The place sails are developed and tested...

The windsurfing research&development methods are sometimes questionable... I just want to stick to sails for this article. Now I was thinking a few minutes ago:

Who would be faster, the sandy point riders or the dutch top 10?

The dutch speedsurfers have claimed to be faster (The "wait till we go to sandy point hehe" thought). These are the reasons:
  • The KA Koncept is slower, some fast riders tested them on our waters. Not enough drive to accelerate on our courses. This is really not working, so far I know we don't have a long enough speedcourse that showed the Koncept potential. Or maybe another reason
  • Sandy Point is the fastest place in the world (curved course etc.), we don't have such a course
  • All these crazy findesigns that also don't work "great" around here. Wait till we take our "conventional" designs

Now I keep my eyes on the Australian speedsurfing websites too. Because I don't believe all written above is true. When I speak for results in the down-under, I could think up a few reasons why they could be faster:
  • With the Neilpryde RS:Racing Evo2, Chris Lockwood couldn't get settled on a recordday. I don't know it for sure, but I can imagen the sail being to powerfull. Before pryde nothing stopped Chris on sandy point. Maybe KA Koncept are not that bad...
  • Our findesigns from europe don't seem to accelerate that good on the sandy point course

Back to the story: I am getting more and more convinced there are big differences between speedspots. You can't trim for example one sail that is fastest in all conditions. But this is the keyword TRIM, which sail trimpossibilities allows the most conditions, with the highest average efficiency? I think the best average efficiency would be Neilpryde RS, but in some conditions there could be better solutions... For Sandy Point it would be very plausible the KA Koncept to be faster on recorddays.

In the Netherlands I had in a lot conditions problems with trimming the Gaastra Vapor 2008, however Robbert Seinen proved to be very fast with the same sail (in the Netherlands). Now Robbert is in some conditions fast or even some days unbeatable, would the Gaastra Vapor be fastest design on those days? I think so!!

To all developers in windsurfing industry I would like to say: Test on as much different surfspots as possible, this will help to see what the market really wants. Now some saildesigns only suit a very small group of windsurfers sailing a few "not common" locations. Some brands have 3 different sails for straight out speed, I think you can make at least 2 different sailranges suitable for different conditions/needs. In the end this would mean overall higher speeds.

Erik Loots

Erik is windsurfer for 10+ years. In his daily life he is professional in construction dewatering, advisor, troubleshooter. Erik likes adventures, explore and to challenge himself. During his life he is trying to get the best out of it and have respect for the earth, nature and future generations. The modern world is about sharing, in this blog Erik shares his experiences, selfreflection and lessons learned.


  1. In the end it is the combination of conditions, rider, sail, board, fin. Too much variables to make an absolute statement about "who is the fastest", at least in my opinion. The only way to make a valueable statement is when people are competing in the same conditions during a contest like in a worldcup or speed worldcup or USM. Then the results are undisputed and not theoretical.
    Grtz: Luc

  2. Hmmm, My sources have it that the Koncept used for this so called test was a 2 year old superceeded model. It was also rigged on a non KA mast which was not to the recommended specification. Give this sail to a bunch of guy's who have no experience with it, don't know how to trim it correctly and then come to the conclusion that Koncepts are slow!!!

    The facts stand . Koncept is a highly competitive downwind speed sail, undisputed. Not all sailors at Sandy Point sail KA, all the major brands are represented amongst the regular crew. The Koncept more than holds it,s own.

    As for who's faster , Aussies or Dutch. There are daily flights to Melbourne and the Pit is a pleasant 2.5 hour drive.

    Maybe seeya there?

  3. Hi Martin,

    I don't question about who is faster for myself. When speaking for myself I am not comftable in conditions average windstrenght above 40kn or gusts above 45kn.

    Sooo I would put my money on the 'locals' from down under ;), in the Netherlands we have Martin van Meurs, he is I guess the most experienced in hardcore conditions.

    I hope someday to have enough experience to handle these hardcore conditions, only it is hard to get experienced? Maybe that is why the best of the best are all at least 30 yrs old?

    But thanks for the invitation, I will definitly go to "Sandy Point when its possible for me. Maybe next years speed fortnight...



  4. I don't get your point here Erik: "windsurfing research&development methods are sometimes questionable"??
    That's a bold statment.

    Like Luc said, it's all in the combination of sail, board, fin, rider and location.

    Koncepts are developed in Australia and prove to be fast there as well (and it's not that other brands are not sailed there). So what could be possibly wrong with the R&D methods there? That's not questionable, that's succesful R&D.

    Stuff developed there just proves to be very efficient for the conditions there. Although I cannot reach their awesome speeds overhere: I do happen to like KA's here as well :)

    The bigger the brand, the bigger the budgets, the easier it is to come up with lots's of sail lines and test them everywhere in the world.

    My sympathy goes to a small company doing their best given the location/budget.

