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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 1:23 am 
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Mike did anyone at or under 75kg try the W18 in some light wind? Would it be a good light wind option for someone say 73kg do you think on a 17m kite??[/quote]

I had another session on the 18W today in pretty lightly powered conditions on a 2013 RPM 12m. It was an onshore wind with sloppy 2-3ft (faces) choppy swell . Solid upwind was required. For the second time, I feel one of the short comings of the Speedball in lighter powered conditions is the length of the board.It is simple to short to be considered a solid LW board. I switched to a 2013 Slingshot Darko 142, which, I had no issues going upwind.A completely different ride, the Speedball was definitely more fun in these conditions but the Darko was easier to make upwind.
One of are customers, 68kgs, used the 18w quite a bit in a recent trip to Cuba and was very impressed with the 18w in LW and Powered conditions. He bought the 16W and I would say the Honeymoon is over. He told me he likes his Monk better


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Some preliminary feedback on the W18 for 69kg as a fun light wind option.

I have had the board out a few sessions, but only at the upper and lower limits with a regular sized kite 10m C kite at low to medium power, and an 8m C kite in more wind.

It is a good board but for light riders there are some challenges: you quickly reach its upper range because even at moderate back leg pressure the feet will tire holding the edge. This happens already when my smaller board with decent bottom end barely goes upwind in about 14 knots or so. Cutting through small waves becomes a bumpy ride on the surface because you cannot control the edge well enough to cut through the water. The board is fast, but not as fast as my smaller board in these conditions. Going downwind to load and pop does not work, again because of edge control. For me, riding hips forward with backfoot pressure, I would also tire the knees becuase the pads would neither angle enough or doesn't go close enough to the heelside edge. The standard sneaker X bindings do not hold down the front foot which adds to the control issues. Toeside is absolutely outstanding however. Riding 50/50 foot pressure is possible, but does not challenge the board and becomes boring. At no point did I feel a hint of loosing control such as loosing the edge or failing to turn quickly or brake. The Sneaker X bidings are fine on a smaller board.

Now, change the bindings to something like Naish Apex (or possibly North NTT) and you can angle better and move the weight closer to the edge, and hold down the front foot and add hard heel pads. This changes the edge control and makes the board much more controllable in the upper range. I have not had enough time, but load and pop works much better. With my limited experience pop does not work by quickly stomping the backfoot, the board must be driven out the water under load - get it wrong and it suddenly feels large and clumsy, get it right and you exit with power. With the new bindings the board seems to work much better through chop. It goes upwind well by digging in the heel.

At the bottom end where an underpowered 10m C kite barely launches in 11 knots the board planes very quickly and goes with decent speed even when the wind drops to where the kite no longer flies, but due to the outline some ground was lost on each tag. Might have worked better on longer tags, but I had no space for that. It is by no means a door. A little more kite power and it would have been fine. Because of the outline and rocker, getting speed for apparent wind in some chop is not an issue at all.

With the new bindings I might be able to go in higher winds and play in waves but overall - because the board becomes tiring in the upper range (with sneaker X bindings) and doesn't go upwind weakly powered, the range is limited. I haven't testet it in its sweet spot but I would say the board can take a kite 3-4 knots down on flat water and within this range it will be fast carving board with good performance for hooked jumps and rotations. I haven't tried unhooked yet and am curious about this. I would have hoped for a larger range, but I would not care for a rectangular light wind board anyway. In small wave conditions with white water the range could well be significantly larger with the right bindings because the small board constantly looses speed and fails to go upwind.

How will the board work with a dedicated light wind kite sitting forward or deep in the window? I don't know, but I'm almost sure the board will get up and plane if the kite flies.


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:39 pm 
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great review! can you comment on the real size in centimiteres or in inches .
How long and how wide?
thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:02 pm 
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thanks

Mark Shinn specifically do not want users to compare its dimensions to other boards because it behaves differently. W18 is 132 cm by 47 cm. The width is not obvious due to the rounded shape and short length. The board is pointy so some of the length is only used for extra rocker to navigate chop and waves as described here:

http://www.shinnworld.com/#!awesomeness/c1rng

I forgot to mention that at the bottom end there are none of the edging issues - the board just sits in the water naturally. Edging more would kill power and flatting the board is not needed and not helpful.

