Shinn Monk Forever 2013 Kite Surfing Board

“This is a great board – fear it”

I bought this board after reading countless great reviews on-line – I say great – people all seemed to say the very same thing about the Monk albeit in very different ways “This is a great board – fear it” – more on that later.

The monk is light – ridiculously light. So light in fact that I had some very genuine concerns about its on-going durability when I first picked it up in order to fit the footstrap, fins and handle… Despite this I am happy to say that the build quality is most definitely bomb-proof.

The edge is nice and thin – the fins are lovely and red. Generally from an aesthetic point of view, the board stands out against other brands. Maybe it’s because of Shinn’s abject refusal to conform in regards to board graphics… Aficionados of Mark Shinn’s products will know that his designs will generally be either iconic – almost retro stripes or shapes, or hugely obscure images (like the legendary Gorilla on the Monk Forever’s predecessor, or the Kill Bill-esque helmeted lady on the Gintronic).

You see the whole “Fear it” thing is true… This board makes things too easy.

So the board is pretty. But you don’t win “Board of the year” for being pretty. And the first time I took this board out – in very gusty cross shore conditions at Richmond, I must confess I was a little but scared.

You see the whole “Fear it” thing is true… This board makes things too easy. 

Even coming to it as I did, from a very similar sibling (The Shinn Luigi), I immediately felt an astounding difference in the feel of the ride… It was like having computer aided shock absorbers attached to your feet. Every ripple of chop, bump of swell, or wobble caused by an ill-timed weight-shift, doesn’t so much get ironed out, but just reduced in seriousness to the point of not really being a problem any more.

Something in the combination of edge outline, rocker, flex and build, comes together to create a dark magic that is way in excess of the sum of it’s parts. The Monk changes you.

So why the fear?

Well… Before the Monk I never realised how often I was backing out of throwing that massive boost in the middle of a gust, or not leaning back into a carve so far that my head almost touches the water, because (as I set myself up) something tiny would happen to freak me out. A little tweak in the water’s surface, or gammy feedback from the board, or my foot or edge positioning; just something tiny that would make me think “nope – not on this reach, maybe next time”.

The Monk takes that away… The consequence being – you just go for it…

Image Credit: Dan

Image Credit: Dan (via

So true is this that on a number of occasions when I first started to ride it, I found myself boosting merrily towards the dry sand of the beach, having sent the kite into a jump way further in than I should have. Or suddenly trying a new trick that I have absolutely no hope of pulling (See pic right) at warp factor 10 without any prior consideration that it was going to happen. You make these silly decisions because the monk is like being drunk – or I guess more accurately, like being on Amphetamines. It massively increases your feeling of confidence in every manoeuvre you attempt.

Now that I ride nothing else – I am thankful to report that the effect has dulled a little bit. But I honestly feel that this board has made a big difference to my learning curve in kitesurfing.

If you get the chance to try it out, do it – but take care that the devil on your shoulder doesn’t suddenly get loud enough to convince you to do something you could regret!

Written by: Adam