A few years ago (2010-2011), when speedsurfingblog was full speed (and me too on the water) I was always into a long distance session. Crossing afsluitdijk, or other crossings. My current surfspot is the area between Amsterdam Zeeburg - Muiderberg - Almere - Uitdam. I have researching the internet and found Arnoud the Rosnay, pretty cool stuff!!
I haven't made an gps-crossing account yet, also I currently don't use/have a GPS. However I enjoy planning a crossing, preparing equipment and myself for such a crossing. When I windsurf it is about making a journey, instead of focus on 2 or 10 seconds. I like the idea of connecting and crossing two locations just by the wind.
I changed equipment to fit crossings (read more safety):
- Changed to sails on RDM masts (I have now a Loft Blade), a broken mast when 10km from shore is dangerous
- Fins have been made less sharp. Latest session this year I managed to cut myself on my fin. I was 15 minutes sailing from the beach. That was an event that made me aware a less sharp fin and tougher wetsuit would be more safe
- less weight is easier over distance. It is true more weight does give more speed at the moment the wind falls away. But that is not a problem, its open water and stable wind. The best is not to fatigue quick and have fun (instead of fighting with the elements)
- small emergency kit
- knive- screwdrive
- spare fin (small widebase?)
- some fresh water
- an easy (wrist?) gps for navigation. I tried a normal sailboat compass, but windsurfing and reading a compass was not working due the motion of the equipment.
Much more to come and explore about crossings.. It is a new thing and we windsurfers should explore which equipment and combinations would be best for crossings.
When the equipment is perfect I will try to do the longest distance over Markermeer from Zeeburg.
Speedsurfingblog.com founded by Erik in the Netherlands in 2008. Once it was THE site about the extreme speed windsurfing discipline:
"le blog d'Erik Loots : Toujours de super articles (en anglais) orientés" - windsurfing44.com
"Erik is al enkele jaren goed bezig met zijn blog speedsurfingblog.com en laat zien dat je het speedsurfen technisch dient te bekijken om de grote stap voorwaarts te maken." - dailybits.be
"Feel the Need" - beach telegraph
"Populaire links" - windsurfing.nl
Now about exploring and new adventures in windsurfing. Still about moving boundaries and going fast, but not anymore for 1 or 10 seconds. It is about crossing places, making a journey from one to another place by windsurfing. The crossing may be as small as one nautical mile up to hundreds or even thousands of nautical miles. It is about making it from A to B and preferably as quick and safe as possible. Everything has to be re-thought, the ideal settings, equipment, safety measures, etc.
Back into Speedsurfing?
Erik does not want to do speedsurfing at this point of time. However he is still excited about water, wind, windsurfing, going FAST, gps, improving and challenges. The decision to stop speedsurfing(blog) in 2011 was made because Erik lost fun doing speedsurfing. In the end being mr. speedsurfingblog lead to intimidation practices from others with stakeholders in speedsurfing (speedevent organiser, former windsurfequipment sponsor, manufactorers and 'competitor' speedsurfers).
"Assumption is the mother of all mistakes", I heard this quote yesterday and this inspired me for this blogpost (and yes I did miss the only good day with wind). Assumptions can limit your achievements and if you are trying to windsurf as fast as possible I would recommend not to assume the following:
#1 The flatter the water, the higher the speed
You would think flatter water is faster... In theory at least. In the real world there is something else which shouldn't be forgotten. The sport we are doing is wind-surfing, wind = air + surfing = water. To go as fast as possible we do not only need flat water, we need flat water PLUS good wind. Our eyes can easily see the difference between flat water or choppy water, it is hard to see the difference between good wind and bad wind.
How to deal with turbulent water (chop):
Chop can be very consistent and if not, it is possible to recognize a monster-chop ahead of you. You can actually decide to avoid these chop deviations. If chop is consistent there is a way to fly over the chop, it is just a matter of the right fin, board and sail. Even if chop is 0,2m, 0,4m up till 1m. If the water is flat it is offcourse easier. BUT if the water is choppy it is easier to find a quick set-up.
How to deal with turbulent wind:
Bad winds: on-off winds, wind rotating in different directions, only wind in the top of the sail. The problem is bad winds are unpredictable, you actually cannot see the windspeed in the top of the sail before it hits the sail. Water cannot change in direction, water is visible at 2, 5, 10 and even 100 m ahead. If you are sailing in turbulent winds you are at the mercy of the wind.
What to do?
-If you are driven to get the best out of each windsurf session
-If you are focussed on being the fastest windsurfer you could be
-If you like to compare your speed with others and do a honest bit of racing
-If there is nothing worse for you than a day where everyone had a gust except you
The key to success (if you recognize the conditions above) is simple, focus on relative speed* and know your numbers. If you are light you will be more sensitive to turbulent wind, if you are heavy you will be more sensitive to chop (or at least manoeuvres around chop at speed). Sometimes it is just better for you to go to another spot or place on the spot, and this is not for all windsurfers the same!
-If you are light it is interesting to trim to sail a bit more downwind with
consistent winds and/or less crowded spot, (course 2, figure 2). You might be amazed what a slightly bigger slalomboard can do over chop compared to a speedboard.
-For heavier guys it is best to prevent locations where it is possible to sail free with consistent increasing windgusts, you'll have an advantage compared to others in hammergusts where the water is easy and you can fix your course (course 1, figure 2).
Let us know if you tried our theory and how it worked out for you. There are many ways to use this theory your benefit, you will grow and have more fun as a speedsurfer as long as you are able to build confidence and know your numbers.
*relative speed is the speed for a given location, for example 35kn is fast for a lake and slow for Sandy Point