Review: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: Nick Kingston & Oli Liane-Peirce
A new brand to some AV Boards is the brainchild of Italian shaper/designer Aurelio Verde who’s noted as being one of the best creators of his generation. Having cut his teeth working for RRD he’s now involved with pushing his own company forwards.
The AV Free BT is a parallel rail freestyle wave shape that displays a highly polished finish and aesthetics that please. Every part of the 103L screams top shelf, from the fixtures and fittings to the svelte lines on display. There’s tuning in abundance with ability to tweak as either a single fin freeride machine or switch to a more wave orientated 2+1 thruster set up. We tried both.
In freeride mode the Free BT is quick out of the blocks, even in squiffy wind. A gunny shape, with a pretty flat nose rocker, it hovers above flotsam without getting bogged down and allows the rider to really drive and lock down for max speed. Round corners the rails bite but keep things on an even keel without any bad manners creeping in.
Switching to wave mode and it still revs up easy but has a more refined feel. It’s a great board for float and ride or bigger sailors looking for a carvable sled in moderate wave conditions. With enough stability to ‘wait at the bus stop’ a quick sail pump allows early drop ins to even the fattest of waves.
Off the bottom and those rails bite hard again flattering the rider no end. It keeps speed through the turn, sling shotting back up to the lip for cutbacks or lip hits depending on chosen form of attack. You do need to be a little careful if the wave hollows out when coming off the top as too step a re-entry could see the nose burying. If vertical hits are your thing then AV’s unique double diamond tail aids with grip. In most cases you’re covered for all eventualities.
You can feel the blood, sweat and tears that’ve been poured into AV Boards’ Free BT 103L. It’s a quality piece of gear that’ll flatter most sailor styles and fulfil their wants and needs. Whether it be higher wind freeride, with end of run moves being a thing, or small to medium size wave shredding, with an emphasis on full rail carves, the Free BT delivers on all fronts. Quality looks round things out only making it more desirable.
Update: Since the original test was published (above) I’ve had a plethora of sessions aboard the AV Free BT 103L and have to say I do like it a lot – particularly in single fin mode. The early planing, speed, drive and projection for boosts is most welcome. Whilst you can tune it for a more wavey feel with multi fins I find that in single mode I get the performance I’m looking for 90% of the time (based on my most sailed location). A lot of bump and jump sailors (partic those wanting high wind freeride speed but with additional maneuverability) will also appreciate the AV Boards Free BT 103L and possibly discover it’s their most used windsurf board across a whole range of conditions. And the extra bonus is the shape remains unchanged for 2021! Bonza…