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Posts Tagged ‘Paros Surf Club’

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 regularly check the classified used boards for sale, and in June I spotted an F2 Ride 274 (mod.2000). It was located less than a 10 minute ride from my place, the seller was a guy I meet often down the beach of Shinias, the board in good condition supplied with both the original swept back 30 Concrete Wave fin, plus a more powerful upright 36 Ciessevi fin, so I handed over 200 euros and took it home. Such board sell for 150 euros, but mine had also the original foot straps OK, plus a historic Drops board bag, which although hardly presentable, it would serve to safely transport the recently renovated F2 Thommen Slalom Small down to Paros.

I know I don’t really need that board, but it will be a favorite among my windsurfing progressing friends and you should know by now, I have a soft spot for F2 boards of the Thommen era.F2 Ride 274 mod. 2000F2 Rde 274 finsF2 Ride Range 2000

In the meantime, I sold the T1 FreeX 130 bamboo Thommen board to a nice heavy guy who usually sails in Golden beach-Paros, so now I’m left with 2 boards of this line, the RS 59 and the eXperience 165, that I have already reviewed in the past.T1 mk4 RS 59-FreeX 130-eXperience 165sale photo of T1 FreeX 130

PAROS  REVISITED

This year we arrived in New Golden Beach a little earlier, with good wind to sail all 4 boards I brought along, 2 F2 classics – the Wave 254 & the Thommen Slalom Small and 2 modern, the Exocet Cross IV 84 pro & the RRD Firemove 100.

The big news this year, is that in addition to the long established Paros Surf Club Station (Taboo/Gaastra) that belongs to Philoxenia hotel, and run by Kostas,Paros Surf Club @ N.G Paros Surf Club manager - Kostas 2010 - RRDa new sports center affiliated to Aqua  Marina resort has opened: The  Goya Center Paros, run by the renowned windsurfing athlete & experienced trainer John Xefteris.Goya windsurfing center ParosGoya windsurfing center Paros - stationJohn Xefteris @ Goya Center ParosEfinha StreetDancer

The good news, is that now we have more friends running their businesses in N.G. beach, greater choice of equipment offered & more rescue boats.

The not so good news, is that the space is limited, parking is less easy, more people are both on the beach & sailing…

This July, there were fewer windy days, while there were some days of S & SW wind, rather unusual for this time of the year. Still, the windy days of meltemi wind, created a great terrain.

NGB Paros July 2014 - big wavesVergos wave riding NGBDuring my stay, I spotted 2 broken Taboo fins and I wonder if there was a production butch of inferior construction…broken Taboo finbroken Taboo fin -2

Talking about questionable material quality, I have to protest for the Dakine gloves I bought in Paros. These gloves started coming apart just the 4th day of use!Dakine glove 2014 RDakine glove 2014 L

It is a pity, because the 2011 Dakine gloves I had were very good – unfortunately I lost them. The Gull gloves I had last year, were also up to the job – again I managed to lose them…

Dakine sailing gloves 2011 – GOOD

Dakine sailing gloves 2011 - GOOD

Now I just received a pair of MacWet gloves which look promising. I will report in due time.MacWet watersports glovesThere were no friends photographers around this year, so it was thanks to Arnaud Dechamps, who in between shooting  the equipment on test for Planchemag, took 2 photos of me on the Exocet, where you can see the incomparable clarity of the water we are blessed to sail on!

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 To be continued

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As you can see from the board’s side view, it has serious rocker and generous scoop, characteristics that set it apart from the slalom &  freerace categories. My coarse measurements, show scoop 172mm –  rocker 17mm, flat @104cm from tail  and dimensions of the wetted area 240 x 57 cm (which I consider more meaningful than overall dimensions – unless you shop for a boardbag). Talking about bags, the board I found @ Zois (Greek importer), was sold without one and in order to protect it, I got from Glaridis-Sfikas a Prolimit 238-60 bag that fits so well I doubt a tailor-made one would fit like this – my only complain is the lack of a fin pocket inside the bag.

Talking about measurements & fins, the board came with 34 Meanline/T1 fin, instead of the 32 indicated by T1. I checked with both T1 and Zois and was told the 34 is the right size fin for the board. (On the basis of the trial results, I don’t think anyone should argue, although a correction to the specs will prevent confusions)

My plan was to take with me both new T1s of the family, the RS 59 and the eXperience 165, but my son (rightful owner of the second), having a different vacation schedule, asked me to leave it behind

Well, upon arrival in Paros on the 4th of July, conditions were ideal for testing material, but I had to select carefully the equipment that would allow me to recover from my hibernation.

