Windsurfing has a long and rich history with colourful characters coming to leave their mark on the sport and shaping its future development. Not only that but windsurfing has a significant pedigree as far as equipment goes.
In the first of a new series we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane and re-visiting some vintage windsurfing gear that still holds regard with many. In a lot of cases this kit may still be on the water, and why not?
Windsurfing has always been about progression and evolution, which we 100% stand by. But sometimes it’s good to acknowledge what’s gone before and why we’re here now. For the first instalment of (Windsurfing) Club Classics we’ll hop back to 2008 and shine the spotlight on Starboard’s uber successful Carve range – in particular the Carve 111. It wasn’t the first incarnation of the Carve, and in fact the brand still produces Carves to this very day, but it’s possibly the most recognisable?
How it is now
The HDE version we’re using here is pretty bomb proof. It’s been around the block, and while there’s certainly signs of age it’s in no way about to fall apart – testament to the top notch build quality. Rather than two deck pads this version features one continuous pad adorning the back half of the board. For a while a nose bumper was affixed to the front but this was removed to reduce weight and swing. A 37cm Tuttle Box fin protrudes from the tail and Starboard’s footstraps are comfy and still original – again, showing the longevity some equipment has.
There have been no dings to let nasty seawater in and the fin is in pretty good nick considering the amount of use this Carve 111 has had. It’s light and easy to move about the beach and believe us when we say there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.
On the water
The Carve 111l have a very distinct shape. It’s longer than you find most boards these days with a tapering nose and tail. Looking from above it’s almost teardrop in shape with the main width a volume located under the mast track and forward foot position when off the plane.
Off the plane it actually feels compact and dare we say a little wobbly for its size. The deck has a progressive dome which only adds to the rolly nature of the Carve. This may increase comfort when in the straps but we’d say the 111 is a board to be ridden with some degree of skill. It isn’t super technical but early intermediates may find it tricky.
Powering up is efficient although there needs to be some oomph in the puff. Once blasting, with feet slotted into straps, the Carve 111’s manners are impeccable. Riding over chop is almost magic carpet esque with comfort being the name of the game. It’s a pretty fast board as well, that big fin able to load up and power on through.
Anyone fancying a bit of air time will be rewarded with the Carve 111, even with outboard footstraps. Due to its speed riders can boost easily from chop enjoying fulfilling steep jumps. For those who can it’s even possible to loop this baby. Whilst not being the Carve’s primary design function it’s a lot of fun going over the handle bars.
Round corners is super efficient, the Carve 111’s rails biting hard. Tentative gybers may come undone if not used to full chat turns, and positive commitment needs to be kept right through the move. The Carve eats chop for breakfast in this scenario and unlike some wider more modern sleds doesn’t skip out with flotsam in the mix.
If you fancy more wavier performance then swap the fin to something smaller, although there’s a degree of straight line performance missed. Likewise don’t expect full tilt bottom turns. Riders will, however, be able to draw a few lines on small wave faces that will put grins on chops.
Starboard’s Carve 111 is an icon in the world of windsurfing board shapes. This size marked the start of the range’s performance end, crossing into higher winds and swellier environments. It’s no wonder you still see many of these boards being bust out at coastal venues. Fast in a straight line, efficient round corners and able to hold its own in the jump department Starboard’s Carve 111 is a board that still finds favour with many.
So you’ve read the first of our (Windsurfing) Club Classics now it’s over to you. What older windsurfing kit do you still have knocking about? And why is it still in your quiver? Let us know what you’re still rocking, why and we’ll publish it to Windsurfing UK’s website. After all, we shouldn’t shy away from this kind of thing with many riders utilising even older gear still to this day…If it’s classic, it’s classic!