Got hold of my new Fanatic Grip 82L 2018 a couple of weeks ago and had a go at it yesterday for the first time; i thought i'd share my thoughts in this forum.
First, a bit of background, i am 78kg and was riding with a Fanatic Stubby 88L 2016 for 18 months as a one quiver board previous to that. I also got to experience the Quattro Cube 2017 lately, so i'll be comparing the Grip to the stubby and cube mainly. I ride waves from 2 to 5 foot in side / side offshore conditions, with the occasional bay session every now and then, so a fair bit of everything. I have been windsurfing for 15 years and would consider myself as "advanced" in wave riding.
Yesterday's conditions were firing - I was in 3.7 well powered with waves ranging from 3 to 6 foot in side offshore conditions. Main peak was closing out quickly so not enabling many bottom turns but enough to really appreciate the wave riding potential of the grip.
Enough with introductions, let's get into it:
First feeling on the board when i step on it is it's stable. The board actually is fairly large around the mast foot at 58cm which provides stability and comfort. It was definitely reassuring in lulls and when going through white water not planning. Comparing to the Stubby at 57.5cm for example, i found the grip more stable and easy to step on when the stubby felt more technical.
The board planes and generates speed relatively quickly but not as quick as a stubby or cube. Although planning and getting speed wasn't a main concern yesterday with 3.7 well powered, the board definitely didn't generate as much speed as a stubby or cube would have. That being said, when planning in the straps, it stays high above the water and goes through the chop easily, which gives a similar sense of comfort as on a stubby for example. To finish this planning abilities section, the grip is much more sensitive to the rider's input than the stubby but also a cube. It actually caught me by surprise at first; any sort of pressure on heel or toes will generate a response by the board. When a stubby is very much set on a track, any mistake from the rider will be felt straight away on the grip. Because of that, the grip requires more focus and input from the rider, It's a much more technical board and wouldn't be suitable for a beginner.
On the wave:
It loves being on a wave, it becomes super lively and you can feel all it wants is turn... And turn it does super well. All you have to do is shift your weight from heel to toes and it starts turning and any additional pressure on the toes will make it turn tighter. It's actually quite unsettling at first because with a stubby i used to have to put a lot of pressure on the rail and toes to turn it around at the bottom and top turn. Not as much with a cube, but still, if i wanted to do that tight bottom turn to set me up vertically for the top turn, i would have to consciously push on my toes to get the cube there. When i did that with the grip in the first few surfs, i ended up facing the wave and beyond as if i was going for a 360 which didn't end well. I literally had to focus and not put as much pressure on my toes so as to finish off my bottom turn properly before moving my weight on my heel. In the top turn, it just snaps around without any effort... The simple shifting of weight from toes to heel will it turn around before you know it, and any additional pressure on the heel will either carve the cut back super hard or let the fins loose which adds its own set of challenges.
With the grip yesterday, i was able to put myself in situations such as late bottom turn, late top turn, bottom turn on the face of the wave.. and get away with it, actually recover from those situations when with a stubby i'd have been taken by the wave.
The other thing is the speed, the board keeps its speed throughout the bottom and top turn, even the tightest ones or even when you don't have much speed to begin with; you almost wonder where it comes from but it's there for you to play with if you need it.
In a nutshell:
The grip is simply a radical wave board. It needs to be compared to a pyramid or ultrakode because it lives in a different dimension to the stubbys or even cubes. Personally, i felt challenged yesterday by the board, i feel like it's going to take some time and mistakes for me to dial it in and get the most out of it when i never had that feeling with a cube. But to the challenge there's a reward, the board will definitely open up possibilities that simply weren't there before in terms of being able to make some bottom and top turns. The board is not for beginners, and even for intermediates if you're just starting out in the waves, a cube will provide so much more assurances and fun and abilities to learn than the grip; i feel like the grip is really for those waveriders out there who want to push themselves and hit sections they are not able to at the moment.
It's a board that needs to be on a wave... I won't bother taking it out in the bay or for some bump & jump, it won't feel right; a stubby has much better capabilities for that sort of stuff.
