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.


    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    PWA Live Webcast · Fiona Wylde · RSX

    Kia Cold Hawaii · Last year this wave contest redefined gnarly...I mean, it was totally gnarly. And all of its gnarliness was broadcast live, setting a visual standard for all future windsurfing event webcasts. This year, first possible start of competition is Monday, September 17, at 1:00 PM local time (7:00 AM EDT - Denmark is 6 hours ahead of the US Eastern Daylight Time). Skippers meetings, starting Tuesday are set for 9:30 AM (local) everyday. Sunday, September 23, is the last possible day of competition.

     friendsofcoldhawaii at

    Klitmoller, Denmark on the shore of the North Sea, is the site of the penultimate event of the 2012 PWA World Tour. You can watch this wave contest live on the PWA website, the Cold Hawaii Website or this blog. Visit the PWA website for all of their regular coverage including the live video webcast, John Carter photos, daily video reports, Chris Yates' written daily event summaries, his live ticker, heat to heat reporting, bracket results and overall event standings. There's more coverage and reporting on the Cold Hawaii event website. The "absolute crown jewel" of their website is the Live Center where they will bring together the live video streaming, live scoring, live chat and live tweeting, all on one page. The scoring system will utilize the judges' electronic tablets which we will be able to follow live during the webcast. "...when Philip Köster, lands a double forward, we will know how perfect the judges thought it was almost instantly and whether it is good enough to beat a Kauli Seadi push loop forward..."

    .Fiona Wylde, 15 years old, was nominated for 3 awards this year. The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association nominated her for 2. She won the CGWA Award, Grom of the Year. They wrote: "She is the most stoked windsurfer I know. It doesn’t matter that she is a grom, she encourages and exudes stoke like no one else. Fiona continues to dominate windsurf competitions around the country. She has been killing it on the AWT. She was a staple in the Gorge Cup race series and she did extremely well at the US Windsurfing Nationals." She was 3rd overall in the 2012 Gorge Cup Race Series, finishing behind her dad, MacRae Wylde, and series winner, Bruce Peterson.  In Slalom at the US Nationals this year she was 14th overall. She ranks first on the 2012 AWT after the Hatteras Wave Jam.
    Fiona also won the Windsurfer of the Year contest (2012) held by the Association of Wind and Watersport Industries. The AWSI is an organization which represents the North American manufacturers, retailers and schools in the sports of Windsurfing, Kiteboarding and SUP. The contest promotes excellence in windsurfing and the winner is determined by public online voting based on an entrant’s video submission. Go to Windsport to see her contest video submission and her gracious thank you acknowledgement for being chosen AWSI Windsurfer of the Year.

    The RS:X Class has requested a judicial review in a London Court of the ISAF decision to add kite racing and drop the RS:X Class from the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Tactically, the class wants to expedite the review and the ISAF would rather delay. Both parties are focused on how the review might effect the ISAF annual meeting in early November. The ISAF Council stands by their mid year decision. No date for the judicial review has been set. An Executive Summary is available with Q & A's.

    Rory Ramsden, RS:X Class Secretary, recently reported: "Our wish is to resolve the current situation with all speed and reach a settlement which ensures that the Windsurfing versus Kitesurfing question is put back on the table for open discussion at the ISAF Conference in November, culminating in a revote on the event/equipment to be used for the boards event in 2016 Olympic Regatta."

    If this Olympic kitesurf versus windsurf debate grabs your interest, have a look at the Facebook Group, ISAF Atheletes Commission - The Sailors Voice!. They cover it all, from deeply researched fact based assertions to the old fashioned forum styled flamethrowing arguments. And if you find you just can't get enough of this kerfuffle, then you're sure to like the Facebook Group, Keep Windsurfing Olympic, that hears from both sides of the debate. The Petition to keep windsufring an Olympic discipline has 30,785 signatures.

    The latest issue of Windsport brings us the first person testimony of some aspiring Olympians from around the world who are affected by the ISAF decision. Buatista Birkner, 16 year old from Argentina, wrote: "The first thing I thought when I heard the decision was that the world was over. For the next couple of days I was depressed and didn't even want to go train. But then I realized that this sport is everything to me: It's my life..." If you can't find a copy of the magazine, have a look at this scanned copy of the article.
    US Olympian Bob Willis has already announced he would not return to the campaign trail for the 2016 Games even if the they reinstate the RS:X Class. However, if kite racing is the next board class for Brazil, Farrah Hall said she would campaign for a US Olympic berth. She reported to the Annapolis Patch: "It's disappointing, because I've put so much time and effort into this sport (windsurfing) —eight years now," she said. "I'd like to see that progress continue into Rio. But that may not happen." On the bright side, Hall said everyone involved with windsurfing would be starting out on the same footing by learning the ins and outs of kiteboarding over the next four years. That could create new opportunities. New stars could rise, she said. "The majority of people coming to kiteboarding would be ex-Olympic windsurfers, and they would radically change the sport," Hall said.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    The New Freemove Boards · Tips & Tricks

    There's a new trend in board design. And so far, 3 windsurfing companies have brought to market this new kind of board. The board makers call the new category freemove. These freemove boards share some common features. They are all wide for their volume; have thin rails and short lengths; claim early planing mojo; and tout a special zeal for turning and easy jibing.

