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Archive for the ‘2. WINDSURFING’ Category

If someone tries to find a single finned bump & jump board of less than 85 liters, he will be disappointed.

The trend these days is for multi fins and in order to have a small, fast wave-slalom board, the solution is to go custom.

In 1991 I became aware of the great Red-Line boards of Marco Copello, at a time Anders Bridgal was riding them in the Word Cup, but I never had the chance to even try one. Having shaped models for many of the famous windsurfing companies, always testing new materials & ideas, he has the ideal background for tailor-made projects. Knowing that Marco is making some fine customs under the Swell Expression branding since the early ’80’s, also digging extensively on the artwork, I decided to ask if he could offer me a board suiting my old school sailing preferences.

Here is how my SE/Copello – Hitthewave custom materialize:

Ciao Marco,

Windsurfing since 1979, I have followed your fascinating shapes, but never owned one like the Copello Red Line, because I was closely related to the Greek importers of F2, until Thommen and finally Patrik left the company. Later on, I became aware of HTS boards, but again at a time these were no longer available.

 

Visiting your site, I was attracted by your fine looking Swell Expression boards (which I have no idea how much may cost), but I would like to ask you, if you think you can make one for me, that will have my preferred sailing characteristics.
I mostly sail in New Golden beach in Paros island, Greece.

I enjoy sailing fast, always on single fin boards, using cross sails (5-6 battens – no cams), locked in – pressing hard against the fin, until I find a good ramp for a jump.

Although the spot often gets waves from the usual North side wind, I do not wave-ride seriously, so I do not sail in an upright position, nor I like loose feeling boards.

 

Last year I tried a few times the Goya One 85 in thruster mode.

Of course I was impressed with the ease it would turn, the less physically demanding sailing, the fast recovery of any spin-out…but it is not what I look for, so no thrusters for me – only power box singles.

 

My favorable board, is an Exocet Cross IV pro (at the time I bought it, Pro=bamboo), but when things are getting too much for it, I feel I need a slightly smaller (and stronger ) board to rig my 3.7 sail.

 

I believe that a scaled down “Exocet Cross” type of board, around 77-79l, would be ideal, so on this concept I would like to know if you feel confident to shape something for me – after all, you always come-up with sensational shapes…

 

weight 71 kg without counting the full body neoprene I always wear.

I’m 1.83m tall, shrinking slowly as I get older.

In small boards, I use 3 footstraps – single at the rear, with ~24 cm distance from the rear screw of the footstrap to the end of the board, while I set the front-to-rear footstraps at 40 cm distance. I have long legs and my balance is much better at a wide stance.

 

As I told you, my sailing style is the old wave-slalom one, something that we would maybe call these days power-freeride.

 

In general, I prefer longer boards, because I look for good control at high speed and not playful & turny behavior.

 

My sails as I said are cross sails (5 battens – no cams),

GUN Torro 5.3

Simmer Icon 4.7               photo attached

Simmer Crossover 4.0           ”         ”

Sailworks Hucker  3.7            ”         ”

 

From the photos of the boards you show on your site, I like the look of the visibly exposed carbon rails and possibly the bottom as well (without knowing construction details).

 

Best Regards from troubled Greece

Dimitris Savidis (zaosan)

Hitthewave blog

 

 

Dear Dimitris,

 

Thank you very much for your mail, It is quite rare to meet people knowing so precisely what they want and need…I really appreciate, that makes things so much easier!….

Of course I would be glad to shape a board for you, the board characteristics you are looking for are among the ones I like the most.

Your knowledge of the evolution of windsurfing (cf. attached documents) means that you are aware of that and the success of the Red line ” wave slalom” and ” convertible” shapes witnesses it…

 

For the particular use and the sailing conditions that you described, two options could fit your program, either a fast but very easy to handle wave-slalom board, or an on-shore oriented, fast wave board.

 

To save space, I show in a unified text the exchanged views:

Marco in black –  Dimitris in blue

The size of a board fitting your sails range could be in a range from 2.30 to 2.35 m and a width from 54 -56 cm, of course, the smaller the board is, the easier it will be at rough conditions….

