Well the ABK guys are in town, which means fun times on the water. In fact, I probably would have missed the best part of the wind on Thursday if I hadn't stayed out doing light wind stuff with Andy, Brendon, and Derek for a half hour or so. It's amazing how quickly those guys can shift gears from fully planing loops to sailing back winded inside the boom and back again. You really don't need too much wind to have fun windsurfing and ABK reminds me of that every time.
We had just enough wind to get out Wensday and Thursday with the flood tides keeping everything nice and flat. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday totally tanked only to be redeemed by Monday and Tuesdays all day blows. I landed a sort of Vulcan-Bob thing, which makes me confident that I might land the actual Bob soon, though the sail throw is still inconsistent.
Anyway, I've sailed my 2010 North Duke 5.4 on my 76, 84, and 98 ltr now and feel safe enough to give it a review. First, as with every North, it's very easy to rig correctly, and required very little tweaking. It planes super quick and can be rigged on a 400 with the right extension. The power delivery is very steady, to the point where I can barely feel the gusts and lulls. The pocket is deeper than my beloved Ice but it still goes neutral during moves like flakas and spocks and doesn't hinder top end speed. My only gripe is the boom is a bit long for the size of sail, but I think that's the feature that gives the 5.4 the power of a 6.0 so I'll deal.
Over all impression: Worth It! for everyone into bump n jump, freestyle and waves; especially those who like power.
The F2 Rodeo Air 98ltr was used with a 4.7, 5.0, and 5.4m sail. In all cases it planed really quick, in fact for each sail I used I would have needed the next size up on any other board. The board moves so fast I passed a 6.5 slalom sailor 3 separate times while on my 4.7 yesterday, Yikes! The rocker is really flat, which not only makes the board plane quick(get the point?) but also spin very fast. Because the board is so flat carving can feel a bit lethargic. *(who carves on a freestyle board anyway? I don't know, but some people care about that)* The rails are a bit sharp from nose to tail, which can sometimes bite the chop during moves, but they help in getting up with and keeping the board from spinning out with that tiny little fin. The grippy rails also make up for the lack of rocker on moves like Konos and Shakas, which do have a quick snap turn to them. Most of the volume is in the tail, so you'll find it easier to stay in the foot straps and you won't loose speed switching stance, though my only real gripe besides the sharp rails under the nose is a little more nose volume would help during under powered slides.
Overall impression: Totally Worth It for freestylers of all abilities. Bump and jump guys would like the early planing and fantastic pop, but may have issues with carving.
Dakine Contour Straps: (currently on the rodeo) It was my first time using these bad boys and damn are they a pain in the neck to dial in, but once you've got 'em you're set. It'd say worth it if you really care about every performance advantage you can get, otherwise a good set of stock straps work. Personally, I'm Contouring it for now on.
Local Honey: Have Allergies? I never did until living out here in the Central Valley. Five Stars! beat the crap out of the OTC stuff I was taking and saved the last two sessions.