The Sting sits between the Nano II (entry level freeride) and RS (speed-orientated freeride) in the Exocet range and is available in two constructions: Wood and Duratec. Looking at the measurements the Exocet is by far the widest of the group with a max width of 73cm and a tail width of 47.2cm. In plan, it looks the most rounded of the boards with its very wide and curved nose profile. Weight is respectable at 7.77kg. The 43cm fin supplied is the second longest of the group, the most upright, and looks to be the most dedicated shape here.
On the water the Exocet has quite a different sensation to many of the other boards. It feels flat and wide and skims across the water with a very passive feel underfoot – the most passive board in the group. It’s quite a contrast to narrower-tailed boards like the Fanatic and Starboard, which feel poised to turn at the twitch of a toe. Instead the Exocet sets its direction and off it goes.
In chop the ride isn’t quite as comfortable and suffers because of the board’s width. At speed the Exocet is very settled and stays planted through the gusts – in fact the ease almost belies the speed at which you’re actually travelling. Only at the very top end does it lose control and lift onto the fin. The board flies upwind thanks to its width, sailing style and fin length.
The inboard strap positions felt perfectly positioned for all-round sailing. Only use the outboard positions if you’re a serious speed freak. On the subject of straps, we’re going to have to squeeze in our regular moan about Exocet footstraps. Agreed, they are gradually getting better year by year, but while strap quality is edging forward, the width of the strap is still massive compared to anything out there. It’s a strap issue, not an insert issue, so changing the straps should sort it out. Patrice – please take note that we don’t all have size 15 feet!
Back to the board, and all that width and the larger fin size work wonders when it comes to getting going in light winds. The Exocet quite rightly scores second best within this group for ease of planing.
When it comes to the gybes, advanced sailors looking to crank the board full power into a tight gybe will find the Exocet a little ‘sedated’ for them. However, where this board really shines is for the less experienced. It’s extremely stable through the gybe (allowing for plenty of clumsy footwork), keeps planing very well, has nicely positioned straps for getting back into – and if it all goes wrong and you do drop off the plane, the Exocet will get you very quickly back onto it.
The recommended sail size is 5.0m to 8.5m. At the top end we think that’s pretty accurate, but we wouldn’t like to go as small as 5.0m on it. Our 6.2m quiver sails were fine at the top end in flat water, and we could see a 5.7m being okay, but we wouldn’t recommend going much smaller.
The Exocet has a very passive ride combined with great early planing and gybing talents for the less experienced. It’s an easy board to sail, and its wide, rounded nose gives quite a different sensation to most of the other boards within this group. It definitely errs more towards smoother water and less advanced riders.