Marco Quattrina, a Gardesan rider, had the chance to carefully test the Helix V1 and V2 boards, the Simmer freewave model. Simmer is growing a lot in the performance of the board in its catalogue, and this objective review by Marco gives us some confirmation in this regard.
Windsurf, freewave board test: Simmer Helix V1 2017, and V2 2018/19
After a test in the water, in 5/6 sessions, with the 105 liters model, thanks to the great availability of Simmer agent for Italy Claudio Bertagna, I succumbed (willingly) to the purchase of the V2 115 liters, which I, rightly, thought proper for my size (90/95 kg). The choice proved to be the right one, at least for the use and performance that I request from my (only one) board.
Technical features and equipment:
The board arrived with a courier, very well packed (detail that shows the care that Simmer dedicates to its more fragile products, even if bulky), rectangular box, packaging with foam around the board and a white sock; 3 Simmer straps, of good traditional workmanship (like Dakine) and ONE freeride fin 34 powerbox in G10 with its sheath, also Simmer branded, complete the equipment.
The board has 3 carbon fin boxes, a central PB and two lateral slot boxes (with a standard slightly different from the other SB, but easily adaptable); fairly thick single-color pads (white), with multi-position inserts (but only the internal ones), as it is right for a freewave board; finally the self-regulating valve in goretex (I would have preferred the traditional) and a mirror and very aggressive finish, where there is no anti-skid (which does not receive my approval: too delicate). The chosen graphics highlight the traditional shape of the outline: tapered nose and tail!
Measurements: 237x67 cms, without exaggerations, in line with the odds of most current boards of this type. The weight is normal, that is not as light as a JP Pro, but in line with the much celebrated Goya and Quatro.
On the Water
V1 Model (2017)
After two, full seasons, and many tests done, especially with different fins, I can say I'm enthusiastic about it.
Necessary premise: I do not do freestyle and my previous board was a Goya Custom Quad 118 (which I liked, but it had the only drawback of reduced top speed, which here - at lake Garda is important - especially when you want to jump).
I have NEVER used in a singlefin set up; I immediately mounted a 21 cms wave onshore fin, with a pair of 11 cms wave fins in side positions; with this set up, the board remains flat on the water, and does not bounce; it rides discreetly upwind, is very fast, turns very well both with wide radius and narrower one (if you do not keep the mast foot too forward). As for planing performance, it is compulsory to bear away definitely, if you are not well powered.
During this summer, after reading various articles on the internet, and talking with riders more expert than me, I wanted to do some experiments with the fins, that revealed enlightening. I purchased some K4 Ezzy asymmetrical 14 one degree inclined side fins, which I matched with a 20 cms wave fin, of the reduced area compared to the average area of similar fins. The board changed behavior! It goes upwind much better, it gets planing earlier, and results very little penalized in jibe and almost nothing in the top speed (evidently the asymmetry and the convergence of the side fins work well in this regard), a solution that I would recommend to anyone with a thruster, used predominantly in onshore conditions.
V2 Model (2018)
It has the same characteristics as the previous one, with the elimination of the aforementioned defects: it has an opaque finish (which also contributed to a weight saving), a less aggressive anti-slip, and, last but not least, very attractive and appealing graphics, with matching pads.
Assembled with the same fins set-up of the previous one, it seemed both lighter and stiffer, and therefore more ready for gliding.
Claudio Bertagna says that the shape and above all the construction have been reviewed for better (but also the price - about 200 Euros higher - always below other brands similar models, anyway).
The Helix is a great product, offered at a price significantly lower than the competition, finally (2018/19) with an appropriate look and a double soul, very different depending on the chosen fins setting; needless to say that I prefer with a wave set up.
For completeness of information, the set of sails used, wave of course, is: 6.0 / 5.3 / 4.7. It behavs well with every measure, but it gives the best - or perhaps it is my personal preference - with the 5.3, but it does not seem oversized, when conditions are good for a 4.7 sail (up to 35 knots).
I hope this review will be useful for those who want to change the type of board.
Hang loose. Marco.
Are you a passionate windsurfer? Do you want to collaborate with us? Read here, then!