Rider: 75kg's - Advanced
Weather: 15-17 knots
Build Quality: 10/10
Disclosure: Work for Kitepower QLD
We got our first box of the 2009 Underground boards yesterday and I got to take 3 of them out this arvo for 4 hours :) I'll do seperate reviews for the other boards.
The FLX 135 was eagerly anticipated as I found the 2008 132 a little small, and felt as though i'd missed out on a few days of good riding because of it.
I also wanted to see what was actually different about the board compared to the 2008 models, there's been a few people suggesting that they are just re-badged boards. HOWEVER - I was very surprised at how much has changed, and even more surprised at how big a difference the changes made to the boards performance.
In terms of what's actually different:
- The whole board is thinner, about 1-2mm over the entire board. This makes a huge difference to the riding characteristics.
- The tips are a different shape for a seemingly random reason, i'll explain later.
- Rails are a different shape and size due to the thin board
- No binding inserts
- New fins (Coming soon)
- New Straps and pads (Coming soon too)
- New size grab handle (coming with the other stuff)
- New graphics in 2 schemes per board.
- This board is smooth, the smoothest i've even ridden from any brand of any size. We ride in a choppy bay with wavelets goin in every direction imaginable, and this was awesome... Just soaks every wave up.
- The board is really flexy, you can actually see it bending behind your foot as you ride. This is part of the reason that it soaks up the chop so well. I did a few powered carves into a wave face and couldnt believe the flex on the back tip as i whipped around. Board control is awesome, and you still get a responsive feel through the straps and pads.
- Pop is still nice and snappy, once again, board flex helps...
- NOW - the most interesting thing about the whole board - the funny shaped tips!!! Now i dont know if this was meant to work this way, but it completely stops spray in your eyes. MANY people complained about the 2007 and 2008 boards being notorious for spraying you in the face. On closer inspection of the 2008 FLX when riding, every time you put the nose thru a wave, the spray comes up over the nose and hits you square in the eyes. The added bit in the middle of the 2009 board redirects spray off to the sides - Thus leaving your face salt free :)
The new straps and pads aren't released yet, so the board had last years pads, straps and fins. Last years grab handle does NOT fit the new boards, and we're yet to see how the new one is going to look.
There's no binding inserts on it either, They now have the Steeze for those shenanigans [}:)]
So, At the end of the day - I love it, it's cruisy, easy to ride - everything that the 2008 FLX was, but it just does it in a nicer way, more refined, easier and it's a hell of a lot more comfortable.
We've got an FLX 128, FLX 135, Steeze 133 and Zephyr 144 for demo at the QLD Store.
New Tip shape
New Tip VS old Tip
Rail/Board thickness: New board on top, old board on bottom..
Rider: 83kg's - Intermediate
Weather: 15-23 knots
Build Quality: 9/10
Good to see your feedback on the 08 and 09.
When purchasing the 135x 41 FLX board a few weeks ago, I thought it was the new release board 09, only to find out the next day or so that it was the 2008 model.
Took it out yesterday in chop 15-18 knots and was not impressed at all. The ride is hard and pop is less than my older FLX 2006 board. I did find for some unknown reason that the board tended to nose dive a bit when edging before a jump. The weight of the board is another factor being a lot heavier than previous FLX boards takes more effort.
I have adjusted my footpads to a narrow stance in hope to get more weight in the centre of the board, to soften the ride and improve the pop.
Not sure if I have any other choices, or if the Sop will exchange it or refund. Your advice would be appreciated.
Hmmm, I havent tried the new Undergrounds as yet, but I have some thoughts on your review.
The 08/09 FLX was a stiff board with not a lot of rocker, similar to most high end freestyle boards these days.
I personally find that these high end Freestyle boards arent good in chop, no freestyle board is, because they have little flex. Non flexible boards allow for better load and pop, not the other way. You lose way to much energy out of a Flexible board when trying to pop.
The flat rocker in the board allows for speed baby, faster you can move accross the water, the more pop you are able to create, making for nice powered and stylish off axis moves.
If you want a board with suspension, that you can ride in all round conditions (chop) then I suggest look at an all-round board. This will probably satisfy you more. When the water is flat and the wind is cranking, then pull the underground board out, cause you will appreciate its design and it will allow you to do the all time moves you always wanted.
Remember, any new board or kite will feel different. Ive always said to my customers and students, If you buy a new product, and your riding does not progress, then you wasted your money.