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Archive for January, 2016

I owe you an update of the last summer hitthewave windsurfing.

I never had any Naish board, and being a great fan of  Robby, I was keeping an eye on the Naish models coming up the last few seasons. In 2011, I spotted the nice crossover KONCEPT 90 with its wooden deck, that was being offered with 2 fins, depending on the mood and the conditions, and an eco-bag. The reviews were favorable, but I didn’t want to spend on a new board I didn’t’ really need, so I waited for 2 seasons, till I saw one advertised at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the second fin was not included, and this stopped me from buying it.

Then, having tried the Exocet CROSS IV 84 PRO in Paros while PM was testing the 2012 material, I got one brand new, but at a discount, since it was a previous year model. I know that trying a board rigged & set-up  by Arnauld gives this board a great advantage to reveal all the performance it carries, but nevertheless this Exocet  offered me a marvelous ride and became my small board choice for the last 2 seasons (although aesthetically it is overloaded for my taste).

 

Naish STARSHIP 90

For 2014 Naish launched a new crossover line, the STARSHIP, with visible wood on the deck and quite tasty tribal graphics. Just one fin as standard this time.

I was impressed by the overwhelming review of the Naish STARSHIP 90 by the Windsurf Mag, while the description of it as the modern incarnation of Sunset Slalom on steroids, sealed the fate of a perspective acquisition. (You all know I appreciate the great boards Thommen shaped for F2 and Sunset Slalom is considered as a benchmark). Once again, not actually needing such a board I followed closely both European & Greek offers. The best appeared around Christmas ’14, by the Greek importer and I took it home, with great expectations for the coming season.

 

Patrik f-ride 125

As July 2014 was not very windy in Paros, I decided to add a larger board to my quiver for such occasions and although I inconsiderately refused a test ride of the PATRIK  f-ride 125 Arnauld offered to me, when I sat down to study the choices, I ended up with the choice of this smallest freeride board Patrik has created.

Patrik Diethlem SUI-20 is a nice guy and pro level windsurfer of many disciplines including speed record sailing. He took over the shaping department of F2 when Thommen left, got involved with the management of F2 together with his wife & legendary multichampion Karin Jaggi SUI-14 and a few years ago started their own “no compromises” brand, which soon stood out. Apart from the renown quality & sailing characteristics, the f-ride 125, being quite long and narrow for a recently shaped board, suits me better as I dislike the trendy wide shapes. At the same time, PATRIK boards were introduced with a very discrete and sophisticated decoration, miles better taste than the patchwork artworks of most brands.

I started checking the cost and as the end of the year was approaching, I asked Karin if there would be any changes to the Freeride range, Karin replied that no changes were underway  as far as the shapes were concerned, but some minor review of the artwork. As I was attracted by their darker speed boards, I asked to be updated in order to decide my version.  Just for Christmas, I received the Patrik family wishing card, were the 2015 artwork was visible. Yes it was a minor change, but to a more complex design.

If there was any doubt about Patrik boards becoming classic designs from the beginning, when they adopted their Bionic – Design graphics( inspired by the Nautilus shell), now with the introduction of the 2015 more complex look, the matter is considered closed.

Although I do not sail my boards earlier than April, I rushed to secure one of the last Patrik f-ride 125 classics. Rides were a late addition to the brand’s range, available since the summer 2012. They are the boards with the minimum contrasting pattern and my absolute taste would have been for something darker, like the Speed boards, but of course Speed boards are the loved toys of the Diethelm boys – understandably the more forceful look has been used on them.

Upon further thought, on the basis of the color hues of the first generation, I would say that these classic Patrik boards draw from the egg laying shell of Argonauta, and to support my claim I include some pictures of this cute sailing octopus. After all, Argonauta (Paper Nautilus) can be seen sailing on the sea surface, while Nautilus stays submerged.

I received  my board by the Greek representative Thomas (STO NERO) on time as indicated, without a fin – in order to reduce cost and try some fins of my choice.

With the addition of the 2 new boards, I was looking forward to an exiting 2015 sailing season.

TO BE CONTINUED  IN PART  2

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Yes, I know, I have to post the 2nd part of last summer’s session, but I still miss the photos my friend Giorgos took ages ago…

In the meantime, according to various declarations, some of which even indicated last summer as the launching time, I expect 2016 to be quite interesting.

HTS boards

So first we have to see what the delayed HTS summer 2015 new line has to present. If the boards are shaped again by Marco Copello – like the previous Triton slalom race & Proteus slalom free, there is no doubt they will be sensational. Let’s not forget that Copello still works on the flexible tail (Bioflex) concept, while in 2009 he shaped the 3D Flex Tail Freeride boards of HTS (see the video).

