The Starboard Carve set new standards in Freeriding. The Starboard S-Type was one of the top offerings in Super-X. After 9 years of the Carve, Starboard decided to combine the qualities of the Carve and S-Type into an all-new Freeride range.
The range is called Futura and consists of a 7 board family ranging from 93-155 Litres. Offered in both Wood Sandwich construction (lightest) and Technora (heaviest), all shapes are by Tiesda You.
Starboard have also just released a special Red Edition Futura (pictured at the bottom of this page). It's construction and price remain the same, only the colour is different. We tested the 122 Futura Wood, in blue!
"Combining the best of two freeride ranges in a package that offers it all - control, comfort, wind range, early planing and maximum top speed - was never going to be an easy task. With the experience gained from the development of the iSonics and the new concept of thinner shapes, the Futuras bring you just that." – Starboard Website
The Starboard achieved a GOLD Quality rating with the following scores:
The Board comes standard with a well matched 40cm Drake Fin.
Overall, the board is an extremely high quality package. It’s a real eye catcher with its wood deck and stood out from the group as the most ‘expensive’ looking product. The detailing on the board such as recommended mast track position, fish scale deckpads, a nice kit bag with screw driver and recommended footstrap positions etc demonstrate the careful thought that has gone into the package.
The Achilles heel has got to be the footstraps. The straps have a tendency to continually reduce in size. When you take your foot out, the Velcro adjust system doubles back on itself and attaches itself (wrongly) to the cover. This prevents the strap going back to its original size when you next put your foot in.
The other noticeable difference is the Tuttle box fin system (deeper box and 2 bolt attachment). Only the Starboard and the Bic use this system. Whilst this offers a much stronger fitting to the board (and is found on most race boards), it may make fins less interchangeable with other boards in your quiver.
The board is designed to be wide and thin and it most certainly is! It is the widest board in the test at 71.7cm, nearly 2cm wider than its nearest contender (the Exocet).
The Futura is also the lightest board in the test at 7.12 Kg.
With its extra width and light weight, the Starboard is very good at getting onto the plane.
It is slightly more technical than the Fanatic and Tabou in that you have to bear off the wind a little more, before the fin generates lift and gives you something to push against.
Choosing the inboard footstrap positions, makes getting into the straps a much easier experience.
If you want the fastest freeride board on the water, then look no further. When comfortably powered up (particularly on flat water) none of the other boards could compete.
As conditions get more hectic, the gap closes a bit, but if you have the nerve to stay sheeted in, you won’t be overtaken.
The chink in the Futuras’ armour is the high wind control. Of all the boards in the test, we were least comfortable on the Starboard when conditions got gnarly. If you are committed 100%, everything is fine, but ease off a little and you will find yourself popping wheelies, spinning out and generally struggling to head off the wind. It’s a definite case of all or nothing.
Positioning the footstraps inboard helped the situation, but the board is still a lively beast and one that takes a little more taming than anything else in the group.
Advanced carve gybers will be impressed with the way the Futura corners. Unlike some of the other bigger boards in this test, the Futura isn’t a ‘one arc pony’. You can really broaden or tighten your turning arc with ease. The board stays comfortably flat and accelerates easily upon exit.
With the footstraps positioned inboard, beginner and intermediate carve gybers will enjoy the Futuras’ stable turning platform. The thin, wide hull, gives the rider a great feeling of security and ensures that the board keeps planing for as long as possible.
The Starboard feels like it means business. It feels high tech, expensive and potent.
It definitely gives the impression that it’s built for speed from the first moment you step on board. When comfortably powered up, it delivers a very unique sensation of smooth gliding and always feels like there is speed on tap should you need it.
Perhaps more than any other board on test, the positioning of the footstraps (inboard or outboard) transforms the way the board behaves. With straps outboard, the Futura feels like a snarling beast, designed to win slalom races. With straps inboard, the board takes a lesson in manners and becomes a much more tameable creature.
Foot comfort is very good (ignoring the footstrap issue described above). Both inboard and outboard, your feet will feel well positioned and comfortable. The deck pads are also excellent and our favourite in the test.
The standard fin (a Drake 40cm) is well sized to complement the board. It feels quite a racy shape and swapping it for our MFC Liquid Pro 40cm quiver fin, definitely made the board feel a bit more forgiving, albeit not quite so fast. The Futura is quite a fin sensitive board and if you want to get the most from the board over a wide range of conditions we would recommend spending some money on fins. Starboard recommend a fin range of 32-44cm.
Starboard claim the Futura 122 is suitable for sails from 5.5–9.0m. At the top end, we don’t see a problem, but be warned that if you anticipate using smaller than 6.0m on it, on a regular basis, its going to be a handful unless you live at a flat water location.
The mast track is clearly marked with ‘recommended position’. This is a great feature and proved a very accurate guide as to where the track worked best. Well done Starboard!
The board has inboard and outboard strap options. If you want race-like speed performance, use the outboard position. For anything else, you will find the board a lot more amenable using the inboard positions.
Lets face it, no one wants to be overtaken!! If you want a board that can match up to any freeride board on the water for speed (and probably hold its own against some race models), this is certainly the board for you. As well as blistering speed performance, the board offers great stability for beginner and intermediate gybers and flexibility for advanced gybers.
It has to be said that the Futura is a high quality, great looking product and a board you will be proud of every time you take it to the beach.
Get some better footstraps. Experiment with some different sizes and shapes of fin for more versatile performance.