|Chachi goes "Ponchie"|
Being a huge fan of last years model this was alright with me.
Once on the water however I noticed a few things:
1. The board has better top end speed. I noticed a smoother release of water from the tail at speeds where I used to feel a bit of drag, allowing the board to hit a higher speed than it's predecessor.
2. A more balanced distribution of volume. The Rodeo finds most of it's volume under the tail, like alot of freestyle boards. This years seems to have an extra liter or two up by the mast base to help keep the nose free during spins, and spin smooth it does!
3. Cosmetics. The bottom graphic is painted on this year, which is a step up from the stickers that peeled off my 2010.
Overall: the 2011 Rodeo planes extremely fast, has tons of pop, and spins quick. A freestyler at any level should consider making the Rodeo their go to board as it is easy to sail and is highly capable of all maneuvers.
F2 Rave 84: I've only sailed the twin fin Rave in on shore and side shore bump and jump conditions, so I cannot yet comment on it's wave riding abilities (though I anticipate excellence). So far, it's been great. With the stock fins (Choco 16.5's) set back on the track I've had no problems getting up wind or popping onto a plane. Through the chop it has a Cadillac smooth feel, which is a clear benefit of riding on a twin. As a wave board I expected great jibing at all radius but the real thrill is how easy it is to keep speed through the turn and come out planing on exit. If you've had a bad experience with twins in the past, consider that this is built as an all around twin fin and not a pure down the line twin like you may have sailed.
On the freestyle front, I had no problems going through my arsenal of switch stance moves, loops, Shaka's, flakas, ponches, spocks, etc. I would recommend smaller fins with less of a curve than what is provided stock as the 16.5s are a bit catchy. Certainly no one claimed this board to have any freestyle purpose, though I'm finding that the F2 wave boards are not shy to spins and grins.
Buyer be conscious: if you don't know the benefits of a twin verse a single fin (the F2 Rebel single fin is my favorite all around wave board of all time) you may wish to try one out first. Twins generally have less lift compared to a single fin, which helps make a smooth ride in chop but can lack drive for situations like lining up jumps in onshore conditions, which would be a draw back to the Rave. However, I was able to adopt a more centered and upright stance to draw out some pretty nice straight airs from the onshore bumps.