We have to wait a bit to see what the brand is up-to windsurfing wise, because so far they have only revealed some SUPs.HTS 2016 advertisement

MISTRAL

Mistral is a brand with a heavy pedigree, having built early its reputation on the shaping skills of Rick Naish and the unparalleled sailing of his son – the one and only Robby. Having gone through hard times, the famous brand fights back to the high levels of the sport, with Anders Bringdal* at the helm, Neil Scheltema as the main shaper, assisted by a great team consisting of Chris Diplock, Steve West and David Rigaud. Mistral has been experimenting with the variable rocker concept since the late ’80’s, with the production of the Challenger Flex board, but now we have the evolution of the concept applied on a modern board, flexing both vertically & longitudinally (OK Capello had managed this earlier), plus the amount of the flex is adjustable.

Four FreeSpeed VRTS boards are already being produced (visit the Mistral site & watch the video)

 95 Liters   58 x 240 cm
105    ”        64 x 243  ”
115     ”        70 x 246  ”
125     ”        76 x 249  “
 

3 FreeWave VRTS board sizes will soon follow. 

Here are the features presentation of the innovation:

Extended Planing Time, Improved Ride and Smoothness
Under full-power, tail-walking is all but eliminated. The trim-plate flexes (tensions) and releases (relaxes) pressure build up, encouraging extended planing time due to improved consistency of the laminar flow of water. Gybing smoothness and therefore speed, is greatly improved. Over choppy waters, it comes into its own, making for a much smoother cushioned ride, improving control, flat-line speed and of course, rider enjoyment.
Reduced Cavitation Issues
Ventilation is lessened and therefore cavitation, being as the flex-plate extends beyond the fin-box and the end of the board, inhibiting air suction downward from the surface.
Tensioning and Winding Off the Tensioning Screw 
Winding off the screw in lighter winds, will permit the flex-tail to compress and spring back to shape over a great range of travel, acting as a shock-absorber, while also reducing the wetted-surface area, without fear of loss of control.
As wind strengths increase, tensioning of the screw downward, to either be in contact or just off from the plate, helps negate increased pitch (angle) of the hull as the board   rolls-back onto the tail as the nose rises with increasing speeds, increased foot-pressure and lift generated through force acting on the sail. As the plate flexes, it will meet the screw and its   travel will be stopped. Tensioning the screw therefore, lessens the rocker line almost to neutral if you wish, encouraging early planing times and reduces incidents of stalling, so as the angle of attack remains optimum.
Conversely, should you feel you’re being over-powered by too large a fin, you can wind-off the adjuster, so that it effectively de-powers or de-tunes the tail, so as to increase the boards angle of attack, soften the ride, increase control and give you the sensation, you are travelling using a smaller fin. You could perhaps think of it as Sports-Mode in a car or perhaps as Traction Control – where you have the ability by increments, to switch it on or off, resulting in varying degrees of looseness or stiffness, all with the turn of a screw.
The more flex you permit (angle of travel) of the flex-plate, the looser the board will become and vice-versa. It will also act to cushion the board over choppy waters.

I’m anxious to test ride one. It should be a hit.

  • *February 11:  I was just informed by Konrad through Mistral FB page, that Anders has left the company…
  • *December 25:  2016 expires, and I have no indications that Mistral actually offered VRTS boards to the market. I’m not even sure they are still operative as a windsurf brand. This is my last effort to communicate with the company and my message got no respond since Fall:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 SEPTEMBER 28TH, 1:49AM
    Hi,Early this year I came across your promising FreeSpeed VRTS boards, and I included them to my post about 2016 windsurfing innovations. https://hitthewave.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/windsurfing-evolution-2016-trends/So far I have not seen any commercialized , or tested by the known magazines. Did you cancel their production and why?

    It also makes me anxious the fact that the link you are providing on your Facebook page, is no longer active…

    I hope you soon overcome any problems and see some new interesting  Mistral windsurfing boards.

    Regards

    T1  –  Thommen

A different path decided to follow Peter Thommen. After a short-lived production of the carbon T1 version 6 range of boards, he decided to concentrate on custom & semi custom boards of new shapes. Check the updated site.

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Kostis Gasparis- GasCo- contributionAt last! Thanks to a post at the forum of windsurfing.gr, I got a kind contribution of printed vintage material by Kostis -GasCo- Gasparis. I knew there should be “sleeping” material in Greece and I was curious to see when I would get the first feedback.

