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


  1. I believe Patrik either acquired either the license or company called Airinside that was manufacturing hollow boards out of Switzerland, close to 10 years ago.

    They manufactured a single range of free ride boards with two volumes, one 110ish liter range, the other around 130, if memory serves.

    Both were incredibly light even for today's standards ... the kind of numbers you would expect to read in a gossip column about the UFO at the Roswell incident (the larger one boasting no more than 6kg, the smaller one just about 5kg).

    What is more important however, was their sturdiness, as demonstrated in the youtube link below:

    Their old site also made mention of a slalom version to be designed and manufactured for Patrik Diethelm and it so turns out that a Formula Board was manufactured first, followed by a slalom variant, only recently in 2017.

    I am surprised that the website hasn't been updated, not only to highlight the new hollow slalom board, but also to list two alternative constructions for their existing line up (budget/high end etc).

    As a relative new bee to the sport, I rode the freeride version of Patrik's boards and found them (even considering my novice capabilities then) to be incredibly easy to handle and plane.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Mert.

      I remember the old Airinside boards well.

      I wonder if the specialized manufacturing technology of these boards means that numbers are very limited (no volume production by the Cobra factory). They may only be available to team members and connected persons.

      I agree with you about the lack of marketing on the hollow boards and also on his new line-up.

      We are all interested and some of us have actual money to spend on equipment but first would like to see what is on the menu.

      Please allow us to give you money Mr Diethelm!

      All the best

  2. Phil,

    As far as I remember – and I don’t know how I got this information but Diethelm doesn’t his boards built by Cobra but instead uses a shop in the Ukraine. (I remember trying to make sense of this, and figured that since the country has a well established aerospace industry, composites are also easier to come by, as is the expertise necessary to use these (vacuuming, ovening etc) in any capacity (civilian or military).

    About a year ago, I set out with a pet project to build my own board with off the rack equipment just for the thrill of riding something that I myself built – and not so much for the purpose of making a living out of this vocation.

    During the initial “exploratory” stages of this endeavour, I thought long and hard as to how a hollow board could be manufactured without any sophisticated molding equipment. I know that hollow boards are readily available in the world of ‘wave surfing’ but I was not convinced that the methods they used there would be sufficient to create a board that would withstand the stresses that a windsurf board would have to withstand.

    So after much thought, I drew out a method – though I haven’t managed to test this out. It goes as follows:

    Just like in a regular board, you take an eps core / blank and add t-strings : not only along the length of the board (ie longitudunally) as they typrically do, but along certain latitudes (ie from side to side) to form a sort of rib cage. If you have the budget use carbon fiber plates. If not traditional balsa wood. Make sure that the core is shaped minuted smaller than you would do for a typical board. And here is why:

    Once the blank and its “skeleton” have been shaped, you proceed to wrap it with several layers of composites, much more than usual to provide a thicker skin to the board.

    Once this is complete, (fin box, foot inserts, mast trail etc all included), pour nail polish remover (acetone) through the vent hole..The eps will start to liquify. One you allow for it to evaporate/pour away, you will end up with a hollow board and its the remaining thick skin and skeletal structure that will provide structural integrity.

    Mr. Diethelm? Do I have the right idea? 

    But yeah...this method would take suuuuuch a long time 