Shinn Monk – kiteworld test issue 50.
This is a freestyle board for the mere mortals among us. The monk offers untamed sailing without the limitations normally associated with this kind of riding. Hyperflex tips (created using shins new FS mould) and a new constant curve work together to create the easiest to access (yet limitless) ride ever seen. A Backdoor into the high performance world of kiteboarding or simply reality personified? You decide.
Test team notes;
First thoughts of the test team was that the Monk was going to be quite an average board for intermediate riders. Really robust, it looked and felt really big in the hands and had a huge gorillas face on the bottom. The looks on the faces of every one of them when they came in from their first run told a different story though. They just could not believe the performance they were getting from it. Starting with the pads and straps which are all new from Shinn, the pad itself is enormous, luxurious and very thick, slightly thicker in the heel than the toe, with an indent for grip. The pad is also thick and very easy to adjust with two velcro straps underneath the main top Velcro covering. Fitting the average mans foot very well, if you have small feet you can get grip but have to push your feet a little further in. (Please note that on the next delivery all boards are available with smaller straps if required) Super comfortable though and without any pinching on the sides of your feet either and the top strap offers huge coverage for virtually the whole of your foot.
The 135 gets up and going incredibly smartly, rides fast and soaks up any choppy lumps and bumps without a second thought. If you look at the outline of the board, its actually very wide in the middle, unlike a lot of modern square freestyle boards. This massively benefits the Monk in its carving ability. Combined with the flex pattern in the middle of the board, that wide section and more narrow tips means that you can really gouge a turn without catching the tips and the flex holds right the way through the turn, only pushing back seemingly when you are ready for it to do so when you have completed your carve, rather than spitting you out of your turn too early. There’s grip right through the turn, which perhaps doesn’t make for sliding from heel-to-toe as simple as on other boards but in every other aspect it’s hugely beneficial.
The Monk charges upwind like noting we’ve seen. With such good fluid and grippy carving abilities you also wouldn’t expect the monk to pop so well, but it really does. The relationship between the rocker, flex and stiffness in the tips provide a beautiful mix of newschool and freeride. Super fast but controlled to ride, when you load it up you get a fantastic punch off the water and then absorption on landing. Out of interest we got a few other riders on this and every one of them loved it, from our intermediate girlfriends, just learning to jump and carve, to seasoned freestylers visiting Capetown. No one had a bad word to say.
Shinny says this year instead of making mall incremental improvements he thought he’s experiment and start off at the extremes. He hasn’t given us any more information, but whatever he’s done it works. This is a dream board. Intermediates jumping on this wont understand just how good it is and how lucky they are to have one, but anyone who has owned a few twinnies will do. Boards often get better and better the flatter the water. This is just good at everything all the time.
KW liked; The subtle blend of new school pop with freeride comfort and agility
KW disliked; The Plastic spacers between the board and the head of the screw are quite weak. (these have since been replaced with bespoke shinn finwashers)
Richard H wrote:You state that in your opinion the luigi is the better board for most, as it adds low end etc. but surely it must then compromise a bit at the "ragged edge" compared to the monk due to less diamond shaped outline or whatever. Because if it is just "very much like the monk, but better upwind and in milder conditions too", then why bother having the two boards in the range when you could just merge them into the best of both, and let the gintronic and playerII pick up the alternate needs customers.
Richard H wrote:Being a major lover of insane Big air, and given that in UK channel conditions 30kt side/on = atrocious short seas, my top priority in a freeride/freestyle board is that it can hold speed and accelerate while being loaded to [my legs can't take it any more!] while not skipping and bouncing out or going squirrelly as I plow through the crap prior to launch. Key to this is nice even leg loading, which the otherwise speedy and popping 666/player style rocker of previous years wasn't so great on. with that in mind:
1. Monk looks like the obvious choice, but if there is very little in it, or the Luigi is perhaps more comfortable even, then would that be money better spent?
Richard H wrote:and secondly
2. Shinn boards typically have quite large fins as a brand, giving loadsa grip etc., but for those of us who grip just fine with a nice locked in edge, have you or anyone at Shinn tried these boards with smaller fins? I ask cause it is nice to have a freeride board that grips while edged/carved but is also fun for breaking loose when the edge is reduced, not to mention more forgiving on less than perfect landings in rough water. Would replacing the stock fins with smaller ones noticeably hurt "the ride"?
John.B wrote:If you like to ride aggressively but not take the hammering for it then the Monk is the board you are looking for
ronnie wrote:The new Luigi is written like it only has plus sides over the Monk. Planes earlier, wider power range, better upwind and happier at lower speeds and does all this without sacrificing performance.
It just seems that you have three boards for three different purposes, but you havent made it clear what each one loses compared to the others, just what is gained on the more recent ones.
ronnie wrote:I think the 41cm Monk will be a popular size, so I was expecting the new Luigi to come in that size too.
ronnie wrote:First we just need some warm windy weather.
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