Witchcraft 77 Wave series V2.2 (2009)

Ed Davis

Witchcraft are a range of tri-fin waveboards CAD designed by Bouke Becker in Fuerteventura and CNC made in their own factory in Bulgaria. Last year we tried the 74 – a board which left a big impression on us due to its unusual dynamism and style of performance. The boards have several very distinct design features, including very short length, a deep nose with high rails but a low central bow, very hard rails going well forward and deep inverted vee (similar in effect to single concave). Last year’s board surprised us with its very sharp and dynamic carving ability, extremely good upwind performance, acceleration and excellent jumping. It was not, however, the sort of board you just get on and feel immediately like you’ve been sailing all your life. It took a bit of getting used to!

On the water:

All the V2.2 Witchcrafts have had their volumes recalculated on CAD/CAM for this year and the 77 now feels significantly larger than the ’08 74. The tail measured up at nearly 1cm wider and the nose 3cm wider at 41cm. The rockerline is flatter down the centre line due to the increased inverted vee and the board seems quicker to plane and considerably easier to handle when not planing. The inverted vee is considerably deeper than last year, and – whereas last year’s board had considerable grip in the tail – we found the 2009 model felt more skaty, needing rather more delicate trimming when powering up and blasting along. It didn’t feel quite so reliable for kicking hard into jumps with the back foot, but does feel looser. The easy speed is just as we remember it and the board accelerates very quickly and cruises quickly. It is easy to boost big air on the way out, with the easy speed and very wide nose giving loads of lift. The three fins have quite a quantity of combined area and although their individually small size prevents them from feeling big, when you think you are beam reaching you are often actually tracking upwind! A useful trait in a waveboard when you’re always looking to put upwind yards in the bank. However, we also found that if you actively try to sail upwind the board tends to slip slightly on the fins. In the gybe the board turns extremely quickly and feels quite skaty on the tail. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once mastered leads to very snappy outside gybes on the swell. Similarly the riding, while it can be very dynamic, takes quite a bit of dialling into. The board can certainly carve hard, is very redirectable and has plenty of power off the top with its wide nose. However, in the technically difficult irregular cross-onshore waves of Médano we found that it wasn’t always easy to realise the board’s full potential.

Fittings:

The board was tested with two 12.5cm thrusters and one 15.5cm fin. It was fitted with Pro Limit kiteboard-style straps which proved very comfortable.

Overall:

The Witchcrafts have been described as Marmite boards. Some people really love them but it’s not an instant plug-and-play. Undoubtedly their speed and dynamism is unusual and appealing, but they do feel quite different to conventional boards and we would advise anyone considering a purchase to have a session or two on one first. This is possible at the OTC centre in Tenerife or via some English agents. If you would like to try one out contact Bouke via the Witchcraft website or post online on the BOARDS website and you should get a response. Witchcraft boards are also available in super-tough Dyneema (HDD) for an extra £200. These come with an 18 month guarantee and will be excellent value for anyone prone to dinging their board!

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