Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Best High Wind Sail and Commentary on some Recent PWA Action

Hi
Two quick topics:
  •         A new high wind sail for me
  •         Commentary on some recent PWA racing. 


High Wind Sail

I am seeking to replace my small, high wind sail.  In these conditions, our sea is wild with survival being more important than speed.  You need a forgiving board, a really good rough water fin and a sail which can be controlled and easily de-powered (hence the need for something waveish). 

I am looking for a 4.7-4.8m freewave model.  
The sail being replaced is a Tushingham Storm 5.0m.  Because this sail came with the Tush 400, 100% RDM mast, I really need to be looking for something from a maker whose sails set on soft masts (Pryde, Ezzy, RRD etc).  

The soft mast restricts my choice but I am not willing to spend a whole lot more on a new mast/sail combo if I can get away with buying only the sail.
 
I suppose the ultimate buy for me (if I had an appropriate mast) would be Severne’s Blade Pro 4.7m.  The lack of suitable mast as well as the stratospheric price of this sail rules it out for me I’m afraid.


The second unreachable sail on my list (if I had the mast), would be North’s new Super Session 4.8m.  This is much heavier than the Severne but looks like one hell of a product for wild conditions (we need to watch the reviews)



The third dream sail is Avanti’s Viper 4.7.  If I had a new Severne red RDM 400 mast then I would be in a position to consider this against the Blade.

     
Sails which are available in Cape Town and which will work on my mast, are Pryde’s Fusion, RRD’s Move MK6 and Ezzy’s Legacy.  

The Fusion comes in 5.0m which is slightly too big. 

I am therefore left with the Move 4.7m and the Legacy 4.7m, either of which would be perfect for me.  I just need to look at factors such as price, availability, good second hand offerings etc.


The Ezzy may look a bit wimpy in this company but don't be fooled.  Ezzy sails are special.

Recent PWA Action

Please have a look on the PWA site for the 2017 Fuerteventura slalom racing videos.  The prominent thing for me in all the races shown, is the quality of the gybing.  This meeting has probably the best levels of gybing from everyone I have ever seen on the circuit.  Very impressive!

What I wanted to comment about is the crash caused by Taty Frans when he lost control and tail walked right into Pierre Mortefon on day 9.  Here is the video.  The crash occurs at 45 seconds.



 Antoine, Julien and Pierre are all gunning for the mark and    suddenly Taty screams in from behind. He loses control,  the  board takes off and he flattens Pierre, all in a fraction of a  second. 

 I can only think that Taty's fin was overwhelmed by the  conditions. Taty’s speed is incredible showing how fast the  iSonics are but if your blade can’t keep up, things can end  very poorly, very quickly. 

Taty was badly hurt (on Pierre's fin I believe) and Pierre was taken to hospital but released with no major injuries .  

Both Julien and Antoine continued to first and second, showing  their class and the quality of their equipment in the 40 knot  conditions.

Good winds

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Foiling Post

Hi

Sorry for the long break.  Here is the foiling post I have been meaning to get to for the past few weeks.

This branch of our sport seems to be taking off properly now and can almost certainly be taken seriously by all of us.
 
Naish, JP, Starboard, RRD, AHD, Tillo and Fanatic all have dedicated foil boards now and companies like Goya, RRD and AHD have reinforced fin boxes on certain slalom models so we can acknowledge that the stage has been set for anyone wishing to venture down the foiling path.

I’m sure that most of you know this, but in case – here are some definitions so that we are on the same page:

The long fin-like part of the foil is called the mast

The part which connects to the bottom of this mast is the fuselage

The horizontal wings which attach to the fuselage are called front and back wings.
     
Please take my suggestions for what they are – just opinions based on the little I know about this new genre.
Goya's Reinforced Box
 
Fanatic's Converted Gecko
                                                                                   
RRD's Box Treatment



A few members of this site have informed me that they have committed to buying foiling equipment. 
 
Cdnguy is posting videos of his foiling progress on: 
Please have a look if you get a chance.
  
He bought the actual foil from Slingshot, a company who offers school foils – heavy and strong with short mast options for learning.  They also make carbon competition foils.  I have a few comments to make about Slingshot’s foils further down the page.

There are a few options to consider if one is keen to start foiling:
  • The best thing, if you can afford it, would be to buy a new foil with dedicated foiling board.  The Pryde/JP stuff seems to be as cutting edge as you can get right now.
  • Second, you could use an old formula board or big slalom which may be gathering dust in your rafters as the board, and simply buy a foil.
  • Thirdly, if you are looking to upgrade your big slalom board, ensure that you buy a really fast, modern slalom model with a strengthened box.  This will ensure that you can smoke with a normal slalom set-up but are also able to foil if the urge takes you.
  •  Goya seem to have the widest tail width in the 233/84/136l board size (Proton pure slalom).    



Here are some of the issues as I see them:

  • If you buy a learning set-up, will you be happy with the learning equipment once you are proficient?  I think not.  As soon as you are fast and comfortable, you will want the fastest, lightest kit available.  Because of this, if I was in the market for all new, complete kit, I would lean towards the Pryde system which gives you two wing sets, one for light wind and one for speed.  Both wing sets fit onto the same mast and fuselage.  Learn on the long, stable wings and progress to the faster set-up.

  • Slingshot offers a set of masts ranging from short (to learn on) – to standard length (for advanced riding).  All of these are in heavy aluminium – good for learning. 

  • I heard Antoine Albeau say that he learned to foil on quite a narrow board and never considered trying anything else.  He says that the moment he tried a wide board he felt such an improvement in control that he changed immediately to a wide shape and will not go back.  This convinces me that wide (foiling will be a light-wind option I imagine) is the way to go.  You also need to be able to uphaul with no problem I would think.

