I have been waiting for some of the 2018 equipment ranges which have still not been introduced.
Patrik finally introduced his new slalom range which now includes two construction options. He is still not showing his hollow boards which would make three.
Anyway the two constructions on the site are GBM (high spec) and GET (lower spec). The red GET boards are quite attractive, not much heavier but more flexible (probably good for control in the smaller sizes).
What concerns me slightly is that the two construction lines seem to be different designs. Here is the 130l version of each construction. Have a look and see what you think:
All the sizes seem to show slight differences between grey and red models. What gives?
I am still waiting for MB slalom and free ride models, most of the Avanti sail line, Naish’s 2018 Starship etc. Angulo may have thrown in the towel. They have had no new stuff on their site since 2016 and Peter Bijl has nothing on the sales part of his site.
These things are easy to complain about but the sad thing is that they all point to troubles in the industry. The traditional windsurfing market is shrinking and everyone (each supplier and consumer) needs to consider the way forward.
Suppliers clearly need to broaden their customer base with kiting, SUP, foiling, apparel pure surfing etc, with windsurfing being a shrinking part of what they offer. The industry also needs to develop a business model to give the best chance of surviving.
I’m not sure what such a model may be. Maybe everyone signs on to the central manufacture of accessories (lines, extensions, mast feet, booms etc), standardized and manufactured in one place to contain costs. I’m thinking three levels of each thing (high tech, medium tech and budget). Each supplier would then merely choose a technology from the factory, have its branding affixed and take bulk orders.
Another approach could be to decentralise the whole thing, manufacturing small quantities of equipment in a range of small facilities spread across the windsurfing globe. This could be done using a combination of clever licensing agreements and strict quality control together with modern manufacturing and materials technologies. Such an approach could be both lean and flexible. I may share some ideas about this in a future post.
Anyway, here are three nice new developments:
Mert Ozener alerted me to RRD’s new aluminium foil, sporting an adaptable mast head which can be configured to accept a whole range of fin boxes.
This is really intelligent and commendable.
The pity is that it is only available in aluminium. I suppose CF is more difficult to set bolts into. They prefer to mould everything into one piece for integrity. Anyway - well done RRD.
Gareth Hill mailed me from England saying that he has ordered a Fly-Fin from FRPGear. Gareth is one of our local sailors who has homes both here and in England, allowing him to live (and sail) in perpetual summer. He is also a competent windsurfer who will provide feedback on the fin’s performance in terms we can all understand and relate to.
The guys at FRP have produced a large (and slightly bewildering) variety of shapes for their fins and have even made their own board. Fantastic!
I’m not sure if all of this stuff works for normal high performance blasters but I admire the energy, enthusiasm and inventiveness of these guys.
Their fabrication is top-notch because of their history with the technologies. Gareth is going to give us feedback on the fin he has ordered and I can’t wait.
Danny Bruch is in the process of establishing a new windsurfing brand. It will be known as Diamond Boards and it promises to be something special.
Danny, as most of you will know, is a world ranked windsurfer who spent many years developing boards for Starboard.
He has moved to Tenerife where he has organised a manufacturing facility very close to his local windy beach. Very nice.
The set-up provides an opportunity to manufacture in the morning and test the very next day, an example of the lean, flexible approach mentioned above.
Danny compares his concept with the established Cobra factory based approach where you fly to Thailand, fashion your proto-types with the factory, fly to a suitable testing venue with the proto-types, test them, amend shapes where necessary, fly back to Thailand and furnish the final amended plans for volume production. This is a hugely wasteful process and Danny’s set-up is so much more elegant.
Diamond Boards will offer their own proprietary shapes covering all the windsurfing disciplines but will also offer the opportunity for you to specify something tailored to your own needs.
Say you really like your Starboard Kode Feewave, but would prefer it with a power box centre fin. You could specify such a thing, lodge your payment and await delivery. Very cool!