Every now and then, we have to accept that some things haven’t worked. Such is the case of the photos I was trying to get in high-resolution, to post this 2nd part of my 2015 windsurfing review, but today, with freezing temperatures & sleet downpour, my friend George came all the way to my place holding a memory stick with the outstanding photos from the first outing of the Patrik F-ride 125! Thanks George and apologies both to you and the Patrik brand for the delay…
Patrik f-ride 125
Early spring,as soon as the thermometer read 20degC, I loaded the board on the car and went down to Schinias to get a first impression. Having bought the board without a fin, I took the large extra fin I use on the T1 eXperience 165, the G10 RRD 1st generation Freemove 40. I knew it was a noisy fin at speed, but for a first impression it would be ok. The forecast was for ~20km/h on-shore (S ) wind, so I took along the large Ka Koyote 7.4 sail.
Upon arriving, conditions were as foreseen, but while rigging, the wind started to increase – quite usual in the area when blowing from South, so I ended sailing overpowered a new board, with wind of 38+km/h…not exactly relaxing.
The board had a tendency to keep its nose high, and I moved the mast full to the front, although such a board is designed to use sails up to 8.5. With the footstraps positions, there was not much I could improve. You see, I like a wide stance, so at least the front footstrap could not be placed any further front.
First feedback was good. The board plane soon, gaining speed fast and went lightly over the chop, but of course the main testing of the boards I use, takes place in Paros, so that would happen 2 months later.
As Arnauld had advised me, the 7.4 being my largest sail and myself weighting 70kg, I would need a slightly smaller fin.
I started working on the fin, because the first generation RRD Freemove was rather thick, not slimming down to the tip as I would expect. Taking the words of the friend importer Thodoris Sfikas @(Glaridis Sport), the long-delayed 2nd generation fins would be more streamlined, and this combined with a very attractive price, made me place an order for a Freemove 38.
The fin was not yet available and the time for Paros was approaching, so I started checking alternatives. An effort to find a 38 fin as fitted on the Exocet S-Cross, was looking a good choice, but failed. So I decided not to spend the 100+ euros on any fin before some testing in Paros, using existing & borrowed fins.
Upon arrival in Paros, I started using the board as much as possible and the feedback was really good, while the compliments were coming from all different riders, starting with my new friend and long board racer Alex, and ending with my sister- in- law Dimitra, who after a first ride, she asked me to sell her the board or at least find her a second one! Due to various obligations she is not sailing as much as she used to in the past, so a more relaxing session is the kind of sailing she is after. The wind was ~30km/h and I gave her a 5.7 sail. Although this was her first sailing of the season, she stayed out for plenty of time and on her way back she said with a big smile “Hey! With a board like this, you can even tack at ease! This is something I hadn’t done for too long, riding the smaller boards…”
Since I do not consider myself a qualified tester, I will reproduce the PlancheMag review.
The ordered RRD fin arrived much later, early winter. Yes, it was more streamlined -RRD states that their fins are handfoiled,but the attention to the finish needs plenty of improvement. The fin I received did not have a perfectly parallel leading area at the base (which I fixed myself), while there was a deep sanding indent on the same flat area, just in front of the spot where the top leading edge integrates with the fin base (This has to be fixed with some filler).Finally, the fancy stripy decoration, is felt to the touch and for me, anything I can feel with my fingers, does not help the hydrodynamics of this part. Anyhow the real world test for this fin, will take place the coming season…
Naish STARSHIP 90
The board comes with only 3 footstraps, which is totally unacceptable, and I state this although I always opt for single rear footstrap setup on small and narrow-tailed boards. Starship has both single center AND double rear footstrap positions. The manufacturer may suggest what is considered an ideal setup, but CANNOT prohibit the choice of the 2 rear straps. Considering these, the absence of a fourth strap from the fittings parcel, I repeat, is unacceptable. Mind you, that whenever I buy a new board, I ask for at least one extra strap just in case – you see the design of the staps often change and you may have difficulty to find a same looking strap few years later.
The detailing to the decor finish of the board is average and I include 2 photos of the nose, before & after my retouch.