Mid June, I had taken the RS 59 to Shinias beach – just next to Marathon, to get a feel of the board afloat, but that was all, so I spend the first 2 days in New Golden Beach saluting  friends and fellow windsurfers, rigging 4 sails (5.7 – 5.3 – 4.7 – 3.7) and stretching my muscles & joints.

In the meantime, since the RS59 is being described by Thommen as the “most uncompromised racing tool”, I asked my friend Thiseas Kampas  chief instructor of Paros Surf Club, a competitor of top level credentials and co-winner of the first round of HSSWA SLALOM OPEN , to try and comment it.

He did it willingly and returning me the board, he told me he was pleasantly surprised by the speed and easy handling of it. The wind that day was 19-22 knots, and I fitted a 7.3 North Sail Natural of the club.

Having the opinion of an RS-X/slalom/ funboard champion, I decided to take the board to my close friend George Moustakis (Tigana), owner & chief instructor of  Aquatic water sports center in Santa Maria bay, the place where Paros windsurfing started in the early ‘80’s.

George is a freeride/wave athlete , who during the winter rides the waves in Australia, in company of PWA elite, like Peter Volwater, Karin Jaggi & Patrik Diethelm.

After a short ride, George praised the ability of the board to ride smoothly over the chop and the ease of  jibing, everything done at impressive speed. The wind was 21-25 knots and George used a 5.7 sail of his.

Taking the board back to New G.B., I met my friend & local legend Vagelis Maniotis who was testing his new 75l single/tri fin board that replaced the old trusted one that expired last year. The wind was 33-38 knots and Vag was already using a 4.2 sail which he transferred to the RS 59 and sailed away in the foaming sea. Ten minutes later he handed me back the board, saying: Nice board, you can do anything!

By now I was ready to take my turn. Depending on  the wind I sailed the board with the complete range of the 4 sails I had rigged and one day under ballistic conditions, that even with the 3.7 sail I was having a hard time, I strapped the RS59 to the roof rack & drove to Santa Maria, where I had a marvellous session riding the large waves at the entrance of the bay and then blasting back almost to the beach. My first impression was that the board was very fast, maybe faster than that I was prepared  to tackle the oncoming waves. Things would get almost scary sailing down the waves with the wind on my tail, and this powerful 34cm fin. Little by little I gained confidence, realizing that the RS59 is fast of course but friendly. I could go upwind in a way few could follow, jibing was smooth and natural at speeds I still have to adopt, while wave ramps were inviting for jumping that came effortless – in total impressive. The fin coped well with the largest (7.3) sail I used, although the Tectonics Talon 34 fin I borrowed from Arnaud, was somehow  better I think. The Tectonics F1-Falcon 32 was even easier, but lacked of course the drive of the Talon and the standard Meanline fin. I would like to try a ~30 fin again later on as I get used to the board, especially with the small sails of 4.7 & below. I envied the very comfortable pads of the RRD boards of the club, and I wish I had such on the RS59. Although a whole year has elapsed since the riding of the black CX87, my impression is that the RS59 copes smoother with the chop, but I cannot tell if this is thanks to the bottom design, the deck construction, or a combination of both. Any suggestions apart from the foot pads? Yes, as it is a narrow board I would like to have the option of a single rear foot strap.

Ten days later, I returned to Paros and of course the RS59 was on top of the loaded pack. I did not manage to find the smaller freeride fin I wanted to try with small sails, because such fins are rarely ordered in Tuttle box version, so I will have to place a special order for it. I had some wonderful rides and even tested the upper sails limits of the board fitting an 8.2 Naish RedLine cambered sail – one full meter larger than the maximum indicated capacity of its specs. The RS59 coped OK with it, although the nimbleness of the board was sacrificed.

In Santa Maria bay I rigged a vintage Arrows (F2) sail, a 1993 Grand Slam 6.1 cambered model of racing pedigree that I had not used for the last 15 years, curious to see how a 20 years design would feel on the modern RS59. Well, the combination sailed marvelously, as the sail is seriously powerful with lightness and good control, with a forgotten rattling sound of the monofilm material of that era from the loose leach…   To have one more view, I asked the young & primising rider Apostolis Theodoridis (son of the legentary Teo), co intructor at the Aquatic water sports center in Santa Maria, to give a try to the combination. I wanted to hear, how a wave rider of no cambered sails experience would feel. The smile on the last photo below, says it all! 

My latest information is that the RS boards range will no longer be available next year, so maybe there is an opportunity to get one of these exeptional boards at a very attractive price.

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