Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PWA and some New Equipment

Hi

PWA

Here are some thoughts on the last two PWA meetings and commentary on some random new equipment coming down the line.

The racing in Ulsan, South Korea was not good for the men.  No wind meant that the two final heats were just not possible and so - no results.  
The ladies managed to get a result however and their ranking table was able to get started.  Sarak-Quita reigns supreme!

Japan was slightly better than Korea.  They ran foiling races in the light wind which gave everyone something to watch.  They also managed to achieve slalom results for both men and ladies.   Julien Quentel won the men with Jordy Vonk second and Antoine third.
Here are some of the more notable impressions so far

·   The young guys are coming but Antoine is still a force

·   I note that the GA riders all seem to be on last year’s sails.  Are the 2017 designs not working?  Not good for anyone who has traded their 2016 Vapors in for the new models.
Ross

Taty


·   Julian Quentel was smoking on Avanti sails and Patrik’s new hollow boards.  I provide some specs for this range of Air Inside slalom boards further down.
JuJu in full flight with Jordy on his tail


·   The S2 Maui slalom sails did really well I have to say and the design appears to also work well on foil boards.
Antoine Questel leading Seb on his S2 Maui Venom 


·   Foiling will benefit big time from the top guys getting competitive and pushing design envelopes to increase equipment speed, improve ease of use etc.

 NEW STUFF

Here are some specs for Patrik’s 2017 hollow slalom boards:

VOLUME
WIDTH
LENGTH
WEIGHT (KG)






110
69
232
5.2


115
71
232
5.4


130
81
223
5.9


140
85
230
6.1



The 130/81 board's length is disappointing to me because it will not serve as a good multi-purpose blasting machine.  It will shine as a pure race board with massive sails of course but put smaller sail and smaller fin on and you get a heavy, unresponsive pig. Pity!

Here is the 130 next to a smaller (but longer) brother


Simmer has developed a range of slalom boards which should prove very, very tasty.  They are designed by Aurelio Verdi who, as you probably know, worked for RRD for many years.  During his time there he produced some of the best windsurfing boards around.  I rate him as one of the gurus of our sport.

Well, Aurelio is now on his own and is evidently freelancing his talents in addition to developing his own board range.

Here are the new Simmer slalom boards.  

Nice!
  
(They state that "all sizes features a Tuttle box" but I hope that the two large sizes feature deep Tuttle boxes -?)



OK, that’s all for now.  

Good winds and I will talk to you soon

Thursday, May 4, 2017

PWA and Some Thoughts on High Performance Sails

Hi

PWA

I was waiting for the PWA racing to start in Korea today but the wind has fallen on its ass.  Looking ahead on WindGuru, the rest of the event doesn’t look that great either but they will certainly get some racing in.
  
Today sees a light on-shore wind which would be perfect for foils.  They really need to bring this discipline into the mix and run the races at the slalom venues.  If they did this, light days would cease being a complete waste of everyone’s time. 
 
Anyway – I’m really looking forward to watching some of the young slalom guys come through this season. We already have Matteo and Pierre at the front (both 27 years of age) and I think guys like Jordy Vonk, Tristan Algret and Basti Kordel are going to start walking over some of the old guard.
Everyone seems to have ramped up their training over the winter so we could be in for some upsets.

Current High Performance Sails

Here are some thoughts on performance sails.  I exclude pure race models because unless you are an actual racer, these machines are simply too intense for most of us (difficult rotation, titanic downhaul tensions, merciless stresses on body and soul of the rider, heavy weights, finicky rigging …etc).  I also acknowledge that there may be excellent sails not included on this list.  Having said this, if I were in the market for a high performance sail right now, these are the models at the top of my list.

The first 4 sails in the group are what I would rate as more performance oriented:

Avanti Tempest

This sail replaces the old Condor and they have really applied their minds to creating a great  mix  of lightness, speed and easy control.


Just look at the set of the thing. Very cool.

A 7.0m Tempest weighs 5.0kg and rigs on a 430 SDM mast.



Severne Overdrive

This sail, like most of Severne’s stuff, is a fantastic piece of kit – light, fast and highly recommended in most reviews.


A 7.0 m Overdrive weighs 4.9kg and rigs on a 430 SDM or RDM mast (very nice).

     

Sailworks NX

This machine has been around forever and has been steadily tweaked and improved over its lifetime. A good racer with proper board and fin can win on an NX against any sail on the market. The sail has 7 battens and 4 cams making it slightly old-school but bear in mind – old school can sometimes kick ass.  Big time!  Believe me!






