Sunday, December 25, 2016

Seasons Greetings and two Race Sails from Severne


I had planned to respond to Joe Windsurfer’s comments regarding the exorbitant costs of some of the emerging technologies within our sport.  I will do this in the next post however.

I use this post to wish all readers well for the festive season.  Good winds and everything of the best for 2017.

I note that Severne have the new Reflex and Overdrive sails on the site now.


I don’t seem much difference visually.  I suspect that they have just refined and perfected something that was pretty near perfect to start with.
I do note with relief that the length of the overhanging batten above the boom end has reduced slightly.  We are moving in the right direction!  In a few more years it may just disappear completely!


On the Overdrive they have done away with 2016’s complicated shaping at the boom end, opting for simplicity in 2017.  Much better (imo).

With its option of being used on RDM masts, this sail has to be on your short list if you are looking for an easy race sail with blistering performance.
Other sails I would include on that list incidentally, would be the Avanti Condor, North S-Type, Ezzy Lion, Ka Koncept and maybe the NX from Sailworks.

OK that’s all for now.  Our wind looks good from about 14:00 today so Xmas lunch just became Xmas dinner.  Sailing comes first!

All the very best


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Three Windsurfing Developments to Watch


Here are three developments within our sport which we all need to be watching:

3Di Moulded Sails

North have been moulding sails in 3D for a while now.  Their focus has been the ocean yacht racing guys but they are going to be using the technology for windsurf sails.   What is achieved is a sail which has been moulded in 3D rather than one which has been stitched together from different patches, each shaped to create the overall design.

They create the desired sail shape on a design computer and the resulting pattern is fed to a huge table on which the shape is created.  The surface of the table is actually flexible and sits on a huge arrangement of pneumatically controlled rams.  Every part of the table surface can be raised or lowered (individually or as part of an array) to create the belly and flat areas of the sail “in flight” as the yachties say.  All the rams are inter-connected and obviously connected to the design computer.

Once the shape of the sail has been finalised and represented on the table, the sail material in tape form (carbon fibre, aramid, dyneema and binding agent), is applied to the 3D form, vacuumed down with plastic film, heated and cured. The tapes are mechanically applied with large, pre-programmed robot heads.  

Batten pockets are incorporated into the design and load path re-enforcement is achieved by simply adding extra tape layers across specific areas (all pre-programmed of course) Very cool! 
Sorry for the long winded description.
The yachting industry is the only marine sports fraternity with deep enough pockets to have made this technology possible but it is now bedded down, working and paid for.

North feel that their windsurfing arm could now benefit from the process which yields ultra light, ultra strong, ultra accurate and perfectly repeatable products. Yay!

Please have a look at this video of Ben Proffitt interviewing two of the North guys who have brought along one of the new sail prototypes.

This is interesting stuff which I will be watching over the next two years.

Inflatable Speed Board

RRD took the best aspects of their inflatable freeride board and incorporated them into the design of an inflatable speed board.  John Skye sailed the machine with a 7m sail and thought he would need to stay close in for a smooth ride to get some decent speed.  The wind was no good however so he went into the choppy water where he easily reached 34 knots in the stronger wind.  He says that the air ride buffers you and you just go faster.  (WTF?)

Here is the link to his interview:

Here is a video of John hitting indecent speeds on this unlovely piece of kit.

A proper board you can carry in a back-pack.  Very interesting!


Hydrofoil windsurfing has been around for a long time with AHD probably the longest running promoter of the concept.  More and more designers are jumping onto this train however and this year the PWA held its first hydrofoil race which Antoine won.

I have to say that the concept is attractive to me but I have a few reservations regarding the current equipment.  Whenever I watch someone hydrofoiling it seems to me to be quite a balancing act.  The stance is really upright and I don’t see anyone really hooking in, leaning back and just blasting.  The board seems really keen to nose dive if the sailor should sheet in too far and I’m not sure why the fin has to be so long.

I know nothing of this technology but it seems to me that the boards need an additional foil somewhere in the centre of the board or maybe a broad foil at the back of the board with two smaller side foils towards the front.  The rig should be super stable in my view – not super unstable.  I also think that the foiled board should be sailed leaning towards the rider like the foil kites I see.  

