|The Ride 277 was last year’s definitive big convertible. It has such a great combination of quickness, speed and maneuverability that it’s as much at home in flat water slalom conditions as it is in side-shore waves. How to improve on that potent combination? This year F2 has beefed up the 277 with sandwich construction under its thermoformed skin. Now it’s not only tough against dings but also more resistant to damage from hard landings. Non-skid is good when new and lasts well when sailed with bare feet. Components are excellent, though the fin is more flat-water-oriented than some riders might like.
Power Rating 59
F2 RIDE 277 - trend-setter
The Ride is in its third season and already well known. With its birth it started the Easy-Going trend: uncomplicated sailing and good jibing characteristics at satisfying performance. In comparison to todays competition it still can match all these demands. For all those still perfecting their jibes this board is a lucky strike. And at high speeds it still feels comfortable. with its big fin it shows excellent early planing and upwind performance. Sailors who love to sail powered should tune the board with a smaller fin. Generally the Ride has a big range of use: light shortboard novices and maneuver oriented sailors will be pleased with this board.
F2 RIDE 277 LIMITED EDITION
At the limit (light wind) this tuned Ride can excel from its heavier brother. At the planing barrier the weight difference can either mean pleasure or frustration between two sailors of same weight. When the light one is already planing the heavier one still waits for the gust. The lighter can accelerate faster, too. Same as the normal version this board has a well balanced shape with excellent jibing characteristics.
F2 Ride 277
LENGTH: 274.3cm VOL:103 L
WEIGHT: 16 lbs.INC: Straps, pads, fin PRICE: $1,399
LIGHTWEIGHT SAILOR: This board can do it all, whether you're in flat water, chop or small waves. It can handle up to 7.0 down to 4.7. It still holds its own among the newest shapes. When it's blowing more than a solid 20 knots, smaller riders may want a slightly smaller board.
DRAG RACER: It's extremely fast for a free-ride board. Using a pointer fin and the out-set position straps, it has a very Slalom- like ride. It also goes into the turns as fast as you need it to go. The faster and harder you push, the more responsive the board becomes.
ALL-ROUND/MULTI-USER: Whether you want to sail in flat water, chop, or in onshore conditions, this board does it all. Strap-placement options let you ride it like a slalom board or use the in-set positions and ride it in the waves. Excellent for jumping, practicing tricks or just cruising. It has great stability in transitions. Overall, it's a great performer.
HEAVYWEIGHT SAILOR: Even for the 200- pounder, the board will get you back to shore when the wind dies. It's only 103 liters, but its modern outline allows for early planing and carrying speed through the turns. You'll be able to ride in moderate breeze and take full advantage of all the board has to offer on the upper end.
COMFORT AND CONTROL SAILOR: Super- easy to ride in almost all conditions. Less than 170 pounds and 5.0 and down, beware: The 277 can be a handful. Its handling in and out of turns, on a wave and in the flats is dreamy. Freestyle riders can also practice any level transitions.
COMMENTS: For the second year, the Ride 277 has been a favorite among guest testers when riding in a variety of conditions. It's capable of anything from flat-water speeding to wave sailing 101. The components are great - anti-twist straps, pads. The nonskid, however, wore faster than we thought it would.
Freeride 275s - F2 Ride 277
The freeride 275 class has consistently provided some of the most versatile and relevant short boards on the market. With a 275 almost any weight of sailor can sail in almost any planing conditions - they are the one-short-board-for-all-conditions; a true all-rounder. Although happiest blasting in a Force 4-5 they are small and versatile enough to take on strong winds, waves and rough seas, and have enough volume to support most sailors when not actually moving. A huge proportion of sailors take their first tentative steps towards planing carve gybes on a board of this length and alhough it has a reputation as a 'progressor' board it is also the ideal platform for a 6.5m sail for recreational sailors of any standard.
IMPORTER: White Boarders on 01206 309800 ( The Ride 277 and Fanatic Bee 274 came out early in the summer of '97, and set new performance standards for the 275 Freeride class. The Ride is slightly the bigger and more slalomy of the two, better able to carry a big sail and a little faster and more directional, and a has proven very popular over the past few years. It is also available in the F2 Limited Edition super-lightweight construction, which would be well worth considering for even greater early planing and acceleration.
ON THE WATER: The Ride remains a top performer at the performance/big sail carrying end of the 275 Freeride market. It is stable and comfortable, quick to plane, and very well suited with up to 7.0m sails for fast and satisfying blasting in marginal to moderate winds. It's slightly more technically demanding than the Axxis 273 to get the best out of, particularly if you're looking for more throwabout performance. Like the Axxis 273 it can offer excellent gybing performance but isn't intrinsically helpful- the better you are, the harder you'll be able to crank it. It's best suited to bigger sails; in stronger winds and rougher conditions it does cede ground to the more all-round boards, although if it's the only board you own it can certainly cope with small sails (4.5-5.Om) and heavy chop.
OVERALL: A good all-round board that is happy in a very wide variety of conditions, and really shines with larger sails for early planing and performance blasting. A top Freeride performer, probably better suited to the more competent sailor, who will be able to explore and realise more of its potential.
Comparisons and Performance
|Early planing and marginal to moderate wind blasting||Ease and Accessibility||Versatility: manoevrability and performance in tougher conditions with smaller sails||Gybing|
|F2 Axxis 273||Surprisingly good for a sub 100 litre board and will take up to a 7.0 sail at a pinch.||Stable and easy to sail across a wide wind range||Despite a directional and slalomly feel, the 273 copes well in strong winds and chop||Grips well, and gybes nicely - slightly less forgiving in harsher conditions.|
|F2 Ride 277||Very good performance and comfort with 6.5 and 7.0m sails.||Very stable and easy to sail in light to moderate winds, slightly more technical in stronger winds||Not the best in its class but still pretty good in strong winds and fairly manoeuvrable||Gybes very well, particularly for more competent sailors who really want to carve hard, high speed turns|
|Fanatic Bee 274||Prefers an extra knot of wind and a 6.5m sail but is very capable up to 7.0.||Extremely controllable across its wind range and very suitable for less experienced sailors||Very good control in the medium to strong wind range and a pleasing manoeuvrable feel||Gybes very well and is forgiving for less proficient sailors|
|Mistral Flow 276||Good performance and comfort up to 7.0m but prefers something around 6.5||Extremely stable and controllable across the wind range and exceptionally suitable for less experienced sailors||A very chuckabout feel, responsive and fun with remarkably good control in stronger winds and/or rougher conditions for a board of this size||Excellent grip and exit speed for very easy and satisfying gybes - very forgiving and can be turned on a wide range of radii and speeds|
Speed - we tested the boards with 6.5m No Cam slalom sails on relatively flat water in 11-14 knot winds. The 277 felt as though it would have been happier with more power from a bigger rig.