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SIMMER CORTEX REVIEW by Ian at RB Sails
RB SAILS are really lucky to have got some of the first Simmer Cortex boards in the UK so we thought it would be good to write a little report on it and compare it to the Fanatic Stubby that we had access to last year.
The Simmer Cortex 78 and 90 arrived and the first thing we have to say is how well packaged they were! The boxes were double thickness and there was good foam and extra protection. It might seem a funny thing to say but I think it is important given the number of stories of damaged in transit boards.
The next thing that we noticed was how beautifully finished the Cortex is. It looks to our eyes absolutely brilliant. If you don’t like blue and orange then it isn’t for you! The fins look and feel excellent. They are super light so it will be interesting to see how well they last. The straps look pretty standard, but I would have preferred them in orange!
ON THE WATER.
I have a lot of experience with this style of board having been riding my own shapes since 2012 (I think), so it is interesting to try other people’s take on it.
I used the 78 ltr Simmer Cortex for the first time the other day in gusty 5mtr weather (No action shots as it was too early, to rainy and no one wanted to take any). So, although I probably have a bit more to learn about it, I must say that I was very happy with the way it performed straight away. It gets on the plane quickly especially with a couple of pumps. It was really comfortable riding around. The Cortex gybes really nicely and keeps its speed well, and this is clear in the bottom and top turn too although the waves were pretty average. It absolutely flies and the speed it maintains is great so jumping is really good. I’m looking forward to some more constant winds to really push the jumping.
I have also used the Simmer Cortex in very light cross off drift and ride conditions. It truly excelled. The volume being evenly distributed meant it was stable to drift out and it picks up waves very easily. The bottom turn felt great, totally secure and the tightness of turn is adjustable and that was with the fins not in the loosest position. The top turn was sharp and responsive.
So, I can’t really think of many negatives about this board. It is so easy to sail and does everything well! BUT how does it compare to my old board and more importantly how does it compare to Fanatics trendsetter, The Stubby.
I got hold of The Stubby as I needed a replacement for my own shaped board that was starting to give up the ghost, and I am a big fan of the concept. Now, I have to say that the Fanatic Stubby is a fantastic board and I would say that everyone could benefit from this board. It planes very quickly ( a customer has one and it gets going quicker and more often than his larger board) and is super fast. I would say it probably has a very slight edge over the Simmer Cortex in early planing and probably maintains that through the lulls slightly better too. Top speed is similar. Comparing them to my own shaped board I would say they were all in the same ballpark. One thing I found slightly uncomfortable about the Stubby was the mast track position. Even with it at the very back of the box it felt too far forward for me. Maybe this is something to do with the overall length when compared to my board which is 199cm long versus 214 for the Stubby and 213 for the Cortex. The Stubby is great for jumping as it flies everywhere and felt nice and smooth when landing. The Stubby can also gybe itself which is a joy, and this translates to a nice bottom turn. However, I did struggle with the top turn sometimes. For me the Stubby would snag on the lip unless you hit it just right and I think it felt a little stiff when compared to my home brewed shape (which to be fair is a pretty wild board to ride!). I would say the Cortex has a more snappy turn and I definitely preferred it on the wave. This is not to criticise the Fanatic as it is an exceptional board as Adam Lewis shows.
These shapes are great. You can ride a smaller size than traditional boards as they plane so well. The Fanatic Stubby planes very slightly quicker than the Cortex but top speeds are the same. On the wave the Cortex feels right between my home made board and the Fanatic, where the homebrew is super loose and lively and the Stubby is bit more safe. Because of this and living in Cornwall I choose the Cortex, with it’s edge in the wave riding department.