Well this is going well gentlemen!
Well, I am one of the original reviewers of the Shinn Speedball a month or so back. I was not going to respond to this post. First off, I have told everyone who is interested( yes I sell Shinn boards) that the Speedball is a board you want to try before you buy. Unlike the original OP, hopefully you will ride the appropriate size,powered up and for more than 15min to get a good appreciation of the board.
As for some of the assumptions the original poster says about riders abilities, please, you dont know my abilities or background to question anyones riding. When we were an OR dealer I rode a Mako for over a year(when the first model came out) and have no issues riding that style of board. I admire the love and loyalty to the Mako that the riders have.
Try a Speedball if you can, specially if you ride a Mako(or any TT), Hopefully you will enjoy it and have what everyone on the water wants ...FUN!!!!
I agree definetly try one. We did two 3 hour sessions riding back to back with my bro and I swapping between the mako and the speedball. If I rode shinn boards and or was really into TTs this board would be a sweet compliment to your board quiver.
In summary we found the following (was riding a 140 and a 150 mako and the W16):
Upwind/planning ability: The speedball goes really early. At times when I was on the 150 and once on the skim board on my 14m cat my bro was going well on the W16 and I've ridden longer than him. The speedball loves a high aspect efficient kite.
Speed: the Speedball was faster my brother felt. The Mako can get a little squirrelly at igh speeds.
Ability to Slide: Above is correct, when you get used to it you can slide the w16 out while the mako doesn't like sliding across its concave...again with technique this is possible but the speedball easier.
Load and Boost: Now been riding a while the makos, and the ease of boost (loading up) I found similar. My brother felt he would be able to load better on the speedball given time and I think I agree.
Feel: The speedball feels more alive underfoot, some may say the mako feels a duller. I tranlsate this into the mako is smoother and goes through the chop better. Although the speedball can be ridden flat, it doesn't come close to the mako. But yes if you like heaps of feedback and aliveness the speedball is for you.
Dryness: Yeh this wasn't great for us on the Speedball. We both came in after the first day saying what an awesome design the speedball is, but then my bro made the comment that water was hitting and splashing up the back of his legs just where the tip starts to curve in. Right on it. I said yeh I noticed the same. In my mind it needs to taper sooner. The mako is super dry. People bang on about the dryness of shinn boards (now I use to own a monk just for the record, awesome baord by the way), but the mako is a truly dry board as you don't have to lean so far into the rail for it to bite and of course the crazy round tips.
Carvablity: The mako is the closest I have found to a SB feel in the waves. It's ability to be ridden flat, then rail to rail is outstanding. The speedball while an imporvement on TT feel in this regard, really is still just another traditional TT design with some obvious differences...but in the end it still feels very much like a TT in the surf and needs to be ridden as such. The mako has it's own feel altogether.
My main objective for the Mako is the last aspect. That over rides all the others. I have a more traditional squarer tipped freestyle/freeride TT for the flat and when the ocean is flat. Hence I tend to differentiate. I have moved away from 'allrounders' as such.
I feel the speedball as I have said would be an awesome addition to a regular TT dudes board quiver if you really want that TT feel with a difference. Say a Monk and speedball would be an awesome combo for instance or even a street/supershinn and a speedball. If you had a Dundee then this board is already designed for similar riding (although is rides very different).
That being said I will be demoing the W18 as a light wind alternative for me at 75kg.
A short wide board that technology has allowed to be explored again!
I think this board will be a winner for a lot of riders looking for this sort of thing.