Friday, May 18, 2018

First PWA Racing of the Season, New Equipment and a note about Free-Race Boards



The first PWA event took place recently in Japan.  

The slalom heats were few because the wind was extremely unsteady but there are a few observations to be made.

The first observation is that the foiling side of things seems to have come of age.  It is closely fought and quite entertaining to watch.  Gonzalo has emerged as the guy to beat having dedicated himself to the discipline over the winter.
Gonzalo is on Starboard/Severne and is flying.  The new Severne Hyperglide sails seem to be pretty much foiling state-of-the-art at this point in time.

Many of the riders prefer sails other than pure racing designs for foiling (Julien Quentel uses Tempests – not the new Machine M-6 race models for example).

Interesting though, is that the Pryde sailors have no problem with their new race blades – foil or slalom – bring it on.  This attests to the user friendliness of the design and to underscore this, Antoine won the slalom racing and came second in the foiling – on the same sails.

When Pryde launched this model with its fresh shaping and reduced batten count, I predicted that it would prove to be something special.  It is still early days but watch this space.

New Equipment

RRD is getting serious about foiling at the highest levels and is about to release their new foiling board.  They clearly wanted to give Antoine the best chance of winning and so, made a proper, light, purpose built, foiling machine.  Nice!

Fanatic has released the Jag Ltd, a freerace board which looks interesting.  The Blast is more of a high speed freeride machine I suppose, so the new Jag makes sense as a useful addition to their line-up.
I note that the construction of the Jag is the same as the Gecko so it might be quite heavy.  I’m not sure why they would not have a textreme option for those of us allergic to heavy stuff.  

The weights of the new boards are not shown on the spec sheet which makes me extremely nervous.

The boards come with Choco Black Pearl fins which are decent blades.  You could easily take the supplied fin as your middle size and supplement with something like a Tectonics (Phoenix or Falcon) for your smaller size and a full on carbon fin for the larger size.  One board/ three fins/ job done.

Besides the concerns regarding the weight of the Jags, I would only say that the straps look too far back for me.  This is a 100%, sitting - in - armchair opinion of course but I just have the feeling that the straps are too crowded towards the back of the board.  This is better for speed I suppose but I don’t know.  

I would need to sail a Jag to get some sort of feel.  Buying one blind would definitely not happen whereas if I were to get a good deal on any of the other boards listed below, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it untried.

The Free-Race Board

The new Jag is one of many free-race designs on the market right now.  Off the top of my head these are the models I would be looking at if I needed to choose one:
  • Severne Fox 
  • RRD Firestorm Ltd 
  • Patrik F-Race 
  • Starboard Futura 
  • Goya Bolt Pro 
  • Fanatic Jag (need to try first)
Severne’s Fox is the only power box board here which is not a problem in the smaller sizes but in the bigger sizes I would definitely prefer Tuttle and deep Tuttle boxes.

Why I fancy these designs in the appropriate size, is because they:
  • Are longer than their slalom counterparts 
  • Have inboard strap plugs for those of us tired of stepping into the water trying to get feet into slalom straps. 
  • Can be sailed very happily with freeride, free-slalom or full race sails 
  • Can be sailed with a range of fin types – from wild water shapes to full carbon race blades 
  • Are so much more enjoyable to sail than slalom boards in all but the flattest conditions.
For my weight, I would order one of these boards of around 70cm wide.  Anything bigger would need to be pure slalom and anything smaller would be a fast free-wave board.  

I may share a few thoughts about some fast free-wave shapes in an upcoming post.

OK, that’s all for now.

Good winds and stay sheeted in   


  1. Futura...The tie figher of surf boards. This stuff is military grade and should not be given to civilians.

    Rented a 2018 model 107L. They misplaced the fin with some old free race fin (not the one that comes in the box) and hooked it up with a 2 season old 6.5 NCX (way out of tune).

    Did 30 knots on the first run.

    And in terms of my abilities as a sailor...Let me put it this way...If I entered a professional race today, I would be 52nd out of 50 people :))))

  2. Hi Mert
    I have to agree about the "non-civilian" attributes of the Futura. Not for the timid!
    Also, with 30 knots I recon you would be higher up the ladder than you think.
    Phil (from remote computer)

  3. If they were building the foil board for Albeau, looks like it might have been too late!