At A Glance
For 2021, North has combined the carbon version and the wood core versions of the Focus into one board. Compared to the 2020 versions, the tips of the board has been squared off more, which means that the board is more durable, as the sharper tips catch more when moved around. The construction of the board has the well-balanced Paulownia wood core that is found in all North Boards. This wood core is renewable and offers some of the best strength to weight ratios on the market. In addition to the core, there is unidirectional carbon tape placed in areas of high load, such as under the straps. The 2021 Focus is slightly less stiff than the 2020 version. What this means is that it is more suitable for those riders who are progressing into freestyling and generate less power.
Additionally, North has implicated the EVA rails that are more or less bulletproof and substantially extend the life of the board. North has also changed the fins that come with the board to a 40mm version that add that little extra grip that is needed.
Like the 2020 Focus, the 2021 edition is boots proof. For those that like the option of riding boots, you can easily switch over from straps for those freestyle sessions. The Focus is best paired with the Fix boots or the Flex bindings.
Finally, we think that North has really hit the mark this year in their designs, and the Focus is certainly a stand out in this aspect with a stealthy look to the board! Jesse Richman took the 2020 version to a King of the Air win, and I’m sure when the next event runs, we’ll see it on the podium!
Sizes: 133x40, 136x41, 139x42, 142x43cm.
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On The Water
The base of the board has a quad concave construction, which allows great grip and displaces water with ease in a little bit of chop. On some of those gustier sessions, when the wind dropped, I still found that it was fairly easy to go upwind on the board to get back to that bit of flatwater to get some more tricks down. The 139x42cm board I used had the perfect balance of good upwind capability and was also playful when popped.
The 2021 Focus generates as much pop or even a little bit more than the previous version. You can really hold down the board when loading an edge up for a big jump/freestyle trick due to the carbon inserts in the board making the board stable. When you release from the edge, the pop on the board is explosive and gives you what you want! This can be attributed to the dynamic flex engineered into this board. One slight issue with the 2020 carbon version of the Focus was that the board was a little bit stiff. This is great for freestyle, but for big air does not make for the softest landings. This year’s edition really allows big air riders to go hard and stomp their landings with ease due to the butter smooth landings created by the slight amount of rocker.
The handle on the board was not just that bit of plastic that is found on some boards, but actually super comfortable and felt ergonomic in my hand, which made board offs super easy. Just above the handle is an integrated grab rail which is a nice touch.
One thing I love about all North boards is that they’ve clearly put thought into their designs. All the screws on the board are the same, so if you were to ever lose a foot strap, handle or fin screw, they’re easily replaceable as all parts across the board use the same length screw!
The 2021 Focus is a high-performance freestyle and freeride machine. This is the answer for those who want a board that can do both freestyle and big air. This board is one of my favourites at the moment, as it’s perfect for a one-board quiver and performs really well for both freeride and freestyle!
This review was in Issue 88 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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By Liam DredgeLiam fell in love with all Watersports after completing numerous seasons aboard, he then picked up kiting whilst in the warm tropics of the Carribean and has been obsessed ever since! Anyone that knows him would say it's near the only thing he talks about (which drives some crazy), and he loves to keep up to date with all the latest news, equipment and events that kiting has to offer. Liam also runs his own Watersports Centre along the south coast of the UK, LOOP Watersports, which is where our IKSURFMAG Test Centre is located!