the rider concentrates on having fun, while the Eagle planes, gybes and controls in auto-mode! 3 sizes, each with a massive wind range, cover all the wind/water conditions any freerider will ever need!" – Sebastian Wenzel
The Fanatic achieved the highest GOLD Quality rating with the following scores:
The Board comes standard with a well matched 42cm G10 Fin.
The Fanatic scored 2 points for ‘Other Extras’. One, for the simple ‘no screw driver required’ fin fastening system, which is excellent. We wish more boards offered this quick and easy system. The second extra point was for offering a centre rear strap option for novice planers.
The Eagle has the second highest quoted volume and definitely feels its size. It is the 3rd lightest board in the test and one of the widest at 69cm.
It is noticeable that the board width thins down towards the tail more than on most, giving the board a more ‘egg shaped’ appearance and is intended to improve the manoeuvrability.
69cm of width, a light weight hull, a good 42cm fin and an effective shape all add up to an incredibly early (and easy) planing board.
Second only to the Tabou, the Fanatic excels with its ease of planing. Where many of the boards in this test require a subtle technique of bearing off the wind, waiting for enough speed for the fin to lift and then heading back upwind, the Fanatic just works. Point it in the direction you want to go, wait for a gust and off you go. No drama!
For a board that is so easy to sail, the Fanatic surprised our test Clones by being the second fastest board in the group. With its safe and predictable ride, they really were expecting something more mundane when it came to top speed.
It’s a great testament to the design that the board is so versatile in a straight line. Upwind or downwind, underpowered or overpowered, experienced or inexperienced, you are unlikely to be overtaken.
Again, the Fanatic was set to surprise us. For a board of this size the Clones were expecting a bit of a handful when it got windy. The board certainly felt big, but delivered an extremely safe and predictable ride that gave no cause for concern. A smaller fin would certainly help the ride further.
Its hard to find fault with the Eagle, but if we were being picky, this would be the area that leaves you slightly wanting. For an advanced gyber, the board is slightly more nimble in the turns than the F2 and more predictable than the RRD and Naish, but it is a little boring. You set an arc and off you go. Beyond that, there isn’t much scope for anything more.
In many ways, the Eagles shortcomings for an advanced gyber are what makes it so good for a less experienced gyber. The board is extremely predictable in the turn, nicely tolerant of heavy footed technique and maintains planing for as long as anything else in the test. The inboard footstrap positions are also nice and easy to get back into after the gybe.
Underfoot, the Fanatic feels like a big board, but it is extremely well mannered. It takes advantage of its size when necessary, yet it does well to avoid the potential pitfalls of its size at the other end of the wind spectrum.
In a straight line the Eagle is tolerant of unpolished technique, but also lively enough to keep an experienced rider entertained.
Foot comfort is great (inboard and outboard). The dual density deck pads do a nice job of cushioning the ride and the straps are simple but effective.
The standard fin (42cm) feels like a quality product and suits the board well. If you plan on using sails smaller than 7.0m on a regular basis, you may want to consider a 38cm to compliment it.
Fanatic claim the sail range of the board to be 6.0-9.0m sails, which we have no reason to disagree with.
With regard to mast track positioning, we found the track to work best just aft of the 135cm mark for our 7.7m sails and about 132cm for our 6.2m’s. Beware that if you position the mast track too far forward, you will notice the shoulders of the board becoming quite catchy.
The Eagle was equally comfortable and worked well with inboard or outboard strap positions.
An excellent all-round freeride board. The Fanatic Eagle offers a safe, stable and effective learning platform for the beginner/intermediate freerider and at the same time a fast and fairly entertaining ride for the advanced sailor. Suitable for both heavyweight and lightweight riders.
A 38cm fin for smaller sails.