Sounds reasonable, and I think a board shaped by you will be much easier in rough conditions even if is ~56 cm wide.

 I hope that my suggestions have been satisfying for you and of course do not hesitate to contact me again for any precision or additional questions.

All the boards are equipped with a simple kind of valve, therefore I don’t drill the hole trough, it is unnecessary as long as the board has never been broken and the eps core hasn’t been in contact with water.

To leave the rails without paint with apparent carbon is not a problem, so you don’t have to mind about that.

How do these 2 possible options compare (upwind/downwind speed, ease of planing & gybing, high wind control), to the Exocet Cross that I use (which I suppose you describe it as wave-slalom and not fast wave)?

 In regard to the top speed downwind, the speed potential of both options is quite similar; the main differences are recordable on the upwind speed (which would be significantly higher for the wave-slalom).

The ease in turns of each option wouldn’t be much affected by the differences in the shapes, although the wave version would be more comfortable in tight turns, while the other would prefer larger, fast carved turns.

The general feeling of both options is very close; the wave version is just a little less effort demanding.
Actually I’d rather put the Exocet in the wave slalom category, but a custom board is shaped according to the customer’s request and there are endless shades and combinations…the most important thing for a shaper is to understand exactly what the customer expects…So i think that the best would be to tell me what you like riding this board (Exocet) and what you would like to improve or to change.

Ok then, from the first ride I tried the Exocet, I was attracted by the fact it was fast & reassuringly friendly, passing with ease over the chop, and not losing plane when gybing in my open radius/medium speed turns. Everything was happening under good control, without the need to sheet-out and reduce speed.

Easy to jump, but this is something many other of my boards were fine.

When the original fin broke, I did not find a new fin to suit as good to the board (maybe my sailing). Then the board broke, so I will continue fin testing this coming season.

 The fin is always a major element affecting the riding performance of a board and a good fins quiver can enhance and improve both the performances and the range of use of a board…however, the basic potential of a board is set by the shape option, that’s why it is so important to define precisely the customer’s demand…

Concerning the construction and according with your past (bad) experiences, i would suggest a top full sandwich carbon-vectran construction, the same as i usually apply for radical waveboard programs.

This technique combines an inside-sandwich carbon structure with omega carbon stringers on the bottom and deck side and an outside full carbon-vectran skin reinforced with full carbon patches (one or several layers) on the most solicited areas.

 And how does visible carbon-vectran look like? Any similarities to either the dark or the more grayish HTS finish of the photos I send?

 There are several cosmetic versions of this fabric, the one I use looks just like normal carbon fiber (vectran has no color and can be colored up to demand), the most current version is the kevlar/carbon aspect, personally, i don’t really like it because I dislike to pretend something not being absolutely true…and also because I consider that the carbon/vectran hybrid is way more efficient and modern as the carbon/kevlar combination!

This technology offers a unique combination of strength and durability and an incomparable weight /resistance ratio.

Both versions will be equipped with heels shock absorbers beneath the foot pads.

The price of a board crafted in this technology would be 2.000 €.

Is this price full inclusive (decoration, straps, fin & delivery to me)?

The price only includes decoration, foot pads (and bumpers) but fins and delivery are not included (this price is already very low in regard to the construction and the finish…;-))

Ok, as it is the first time I’m taking part to the building details of a board, I would like to ask if visible carbon-vectran is more sensitive to sun exposure than painted surfaces. I have also heard about Super Sap entropy resin which offers better UV protection.

One of the major advantages of the vectran fiber is to be 100% UV resistant! So there are no worries about this factor, therefore not-painted surfaces are black, this means that they can possibly overheat, which could become a problem for large, plane surfaces, like the bottom of the board; nevertheless, if the customer choose to have large parts of the board in black, it is recommended not to leave it too long exposed in direct sun, and to put the board in a bag once out of the water.

To leave the rails without paint with apparent carbon is not a problem, so you don’t have to mind about that.

The decision about the graphics of the board belongs at 100% to the customer! ;-)) My commitment is to achieve the best technical job according to the customer’s wish…

 Although the cost of the fin is not included, I suppose you recommend some fins you acknowledge work better with a specific board of yours.