    Just my 2 cents

  5. Hi Walther,

    Windsurfing research and development can be improved, that is my statement. Sometimes I don't believe how they came up with a great new concept, but there is a lot not competitive stuff in regular conditiosn, why not look further for improvements?

    I understand you like KA sails as well, but for me its not proven for example Brand X works good in all places of the world... You may know I use different setting on my sails for the spots I sail, the windflow is not the same on all places on earth. It has all kind of variables. Air temprature/ ground temprature/ upwind surface/ downwind surface/ more... Neilpryde allows a efficient ride for all conditions I have sailed so far.

    The changes I make to adapt to conditions are strong related to my sailingstyle. I won't state my findings, this is just because I know most readers won't go faster with the same adjustments. This finetuning you have to find 100% yourself. I tried to duplicate some fast riders style, but this just doesn't work...

    I wish there was one solution for all... But I am looking for the best compromize. For me at this moment Neilpryde RS:slalom mk3 has proven to work best in most conditions. I think with this experience everybody can buy a NP RS:slalom with rec. mast and go fast without many difficulties.



  6. -The KA Koncept is slower-
    -Maybe KA Koncept are not that bad...-

    okay i think you make a statement without trying the sails yourself?

    Hereby i invite all the "dutch speedsurfers" to try the KA Koncept on there homespot and i will make sure the rec. mast is in the sails and the sails are trimmed as recomanded.

    maybe it was better to do this before write down the statement.


  7. Hi Erik,
    Eventhough they are not developed here, my statement is that for the hobby racer the Koncept will prove to be lighter, more versatile, less mast sensitive and a less pricy compared to the RS Slalom.
    Furthermore it's less critical to trim, and therefore it's easier to unleash it's potential for the non pro rider. I'm not saying the RS Slaloms are better or worse, they are just different. I've sailed the RS Slalom only briefly and found it stable and powerful but also very (very)heavy, so they are not my cup of tea. In my opinion (as non pro fun speeder) the RS Slalom's are intended for a much more technical audience than the Koncept.

    Let the pro's settle their scores backed up by the companies who can afford them. It's not that KA can afford to buy pricy riders to 'prove' their product qualities all over the world (and for me, they don't need to). But I would lie if I said that I do not enjoy the major brand riders worrying about their kit after the recent speeds achieved at The Pit.

    I'm happy to notice a growing fan community having fun with the Koncepts, spreading the word. So the people who sail them can achieve nice results and are happy with them, just as you (on your level) are happy with your RS Slaloms. Let everybody sail his/her own race, and enjoy it, that's what counts on the long run.
    cya on the water

    I do wonder how the new KA Race (5 cam full race sail) will perform against the major other brands, given in the hands of equally good riders on the same spot ;) And as you, I also dream of going down under some time, just to see whether I would be faster there using the same kit as I use here....

  8. Peter,

    I never said the KA Koncept is slower from my experience. The statements should be well known for you, this are just the things I hear and see over the web, BUT absolutely not my statements (sorry if the article is not understood well). This article is pure to show the contrast between both ends of the world. For me it is very clear there must be some difference between both locations.

    I do understand you sell KA sails Peter, but speedsurfingblog is not about bullshit. I really believe these things above should be considered (by serious players in the bizz). It is plausible for me that both sailbrands designs seem to fit best the location of main-users.

    Peter for me it is no problem to do a testsession with KA Koncept and compare it with the RS:Slalom MK3 6.2?? Maybe this test can prove I am wrong, or not... I think you really believe in the KA Koncept, so maybe it is time to put it to the test and clear all rumors???

    One thing: I don't sell crap and I appreciate all these comments always good to hear other opinions, especially considering this article (which is more a question). All articles written are well foundated on experience or trustfull sources.

    And don't forget I can change my mind :). So please comment if I can be proven wrong!



  9. Walther,

    Your last post is very much spot on. Always look if the feeling/design of the sail fits to the surfer. You may know it took me 4-6 months before I was able to surf fast with Neilpryde (or as fast as Gaastra Vapor 2007)

    For less skilled/experienced surfers it is smart to look for gear that immediately matches. However to find the right gear is HARD and can only be doen by the surfer itself in an 1 to 1 test.

    For the best windsurfers in the world other things are important (the best windsurfers adapt within 1 minute or soo), and this article is more based on the needs for the best speedsurfers of the world. People like Peter de Wit or Chris Lockwood or Craig Spottiswood.

  10. Hi Erik,

    I think I understand the issue you post here,

    But it is very hard for a given brand X to test all there gear around the world in all possible conditions, but it would be a great step forward for all customers indeed!!

    In stead of testing the gear around the world they use info about the "old" gear and try to understand what happens and where, this is why I put a lot of time into reporting about the current gear to the brand's I use this will help the test riders in specific places understand the problems we encounter.

    Sometimes this reporting works too good and the sail or board is changed too much where they should have finetuned the stuff just mm.
    How can any body judge if a change is for the better for somebody on the other side of the world

    I also like to think (hope) there is a way to overcome all problems in one design but this is not reality...

