The wait is over. I finally got my full displacement hull version of the SIC F-14, renamed the FW-14. I suggested to Mark that he name it the F-14e but I guess he didn’t like that name. I’ve only had 2 sessions on this board due to the recent lack of trade winds. The first session was in 20 mph+ conditions and waist high swell. That session was fun and fairly effortless. I was surprised that with such a flat rocker, the FW-14 had no problem pearling or nose poking too much. I think this may have to do with the ideal length to fit in the trough but it could also be the design.
The FW-14 is 14′ long and 29″ wide. It’s about 5.5″ thick in the center and gets thicker at the nose and thinner at the tail. Mark thinned out the tail a bit to compensate for the flat rocker. He wanted to allow the tail to sink a bit by stepping back to keep the nose from poking into the wave in front. Overall, I think this board may be a little bit too low in volume for my 200 lbs. I’ll need to ride it more before I make my final decision on the volume. The volume is perfect for someone 180 lbs or lighter.
I took a straight edge to the bottom and found that there is a round bottom. I believe the ‘V’ goes from the front to the back. I was worried that it was going to be tippy but this is one of the most stable boards I’ve ridden so far. It also seems to sit lower in the water so that helps the balance.
I wanted the nose to be a full displacement canoe type style. I like the feeling of the glide on the F-18 and wanted to use every inch of waterline possible. In the water this seemed to help although my second session was in 20 mph+ north winds which blew straight offshore and was hard to paddle in. I need a normal 15 mph trade wind day to really get a good feel for this board.
The rails are smooth with no sharp edges anywhere.
We went with a pin tail although I’m wondering how it will perform with a wide and thick tail that picks up the swell with more ease. I wonder if the glide on a wide tail board compares to the pin tail?
The board has a fin box installed just in case someone wants to ride it as a fixed fin. I most likely never will do that but someone else may want to in the future.
Mark installed goretex air vents which lets air in and out but not water. This should make it easier to remember. It sucks to take out the air vent plug and then forget it only to realize that you forgot it when you’re ready to launch.
There are 2 leash plugs installed along the center of the board. This is to attach a leash and also to attach your paddle while carrying. It comes with Spectra line already attached and I’ll probably change those to the new Tropical Blends paddle straps.
The board has a carbon handle in the middle. You need to see this in person because it’s just really nice to look at. Very slick and nice finishing touch.
The steering pedal had been completely redesigned and improved. Just when the copycats try to make their own, Mark is two steps ahead. The steering pedal is a big improvement and looks just absolutely beautiful. The angle of the rudder is now controlled by adjusting the bolts attached to the pedal. This can be done during a session in less than a minute.
A big improvement for the steering pedal is the new adjustable feature. The first version was a fixed length option with push button and stops. This one has a thumb screw to tighten the length in place. If you leave the screw loose, you can change the length on the fly and in real time. I stepped back a bit when on a swell and just slid the pedal back with my foot and then back forward when straightening out the trim of the board. This feature is very sweet.
I’ve been waiting for the wind to come back but so far no luck. I’ll post again after a few more sessions.