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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Foiling Post


I have decided to start posting more about foiling.  I recon about one in four posts going forward will be dedicated to this new branch of our sport.

In this post I will share some reader feedback, give my opinion on some developments, look at a surprisingly tasty foiling solution from Pryde, and give a nod to Select who seem to have given their entry into foiling some intelligent thought.

Here goes

Reader Feedback and Loke Foils

A Dutch reader who identifies as “Unknown” tells me that the Pryde Aluminium foils have shown a tendency to deform when really loaded.  He adds that they are also heavy and can fill with water.  I can appreciate this and would personally not spend money on an aluminium foil.  Carbon or nothing!

Unknown says that most of the new foilers in his circle use Loke foils.  I have to say I have been impressed with the appearance of Loke’s products since discovering them some months ago.  

I like the wrap effect they have going on around the mast and also the flange they incorporate to dissipate the load away from the fin box.  Pierre Mortefon is one of their team riders which says a lot about their professionalism.

We may not understand their description ("..ont the globality of the fin box..." wtf?) but we understand how the system works

I have said it before – why are so many other foil makers not incorporating this function?  I currently own four deep Tuttle box boards, any of which could be used to try foiling but I would not want to risk breaking the fin box of any of them.


The Pryde solution I find appealing is the RS:X Convertible range.  These are products developed for the next Olympic games and I have to say that they seem so much more relevant to our sport than Olympic windsurfing products of the past.

The board is a high carbon, feather light slalom shape whose design and construction are perfect for slalom blasting and for foiling.  How awesome is that!

The board is 80cm wide, 134l and only weighs 6.7kg. 

You can buy this board with two proprietary carbon fins (41 and 43) for slalom blasting, and a neat looking foil.  

The foil has the option of mounting the front wing further back for learning (more stability, not so much speed) and further forward for when you are ready for all out racing.  Nice!

Proper fins!

They have not matched their text to the images but we get the picture

Furthermore, if you have a kid who is really gifted and fired up – use the Pryde kit to prepare him or her for the next Olympics!

Just think about it - the above combination covers all of your light wind requirements.  Fly in 8 to 12 knots and when the wind picks up, switch to a regular slalom set-up.  Screw in the big fin and blast with your 7.5m NCX.  Change down on fin size, click on your 6.5m Gator and hold on into strong winds.  You can kiss your formula board, giant sails, long masts and booms goodbye.  Yay!


Looking at Select’s foil I have to be impressed.  They have teamed with Taaroa, the kitefoiling grandmasters, to develop their product.

  •          Kick-ass French manufacturer – tick.
  •          Underside fin-head flange to spread loads away                    from box – tick
  •          Deck-plate at fin head bolts to further spread                        bending loads - tick
  •          Full carbon construction – tick
  •          Etc

Well done Select.  Very impressive!

That’s all for now

Good winds

PS - Please remember Romain's foiling site.  He has good videos and useful information.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

2018 Equipment - Some Commentary


A lot of 2018 kit has appeared on the various sites.  Here is commentary on some of the interesting developments:

  • The new Warp looks quite tasty.  I like the scrim batten pockets – very cool.

  • The 2018 Falcons look the part once again with the bigger sizes now being foil-ready.  
  • Their new Blasts come with a Textreme option and fin-boxes are now Tuttle across the range.  Makes sense.

  • Starboard has merged their old Carve and AtomIQ shapes to give us the CarveIQ.  This should be a relaxed but fast ride, given the strengths of the outgoing shapes.  All sizes come with Tuttle boxes, some foil ready.
  •  The new ISonics look great as always and foil boxes are in all the big sizes (117 litres and up).
  • Starboard are making a good effort to reduce the carbon footprint of all of their boards through clever material selection and innovative construction methods.  Nice to see.

  •  Naish are re-positioning their focus in the water sports market.  They seem to have dropped a whole slew of board models leaving just two wave shapes as their total serious windsurf board range for 2018.  They may have more stuff coming – I’m not sure.  All they show right now is the two wave models and a beginner board. 
  • They may see foiling, SUP and kiting as being more viable markets going forward. (?)
  • If they leave our market space, I for one, will miss them.   

  • Severne’s new race sail is not on the site yet but I have discovered it here and there around the Internet.  It is to be named the Mach 1 and seems simpler than the outgoing Reflexes.  The fiddly, secondary reflex batten tensioners are gone.  Good plan!  

The Mach1 looks like a serious piece of kit.  We will need to watch its performance on the race circuits but I have a good feeling.  

  • All they need to do now is drop one batten from each size and remove the final bit of overhang above boom end.    Almost there guys!


Here is an attractive array of colours for the new year.  No specs yet but easy on the eye.

Good winds

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Best High Wind Sail and Commentary on some Recent PWA Action

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.  

I once heard Juju described as a sailor who can enter a gybe in 7th position and exit in 3rd.  We see him doing exactly this to Antoine in the final gybe of this race.

Good winds

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Foiling Post


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.

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


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 []
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2017 06:48 PM
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!

Talk to you soon