We need to be able to hook in and fly without feeling that we are standing on top of a tightrope.  As I said I have absolutely no expertise about this so these are merely vague opinions and wishful thinking. Anyway I am sure that one day, foiling will be windsurfing’s solution for having a blast in light winds.       
Good winds


Monday, November 28, 2016

Some New equipment Feedback

Sorry for the long delay between posts.  My time has been split between sailing and being exhausted from sailing.  No energy for anything else!

Anyway, Raffaello, our Severne agent, arrived with some awesome new Severne stuff on Saturday (hopefully a Fox in the near future) but also with some boards (PC2) we have not seen on our shores before.  They are by Phil Carbon – the well known (and aptly named) speed-board maker.  

Phil has teamed up with Anders Bringdal and they have produced some very tasty board ranges.  Raffi, being a hard core racing man, brought along a few slalom sizes from the new partnership.

Charl (Karo’s husband/master sailor) and Raffi were absolutely rocking these machines with Severne Reflexes/Zulu fins.  Very impressive.  

Charl tells me that the 71 is much easier to control than Joos’s Manta 71 (which he knows quite well).  I would really like to try a PC2 - 75cm slalom and report back on it.  The boards feel slightly heavy in the hand but not excessively so.  PC2 give no weights on their site.

The testers are here and have some really interesting boards.  When they are not at Swartriet, (our local wave venue), testing wave equipment, they have been testing free-race/fast freeride boards.  

They have Fanatic’s Blast, Severne’s Fox, AHD’s Freerace, Patrik’s Freerace, Lorch’s Glider and JP’s equivalent.  All the boards are around 70cm wide.  Very interesting.  

I asked about the Blast and the Fox being the two most interesting boards to me.  They recon the Blast is an absolute hoot which does exactly what Fanatic claim – fast, stable, good over chop, fun to jump etc.  They stress however that it is not a freerace board like the Patrik.  

The Fox too performs exactly as we would expect with blistering speed over all conditions and a cork-like ability to float through gybes.  One of the guys said that there seemed to be some small discrepancies between the shapes on the left and right underside of the board when they brought the straight edge out but that these seem to have no effect on performance.  If there are manufacturing anomalies, I’m sure that Severne will remedy them going forward.
I have been riding the old F2 T-Rex I spoke about a while ago.  The board is taking names!  The lightness and length of the thing make it compatible with a 46cm fin and soft sails down to 6.6m.  A miraculous buy which is spreading alarm and despondency among fellow windsurfers in lightwind conditions.  Very nice!

I have been using camless sails with the T-Rex but a while ago Joos (Karo's dad as regular readers will know), let me click on Karo’s Reflex 7.8 to see how it would go.  I was concerned that the old board shape might not mesh with modern race sail architecture.  The T-Rex handled things as if it had been specifically designed for the Reflex - no problems whatsoever.  

I have to say that the Reflex surprised me with its lightness and ease of use.  I’m not sure how they are going to improve on this model.  If you are considering a 7.8m race sail you could wait for the version _8 to come out and get a good price on a version _7.  You will not be disappointed.

In the next post I will say a few words about some interesting developments in our sport which we all need to keep an eye on.

Talk to you soon (I hope)


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The New 2017 Severne Fox - Specifications


I have found some specifications for the new Severne Fox board.  Severne is extremely secretive about its new products and will only post details on its site when it is absolutely ready to do so.  I’m sure that you all know this.  I searched high and low for anything about the machine but could only find the bare minimum.  

Anyhow, the seriousness of the situation caused me to mobilize some secret abilities I possess to help us.  I speak of three powers which I unleash in times of extreme anguish - namely:
  •          Ninja skills
  •          Jedi powers
  •          General sneakiness

I hasten to re-assure you that these powers are only ever used in times of great crisis and only where they will improve the lives of others

Anyway, by deploying my three gifts, I managed to unearth this material from a tiny, unguarded corner of the Internet.

I’m sure that it will all be posted on the Severne site soon but it is fun to present you guys with an early view.  



Monday, October 3, 2016

New Severne Kit and a Comment about the new iSonics

Sorry for the long break but I have been having computer problems.  Anyway – all is back in working order now so here is the post about some Severne stuff and a comment or two regarding the new iSonics from Starboard.


