We have been impressed by several examples from this range over the past few seasons. It isn’t the easiest range to pin down in terms of design though. Relative to its peers, the Cross 118 we tested earlier this year was very freemove / wave, whereas this board is actually at the opposite end of the spectrum.
On the Water:The 84 is fast! In fact it’s exceptionally fast by the standard of today’s all-rounders / freestyle-waves. The rocker is very slalom oriented with tiny tail lift, short rocker flat (early 2cm point) and low overall nose, while the width is unfashionably narrow with a planing width a couple of cm less than just about any other board. Early planing is average to good; not exceptional because the board is quite short and needs to be pumped up, but acceleration and top speed are very impressive. It’s exciting and lively, yet the ride is nicely controlled allowing the potential high speeds to be reached and held by any reasonably competent sailor. It is nippy and agile and carves well, giving satisfying fast gybing and high jumps but is not the most loose and relaxed in the waves. It has the width in nose and tail to be ridden without stalling too early but requires good technique and feels more directional than the more wave-oriented all-rounders.
Fittings:The straps didn’t prove too popular as they aren’t the easiest to get in and out of easily, and the adjustment system is unnecessarily complicated, but the pads are very comfortable, and the fin seems to work very well and suits the style of the board.
Popularity:Very popular with a couple of guesters who loved its fast blasting, jumping and gybing, and equally popular with the testers for the same reasons.
Overall:The Cross 84 is for sailors who want to push their board quite hard, sail fast, gybe hard and jump high – and it offers big rewards in these departments. It is an all-rounder in the sense that it can also be used to ride waves and probably do some freestyle too, but it’s essentially a small fast freeride. It enjoys a wide wind range, easily carrying a 6.5m, and has sufficient control to handle small sails as well, particularly in flatter water. It would make an excellent small board for non-coastal waters or 6.5-5.3m blasting / bump-&-jump for most UK coastal venues and there won’t be many other boards of this size, however specialist, clocking much faster GPS speeds!