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FreeMove ?? as opposed to all the other "free" boards - especially freeride

As I was still collecting data for this post, I felt it was NOT ready for "submission". However, recent "news" has made me decide to put this out there AZAP.

Fanatic will abandon the freeride Shark board in 2015 !!!,22169,22173#msg-22173
The Gecko has replaced the long-standing Shark and there is NO board in the 2015 Fanatic freeride category on their webpage!! And that after just two(2) years !!! This speaks highly of the success factor of this class of board !!

In 2010 Starboard had the Atom, which it abandoned and then came back with the AtomIQ, which i presume is supposed to be pronounced Atomic ? Yet people still claim the RRD Fire Move was the original freemove and still the benchmark board.

Here Tiesda You of Starboard discusses the AtomIQ and the thinking behind it. One reason this model is fast - rocker is based on the iSonic 110 !!

Others? There is the JP MagicRide and the Simmer FreeMove. I have had a Simmer WCR/World Cup Race sail, but have never seen nor heard of their boards ...

Back in about 2008 it seems there were some "freestyle" board that some called "freemove". Mistral Syncro, Fanatic FreeWave, Naish All-Terrain, Tabou 3S and RRD FreeStyleWave. These boards were NOT like the freemove boards of today in 2014.

Why called free-move? Move for maneuverability ?

These boards are supposed to be
1) FAST - AtomIQ fastest and Fanatic Gecko slower than defunct Shark
2) LIGHT - especially LTD
3) THIN - SB boasts 9.9 mm
4) SHORT - will be more difficult to tack
5) MANEUVERABLE - jibe/gybe well
6) SAIL like 10-15 liters less
7) PLANE like 10-15 liters more

Fanatic Gecko - 98, 105, 112, 120 and 135 liter versions (later 146 and 156 !!)
JP MagicRide - 104, 118 and 132
RRD FireMove - 102, 112, 122, 130 and 140
Simmer FreeMove - 100, 110, 120
SB AtomIQ - 100, 110 and 120 (and later 130, 140 AND 160 !!)
Exocet X-Cross -->X-Move 108, 119 and 138

RRD 140 is 90 cm wide !! This is practically a FreeFormula !!
Even the Gecko 135 is 83 cm wide.
The Shark 165 was this wide - so, a heavyweight newbie should start with a Gecko 135 ??
Find this difficult to believe!!

Both of the above referenced freemove boards are supposed to be able to handle a 10-oh sail. I have tried my TR-4 10-oh on my AHD FastForward 160 and prefer the sail on my BIC Techno Formula which is wider at 94 cm and can handle 58 to 66 cm fins.

These dudes were lucky enough to test JP, Fanatic and RRD on the same day

They say (in Swedish)  All are fantastic boards, but in different ways. Suitable for different people depending on sailing style. 

Did a quick tour of the local shops to see how free these boards really are ?? Forget the Simmer - I have NO idea where they are sold in North America. The Starboard also seemed hard to find --> seemed to be one of the few !! As usual anything that even sounds like kevlar or LTD is around $2000. The good news is the Gecko HRS is around $1400.

As I was considering a Shark 135 to replace my AHD FF 160, what would I now choose in the Gecko model ? The 135 Gecko is about the same length, but as wide as the Shark 165 was !! And so, I would go to a 120 liter version ? Is this uphaulable for a 220-230 pound/ 100- 105 kilo heavyweight like myself ?

My hope is this will put more freeride boards like the Shark on the used market :-)
Feels like it already started ..
Met a local who now has a Gecko 120 LTD and is selling his Shark 150 LTD...

my boss Roni bought it !! :-)
And , do the freemoves do what is promised ?

The fellow in the following video says he is on a Gecko 120 with a North Natural 7.3 and flying in 11 to 13 knots. He must be  a lightweight cuz there is NO way i would fly like that in 12 knots. Perhaps there is more wind than suggested ?? People definitely say they plane early, jibe well and are FUN. Just need to choose a board with less volume than usual ...

On the other hand.. people think a FreeMove can be a "one board quiver". The ONLY one board quiver I know about is the longboard !! Here a fellow tried a 5.5 in chop on a RRD FireMove 122/120 only to realize a 79-80 cm board is NOT made for that !!!

