Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Observations on new issue of Windsurfing Magazine

I just got the new June issue of Windsurfing Magazine. I've only gone through some of it so far but it looks like a great issue with lots of good content.

I'm absolutely cracking up at the photo on page 11. It follows up nicely to my last post about our great week in Hatteras minus the run in with the disrespectful kiteboarders. That photo was taken right in front of the house we stayed in and was just a few weeks earlier. What is it about that spot and windsurfers/kiteboarders? It's good to know I'm not the only one who vented.

Josh also writes a piece titled "Is SUP Hurting Sailing?". He raises some interesting points. As a windsurfer/SUP'er, I recently bought the Starboard Element 9'8". I was specifically looking for a SUP board that had a mast insert so it could act as my SUP surfboard and also as my light wind wavesailing board. There are several options out there - Naish, Starboard, Fanatic, RRD, and Bic come to mind....these are all windsurfing companies. It still boggles my mind that Naish doesn't have mast inserts in some of their medium size (9' range) boards....which is one of the reasons I opted for the Starboard. Except for one, all my windsurfing friends who also SUP have all purchased a SUP surfboard with mast insert. In some of those cases, it might have taken the place of a true windsurf board purchase but these windsurfing companies still benefitted. Maybe we're in the minority?

What do you think?


19 comments:

Catapulting Aaron said...

It's a no brainer for these companies to put a mast-base thread in their boards. It can't cost that much and it makes the boards much more versatile.

sup sailing is super fun... sup'ing? Well I'd rather try to surf it...

ralph said...

I've been asking these same questions for a while now. Outrageous isn't quite strong enough for the cost of windsurf gear- so isn't a sailable SUP the best return on investment esp for beginners? I've never met anyone that got hooked on windsurfing longboards to not then go on a purchase a board for planing and maneuvers.

Here is a discussion on iWindsurf on SUPs growing windsurfing.
http://www.iwindsurf.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21423&highlight=

By the way, the 1 friend of yours who has the SUP without the mast track has a another SUP with mast track and I hear is looking for a small sailable SUP that surfs well enough to replace the non sailable ;]

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. I used to windsurf growing up in Europe, then I moved to the U.S. and wanted to give it a shot again in my 30s. Wasn't sure I wanted to shell out full price for a dedicated windsurf board, so bought a big SUP that I could sail, surf, and play in the water with the kids. It re-stoked my obsession with windsurfing, and I ended up buying a dedicated bump and jump board. I still use this big SUP in the bay for long paddles. Great workout.

Then I wanted to make the transition to sailing in the waves. Should I buy a dedicated windsurfing wave board for those rare days in my area where i could shred? or improve my SUP surfing and get some sailing practice in the waves with a small sailable SUP? i went with the latter option (8.5m RRD Wassup), and have been surfing that thing like a madman all winter and spring. Got me so stoked for wavesailing that I ended up buying a floaty windsurfing wave board.

So that's two purchases that the windsurfing industry can thank convertible SUPs for!

If you live on Maui, or have access to perfect wind and waves, then i can see how you might be a bit puzzled with all of this. but where time on the water is concerned in my area, it is hard to beat the versatility of the convertibles. Nice to know that I can bring one board to the beach this summer and use regardless of the gutless mushiness of the waves... -- james

Fish said...

I don't own a SUP, but would like to. I would only consider those model SUPs that actually do have a mast track for all the same reasons you mention. Why rule out one potential use that clearly a windsurfer is likely to want and that other non-surfers may ultimately want to try?

What do people think is the best size out there for all-purpose use? First and foremost, if I got one, it would be for paddling around in flat-water maybe with a kid on the front. Secondary to that, it might get used as a windsurfer... Any thoughts from your experience with the 9'8" Waterturtle??

Bill said...

Can't forget the 7'6" 135 ltr SeaLion!

Had a really fun "work break" sesh yesterday catching 3 to 5 ft surf in Nags Head powered by SSE winds hovering in the low teens!

