The Ray sits between the Falcon (race) and the Shark (freeride) in the Fanatic range and is offered in two constructions – Wood and Ltd Edition. It’s targeted at full speed freeriding, but with some added comfort and control over the Falcon.
At 115L the Ray is one of the biggest boards in the test, but still boasts an impressive weight of just 7.06kg. Fanatic graphics really are top notch this year; they give the boards an extremely high quality finish and seem to be loved by almost everyone!
While the overall measurements are pretty much middle of the group, it’s noticeable that the straps, fin and track are positioned further back on the Fanatic than on any of the other boards. This probably contributes to a degree to the sensation of speed that you get when sailing the Ray. It’s a very lively, fast feeling board to sail, and it doesn’t just feel fast – it is fast! On flat water it was one of the fastest boards on test, and as soon as the water chopped up a bit it took the lead, thanks to its active ride off the tail. The nose stays comfortably high above the chop, and on the occasions that the board does get airborne the balance is very good, staying trimmed flat through air.
Weight (bare): 7.06kg
Range sizes: 100, 115, 130, 145
The Fanatic definitely isn’t as easy to sail as some of the other the boards, and needs to be locked down to keep it in control, but its active ride does give an advanced rider opportunity to squeeze a bit more speed when required. This is a great asset – particularly on flatter water – and keeps the ride fairly engaging.
At the top end the Fanatic takes the most skill and technique to control. The lively sensation that makes it so much fun (and fast) in more comfortable conditions has consequences at the top end, where the board is one of the most prone to get airborne (in chop) and the quickest to ride up on the fin in the flat. Even with 7.0m sails we found ourselves positioning the track just forward of middle to keep the nose down. Our 5.8 quiver sails were just a little bit too small for the board. Fanatic recommend 6.2 minimum sail size, and in our opinion that’s a fairly accurate guide. Any smaller (particularly in chop) and control becomes too much of an issue.
In the gybe the Fanatic felt one of the bigger, more technical boards of the group. On flat water it gybes fine (albeit not as tight as some), but in the chop it required more technique. It has a tendency to bounce on the rail on entry and takes a bit more effort to finish the turn than on some, particularly when overpowered.
In our opinion the Fanatic is let down somewhat by its fin. It was the most prone to spin-out, giving control problems at the top end, and early planing was also compromised by not being able to push reliably against it. We would recommend trying a different fin in the board.
The Ray is a board for speed freaks who not only like to go fast, but also like the feeling of going fast! It was the fastest board of the group in choppy water, but also one of the hardest to control when things got really rough. Gybing takes a bit more technique than most, but riders will be rewarded by the Fanatic’s engaging ride in a straight line.