    This new freemove group was started when RRD introduced the Firemove in 2011. And this year, similarly styled boards were also made by Fanatic: the Gecko and Exocet: the XCross. RRD must be really confident of this concept because the Firemove characteristics are showing up in some of their other board lines.

    RRD: The Firemove  comes in 5 different volumes and 3 different constructions. Here's the volume - width - length dimensions: [100 - 69 - 236] · [110 - 75 - 236] · [120 - 80 - 236] · [130 - 85 - 236] · [140 - 90 - 238]. There's no U.S. distributor for RRD at the moment. Many shops retail their products. Contact Isthmus for availability.

    A & O Sports reported: This was 'THE' standout in the Spring test (2011 WindSurfing Magazine) in Cape Hatteras this year. By far the most testers picked this board as one of their favorites. The best quote from the test has to be: "We. Want. This. Board. Everybody wants this board." Or maybe :"Awesome in every way. quick to plane and speedy with control.” Or maybe: "the RRD offered endless thrills in the least amount of wind, and often in the most wind. An absolute blast."
    James Lawrence  reported "...this board does not sail at all like it looks. Firstly it gets on the plane effortlessly, even when you can barely feel the wind (I weigh about 82KG and was using an Ezzy Freeride 3 in 7.5m), second it is very fast and stable through the chop with the straps in their middle setting, and thirdly, it turns effortlessly like a much narrower board maintaining a lot of speed through the carve. It really does feel like you are sailing a different board than the one you are looking at..."
    John Skye  added: "The RRD Firemove 100 is so versatile I have used it in loads of different conditions. Everything from small waves, bump and jump style, through to flat water slalom style blasting with big sails. As the Firemove is wider than normal, you have to basically add about 10-15L to the volume to get an idea of its relative size..."

    More Videos
    Exocet: The XCross comes in 2 different volumes with one construction. The volume - width - length dimensions: [115 - 75 - 240 ] · [130 - 82 - 240]. This board just recently made it to the U.S. Contact Sandy Point Progressive Sports for details.

    It's a new board and I haven't found any real reviews. I did run into the local Exocet team rider who was sailing the 82 wide XCross. The wind died, so no board testing results. The report below is more an explanation of potential than experience. The Windsurfing Shed from Australia reported: "The program for the Xcross is freeride/bump & jump and occasionally some small waves. The rails are really thin (same as the USurf 62), a fair bit of V but still quite a straight rocker. The volume is low compared to the board width. This versatile concept should be fun."

    Fanatic: The Gecko comes in 3 different sizes with one construction. The volume - width - length dimensions: [105 - 69 - 239] · [120 - 77 - 239] · [130 - 83 - 239]. Information on this board was posted to their website just weeks ago. Reviews are not yet available. Contact Next Sports in Miami for availablity: 305 255 0111.

    Long time, Fanatic Shaper Sebastian Wenzel talks about his recent creation: "To say this board is cutting-edge is an understatement – the ultra-thin rail edges let you dig as deep as you want in turns and extra width will save you from buying a bigger sail. If you’re looking for a board that planes early, with a balanced, compact outline to jump, slide and carve like never before all with way less volume – then the Gecko’s your perfect playmate."

    Tips & Tricks · Ever been waiting in the whitewater when the next set forces you to dive for safety and you come up to find your mast is broken? ~ Need some help with your bottom turn in onshore winds? ~ You've seen the better sailors fast tack. Now learn how. ~ Does it ever end, the help we need with jibes?

    Postcript · I added another report to last week's, Around the Marks · Da Interview, Kona North Americans segment including a new video from the event.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Around the Marks · Da Interview

    The 2012 Kona N. A. Championships were      hosted by Kona Midwest and local windsurfing org, Fleet 8, which was started 40 years ago in 1972. This event was financially supported by many non windsurfing sponsors. The championship was raced on Lake Waconia, August 23 - 26, in  the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. 53  racers registered for the competition.  Joachim Larsson, who lives in Sweden and is owner of the Kona One raceboard brand, took the top honors in the 10 race regatta. "Racing Kona is tight since the board speed doesn't vary much with the sailor skill, so the tactical decisions make more difference than in other classes. This made for interesting racing, especially in the last two races where we had the entire fleet of 50+ on the course" explained Arden Anderson.
    This was how they overcame and had a successful championship: "Credit over a dozen sponsors including the title sponsor, Lola’s Lakehouse who hosted a fantastic Welcome Party on Thursday. The only thing missing on Thursday was the container of 33 charter boards that had been held up for over a week on the U.S. border in North Dakota only because it shared a rail car with another container that was not customs legal...Switch to Plan B. After cleaning up from severe weather from Thursday evening, registration was completed and competitors were assigned their designated sail rigs. Between Fleet 8 and Kona Midwest, we had 15 boards. Fortunately, there were another 11 boards from competitors who brought their own and were willing to share. That allowed for splitting everyone into four groups with equal number of sail/weight groups in each. The plan was to have each pair of groups do two races, then repeat with a different combination of groups. With the later start, four races were completed on Friday with everyone getting to race twice..." Regatta Results

