You should know by now, that every year we eagerly wait for the upcoming windsurfing July we spend in Paros, meeting friends & co-surfers whose company we always enjoy.
Thanks to our new Slovenian friend Peter and his drone (careful: drone flights in Greece are under strict control since a week ago), we have some nice aerial views of the area we stay and sail:
This year, we missed the presence of “Teze” Thiseas Kambas in New Golden Beach, as he decided to practice his freestyle tricks more on right- coming North wind, and settled coaching to the opposite coast of Naxos.
The other great absence, was Alexandros Kambas, who due to various problems & commitments, failed to satisfy his loyal girls fan club, and left me with less experienced & willing testers to comment on my material.
Of course there was great sailing Giannos, improving Markos and Stavros & watchful (thank God) Costas of the Paros Surf Club as well as the Goya center owner John -master ride- Xefteris and his nice new mate Kostadinos, or local friends like Christos, Kostas & Lutz, but all of them were either busy, or sailing with their preferred equipment.
There could be hardly any complains about the wind, that was blowing through the whole month. The photos I took just give an idea, because as we all know, when conditions are good, nobody wants to be ashore, with the exception of some wannabe captains of sailing boats, dragging capsized dinghies and motoring without any sail…
I will begin with the MacWet gloves (see them new in the 2014 sailing post) that I tried for 2 seasons: They are very comfortable & well made, with great feel, but the manufacturer had not imagined they will often come in contact with the abrasive anti-slip coating of the boards…Try not to – they will last much longer! Knowing their strength & weaknesses, I will order my new pair in white, so that when they get scratched on the board, they will not leave any dark abrasion pieces.
The Fins – plenty of them (see last year’s report)
I started trying the Black Projects 28 & 24 on the Exocet Cross 84. They were OK, especially the 24 with the small sails, but as I wanted to compare the 28 to the original – probably cracked – Exocet fin, I took the risk and sailed it. I was lucky. On my way back to the beach while charging past the facing small island, I felt a momentary loss of grip, and just passing the buoy of the reef, came the “slide of no fin”.
So, the crack of last year, was not superficial, but structural. Good that I had got the new fins!
Before loosing the fin, I confirmed that for my riding on this board, the original narrower fin suited me better. Wishing to work a little more on the ideal 28 fin, upon my return,I started checking on the internet and I came up with a single WindGear C27 piece I found in Holland. So far I did not have the chance to try it – you will understand why, when you read about the boards…- I leave it for the 2017 season. The only thing I can tell you, is that although WindGear know their stuff (after all, they are Peter Thommen’s partners), I had to work quite hard to make it fit to the finbox were all the other 4 fins fitted outright. More comments next year.
The RRD Freemove (second generation) 38 fin on the Patrik F-ride 125, was much better than the first series of fins the company had introduced – I would say, not as good as the MFCs RRD fits on their boards. When Mάri, a lady friend asked to try the Patrik with with a 5.5 sail, I put on a Ciessevi slalom 36, which later on, as the wind picked up, I tried myself the combination and it was perfect. One thing I have learned by experimenting with fins, is that whenever you have the chance to try a different fin, you should do so. Even if the result is not more pleasant, you will definitely gain some idea of what you should expect by altering the size and the type of your fin. Of course, unless you are VERY experienced, the board should be one you know well.
On one day with 12 knots or less, I sailed the Fanatic Ultra Cat I got from Alex. That took me back more than 30 years! It is a beast of a board to take down to the beach and finally to the water, because although light for it’s size, the wight combined with the size, make the transportation demanding (nothing said about myself being 35 years older…). It is great to sail when nobody else does! The combination of the long hull and the use of the daggerboard, allows you to sail so upwind, that no other non planning windsurfing board may follow. Planning is definitely more impressive as a sight, while I had forgotten the vibration you feel under your feet when the bow of a longboard hits the chop 🙂
With more wind, I enjoyed the Patrik F-ride 125 and the Thommen RS 59, while in strong wind, I was sailing the Exocet Cross IV 84 Pro, until…I felt the board SOFT under my feet 😦
I took it to the beach and saw water coming out of a 6 cm longitudinal crack of the bamboo skin. Short season for my favorite ride. Everyone knows how carefully I treat my equipment, while my use is for short periods and not at all extreme… First was the fin, and now the board itself. Damn Cobra manufacturing quality!
That led me to rent a small board, and that was Goya One 85 with thruster arrangement, somehow combining the power of a single fin and the change of direction ease & overpowered control of a multifin. With the always attentive setups & 4 battens Goya sails rigging of Yannis X., I enjoyed the almost relaxed sailing, even under heavy weather. No, I could not fight by stepping on the fin(s), but the board would turn on demand in an unbelievable way and the whole sailing was much effortless. Although not my style, it was a revelation.
Not to forget, while cruising pretty fast with the Patrik, I noticed Arnauld close by. Usually Arnauld blasts by, in a pace hard to follow, even when testing inferior combinations. So when I realized he was more or less sailing at my speed. I started approaching him, satisfied with myself. From close distance, I noticed Arnauld was testing an INFLATABLE. Shit! I could not believe my eyes. OK, the guy is very good in what he is doing, but inflatables, since their introduction few years ago, were falling under the family beach toys – nothing serious sailing wise, but this new toy of RRD, was sailing next to my premium freeride board. I followed him back to the beach and as soon as he got off the board, I rolled it over to check the hull. Surprise – surprise, it had sharp rails, many longitudinal stiffness reinforcement bands and a proper freeride fin!
I’m sure there will be many followers from other companies, while RRD, having designed a foldable rig combination (boom & sail), offer a decent solution to air travelling windsurfers.
I hope smaller inflatables will soon be added to the RRD range.
New Vintage addition
Always keeping an eye for vintage stuff, I first noticed Bernard having returned after 8 years of absence, sailing his Mistral Naish, but as his board early got a knock on the nose, my interest faded away. There were some more boards vigorously ridden like the Thor, and then around the time my small Exocet broke, I recalled the boards Claude used to sail and which I had not seen on the beach the last few years. I could remember well the late ’90’s, blue Mistral Naish Flow 85 258 x 55 – 85L, but not the other one. I asked him and he told me he still had them in the hotel’s storage, renting instead modern boards from the club, as it was easier to ride these.
I had taken a full moon night photo of the Flow back in 2011, but I had not check it then, so I was not very happy to see there were 2 repairs, one on the nose and a minor aft. The second board, was a 2001 Mistral – Naish Titan 255 x 61 – 109L, the last year of Naish cooperation with Mistral, before focusing on his personal brand – a reason strong enough to acquire it. The lot was completed by no less than 6 fins (2 Flow & 1 Titan originals plus 3 extras) in an attractive Concrete Wave pouch, thus making the deal of 300 euros a good one
I sailed the Flow with my Simmer Icon 4.7 and was a joy, but I plan to shorten it and possibly leave it permanently in Paros, as a high wind alternative. Sailing reviews about these 2, hopefully next season.
One thing that I strongly regretted about the beach this summer, was the lack of wild grass, on which we used to rig our sails and dry our equipment without coming into contact with the sand (compare the 2 photos above). Unfortunately some beach exploiting businessman, tried to eliminate it, while also pruning heavily the trees. Even the sight of the pre-historic wild sea daffodils (Pancratium Maritimum) is becoming more and more scarce, although officially classified as endangered & protected.
I hope next season, nature will be allowed to recover…