Fanatic Sky Style TE and Sky Free TE Wing Foil Boards for 2023

Fanatic Sky Style TE and Sky Free TE Wing Foil Boards for 2023

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Welcome back to MACkite Wing Wednesdays. I'm Tucker, and today I'm going to talk to you about the brand new Fanatic Sky TE (Team Edition) boards. There are three models: the Style model, the Free model, and a Surf model that's primarily for prone but also standing sinker start style riding. For the majority of people from beginner to advanced level, the Free and the Style boards are going to be your boards to look to for most conditions, and these are the two we are going to discuss here.

Board Overview

The Sky Free 95 liter edition is 5'3 by 26 inches. It's a beautiful purple and mint color scheme. The Sky Style 75 liter is 4'11 by 23.5 in a sharp-looking yellow and purple.

These are not just scaled models; they're distinctive sizes and styles for each individual type of riding. They're considering the type of riding that you're doing with these boards, so the bigger size Sky Free boards are good for lighter winds and newer riders. They're more efficient boards that are easier to ride, easier to get on foil, easier to accelerate with less power, and more forgiving if you're making mistakes.

When you progress to the Sky Style, you'll see the design evolve a little bit to add performance. Since you already know what you're doing, you can go with a smaller volume and more curvy, narrow outlines so you can make harder turns and ride closer to the water with more power. You're seeing that that transition from a bigger, light wind, learning-style board into a smaller, more aggressive, more experienced-style riding board.

Your wind range can also determine the best board to take out. For me, the 95 liter is great for the lightest of light winds. I can get out on it and slog around in almost nothing, wait for a puff, and get up and go on almost any foil. Being that it's a little bigger, it allows me to ride smaller foils, and because it's so efficient I can build that board speed on the water that's required for liftoff, even in light winds.

That said, the Sky Style is definitely my board of choice when the wind is good, or adequate at least. 75 liters is big enough for me to do light wind relatively well with a big wing, although it's not going to cruise around and slog around quite as easily as the bigger 95 liter with that light wind design. It does have adequate volume to ride in relatively light winds if you need to, but you don't really need to go much smaller than this for the highest performance. In fact, in jumping freestyle it's nice to have a bit more board when you're trying new maneuvers because you're landing hard and you're not riding away on foil all the time. Having a bit more board on your feet really helps with that.

75 liters is quite a lot, really, but at 4'11 x 23.5, this board feels very small. It's almost to the realm of prone board dimensions with just a bit more volume in the nose to keep that nose up, make it easier to take off, and keep it from pearling (nosediving) when you're just floating or slogging on your knees, while cutting away at any unnecessary parts so that it's not getting in the way. It rides very much like a prone surfboard, just with more volume.

Board Features

These boards do share some features. Both boards have a really nice pattern of footstrap options. You can set up one strap or two at a variety of angles. At a narrower angle, you even have room to kneel on the sides of the straps and pinch them with your knees as you're going through waves and chop and whatnot.

They both have a domed nose. That's going to add a bit more volume up front and make it a little more aerodynamic as you're whipping the board through the air, almost like a foil shape so that it slides through the air a little better. It's also going to keep the nose up as you're progressing through waves and chop. You don't need to be pearling that nose and falling over the handlebars, and that really helps with that.

There is a bit of concave to the deck, with bit more on the Style than on the Free. Generally, when you're riding smaller foils your feet are a little closer to the center line, but on the Free you might need to bring your feet a little further out if you're riding a really wide foil to help leverage that. So the Free has a little flatter deck and a little bit more volume under your knees while the Style is a bit more scooped out.

On both of them you have a small tail kick to push off with your back foot. That gives you a lot of confidence and feel off your back foot, especially when you're making some hard turns. Something to push off of to get some extra leverage in the pitch is a really neat feeling. If you've never felt it before, it's something you have to try. It's something I really look for in a lot of my boards nowadays, especially on something I'm going to be riding in the surf with more aggressive turns, so it's really neat to have that.

On the back footstrap mount, you have a dual setup. You can either go a little offset, which is nice for that toeside foot to get a little bit more to the toeside. You can have good leverage in both toeside and heelside directions. You can also use both screws on these to have a really firm connection there. Since you're entering it from both sides of the straps, you don't want it to favor one side and get twisted, making it hard or uncomfortable to slide in from the other side, so that keeps them perfectly straight and in line.

On both of these boards, we do have an auto vent. You don't need to touch these. They are regulated by Gore-Tex, so don't unscrew them unless they're damaged and you need to replace them. You can just leave them as they are, and they automatically vent out any pressure in the board.

On the bottom, both boards are fairly similar, other than the dimensions. The contrasting color on the bottom looks great on the water. The tail is pretty much dead flat with just a tiny bit of rocker coming out the tail, so it's very efficient, extremely fast, and very easy to build speed to lift off. It's very easy to ride, especially in light winds.

They have a hard rail, which helps the water release off quickly and let you build that speed. The whole bottom is relatively flat with just a bit of a hole toward the front to help break that surface tension and progress through mild chop. It's very flat and very efficient with no unnecessary wetted surface area, which means this board is maximum efficiency, high speed, and low drag, which is what you want in light wind, or if you're just trying to ride the smallest board possible.

