Fanatic Eagle 113 (HRS) (above):

The Eagle has been Fanatic’s freemove series for four seasons now and remains unaltered for a third year. The 113 is the middle sibling of a three board line-up, and for 2009 comes in a choice of two constructions – High Resistance Skin (HRS) or Carbon Sandwich with a light finish. The Eagle has been a great benchmark over the years, offering an ease and practicality that belies the performance it can deliver when loaded and pushed hard. The secret, Fanatic say, is in its outline, with a wide centre and narrower tail facilitating the board’s early planing and carving potential. The bottom shape of the 113 is very straightforward; flat in the nose before gaining progressively more vee to the tail.

Being of the more durable construction, the HRS Eagle is a little heavier than some of the other boards in this group, and comes with a moulded fin. The footstraps on our early-run model were fairly flimsy and uncomfortable, but we are advised that better quality straps are now standard on the HRS models.

Stable yet quite pivotal at rest, it rises progressively onto the plane rather than being super-responsive or immediate; intermediate sailors will appreciate the way it steadily gains momentum. Top speed is very respectable, although it’s not an out-and-out speedster as the extra weight holds it back from finding that 5th gear. However, it has stunning carving potential and great versatility, making it an ideal platform for intermediates looking to crack the carve gybe.

All of which makes it pretty clear where this model’s ideal market lies. With a multitude of strap position options it remains a great all-rounder that will provide hours of hassle-free enjoyment on the water for the progressor. Sailors looking for a more lively ride should go for the lighter Carbon Sandwich version, which from our experience in previous tests will be up there with the best of them on speed and crispness of performance.

+Same familiar progressive performance that’s become the Eagle’s hallmark.

+Competitive price.

-Less lively in this construction.

An excellent learning platform with the control to handle varied sea states, perfect for the progressing sailor or anyone who gets limited time on the water and wants to maximise every second.