The 3S stands for three style which means wave, freestyle and freeride – in other words, a real jackof- all-trades. Last year’s 3S, however, was unusually short and wide in nose and tail and majored heavily on the freestyle element. This year’s board has seen a narrowing of the tail, increase in the rocker and change to the rails and underwater shape which alters the character quite a bit.
On the Water:
The 3S is still refreshingly unusual in its style of performance. It has no tail rocker at all but a radically early nose lift and quite a hefty duck-tail (overhang at the tail to give a bow effect for sliding backwards in freestyle moves). Although 2cm narrower than last year this year’s tail is still the widest on test. The rocker and duck-tail are responsible for quite poor early planing. You can be sat there waiting while everyone else has disappeared into the distance so it helps to be very active about trying to unstick the tail and rock the board onto its very short, wide planing flat. However, once up and planing it’s transformed and rather than seeming to want to drag back off the plane it releases, becomes light and goes well through the lulls. It gives a very pleasing ride, not particularly fast but feeling very short, reactive and ready to turn or jump at the flick of an ankle. It isn’t really a board for long fast reaches as the deck is flat and becomes uncomfortable when you’re cranked out, and the board does pitch a bit in chop, but it gives a very lively and prettywell-controlled ride. Jumping is good, with the high and early nose lift and wide tail giving easy take-offs. Gybing is unusual. It is very easy to turn but is more of a snappy, pivotal style of gyber than a classic grippy carving board. In the waves it can be a lot of fun with a very stubby and relatively low grip feel, very redirectable and very easy and satisfying off the top. It responds well in relatively slow onshore waves but is fun in most moderate wave conditions. For freestyle it’s way better than the other boards on test with excellent pop, great slide and good stability.
Fittings: The pads are very thick and comfy but the raised heels make the deck very flat for blasting. We didn’t like the straps and believe they may have used the same straps as last year but widened the insert spread, thus making the covers too short and restrictive to allow for a wide setting option. The board comes with (classic box) 24cm freestyle fin that also works well for general sailing, and a 28cm freeride fin that is great for bigger sails.
Popularity:The favourite and potential purchase of one guester and although slightly quirky in its appeal it was very much liked by nearly everyone.
Overall: Anyone buying the 3S should be warned that there will be frustrating times when it seems like it should be planing but isn’t, so if you are buying it for its strong freestyle application don’t expect it to fill the moderate wind, ‘pump-&-plane’ role. That aside it really is a great fun board to sail. It works in flat water and waves and it makes you want to try things, be it jumps, freestyle or waveriding. Although not quite as quick to plane we consider it to be much better than last year’s board with the reduction in tail width, in particular, giving a more active ride and increasing the carving abilities. It’s ideal for 5.0-6.0m and partnering a smaller waveboard, and while a bit lacking in freeride performance to be a true 3S it is undeniably the truest freestyle-wave and a very fine one.