Well here it is. Kostis is a veteran windsurfer with affection to long boards (and proud owner of some very special ones). Get a glimpse of his material, because soon I will start uploading it…

 

Επι τέλους συνεισφορά έντυπου υλικού από Ελλάδα! Με αφορμή την ανάρτηση απο τον admin του windsurfing.gr, ο βετεράνος φίλος σερφίστας Κωστής -GasCo- Γάσπαρης, με προτίμηση στα κλασσικά raceboards, μου παρέδωσε εξαιρετικό υλικό που σύντομα θ’αρχίσω ν’ανεβάζω (μόλις σήμερα άρχισε πάλι να λειτουργεί η σύνδεσή μου του ίντερνετ, που μετά την αναβάθμιση του δυκτίου στην περιοχή μας προ μηνός, άρχισε να ρετάρει μέχρι που τελικά ξεψύχησε.)

Ξέρω ότι υπάρχει θαμμένο υλικό. Ανασκουμπωθείτε και φέρτε το να το χαρούμε όλοι!Browning Crazy Red ,Surf Partner UFO,Tiga Sprint, Mistral Tarifa

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Yes, windsurfing is my favorite sport, but back in my wild days it was unknown to us.

Water ski was the adrenaline, standing- water gliding fun we were after, until 1979, that I was introduced to boardsailing.

The calm bay of Poros island, is an ideal  place to water ski and our good and experienced friend Stephanos Zannos, started in 1971 the first water ski school, based on the waterfront of his majestic family villa “GALINI”. It came natural for the club to be named Galini Water sports Club

Stephanos is a joyful action guy, an accomplished racing driver and amateur mechanic, thanks to whom & his joyful team headed by the national Olympic rowing team athlete & coach Triandafyllos Tsongas, Poros  kicked-off as a watersports/fun vacation destination.

I remember the thrill of getting up on a pair of wooden Cypress Gardens skis, and one year later to carve on a wooden bi-colored Ron Marks concave monoski…What an experience!Cypress Gardens vintage ski combo

Ron Marks slalom ski MUSTANG

Going through the photos on the FB page of the club, you will get a hint of its notorious fun atmosphere..

Some years later, another friend, Sotiris Kyprios – this time of my age, decided to turn his competitive water skiing passion into a full time profession, and again based on the dock of his seafront house, opened up the Passage Water Ski Center – a seriously competitively oriented club that soon became the top training place in Greece, naturally as Sotiris continues to built his multichampion status nowadays. Click the image below to watch the promo VIDEO.

Passage waterski center video

OK, enough about my water skiing background, truth is that since I started windsurfing, I rarely skied any longer and the last 15 years I didn’t ski at all…

This summer, the wind was there almost everyday during our stay in Paros, but one day that there was no wind, I decided to try skiing at the WaterSki Zone center of another friend Dimitris Kourtellis, who in addition to the dog pets we are used to find in watersports clubs, Dimitris also has feathered companions. We still miss the affectionate white Kiko parrot, with whom our kids (when they were kids) were delighted.

I asked Dimitris for a wide modern monoski, that due to increased surface, takes you out of the water effortlessly, while skiing takes place at reduced speed, and as a result crashes become painless, without serious consequences.

Everything went as imagined, so at the end of the session I had a big smile.WaterSki zone Paros 2015 - Dimitris tows Dimitris

When I got back home, I started thinking about water skis. I would love to find a modern wooden ski for low speed skiing! Not an easy task as I soon realized…

Then, I came across something interesting. In 2013 Radar Skis, had introduced the SATORI wooden freeride ski, with very fancy  Japanese influenced decoration at a reasonable price. Could it be that I could spot one still on sale? The last 2 years Satori has much tamer graphics, highlighting nicely the wood construction, but the 2013 look was killing.

 

Cheers, I spotted one at Ski Pro in Arizona. It was the 67″ size I needed, but the boot was a bit small. With the help of Ruth, the boot was changed, and the final cost was indicated to 306$, while the price of the 2015 package has a MSRP of 618$.

Then came the shipping cost shock. The economy shipping would set me back 280$ …! And then, I had an idea. My son Giorgos is studying in LA and a dispatch to him was free!

Last week he came back home with the Satori. Big smile again and look forward to the next windsurfing/skiing season! Promise a review, including some detailing remarks on the finishing attention, that would make this great looking ski even better.

Now maybe the missing link to modern retro skiing, would be a nice wooden speed boat, like the one I have seen in Poros – where else?

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