There has been quite a bit of chatter about a new board from Shinn over the last few months, with plenty of noise through the UK forums, but on Saturday the 50th issue of Kiteworld popped though my letterbox, and in it was the following test.
If you ride a twin tip regularly, then you should read it.....
(or at least skip to the summary!
Kiteworld, issue 50 wrote:
This is a freestyle board for the mere mortals among us. The monk offers untamed sailing without the limitations normally associated with this kind of riding. Hyperflex tips (created using shins new FS mould) and a new constant curve work together to create the easiest to access (yet limitless) ride ever seen. A Backdoor into the high performance world of kiteboarding or simply reality personified? You decide.
Test team notes;
First thoughts of the test team was that the Monk was going to be quite an average board for intermediate riders. Really robust, it looked and felt really big in the hands and had a huge gorillas face on the bottom. The looks on the faces of every one of them when they came in from their first run told a different story though. They just could not believe the performance they were getting from it. Starting with the pads and straps which are all new from Shinn, the pad itself is enormous, luxurious and very thick, slightly thicker in the heel than the toe, with an indent for grip. The pad is also thick and very easy to adjust with two velcro straps underneath the main top Velcro covering. Fitting the average mans foot very well, if you have small feet you can get grip but have to push your feet a little further in. Super comfortable though and without any pinching on the sides of your feet either and the top strap offers huge coverage for virtually the whole of your foot.
The 135 gets up and going incredibly smartly, rides fast and soaks up any choppy lumps and bumps without a second thought. If you look at the outline of the board, its actually very wide in the middle, unlike a lot of modern square freestyle boards. This massively benefits the Monk in its carving ability. Combined with the flex pattern in the middle of the board, that wide section and more narrow tips means that you can really gouge a turn without catching the tips and the flex holds right the way through the turn, only pushing back seemingly when you are ready for it to do so when you have completed your carve, rather than spitting you out of your turn too early. There’s grip right through the turn, which perhaps doesn’t make for sliding from heel-to-toe as simple as on other boards but in every other aspect it’s hugely beneficial.
The Monk charges upwind like noting we’ve seen. With such good fluid and grippy carving abilities you also wouldn’t expect the monk to pop so well, but it really does. The relationship between the rocker, flex and stiffness in the tips provide a beautiful mix of newschool and freeride. Super fast but controlled to ride, when you load it up you get a fantastic punch off the water and then absorption on landing. Out of interest we got a few other riders on this and every one of them loved it, from our intermediate girlfriends, just learning to jump and carve, to seasoned freestylers visiting Capetown. No one had a bad word to say.
Shinny says this year instead of making mall incremental improvements he thought he’s experiment and start off at the extremes. He hasn’t given us any more information, but whatever he’s done it works. This is a dream board. Intermediates jumping on this wont understand just how good it is and how lucky they are to have one, but anyone who has owned a few twinnies will do. Boards often get better and better the flatter the water. This is just good at everything all the time.
KW liked; The subtle blend of new school pop with freeride comfort and agility
KW disliked; The Plastic spacers between the board and the head of the screw are quite weak.
All notions of pimping aside, if you like your twin tip riding you owe it to give one of these a try, it's really very, very good. It may bring you a very memorable season to come, for from designers to weekend warriers, ultimately we all have the same agenda - as much fun on the water as possible!
As a side note, all boards are available with smaller straps if required, and the fin washers were replaced with a bespoke design late last year..
Here are some other quotes from those who have demo'd and bought monks in the winter months here in the UK;
John Barber – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
I freakin love this board, everything just feels heavy, slow and unresponsive now – the Monk is awesome.
Seraphial – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
This is the smoothest board ever - also superbly balanced front to back
Gonzo (24-7 boardsports) – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
There is heaps of grip, you can hold down loads of power to jump - it would take a LOT of wind to get pulled out of shape on this.
Very, very smooth through chop - yes, it does feel slightly like you are hovering half an inch above the water
Bazz – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
Super impressed with this board. The board speed i was able to maintain felt awesome...
Matt S – Kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
Loved the board – just loved it. Really noticeable how much better it is than my old board at soaking up bumps which gives a real confidence.” “How it carves. It’s just incredible. The transition from one edge to the other is butter smooth even in choppy water and you can just push and push and push. At some points I swear my cheeks were only inches from the water but it just kept gripping and going round.
4 hrs on the water yesterday & my legs feel pretty fresh – which is a nice surprise. My arms on the other hand are buggered.
Yorkshireboy – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
You can ride the board as slow & easy as you like, but because it has loads of grip and handles the chop so well you're always tempted to go that bit faster.” “I'm not advanced enough to do the board justice yet, but lent it to a mate who's a decent level and he was v impressed. Great board, encourages you to ride aggressively without worrying about it being skittish or unpredictable.
Markmcie – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
I found that it trucks upwind. Its a super fast board and very controllable. I was much faster then anyone else on the water” “It was like mashing your foot on a big fat accelerator as I took off like a bat out of hell. It’s very, very smooth. The grip is mega and despite being well powered and riding hard all day it was nice not to get that back leg burn then Im used too. Its strange not to feel that especially after long tacks back to the set up area but I have to report its very forgiving here. And I only really thought of this later on but I had no spray in the face at any point despite the rough conditions !! Its not just marketing !! So an awesome first ride overall. Well impressed and a super powered up session and I’m dying for more
Josh – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
I'm not affiliated with the brand just wanted to check it out; The first thing you notice is the speed. It accelerates, then just keeps going.. hence even though you couldn't point it that high the speed alone meant you could truck upwind even though I was struggling for power at times from the kite.” "Carving was impressive, the rail in general was pretty impossible to lose meaning you could throw big spray with confidence. After I jumped on my old TT I really noticed how much less feel my old board had in comparison. You can really feel where this board is in the water" "Where I really got excited by this board is on the flat water our spot gets behind a sand bank at certain tides. After swapping kites and boards a while back I've been struggling with getting flat water pop which I put down to poor technique - even though previously I was getting nice gliding raleys. I hit the flats, loaded up and pop! Smooth release and instant air! Big smile on my face.
Waverider – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
Yesterday I got Monk-ed, that is the best-damn board I have ever-ever ridden. So light and smooth, the curve of the wake from either side and the rear told a story in itself. The Monk really is the nicest board i've ever ridden. At a time I'm going over to surfboards the Monk makes me want to ride Twin-Tips again. Well-done Shinny
Petey – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
First impressions are smoooooooth; The thing just whistles along with no clatter or drama, and that's actually quite challenging as you don't realise how bloody fast you're going until you overtake the kite in the lulls. Of particular note is the speed it holds through turns. Seems to pop nicely (releasing when you want) and lands just as easily. Have to say that on long reaches my front leg tired more than the back, which is a first for me.
Cracking board that more than justifies the hype.
Lucie – kiteboarder.co.uk wrote:
Was out on the Monk again this morning (130 x 40 - a bit too big for me really) and again couldn't believe how well it copes with chop.
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