Review & pics: Tez Plavenieks
I tested the McConks Go Free 9’8 (windsurf edition) V1 in 2020. Back then, it found favour as a nimble paddler and fun windSUP. My kids liked it, especially for sail power shenanigans. The V2, tested here, is a SUP and wingsurfing platform – the beady-eyed among you, undoubtedly spotting the footstraps.
2021’s Go Free has been tweaked slightly with less rocker in the tail; the back section also widened slightly. This makes for a more stable ride. At first, I thought some of the Go Free’s manoeuvrability may be lost, but I’m happy to report it remains chuck about. So much so when testing, I was having lots of fun practising some flat water SUP freestyle.
For some, the 9’8 Go Free may appear on the smaller side. But at 90kg (dry), I have no issues with stability, and as per the comment above, it serves me well as a trickster sled.
McConk’s iSUP construction is right up there – the 9’8 Go Free is no different. As such, it’ll stand up to knocks and bangs without issue, giving much longevity. Owners should be happy with this!
Another change for 2021 is the addition of the McConks Air 7 fin box. This is two pieces of the puzzle that Velcro together and are held firmly in place by air pressure. From a practical point of view, this feature ensures easy rolling and pack down. It also means you can use whatever fin you choose (US box style), which gives a large range of fin tuning options.
The rewards placed hard rubber release edge helps with paddle tracking whilst in wing mode allows upwind progress to make the board more efficient. For those who fancy practising footstraps wing, you can also accomplish this.
McConk’s Go Free 9’8 V2 is a step in terms of overall all round performance. Those wanting a chuck about SUP machine will find exactly that here. So much, so that small wave performance is a given. Added to which, is the additional versatility of the Go Free being a good platform for learning the waves of the wing. For those who want windSUP performance instead, you can purchase the applicable version from McConks. There’s a strapless option too. Top-notch construction and fun SUPing make the 9’8 a favourite McConks sled of mine.