Pranchas  2004 


 Starboard   158                        Fotos

I was never a fan of the previous models of the freeformula. I felt they were not free enough (the carves were better at that) nor were they formula enough. That positioning was further affected by the GO boards which were & still are very fine first time to intermediate boards.


In my mind there was clearly a need for a formula like board which was easier to handle and more oriented towards reaching and turning. For a long while the Bic FW1.3 was probably the only one that filled this niche. Although a lethal race machine in its own right in either stronger winds or for lighter sailors, it had a smoothness to its reaching and gybing that made it a fun and easy board to sail

Somewhere along the way the lessons of the Starboard Formula 147 made their impact and the freeformula went through a total transformation. Other than the name it has nothing in common with the old and in my opinionated mind uninteresting freeformulas. The new freeformula clearly owes its genesis to the lessons of the 147. Short nose, less swing weight, refined rocker, flat deck, outline well suited to a very broad range of conditions. What's been added is soft rails, refined cutaways and an underwater hull well suited to early planing and reaching. The rails are truly a work of art, bevels up front fading into smooth rounded rails with a hint of tuck.

The hull is very new to us, we've delivered them and have had feedback so what follows is very early impressions. There is a ton of further tuning and testing to do, as usual, the longer one spends on a board the more performance can be squeezed out of it.


The first pictures we saw of the board elicited varying reactions, but once it appeared in the flesh the verdict was unanimous. This is a good looking board. The proportions don't look odd in real life. The wood model is stunning with its big expanse of grain. A tiny touch of genius that highlights the shape is the gray trim around the edges of the footpads, this hallmark of the 2004 designs really brings out the grace of this unusual outline.


The 158 is very short at 231cm. This length is packed into a board with a maximum width of one meter and a tail width of 73.5cm, so there is no lack of space for dancing around on the board. The deck is also nice and flat. The deck pads are beautifully done, especially the rear pads. They extend along the rail making it easy for for those situations where the rear foot can't quite get into the back straps.


I haven't spent enough time on the board to truly gauge its speed, but what little I have done indicates its quick. The soft rails and rounded rear outline clearly sacrifice some upwind ability, but give a huge gain in gybing and tacking. I have an odd test I do, when slogging, I will try to turn a board in a tack quickly. This gives a good feel for how easily the rails slide around.Boards with easy turning rails and rocker slide around quickly and boards with hard rails have a perceptible resistance when doing this. The FF158 does this with aplomb, not a surprise since no board this size has such forgiving rails.

One of our first customers, Mark, raves about its gybing. He's come to the FF158 via a GO and his two comments are "its quick" and "it turns!". Mark is a fit athletic 95kg (I think) and the volume is more than adequate for his big frame. Using it in slogging mode, I noticed the even volume distribution seems to make it sit level in the water very easily. Its a true fun board to sail, the soft rails and rocker make for a big board that can be slammed into turns like no formula board can.

What about upwind ability? Its more than adequate. For bigger sailors or those looking for more performance, replacing the stock 64 with a good quality 66, 68 or 70 will hugely enhance the board's upwind ability, of course at the expense of some maneuverability

Early planing is good, but I would like to test it with a broader range of fins to really comment on its ideal set up for the light days. No reason yet to doubt that it can get going in the light stuff.

tuning factors

The footstrap settings play a huge role in how this board feels. Move them inboard and you end up in a relaxed easy sailing, cruising mode. Move them out and back and you have a speed machine.

At some point I hope to run my quiver of C3, Deboichet and Select fins to see what the hull can do whan mated with the very best in fins.


In my opinion this is the most important board in Starboard's 2004 range. Sure, the Sonic 110 is fast, the EVO is exciting and a genuine breakthrough and the Formula 158 is going to scare its competitors silly; but none will have the range and versatility the FF158 and FF138 will bring to real world sailors. For big guys, the FF158 will carry anything from 7.5 to 12.5 (my initial sailing on it was done with an 11). Something like a GTX 9.8 or 10.5 will bring out the best in this hull for the bigger guys. For lighter sailors or those looking for a wide board with a tad more high wind control, the freeformula 138 will fit the bill.

The Asian windsurfing tour slalom races sometime get held in very light air, and I might just be racing on a Freeformula 158 & GTX for the light days, and a nitro 7.6 with a Sonic or Hyper for the strong days. The gybing ability alone will make it lethal in very light air reaching races compared to traditional formula hulls.

Make no mistake, this hull is Starboard's true breakthrough for 2004. It brings a very accessible level of performance to light air sailing that no other board on the market currently does. Finally a light air hull that is truly fun to sail yet offers very high levels of performance. Much more testing and tuning to do, so keep checking back here or on our forum for updates. We are offering a GTX/Freeformula package,email us at for more details.

                                                    Fonte :