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Archive for April, 2017

Early April, we  visited Miami for the first time. It is a lively & pleasant US destination, worth a travel post, but here I would like to tell you about Windsurfing Miami.

I suppose you are familiar with the Cuban windsurfers stories, who sailed to freedom on a board. One of them, Alex Morales who settled in Miami, has turned windsurfing into a way of life, crafting custom boards of his own design branded TILLO and e organizing events promoting the sport, that has fallen behind of the trendy kitesurfing.

Having contacted Alex in advance, we visited him at his workshop.

His custom CNC shaped cores were waiting in line to receive his hand applied preparation, while his Miami Foil Meeting , was just 2 weeks away. This year, the French windsurfer Antoine Albeau who holds twenty-three Windsurfing World Championships in different disciplines, including the World Speed record on windsurf, arranged to attend the event.

The TILLO range of boards is expanding, with emphasis on the new trend of foil boards.

Alex, is an accomplished slalom/formula athlete, so it comes natural to be attracted to the new minimum friction windsurf boarding. For anyone not familiar with foiling, it should be pointed out that it allows you to sail fast, with wind strength no ordinary windsurf board would plane, using at the same time much smaller sails (the friction-less advantage).He has worked extensively for the past 5 years on the development of the concept, and has come-up with interesting design characteristics on his custom foil boards:

  • The length has been reduced, so that there is no unnecessary front overhang.
  • The mast track as a result of the reduced length has been moved further back.
  • Front to rear footstraps spacing is smaller, as the balance need to be closer to the fin.

The hull is of a double concave changing to a single at the back, with wide cut-out tail,while great attention has been put to the beveled edges that make the board more user friendly the moment the hull lands on the water. This Alex board characteristic, he feels will be soon adopted by more foil board makers.

The TILLO foil system is carbon molded by Alex and offers a great practical/cost saving advantage. Unlike most systems on the market, his system is fully modular, so that allows the sailor to progress from a short fin to a long one, by changing only the pole/fin length of the system, not to mention the reduced renovation cost of it – if some part gets damaged.

Here is a short interview  Alex gave to Kent Marinkovic  (president/CEO at Pryde Group Americas) on the occasion of the Foiling gathering.

Miami Foil Meeting was a great success, with Albeau finishing first naturally, with lots of action and fun for all participants and spectators. Here are some photos Alex shared.

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If you have followed the Paros 2016 windsurfing report, you may recall first, that my small Exocet Cross broke down and second, that I acquired a similar volume crossover – wave/slalom Mistral Flow 85 (early 2000’s model) in average condition, but complete with it’s 2 original fins.

Having sailed the Flow in high wind conditions, I noticed it suited me well, but due to the relative excessive length combined with a pronounced nose scoop, it was difficult to control as the wind was pushing up the nose of the board early, especially when reaching the lip of a wave.

I decided  to experiment. I thought it would be a good idea to have an inexpensive back-up high wind board left in Paros, and as the Flow had already undergone a nose repair, I felt free to go for a more radical nose job, that would give the board the lacking characteristics. I did my measurements, and concluded that I could get rid of anything up to 18cm, retaining the needed scoop to deal with the wavy conditions.

Once more I commissioned Kostas @ Boards&Wheels, who suggested for aesthetic reasons to subtract 14.5cm that would allow him to smoothly blend the shorter rounded nose to the lines of the board – you see, I didn’t want a squarish nose.

For the weathered footstraps, I went for the all black/blue logo Neil Pryde, easily adjustable type, which will also absorb less water than the original.

Mistral Flow 85 nose projectcustomised Mistral Flow 85 - 243.5 x 55 cm

The resulting looks,  I think justifies my idea and now the customized Flow 84.5 liters, 243.5 x 55 cm, leans on it’s rack waiting to be tested in Paros this coming summer.

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