Luke Smith

Freestyle

Coming from the midlands Luke grew up sailing lakes and reservoirs with his Dad, Bro and mates since the age of 11. These days Luke spends his summers as an advance instructor in Ortakent, Turkey for Neilson Holiday’s. Here he spends his days passing on his enthusiasm for windsurfing in his lessons and makes the most of the daily winds with every moment spare. Although Luke is fanatic about freestyle he also loves summer evenings on larger freeride kit or chasing high wind storm sessions.
Luke Smith

10 Nov 2014

End of Season Update

The season is finally over now in Ortakent and I’m back in the UK. It has been a super awesome season with the wind staying pretty much till the end. Even the sun hung around to see us off.

I’m back at home now waiting for a bit of autumn wind, dreading having to put on a winter wetsuit and thinking about how good working in the sun is. It made me think about what my top 5 things are working away in the water sports industry.

1. Friends
Living inland does mean that out of my mates where I live, only 1 windsurfs. When you’re working in a centre you have an endless supply of likeminded people ready to chat about windsurfing for hours and hours.

2. Improving
Obviously having strong trade winds everyday is going to improve your windsurfing, but the amount of time out in lighter winds is what really does it. Normally you are on the water for an hour or 2 in the morning in light winds and the same in the afternoon in the stronger winds. Then, factor in lunchtime and after work windsurfing and the time on the water clock soon racks up. A windsurfer will improve their windsurfing more in an hour of skill based light wind freestyle than they would in an hour of blasting back and forth. Teaching is really good as it forces you onto the water everyday in light wind as well as strong. Don’t get lazy though, just because you have 7 months of wind still means you have to make the most of everyday. The only way to improve is going out all the time and trying new stuff constantly. Oh and never, ever doing long runs of nothing!

3. Slalom
Slalom is well fun and the skills for a decent gybe filter into so much of windsurfing. The thing is, slalom is expensive. The bigger sails cost more and slalom boards aren’t cheap, so having access to slalom gear is a big bonus. In fact having access to all sorts of gear is great news for your windsurfing, if you get out and try it all. I would love to have a garage that contains freestyle, wave, slalom, freeride and freemove boards, all in different sizes with every sail size rigged too, but realistically, that’s probably not going to happen. It is if you work a season.

4. Loosing touch with the normal world
The smug feeling of superiority when somebody looks at you and confusedly asks “so you don’t watch Made in Chelsea or the X Factor?” There’s something nice about being out of England for ages. 

5. Tanning
Its hot 24/7 and lets be honest, everyone looks better with a tan!

Luke’s Last Orty Postcard – Towing Stuff from Luke Smith on Vimeo.

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10 Oct 2014

Luke’s Orty Postcard – Part 3 – After peak season round up

So the season is just over a month away from finishing and my earlier hopeful prediction of the wind staying till late in the season turned out to be true! The summer thermal winds have well and truly stayed up into October which has been great to see.

Back in August for two weeks in Orty we ran a teen windsurf week called Tag elite (TAG standing for teen activity group) the lads I had were all wicked windsurfers and great fun, we were blessed with wind everyday! We had the best couple of weeks windsurfing and messing around, they all improved loads and loads and made a set of vids too. Cheers lads!

A couple of weeks ago saw the end to peek season finished, and things settled down a small amount, the heat was less intense and the local towns were a little less busy. The resort was still alive though, plenty of people in all the lessons and plenty going on. In the middle of September my parents came out for a week, as shown in the video we made the most of Ortakent, and the wind really worked EVERY afternoon! The end of the week coincided with ‘Barts Bash’ world wide charity race. With Sam Ross and Jo Wright out in resort the level of racing was high, and it turns out the largest Bolt sizes even work really well as longboard race sails. I never knew how much fun racing is!

Hopefully we will get another couple of weeks of thermal wind followed by a couple of storms, test the upper limits of the Bolts in full power onshore jumping. After that its back to England for the winter and heres to another windy mild one!

Cheers for reading and watching, see you back in England soon all!

Luke’s Orty Postcard – Part 3 – After peak season round up from Luke Smith on Vimeo.

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11 Sep 2014

Rigging the bolt as a freestyle sail

The 4, 4.5, 5, and 5.25m Bolts are all 4 batten sails that rigged normally make fantastic, light freeride sails, but with tuning, it is easy to use these characteristics to turn them into awesome freestyle weapons too.

Before I talk about how I rig my Bolts for freestyle I will quickly summarise the pros and cons of sail tuning. Downhaul works by opening the leach of the sail ( the floppy bit at the top). Correct downhaul enables the leach to open, twisting off in the gusts to stop you getting over powered, and in the lulls twists to propel you forwards. In general too much and the sail feels gutless, too little the sail wont vent and the power shoots up, away from where you can pull against it. Outhaul tends to be easier to tune with, more outhaul (tighter sail) depowers the sail, less outhaul (baggier sail) gives you more power. Less outhaul more stable and over outhauled more twitchy.
 
For freestyle then we go away from the norms of tuning and for a specific set of reasons. As a freestyle sail we can use the (sometimes negative) tuning characteristics to our advantage. First ill talk about the pros of very little downhaul. Since the sail wont vent, the power shoots up in the sail, this will pull you up off your feet, annoying for normal sailing but since it is pulling you up anyway can be used to give you higher pop, especially from backwinded. A lack of downhaul makes ducking the sail to backwinded a lot easier as the sail stays very stable and wont feel super twitchy passing through the eye of the wind.
 
Putting an extra cm of downhaul from almost none will actually increase your early planing (the sail will start to work properly and twist a little). This small amount of leach twist will mean that your top speed will be higher than with none and you will generally be more comfy while sailing. With the power staying a closer to you its far easer to bear away into moves without getting pulled out of shape. With the sail feeling lighter in the hands, faster, earlier planing and generally more comfy you will be more confident to go into moves (and have the ability to sail in chop without feeling on the edge all the time!)
 
For me outhaul is a lot simpler to tune. Pull the outhaul so the sail sits in the middle of the boom (neutral setting) then either add half to one cm depending on wind. Too much and the twitchyness of the sail makes it harder to duck, not stable, and not powerful enough. 
 
This is where personal preference, sailing location and aims for the session comes into play then. If I was sailing somewhere super super flat, I wasnt over powered but not under, and I pretty much just wanted to try ducking moves I would go very little downhaul and half a cm of outhaul past neutral. However if I was somewhere a little less idilic and wanted to do moves where you need to bear away I would put on a touch more downhaul and keep the outhaul the same. This is how I rig my Bolts and this is what I have shown with the pictures below.
 
Since ‘a little more downhaul’ sounds pretty vague I have shown in the pics what I think is about perfect amount. Where as the freeride setting would be the leach flopping to around the middle of the top panel I chose to pull on the downhaul untill the sail flops to between about one and half inches past the micro batten (high wind) and just past the micro batten for anything else. Here early planing, speed, ease of ducking and comfort are all maximised, a sort of mega setting for all round radness. Pictured below:

Leach Twist

And up close see how the sail flops just past that micro batten:

image-2

For the outhaul, as I said before less is more, dont worry if at times its on the boom a fair way up:

image-1

So this is how I rig my Bolts for freestyle, to be honest they are pretty comfy for freerideing too, but if I were to give my sail out to someone who just wanted a blast id add another cm of downhaul.

The most important thing is to get out there windsurfing and experimenting with rigging, but most importantly enjoying it!

Luke

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