Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Equipment from North, Severne and MB


Here are some recent equipment developments which are quite interesting.

North Sails
Kai Hopf and the North slalom team are in Tenerife working on the 2019 Warp race sail.  

There is nothing new in this but on viewing the video, I noticed that a few of the protos had only 6 battens.  

At first I thought I was seeing things but just look at the stills I took from the video.

It seems that they are exploring 6 battens in the smaller sizes.

Is it just me or does the mast sleeve look quite narrow?

Look at the control issues with the 7 batten sail compared to the absolute composure of the 6 rod machine.  These foils are being sailed right on the ragged edge of course so these cuts are important for us to assess the two designs under pressure.

Action footage of 6 batten against 7 batten counterparts show very little difference in speed - if anything, 6 seems to beat 7.  Nice!  

Please have a look at the footage on the North site and see what you make of it.

North, if you are going to make some 6 batten Warp sizes, I salute you.  Very, very cool!


The Severne Dyno is up on the site with pictures, specs and tech info.  

Thanks Severne for one of the most elegant blasting+wave boards on the planet.  

They only need to create a similarly awesome slalom board now to become a complete one-stop-shop for every windsurfing need.

Here is a video from in the UK.  They speak to James Hooper, the board’s designer.

Of further interest to me is the Hex4 system which involves the use of one tool to tighten battens, footstrap screws, fin bolts/grub screws etc.

Regular readers will recall me bemoaning the fact that nothing like this existed.  A few of you told me about Flikka who use the approach but here is one of the big players finally embracing the concept.  At last!

The guys discuss this system from about 5min into the video.

Here is the link:

MB Boards

The company MB has always made fins as most of you will know.  Recently they started making boards as well.  

Being a sucker for things new and unusual, I swooped onto the site to have a look.

MB started with freestyle and wave type boards – an obvious choice given the snowboard – like outline of their products.
Balz Muller (a madman), is using MB boards now and says that they have revolutionised his sailing.

I can understand how the shapes would work for wave and freestyle but freeride and slalom? - not so sure but really keen to find out.

Unfortunately both freeride and slalom lines are still under development so no specs and no hope of any third party reviews just yet.

This is an ex-demo slalom board which they are selling from their site.  It just looks like a whole lot of fun with its easy strap positions and curious shape.

It could be exactly what the doctor ordered (providing it goes as good as it looks of course).  

Looking at the reduced wetted area around the fin, I think it could be very fast indeed but who knows.
Someone – please buy this board, use it and get back to us with your opinion.
Better still MB, send it to me and I will review, assess and post my impressions!

That’s all for now


Monday, January 29, 2018

Bug Foils and two Hollow Slalom Boards


I met Rajko Zuzek yesterday.  He visited us from Cape Town (where he is holidaying), and spent the day testing his latest foil. The wind was light for us, but OK for foiling.

Rajko is the owner of Bug Fins & Foils from where he produces windsurf foils and a wicked line of slalom fins.

He only works in carbon and every component has the stamp of a true craftsman.  You could take any of his components and mount it as a piece of art.  Very impressive.

Rajko the man is also impressive.  He, like most of us, has been windsurfing forever and like most windsurfers, is easy going, approachable and willing to share stories.  He is also very forthcoming with technical details and knowledge about his foils. 

Rajko uses a dedicated foiling board from Flikka and he explained that the mast track on pure foiling boards is set further back than in normal windsurfing slalom boards.  I had never heard this before.

You can still ride a normal slalom board with a foil but it is not as easy to balance.  If you plan to use a normal board to foil, please start with the mast foot as far back as it will go in the track.

Anyway, Rajko spent much time gliding back and forth with slalom foil, 7.8 XO sail and the Flikka foil board.  He recons that he has perfected the wing shaping and lay-ups on this latest foil and I have to say he was flying around effortlessly.  The RRD team was also out but were struggling to go on their foils in the very light conditions.

