(Kitesurf, UK - March 2002)
Shaper; Jimmy Lewis
Construction; Clear PU base - Coremat hex reinforcement wood decking.
Board plan; Parallel wake style plan shape.
Bottom shape; Slight V throughout 2.5mm widest with variable rocker
Tail Shape; Cut out/Vulcan Cutouts 14.2 wide: 12.5
Footstrap/Binding attachment; T-nuts
Available foot positions; 4 positions to each foot min leg stance 21.5 cm. Max 76.8 cm.
Fin Layout; Four symmetrical carbon wake style fins 3.5 cm. X 16.5 cm.
Fin features and fitting; Butt up against the board well the due to foam pads between fin and board. Screws a bit too small on board we had. Reports of new ones on the way. Single M4 bolt attachment with 2 bolt stud.
General; A large wakeboard with cut outs in the tips.

If you are a sailor who's capable of keeping power even with a small kite then the Airush 161 is a board that allows you enjoy the pleasures of wakeboard style riding such as holding down big kites, boosting big air; and hard heel side turns, to name just a few. This design by Jimmy Lewis hits the mark and the board jumps up onto the plane very swiftly, feeling like you're riding on a cushion of air. The rail engages very smoothly and the bite feels natural and balanced. This board never feels like it's getting away from you and your speed can be checked even when you accelerate in gusts.

The carbon and wood construction gives a good balance between flexibility and stiffness whilst holding its shape. Tips and tail shape are effective and noticeable when the water gets choppy giving it a nice feel. The graphics and hull are protected by a PU base sheet, which should mean the board would look good even after a little abuse in shallow water.

The only problem with the board was the fin bolts, which are slightly smaller M4 bolts. These are not the toughest, however we are assured that the all-current boards have the same as its little sister the 141 which where much more satisfactory. The fins though are a carbon set that fit very well and allow lateral movement to five more or less directional stability it's very light and in boosts this is evident allowing you to bring your legs high, go for loops and do twist with ease. It also has an all-round nice feel when sailing and when popping over the wave tops. 180 switches are also made comfortable by its lightweight.

It comes with T-nuts so you can fit wakeboard bindings. Use of these is by far the best way to get the most from the board allowing you to drive the rail and giving ample performance for top-flight competition. For those who don't find full bindings appropriate due to location or ability, the fitting of foot straps or sandal bindings is a totally acceptable way to sail this board and it works well in either.

When going upwind you get the most out of this style of board by bringing the kite fairly low and the Airush 161 gives you confidence to do this even when overpowered. Even with this bigger style wake you feel your legs will fold before the rail trips out.

If you can ride a Twin Tip then you'll be able to ride light and easy on the toes, which is the best way to sail this 161 wake. For me it's hard to find reasons to go for a small twin tip when this style and quality of board is available. It gives such a fantastic performance and will allow you to take your kitesurfing to a new level. It would also be a good first time board for seasoned wake board riders coming fresh into the sport.

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