Archive for September, 2012

Last summer, our family together with friends, sailed the eXperience 165 and reviewed it.

Lacking some vital accessories to further explore the polyvalent board, I ordered them from Glaridis Sport and early July, I packed 2 Thommens plus 2 new boards ( leaving behind 2 more vintage boards I wanted to test, as with these the height of the stacked material was way greater than the door opening of my garage), and took the boat to Paros .

The items bought were the following:

1.  A T- boom/mast protector – PROLIMIT /19 euros  – To protect the admittedly sensitive boardProlimit T-prtotector

2.  A larger powerful 40cm Freemove fin – RRD/70 euros

I would love to get a Meanline fin like the ones fitted to the T1, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to invest more on a fin for a family board. I thought that the recently introduced RRD fins would be a decent alternative.eXp165 fin vs RRD 40 Freemove

3.  A SUP paddle – RRD Red Alu – 75 euros

More out of curiosity, again I went for a quite  simple/reasonably priced new RRD type. Note the user friendly red rubber inlays on the blade perimeter and on the grip.RRD red alu padle

Well, with the T-protector fitted, I did not hesitate ti allow more friends to try the board.

With the use of the 40cm fin, the board sailed higher on the water, while it executed better planted speed jibes ( rider George “Tigana” Moustakis).        I have to note that the fin is quite noisy, whining under power. It also has the threaded cylinder closer to the fin base, so it required a longer screw.

I also had the opportunity to take some shots of George speed jibing the eXp165, using a Gaastra Matrix 7.5 sail.

T1 experience 165 power jibe  by George Tigana (1)

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I tried the board as a Sup in fairly flat water, but as this was my first SUP experience – all I can say is that the board is not for beginners weighting more than ~50kg, and I will show only photos of George doing his stuff… My comments about the paddle, are that although it looks solid & well designed, after using it, kept some slowly draining water inside, so some more attention on  watertightness would be welcome.

As Mark Thoms pointed out, the paddle has cleverly positioned rubber inlays both at the edge (so that upon contact, the board’s sides do not get scratched), and on the grip (offering an anti-slip hold).

Tigana speed SUPing on T1 eXperience 165T1 eXperience 165 - open sea SUPing

The fact is, that even if you don’t have a family of your own, the board attracts plenty!T1 eXperience 165 family board

The test would be definitely more complete if we had the chance to try the new carbon version of the eXp165, but I doubt such a board can be found in Greece.

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The experience 165 is everything T1 claims to be. Changing slightly Thommen’s motto, it is a “one family – one board”

For the past 7 years during summer vacations, my son Giorgos was getting up in the afternoon, missing the windy hours. He has grown up and weighting 65kg is no longer at ease on my ~100l boards he used to train as a child. He therefore asked me to give him a bigger board  that he could tack & lift the sail comfortably.

At the end of last season, upon  purchase of the board, we took it down to Shinias,in the Marathon bay to the NE coast of Athens, at the friendly beach & water activities center Karavi , owned and run by the Maniatis family.

To carry it safely, I chose a quality RRD  SUP bag, since the dimensions of the eXperience 165 come closer to a SUP than a modern sailboard.

I first tried the board with the straps placed to the front, but soon realized, that in all conditions except from full blasting the Eva soft deck was totally supportive & anti-slip, while the straps should be positioned to the far rear/outside positions for serious speed sailing.

Not having more nice weather (yes we are spoiled), we decided to leave the full test for the new season, so here it is.

We tried it as a training board, as an advancing ride and as an alternative  experienced riders choice, in winds ranging from 10-30 knots, with 2.5 Dacron training rig  up to 8.2 cambered slalom sail.

Although the board is not heavy for its size (12.1kg with footstraps & fin fitted), it is not easy to get it to the water and out rigged, especially on a windy day, and even unrigged, no matter how helpful is the carrying deck opening, there is always some risk for minor damage, as the usual heavyweight/reinforced construction of this category was not adopted by T1. As a result you have a more agile, attractively different board, that is more prone to dings. Here are the scars at the end of our test, despite the care we took:

The looks as stated above is great for my taste, but upon close examination I felt it lacked the attention I would like .

The graphics on the tail are off-balance, the cut-out of the EVA soft deck near the valve is not symmetrical, while some brown glue spoil the white soft material. Finally, the lacquered surface of the wood is not as smooth as to be perfect.

The fin proved adequate in all conditions, except the combination of a heavy rider & the racy cambered 8.2 sail.

Instead of the 35 specs indicated fin, our board was delivered with a much smaller , hardly 28 one, which upon contact with T1, I was assured it is the correct size and I have no reason to disagree – In addition I can only praise the hull design that was capable of great upwind sailing, something that boards of similar displacement would match using almost double our fin size, rendering these boards inappropriate for shallow water training and beach starts.

On the training level, Nina (49 kg) demanded to sail on the eXperience, instead of one of the usual training boards, not caring about the extra volume & the greater lateral stability they were offering. She did fine (and in style), reintroducing herself to windsurfing  after a 15 years gap since her first sailings.

On the intermediate level George (65 kg), was very happy riding the waves of santa Maria on a very windy day, using my 4.7 Simmer Icon sail.

I  (70 kg) sailed the board with 4,7 – 5,7 – 6 & 7.4 sails, in small chop, big chop and waves up to 1.5m and I was greatly impressed by the comfortable ride and speed,  while after you get used to the size, jumping is possible – elders may remember long boards on the jump back in the ‘80’s (I promise a jumping photo of the eXperience 165 next time a photographer is around under the right conditions.

I did not manage to jibe it on tight radius, but George (Tigana) Moustakis  (75 kg), as more experienced did it and I took the pictures. George also commented how handy this large board feels and how nicely it absorbs the chop.

Our most heavy tester M (87 kg), owner of many boards including a 2.80m, 162L course race large F2 Thommen, had a nice ride using a 7.3 Natural North sail and at the end praised the board  as a very interesting one.

I belive it is the most interesting intermediate level proposition on the market at the moment, and even I would choose it to surf in unknown conditions areas, in spots with frequent lulls, or for days I would like to sail without worries – no matter the wind fluctuations.

I look forward to try the upcoming small version eXperience 125 which will be available  in 2014. It may be the true definition of Thommen’s “one man – one board”.

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