Archive for October, 2016

If you read the previous post with the 2016 season’s review, you already know that my small Cross 84, failed to complete the season, due to structural breakdown.

Expecting to repair a wooden-skinned  board first week of August, proved unrealistic. Not even the bamboo veneers supplier was in town. This idle time, allowed me to reconsider: I never really liked the heavily loaded decoration of this dynamically sailing board – especially the blue/white pads. Having just 2 options – black or white – I chose black. The original Exocet footstraps are not very comfortable (which is something repeatedly pointed out by testers), so I decided to change them as well. At the beginning, I thought black footstraps would be nice, but when I tried blacks, the dark area became too heavy for the otherwise multicolored deck, so once again I used the Dakine Primos I have used for the Fanatic Ultra Cat. They give a more balanced result.

The exposed wooden area between the front & the rear pads that was replaced, was originally decorated with splashes of colors, a flying fish & the details of the board with horrible numbers.

I grew at a time that workshops were decorated with sexy ladies but no fish, so my idea for a decorative upgrade for my board naturally was centered on an pin-up sexy girl, preferably related to the sea. And here comes the image of a mermaid – not one out of a story for kids, deprived of offering pleasure, but one created for adults: The fetish queen Betty Page clad in latex and created by non other, but the famous pin-up artist Olivia De Berardinis, a regular contributor to Playboy magazine, honoring the tradition of Vargas.

If you are still unsure about the appeal mermaids have on humans, just check the blog “I am a mermaid.”

I shaped myself the displacement “84” label of the board, added a film-like label for the dimensions, and since the looks of the board would be more to my taste, I decided to call it Hitthewave Special.desired-hitthewave-special-layout

The layout of the composition was done by my long time class-mate Spiros Th., since he was the best student of the whole 2-membered seminars we attended.

Kostas @  boardsnwheels , did the repair which was not a small one, but as he needed masking on different areas than the ones my layout would cover, changed without letting me know first, the arrangement of the composition…The result is still good, but not as good as I had thought, while the front pad is not fully symmetrically cut. I hope more attention was given to the solidity of the repair, which does not seem to have put any extra weight, as I weighted the board @ 6,3kg.cross-iv-pro-hitthewave-special-decoration

As a final touch, I added a Hitthewave Special designation logo to the nose bottom as well.exocet-cross-hitthewave-special-bottom-detail-designation

I  don’t expect to sail the board earlier than next summer, but I don’t think I should not show it to you earlier. Enjoy!

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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.

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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…

Equipment  Report

MacWet gloves

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.cross-fins-bp28-wg27

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.

The Boards

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 early 2000’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…wild-beach-flowers

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I never had a Fanatic board until recently, while if I hadn’t been so closely related to the Greek F2 importers back then, I’m sure I would have sailed a Fanatic sometime.

By mistake the Fanatic 30 years book commemorative anniversary advertisement, used as their first photo (1981),  one that my friend Armando Moustakis took me while I was sailing in Schinias, a 1980 Sordelli board with a storm sail made by Tassos Boudouris (the Olympic games Soling sailing medalist), and that was my only connection with Fanatic until last summer.

Well thanks to my 2 Greece-loving, German windsurfing friends Alex & Markus, I may proudly join the vintage Fanatic owners club. Here is how this happened.

Fanatic Ultra Cat – late ’80’s

I suppose you remember how I got interested about the Ultra Cat from the post Windsurfing season 2015 – part 2.

Thinking I would not find an opportunity to visit Paros again that summer, I had taken the Ultra Cat to Athens. :)25 days later, I returned to Paros, and as soon as Anastasia of the Philoxenia beach shop saw me,  she called me in and gave me a large parcel, telling me that Alex had left there for me. To my great enthusiasm, it contained the Cat’s trousseaux, consisting of 2 expertly hand made wooden daggerboards, 3 different size & material fins and 2 hard to find mast foot joints!ultra-cat-equipment-gift


I asked Anastasia about Alex, and she told me he was in Paros and that he was coming daily to the beach. Not more than  half an hour later, I spotted Alex, rigging a Mistral Pan Am raceboard.

I thanked him warmly for being so kind to give me all the valuable material of the board, but when I asked what was the sum I should give for everything, Alex offered me the Ultra Cat, not accepting any kind of compensation, saying that he was happy someone could appreciate the old Cat which was in need of some rejuvenating care. He had already replaced it with the Pan Am, while he also showed me his smaller, red, old-school Fanatic freeride, both of which he soon sailed in turns, with determination and flair.ultra-cat-attention-spotsI took the board to Kostas @ boardsnwheels. First we dealt with the non fully retracted daggerboard issue, that we solved by altering slightly the pivot point of the custom wooden daggerboard – after Kostas managed to mark the wood with a genius bronze marking button he crafted on his recently acquired lathe. Then he moved on (on a very slow pace, I may say), to fix the 2 holes on the deck, retouch the old repair of the tail – restoring the animal print graphics on plain yellow background (the old repair was covered with blue color, masking also some of the graphics), respray of anti-slip and finally change the rotten footstraps.

Trying to find appropriate footstraps for a board belonging to the funboard period, is not an easy task nowadays. Gone are the colorful choices, and after extensive search, I decided to go for the Dakine turquoise Primos that contain almost the full palette of the Cat’s decoration. Mind you that even knowing what I wanted to buy, it was not easy to get all 8 straps ( I always buy one spare) from one shop! I finally ordered them from France, from a shop that doesn’t even specialize in windsurfing… I believe these straps lifted the the bar of the reconditioning considerably.ultra-cat-reconditioned-2016ultra-cat-dakine-straps-fantasy

To complement the looks, I asked the board’s bottom to be sanded race wise, for less drag. Now, all I need is an experienced raceboard (see ALEX) rider to appreciate it. Alex, although older than me, still competes in tandem (2 riders boards), something I have not even tried in my youth.


Fanatic Ultra Mosquito – early ’90’s

It was last January, that Markus  having visited Hitthewave, left me a kind comment. He also told me, that he is windsurfing in Serifos, where he keeps most of his equipment, including 2 vintage boards, an F2 Sunset Slalom & a Fanatic Ultra Mosquito, that were somehow decorating the resort of his friend Edie, where he stays every year he goes to Serifos. I think you know this F2 is a benchmark in shaping and that it paved the way to the cross type of boards, but you are maybe unaware, that the Fanatic Ultra Mosquito of 1990 – 1991, belongs to a range that I consider as one of the most inspired artwork in the history of production boards.


Not having any board of this range, I asked Markus if I could offer a substitute and get the Mosquito, but he generously told me I could get it outright. Without delay I contacted Edie, who promptly dispatched it to me. It was with great anticipation that I received it, to realize unfortunately, that neither Markus nor Edie had followed the fate of the Mosquito for quite some time and the board had obvious signs of neglect.

As usual, I took it to the repair shop for the bottom, while I dealt myself with the deck artwork (after all, Kostas is too busy to spend long hours in detailing). You see, although I doubt I will ever sail it, I had to restore it so that it will please my eyes.fanatic-ultra-mosquito-markus-board-renewed-2016

And nobody can forget the combined beauty of the girl & the surf – Jenna on the Mosquito, the unsurpassed photo of pro – sports photographer Sylvain Cazenave 🙂jenna-fanatic-ultra-mosquito-wind-magazine-by-s-cazenave

I hope one day, we will sail together with Markus, as we already did with Alex.

Below are some photos of Markus in action, both with the retired Ultra Mosquito and his present Fanatic board, while there is a playful entertaining video showing the good Serifos times.

Once again, I would like to thank my friends Alex and Markus for their gifts, and wish them happy sailings!

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