Kona Boards

Equipment test

KONA 10’5’’

Released: Spring ’08
Volume: 145 litres
Length: 320cm
Width: 65cm
Price: £1025

The 10’5’’ is a member of the eight board Kona family. Together with its 11’5’’ big brother, it has been designed to fulfil the role of light wind wave riding.

Kona claim the board will get you wave riding on days that would normally be too light for traditional wave riding and also make wave riding more accessible for the less experienced.

When we first heard about this board, we have to admit to being highly sceptical. Our shores rarely get graced with light winds combined with rideable waves and when they do, it’s usually an onshore wind rather than sideshore. Then the wind picks up that bit more and surely you are going to have a heck of a lot more fun on a smaller, lighter board eg. 95 litre Freewave or Twin Fin?!

So we managed to get our hands on a test board to see how it performed in these conditions and guess what – despite having the board for two months, we simply never got ‘the ideal’ conditions to test it in.

So we could quickly conclude that this really is a rather pointless board for the UK . But we would be wrong.

Over our two month wait for the ‘right conditions’, we sailed the board in planing and non-planing conditions, we did a windsurf lesson on it, we had a 2 year old catching her first wave, we forward looped it, we taught someone to upwind 360 and we even had a gay rights activist stick a paddle on it (we think he called it SUP’ing or something).

This really is the beauty of the 10’5’’ – in an odd sort of way, it’s a board that just does it all. You can plane, you can potter, you can wave ride and you can play, the Kona 10’5 really does have something to offer for all eventualities.

For the more enthusiastic windsurfer, the board has one distinct advantage. When you are planing, the step tail makes it feel much shorter than it really is. In fact, if you closed your eyes, you would struggle to believe you were on a long board once planing. So why not just buy a short board? Well short boards are pretty miserable to sail when not planing, they are unstable and make slow progress upwind. The 10’5’’ however performs nicely both on and off the plane.

This could be a real advantage to people who live and sail in gusty areas eg inland waters or offshore winds. Instead of the usual emotional highs and lows of planing or not planing, the 10’5’’softens the boundary between gusts and lulls and delivers a fun ride that is independent of the wind strength.

We used the board mostly with a 6.0m sail, which worked nicely for all round sailing. The board could handle bigger if required (perhaps up to 8.0m at a push).

The range of use that this board offers.
The short board feel once planing
Manoeuvrable for kids learning to windsurf.
Soft deck.

At 12.75kg (inc straps and fin) it’s not light.
The Kona straps don’t adjust big enough for regular sized feet (although we have been told that this issue has been addressed on later boards)
It’s not cheap

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