The X-Wave shapes have been carried over from ’08, and Exocet are now showcasing their new light Pro model construction in this and several other ranges. The 83 is billed as being a “super fast” waveboard for all wave conditions from “messy short waves to big clean rollers”.
Design: While we have argued for years that freestyle-wave shapes make very good waveboards we would also argue that this Exocet X-Wave is in essence a classic freestyle-wave design. The rockerline is virtually identical to the FSW standard with a much longer planing flat and less tail rocker than most ‘wave’ boards. The outline is very similar also to the freestyle-waves, although the tail is quite wide and the nose is quite long and wide too, giving a little extra overall area. The board features moderately high vee.
On the water: If you expect the X-Wave to be just a waveboard you will be amazed by its flat water capacity. It is great fun to blast around on, picking up speed and releasing onto the plane quickly and easily, without the drag that true waveboards exhibit in marginal planing conditions. In other words it is a freestyle-wave. It can hold its own against the other FSWs in terms of early planing, and no slouch once under way feeling quite fast and dynamic.
Compared to other waveboards it jumps brilliantly due to its easy speed, and it gybes well with excellent grip but a relatively wide turning circle. For obvious reasons it is very good for keeping speed up going frontside in onshore conditions, but it is considerably less slashy and redirectable than most more rockered waveboards. Compared to the other freestyle-waves it carves very well and the high nose rocker keeps it out of trouble well, but it is relatively grippy and secure rather than loose.
In strong winds it becomes a bit fast and hectic in waves but being intrinsically very controllable remains fun in flat water even in the strongest winds, except for the lightest sailors for whom that extra volume in the nose can cause a bit of trouble.
Fittings: The deck is very comfortable with recessed dampening shock absorbing areas under the heels taking the impact from jump landings and chop. This does slightly deaden the immediacy of response but you quickly get used to it and come to appreciate it. We particularly like the way the pad covers the whole back of the deck. The straps weren’t particularly popular, some finding them a touch hard, others lacking shape and everybody finding them hard to adjust. The fin is relatively small for moderate winds but works well with the highish vee in most conditions.
Overall: Sadly, its ‘wave’ classification will probably put off a lot of potential buyers, who would actually find the 83 to be an excellent coastal all-rounder for use in moderate to medium winds with sails of up to about 5.7m. It is even a very good strong wind flat water board.
For those who want it as a waveboard we would recommend it for very competent heavier sailors (78-90kg) who can cope with the lack of volume and will find the flatter rocker very helpful for early planing and not such a drawback to its turning ability. Certainly it was much better liked by the heavier sailors than the lightest.
Otherwise we actually think it is best suited as an all-round coastal board for sailors of about 67-80kg. It is a great blaster / jumper with 5.0-5.7m sails with good gybing and perfectly acceptable riding performance.