 Yes but the choice will depend of the shape options…there are some fin companies more specialized in slalom, other in wave fins etc., so. Once the final program and the shape options of the board are fixed, we’ll know which manufacturer to contact.

 The board types you have in mind, are they similar to the latest HTS boards I have seen on the internet? I attach retouched photos. Also you do not mention anything about BioFlex, although I noticed you apply it in slalom boards as well.

The HTS boards in attachment are mainly slalom boards, so, not  exactly like your program, the bioflex is excellent for wave or free wave boards, it dramatically increases performances and ease but needs more care in storage of the board (never put it vertical on the tail!) and it is not adapted for heavy jumps with rough landings…(risk of cracks at the junction between soft and hard part of the tail)

In a slalom program, with my test riders we tried several versions of this concept, some of them showed a slightly higher performance in certain conditions, however the (little) advantages do not justify the higher cost and technological complication.

I decided to order a wave-slalom board, decorated with powerful fighting spirit motif and thanks to our kind common friend Arnaud, the delivery was arranged early July directly in New Golden beach – Paros… Couldn’t have dreamed of anything better than that!

On the 5th of May, Marco received the EPS core he would shape my board,

On the 13th of June, he send me the first photos of the board laminated

On the 23rd, he send the photos of the custom artwork applied

Hi Marco,

 

Looks great, but quite different from what I expected. 🙂

I send you an oriental dragon-tattooed girl but you kept only the dragon…!

Ok, the dragon combined with the swords gives a much stronger fighting appearance than one that would include a female figure.

 

I also thought that the bottom could be fully visible of the HT construction and not white… 

 

Will the finish of the bottom be anti-drag to avoid the sticking of water layer?

 

I’m sure it will be a beach attraction and a topic of discussions for days!

 

Any suggestion about fin selection?

 

Please let me have the measurements of it. 

 

Thanks/Regards

 

Dimitris

 

Hi Dimitris,

The dragon gives a much stronger personality and character to the board, it also emphasizes the shape and makes all the finishing details more visible.

Concerning the bottom, there is a very simple and technical reason for making the major part of the surface white: the heat!

A full-surface visible carbon bottom would attract the sun rays and the temperature could quickly and easily rise up to 80-100 Degrees C…I just let you figure out the catastrophic result that this could have on the structure of the board….!

The finish of the bottom on the picture I have send is not finished yet, the final finish is longitudinally sanded with 30 microns sanding paper, which is the most effective anti-drag finish.

There are several kinds of fins you could put on the board, the range goes from radical slalom fins to free-ride or even wave on-shore fins, obviously with each kind of fin, you will magnify the characters of the board corresponding to the fin program, and reduce the others. With an “allround” free-ride fin you will probably get the best combination and the widest range of use, but not the highest performances….

You will discover the amazing potential of this board, as well as its smoothness and easiness…

 

Hereby you will find the dimensions of your board:

Length: 2.31 m

Width: 0.56 m

OFO Tail: 0.375m

OFO Nose: 0.405 m

Volume : apprx.: 80-83l

Weight without straps: 5.995 kg

 

Looking forwards to hear from you soon, Best Regards,

Marco

 

And finally on Sunday 8 of July, the always kind Arnaud handed me the wrapped toy…The parcel was really light, but surprise-surprise, I could not sail it as it was.

Marco in his effort to meet the time of dispatch, having run out of footstraps, packed it without, planning to send straps upon receipt of the new lot.

The fin box was not Power box, but of the twin screws Tuttle system (definitely stronger & more secure), while this option actually demanded a twin rear footstrap configuration, without I think, the possibility of a central strap as an alternative…

Being in Paros, away from my warehouse and running out of time, I went straight to Bit Of Salt, where I asked Petros to order a complete set of JP  straps which I considered well matching the artwork of the board. The issue of the Tuttle fin looked harder to deal with, because I had brought plenty of Power box fins, but no Tuttle, while the slalom boards sailing friends around, had much bigger fins than the size I needed!

Two days later, the JP straps were screwed in position – though with more effort than expected, while Alekos sourced a suitable red 32cm RRD fin from his vast equipment collection. As Kostas (of Evelyn) was still in Athens, I arranged a smaller-28cm- fin I had at home, to be handed to him and bring it with him to Paros 2 days later. Nice to have friends to assist! 

