Chinook is an American brand that produces some of the most appreciated booms for windsurfing on the market. We have been using the Chinook RDG 135-185 boom for some months, and in this article we tell you about our impressions.
Windsurfing, test: super skinny Chinook RDG 135-185 boom
Let's start by saying that the term of comparison is another race horse that we have been using for some years: the AL360 E3 Slim 140-190 (read review). Therefore, in this article the comparisons between the two items will be frequent.
As for the Chinook, below, we present the main technical data indicated by the manufacturer:
- The boom head fits both standard and reduced diameter masts perfectly.
- New Loop-N-Go outhaul block with rope retention gets you out on the water faster.
- Straight arm sections combined with more grip area around the compact head make this our most popular small carbon boom.
- Made in the USA
- NEW Monocoque custom composite body, specialized bend curve
- NEW StifferTailpiece design 50cm (Flattened structural cross section-sleek profile)
- NEW Loop-N-Go outhaul block for quick, centered sail position with built-in rope retention
- 2-Pin fiber composite hinging collar for 1 handed adjustments
- Permanent absolute boom length markings
- Harness line index markings
- Fully articulating low-profile head
- Positive snap-in skinny adapter
- Range: 135-185 cm
- Grip Diameter: 24.5 mm"
- Weight: 4.45 lbs
- Inside Width: 35.5cm
The boom is, generally, available for € 789 including VAT (e.g. check Italian importer, Hatropina).
Analysis of construction features
Evaluating the boom out of water, the excellent workmanship of the product is immediately evident. The head looks really strong, very solidly bound to the boom body. This is a very positive aspect. It is, of course, equipped with an integrated rdm adapter. It is also noted that the diameter of the tubes of the boom increases significantly, immediately next to the head, an effective detail to avoid, as much as possible, that the sand can slip between the head and the body of the boom, wearing it down, over the time (it is the cause that often leads the head to tilt/rotate too much on the boom).
Unlike the AL360, the two locking screws of the boom head are the same ones around which the closing lever, and the curved plate that closes on the mast at the back, rotate. This constructive detail leaves us more perplexed (tightening them too much, to reduce the head tilting, after some time, it could make the rotation of the lever and of the plate more difficult). However, currently, on the boom at our disposal, the head does not tilt absolutely (if not under stress, when using the boom in the water), there is no need to tighten the screws, and the impression of rigidity of the boom head-body system is greater than that of the corresponding AL360 pair.
The tubes rubber covering is comfortable, but not as soft as the AL360 one (which, for this reason, tends to wear out more quickly). The grip is very comfortable and of reduced diameter (24.5 mm), and will be particularly appreciated by riders with small hands; it has not a drop like shape as the AL360 (a detail that we really appreciate in the Italian boom). The colored drawings on the grip are very useful, excellent reference for the positioning of the harness lines, when changing sail.
As you can see from the comparison photos (but keep in mind that the AL360 is a 140-190), the front width of the body of the Chinook (35.5 cm) is slightly less than that of the AL360 (38.5 cm). The tubes of the body proceed, therefore, rather straight. The tailpiece is slightly wider than the AL360 one, and with a wider curvature of the tail end than that of the Al360.
The adjustment holes of the boom tailpiece are permanently numbered to indicate the obtained adjustment length. The clips are sturdy, easy enough to open and close, and fix the tail to the body of the boom in a firm manner. The clips pins are made off stainless steel, in order to prevent the oxidizing action of sea water (AL360 has only recently adopted this material for the pins).
The tailpiece is then equipped with a "loop and go" system for fixing the sail clew to the boom. This detail is not available on the AL360 boom (even if, doing without, it is not that dramatic), and makes rigging the sail very fast, and it is also very convenient if you want to vary the outhaul tension, or if you want unrig and rig a different size sail more quickly. However, we point out that the plate groove around which the outhaul loop is passed is rather narrow, and therefore it is necessary to use a rope with a diameter not exceeding 3.8 mm (better still 3-3.5), to ensure that the outhaul line flows well, and does not get stuck, annoyingly.
The boom is very light. With harness lines and recovery rope, our item reaches 2.3 kg, contributing, along with the other components, if properly chosen, to form a little heavy rig in the hands, when sailing.
Trying to subject the two tubes of the boom to enlargement, the stiffness is slightly lower than that of the AL360 E3 Slim boom. It should also be considered, however, that the measure we examined is a 135-185 cm, used with small sails and medium-strong winds, conditions in which absolute stiffness is not indispensable; indeed, a slight enlargement of the boom in burst can be desired.
Test in the water result
The excellent quality of the product, and in particular the comfort when sailing and maneuvering, are confirmed even during the test in the water. The grip is comfortable and safe. The boom responds adequately to the rig pumping, to trigger the gliding, in case of lighter or unstable wind.
The slightly greater width of the tail end section allows a better management of sails that are characterized by a more rounded profile/belly, especially with lighter winds. We tested the boom with Ezzy sails (Zeta 5.8 2019, Elite 5.3 2019 and 4.7 and 4.2 2017) and with Goya sails (Guru Pro 4.7 2020). The Ezzy sails notoriously have a fairly fat profile. Despite the greater width of the tailpiece, the Ezzy sails we use slightly lean upon the leeward tube, but in a way that does not seem to affect the sail performance.
Finally, the constructive strength of the boom seems to offer suitable guarantees, even in case of use in hard waveriding conditions.
In conclusion, we believe that the Chinook RDG 135-185 super skinny boom is one of the most valid products available on the market in the reduced diameter boom category, which will satisfy even the most demanding riders.
Hang loose. Fabio Muriano
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