At first glance the Thommen 265 Glide looks like a simple, clean dedication to the past, with its longer outline, flat rocker and well-defined chines through its underside. The thruster fin setup is a novel touch yet seems to completely contradict the direction of contemporary freeride board design. And whilst its appearance may not seem particularly appealing in the eyes of the progressive rider, on the water,
its performance could turn the head and mind of even the most critical and vociferous pilot.
“A simple, clean dedication to the past”
Behind the Brand
With nearly 40 years of shaping history under his belt, Peter Thommen has come up with a design that he describes as “recreational windsurfing revisited”. Having been the man behind Bjorn Dunkerbeck’s boards during his decade of dominance on the World Tour in the nineties, Peter has spent the recent past solely in the custom board shaping business. Yet with the discovery of a “new windsurfing miracle” it became time to revisit the production process and model. Working alongside the Cobra Factory, Peter is now producing a new range of windsurfing boards that includes the Glide 265 (tested here), Ride 255 and the Windsurfer LT to sit alongside his very own range of custom designs.
“recreational windsurfing revisited”
Features and Fittings
The Glide’s unique design incorporates a thruster fin setup, consisting of a Gasoil 34cm central fin and two Gasoil 12cm tracker fins. A strange concept for such a big board, it is however able to provide the required drive and traction to compliment a large powerful rig, with the added bonus of being useable in shallow locations!
Taking a look at the fittings, the Thommen Velcro footstraps supplied with the board are double screwed to prevent twisting when on the water. There’s a carry handle situated between the front straps and mast track, perfectly located for transporting the board to and from the beach, which can then be plugged up with the supplied foam insert, so as
to prevent your feet from finding the hole when on the water.
The extended mast track is ample in length to accommodate sails of most sizes, and if the ride wasn’t comfortable enough, the extended deckpad in the rear is a really nice touch. The board’s white colour is simple and classy … but we think there’s an even bigger story here, and one that we’re all too familiar with here in the centre. Even if we don’t like to admit it to ourselves, we all know that when learning, accidents happen … the most likely being a catapult and the rig coming into contact with the nose or rail of the board. By being white this Glide can easily be repaired and touched up to restore its appearance in all its glory. Enough said … we’re sold! And one last sweet addition – the Glide comes with its own complimentary board bag, as standard, to keep it tucked up after a session.
What We Thought
Taking the Glide onto the water for the first time, we were greeted with a buoyant, directionally stable platform that instantly surprised us with its super low planing threshold. So much so, in fact, that we were planing before we even realised it! Your feet naturally gravitate to the outboard footstraps where they are met with a gently domed deck, adding even more comfort to the ride, albeit the option of the inboard strap positions are present too, for the progressing rider. Once up to speed, this Glide requires very little input from the rider and cruises with ease, supplying the time to trim your sail and focus on your own stance positioning and performance. On land it is noticeably bigger than contemporary designs, but once on the water its added size is less noticeable … especially when you push into some carving transitions and realise it can be turned on a six-pence!
In a straight line this board may not break any speed records but we think that’s justifiable when the ride is this easy! The thruster setup means the Glide tracks upwind effortlessly, but more than this, the three fins really mean that the ease of entry and added drive is a very noticeable characteristic through the carve. Partner this sensation with the long flowing rails of the Glide and you have a constantly-planing carve gybing machine! Carve as hard or as gently as you dare; it will just keep going! It is these qualities that can’t help but have even the most proficient rider come off the water beaming the biggest smile, which let’s face it, is what our sport is all about.
Redefining ease of use in the planing stakes, the Glide is such a user-friendly platform. So passive in nature and requiring next to no input from the rider to release, it really lives up to its designated name. Coming in at a very competitive price of £1380.00, including straps, fins and even a board-bag, this board makes windsurfing super accessible for the progressing rider, and with the clean appearance to mask over many mishaps. A perfect tutor into the world of planing windsurfing and carving transitions, we also loved just getting on the Glide for its feel-good factor – when life is getting stressful, it’s the perfect tonic.