Regular readers will know how keen I am about devices to spread fin box loading when using a foil.  The Bug foil has side flanges to achieve this.  Nice!

Chris from Jersey is here for the racing (being run this week) and was unboxing two of his new Patrik hollow boards (115 and 140) right next to where Rajko was setting up.  If feather light is your thing, these are the boards for you!  Why aren’t they on the Patrik website yet?

Anyway, it’s been a long time since I was among so much desirable stuff in one small space – hollow boards to the left of me, sublime foils and fins to the right - equipment overload!
Chris says that a mate of his in Jersey races with Bug slalom fins and swears by them.

Well there you have it – a quiet day which turned out nicely.  The wind also picked up later and we had a great cruise on T-Rex and an old 7.0m sail.

Good winds

Monday, January 22, 2018

Two Awesome new Sails


Two really nice sails are about to break cover.   They are Avanti’s new race machine and their 2018 Poweride.  I have always fancied Avanti sails because of their construction and associated easy manners.

The 2018 Avanti M6+ Race Machine

For 2018 they have:
  •          changed batten angles slightly
  •          refined load paths across the sail body (as you are               able to do with string technology)
  •          dropped one batten from every size.  Seven                           battens at last - well done Avanti! 

There are some fantastic race sails out there right now but this has to be one of the most exciting for me.  Just look at the thing!  

I will try to find a shot of one fully rigged for some proper eye-candy.

Here are the sizes: (sorry – no weights)

We need to watch Juju in the racing this year.  His sails were as fast as anything else last year but I felt that he sometimes struggled on his gybe exits in light conditions.  
Avanti have worked on this aspect I think.  

The seven batten layout, being less locked in, will allow him to use his natural talent to squeeze every last knot out of the rig in varying real-world conditions.  Nice!

2   Avanti’s Poweride V1 Freeride Sail

The Poweride has always been good and the 2018 offering looks like the best ever. 

Here are the sizes:

Everyone watching sail reviews online, will know that this sail is consistently near the top of every review.  What has always given me pause for thought however, is the straight-line speed of the larger sizes.

The sail is designed to be easy and fun and that is absolutely correct for the two smallest sizes but when we get to 6.6 and 7.4, most of us want max speed on a fast slalom board in addition to easy control.
The aim is to have an easy sail which fits perfectly with your fast free-ride board over rough water.  On flat water days however, the same sail should be capable of smoking on a flat, fast slalom board.
I suspect that Avanti have nailed this aspect in the bigger sizes now.  I would need to ride one before I could confirm but I have a good feeling.
We don’t expect it to be as fast as an NCX, Point 7 AC-X or Goya Mark but it should be very, very close.  

If any of you should have a chance to ride a 2018 Poweride 6.6 or 7.4 with your 112(ish) slalom board - please let us know your impressions.

That’s all for now

Good winds 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some Severne News


Here is a short note around some developments from Severne . 

The new Severne Dyno is about to be released and it looks like one serious board for the blaster with wave-riding requirements.

Here it is:

And here are the dimensions:

Once again Severne creates an important board.  I predict that it will fly over rough water with single fin and style in waves with the tri-fin set-up.  An awesome do-it-all board which (like the Fox), just looks right.

The latest  Windsurf Magazine (issue 372) includes a Dyno in their 95l board review.
Here are some extracts from that test write-up:




Thanks Windsurf Magazine!

Please subscribe to this publication.  Their tests and articles are so on point and useful. 

I mentioned the new Mach1 race sail in the last post.  

Ben Severne is clearly determined to see this sail on the PWA podium in 2018 and has employed Matteo Iachino to make it happen.
I can’t think of a better pilot and we await the new PWA season with interest.  

(Matteo+Mach1+iSonics ......faaak!).

Talk to you soon

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Two new Race Sails and a Foil Test Site


Here are some thoughts about two new race sails and the link to a site containing some useful back-to-back foil reviews.

