Author Topic: 85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review  (Read 3774 times)

B-Walnut

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85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review
« on: February 21, 2024, 08:23:05 PM »
85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review

*This is a long post.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or asked to write this review. Im a waterman who enjoys writing, crunching numbers, learning from my data analysis, and sharing knowledge with others. Hopefully you find this write up as useful to your progression as I have to mine.   

Ive wrapped up my initial thoughts and experiences on the Sunova Carver and am sharing the info for anyone wanting to pull the trigger before the upcoming season.

Pre-review reminder: In my opinion, the most important thing you can to do progress your riding is to learn and identify what kind of rider you are, and want to be. Every foil, wing, and board is going to enhance, or hinder, certain aspects of various riders styles. Once you know what your style and preferred direction is, equipment data and reviews become much more valuable to you.

Rider skill and style:
I consider myself an intermediate with advanced skills in my stylistic pursuit. After approximately 200 days of wing foiling I still have little to no interest in learning wing tricks or jumping. I prefer fast rail to rail surfing enhanced by my wing or casual/stylish/flowy riding when flagged out riding swell. I learned the basics of DW SUP and further identified that I prefer to foil down the line like a surfer on a wave (which is commonly across the wind here), more than I like going straight downwind and surfing back and forth on swell.

Why I bought this board:
I have a very strong preference for riding small wings and foils. I wanted a board that was going to help me ride winds lulling below 10 knots with a wing no larger than my 4.2m and foils smaller than my 1000. At the time of purchase I needed my 1150 in order to ride winds that light. At the extreme high end, I wanted a board that was fast on the water to allow for tiny foils and 2m wings to be used in winds in 40-60 knots. My previous board really needed an 850cm foil underneath, even in the most extreme winds.

Foils and wings used were all Cloud IX fs range unless otherwise noted. I have an 8.5 aspect ratio on all my foils except the fs900 which is 10.1.

The Basics:
Sunova does a good job of giving info on shape, design, dims, goal, intended rider, all of that great stuff on their website. I highly recommend you look there for all of your basic information on this board.
https://sunovasurfboards.com/en/legends/casey/carver

Testing Data:
Board information:
85l Sunova Carver. 510x20 and 4.89kg. No footstrap inserts, vapor construction, both of which are free alterations. (standard construction and footstraps bring expected weight to 6kg).
Note on alterations: Sunova will customize nearly anything you want on their boards for what I consider to be very reasonable prices.

Previously, I came from owning four consecutive Kalama boards:
510x28.875 123l e3
48x26 83l e3
8x21 111l Barracuda
53x22 83l e3
I also did quick single ride demos on approximately 10 other boards in the last year ranging from 40-80l.

Rider weight: 99kgs with a soaked winter wetsuit and impact vest on. 82kgs in summer with boardshorts (untested at the lighter weight).

BAR+GF= 4.36

Total time spent in flight on the Carver for this review: 12.5 hours

Wind and water notes: Its cold in the Gorge right now. Water temps are around 39 degrees and air temps are usually in the 40s when Im riding. Winds have a tendency to be gusty this time of year (20 knot range). I tested a mix of extreme east and mild west winds.

Lightest lulls: 6 knots west wind, east current with my 1000, Catalyst, 76cm mast, and 4.2m SLE.
Lightest average wind speed: 10 knots west wind, east current with my 1000, Catalyst, 76cm mast, and 4.2m SLE.

Strongest gust: 43 knots east wind, east current with 900, Catalyst, 76cm mast, and 2.5m OR Glide A wing.
Strongest average wind speed: 35 knots east wind, east current with 900, Catalyst, 76cm mast, and 2.5m OR Glide A wing.

Foils tested: 700, 850, 900, 1000, 1150. All with Catalyst stab. 66cm and 76cm masts were used.

Wings tested: 4.2m and 3.5m Cloud IX plus 3m and 2.5m Ocean Rodeo Glide A.

Foil selection leading up to Carver purchase: Almost 100% use of my 850 for 20 straight sessions leading up to the my first on the Carver.
 
Foil selection since acquiring the Carver: 850, 700, 700, 700, 700, 1150, 1000, 900, 900, 900 (900 is a new 10.1 AR vs the 8.5 of others and takes off in between the 700 and 850).

Narrative:
Getting new equipment in the middle of the winter is always a little nerve racking. We have extreme winds and painfully cold temps so changing your kit when the weather isnt all fun in the sun can be stressful. However, my first day out I rigged pretty aggressively and had light winds for my first rides. I was delighted to be riding my 850 with a 4.2m wing in 13 knots of west wind with lulls down to 9 knots in swirling storm winds and rain (this normally required my 1150). My second day was just as light, and I was able to ride my 700.