With the 2015 change of the Starship construction from visible wood to semi-finished custom carbon look, Naish gets away with the need for attention to the finish of these boards, saving at the same some weight.
The fin also is painted (something I discuss further on about the Exocet) and not perfectly finished, having chippings both on the leading edge and the tip. Photos again – below.
Not unaware of the so-so quality of the fins provided, Naish delivers the new carbon Starships with MFC fins.
I would love to share the enthusiasm of the Windsurf Mag upon testing the Starship – after all, I bought the board and Robby is my hero, but:
Everything I did with this board, was lacking compared to my Exocet CROSS IV 84 PRO. I dare to say, the only time I enjoyed a ride, was when I fitted a 6.5 sail and a CW slalom TBT34 fin… I need to spend more time on it – the problem is, time is limited and I try to get maximum enjoyment out of it, so equipment performing outright get full marks!
Exocet CROSS IV 84 PRO update
As I said this is my favorite high wind board. The problem was, that I had no smaller fin to fit when using my 3.7 & 4.7 sails, ending-up to ride over-finned in marginal conditions. The standard fin is a 28 painted item, that worked perfectly with the board for the past 2 seasons, until the day that rinsing the board, I noticed the crack around the base. I took it out for closer inspection, showed it to the pros, send photos to the importer.
Verdict: Nobody could say for sure if it was structurally affected or the crack was only of the superficial layer of color.
Thoughts: Why on earth should a manufacturer cover the most critical part of a fin, when this single item gets most of the riding stress and should be easily inspected for possible deterioration! Exposed – one piece – CNC formed fins should be the norm for non specific applications.
Decision: Never buy again anything else, but what I consider to be the norm.
Now, since in order to be on the safe side, I need a replacement 28 Freewave fin (which is also the fin my Starship 90 uses), plus the second – smaller one I’ve been missing all this time, I decided to get two such fins from Black Project of Maui. I had spotted their stylish G10 fins some years ago, but didn’t have the opportunity. Now I saw I could get them at a small discount from Dave @ windsurfingfins.co.uk and ordered both a 28 & a 24. The 28 obviouly has more area than either the Exocet or even the Naish, which is desirable as I felt the need for more fin power for the Starship, while the small 24, will dial-in to perform in heavy weather. Stay tuned for the 2016 hitthewave report.
VINTAGE STUFF – Fanatic Ultra Cat & Tiga Wave 251
All the above talking has to do with modern equipment, but as I always keep an eye for past prides, checking the bottom beach rack of the Philoxenia Paros Surf Club, I realized that the Fanatic Ultra Cat laying there, had deteriorated since last year, with 2 small holes on the deck, surely from heavy fin contact from some voluminous boards just above. The U.Cat is a champion vintage raceboard, which even today, with the right sailor may put to shame modern long boards.
Without any hesitation I went to Niko’s office to ask about it. I learned it belonged to Alex, an experienced German competitive rider who was using it when coming to Paros, but that the board had been idle for more than a year. I immediately asked Niko to contact Alex and ask if the board was for sale. During my whole stay in Paros I was asking Niko whether he got a reply from Alex. Nothing. Not wishing to see the wreck of the board on my next visit, I arranged the day of my departure to take the board to Athens to be safe and depending to the response of the owner to either bring it back, or pay the price to keep it.
While talking to my mate Costas Vergos about the finding of the Ultra Cat, I asked him what he had done with his old Tiga Wave. He said “Ask our friend Paolo, as he is the one who borrowed it some time ago when his wave board broke”. Two days later, meeting Paolo, I asked him and he said he would bring it down the beach next time around, reminding us that when Costas lend it to him it had a taped damage on the nose, something Paolo had sealed with putty, making sure it would be watertight. The very next day, the Tiga was waiting for me at the Xefteris Goya center. It is a legendary board shaped by Marco Copello for Tiga in 1999. Apart from the needed nose job, it was in good condition, but we are talking about a board at least 10 years younger than the Ultra Cat.
Kostas of Boards&Wheels did a nose reconditioning, and here is the result:
The full story of the Ultra Cat , will appear in a new post. Stay tuned as always.