22 Apr 2015
By Louis Morris
It’s been a busy couple of months for me. But mainly a studying kind of busy rather than a windsurfing kind of busy. With the end of my degree on the horizon, I’ve had to sacrifice some on the water time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been windsurfing!
I almost forgot! I never wrote anything about the last SWA event I went to!
It was Pondlife in Nottingham = all the fun for everyone! We had decent medium wind on Saturday which was perfect for all the beginners and inters to brush up their skills, and for me to enjoy some fun blasting on the 7.8 Bolt. I can’t even remember what the sail feels like, that’s probably a good thing, it just let me forget about it and have fun!
Cruisin’ on the Bolt 7.8 twin cam freeriding machine.
With the wind building (although still pretty gusty), there was some fun slalom racing to be had. And I won, yay!
Cameron Coghill gatecrashed the racing on his RSX! Photo by David Eberlin
With just enough time and wind for a bit of freestyle on 5.2 and 86 Kode to end the day :).
Freeeeshtyle! Photo by David Eberlin
Sunday started mega windy and sunny. But in classic SWA style, it was early afternoon before the freestyle competition got underway, by which time, everyone was somewhat underpowered on their small sails rigged from earlier. It was hard, super gusty, and in a very confined space. Alex Mitchell deservedly took the win with a clean e-slider and kono, and amazingly, I took 2nd, with a forward, an almost-spock, and a vulcan.
Forwarding the 86 Kode and 4.2 Rock to 2nd place in the freestyle comp.
Then a few fun wave day trips: super fun logo high 4.7 Gwithian with all the (x)swa crew. Also a fun session in South wales, ending in a sore ankle after being a bit too optimistic on the size of wave required for a table-top. Full power Bigbury, the best I’ve had it, cross shore, up to head high.
I’m somewhere in the middle of that sunny Bigbury scene. Photo by Chris Mortimer.
Scored a rare easterly day at Pendower. Soooooo good, 3.7, decent waves, crashed backloops, a couple of long-ish wave rides, a crashed arial, and a good crowd of windsurfers out.
Loop at Pendower. There were bigger waves than that, honest! It’s just my mum couldn’t hold the camera straight for long it was so windy Photo by Emma Dales
And then racing. Yes, racing. I trained a few times this winter, but to be honest, not as much as I should have done. I’m also feeling much less fit than last year, because I have been studying and only exercise has really been occasional wave sessions. The first event was the Round Hayling Island Race. I’ve always wanted to take part in the legendary event, but this was the first time I got round to it. With contradictory forecasts, fog, and of course all that tide, it was pretty interesting! I took off with a knackering non-planing downwinder to the bridge, leading ahead of Rob Kent. Then I got a bit of a wake up as Rob slowly reeled me in upwind. He and Alan Jackson overtook me by the ferry point, and whilst I got past Alan pretty quickly, Rob disappeared off into the distance as I struggled to keep my speed upwind along the seafront into a short chop in about 3-5 knots. Anyway, I got 2nd, which isn’t bad, it’s just I’ve either got slower, or Rob got faster upwind compared to last year!
Round Hayling Island.
So there we are.
This weekend is the SWA/BUCS Nationals. Which is the last SWA event of the year, wind looks ok, although a teeny bit more would be nice. I’ll be competing in racing (slalom), and freestyle, and I have a chance to finish on the podium for both of those, and probably the overall prize as well. We’ll see how that goes. Then weekend after that is UKWA National Championship series event 1: the first course racing event of the year. Really looking forward to getting back into it. It’s also pretty important, because it is the only preparation event I have before the worlds in Poland, which happen the week after my exams in June. I’m not going to be nearly as prepared as I was two years ago, but I’ll just have to stay focussed and remember how to set my kit up!
Keep an eye out for my report from SWA nationals.
21 Apr 2015
A great event report from Starboard Team Rider Matthew York at the end of the inaugural NWF Speed Challenge after he took home the top honours and bragging rights for the next year!!
The inaugural NWF Speed Challenge was held on the 18-19th April, hosted by the Official Test Centre (OTC) with a promising forecast of lots of sun and good winds, but sadly not being in the best direction (easterly which brings in big rolling swell throughout the harbour) so we always knew this was not going to be the normal S/W Portland speed strip.
Saturday morning arrived with sun and winds blowing 20 knots with waves rolling across the course as predicted. It was going to be a tricky day with the forecast pretty much staying solid 20-30 knots easterly so it was time to rig up and get motivated. My weapons of choice were my point 7 ac1 7.2m sail and my Starboard ISonic 90, equipped with a Drake R2R DW36 carbon fin I was then suited and booted and ready to race!
The NWF speed challenge wasn’t just about the fastest peak speed but also the fastest 10s and 250m, which in really choppy conditions was enough, with a double dip tide to contend with, it was a case of ‘Get out as soon as you can!’
On my first run I quickly realised this wasn’t going to be easy, there was no problem getting onto the plane, it was more of an issue keeping the fin and board in contact with the water. If you can imagine coming off the back of the 3 to 4’ swell at 30 plus knots, fin control and keeping the board straight was going to be the biggest challenge for sure and after a couple of runs the conditions seemed to get a bit easier with the falling tide. The massive swell gradually became a bit more manageable, not flat by any means but 2-3 foot so you kind of tried to wave sail down the face to get more speed.
