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28 January 2012

Close footstrap position best? Read this and think again

If you think the smaller distance between front and backfootstrap the better, read this and think again. Maybe adjusting stance on boards is not always the best solution...

Making the distance smaller between footstraps is kind of like getting in a racecar, move the carseat in front position. Now you don't have to push the pedal because your right foot is pushed on full thottle, might be fine on the straight/flat. But full throttle in every corner or bump you will lose your advantage and I hope you can find some way not to lose grip and crash the car. Corners and bumps happen quite a lot is real windsurf conditions, straight racetracks on the water are rare.

First thing to know, for speed its way more important to keep the backfootstrap in most rear position. The distance between footstraps comes second, having hard time keeping your front foot in the strap can also often be found by sailtype. For example the extreme neilpryde rsr has not so much front footpressure, (you need closer stance compared to others, even sometimes the board needs to be adjusted and you need to make new footstrap positions...). Other cases like my severne reflex (especially the first one) had loads of frontfoot pressure, I actually had to make the stance 5cm wider compared to a NP. For the real speedaddicted windsurfer you could try adjust your sailtype by changing mast bendcurve- stiffness, but collecting 100% masts is quite an expensive hobby... 

HINT: If you like to sail with a very very very small sail, trimmed very very very powerful (like Martin van Meurs). You're most likely the guy having problems with a to wide stance.

2nd HINT: Well if your frontfoot is still flying, no matter which sail you take... Try a smaller fin, or try to give the fin more rake

3th HINT: Still problems huh? Now if you like to sail with the harnasslines exactly on the right spot this might be the problem. Its easier/better to move the harnasslines just a touch to the back..

4th HINT: Oh no, your frontfoot is still not touching down and making the ride NO FUN? Maybe you're just that unlucky guy and 1 or 2 parts of your quiver absolutely don't match for your weight/size... Well easiest (and often cheapest) is just to try something else. Shit happens, sorry.

PRO-style: The real PRO speedsurfer has ofcourse 2 ways (you need a lot of equipment to achieve this):
- very very very small sail, trimmed very very very powerfull ; just in case there water is easy (chopless) and going straight downwind is the only thing to do there.
-normal trim, let say 7.0 optimized in a windrange from 18-28kn. Just to blast away from everyone on tight courses 70-110 degrees.

Hungry for even more? Where does this problem flying front feet come from? The placement of center of effort of the sail, read more here

24 January 2012

West Kirby fires for the second time in January

This time it was only the British, which is to be expected really as the forecast was not great. There were however some really great performances by Portland Pirates members Jim Crossley and Ian Richards. Zara Davis also broke her own World Speed record for Women. The wind was broader than Jan 3rd when records were smashed, which means considerable rolling swell towards the end of the 10 second run. This is what makes Jims 10sec average speeds remarkable.

Untitled from Chris Bates on Vimeo.

Jim rides for PuraVida Boardriders on Fanatic and North, but also has a Custom Moo which was born from the same cow as Steve Thorps world beater. It was this board that has put Jims abilities well and truly up there with the best. He scored a 5x10sec average of 45.08knots which means another UK rider is up there in the fun rank top ten. It looks like the visits from the Dutch big hitters has really boosted our performances, and maybe given a little confidence boost to the West Kirby crew that it is possible to compete with the best anywhere in the world.

Ian was using his old 2006 Fanatic Falcon Speed and a 2006 NP RS6 managed the peak of the day, with a 2sec of 47.59knots. Its great for both these guys as they have worked so hard over the last couple of years. Ian has literally travelled to the moon and back in terms of distance to score his sessions, while Jim missed out on the big day earlier this month.

Zara used her trusted Simmer SCR 5.5 and the new Mistral Speed 42 (an interesting board without a doubt) to become the first woman officially in the 40knot club with an average of 40.99 knots and a 2 sec max of 43.78. The gap is definitely closing now and we all hope this will inspire more women into this side of the sport.  Her husband Pete Davis also went on to gain a PB with an average of 41.22knots.

If heineken made windsurfing sails....
Photo by Karen McBarrons
The day even tempted kite speed champ Dave Williams back on the poles again and he too joined the 40club. My Hot Sails Maui team mate Jon White smashed his PB max with a max of 42.92 but just missed out on the 40 average. Both of these two have only attempted this at West Kirby a couple of times so it goes to show how high their skill level actually is to get such great speeds.

The winds look to be backing off here in the UK with a swing to colder north to east possible at the weekend. Here is wishing everyone a nice relaxing break ready to dominate the world scene again next month.

Good speed and winds
'The Bus'

08 January 2012

New quiver for 2012 and plans for reviews

Happy new year to all of you speedsurfers. It was a great start to the year with sessions across western Europe and many people scoring PB's within the first 3 days. West Kirby fired and many of you will have already read my report on it. For myself it was a great start as I received my new boards from Ian Kraft (Surfkraft) who is the UK agent for Exocet. The boards I have chosen to start my new quiver off are; the RS4, their full dedicated slalom board 69cm wide and 111l; and the SL Sport 78cm 129l. These boards are just the start, I intend to complement them with the smaller RS2 and RS1 (90l, 59cm and 80l, 54cm) once I have saved up enough pennies.

Martyn Ogier closing on 50knots on the HOT Sails GPS 5.5m
The reason for the board choice I made is this year I am entering the slalom and representing Exocet, Hot Sails Maui, Black Project fins and Windtek (local shop in Weymouth). The SL Sport is one of the boards that I reviewed last year, and I really enjoyed using it, it is a detuned slalom board that they call 'freerace'. A wolf in wolfs clothing more like, it is basically their older Warp with a nice red sanded back to carbon finish. For such a large board it is great fun to ride, and feels fast, gybes fast and will get me out with a nice 8.8m Hot Sails GPS in the lightest of winds.

The RS4 is a thing of beauty as well, my second session on it took me to just under 33knots (bear in mind that I have only peaked over 33 knots on  5 different sessions ever, and always on smaller kit). It is light, rides low/flat to the water giving a constant feeling of powered up control. I wrote my first feelings about the board in an article here.
Exocet RS4 69cm 111l board.
These boards will be powered by the Hot Sails GPS in sizes 8.8 - 8.0 - 7.3 - 6.6 - 6.0 - 5.5 which I think is a perfect spaced quiver, allowing for pairing of alternate sizes. What I mean is when the 8m gets too much then the 6.6 will be perfect etc, of course this depends on conditions but I do think it gives a lot of options making the choice of sail easier.   

Exocet SL Sport 78cm with Black Project Type R and S Fins
The fins I will be using are Black Project in sizes from 50cm down. My current quiver is shown in the picture, I need to add to this over time with some more Speed (Type S 26.5 and 24) and to fill in a couple of gaps for the Slalom/Race (Type R 50cm). They also do a Type X which is their custom Asymmetric speed rated fin, in sizes 40, 45 and 50 knots for Port or Starboard, I cant wait to have a go on one of these later this year, Pete Young scored a PB peak just over 48knots last week using their Type X 45.

This now brings me to the point of this article. What I want is some advice on how to use this to develop and train my Slalom technique before the British Slalom series starts at Easter Weekend. I have never raced slalom, I have only tried racing friends on my local salty lake so I am starting this from scratch. I am going to run a series of articles as I get to know the kit, and how my technique is developing over time to suit the Hot Sails GPS and Exocet Boards and how to get the most out of them. This will be both in a review format and a critique of my development in terms of speed and slalom sailing. What would you like to read about? What questions can I answer that would tempt you to have a go on this kit and try it out? Feel free to ask either through the comments on here or email me - .

Good speeds and winds
'The Bus'