The Cross boards have been a flagship range for Exocet over the last few years, finding favour for their versatility, ease of use and wide user appeal. The 118 is the largest of a four board “freestyle-wave" line-up, which, like the S-Cross, remains identical to last year (save for new straps), and is now also available in Pro Model construction.

Wide at 69cm, it has a very rounded outline and finishes in a rounded square-tail. The bottom shape has a mixture of mono and double concave

in the nose, although the overriding theme is of vee, particularly in the shoulders and tail.

On the water the Cross 118 has a distinctly different character to the S-Cross. Stable and balanced at rest, it cruises up onto the plane in a controlled and steady manner, and the inboard straps are very easy to locate as you move down the board. Gaining speed progressively and predictably, it thus makes an excellent platform for the lighter rider getting used to planing conditions for the first time. The vee in the hull, coupled with the DDSA pads, makes for a smooth, forgiving and super-comfortable ride. It copes with most sea states well, and footsteers as if it were an oversized waveboard, never hinting at tripping a rail at any stage. As for gybing, the 118 simply asks to be put on its rail, carving a clean arc with the versatility to tighten the turn radius without scrubbing off speed.

It’s a fantastic platform for the intermediate rider looking to master planing conditions and get to grips with gybing in a variety of sea states. More experienced, adrenaline-craving riders won’t find it particularly fast or engaging, nor does it offer any real crossover into wave or freestyle. Instead, this is an exemplary training board for those looking to fast-track their skills, with a killer carving ability that makes you want to keep banking it onto its rail. If you’ve been struggling with gybing for a while and are looking for a springboard to get you over the hurdle, this could be the board for you.

+Smooth, easy, accommodating nature.

+Stunning gybing ability.

-Adrenaline junkies look elsewhere.

Overall, a big cuddly platform that’s dependable and easy to use for all manner of freeride sailing.