This clip "feels more real" and has interesting view from the back:

Post References: obviously the company websites, youtube, local shop photo,

Addendum (Sept 2014) : Did some analysis on the widths of these boards.
In the past certain board widths went well with certain sail sizes.

width    sail size
68           7.5
75           8.0
80           8.5
85           10
90           BIG

with the wider freemoves, these numbers seem to have changed:

width    sail size    freemove sail
68           7.5           6.0
75           8.0           7.0
80           8.5           7.5
85           10            8.5
90           BIG          9.0

This is a reduction of 1 to 1.5 square meters in each width category, which in my books is significant.
You need to go even wider for sails now ?
Some people are calling these chip boards - do they have rocker too ?
Find it difficult to believe these wide boards handle chop better than earlier wide boards. Sales pitch ?
Maybe they fly over chop ...
WindSport Magazine (Summer 2014 edition) has an article on page 65 called FreeRide Decision. They are comparing two types of 75 cm wide lightwind boards.They show traditional freeride board and new-school freeride boards , where they do include the Exocet XCROSS. They still include the Shark, which will not be available in 2015. In the traditional freerides they have a BIC, a Goya and a Naish with all the counterparts to the freemoves. Why does this magazine NEVER include Tabou, which is a VERY popular board. In 2014 local Montreal shop brought in Tabous and sold 22 in 2 weeks $%^& Must be more windsurfers in the area than I realized !!
What did the magazine say?
Volume matters due to width: When it comes to how early a board planes, width is particularly important. Since the new-school freeride designs are so much wider for their volume compared to the traditional shapes, a competent rider will get it planing remarkably quickly. So, on a comparison basis, it is actually better to look at new-school boards that are 15 to 20 liters smaller in volume. The key is to make sure the widths are similar. So, here they are looking at lightwind freeride boards that are around 75 cm wide.
Traditional vs. new-school: Choosing between these two types of boards really comes down to being honest with yourself and your overall windsurf ability (and local wind conditions of course - interjected by me). Less experienced sailors, who are not yet confident at getting in the footstraps or starting to work on jibing, will likely benefit more from the traditional freeride design. The greater volume and straighter outline will help inspire confidence for improving more quickly.Also, any riders who sail in gusty lightwind conditions, should strongly consider a traditional freeride board. One exception might be a lighter-weight rider who can easily balance on a smaller sized board.
    More experienced riders and sailors who will not be bothered by riding on a lesser volume board can benefit from the added maneuverability of the new-school shapes. If jibing is your reason for being out there on the water, then one of these short and wide designs will definitely meet your needs ...
Since I have used 93 cm and 80 cm wide boards in light winds... I can say that wide is better in early winds. Since early planing is a bigger concern than jibing for me, these potato chip boards can stay in the bag :-) That's just a personal note and for now ...and i love to poke fun at anything - including myself ...
Just saw a video with a Tabou Speedster of 79 cm wide and it was FLYING in light winds with a Severne NCX 8.5 sail. Thought perhaps it would be a 150 liter board - NON - 125 !! The 150 liter Speedster is 89 cm wide !! These boards are toted as FAST, EARLY PLANING and MANEUVERABLE - sounds like FREEMOVE to me !!!
No, Tabou has their own FreeMove Rocket and yes, it is a "Rocket Wide". It seems to be a freemove - freerace and almost slalom board. Just check these photos from WIND-NC/Hatteras on iwindsurf.

You can see is it VERY flat and narrow tail with cutouts. This board has to be FAST. The 138 liter is 87 cm wide !!  and is rated for sails 6.0 to 10.0 !! Sounds like early planing and slalom to me !! The 128 liter is 84 cm wide and rated for sails 5.5 to 9.0. Makes me wonder how i would do with the 118 liter which is 78 cm wide and rated for sails 5,0 to 8.5. It comes with a 40 cm fin , which is about what i use with a 7-oh sail. What a combo that would be !!! THIS board makes me consider freemove AND Tabou is now available from auventfou in Montreal !!

The StarBoard AtomIQ also has cutouts, but they are much smaller... Also, board seemed more difficult to find !!

