This winter here on Hatteras has been down right hot by most standards. The ocean water hasn't been below 50 degrees for more than a day or two and most of the time has been closer to 60. We have had consistent SW winds keeping the air temps even warmer for the most part. Its been one of the best winters I can ever remember. It has allowed me to spend alot more time on the water tweaking and testing new gear. I had a GREAT session on the Simmer Helix 105 the other day and after sailing this board 12 or 15 times now I feel like I can give it a complete review for all conditions that you would sail it in.
The first thing that jumped out at me when I first got on the board and every time I sail it is the floatation for a 105 liter. Being 225-230lbs I need all the float I can get and typically a 105 liter with a 6.1 in the ocean canbe a bit sinking for me. The helix volume distribution is very even and it stays on top of the water even in the biggest lulls which makes it much easier to get the board moving once a gust comes. Typical wave or free wave boards have a tendacy for the tail to sink and when a gust of wind comes the first thing you have to do is get the board back on top of the water before you can get it moving forward. Once moving it planes pretty easy. Its not going to plane as quick as a more flat water oriented board but its quick enough you dont have to really work to get it on a plane. You can just sheet in and it will pop out on top. Once on a plane, the Helix offers a smooth easy ride. The soft rails and generous amount of double concave vee allow the Helix to cut through the heaviest of chop. The rocker line still allows for so top end speed for a board this smooth though. Your not going to win a races on this thing but you aren't going to get past by anyone thats not on slalom or race gear either.
On the wave I found the Helix to be much more responsive as a thruster. The 3 fin set up really freed the board up to allow much more radical off the top turns. It greatly reduced the over all speed but the added control on the wave was well worth it. As a single fin it felt a bit sticky on more vertical bottom and top turns but that is expected with the flatter rocker line. The thruster set up allowed the tail to drift more in and out of turns eliminating that sticky feeling half way through your turn. For as early as it planed and how well it float I was very very impressed at how well it preformed on the wave. Being use to custom built pure wave boards with more attention put on wave riding than anything else, most production boards either are too small for me (230lbs) or they are very limited in what you can do on a wave face. To date this is the best overall production board I've sailed for light to moderate conditions in the ocean.
In the sound the 105 Helix offers a super easy sheet in and go feel as a single fin. I do not recommend it as a thruster in flat water unless you are way way over powered and are looking to reduce speed and add more control and don't have a smaller board as an option. The soft rails and Vee allow it to knife through chop and turn on a dime making jibes effortless. Any weight on the leeward rail and the board goes right on around never missing a beat no matter what kind of chop there is. I sailed the 105 down to a 4.7 and it never really felt too big for me. The 95 or 85 probably would have worked better on those days but I never felt like I needed to change boards which was surprising based on the amount of float it had in the ocean on the light days. The top end speed was adequate enough. I hate being passed and typically if Im in the sound I'm on race gear so it felt slugglish compared to the race gear I'm used to but I was still passing everyone who wasn't on race gear. The footstrap placement is closer to the centerline which great reduces the speed potential you have with this board. Being over the center line mgives you much more control and makes it much easier to jibe though.
For anyone looking for an all around light to moderate board I would highly reccommend the 105 Helix. While it doesn't do anyone thing "GREAT" it will preform very well in a variety of conditions especially if you play around with the fin set ups. If you don't believe me come demo one for yourself and see just how versatile it is.