Finally, with all fittings attached, the Copello Swell Expression – Hitthewave special dragon custom, was ready to be sailed.

Now apart from myself, I needed a few competent riders to evaluate, while giving me the opportunity to take some photos.

My Serbian friend Costa, was the first I wanted to try it. This season he had received in Paros a full range of 2018 Goya fast wave boards, in addition to his Starboard slalom fleet. A nice guy, who enjoys to sail all the best of these 2 kinds of windsurfing, the ones that were combined in the concept of my custom. He rigged his 6.7 RRd  Move sail and set off (conditions for me were for a 5.3 sail, but Costa is big , much taller than me and ~20 kgs of muscles heavier) .

Twenty minutes later, he returned and his puzzled expression frightened me.

Well? I asked anxiously…

U-n-b-e-l-i-v-a-b-l-e! He replied. It rides as there is no chop, turns easily, it is comfortable and very fast. Maybe my small slalom can go faster, but I wouldn’t have a good time with the existing chop. I want to try it with one of my good Z fins!

Now it was my turn to give it a try, and as Arnaud & Frank were preparing for some distant testing to the large Golden Beach-via Makronissi, I grabbed a 5,3 wave sail from Goya center and went along. It was a wonderful sailing experience, in company of those experienced testers riding some of the best new material available. Of course upon return, Arnaud pointed out that the sail I had used was fine for wave riding, but that did not match well with the need of a stable profile sail that would allow to exploit the potential of the board.

The next few days  the younger guys took turns, first Kostadinos, and then Teze who happened to come for a short visit. Similar comments about user friendliness, ease to turn & speed.

When my wave riding friend George “Tigana” took turn, he said it was very comfortable but scary fast for the circumstances (yes, it was very windy & wavy that day), and that  he would love to try it again with a good 5.3 sail in less extreme conditions and that would be the fastest enjoyable combination. 

Mid September I received the outstanding footstraps from Marco, together with their screws. I was a little shocked to see the correct screws for the Chinook inserts Marco uses on his customs, and having received the board without any fitting instructions, I run a serious risk by having used in Paros  the JP (Cobra industry standard) straps hardware…In addition the straps were not any Swell Expression special order, but usual black Dakine Primo. I believe such beautiful custom boards, should be paired with more unique straps.

Now, this winter will seem painfully long, waiting for the next Paros/windsurfing season, where this wonderful new toy will be fully exploited. In the meantime I will look for more fin options and maybe try a single, rear footstrap set-up. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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The wind forecast for the first 3 days in Paros was not great, but that was not bad at all, as it gave us the time needed to re-adopt, after the long non-windsurfing period, since last September.

For these less windy days, I took along my son’s board, the tried and great sailing Thommen eXperience 165, plus the 2 vintage boards  I bought from Claude last summer- the 2001 Mistral – Naish   Titan 255 x 61 – 109L, the last year of Naish cooperation with Mistral, before focusing on his personal brand, and the customized 2000’s, blue Mistral  Flow 85  258 x 55 – 84.5L. To complement, I took as well the repaired Exocet Cross iv 84.

Later on, I had arranged to take delivery of my new toy, a high wind custom board, a Swell Expression wave/slalom, shaped by Marco Copello!

I would also try plenty of fins and 2 new sails, a Gun Torro 5.3 and a Sailworks Hucker 3.7

I’m very happy to confirm all gear performed well, meeting my expectations.

The trusted eXperience 165 sailed with the 7.4 Ka Koyote, when only foils & kites were on the water, and even when not planing, it kept a fine upwind track and offered a pleasant sailing experience, long missing from the boards on the market, while with a little more wind, it was a speed cruiser hard to miss. Here is pictured with the smallest sail I used, the Goya 5.9, and the photos were taken by Peter who also acted as my vintage equipment tester/model, as he qualifies with all the needed background. 

With some more wind, I rigged the Naish Titan & the Torro 5.3 using the standard 32 Freeride fin. The combination proved great and as Peter remarked, modern boards were left behind. I will ad, that it performed exactly as a small freeride board should, and only when the sea got very bumpy and we rigged sails of 4.7 and smaller, we felt the volume and the oversize fin.