Race Sails

The first race sail is Severne’s new Mach1. I mentioned it some time ago but it is now on their site. It looks fantastic – they have dropped the fiddly outer batten tensioners and generally tidied the sail up. Very nice. As I said previously – drop one batten and you are there Severne! 

I have to say that the new Overdrive looks pretty special as well.  It is light, has 7 battens and rigs on an RDM.  Full house as far as I'm concerned.

The other new race sail is from Pryde. I usually have little interest in Pryde sails but this one looks like something special. They have dropped one batten in all sizes up to 9.4m and made the sail really light. They normally do not give weights for their sails but they are obviously proud of this one and give us weights. Sure enough, the weight is right down there with North, Avanti and Severne.

In addition to dropping a batten, Robert also changed the angle of all the battens to align them with the airflow when sailing. This is a sound idea I suppose, but not a new one. Gaastra did the same thing in the 90’s and made a big song and dance about it.

I have a good feeling about this sail. We will need to watch it in the 2018 racing clips. It is going to be really interesting.

Well done guys – a very elegant, beautifully coloured product with the correct number of battens. Awesome!

Foil Reviews

I think that I promised this link a while ago but did not get down to doing it. Foiling is new so we don’t have much access to comparative tests. Rather, we have to read the manufacturer’s claims or watch a stand-alone test of one foil.

The guys on this site test a range of foils so we can get an idea about the performance of Select’s Profoil compared to the Pryde F4 for instance or how the different Loke wings perform etc.

Here is the link:

The site is in French so you will need to deploy your browser’s translator if you do not speak it.

Compliments of the season to all of you. Good winds and happy sailing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Naish Foils and an Interesting "foil light" Development


I promised to say something about the Naish foil and board options. I will also include some notes about a fin/foil development which deserves our attention.


Naish have placed their foil products firmly into the recreational space. No high intensity racing is going to be done on this stuff. 

This is evidenced by a total lack of carbon fibre construction and dire warnings to never take their foil into the surf. Here is some of what they say on:

WARNING: DO NOT USE THE HOVER HYDROFOIL IN THE SURF. You will permanently damage your foil and can cause serious injury or death to yourself and others around you. Damage incurred as a result of abnormal use, or subjected to stress—including breaking waves—beyond the physical limits of the materials used in body or components is not covered under the warranty policy.

When a supplier threatens death to both user and those around him if he ever ventures into rough water, one can conclude that the product is not high tech in any way.

The foil itself looks really easy and stable though, with its comforting aeroplane-like shape.

You probably need to think very carefully about where you want to go with foiling before you commit to the Naish solution.

They have pure foiling boards with a proprietary foil connection on rails beneath the board. The advantage of this is that you can move the foil towards the middle of the board to learn, and nearer the tail as you improve.

They offer their Titan model with built in rails to attach their foil, but which doubles as a windsurfing board with power box fin.

They also supply their foil with Tuttle or deep Tuttle heads should you have a board with re-inforced fin box and are looking for a light wind foil which is fun, easy to ride and very stable.

The Titan solution is good but because the board is heavy and “recreational” in its windsurfing role, I would be unwilling to spend my money there. 

I would require a higher spec board (lighter, faster) with deep Tuttle box to allow me to choose from all the foil makers out there. The DT box then also enables me to screw in some high performance fins for normal blasting.

The above requirement means that I would personally go for Pryde’s RS:X Hybrid every time if I had the money. Your requirements may differ from mine of course.

Fin/Foil Combo

Mert Ozener alerted me to this development from the guys at FRPGear - an outfit which develops and produces fibre reinforced plastic components for various industries.

They have developed a very strong windsurfing fin with a wing at its base. They claim that this wing generates massive amounts of lift making it very easy to plane in light winds.

I will give you a link to the site where you will find descriptions, videos, comparisons with regular foils etc. I cannot verify their claims but the video footage looks promising. 

I would need to test one of these before I could make a solid pronouncement. I would like to try it at speed for instance (and hopefully not experience the mother of all face-plants).