Severne have taken two models from 2016 and combined the best characteristics of both to create a new super blasting sail.  Great work from the masters.  The new Turbo GT combines aspects of the old Turbo with the Unit I wrote about some time ago.
On paper the 2017 Turbo GT is is one great machine for the non-racing blaster.  It is light, forgiving and promises to be really fast.  All things we enjoy.

My belief is that Severne discovered something when developing the Unit – they opened a door to new possibilities for improved stability by moving the power down and forward in the sail and this is what they are offering.  The Turbo GT is one sail I would dearly like to be trying in the new season.
You will no-doubt have seen these shots on the Severne website.

A fine looking machine and I note from the specs that they increase the number of battens and cams as the sizes increase.  Very cool.  They have not posted dimensions and weights but please keep an eye on the site for these.

One nice thing with these pictures and those showing the new Gators, is the inclusion of the Fox blasting board.  It looks absolutely perfect on the water (imo).  Where the guys are jumping we catch a glimpse of the fins the boards will come with.  They too look like proper equipment (you may not need to buy after-market fins – bargain!)

The new Gators look great as well:

No annoying overhanging batten!

The Convert is a sail I would usually ignore (disliking “intermediate” equipment as I do) but I will bet that this iteration is faster and more stable than any of us thinks.  

The Dacron panel is a master stroke allowing the foil to breathe slightly for increased comfort and as we keep saying “comfort = speed”.  If you believe that Dacron is an old redundant material just go to the Hot Sails Maui site and see the awesome products Jeff Henderson makes with the stuff.

I wonder where this particular venue is.  Cross shore winds, clear, warm water, nice accommodation and plenty of shade for equipment between sets.  I want to live there!

Speaking of the Fox, here are some perspectives I had not seen before:

What more can one say.  Perfection!


The new iSonic shapes look great as usual.  This season they offer the boards in UltraCore Reflex which results in some crazy light weights.  

They have rounded out the tails of the larger slalom sizes to give more power – a good thing in my opinion.  

The previous 114 (my favorite) remains unchanged and has become the new 117.  They felt that adding a rounded tail would over-do the power for this size.  

Incidentally, the light version of this board comes in at 6.3kg.  Awesome for a board of this size.  

Nice work SB!

Talk to you soon

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lightwind Windsurfing Boards – An Update

A bit of feedback regarding new lightwind boards –
Giuseppe, an Italian reader, recently purchased an RRD XFire Lightwind and he tells me that it is probably the best windsurfing purchase of his life.  

The board is the new version (V2) which has no video presentation on the site and no online reviews which I can find right now. 
Giuseppe recons that it does exactly what it says on the tin – fast, effortless to plane, easy to gybe, very flexible regarding sail and fin sizes etc and 120% fun.  In fact, from his comments it is likely that this board comes closest to my lightwind ideal of everything on the market right now.

Giuseppe says that the largest fin size necessary for him was a 53 cm Select Slalom (I think) and when he changed down to a 49cm size he was rewarded with even more speed, better control and even more fun with a slightly smaller sail.  Very awesome!  I would personally consider compliant fins (Zulu of course) of 56, 50 and 46 depending on sail size and water condition.

I have to say that I am really disappointed with Fanatic’s Lightwind Falcon.  They have produced the thing in a heavy construction and retained the short length.  Not cool guys – I’m not angry, just extremely disappointed.  Actually, thinking about it, I am angry.  Very angry! (And very disappointed)

The problem I have with Starboard’s Ultrasonic is the extreme width.  I have not ridden one but I doubt that it will be comfortable with smaller sails.  The 90ish width is, in my opinion, on the cusp between slalom and formula, able to go either way.  If you are tempted by a 95cm board, would it not be better to buy Patrik’s hollow formula board and go the whole hog with 12m sail and 70cm fin etc.  Just saying….

Here are two shots of Giuseppe’s new machine.  In the second shot he places the XFire against his Manta 85cm (a wide board in its own right) and you can see that wonderful wide back shape of the XFire to provide the leverage we need. Very nice ...

