Pics: James Jagger
Starboard’s range of foil specific boards are something we’ve been wanting to get our mitts on for a while. For this test we took the second smallest (quoted dims) of the range for a spin. Starboard bill the 111L as a sled for those of advanced foiling skill who want a board to cope with windier conditions and something more extreme/reactive.
On the beach it looks ‘gunny’ for its quoted size. It also displays a significant amount of rocker that runs the whole length of the board, being the most pronounced up front. It’s thin, but boxy, yet remains super light manufactured in Flax Balsa construction. The included footstraps are super soft and spongy foam with the ability to set at incremental sizes.
Once afloat the board’s stability at rest is immediately obvious. Unlike some foil specific boards, where compact sizing is order of the day, the extra bit of nose and gunny outline gives it a planted and composed feel that all foilers will welcome. There’s no yawing to windward. And even though the Foil 111L is only 70.5cm wide it doesn’t feel narrow.
We’re firm believers that less volume and narrower foil boards, once the rider has consolidated his/her foiling skill, are more than applicable in light winds as well as strong. In the case of Starboard’s Foil 111L it’s not a problem using it in 12 knots or less. With a 5.5m a few hard pumps get the momentum going (the board’s rocker necessitating this), its elongated nose then helps with glide, whilst upturned nose pushes above chop. But with good pumping technique flight is progressive yet efficient.
At altitude the ride is biased slightly towards the back foot. We didn’t pair with a Starboard foil which could be the reason for this. That said this pure freeride stance may find favour with foilers looking for a more windsurfing orientated experience.
The board’s rocker comes in to play (again) should you dip down, allowing the Foil 111L to bounce back up. Whilst move orientated foilers, who fancy some foilstyle action, will find its light weight a dream to punt skyward. The only time the narrower width comes to the fore is during gybes where footwork needs to be a little more refined.
Proof that overly wide, voluminous boards aren’t needed for light air foiling Starboard’s Foil 111L is a plug ‘n’ play, lightweight foil freeride machine that allows airborne moves to be thrown if you so desire. Progressive lift, with a back leg favoured riding style, it’s more foil specific windsurf board than foil specific platform. If you want a nimble sled, that’s a tad more forgiving than super short offerings found elsewhere, this could be for you.