A 7.0 NX weighs 5.2kg and sets on a 430 RDM mast.


Ka Koncept

The Ka has also been around for a long time and like the NX, its winning attributes have been tweaked and refined over time. I owned a Koncept 6.6m in the past and it remains one of the fastest, easiest, nicest sails ever.




KA does not furnish weights on their site. A 7.0m Koncept rigs on a 430 SDM or RDM mast.



The next 2 sails are all slightly more free-ride oriented so maybe not quite as fast as the above models, but a whole lot more fun:


North S-Type

This sail actually sits on the cusp of both camps. You can rig it with 3 cams for more performance or with 2 for more fun. I have heard people say that the S-Type is just too free-ride to consider for serious slalom blasting but I don’t agree. If you have a chance, take one for a spin. You (and the people sailing with you) may be surprised by the high speeds you are able to access so easily.




A 7.3m S-Type weighs 5.2kg and rigs on a 460 SDM mast.


Simmer 2XC

This is probably a wild card having only 6 battens/2cams but I am convinced that rigged on a light, high carbon RDM mast and light carbon boom it is going to deliver massive amounts of speed and enjoyment. Don’t be frightened to downhaul this beast!




A 7.1m 2XC rigs on a 430 RDM mast.


Other performance sails worthy of consideration include Ezzy’s Lion, Sailloft Hamburg’s Mission, RRD’s Firewing and even Severne’s Turbo_GT.

OK that’s all for now. I will speak to you once we have had some racing in Korea.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Some Thoughts about Foiling

Hi

Windsurf foiling is gaining momentum and is finally becoming quite interesting.  The industry is shaking itself out and things are drawing to a head in the areas of foil, board and dedicated sail design.

What I see is two camps approaching the market from different places.  On the one hand you have companies such as Horue, adapting kiting kit for windsurf foiling and on the other side you have Neil Pryde and JP developing equipment from a windsurfing perspective.

Here is one of Horue’s three boards - the Tiny.  



It is only slightly longer than 2m and comes with a Select windsurfing fin for use when not foiling.  I doubt that it would be particularly good for freeride blasting with windsurf kit. (?)

Horue sells two more dedicated models for advanced foilers who are not interested in a windsurfing application for their boards.  These are the Tiny Pro and the Slant.  I like the sloped deck of the Slant (looks comfortable to me).  Horue also sell two dedicated foiling sails which they claim are light and perfect for the job.

Representing the other side of the movement are Pryde and JP who have developed two purpose built foiling boards, two highly evolved foils (together with F4 - the fin guys) and a fast, purpose built foiling sail called the Flight.

Here is a video of a question and answer session hosted by Sebastian Kornum who has been the rider on the JP/NP development team.





His responses reveal how much development has gone into the program.  The guys are serious!  

Note also, when he explains that the boards are not really designed for windsurfing.  When learning, you spend so much time smashing the front of the board onto the water that they have had to shape the under-side to ensure that when it smashes down, the rails do not bite and it does not suck onto the water at speed causing catastrophic face plants.  This shape of course is not optimised for windsurfing so the foiling board is basically a buoyancy tank to get planing quickly and provide a solid base for sail and foil.

Here is Pryde’s foiling sail in action.  A beautiful thing and something I’m sure we could use on a fast freerace windsurfing board with a slightly upright stance and waist harness (Futura, Patrik F-Race, Goya Bolt, Severne Fox etc).




If you have not yet done so, please have a look at Pryde’s two F4 foils – one in aluminium and the other in carbon.  Very nice!

The problem I have with both of the above camps, is that their foiling boards cannot really perform the dual functions of windsurfing and foiling.  I favour the approach of AHD and Goya who give us stunning windsurfing models which happen to have reinforced fin boxes, suitable for foils.  

This provides the opportunity to try a foil with your proper windsurfing board.  The learning damage could be avoided with a strap-on polystyrene system (maybe a protector of wedge shaped bumpers under the nose to both push the board up onto the plane and protect the underside when it smashes down).  

As soon as you are proficient, unstrap the protector and pass it down the line to the next guy in the same way you handed your training wheels down to your little sister when you mastered the two-wheeler.  

Using this approach, you have saved on the cost of a board and the board you do have, can multi-task.  Bargain!

