I just came back from riding my brand new Oracle 143.
As I know some are wondering about this board, and as I would have loved to have a tough review of it , I will try to do one.
I'm French, and my English is not perfect, so sorry in advance for this
First, I hesitated a lot before buying it. There are not so many review about it, and unless you are on a trip to Orlando, it's quite hard to demo it.
I owned a few boards in the past: Watson 138, Watson 143, Shane 142, Response 142 and Harley 143 for the last one, and tried some other ones in the past ( Soven, Phoenix)
I'm 1,85m tall and weighs 76kg
Actually, I was fearing two things about this board: To be loose and heavy. When our brain sees something made of wood, he tends to think " heavy". And the shape looks simple in appearance, so having just 4 fins lead me to think I wouldn't have enough traction
I was just totally wrong. Here are the facts:
I didn't weigh it precisely, I just had a luggage scale, but it showed the Oracle was a bit lighter than my LF Harley 143 ! I weigh it twice.. This board is really lightweight, no worries about that. I think humanoid should post Oracle's weight on their website, compared to well know models ( Watson etc ...), because I think I' m not the only one to worry about it's weight. I will weigh it precisely next time ( both stayed in Singapore), and edit this post.
The second thing I was worrying about. As we don't see any channels or so, we may have tendency to think this board to bee loose. Actually, it's snappier than my Harley ! I chose the Harley over the Watson because , among other things, I found the Watson was a bit loose. Here I'm plenty satisfied. The board has a lot of traction, more than standard models as watson's and derivates. Nothing compared to a Response, that is way too loose to my mind, even with bigger fins on. It's just a skim board ....
What surprised me is that actually, not only the fins are involved in this traction. The flex does the job. I felt kinda " snowboard felling at high speed in pow", as the flex was working the board and had it remaining on edge. This is quite surprising at first. It's a lot of fun in the flats, and this increases the " playground", having fun edging and jibbin' in the flats, or one wake. This was a new feeling for me, and I really like it. It's really playful.
So the 2 things I was worrying about were wiped out.
Now let's enter the big part. The pop is just ... Awesome !!!!
I didn't tell a word to my friend in the boat about the board. From the very first jump he made me a big sign from the boat, leaving no doubt about how he was surprised by the pop.
Not only the pop is huge, but it is super reliable. I mean, sometimes, when riding with my Harley or Watson, when trying to push it harder, I get unbalanced at take off, having the tail or nose sometimes kicked away. Here, the pop is super stable, super reliable. So, in addition to have a better pop, I gained confidence pretty fast, I didn't fear about crashing, and attacked the wake way harder than I dared to do it before. Then my jumps were even bigger. It's a kind of " double effect ". Better Pop + improved confidence = even more pop :-D
You don't fear about how you will take off. You have plenty of control, and this gives you more awareness about other things to worry about for your trick. I really love it and I realize that I should have ridden this board for a longer time, for sure I would have improved way faster. Now I can pay more attention on my edging style and leg push, without expecting something weird at take off.
I can't say how higher I was with the same technique, but I was landing at first 3 ft further with same approach, and 5ft just after a few minutes, as you trust more and more it's pop.
I already rode a continuous rocker with the Slingshot Response, but honestly I didn't noticed it. Perhaps because the board is too loose, and you're not that much in control with it.
As I'm starting to have lower back problems, I was wondering about riding a flex board. The landings are just Super Soft. I landed some stuff on the peak of the second wake, or in the flats, and the boards does really absorb energy, and it's speed ( see further) helps a lot also with that. I think the center spine does a great job too. My back says a big thanks...
The thing I love.
I never liked boards that tend to sink a bit in the water as soon as you don't edge.
I tried some boards like the Ronix Phoenix and I hate that feeling of having to work continuously to prevent the board from sinking.
The speed of the Oracle is one of the best I've seen so far. You can edge, coast, and the board remains on water's surface. One result is the benefit on timings.
I always had difficulties in the past to find the right timing on toeside jumps, to not get the rope slack when turning in and then the board sinking. Here, as the board keeps plenty of speed, the timing is much more forgiving. Even if you turn late , the board doesn't sink that much in water, and as you edge in to the wake, you don't spoil time and energy to have it gain speed again. Your momentum remains good. The way concaves and continuous rocker are designed does a great job here. So here again, better timing and better pop resulted in better jumps.
This also helps a lot on landings, as you transform a bit of potential energy in kinetic energy, having the flex and speed working together in that way.
It looks to be build to last for long. Sidewalks look really hard to wear.
The design is the 2012, as I prefer it to the 2013 one. ( And I saved some money also by the way). There are additional holes compared to standard boards, and this gives you 1 or 2 more options of stance. Screws are metric, what is perfect for European guys like me :-D
This may look like an advert for Kyle, who is beyond the shape of this board, but honestly this is not, despite all the good things I think about the guy ;-)
This is REALLY , by FAR, the best board I've ever ridden. I don't tell this is the best board of the world, this would be as stupid as saying there is a " best car " or " best meal".
But if you are looking for the things I was looking after ( pop, speed, traction, balance, soft landings), I was never so happy with a board . Previous experiences made me stay away from flex for boat, but now I can say I totally changed my mind.
Edging and popping is just a piece of cake with this board.
When you ride it you realize that edge design, rocker, fins, shape, flex pattern... Nothing was left to chance, despite how simple the design may look. I'm really impressed by how they fine tuned all of this. The 3.2" continuous rocker ( in 143) is just magic.
My previous boards all go to ebay.
Now I really want to enjoy riding this board and have it done what I want it to do.