Thursday, September 27, 2012

PWA Live Webcast · Booms · First Big Swell

The last stop on the 2012 PWA World Tour, set to run September 28 - October 7, is in the coastal town of Westerland in Sylt, Germany on the shore of the North Sea. If conditions allow, there will competition in all 3 disciplines: Wave - men and women, Slalom - men, Freestyle - men. The PWA says, "this is one the biggest and longest running windsurfing events on the planet...200,000 spectators on the beach..."

Below is a scaled Iframe of the PWA Live Page where they mash up all the live reporting from the event on one page. This page is a significant development that sets a  new standard for reporting  and promoting competitive windsurfing. To turn off the volume, click the pause button in the middle of the video player or mute the volume button just below the screen. The half scale Iframe page below is fully active just like the page it mirrors: all the button/links work. To see better, zoom your page. The latest addition to this page is the judges Live Score Sheet located just to the right of the video player during competition. This Iframe may not scale correctly in Chrome or Firefox.

Remember, Sylt is 6 hours ahead of EDT.

(Live Page has been changed because of automated audio feed from PWA Home Page when not doing a contest.)

Booms · I had hoped to collate a massive survey of all the booms available to North America.  Putting all the critical dimensions in one place so comparisons could be easily viewed was perhaps a good idea, but alas, it was too much data to effectively assemble and use in the space of this blog. However, I did learn a lot. First and foremost, there are a lot of booms available to windsurfers in North America and most likely the rest of the western hemisphere. I found 11 different companies that either make or produce uniquely branded booms. We hold these truths to be self evident...better sail performance comes from booms that flex less...carbon booms are stiffer than aluminum booms...carbon is longer lasting than aluminum...carbon costs more than aluminum.
Booms have 3 basic parts: the head, the part that ties to the mast; the body, the part you grip; the tailpiece, the part that adjusts to fit different sail sizes. Boom bodies utilize either the stronger monocoque, one piece construction, or the less expensive, 2 separate arms joined at the head construction. Booms are built from carbon or aluminum. Monocoque construction is considered superior to all other methods.
In recent years, boom heads have received the most innovation and development. Three outstanding examples can be found at Maui SailsNorth Sails and Streamlined. Surprisingly, boom arm diameters differ from brand to brand, albeit only slightly, from the smallest carbon arm by Severne at 25 mm and Aeron's 26 mm aluminum booms to Maui Sail's 32.5 mm big race booms. Carbon's appreciably lighter weight is more noticeable as the boom gets bigger. Similarly sized carbon booms are very close in weight from brand to brand. One dimension usually not considered when comparing brands is maximum boom width which does vary from brand to brand. 
If you're looking for advice as to what to buy, have a look at this forum thread. Also, contact the distributor or the manufacturer and ask how easy it will be to get replacement parts in case something breaks.

Compare Chinook's weights below. Note that the Sport (Al) is their price point model utilising the 2 arm boom body and made overseas. Both the Pro 1 Carbon and Alloy (Al) use a monocoque construction.
Product Name  · Boom Dimensions · Weight in Pounds
  • Pro 1 Carbon 135 - 185 · 4.55
  • Pro 1 Carbon 150 - 200 · 4.75
  • Pro 1 Carbon 169 - 226 · 5.15
  • Pro 1 Carbon 180 - 246 · 5.50  
  • Pro 1 Carbon 200 - 260 · 6.94
  • Pro 1 Alloy    135 - 197 · 5.60
  • Pro 1 Alloy    150 - 212 · 6.00
  • Pro 1 Alloy    165 - 227 · 6.24
  • Pro 1 Alloy    185 - 247 · 8.30
  • Pro 1 Alloy    225 - 287 · 8.90
  • Sport              129 - 191 · 5.85
  • Sport              152 - 214 · 6.25
  • Sport              182 - 244 · 6.80
  • Youth             120 - 160 · 3.5 

  • Every brand makes an appropiately sized kids/youth boom. Please Note: survey information for every brand below are missing this, usually just one boom, in the survey totals.

    1. Chinook produces 3 different models. They have been making booms here in the US since 1987 and, some will say, make the most widely used booms in North America. Contact.

    2. Maui Sails started making booms in 2006. Their unique boom head, wide body tail pieces and the industry's largest race boom are just some of the examples that demonstrate the creative energy that has gone into their boom lines. Only their carbon booms feature the monocoque construction. Aluminum booms are also available. Contact.

    3. North Sails makes 4 different model lines: 1 carbon and 3 aluminum. All use monocoque construction.  Their boom lines have lots of innovative engineering. Featured on all, is their unique boom head with multiple trim and tunning options. Contact.

    4. Aeron makes 4 different model lines: 1 carbon, 1 aluminum carbon  hybrid, 2 aluminum. Lots of innovation from this new company including the industry's smallest diameter aluminum arms at 26 mm, a new V Grip extrusion for improved stiffness in aluminum and a hybrid aluminum body with a carbon tail piece. All booms are monocoque construction.  For more product info, Contact.

    5. Streamlined stands outs in the boom market for their innovative boom head available for sdms and rdms. They make the "Josh Angulo True Performance Booms" in 3 sizes: 140 - 190 * 170 - 220 * 155 - 205.

    6. Aerotech Sails uses the Epic Gear Brand which has 3 boom model lines: 1 carbon and 2 aluminum. 2 of their boom lines are monocoque construction. Contact.

    7. Neil Pryde makes 4 different model lines: 1 carbon, 1 carbon aluminum hybrid and 2 aluminum. All are monocoque construction.

    8. Simmer Style makes 4 different model lines: 1 carbon, 1 carbon aluminum hybrid and 2 aluminum. All are monocoque construction. They have a V-Grip boom. Contact.

    9. Unifiber makes 7 different model lines, all but one are monocoque construction: 4 aluminum and 3 carbon. They make the only 26 mm carbon body in one size: 140 - 190. Contact.

    10. Severne Sails makes 4 different model lines, all but one are monocoque construction: 3 aluminum and 1 carbon. Their Enigma carbon wave booms claim the worlds smallest diameter arms at 25 mm. Contact.

    11. Naish makes 3 booms, all are carbon and and monocoque construction. Contact.

    Fiberspar (the windsurfing component company) still turns up on retail websites, but has most likely gone out of business. They have no website and their former distributor, Bic North America, dropped them a year and a half ago. Bic N.A. does have a small supply of the twist locks. Windance sells the front end repair kit.

    Maui's first big swell of the season...Jeff Bennett rang the bell by passing on the swell forecast from the famous, Pat Caldwell: "...Surf should build to high levels overnight Saturday, with the episode peaking Sunday morning from 320-340 degrees. Surf should drop to within moderate to near high levels on Monday." Jimmie Hepp caught the action of the 1st BIG Day of Winter 2012: Bernd Roediger was the first one out:

    The Fish Bowl Diaries were there too and recorded the day. Levi Siver charging...

    Bernd Roediger all in on the gnarly day...windorwithout added: "...the lifeguards were reported to have rescued at least 9 people and though it was crowded there were plenty of waves for everyone. uppers regulars enjoyed 25 foot faces (gulp), broken masts, and big westerlies..."

     And back east, on the mainland in Hatteras, Ramp 44 was pumping.


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