As wind picked up, we switched board and put to test the shortened Mistral Flow 85. Perfect match, and here we had the facility to use the original big (27) fin with the Torro 5.3 sail, stepping down to the original small (25) fin rigging a 4.7 sail.

Great combination for the conditions, Peter was still the fastest, while I would say, the shape looked and performed absolutely like a good crossover or as they tend to call them, a fast bump & jump freeride.

I know you will think I idealize oldies, but that is the truth. As a pro tester friend pointed out, unless for specific disciplines, little has changed to the shape of the boards the past 15 years…

My repaired Exocet Cross iv 84, once again confirmed it’s brilliant shape and I sailed it with the small sails, putting more attention to the Sailworks Hucker 3.7, since although a small sail, it is a quite steady one that suits to some locked and dedicated fast sailing. The colorful design drew a lot of attention, but although I thought I would be the only Sailworks rider in New Golden beach, I found Julie & John from California, with a quiver consisting of many Sailworks sails, not of my Hucker type, but Revolutions, which are more wave oriented.

There were windsurfers of many nationalities again in New Golden beach, plenty of French headed by the Planchemag testing team, many Italians including Andrea Rosati, Germans, Austrians, British, Americans, Croatians, Serbians, Russians, Israelis and Spanish – to mention the ones I became aware of, apart from the usual Greek crowd.

Both watersports clubs had increased the number of their instructors and it is good to see year after year, youngers to join the experienced teams, like Byron & Dimitris at Goya center and some more guys at the Paros Surf club.

The wind was was there and strong most of the time, and it was easy to take some nice photos for you to see.

Kostas of the Paros Surf club had little sailing time due to his duties, nevertheless, I managed a shot of him during a 10 minute brake…

John Xefteris demonstrated his sailing skills to the young followers, while his brother George, managing the fully booked hotel, had little time to join him

Many girls were on the water all the time and it was nice to watch them and hard to miss. I found some of them among the photos I took, and here are Bea, Artemis & Mari from our group, Anastasia , Maria & Alja under the guidance of John X., while Julie was always properly rigged thanks to her John – a luxury, that until now only Mari had, thanks to her Alekos.A lot of people spend their sailing time trying to manage a single planing jibe but my friend George  “Tigana”, is a joy to watch repeating in each turn his spectacular  lay down-outboard leaning-one hand jibe!  I took photos and not a video, because everything happens so fast, that in the video you do not fully get the moves. Watch the slideshow (The resolution is high, so if you zoom your monitor by at least 200%, it will be much better).

 

 

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It’s good to know there is responsible rescue watch when you are out there and thanks to the 2 surf stations New Golden beach has an excellent score. This time it was Bea’s mast joint that snapped and Kostas assisted by Marcos went out to find her & safely bring her back, not an easy task under the circumstances. As you see from the photos, It was very hard to spot, but Bea stayed with both her board and her rig offering a somehow bigger and slower mark on the wavy sea!

 

Last year I was impressed by the RRD inflatable  Airwindsurf Freeride. Unfortunately I did not see any of the new models of the inflatable range, the INFLATABLE SPEED BOARD and the INFLATABLE FREESTYLE WAVE BOARD, which show the potential of seriously conceived & executed air-field foldable boards.

The attraction toys on the beach, apart from the inflatable pink flamingos, was the inflatable tandem windsurf – which has nothing to do with the racing tandems like the ones our German friend Alex (G-132) sails competing in the Tandem championship.

Racing Tandems

Family Toy Tandem 

The ride of this tandem, was very elastic and tit felt like a worm following the curvature of the waves. Nice & soft for kids to toy with. Watch the video – click This video was recorded by my silverhaired windsurfing mate Kostas Vergos.

For me, the most interesting time of this windsurfing season, was the anticipation, arrival & sailing of my first ever custom board (it was on this board that I also tried the Sailworks Hucker 3,7), but I will post about it separately.

Stay around.

 

 

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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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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.
airwindsurf-freeride

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

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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.

fanatic-ultra-mosquito-1990

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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