As mentioned in the previous post I would like to try to imagine a perfect lightwind, high performance board for the non-racer who likes to go fast.
I would disqualify modern formula boards from this exercise because they are difficult and brutal. I would also exclude 85 cm slalom boards because they are too narrow.
We are looking for something around 90cm wide with a length of around 2.5m. These dimensions, I believe, make it possible for the designer to create the combination of ease, speed, control and early planing we seek.
Light wind boards currently on the market include Starboard’s UltraSonic, RRD’s X-Fire Lightwind Ltd and JP’s Super Lightwind. These boards all seem to have the correct dimensions and, on paper, offer exactly what we need – early planning, easy control and high top speed. I am unsure of all three of them however. The UltraSonic and the Super Lightwind both earn enthusiastic reviews when they are tested alone. As soon as other boards are included in back-to-back testing, weaknesses emerge. In one test, Fanatic’s Falcon 152 was included in the line-up and the consensus of the testers after exhaustive comparisons, was that if you want superior lightwind performance, you would need to go with the Falcon.
The above review also stated that the RRD is somewhat technical to sail at its full potential. These comments have caused me to reject the three boards above. I’m sure that they are all good but I’m not convinced that any of them will become cult boards. We need a cult board in this class.
So – why not just opt for the Fanatic Falcon 152? This is the board which out-performed the others in terms of speed and control. Well, the dimensions and shapes are wrong for a start. The board is only 230cm long. This, together with tail cut-outs and recessed deck, is a recipe for stalling through gybes (for the normal sailor). It is also difficult to get into the straps (you virtually step into the water to get your feet in). As with most slalom boards, this one has just one row of footstrap holes. I have read good reports about the performance of the 152 but also read one owner’s comment that his front foot keeps coming out of the strap. Red flag!
Despite the above concerns I am going to put the 152 on the final list. The board will need to be altered though, before we can accept it as a possible cult board. Other boards which make it onto the list of possibles are Elix’s R1X,XL (also to be altered), a board from Patrik which does not yet exist and if Mike Zajicek wants to make our cult board then he is on the shaper’s list automatically.
It occurred to me that once you start specifying what you do not want in a particular design, you also need to say what you do want. Here is what we want in my opinion:
- Light construction (under 8kg)
- 90cm width
- 150 litres volume
- Over 245cm length
- Able to carry cammed sails of 10m+ with a 60cm fin and also perform with a camless 7.8m sail with a 50cm fin (sails from 7.5 – 10m).
- Very early to plane, very easy to gybe and keep planing through. Effortless control at speed.
- Extremely high top speed in medium winds
- A finger slot for carrying (see RRD X-Fire Lightwind)
- Light straps (see Starboard iSonics)
- Two strap position rows.
- We may need to ditch the cut-outs and may even require something like a diamond tail. (?)
The big problem with the Elix XL is the length - only 232cm so not acceptable. Another concern with this board is the bottom shape. I notice a pronounced V and I’m not sure that this is what we need for the sort of speeds and acceleration I envisage. I may be wrong here of course.
The Elix is definitely an interesting proposition but there are too many unknowns. If we exclude it then we are left with three potential boards.
The first is a board from Patrik.
This awesome machine (which only exists in my head at this time), uses his Formula v4 hollow board as a starting point. 5cm is removed from each edge to arrive at our required width of 90cm. The board is then stretched to achieve a length of 245cm. Two footstrap rows are required, a finger recess for carrying and hey presto we have one version of our dream board – the Patrik Lightspeed.
The bottom would look something like this but as I said, the cut-outs may have to be ditched. Note how flat the underside is. Simple and fast!
Patrik, if you are out there, please build the Lightspeed immediately!
We could do a similar exercise with the Fanatic Falcon 152 which, since it is already 90cm wide, would only need to be stretched to make the grade (once the straps are sorted of course). This is my stretched 152 concept.
Dan, please join the quest to advance this board class. Build the Falcon Wing 152 and make so many windsurfers very stoked.
Mike, you automatically join my list of chosen shapers to build your version of the vision. Here is the imagined Mike’s Lab Megaflight - a board one would purchase and keep for life as a prized possession!
There you have it. Three blueprints for a memorable windsurfing concept.
Good winds to those of you not getting too cold