(Kitesurf, UK - March 2002)
Shaper; Jimmy Lewis
Construction: Epoxy foam sandwich
Board plan; Symmetrical narrow tip, parallel mid section, flat deck with steps/bevels at side, volume thins out towards tip.
Bottom shape; V in center with bevel towards edge, a series of rocker flats that make up an overall steady rocker; Step at tips.
Tail Shape; Rounded tail with wingers.
Footstrap/Binding attachment; Screw fitting inserts available foot position min: 42.5 cm. Max: 58 cm.
Fin Layout; Five in total classic TT layout tip fins 3.2 x 19 CF 4.1 x 10.5
Fin features and fitting; Carbon with three potential lateral position thanks to a bolting system. Again, small bolts that could potentially strip.

One of the smallest twin tips on the test the Switch 160 is pushing the limits, but that doesn't stop it being a comfortable board to sail. The well know shaper jimmy Lewis has used his knowledge of top end wakeboards and combined it with a conventional style twin tip, such that the bottom of the board has the shape of a wake and the top a TT.

Construction is also new for this year and again shows innovation. It claims to combine the best of wake style and directional construction by using a lightweight EPS cone, combined with a full PVC sandwich laminate. The combination of wood and carbon is lightweight. Flexible and responsive, like the wake styles they are manufactured with high-pressure compression technology, which improves both strength and durability. Again, like the wakes, a smooth tactile top-sheet finished the board.

All this makes for impressive reading and in truth the board does seem to deliver what it claims - essentially a wakeboard feel with a Twin Tip ease of use. The switching of stance is made easy by small wake style fins. However, for those not used to small fins these also make it feel twitchy especially if you're a bit heavy footed. Fast and efficient, quick to plane and well balanced with good bite, something about the Switch 160 makes you want to go for new moves. It rolls from rail to rail with ease and wave riding is comfortable and fluid. It's also more forgiving than a full on wake, holding its speed a little longer and carving with more control.

The Switch 160's mid range control is equally impressive, and the reassuring comfort at moderate speed makes you want to push faster and faster. However the lack of tail cutout can send you on a death run, so you have to concentrate to keep the speed down to manageable levels. It goes upwind well and efficiency is good. On marginal days it will really cut upwind and get flying when other boards are struggling, and all with minimal effort. The Switch boosts as well as a wakeboard of similar size although again the lack of a cutout makes it tricky when choppy. The board is finished off with good footstraps, large deck grip area, carbon wake style fins and a choice of two leash positions.

The main area under discussion was that someone who could ride this board could most likely ride a wakeboard of similar size. There were many pros and cons and unsurprisingly it came down to personal preference, but put to the vote the bias swung towards a wake. That said, the main advantage of opting for the Switch 160 is that you can use footstraps (making the interface between land and water much easier) without losing out on performance.

Summary The Switch has found some middle ground between a wake and a TT. It carves more easily and has a softer feel than a wake and a TT. It carves more easily and has a softer feel than a wake whilst still maintaining their rail and rocker line. I would recommend the Airush Switch 160 to riders that are light and want a medium or gusty wind board, or for riders who want to move off their larger sized TT and sail in an area where bindings are not an option.

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