The Appleslice from Appletree may well be the most popular model for intermediate riders upwards, but the Skipper wing undoubtedly holds the top spot for advanced riders in waves. We put one straight on demo when they arrived earlier this year and have been using it in solid conditions ever since. Hopefully a run through of our findings will enable you to decide if the Skipper Wing shape is for you or not.
The 'Skipper' principle is pretty simple - placing a 'bulge' under the front foot that sits lower than the foil box will displace water on touchdown and makes the board 'skip' back onto foil. This makes it ideal for bashing through foam/white water and for performing more radical manoeuvres in waves where the rail is getting closer and closer to the water surface.
Having a narrower and longer outline than the other boards in the Appletree range enables the rider to get lower to the water while banking over in turns while also keeping a decent waterline length to help build speed before the foil lifts enough to leave the water on take off. This waterline length is also a benefit because the rounded rails and increased rocker won't be helping much at this point.
Riding the Skipper Wing
Available in 45L, 50L, 55L, 60L, 65L and 75L, these boards are designed to be used well under body weight and has been one of the first mid-size board range's we saw that couldn't be ridden by just anybody who fancied it.
The Skipper should appeal most to advanced wave riders who ride in solid conditions and have good technique - its an aspirational board.
Its rounded bottom shape makes for an unstable take off if underpowered, under skilled or riding in confused water states. If your local spot is tidal or filled with white water you may want to look towards something like the Appleslice instead, which will provide a much more stable platform for those conditions.
The board feels fantastic underfoot while riding in the conditions its been designed for though. The Appletree construction of High density foam and a vaccuum infused carbon layup makes it incredibly stiff, which makes it as responsive as boards come - with a massively direct feel over the foil you're riding. Pair this construction method with the thinner outline and generally smaller volume and you've got a phenomenal feeling board to ride. For the right person, we cannot recommend this board high enough.
Choosing the right volume
Because we're going under body weight, choosing the right volume can be very important. We also need to factor in what conditions we're going to use the board in and our own levels.
If you're in the luxury position of being able to own two boards - we would advise going a little smaller for those perfect condition day's we're all craving, but have a bodyweight volume board or above on hand for the lighter conditions we're all maybe more likely to come across in the UK. Pairing it with the Skipper Downwind shape would cover multiple foil disciplines with minimal boards in our opinion.
If you're dead set on a one board quiver - size up a touch to cover a couple more bases. The 60/65L options will be a pretty solid choice for most 80Kg riders.
We put a 55L on demo and at 80kg rider weight found out first hand how hard this board can be in less than favourable conditions, if its your only option.