If the fin is as good as they say, then we should all have one in our bags. How often do we find ourselves struggling in slushy, shallow conditions in light wind. Plug the FRP hydrofoil in and you are in business! I like the fact that the fin is only 30cm long but with all that lift. Nice!

I will try to get the guys at FRP to send me one of these fins (fingers crossed). If I can convince them, I will be in a position to try it, write a review and give some sort of recommendation.

Here is the link to their site:

Thanks Mert for alerting us to this development. I think it is definitely something we should be taking seriously!

Good winds

Monday, November 13, 2017

Karo’s Luderitz trip, Zulu speed fins, Local Foiling and some Slalom fins I am Trying


A few readers have e-mailed me requesting information and opinions about Naish’s windsurf foil.  I will address this in the next post.  In this post I want to give some feedback regarding the Luderitz Speed Challenge and give you impressions around some Zulu fins I'm trying.  


Karo took a trip up to Luderitz to participate in the challenge.  

She planned her stay to co-inside with  a windy front which thankfully showed up when she got there.  The wind at Luderitz this year, seems to come in bursts of one or two days, each followed by a week of nothing.  Not good!  I wonder when we are going to see the winds experienced in 2015 again. (?)

Anyway, Karo, never having done anything speed related, climbed onto a Patrik speed board/Zulu Hamba speed fin and small, purpose built speed sail from Severne.  She hit a maximum speed of 47.3knots with a 500m average of 39.2knots.   I have not seen these speeds reflected on the Luderitz Speed Challenge site yet, but I understand that they have been slack in updating the sailor stats.

Anyway, this was a phenomenal effort for someone new to the speed discipline.  The winds were not quite strong enough to get into the really serious speeds but I’m sure that if she gets stronger wind next year, she is going to kick all kinds of  ass on that desolate canal.

Karo tells us that Robbie’s speed fins were absolutely awesome – easy, fast, slippery and rock solid in the gusts.  No surprise to me

Zulu Fins

That brings me to some Zulu fins I am trying out (when we finally get some decent, constant wind).  I have 5 fins – all 38cm but with slightly different lay-ups.  I had enough wind the other day, and also today, to try the first fin and it is absolutely epic.  It squirts upwind, screams downwind and planes really early.  It does all of these things while keeping the board’s nose flying beautifully over the chop (no tail walk, no spin-out).

What I now find is that a small force field has developed around the fin making it difficult for me to remove it from my board.  I hope I am able to screw it loose to test the others.  If not I will just have to keep this one.  Maybe Robbie will understand!
Robbie has the gift of being able to create a foil which not only performs phenomenally in its role but which also seems to unify the other rig elements, allowing each to perform optimally in concert with the others.  My E-Type has always performed impeccably with free-ride boards but with slalom shapes, seems to push the nose down causing an imbalance of sorts.  The imbalance brings terror when over-powered.  This all happened with fins from another supplier.  

I’m not sure what causes the above imbalance but it disappeared when the first test fin was screwed in and I entered a nice wind band.  The fin gently lifts the nose above the chop, freeing everything up for unreal speed and comfort.  Very impressive!

Robbie visited us a few weeks ago with a foil.  It comprised a Starboard mast for which he had fabricated a fuselage and some wings.  One of the front wings was quite racy and small (not sure if it was from Starboard) but the other was a big, light wind wing, designed and fabricated by Robbie himself.

Here he is sailing each of these wings with his Starboard Ultrasonic and Loft Racing Blade 7.8.

The Severne sail at extreme left of the picture is the new Turbo GT - a beautiful thing which is feather light and rotates imperceptibly

Robbie sailed very carefully as the pictures show.  He avoided sheeting in fully but still went impressively well.  He had no crashes and gybed pretty successfully.  Joos says that he was hard to keep up with on slalom kit (especially upwind).

OK that’s all for now.  I will talk about the Naish foil in the next post and also provide a link to some interesting foil reviews.

Good winds