    The way I see it is everybody should test and see what brand has the right compromise for you...

    On this part I agree!! R&D is not the strongest point of the surf bizz....


    Peter de Wit

  11. Great to see the KA supporters speaking out!!Keep it up. Ha!!

    Eric , If the point of your article is that some sails are better in certain conditions than others due to where they are tested, then to a certain degree you are probably correct.
    In the case of the smaller Koncepts 4.4 to 5.8 which are the true speed sails in the range, they are tested mainly at Sandy Point( but not solely, we have European and US team riders as well as riders from other Aussie venues)
    Sandy Point is a true downwind speed sailing venue so the Chief designer Andrew has come up with a shape that is highly efficient sailing at these broad angles. They also combine beautifully with the KA speed fins which are heavily raked and again optimised for true downwind speed sailing.
    This combination may not be quite as efficient when sailing on very square courses or upwind, granted.
    We are developing smaller sizes of the KaRace to better cover those conditions.

    I think that is the point of your article?

    Love to see you guy's down here some time. An Aussie vs Netherlands Challenge trophy!!!! There's an idea.

  12. In my opinion as a rider who surf neither NP nor KA, the main aspect of the artical was clear...

    But Martin's last comment explains some of the given speculations. The small KA are developed and tuned for speedsurfing. And to be honest, I don't think the NP RS are developed for speedsurfing. The main aspect is the PWA Slalom Competition, so of course there are differences. Maybe Erik isn't wrong if he says the NP RS was too powerful for Chris Lockwood on the record day. For beeing the best in the Slalom you need a huge acceleration and power. This might cost some highwind performace and maybe 0.5knots Topendspeed...

  13. I've been windsurfing 22 years and speed surfing for 2. The first time I took out my 4.4 Koncept at Sandy Point, I peaked over 40knots in 25 knots of wind. Now the thing that surprised me about this sail was how light it felt in your hands - a totally neutral feeling. I have used Neil Pryde sails for 20 years also.

    I have no doubt, especially now that I know more about the sails, how and why they were developed and under what conditions they are tested, that the small sizes are designed for true speedsailing - something Neil Pryde, Gaastra or North cannot claim. Their slalom and race sails are excellent, but are not specifically developed for optimum downwind speed sailing for the average person. In the hands of powerful pros like Antione or Finian, they excel. But I think it's clear now that even very good sailors like Chris Lockwood have a learning curve with their power and race oriented design.

    Happy sailing,
    Adrian Bonomi

  14. I think people need to try the KA Koncept as Peter has invited people to do so before believing the results of someones test.

    Personnally for me i find the KA Koncept to be one of the easiest sails i have used, and i have used North's, Gaastra's and Pryde's in the past but the main difference i found is how light the KA Koncept is in the hands. Everyone i let try the sails also commented on the this aswell

    My own speeds have improved aswell since i started using KA koncepts so they are definetly fast sails

    Give the sails a try and i think you will see for yourself how good the sails are

  15. An interesting discussion. As a user of the Ka,s for a long time it come down to this choice "What is the best/fastest sail for my budget" and at $2000Au for a Pryde Vs $1000 for a Ka the choice is easy.I do also own other brands but the Ka,s are just so easy to go fast and sail for very long distances. Its interesting that most of the major sail makers are still using the Ka computer program to design their sails. There are also not many sails that can handle 60kts of wind and still be fast.Spotty was still using a 5.0 in that wind. What wind does he need to rig the 4.4 and use it!!!!!!Come and join the GPS Team Challenge and test your selves against Aus,NZ,Jap and Cro teams in a friendy comp. Hopefully some of you can one day make it down to the Pit and see what a magical place we have.Make it soon as the sand dunes are getting bigger and it won,t be there for ever.See ya,Craig

  16. All surfers are different, so buying the fastest board, the fastest sail, the fastest fin, etc. is no garantee for super speeds. Its all about what you can/will do with the stuff you have. Do you for example look at the water before you decide what size sail to use or just at the anemometer ? Taking out a board with sharp edges on choppy water is killing your runs (maybe your knees as well) There are so many factors you have to take in account before getting it right. Even mentally, you shouldn't have to worry about a thing (if I fall here I could get.. costs you about 5 knots).
    Thank god saildesigners try to make great sails, that work in their best conditions. Imagine having a designer working in Holland, emphasis on the 2010 sails would probably be on sizes 6.0 -7.0 easy handling and 9.5-12.5 with loads of cams and virtually no twist. Something Aerotech did 5-6 years ago because winds were virtually absent during their summertests.

    Here in Europe you can have Pit-like conditions as well, we have got the Brace in Holland, West Kirby and the Ray in England, Tarifa Spain and Leucate and "the Spot" in France. Sailtesters/designers are at work there as well.

    Randy Zandbergen

  17. I like your comment Randy!!!

    BTW I don't have a hard time choosing sailsize... I only have a 6.2 or 5.5, I take the 5.5 when the wind doesn't drop below 20kn in gaps.