  • Levering the board, rig and sailor out of the water must involve a titanic front-to-back bending moment concentrated by the mast on the fin box.  This is why an ordinary windsurfing box needs to be strengthened of course.  What Slingshot does is to equip their masts with a flange which butts up firmly against the underside of the board when you tighten the fin bolts.  In use, this dissipates the force from the bending moment, spreading it along the underside of the board.  Genius!

Here is a picture showing the flange on their school masts:




On their carbon masts they have an even more substantial load spreader:


What I would like to know is why other foil makers do not incorporate this feature as well. The guys at Slingshot claim that their design makes it possible to use a normal, un-reinforced, deep Tuttle box with their masts and I believe them.

If you go onto Slingshot’s site you will notice that they run an academy to train foilers. I’m not sure whether this is simply an online thing or if you can go to a spot, be provided with equipment and learn on their stuff. 


If they do offer this service, and you live close to a Slingshot venue then this would definitely be the way to start. Get lessons, get good, and only then, buy equipment. Please have a look at their site if you are interested.
I’m sure that training facilities from other companies will spring up as we go forward.

In conclusion:

  • If you can afford it and have the transport/loading space – buy the Pryde/JP set-up.
  • If you are budget conscious, use an existing old formula/ large slalom board and buy foil and spare parts from Slingshot.
  • Go wide on the board
  • Get lessons if you are able
  • If you plan on replacing a big slalom board, buy one with a reinforced fin box.
Good winds

PS here is a link to the site of  Romain Jourdan.
  
www.windfoilzone.com

Romain has dedicated this site to windsurf foiling with the aim of consolidating into one place, current information and developments in this branch of our sport.

I will certainly be keeping an eye on Romain's site going forward.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dunkerbeck Speed Session

Hi

Here are some details of one of Bjorn’s recent speed runs.  A fantastic performance on the water recorded and displayed so nicely on his GPS watch.  I don’t know this brand but it looks like a really awesome piece of kit.  If the big guy uses one, it has to be special I suppose.


 
I also notice that one of the pieces of equipment used on these runs, was a Zulu 30cm fin.  This is not surprising to those of us who have spent so many happy hours blasting on Zulus.  Robbie has really nailed it with these blades.
 
Here is Bjorn’s post:



Speaking of Robbie and his Zulu fins, I notice that he has built a foiled fin (this appears to be half way between a full windsurf foil and a normal race fin).  The example shown here is a prototype so we don’t know how it will perform.




I have not the faintest clue about how this thing will work.  I suppose that it will enable the board to plane much earlier but it’s characteristics at speed will be really interesting to see.

I’ve not seen Robbie for a while so cannot comment about how the "fin/foil" behaved.  It is winter now, and hardly anyone windsurfs until around September/November.  One loses touch with the windsurfing community in winter. 
I will follow up with Robbie about the foil when I have a chance, and give feedback on this blog. 

I know others have tried similar fin/foil designs in the past and I’m sure that Robbie will test/adapt and re-fabricate.  We will have to wait and see what the master comes up with when the process has run its course. 

In the next post I want to say some more about foiling and some of the developments being done by different companies.  
Some good things are coming down the line but are not yet being standardized.  There are also some developments which seem questionable to me.
  
I want to discuss some of this stuff and also explore the options available to get into foiling (use an existing board, buy a dedicated foiling board, buy a big slalom board with re-enforced fin box etc).  Please watch out for that post and let’s have a conversation.

Before I end, I want to share a message received from Emily Philbrick who runs a non profit organization called Beyond Boardshorts.  They help underprivileged youth who have talent but no funding, to participate in watersports.  Emily’s message, copied below, speaks for itself.  If you are inclined, please give them a look and consider donating.  This is a good cause I’m sure you will agree.

From: Beyond Boardshorts [mailto:beyondboardshorts@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2017 06:48 PM
To:
philco@iafrica.com
Subject: Hey Phil!
Hey Phil, 
My name is Emily Philbrick and I am working on promoting our non profit organization called Beyond Boardshorts .  

I work with professional windsurfers Tyson Poor, Wyatt Miller and Bryan Metcalf Perez.
We are seeking to inspire and empower future generations through athleticism on the water with water sports, especially windsurfing!

Our mission is to bring our passion for water sports to the world’s youth by providing inspiration, training and equipment to those who would not otherwise be able to participate in water sports.

As of July 2016, we became a 501 (C)(3) tax deductible organization and have been continuing our journey to fulfill our mission and spread the stoke to those around the globe!
What we have done thus far:
  • Sponsored 9 Moroccan youth to compete in the prestigious International Windsurfing Tour. 
  • Donated the value of $5,000 USD to kids in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Columbia, Mexico and now closer to home for us; the San Fransisco Bay area.  
  • Purchased a small boat (with trailer) for a La Paz, Mexico windsurfing club to assist with their FREE instruction to local youth.
  • In the Bay we will be sponsoring a windsurfing coach to support local kids through inspiration, training and providing equipment.  
****We choose youth that are well deserving and who would not otherwise be able to participate****  

We are writing you in hopes that you will help us with this movement by spreading the word about what we are doing with those in the windsurf community.  

Additionally, we hope that you would help us to promote our windsurf fundraiser event in Berkeley California.  Our fundraiser Boardfest is June 10th and will be hosted at HS Lordships restaurant.  
The link for the event is below: 

We really enjoy your blog and thought it would be a nice addition to get a shout out from you if you're available and willing.

People can follow us through our journeys with our constant updates on social media as well as by signing up for our newsletters (via our website).

Please contact me with any questions or comments you would like to share!  Also, if there is anything that we can do to assist you, please don't hesitate!

Thank you for your support Phil!
Have a wonderful day!
Emily

Talk to you soon

Phil

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