Good winds        

Monday, March 20, 2017

Slalom Models of Interest in 2017

Hi

I want to say a few words about the slalom boards which are on my radar right now and give some commentary.
The three brands occupying my interest are Patrik, Starboard and Goya.

Patrik

To me, Patrik Diethelm is probably the leading expert when it comes to cut-outs.  He has spent such a huge amount of time developing, thinking and testing over the years and this, together with his drive and supreme personal talent as a fast windsurfer has produced some wonderful slalom shapes with the most effective cut-outs.
 
Very elegant

I like the two strap screw hole arrays - if you want a slightly different angle for the front foot



This year I note that Patrik has registered his standard slalom range with the PWA but also his hollow boards.  Very cool and I look forward to watching the Patrik team go.
 
I know that his Air Inside boards are not made in the Cobra factory and this leads me to worry about the ability of the other facility to produce volumes of the hollow boards.  Will they only go to team members - I wonder (?).

Starboard 

Starboard has to be at the very top of the pile with its current slalom range.  The ultra core reflex carbon versions are impossibly light and the effortless speed these things achieve over the water is awesome.  Louis, a new local sailor has bought a few of the new iSonics and just blasts and blasts.  You can’t catch him and can’t get him off the water (+Severne Reflex-8 sails + Zulu fins).
    
One very small niggle I have with the new iSonics is the number of sailors complaining about the front foot feeling light on some of the sizes (can’t keep front foot in strap).  The problem is probably not that big a deal and I’m sure that swapping fins, releasing outhaul, lowering boom etc can all be tried to remedy the problem.

Goya

Goya is a company which has never been of interest to me, catering as they did, mainly to wave and freestyle guys.  Not so long ago however, they began quietly moving into the free-ride and free-race areas of our sport.  Now, with the new Proton Pro slalom board they have ended up with a formidable board and sail range.
Proton Pro

  
Being wave guys, they have adopted a slightly left field approach (no cammed sails, 6 batten maximum in their fastest Mark sail, extra long free-ride board shapes etc) and I have to say I’m a total convert.
  
Read the reviews on their Bolt free-race board – light fast comfortable and beautifully built.  The new Proton slalom boards also tick all the boxes but in addition have re-inforced skeg boxes suitable for foiling.  How intelligent is that!
(Severne - take note - the big Fox should have one of these!)



Incidentally, when you look at their other kit you understand that these guys are serious:

Ultra light masts – tick
Ultralight, carbon booms – tick
Ultra slim carbon booms – tick
Proper mast extensions - tick
etc

They have (at the time of this post) only one slalom racer in the PWA this year and I will be watching him and the Protons with interest.

That’s all for now.  I will write about foiling in the next post.

Talk to you soon  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Some Reader/Rider Feedback

Hi

Here is some feedback from readers and riders and a small rant to end off with.

·      Joos has acquired two Zulu fins for his Severne Fox 105.  In strong winds last week he sailed the board with the new 34cm fin and his 6.0m NCX.  He tells me that the fin has turned the board into a perfect high wind blaster.  Carbon fettled by Robbie shows its class once again.  

   The standard Fox fin is good but is also really powerful.  Severne say the board (105) will take sails up to 7.8m and I believe them.  The G10 fin will hold a 7.8m sail with no trouble whatsoever.  The problem you have comes with a smaller sail in strong winds.  The same fin can boss you around badly.  Robbie’s 34cm fin is exactly what the doctor ordered – fast, easy and rock steady in rough conditions.

·      I reported on Severne’s new race mast in the previous post and I stated that the new masts were lighter than the outgoing model.  Well quite a few of you e-mailed me to correct this.  Most of the new sizes are lighter but the 490 Apex-pro is actually a bit heavier than the outgoing 490. Sorry – I did not look properly.

·      Eric Kamminga from the Netherlands is an old member of this site.  I recall that he joined up when all of 10 people had signed on.  Anyway we have had many discussions over the years, wrestling with equipment options and choices.

    Eric tells me that he has opened a windsurfing shop in Roden.  If you are a Dutch reader living near Roden and need some assistance, please drop in on Eric.  He is a kindred spirit and his shop offers some nice brands.  He can also arrange repairs if required.   

    Eric's shop is in Kanaalstraat, (a common street name in Holland I imagine).  His website is : www.surf-store.nl

·      Martin Cross queried why the Starboard Kode Freewave was not included in my list of recommended blasting boards.  I have to acknowledge that this board would easily hold its own against anything recommended (just read the reviews – it is one fantastic machine) but I exclude it because its centre fin slot has a US box.  This means that I would be unable to use any of my precious power box fins.  I am also a little unsure of the stability of a US fin under extreme loading.

