I know most here wouldn't even think of buying a Freeride. It's all about buoys right? I picked up a 2018 Freeride for my dad to enjoy behind an I/O on a large public lake. He wants a ski for easy deep water starts, lots of stability, and fun that is easy on the body. The Freeride seems to check all boxes. So how did it do after a few times out?
The short answer is, it's everything HO says it is and that's a good thing.
Both my dad and I have taken a few turns now. Deep water starts are easy and quick, my shoulders don't even get wet and the boat is a 40 year old I/O. I couldn't believe how fast I was up and running. My dad also had an easier time getting up, which at 72 years old is a great thing.
Once up it's simply fun. I tried it at 27 mph and it sits nice with little resistance. Even at that speed, I could do fun sweeping carves and pop the larger wake. Going 30 mph it is still stable. Carving is super fun. I lean over some, feel the ski flex a bit, and get a nice arc that is way more fun than it should be. This ski is so forgiving that even a few boats around us didn't stop the fun. Waves are soaked up by the flex and the ski never seems to wander.
Now the best part, you can ski on this thing for what seems like an eternity without getting tired. It almost glides on the water. This was especially noticable after using my Carbon Omni, which isn't exactly a high drag ski either. The Freeride feels like it is just gliding. It doesn't matter if you ride the tail a bit either, the ski shrugs it off and gives more fun.
This isn't a buoy chaser and you know what? That's OK. This ski reminds you of just having fun on the water. It's easy on the body, forgiving, and fun. HO did a good job on this ski. If you are looking for a good beginner ski or are a free skier who doesn't care about the course, this should be on your short list.
Thank you @savaiusini
for a fun ski. Also, thanks @perfski
for another great purchase experience.