I don't have any photo of me riding with the board but i'll put some of the board itself later on.
It's only a first review / feeling about the board, I'll keep updating the thread with further sessions.
Please let me know if that comment was useful.. or not.. and add your own comments / remarks if you also have a grip ... or not.
I tried the grip 82 on a lake 3.7 fully powered condition, very tchopppy (30 cm tchop). Mast-track middle of slot + 2 cm to the front. Fins middle + 1 cm to the back.
The board felt very stable on the water and I could push it to very high speed because of that really good control. It went through tchop like there is no tomorrow. It felt as fast and as turny as a formula one. Very special board, large stance made it feel weird, back footstrap seemed far back (i'm 1.80m). Needed front foot pressure at low speed and when at speed I could push back foot to accelerate more. The turning possibility of this board felt more than excellent too. I really liked it, never try something like that before.
I did try the 76 right after (mast track in the middle) and it felt a little bit slower (middle of the board catching the tchop a little) but I think I was still fast and maybe needed to put mast track a little to the back (and fin needed tuning). Stance felt a bit more natural on the 76 for my size.
I have tried the Grip 82 as a thruster in conditions really not meant for it in the first place : 100% onshore with hip-high mushy waves , with a 4.7 Ezzy Legacy . Thruster setup : 17cm MBfin (same as the 2015 Starboard Kode wave) + 10cm K4 Ezzy asymetrics 3?. I'm 75kgs.
I'm a competent wave sailor, whatever that means, but I'm also 50 y/o, so well past my prime, and do value confort and ease of use in a modern waveboard.
The board performed amazingly well in these crappy conditions.
The board is flying over chop, planes early (as early or quite close to my 87 Kode wave), and carries it's name well. There's a very nice "grip" in the turn. It feels like you can tighten and adjust the carve mid-turn like a more specific down-the-line board, without the lack of speed or planning power in the lulls.
I was able to hit the mushy "lip" frontside although the wind was 100% onshore. It carries the speed that well in the turns.
There's one thing that I particularly liked on this board apart from it's general mobility, it's the way the volume carries you well getting out of jibes or when not planning. The board feels slightly more than 82L, the deck is flat and the board volume feels well balanced between nose and tail, yet act as a radical 80L board in turns.
So it's easy , fast, and also confortable, both through the chop and out of the turns or when shlogging around. It's a trully capable wave board that doesn't tire you out. Few jumps but there's a lot of control in the air as well.
A+++ to me.
Now I need to try it in more decent wave conditions and with a quad setup, but I loved it as a trifin (maybe a 18cm center fin would be better).
The Fanatic wave team came up with a very successful shape this year, kudos to them.
That shape is working so well and the reviews are so positive so far, that I'm 100% sure the board will remain unchanged next year. It's really that good, at least in unperfect conditions.
Boy I'd love to try their Stubby now, since it is meant to sail in those conditions.
thought i'd update the thread after those 8 months. Since last September, I've been using the Grip in all conditions available, from 3.7 to 5.2 ... small waves, big waves, on shore to side off. It actually has essentially been my one quiver board for surfing; the only time i do not use it is in the bay but as soon as i am on a wave i use the grip.
And I've been loving it.
At my weight, 75ish kilos, it's perfect, i don't need anything else ... its volume in the center carries me through well enough for some float & ride and the board still behaves really well at 35knots+ thanks to its narrow tail. I really don't need anything else. for waveriding.
The board has taken my waveriding to the next level, tighter turns, more engaged, more vertical, more speed ... hitting sections later and harder ... I am now always looking for the lip and not afraid to hit it later ... because i'll get away with it, because i know the board will take me there and will allow to come out of it. And it's not finished ... even after 8 months, i still feel like i can push harder, i still feel like i haven't got the best out of the board, it can take me even further.
I love the quad; i haven't tried it as a thruster but the quad is just so much fun... the grip at the bottom turn it provides still baffles me and at the same time it becomes quite loose at the top, it's just super fun.
It'd be interesting to see how it fares against a Pyramid or Custom... But this grip is a success; it'll be interesting to see what Fanatic does next year... I just can't see how you can improve this board much.