    Karja Larsson
    The Twin Cities Pioneer Press offered a sobering view of our sport: "Before snowboarding and stand-up paddle boards and obstacle course racing, there was windsurfing, the hot new sport that captured the Twin Cities way back when we had a president named Reagan. Now windsurfer sightings on local lakes are about as common as seeing someone on a pair of inline skates. (Remember those?) But this weekend, a band of die-hard sailboarders from the U.S. and Canada have gathered in the Twin Cities for a championship sailing regatta that they hope will help begin to restore the fortunes of a sport that has faded from public view...The article goes on to explain that the Kona Class is hoping to help revitalize interest in windsurfing via the easy to use and learn appeal of a longboard.

    The StarTribune interviewed the event organizer: "To Michael Fox the 1980s weren't defined by hair bands or President Reagan. Fox, who lives on Lake Minnetonka, remembers the decade as the golden age of windsurfing, with the Twin Cities home to one of the most vibrant windsurfing scenes around. 'In the '80s, windsurfing just exploded here' he said. Now Fox is determined to help the sport regain its edge"...The Sun Patriot added more coverage of the event by getting a perspective on the sport, racing and the Kona longboard from Rob Evan, a local 36 year windsurfing veteran.
    The 2012 Techno 293 World Championship ran from August 11 - 18 in Medemblik, Netherlands. This was the largest gathering of young racers this year. For the last couple of years, Patrik Pollak has documented these gatherings with a multitude of brilliant video reports. He summed up this year: "Future ? This is the future. Why? Because it is fair racing and fun. Numbers prove it! Present stars of Techno are future stars of windsurfing. Some of them won their first world title here in Medemblik...339 kids, 29 countries, 6 continents, 5 days, 4 new junior world titles, 3 courses, 2 Olympic champions, 1 board..." From the last day of this year's championship:

    The 2012  Formula Worlds were held at Liepaja, Latvia from August 20 - 26. Only one American, Micah Buzianis, made the long trek to the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. PWA British Pro Ross Williams won the event. Przemyslaw Miarcynski, who won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the RS:X Class, also finished 3rd over all at the Worlds. The big winner was the event itself which attracted a robust crowd of 119 competitors. 
    Congratulations to the Formula Class for the new and improved relaunch of the website Follow The Winds which chronicles all things Formula. Here's a taste of the recent Worlds from Latvia:
    The RS:X Class, after a very successful Olympics, awaits their request from a London Court for judicial review of the ISAF decision. Of course, the big event is set for the Annual Meeting in November and the hope is for chance to have the ISAF reconsider its exile of the RS:X from the Olympic stage. David Legatt of the NZ Herald has written often about the ongoing kerfuffle. He recently wrote: "...the general feeling among those favouring a reversal is that it will be tough to pull off. A first vote requires 75 per cent support for the original decision to be revisited. A rough estimate has about eight votes having to change. The difficulty for the pro-windsurfing lobby is that countries such as Spain, United States and Australia see kiteboarding as their best bet for future success..." Legatt added: "The Rio Olympic organisers have plumped for a site near the Brazilian city's airport noted for having barely any breeze. What it does have over the other option - a couple of hours away and noted for more substantial winds - is proximity to the Olympic headquarters."
    Have you followed this story and wondered where Kite Racing will get an Olympic calibre field of competitors the size of the RS:X Class? Ironically, some prominent names in the RS:X Class have said, that if windsurfing is gone from the Olympics, then they will compete in the new kiting discipline. Adding to the irony, kiting will introduce Olympic sailing to a new paradigm; one that is not constrained by the conventional one design concept. Kite Racing, which will not be a one design class, could provide a path for the Formula Class to enter the Olympics in 2020. Back in 2005, when the RS:X was chosen for the Olympics, Formula  was ruled out because it was not a one design class.

    Congratulations to Bob Willis and Happy Trails. His heartfelt Olympic good bye: "For the past 2 months or so, I have been getting a lot of questions about whether I will continue to compete in windsurfing (if it comes back), kiteboarding or any other Olympic sailing class. As of right now I can confidently say that I do not plan on pursuing an Olympic gold in 2016. I love competing, I love the training and this has been an incredible journey, but there are other avenues in life that I am eager to explore.  Thank You

    I may have been the only American competing in the men’s RSX class for the Olympic Games; however, it took an immense army of supporters for me to get to the games. Even though I compete in an individual sport, there has been a huge team supporting me every step of the way. I know I can’t say this enough, but I would like to extend a very special Olympic “thank you” to everybody who has helped me along this journey. I am so fortunate to have had such strong support and I truly enjoyed sharing these moments with all of you. Finally a most sincere thank you to my parents, who put up with my crazy dreams for way to long and my coach, Peter Wells, who continued to inspire and train me to fulfill my crazy dreams!"

    Thanks to Windsport and Mr. Splashtack  for making this happen. Just zoom the page to read.

    Postcript · This is the 105th post of DaNewsBlog.