The track box is in a great spot for the shape of the board. There is a lot of volume in the tail, so this track box is set further tailward. It also doesn't have any kind of a kick tail or accelerated rocker off the tail, so planing off the flat section of the board in the back half is what you want to be doing when you're building speed. It plays nicely with almost all foil brands, though you might want to be a little bit cautious if you're riding Armstrong or Naish. It's something that'll probably work, but you won't have a lot of flexibility in where you're putting the foil or your footstrap orientation, so keep that in mind. Pretty much every other foil brand works phenomenally on this foil box, so I'm really amped on that. The foils I've been riding on it and the footstrap locations are really excellent with regard to where that box is. The back footstrap option is pretty much directly over the foil box.

Board Construction

The construction on these boards is a high-density foam skin and carbon lamination. It is built like a high-end windsurfer, so it's extremely tough. I've even got some chips and stuff from putting this thing through the wringer, and I've been treating it mean and nasty, but I haven't had to do any kind of repairs on it yet, so thumbs up for durability.

It's fairly lightweight for a board of this quality, but it's not so featherweight that it's just going to fall apart. For me, it's the perfect balance of durability and weight. It's very, very stiff; there's no give to these boards, so every bit of energy between your feet and the foil are going back and forth immediately with no energy lost. That's really key in terms of performance on a board like this.

Tucker's Reviews

Honestly, I couldn't be happier. The Sky Style 75L has been one of my favorite boards that I've tested so far. I don't let it out of my sight too much, but my co-workers have been loving it. Everybody at AWSI and at our KoGL Test Fest event has been absolutely going crazy for this board. I can't say enough about it for high performance. It's got enough volume to do it all, other than super light wind for me at 200 pounds, but it's also small enough that I don't feel the need for anything smaller. I can go ride 10-12 foot waves on this, and I'm totally comfortable. Could I ride smaller? Certainly. Would I want to? I don't know that I'd need to, so as a one-board quiver I'd be pretty stoked on the 75 liter with where I'm at.

The Sky Free 95 liter... man, we get a lot of light wind in the summertime. This board is key for those days where you don't even know if it's going to work. With this board, if it's possible, it works. It's so fast, so fun, so easy to get on foil, and once you do get on foil it's not this humongous, ridiculous board. It's pretty compact, not overly wide, and just incredibly efficient.

For the 95 liter especially, and maybe a little bit for the 75, they rode about 10 liters bigger than their size indicates. If you're on a 95, it almost feels like 105 in terms of its light wind ability, but then when you're up and flying, it's very small and compact so it feels small. The 75 liter rides a bit more true-to-size since they cut out a bit from the nose and tail to make it that more surfy, aggressive style, so if you do want a 75 liter board that rides like a bigger board in terms of light wind ability, the Sky Wing normal construction (the maroon colored ones) are excellent for that. It's just a bit more aggressive in the TE construction this year. It's a totally different shape with different dimensions. It's narrower with a lot more cutouts and a more curvy outline, so choose your size and choose your construction.

The new TE Style and Free boards are really a step up from the standard construction in the Sky Wing boards. They're a bit more expensive, but it pays off in terms of the performance and the durability. They are awfully sharp as well, and certainly stand out at the beach, so a big thumbs up on these.

I always try to give a negative on a review like this, but it's really hard to find one for these because I am so excited about them. I'd say the first negative is the price. They are pretty expensive, as far as boards go. There are a lot of boards out there where you could buy two for the price of one of these, especially with closeout models this year, so that is a consideration. It's not going to be in everybody's budget, which is a bummer because these are so good, but for those people that are willing to pay for it and have the budget for it, you're going to be super excited about these. They're going to last you a long time and they're going to give you the highest levels of performance in each category as long as you're choosing your size correctly. Feel free to reach out to us at the shop and we can certainly talk about what you're dealing with, what you're riding now, where you would like to go next, and get you on the right size for what you want to do.

The other thing I would say that's a negative (maybe, since you can't have it both ways) is that the Style boards in the standard construction do carry a little bit more nose and tail width so they're easier to ride. They're a little bit longer and they have better light wind ability, so the Style TE is definitely more for your intermediate plus rider. I wouldn't put anybody that's new to riding on the Style TE board, even if they were lightweight, because these boards are really designed for high level performance, not so much for ease-of-use. If you're after ease-of-use, grab the Sky Free or the Sky Wing board in the standard construction. If you're after super high performance and you already have the basics down, go for the Sky Style TE and choose your size. It's going to be really fun for you.

Sky Surf Board

Lastly, the Sky Surfs are primarily prone boards, but if you're after a standing sinker board in that 30-ish liter range, that's certainly going to be an awesome option as well. It's a lot like the Style, but quite a bit narrower with more surfy dimensions in terms of the thickness, so that's a great option. It's got that same construction, but smaller sizes and more of a prone surfing type shape.

As always, if you've got any questions, we'll be happy to help you with anything on phone, email, chat, smoke signal... whatever. Catch us at the shop and we'll see you next time.

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17th May 2023 Tucker Vantol

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