On those first days I immediately I noticed that while the board is undeniably quick on the water, the most impressive thing was its release. There is something about the hull shape that feels incredibly not sticky. Better than any hull Ive personally ridden. In light wind where my last board would occasionally grab and throw me over the nose when trying to pump onto foil, the Carver keeps driving forward and releasing water when I pump (is this because of the flat to flipped nose rocker?) Most excitingly, its snappier in the air than my 53x22 83l Kalama e3 at 5.23kg. This board LOVES to carve rail to rail, better than any Ive ever experienced. I expect this is due to a combination of being .34kg lighter, 2 narrower, and having a more pointed/lower profile nose. Plus, despite being 7 longer in total length, the Carver only shows 2.5 more nose in front of the mast. My mast is positioned just barely in front of center in the box. I could theoretically try to nudge it forward to decrease this even more. All of this adds up to a sporty comparison to my last board. Match all of that with the fact that it activates a smaller foil with the same effort and wind and you can see the performance benefits are piling up.

I continued to click through more sessions on the Carver in various conditions. Light winds to heavy with foils from 700-1150. With each session the Carver had me consistently out on wings that were up to 2 full sizes smaller than others on the water as well as foils as much as 500cm smaller than other riders out with me.

I very quickly found myself gravitating to my two foils with the highest takeoff requirements (700 and 900) and am pleased with the way this board performs when using both of them. The vapor Carver has enough weight that you still feel a natural drive and flow to your riding when turning rail to rail, top to bottom, on swell of all sizes. I really like this. Feeling the board push back and return to my feet with just enough pressure to ensure me its still along for the ride and ready for the next turn is confidence inspiring. The narrow design of the board keeps all of its weight well balanced underfoot despite plenty of big frontside and backside tip breaches at wind speeds from 10-40 knots. Coming from SUP surfing Im comfortable moving my feet on the board while in flight and the Carver welcomes this without issue. Touchdowns are practically inconsequential as the shape, length, and weight of the board make it skip off the water.

For the novice to intermediate riders: First off, Sunova recommends this board for intermediate to pro level riders and I think that is accurate. Why? I assume because this board is going to feel tippy if compared to the traditional beginner boards, especially in light winds. If you are considering moving to a narrow board, make sure your water starts are fast. No casual knee starts where you flip your wing into position and hold it in one hand. If your wing is in the air, your hands had better be on the handles.

Also worth noting for beginners: Ive always felt like switching feet was easier on a narrow board. First, its harder to get your feet into the wrong position. Second, the drive and longer weight distribution in front of and behind the foil feels like it buys you an extra second of time while also forcing correct decisions. So, if you are at all nervous about this element I would tell you that I, personally, find foot switches easier on boards like this. I tested the Carver with my 700 and 66cm mast, my twitchiest and least stable kit, and there were no issues on gybes and foot switches.

For intermediate to advanced riders: This board is going to give you the freedom to access the smallest foils and wings in your quiver. Along with that, it has incredible performance in the air that will not slow your foils down. Ive found that I prefer having a little bit of board length when performing my most aggressive turns which lends itself well to getting board feedback while you are laid over and quickly going rail to rail.

Above all else the following questions/statements in regard to stability are the most inquired about:
1.   The Carver will be too tippy in choppy waters. Youll never be able to water start it when its really windy.
Response: I, personally, have not had issues. I was riding 21 and 22 boards before this (130 sessions worth). Yes, this board is tippy if you are slow to get your wing in the air and hands in position. Expect this board to command you to speed up your water starts. Dont be confused thinking this is aimed at light winds. It is a high performance board and what you lose in a handful of water starts is gained back many times over by the use of smaller foils and wings.
2.   Do you think this is a good choice as a light wind board?
Answer: It can perform well in light winds. However, this board is at its worst for stability in light wind. If you dont have wind in your sail, you very well might just tip over, I know I have. I would say its ability to slog is poor. If you are an experienced light wind rider this board will give you high end performance in light winds. If you are a novice who is exploring light winds and narrow boards I think you would be best suited with a shortened, downwind board like the Aviator Downwind 22.5. This will give you FAR more stability in ultralight winds, will allow you to use tiny wings and foils, and will allow you to grow into the Carver down the road. If you want a dedicated light wind only board, again, I would consider a small DW board that will give you the performance gains matched with nice slog your way home stability.