Talk to you soon.  I will discuss some of Severne's new stuff and also mention some good stuff from Starboard.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Bigger Board/Smaller Sail Initiative - Some Thoughts


I will ramble on in this post a bit so if you are not up for wading through random musings –please look away.  The post is also aimed at non-racing recreational sailors so will not be of much interest to racers and speed demons.  

My topic has to do with board shapes and plan forms.  A huge thing that I discovered when trying smaller sails on bigger boards, is the importance of the width of the back of the board.   A wide rear deck provides leverage over fin and sail of course.   When sail and fin are smaller than envisaged by the designer of that board size, the leverage over the rig is really significant.  What this allows one to do is to ride the big board into conditions you would normally change down for.  Neither the sail nor the fin was built with this extra leverage in mind so by exploiting these factors you enter unfamiliar territory for most of us.  If you allow yourself to explore this realm you can open a door to something new and exciting.
My own trials with big old formula boards and with our old Falcon 124 have been a revelation in this endeavour.  The 124 is 76cm wide and can be sailed with a 40cm fin and 6.6m soft sail.  The ride this combo gives is simply awesome.  The board is light enough to shoot onto the plane and continue to plane through lulls where the 71/110ish slaloms are falling off (even with bigger sails).  The soft sail and compliant Zulu fin tame everything down to make things easy, fast and fun.

The whole small sail big board process has caused me to decide that I no longer need a pure slalom board less than 75cm wide.  I weigh 90kg so if you want to try the concept you may go down to 71cm if your weight is less than mine.

When I am finally overpowered on the 124/6.6 combination, I easily change down by keeping the sail and clicking on the 3S 116.  If I receive a windfall from the kind folks at the lottery, my slalom board would be the iSonic 114 and the step down would be the Severne Fox 105 mentioned in the previous post – two boards for most of your sailing as long as you possess appropriate fin and sail sizes.  
The wide rear is obviously not the only factor in determining performance but it is certainly important in my view. I had been toying with the thought of getting something like a JP Supersport 125 to move away from slalom boards altogether but on comparing the rear sections of the JP with the iSonic 114, I have to say that my preference would be the iSonic

When you look at the Starboard rear strap positioning, it is clear that they are placed for maximum force against the fin.  The JP’s straps are simply too close to the centre in my opinion.  If they had maintained the width just a bit further back I may have been swayed but not this year.  Sorry JP – a pity  because I suspect that you have nailed the under shape of this new Supersport – easy, superfast, light, not too short etc.

On the new Starboards, one thing you hear from everyone who tests the iSonics is the insane wind range they are capable of sailing in.  This tells me that they are easy and confidence inspiring.  This confidence comes from comfort and control which I believe is largely due to the rear strap positioning.  A soft 6.6m sail is totally outside of what you would expect to sail on a 76.5cm wide iSonic but if you ever have the chance to try this combo  – screw in a 38cm fin and give it a go.  It may set you on a new path!

As an aside, I notice that many recent board cut-outs have become longer, thinner and pushed to the outside edge more than in prior years.
JP SSport
Severne Fox
This seems right somehow (it seems to fit with the flow of things) but I would need to do a comparison between an iSonic and one of Patrik’s boards to reach an honest opinion.

Failing that, I would really like to test Patrik’s F-Race 75 against JP’s Supersport 125.  That would tell us such a lot about so many things!

Good winds 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

2017 Severne Blasting Board


I have been keeping an eye out for promising 2017 blasting boards.
The last post dealt with Fanatic’s Blast and I think the subject of this post is equally exciting.  

Severns’s Fox has broken cover and it looks the business with parallel rails, nice volume under the feet.  The bottom shape is reportedly extremely fast, being comfortable and controlled in wild conditions, allowing the rider to keep on pushing for greater speeds.  Nice!
If it does what it says on the tin this is going to be a board which ticks all the boxes.  It certainly looks the part

The pictures are from the above site where the writer also discusses his experience with the board on the water.  Please have a look at his comments.

The boards come with G10 power box fins specially designed for them.

This is an exciting product from the masters.  I think that the board is manufactured in China by IQC, a composite manufacturer which in itself represents an interesting development – a mainstream board to be made outside of the Cobra factory.  Price war? - I think not unfortunately.

