Its an old review, but this is one of the more relevant posts from Kiteboarder forum
cut and paste.
by Sonnyrider » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:53 am
I've been lucky enough to have a demo of the W18 Speedball. My main TT weapon of choice is a 135 Dundee (upgraded from a Luigi 2). I also have a 140 King George for lighter winds
The first day I used it was typical up down April wind, 13 - 20 mph I was on a 12m Reo (normally I would be on a 14 Cat riding my Dundee) wind was cross on, almost on shore. typical erratic mush with knee\waist\chest high waves popping up now & again
My 2nd day was at Pembrey on a low tide, so a mixture of flat, mush, waves out back. Wind was similar to the above, but dropping off to less as the session went on
Mike B wrote:Some bullet points to start...
- Big range, very big... there is width, so it forgives and starts to build speed quickly, but lets the speed build with exceptional efficiency, and creates a lot of apparent wind. You can develop a lot of board speed for not a lot of power. - For heavier riders it offers a lot of drive for you to push against.
Builds speed very easily, as easy as the KG for getting up on. Does not feel as big as the KG. It carves up wind stupidly easy. No leg burn, like the KG. Once up on the plane, you can generate apparent wind in the lulls. You really can ride them out. Im 95-98kg
Mike B wrote:- The larger W18 feels TINY for the planing potential offered, and for heavier riders it's somewhat of a revelation for mainstream all-round use. It has attributes of low speed flotation, small feel and efficiency that I have not seen combined in one single board so far. The W18 was the first board I tested and after 3 runs I had to stop and look for the sizing for I was utterly convinced I had taken the smaller board (no joke).
Completely agree, it does not feel like a big board. It feels small, but yet feels big when it needs to. It's a very strange sensation. Because it feels small, you think you better be careful over the mush etc, because you think it's going to dig the front in. It doesn't, it floats over it. Makes you laugh because you "Got away with it, that time"
Mike B wrote:- Stable and smooth at high loads / speed, not the Monk, but as good as any shinn has proven to be in the last 3 years.
Very, very stable. I could not unsettle the board at all. I tried
Mike B wrote:- Carving ability is excellent - a real standout feature. Not only a very stable entry to the turn but highly effective arc, cutting round hard corners with very little drama. In this it is like a surfboard, not the slashy water spraying blast of the Monk, but a very natural initiation with progressive bite and stable drive through the turn, something not offered by any of the other shinn boards. Traditional twins do skip around at this transition point - the speedball engages and bites without any drama.
Yes, it does feel very surfboard like. It is very easy to whip the back foot round without much effort, surprising considering the big fins on it. Seriously easy to experiment with your carving. The only way I can describe it - you are a weeble, weebles do not fall down. You can kind of wobble, go top heavy over balanced, but because the board is wide, it makes you feel planted, a bit like your feet are fixed to a solid mount, you 'wobble' then you can just lean back and away you go. it's very weird, but also good
Mike B wrote:- Very resistant to lulls, the width and slippery efficient feel just punches straight through them like they are not there.
Very resistant to lulls, just keep moving that kite and you just ride through it. Amazing
Mike B wrote:- Has huge float and buoyancy when speeds decay to a crawl - makes for a very easy fun board to experiment with if the kite power drops to zero for a split second.
At pembrey I was trying to catch up a couple of waves down wind from me, I missed them, I got there as the white water was there. First time I took it easy, it is white water and I am on a TT after all. It rode over it, like it wasn't there WTF!?
So I went looking for white water, just to see. Yup, the white water was not a hinderance on this board, it just floated over it at any speed. Amazing. The KG can not cope as well as the Speedball. It was a good as a surfboard in this area, but you're riding a TT
Mike B wrote:- Is excellent in whitewater / confused choppy breaks - allows you to mess about with impunity, especially if you are medium to heavyweight.
I had an open mind with this board. I wanted to see what it was like
To me it's like a KG, but not as big. It felt better, esp. when smashing my way out back through the waves. When you use the wave as a ramp it lands so smoothly, it really is like landing on an air bag. It carves, it gets me going on a 12m when others weighing 20 - 30 kgs lighter were on 11's
It feels like a surfboard, but clearly is not
It feels like a skim, in that you can slash it around, piss around, do what you can in lighter winds without worrying you are going to lose your power, send the kite and off it goes. But it is not a skim
I did manage to compare my Dundee at Pembrey for a short period. The Dundee, for me, felt better when I was pushing on, finding more speed. The Reo seemed to work better with the Dundee than the Speedball. I seemed to find a top speed and could not get it to go faster. I rode in, jumped on the Dundee and managed more speed.
Was it my technique because I ride the Dundee all the time or was it the board? I wouldn't like to say. But at the time I was blaming the kite
The ride on the Dundee was short lived, the wind was dropping I could not get up wind, I could only just hold my ground, mostly losing ground. Jumped back on the Speedball and I was rocketing up wind agin. Eventually I couldn't get up wind any more, I could hold ground, was about 13 mph on a 12m
13mph is normally Zephyr world for me
As I was walking back in, my GF came up and was struggling a little on her 130 Monk & 8m VX. She rode off on the Speedball, I warned her she wouldn't like it.
On paper the board is too big for her at 60kgs
She loved every minute on it, she stayed out until she was too tired to kite any longer. Amazing was her response, it's so forgiving, carves well, a great all rounder. Works very well with the smaller kite. Much, much better than the KG for weight. Jumps well, lands well. and no leg burn
I wanted to hang onto the board for longer, get a couple of powerd up sessions in on it. But the demo days took it away from me
For me it has the best of my King George & the ease of use I get from my Dundee, plus the skim feeling I get from my LF fish
I love my Dundee, the Dundee is my weapon of choice, the KG is less used.
A Speedball would make a good replacement for the KG as it is a better all rounder with more feedback and it rides like it is on rails. Point it where you want to go and it does as it's ordered
Eppo said " It was like the board gives you what YOUR individual style wants…well it feeds it back to YOU, rather than dictate HOW you should ride."
HIt the nail on it's head
I want another go
and sorry for the long post