Also, the board tricks you into thinking you have more power than you actually do, so the kite feels like a wet spunge when pulling the bar to jump. I haven't played enough with this, but it should be possible to get plenty of power by building speed and loading lines in less wind.


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:48 pm 
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A very balanced review man, and I concur from my time on the W16 and W18.


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:03 pm 
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Westozzy wrote:
A very balanced review man, and I concur from my time on the W16 and W18.

Thanks, it was a bit frustrating at first but now I think it is working fine.

Had a 12-16 knot gusty session mostly in the lower end in bigger chop on 10m C kite - could mostly use small board - but would be one of those crappy sessions so were happy to grap the Speedball. It is a bit of work and it isn't a flying carpet over chop in the W18 size. You learn to relax a bit and use front pressure when just tagging a long and engage the heel when you need to. I paid a bit of attention to the spray issue mentioned in other reviews and I think it is related to weight on front foot - not something I'd otherwise notice - it can be smack in your face though. My small board doesn't spray, except when angled incorrectly - so a bit of the same. As I expected you can jump and pop by using speed - even when the wind isn't much - you then use the gusts to go upwind. I'm not very skilled at unhooking and I was surprised at how easy it was to hook out and pop - not explosive as you accellerate along the carve and finally kick off on the small wave you've built underneath your feet. Effecient all the same. The broad base lands well, but so does my smaller board. I think the grip of the Naish Apex bindings help to prevent the big board from going awol mid air. Got enough height but not mind blowing which is fair as there wasn't too much wind and the experience is also much more forgiving - except C kite relaunch is a pain in this wind.

Had a good long session, and didn't tire my feet like I did before installing the Naish Apex bindings.

So all in all I would say the Speedball W18 has a ton of semi-lightwind potential for messing around, carving, jumping, backrolling, unhooking and probably waves too. But it is a must to replace the bindings when you are below the target weight class for the board. The Sneaker X bindings work really well on a smaller board - simple no nonse easy in and out - just not for W18 Speedball. Downside is W18 doesn't glide over chop like it wasn't there (but better than small board) and that range is limited by not going upwind much in the lightest of wind but since it goes upwind well in a little more wind, it is only really a problem in clean steady light wind.


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:10 am 
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Never had trouble with water in the face, was up against the back of my leg that annoyed me, more than normal. Not a biggy but pissed me off and my bro. Front foot can alleviate it a bit. Just needs that tip to curve sooner I feel.


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:33 am 
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Westozzy wrote:
Never had trouble with water in the face, was up against the back of my leg that annoyed me, more than normal. Not a biggy but pissed me off and my bro. Front foot can alleviate it a bit. Just needs that tip to curve sooner I feel.

Spray in face happened when riding board a bit flat with some weight on the front leg while hitting small choppy waves. Easy to avoid by keeping a little more edge and weight a little more back. Sounds different from your experience. Never got elephant legs and perhaps I'm not that bothered with spray.


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:48 am 
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That's what she said....


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 Post subject: Re: Review Shinn Speedball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:06 pm 
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bigwave wrote:
Mike did anyone at or under 75kg try the W18 in some light wind?


Icebird gives a good lowdown (I think he said he's fairly light), though there are some issues at foot placement and keeping the rail in with smaller feet. Like many say it's strongest point is not absolute upwind angle, but the thing has a lot of efficiency.

I would say that, for lightweights, the speed of the thing (both sizes) and the appetite for bearing off and increasing apparent wind (as opposed to pointing upwind and slowing the kite) makes them lean more to the efficient 'front of the window' style kites for lightweight riders.

Heavyweights don't see this too much anyway, as their general riding power tends to push even fat kites further forward. That said this is now leading into the subject of rider weight vs kite style, which I think is one of the most under discussed and important aspects of modern kiting, but that is a whole other can of worms. It's just that in the speedball's case its effect is more pronounced, so yes - W18 as a lightweights light win board, just not with a big fat "sat at the back of the window" kite :-)

(which you should not be using anyway :wink:)


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