So far I have only seen images of the 105 litre model (105/65/239).  There are bound to be other sizes in the pipeline.

Good winds

Friday, August 5, 2016

New Fanatic Blast 2017


I am back now, having spent some time in hospital having surgery.  Not good but I managed to escape and am at home once more.
While I was away, Fanatic unveiled their new Blast mentioned in my previous post.  Looking at the Blast pictures and vids, I have to say that it looks absolutely right for its designated purpose (fast blasting fun).  They took stuff learned during the development of the Stubby wave board and combined design aspects from the latest Falcons.  

This is all particularly cool in my opinion and I predict that the board will be something special.  It incorporates a new approach, new lines and new shapes. It has parallel edges and a diamond tail – two of my favorite things.  Absent are cut-outs.  No problem! 

Looking right is all very well but the boards need to deliver.  I am quite aware of this so my next goal is to get a ride on a Blast and report back.  I hope Craig and Danny bring one or two with them when they visit in November.  Failing this, the Surf testers may well have one or two Blasts in their testing arsenal this year.  Fingers crossed!

If you are rich you could buy all three sizes but the 115l/66wide would be a really good single board.  Add 3 fins and you have a wide wind-range covered.


Here is a thought about this new concept.  I would be willing to bet that it could serve as a template for a lightwind superboard.
I sense some eye rolling here but bear with me.

You would need to:
·         scale it up to a volume of 140 – 150l,
·         stretch its length to over 245cm
·         increase the width to 86 – 90ish
·         widen the tail (big time).  Have a wide diamond of course
·         insert a deep Tuttle fin box.
·         Provide outboard strap positions in addition to the current options

I can almost guarantee that such a board would be a lightwind rocket delivering equal helpings of speed and fun with a big, easy sail (7.5m upwards)

Something to ponder

Good winds

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Out of "Office" for a while

Hi all

Just a short note to mention that I will be away from the Internet for a while.  I have been trying to run things remotely since Friday but I am struggling.  I tried to reply to Unknown's message but I keep getting shut out.  I am totally out of touch from tomorrow, hopefully back home by Wednesday. (?)

Anyway as soon as I am settled again I will resume posts and hopefully be able to reply to "Unknown's" comment.  He provides some interesting news about Patrik's plan to expand the FRace line with a big, light, fast, hollow model.  Where have I heard that idea before?

Anyway this development, together with Fanatic's 2017 Falcon Lightwind suggests that at least two of the guys are listening to us.  I look forward to seeing what is in store for next season.

Good winds

Thursday, June 30, 2016

North E-Type 6.6 Commentary


As mentioned in the previous post I want to share some thoughts about and give some commentary on this iconic freeride sail.

Initial Impressions  

When we purchased the 6.6, I rigged it on my North Platinum 460 SDM mast.  This is North’s first choice of masts for it.  Their second choice is their 430 SDM and the least favourite mast option is a 430 North RDM.

On the 460 SDM, the sail rigs perfectly.  Once you have tightened the battens the foil is absolutely smooth and as you apply downhaul, it falls off beautifully – a really nice piece of design.  

On the water the sail is powerful for its size, certainly equal to a 7m GA or Vandal sail in this class. The low end is actually quite ferocious and it gets the stickiest of boards planing – no problem.  My first impression was that it is really racy.  It was totally at home on my Falcons 113 and 124 and I had some concern that it may not suit our Tabou 3S 116 very well.  I need not have worried.  It is fantastic with free-move boards – fast, controllable, easy.


The sail comes with trimming marks to help you rig for light, medium or strong winds.  My belief is that you can pull it down to beyond the ‘strong wind” mark for most of your sailing.  It is extremely powerful as mentioned.  I have also discovered that you need not be frightened about applying outhaul.  Once you have dragged it right down, pull it out more than you think you should.  This exaggerated outhaul brings major stability into the rig.  

With the sail rigged like this we had some really fantastic sailing.  My only niggle was that when the wind really picks up the sail can start owning your ass (especially when rigged on a slalom board).  The sensible thing to do in these winds is to rig a smaller sail of course but I always aim to get the widest range possible from my sails and the 460 SDM mast restricts me slightly at the ragged top end.