Had a "chat" with John Ingebritsen on iwindsurf . He recommends against boards with : "too drawn in tails compared to their width".  Unless I am mistaken, these boards fit that bill too well... Tinho Dornellas of calema sports in Florida agrees (on his forum) -"width is excessive compared with the tail" !!! He was a big Fanatic Sharks 130/135 fan - and those boards are gone :-(

Was re-reading April 2005 WindSurfing Magazine and there is a discussion about "free-wide" boards. There is discussion about an Exocet S4 125 liters with 81 cm width and a comment was "NOT for the faint of heart". Will post some pics of the article !!

So, who says RRD or SB were the first with this board type ?? Exocet wins - no-one was paying attention. It was the same with the FreeFormulas - they did not seem to catch on and now we have them - the JP SLW and RRD X-Fire Lightwind...

Here are the pages from the WindSurfing Magazine dated April 2005 and the Exocet is the WINNER. First wide low volume FreeWide board !!! Ahead of the freemove era !!! A thing of note is the board is ALSO marked as one of the overall speed winners !!!

Quote from Jan/Feb 2003 WindSurfing Magazine : "Windsurfers over 220 lbs. should beware of 80-plus cm wide boards under 150 liters in volume. It may look wide, but will it float? "
In 2015 I purchased an 80 cm wide 117 liter SB iSonic 117 wide and yes, it is a sinker, but not too bad ... Forget tacks though - balance point is further back on this short 228 cm board ...

Seems people do NOT like the Rocket Wides. Hard to beat the Tabou Rocket I am sure. In terms of the other models, it seems people are liking the Fanatic Gecko and RRD FireMove. 

I started this discussion due to my disappointment in the Fanatic Shark being discontinued in 2015. The Gecko has evolved over time and additions plus adjustments make sense. In 2013 there were only three(3) models 105, 120 and 133 - all with a length of 239 cm. By 2014 the 112 was added - also 239 cm. In 2015 the 120 and 133 got longer and narrower. Originally I would have chosen the 120 with 239x77 cm dimensions. However, felt that for a freeride with that sail range I would prefer more float/liters. In 2015 it was/is 246x78 for the 133 and that makes more sense to me. In 2015 there were also the additions of the 146 and 156 plus - to make up for the killing of the Shark. Looks like they may keep these sizes for 2016 ?? Means they have finished making adjustments and are happy with the results !!

The freemove boards have definitely been accepted by 2016. Thought the Tabou Rocket Wides were not so well liked, but they are .. All freemoves seem to be really liked now, but as this article warns: if you are used to the "traditional freerides", there is some adjustment required  ...


  1. I'm wondering if I should buy the 2014 shark before they're gone? I really had my eyes on that 150 (on your recommendation). Will the Gecko be an appropriate replacement for someone new to "short" freeride boards?

  2. You forgot the Exocet X-cross. I own the X-cross 115 and it will plane in 12-13 kn with a 7.5m sail. This board replaced a Shark 135 as my light wind shortboard. The Shark was good, the X-cross is better. It planes in the same wind and is more fun. Yes, these boards would be an appropriate first shortboard, very forgiving, turn well, and relatively fast.

    1. okay - which of Exocet is the "freemove" the original XCROSS or the new XMOVE ?
      Shark 150 is now Gecko 146 ??

    2. I've got a 2013 Xcross 115ltre /75cms wide and it was described as a freemove.

  3. I just bought the Gecko 156+ Bamboo (2015 Edition, 156 l volume) and am more than happy with it. My weight is 95 kg and my skill level is a little higher than a beginner. Yesterday was my first ride with the new board and I was able to glide at 4 Bf with a 7.3 e-Type sail. The board is quite agile but non-problematic to handle and pure fun. The guys from Fanatic did it right because they merged the features of the Shark in the bigger sizes of the Gecko. From me a full point recommendation :-)

    1. yes, the Gecko seems to have 146 and 156+ liter sizes now. The 156 is 85 cm wide and must plane up quite early... Fanatic says if you liked the Shark, you will love the Gecko. I am curious what some of the experts like Tinho Dornellas of Florida Calema Sports will say !! He always loved the Shark 130 and then the newer 135. Let's see if he is enthusiastic about the Gecko - guess 120 will be comparable ??


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