The shape of the 117 is unchanged from our test 2 years ago where it fared very well so it works as a good benchmark for how the class has changed over recent history. Two things have changed quite conspicuously though: one is the graphics which really leap out at you and might test the repair man, and the other is the price which has dropped £100 over two years to a very affordable £700 while most other products have been going the other way!
Type:Fast and fun all-rounder for mid-intermediate to advanced sailors.
On the water:
Very good early planing and a nice easy cruising feel. It cuts through the chop nicely and feels light and lively in the water. It goes upwind easily and while not quite challenging the slalom leaders, holds a good top speed with little effort. It is comfortable through the bumpy stuff, and keeps control well in strong conditions. It feels nicely manoeuvrable at all times and gybes well for all levels.
The hull weight is very low considering the asking price, however one or two of the fittings could be improved. There is only one set of strap positions and while these are nicely placed for the great majority of sailors alternative choices could extend the appeal of the board to both early intermediates and for more slalomy ‘on the rail’ blasters. Comfort could also be improved slightly with better doming and contouring of the front pads. The fin works well in most lighter conditions but is perhaps a shade long and stiff for optimum feel and performance over the widest possible range.
The past two years haven’t produced any shapes to outdate the Fast Forward in this sector of the market. It is still excellent for simple burn-&-turn sailing, with all the important attributes of easy planing, effortless speed and willingness to turn, and was generally popular with testers and guesters. We wouldn’t recommend it for early strap and harness development or for ‘speed freeride’ use, but for mainstream freeride sailing, both inland or coastal, with sails up to 8.0m it is excellent value.