I have moved away from GA sails and the problem with this as a strategy, is that it leaves you with masts which may not be compatible with your new sails.  I have a Gaastra 430 RDM which I used with my old GA Cross 6.4.   The old Gaastra masts are super stiff and I had a feeling that this stiffness in the RDM mast may just give me controllability and ease without losing stability.
The combo has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  The sail is soft and light in the hands now and can be pushed into wild conditions with confidence.  I have to say that rigged, it is not as neat as on the official 460 SDM – it definitely looks a bit dishevelled when you drag it down but the results on the water are just fantastic.
We have now bought an E-Type 5.8m and I will be rigging that on my trusty black Fiberspar RDM which has seen such distinguished service with the 6.0m Cross in violent conditions.

OK that’s enough rambling for one post.
Good winds

BTW I hear rumours that Fanatic has developed a new long, super lightwind Falcon board for 2017.  I would like to think that my blog posts had something to do with this but I’m sure that it is a co-incidence.  
They are also bringing in a board called the Blast – a super fast, super comfortable free-race model for non-racing blasters. How intelligent is that!   Can’t wait!      


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Fins and Karo’s new Page


I apologise for the scarce posts, but at this time of year windsurfing is not at the front of the mind. When one is not sailing, other things become important.


Anyway, to start getting ready for the new season (October) I have obtained two new Zulu fins, one for each of the big boards.  

I now have the T-Rex 138 in addition to my beloved Pritchard Replica formula board and will be trying each with different sails.  I felt that I should get the best fins I can find for each board to give each a good chance to shine.  

We obtained a 50cm Zulu fin for the 90cm board and a Zulu 46cm fin for the 85cm T-Rex.  I hope the 46 fin will be big enough – we will see.

The fin in the snaps is the 50cm size.  The 46cm fin is in the T-Rex already.  
These fins are absolutely beautiful - light strong, flexible with a tactile, organic feel in the hand.  
Look at the shot with the box fitting.  Robbie makes this from carbon fibre making it both super strong and super light.  

All in all a piece of art whose superb functionality imparts a sort of voodoo power. 

Karo’s Page

I promised to mention one of Karo’s new online pages.  Regular readers will recall the post in which I mentioned Karo and the fact that she had been chosen by Severne Sails and Zulu fins to represent their respective brands.

The above page link is part of Starboard’s Apparel  site – please have a look at it.
Karo is gathering sponsors at an alarming rate and by the time our new season starts she will be in the perfect position to give windsurfing visitors help with all sorts of purchasing decisions (fins, sails, apparel, harness lines and a lot more).  If you plan on visiting us, please contact Karo in respect of anything windsurfing or water sport related.

In the next post I will discuss the 2016 North E-Type 6.6m sail which we sailed most of last season.  I think that I have managed some fairly significant tweaks to this sail and I will share these with you.

Good winds


Friday, June 10, 2016

New Equipment


Two pieces of new equipment caught my eye this week.  The first of these is GA's 2017 Vapor race sail and the second is Patrik's hollow formula board.  The formula board has been around for a while but he has put it on his site at last.

GA Vapor 2017

The 2017 GA Vapor sails have made an appearance at various GA distributor events.  Here are pictures from the facebook page of  Bartek Grzesiek.


What an involved piece of design!  I’m not sure how it works but I applaud the attempt to get rid of the overhanging batten above the boom end.  Incidentally, most of my sails have an overhanging batten and I have to say that they all perform well.  The overhang just irritates me.

GA’s efforts with the new Vapor, almost solve my problem but I have to wonder if Avanti’s simple approach is not the way to go:

 Without the opportunity to try both sails I have to side with Avanti on this.  Simple often turns out to be better.

Patrik Formula4 Airinside

Patrik has his new hollow formula board on the site now – a sublime piece of design and proof that when something looks right, it often is.
Steve Allen won the Australian Formula Windsurfing Nationals on this board winning every single heat on his way to the final.  No mean feat.


You can see why I chose this board as one of the inspirations for my new super board concept.  Just narrow it to 85-90ish cm and stretch the length to around 240 cm to create something really special for the non-racing blaster who wants to smoke in lighter winds.

Good sailing