First off - really impressed with the boardseeker freestyle board review. really detailed and just what people want to know. good job guys. bit odd that tabou is not there.. guessing they haven't actually got an 09 board to send?
do they actually do anything???
In my opinion, they only time they make any difference is in a vulcan when you are sliding backwards and not aiming to continue a rotation, e.g. vulcan - not a spock. If you were going for any rotation where you want to rotate more than 180 degs then surely the fin would enter the water before the spock tail. this would either stop or aid the rotation, depending on whether the fin entered past 180 degs or not - so essentially if you land the board past 180 degrees you are going to make a spock independant of if you have a spock tail or not...
so if they are a load of crap why do some of the 09 freestyle boards still have semi spock tails - which are more like vertical wedges. surely these do nothing at all??
In my personal opinion I believe that the spock tail has no real gain or disadvantage during moves. There are so many different variables depending on speed height of pop etc etc..
I think it is alot more to do with the overall aesthetics of the board. Freestyle boards naturally have a fair amount of volume in the tail; if manufacturers were just to leave the back end square it would look a bit odd. Probabably the most likely reason why boards such as the RRd have that slight wedge that you mentioned. Not only this but it has become a feature that people look for in a freestyle board whether it works or not probably doesnt bother people its just a bit of the gimic. Well thats my opinion anyway!!
i think spock tails have a definate advantage for most of the slidey backwards moves, especially learning them, however i think that the manufacturers are now aiming their boards at people who are already competent at freestyle and need a compact board with mega early planing capabilities.. adding a spocktail will therefore compromise one of these characterisitcs by either reducing the planing flat or extenting the boards length... the 09 tabou and chilli both have their spock tails but they werent included in this test... if i were given the option i would go for a board with a spock tail (or at least a big chunky slab tail) over one without... if for no other reason than psycological benefit... i can triple flaka a rrd twintip 102 and barely flaka a starboard flare or goya X1 105... so if its the spocktail thats the difference.. i loves me spocktail!
I think if the spock tails didn't help in some way with freestyle boards, then we would have seen they're demise already in modern board shapes. But, since they're still here, then there is probably a good reason for it. When shapers spend all of that time and money to develop new prototypes to try out new ideas, they end up putting in the characteristics that work and throwing out the ones that don't, so that they're riders end up with the best sticks they can in hopes of coming back with a trophy. That prototype's features will undoubtedly make some kind of impact on how the production boards end up.
The only board that I saw in the test with out some kind of a spock tail was the flare. I looked into it and the SB website claims that the flare has a flat section at the tail from 0cm-30cm that extends to another flat section measuring from 30cm-95cm. That flat off the tail I would guess acts as a subtle lengthened wedge/combination planing surface deal.