First, a big thanks to Keith Teboul and Levi Siver for creating what so far appears to be magical board. I don't quite understand how they made this board do what it does.
Outing 1: Gusty 5.3 B&J.
Sailed in Kingston harbour on Friday afternoon. It was gusty. Sometimes on, sometimes off. Mainly sailing the 5.3 and freestyle board, and truth be told, the conditions were making me a bit bored. So, I came out about to pack it up, disappointed that it never seemed to have ramped up any more or solidified. Sure enough, some gusts came through before I had the rubber off and I thought, fuck it, gotta try the new Quad. A disclaimer here - I have NEVER ridden a sub 80L board with a 5.3. So, I guess I never really thought it would or could feel good with the 78, but hey, it was gusting, so what the hell. Plugged 'er in and off I went. Planed off the rocky beach and almost instantly, the board/sail combo felt OK. I immediately dug in and went on a major upwind trajectory, swung a few hard upwind/downwind cuts to get the feel. Obviously, I wasn't going to be able to give it the work-out I had hoped, but I did get about 4-5 quick runs during that gust, and already, I was very impressed. As I said, super-natural upwind ability, and holy crap did the thing like to cut hard turns. Got a few small backside cuts on waves and wow.
Anyway, out of that 10min of sailing, I found out that a) it didn't feel like 78L, more like mid-80's, b) it flew upwind and c) it enjoys being cut and turned hard. I even shlogged a couple times, and it wasn't like my 76L 2008 single fin that was either going or sinking, it seems to have a low gear and the board can be shlogged without submarining to the bottom of Lake O. Just seemed like somehow the volume was in the right place. First impression: two big thumbs up already, and that was just B&J.
Was it slow? Not in the least. Who says Quads are slow?
Was it sticky? Not at all... It jumped when I wanted it to jump and stuck when I wanted it to stick.
Outing 2: Ripping 25-40kts, side/side-on waves at Mac's.
A perfect day. The wind ramped up from 20-25kts up to 35+, gusting 40 I am guessing. I was the first to show up at Mac's. I could see in the distance lots of kooks down at the beach and wondered what the hell anyone was doing down there... but then again, I love Mac's, and I'll take foot high front-side over 5-10ft backside any day of the week. A sailor from Quebec showed up and we agreed to sail at Mac's together, and then gradually more folks started showing up, including my good buddy Craig. You could tell the sailing was marginal at first, a bit off-shore, but you know that's what makes the place work, especially when you truck 500m upwind to the Pocket, a little embayment with lower trees overland that lets the wind in and has more wave wrapping. And, it was supposed to pick up that afternoon.
So, threw on the 4.7 Eclipse with the 78LS. Craig rigged his 5.0/86 Freewave. Craig is an upwind machine, and to date, I've never come close to being able to follow him, usually since I am on the smallest gear possible and small freestyle fins, but also cuz he is damn good at going upwind! Not this time. I went out first, got things tuned up a bit with a few runs near the launch, came in, adjusted the footstraps and ditched the GoPro. Craig had already been out for 5-10min and was already working his way up to the Pocket, so I did the same. Now - I don't know if he was already giving up on the upwind and coming back down or not, but I lapped him on one tack. I have never in my life gone so far upwind so fast. In the end, it took me just two long tacks and I was up where I wanted to be, and this was where the waves are happening.
Oh my lord, then the board started to shine. Now I know for a fact I'm not hacking the wave apart like Levi or Teboul, but it sure felt like I was. I was up there in the Pocket by myself for about 1/2hr before Joe joined me. Lots of waves with lots of turns. Some were logo-high with 8-10 frontside cuts some were 5-6, some were 1 or 2, chest high, but damn, the board was doing what I wanted it to do, nice sharp turns, no cutting loose, no edge digging, no kookery was going down. Do I attribute that to the board? Yes, for sure, to some extent. I've never been able to as easily link so many turns than I did on that day.
At first, I was moderately powered with the 4.7, and then it started to notch up. It got to be too much to handle and I was having troubles holding on with the backhand on the topturns. So, deciding to rig down, I picked up the biggest cleanest wave I could find, and that turned out to be the longest ride of my life. Must've milked that wave for 20 turns + and found myself back at the launch. I'd just ridden a wave 500m, give or take, downwind and just kept turning and turning. Wow.
The wind continued to pick up and I went through the 4.2 quickly, then down to the 3.7. By that time, I was tired, so I never made it back up to the Pocket, but shit, the waves were good enough right by the launch so I, along with everyone else, just feasted right there.
So, how was the board with the 4.7, 4.2 and 3.7. Perfect - through the whole range. Board never felt too big or too small. Somehow, and this is the magical part, it just sailed great, even when maxed on the 3.7, just like the previous day, even when in marginal 5.3 B&J. That's what I mean by magic. I don't know how else to describe it. The range is impressive.
In the end, I had lots of reservations about the Quads, and was heavily leaning towards the Thruster at first. Thanks to some positive opinions from Amine Fadous, Dan Thomson and Allenwood, I dove in to the Quad concept and I have zero regrets now. Most of what you read out there suggests they really only shine in side-shore conditions and don't have a lot of positive to say in non-ideal conditions, but I'd like to offer a contrary opinion. If you like to turn hard, if you like a playful board, if you like a board with wide-range, try a Quatro Quad LS, I doubt you'll regret it.... and then as a bonus on those really nice wave days, you'll feel like a f$%&ing superstar!
Photos by Craig Butler.
And as a bonus, here's a shot of Amine and Pierre trading off on a Mac's wave:
Too bad the photos never do the waves justice...
... and some more photos from Craig: