Review by Ian Davis (WA)
Thanks for delivery of the Silver Bullet 64. Please tell the elves who designed and built it, I said they can have Christmas off this year. Sorry kids!
When I first saw the Silver Bullet 64, I was not sure of what to make of it. The first demo session grabbed my attention and is the reason I persisted with your offer of extended demo. The Silver Bullet is a unique offer. There is a lot of jargon that could describe the board’s features, but I won’t go there. To my mind, the differences are in the way the board functions.
I got hooked on windsurfing, because it was pure escapism. That feeling of being a kid, where everything is new and you are absorbed in the moment. The 64 takes me there.
The sail I learnt with is illustrative of what this board is about. That first sail had a very narrow power band. The sail demanded concentration, energy and bodywork to keep it happy and trimmed correctly. The sail was awkward. The sail’s endless demands would burn me out quickly and shorten sessions. The shift to a modern ‘free race’ sail kept me going in Windsurfing. The modern sail was faster and seemed to do all the work, leaving me free to enjoy the situation.
Progressing to modern slalom gear, left the impression modern boards do not have the range to match modern sails. The 64 has a wide range. Anyone struggling to make a one van, one house solution work, will appreciate the 64.
I did find mojo on conventional slalom boards, but I also found my limits earlier in the envelope.
The 64 will go upwind with greater ease. Sailing upwind through a washing machine is easier, probably down to length and underside shape. The board is less inclined to slam on chop and carries momentum well. The board will burn less of your energy and focus as a result. Getting up wind to enjoy a down-winder is much less of a chore. Consequently, I feel more inclined to have a go.
It is on a down-winder that the board’s ability becomes more pronounced. In short you can run deeper, with power on, while feeling more secure in the process. Again, I feel more like having a go.
Sailing deep downwind through a washing machine is easier and I put it down to the tail. The tail is an energy management system.
When exiting a wave downwind, a ‘conventional’ tail will kick and transmit wave energy to the back foot. The impulse force is de-stabilising effect and at some point you back off and or, you’re driven up wind. The effect seems to happen earlier for lighter riders. Being a reasonably proportioned human, I found it a revelation to run the 64 deep downwind at speed, through a random sea state. The 64’s tail seems to release wave energy in a manageable (longer) time frame. The result is stability and control.
A willingness to spend more time on the water is a spinoff of this boards range and ability. I don’t feel shattered in short order. No mouth guard is required and it won’t break an image stabiliser in a camera.
What are the 64’s limits? I found my limits on a solid 30 knot day with a 5.5 RAF sail. A cambered sail with more stability may have made a difference. Time will tell. A slalom board in those conditions is an academic exercise in any case. An 8.6 meter sail works well, which means the 64 covers my entire quiver.
More enjoyable, more often, is what the 64 means to me.