From Frank Wittke, local F-One rider in the Bay Area.
I tried it during my last two sessions: at Waddell with my Bandit 5 8m in small medium waves, and at Ocean Beach in side-on 4 to 6’ waves with my 12m
I rode it strapless even though I’m not an expert and prefer straps whenever the waves get big or the wind gets strong.
At first sight, the board looks really clean and I love the bamboo look on the deck. The white pads are really classy and I love the fact that I don’t need to mess around with wax to keep it under my feet, with or without booties. It feels light and rigid.
On the water, I immediately loved the volume of the board: it is quite floaty for its size. I was able to stay afloat even in really light condition (12 to 16 mph) and it was a breeze to jibe and tack because of how balanced it feels.
The board feels very loose and responds well to the smallest input. I was able to lay down some nice bottom turns and hit the lip at full speed with no problems.
Jumping small waves is always a challenge strapless but I was able to nail a few of them thank to the lightness of the board and the added volume.
I was even surprised at how well it was shooting upwind with the three fins thruster design since I’ m used to a quad fin set up on my big light-wind board. It seemed the best of both worlds: loose and snappy behavior without the “tracking” feeling of four fins, along with a decent upwind performance.
Compared to the 6’0 signature series I found it easier to ride with more versatility.
Adding straps is really easy with the metal inserts if the conditions calls for it and being in a minimalist mood, it seems that this 5’11 is the only board I will carry around from now on.
Any cons? In the bumpy choppy on shore conditions at Ocean Beach, it felt a little bouncy at times especially riding strapless, but that is to be expected for a board with such a volume and solid construction. I’ll just need to improve my control without straps and try to imitate those awesome riders who seem to have superglue under their foot.
The new f-one 5’11’’, my new board for sure !