Winter is on its way out and another sailing season draws near. We seem to have had fewer strong north westerlies this year so the locals are all quite unfit. We did get some south easterlies however and I got the chance to ride Andre's Severne NCX 7.0 with his Rocket 115 and new V-Grip boom so I will report back on the experience and on the performance of each of these things.
Some industry news first. The 2012 Gaastra sails look really cool. They have done away with the boring, sludgy colours of the past and brightened everything up. The new Phantom looks 100% right for a top flight slalom sail - narrower luff sleeve, 3 cambers and nice simple plan form. A huge improvement on the GTX Race. Of course we will need to get one on the water to see if the performance matches the looks but I am convinced that this is going to be something special. The Savage has been re-designed. I'm not sure why because the 2011 model is a great sail but the new one looks spectacular. I've never really rated the Matrix before. We have found that the Remedy/Cross seems to beat it at everything but I have a good feeling about the 2012 Matrix. It too has had an overhaul and now looks quite special (great colours).
All in all a really promising start to the new season for Gaastra. Well done guys and we really look forward to getting some of these machines onto the water.
Tabou have added quite a few new sizes of Manta to their line up. The aim is to do what JP does and offer a tailored quiver of 3 boards to the racer depending on his or her weight. Nice
Bjorn Dunkerbeck won the PWA slalom racing and this is a real testament to the guy's skill and ability. At 41+ years of age you shouldn't be the champion of anything (possible exception - darts). It is also a testament to the new Reflexes. These sails had a lot to do with Bjorn winning across the variety of wind and water conditions of the tour. The young guys to watch on the slalom tour are Pierre Mortefon, Ben vd Steen, Benoit and Alberto (in lighter winds where he smokes everyone).
OK that's all for now. I'll talk about Andre's stuff next time and the do a piece on batten tuning (Andre had a mish mash of tensions on his battens which killed the performance a bit)