I remember one run where I was following a fellow sailor down the course, thinking that I was gaining on him and that it could be quick. I wasn’t sure if I covered the 250m before I popped off the back of a wave in a classic speed crash, obviously not concentrating enough with the tide residing quickly due to the big springs so low water made the water state much better. With a very low tide we stopped for lunch and a quiet tune up.
In the afternoon the wind strength and direction had changed, there was more south in it so a change of board was in order, it was time to get my Starboard ISonic 107 out with a 38 gasoline fin, this turned out to be a great combo as the 2015 ISonic 107 is an awesome board, even with my 95 kilos on it. It works ideally with 7m up to a 8.6m.
It was now back to the speed challenge with the course being moved out further into the harbour, we were running along the swell, which was a lot easier, still a challenge for sure but not as much as the morning session. With a lot of runs in the bag it was Day 1 over. Lots of people had an awesome day, it was great to see so many kids out there flying along.
After a tired and challenging day the results were in, totally stoked with the 4th fastest 10s and the 6th fastest 250m – that’s not bad when you think that half the guys above me are locals and top racers. Obviously I was pretty stoked with that so it was time to chill out and a have a beer.
Sunday – Day 2 of the NWF speed challenge:
The winds were still fairly strong first thing but they were due to drop rapidly as the day went on, however, the sun was blazing through my camper window so it was time for a quick cuppa and to get rigged. After checking the forecast I decided to rig a 7.m (kindly loaned to me by Allan Cross) as my new point 7 ac1s was stuck in Customs awaiting clearance. After the briefing it was straight out to catch as much of the wind as I could, knowing it was dropping every second. I just about managed a couple of runs on the 7.8 before the wind died. I decided to head in and change up again to a 9.5m sail (another Al Cross special) and to my Starboard Isonic 130 and BPF 47.5. I hit the water once again, keeping an eye on the falling tide as big fins and a very low tide don’t mix very well. It was
the best decision I had made all day, the 9.5m sail was super powerful, giving me massive lift and drive to get me flying down the course. With the course due to close by midday, I had just enough time to make a few good runs.
The guys from the NWF team and the OTC did an amazing job, with clinics from Zara Davis, Pete Young, Kev Greenslade and Steve Thorpe. It was a great turn out from the young and old, families included. All of this held at the best and longest speed sailing venue, Weymouth, home of speed sailing. There was a great atmosphere, lots of banter and everybody was in high spirits. The sun was shining over us all weekend which made it a pleasant weekend for spectators and competitors alike.
To be honest, at prize giving, I had no idea of the results as it was a two day event and both days speeds counted. With my persistence in the light winds I had bagged the fastest speed on Sunday. My average for the whole weekend was good enough so I came first overall. It was close though with less than a knot between the top two speeds.
Still buzzing as I write this report, Id like to thank the National Watersports Festival (NWF) and the OTC for running this awesome event which I hope gains momenteum each year, as this event is not just for the dedicated speed sailor. Its aim is to attract the intermediate free riders with its user friendly categories for families, techno and even no cam class, making it very assessable to all abilities and ages.
Big thanks to my sponsors Starboard, Point 7, Robinhood Watersports, Rockerline clothing, Black Project Fins and A&D signs who have assisted me greatly in order to gain my first event win.
7 Apr 2015
Whilst developing our new BOLT range of sails we took the opportunity to look at our range of masts and see what was actually needed for each sail.
This enabled us to reduce the range of masts in the range and simplify our offering to make the purchasing process easier. We also looked at the design and functionality of our old masts and have brought all of them in line so there is a consistent look across the whole range as well as being colour coded relating to carbon content. The changes should mean they stay looking better for longer. Other features include:
Kevlar Reinforced Boom area: We have strengthened the boom area by adding a layer of kevlar, this reduces the likelihood of damage caused by over tightening the boom clamp during rigging. It also increases the strength of the area when under load meaning they are less likely to break whilst sailing.
Soft-mast tune-ability: Several sizes are compatible with a shorter mast than the standard recommended mast. Light weight riders and anyone looking for softer power delivery have the option of rigging on a short mast with long extension, for a softer, more forgiving feel.
Redesigned graphics: Simplified graphics to enable easy identification and all detailing is now under the final layer of resin to ensure they stay looking great for years!
We now have 4 key ranges which relate to the carbon content of the mast:
Carbon 45 – SDM 370, 400, 430, 460 and 490 A great entry mast for improver performance and cost.
Carbon 60 – RDM 340, 370, 400, 430 and 450. SDM 430, 460 and 490 Great price and great performance.
Carbon 80 – SDM 430, 460, 490 and 520 – Freeride and Racing specific masts delivering very high performance and excellent strength
Carbon 100 – RDM 370, 400 and 430. SDM 430, 460, 490 and 520 our lightest, most responsive masts for ultimate performance.
Weights have stayed the same as previous models but strength is significantly increased around the boom area without effecting bend characteristics.
To find out full specifications and where to buy just head to www.tushingham.com/windsurfing/masts