Board Driven Accomplishments:

1.   I dont think I ever expected to be on foil with my 700 under 10 knots using a normal sized wing board. A full DW board, yes. My 850, yes. However, I have now had multiple sessions where the average wind speed was 12-13 knots with the lulls below 10 knots and the Carver enabled me to use my 700 with 4.2m SLE without a hitch.
2.   In extreme winds, I was immediately able to start using my 700 by upgrading to this board (2m wings are incredibly sensitive and you need a fast board to use them if the winds are gusty). My 700, as well as my high aspect 900, both have harder takeoffs but are so efficient moving through the water that without them, winging in 40-55 knots is just miserable. The intricacies of high wind riding are many and deserve an entire write up on their own.

To get the most out of this board:
Plan to buy a smaller foil and use smaller wings. If you are buying this board purely to get easier water starts with your same wing and foil, yes, you will experience that. However, you will be selling this board short. Dont look at it as a casual upgrade. Look at it as a full quiver transition. This board will beg for a high performance foil and will really show you its full potential when you give it that.

Summary:
The Carver has immediately met my goal of using smaller wings and foils at both the light, and heavy wind levels. It is currently my all time favorite board and the only thing I would consider changing if I was ordering another would be to put some custom graphics on it. I would also be intrigued to try a vapor 62x20 95l Carver in the future purely for comparison. Id like to see how its stability and slogging feels. Id also be interested to see how much faster it feels on the water. I do not see the need for any other board in my personal quiver.

How to order:
Sunova has dealers worldwide so everyone has a way to get ahold of their boards. I wanted some customizations on mine so I reached out to Christian, the owner of Poseidon Paddle and Surf in Santa Monica California. Their website shows them carrying what looks to be the entire lineup of Sunova surfboards, sups, and foilboards which gave me confidence that they would nail my order. The ordering process was smooth despite my requested alterations. My board showed up faster than expected and I have nothing but great things to say about Poseidon as a shop, Christian as the owner, and Sunova as a company.
https://www.poseidonstandup.com/products/sunova-carver-foil-board?_pos=3&_sid=6ce4c76c9&_ss=r

Thank you:
Huge thanks to Sunova for bringing this board into production as well as thanks to Marcus Tardrew for designing it. Big thanks to all my friends and riding buddies who make the coldest winter conditions so much more enjoyable.

Hope to see you on the water,
Bryan Lee



Dwight (DW)

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Re: 85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2024, 11:04:41 AM »
good info.

One area Im still sorting the limits..

Yes, I can ride a smaller foil. Yes, I can ride a smaller hand wing.

But at some point, without something to make continuous energy, you just cant keep it going.

I need energy from somewhere to keep flying. A wave, or good apparent wind. Im still sorting gear choice for these days. I really hate to go big on wings for foils anymore.


B-Walnut

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Re: 85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2024, 06:41:27 PM »
Hmm, I haven't had that issue yet? If I have enough wind to get onto foil I usually don't have much of a problem staying up. Is your wind thready/patchy? Even today I was well under 10 knots with a 4.2m but a big old 1780 and it was a challenge to get up, but once I was up I was cruising.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3q5CjnP3P4/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Dwight (DW)

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Re: 85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2024, 03:40:31 AM »
yes, its patchy. Riding thermal cloud based wind. Cloud blocks the sun, wind goes dead. Stuck at sea.

Ive always been able to ride all day on foil, if I can get up just once. I make sure I never fall, or fall off foil.

The new setup takes me into dangerous territory. One mistake, and I could be sitting on the board far from land for a long time. Ill sometimes ride like this, then pack it in before I do get stuck out there.

Its not for beginners.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024, 04:00:12 AM by Dwight (DW) »

PonoBill

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Re: 85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2024, 09:33:38 AM »
Great review. You make me want to pick an aspect of wingfoiling and stick to it though at 105Kg I don't think a Carver is for me. If for no other reason than kneeling waterstarts are currently my limit.  I'm battling a deteriorating hip lately that I might have to do something drastic about. I hate the thought of spending time off the water, but I might not have a choice. At any rate, I'm at the point where I need to concentrate my efforts to see any progress--I've been doing the same shitty stuff for years now. Mowing the lawn is better than nothing, but I'm sure I can do better than that.
 
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

B-Walnut

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Re: 85l Sunova Carver: Gorge Review
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2024, 11:01:42 AM »
Do what you gotta do to stay mobile!

I dedicated all my efforts to getting the best turns out of my foil. Never messed with tacks, jumps, or other wing tricks. I gybe, switch feet, and make the best turns possible all day long. Wave rider at heart.

 


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