Ultimate Test Board test criteria explained


How well the board carves through heel to toe and toe to heel transitions. Judgements are made on the smoothness of rail to rail transfer, tightness of the turning radius and the grip achieved in the carve, awarding a strong performance with a high score.


A judgement of how much spray is being deflected towards the rider from the tips of the board. A board which causes lots of spray, particularly towards the face, will score low. So ‘10’ means that you should be spray free….


The board’s ability to track inline with the riders intended direction of travel when disturbed by factors such as oncoming chop or a trick landing. For a high score, the board should have little disruption/pivot off course and should quickly re-track. A board which is overly loose and pivotal would receive a low score.


The efficiency and effectiveness of the board's grip on the surface of the water. A strong rail grip enables lateral drive for upwind performance and the ability to drive against the kite to load and pop. The more effective the rail grip, the higher the score. A board that slips its rail easily will receive a low score.


A judgement of the planing efficiency of the board based upon light wind capability and ability to accelerate with power. A board that planes early and accelerates well will receive a high score. A board which is heavily dependent on technique and power to maximize performance will score low.


The ease of upwind travel in powered and low powered conditions. A board that drives upwind easily will receive a high score. A board which is heavily dependent on advanced technique and power to maximize performance will receive a low score.


A judgement of the board’s capacity to build and store energy throughout the load phase of a trick before expelling the energy in the pop. A board which is progressive in its load and explosive in its pop will score high. Ine!ciencies in the load and pop will receive a lower score.


How well the board reduces the impact and shock of a heavy landing. If a board displaces water well and facilitates a controlled landing it will score high. A board which gives a heavy landing with less control will receive a lower score.


The control and comfort perceived by the rider when riding through increasing amounts of chop. A board which smooths the feel of the ride over choppy water will score higher than a board which gives a bumpy or jarring feel to the ride.


We tested all boards against all of these criteria. Clearly some boards will get low scores in some categories as this is not what they are designed for (a board targeted at beginners will not be designed to have good pop for example). Please consider this when checking data. When assessing the “Winners” for each category, we looked very specifically at the criteria that you would expect from a board in that category

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