    If your free-riding is more wave-orientated and your stance more upright, then you should absolutely consider a Kode.  It is invariably the test favorite in reviews and as Martin pointed out, quite a few fast fins are now available with US heads.



In the vein of the last point, I want to express some unhappiness with certain brands within our industry.  I use Severne in this example but other manufacturers make the same mistake from time to time.

The example on my mind right now is the new Severne Fox.  The Fox line represents a landmark in free-ride/free-race board design in my opinion – a really important board.  The biggest Fox is 140l/78cm wide – a light wind rocket.  Note that its weight is the same as the 70cm model.  So far so good!


    
My problem is the fin box.  Severne give us a power box in this Fox size.  

Most buyers of this board are going to be old sailors with good technical abilities.  Such people will have their own fin quivers and such quivers will almost certainly include one or two good 44cm(ish) fins with deep Tuttle heads.

One of the first things one would want to do on purchasing a Fox 140, would be to try it with a variety of fins.  Why on earth would Severne offer such a board with a power box?  No-one has aftermarket 44cm fins with power-box heads.
 
Buy a big Fox but you can only use the standard fin!  Why punish your target market in this way?   The big Fox should be offered with deep Tuttle box in my opinion.  The board’s class and potential are on a level with any good (or even really high end) fin.

Ok – that’s all for now


Good winds                                                         

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Patrik Slalom 100.


Hi



I rode a Patrik Slalom 10011 the other day and will give some impressions and thoughts about this board.



Erik Beale recently spent some time here, testing fins. He stayed with Joos to be close to the water and to have access to a workshop. He also borrowed a few Patrik boards for his assignment.

Well, Erik has returned to Maui leaving the borrowed boards with Joos – an opportunity for some testing I think. I have been thinking about Patrik’s slalom boards recently and have wanted to ride one or two to get an idea of their characteristics.

On this particular day, I was already rigged on the beach with my own stuff and the wind was building rapidly. Joos arrived at the beach and I asked him for a quick ride on the Patrik 100 slalom in his care. He kindly agreed so I screwed in one of my old slalom fins, ran down to the beach, clicked my E-Type 6.6 on and set off ahead of the approaching storm.

Despite the strap positions being totally wrong for me (speed guys have their own way of setting up!) and my fin not being good enough, the board performed fantastically. It is so settled over rough water, fast, comfortable and controllable.

I was only able to hang on for three runs, going from totally over-powered to “I think I am going to die now”. This is unfortunate because I would have liked the time to re-position the straps and find a better fin. A board of this class warrants proper ancillary equipment and a balanced set-up.

After my short ride I got to wondering about whether it would be possible to use the 100 as a fast freeride/B&J machine. It is:
  • easy
  • forgiving
  • confidence inspiring, allowing you to really push on in heavy conditions
  • perfect with free-ride sails
  • etc
In short, everything we look for in a fast, blasting board.

If I ever acquired one, I would be tempted to have a slightly inboard set of foot-strap holes professionally inserted, one or two high end carbon fins (Zulu Umbani for example) and I would also add a fast free-ride fin (Tribal Powermax 34) into the mix.
This equipment selection would allow for:
  • hectic B&J sailing
  • fast free-ride blasting
  • pure slalom racing
Simply vary fin/sail combos and foot-strap positions.

All of the above options from one board!

Bargain!


Good winds

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Severne Masts on Site

Hi

Just a very short note to mention that Severne's new masts are on their site.  The new Red RDM masts are even lighter than the outgoing model and now include a 460 length.  This is a good thing in my opinion, giving us the option to rig big freeride sizes on thin masts.

The new Apex Pro race mast is also lighter than the outgoing model and promises to be something special.  I have not used one yet but will keep an eye on Karo's quiver and scrounge a ride if she gets one in a new Reflex 8.

Those of you who examine and compare sail weights as I do, will have noticed that the new TURBO_GT weights have been missing (for a long time now!) from the 2017 specs.
Here are the new TURBO weights for those of you who may be interested and have been frustrated by the TBA entries in the weight column :


2017 Turbo-GT Weights
   Size       Kg  
    5.5       3.5
    6.0       3.6
    6.5       3.8
    7.0       4.4
    7.5       4.7
    8.1       4.8
    8.6       5.0
    9.2       5.2

That is all for now - talk to you soon