Definitely, with these new SUP sail boards, and especially for wavesailing, the doors are now open to catch waves without the need for prone or standing paddle!

With aggressive designs too (surfy shapes such as found with boards like the SeaLion), you can get to where you need to be on a wave to hit the lip which is quite fun!

Definitely, the month of May, thus far, has offered more SUP wavesailing with decent surf as compared to standard. As summer approaches too, and only trunks are required, it will be a no brainer to pack the SeaLion, a 5.3m sail and hit it with the prone/standing paddle surfers!

Anonymous said...

Fish--
I'm no expert, but it sounds like you are looking for a bigger board that will float kids and paddle a bit of distance. the 9'8" is probably too small for that (the smaller the board, the more it wants to turn rather than go straight--and the more it sits in the water rather than floats above). My 12' board works well for paddling and kid-transporting, but you could probably go a bit shorter if you wanted something that was more interesting to use in the waves. Maybe 11 foot or high 10s? Definitely try to demo first if possible. --james

Bill said...

Yea, Fish, for the kids you would want something big. I have a 10'6" NahSkwell Stroller with mast insert and full deck padding.

Note, full deck padding is also key to allow a spot for kids to sit up front and have cushion and tack to not slide off. A lot of SUPs only have 3/4 deck padding which does not cover the nose. Even the 2011 NahSkwell 10'6" now has 3/4 padding while the 2010 (which I have) is fully padded.

Bill said...

Ah yea, another cool thing about the SeaLion is that you can "head carry" it when entering and/or exiting the shorebreak due to its light weight!

The rear swallow tail makes for a nice handhold when flying the board with the sail on my head!

I need a few pics of this in action and likely a blog post of its own.

Anonymous said...

Bill--
i for one would love to see more pics (and videos) of the sealion in action! i could use some light-wind wavesailing pointers, that's for sure...

the sealion sounds like so much fun. i went with the rrd because it had detachable footstraps and was a bit more sup-surfing oriented, but i have seen some cool video of folks surfing the sealion as well as sailing it. the biggest mystery to me is why more manufacturers aren't offering all-around sail/surf SUPs.

sometimes i think the industry gets so obsessed with extreme sailing/surfing that it loses sight of what the average weekend warrior could make most use of. (of course, those great videos at ho'okipa probably encourage many of us to part with our cash...) i like how even the windsurfing wave boards now--with their more versatile quad fins--seem to be embracing less stellar conditions. i even saw a youtube video of peter hart demonstrating how those wave boards could be used in bump and jump conditions. who knows, maybe it has taken the economic crisis for the industry to invest in crossover concepts as well as continuing the march into ever-increasing specialization...

Bill said...

Yea, true that more industry entry into the light air wave market would be killer!

Even living here on the OBX, I now find that I basically have nearly every SSW day covered if there is a wave out there (side to side off), with a sail size need no larger than 5.3m.

With the SeaLion loaded in the back of the 4Runner along with my Tempo, if the winds subside when I roll onto the beach at Rmp 30, I still have a smile on my face if there is a wave out there!

Waterturtle said...

I went with the Starboard Element 9'8" because it was a good compromise in getting more maneuverability compared to what I had before (10'10") yet still have some length for more glide (need good glide to catch those mushy east coast waves we get). Even though I'm a wave kook and still trying to get better at wave riding (aren't we all?), I've been very happy with the results so far. It's still a very stable board for flat water paddling, although maybe too small to put a kid on there with you. If I lived at the beach and SUP'd in waves every day, I likely would have gone smaller.

I've been fascinated with the AHD Sea Lion ever since I first saw it a couple of years ago. I didn't get the impression it was an optimal board for stand up paddle surfing, that it's more oriented to wavesailing which it appears very good at. I needed something good at both. Perhaps I'm wrong to assume that about the Sea Lion? I haven't tested it...I think its great you're offering demos Bill.

WindSurfing said...

Hey guys,

all interesting comments.

I have to say - from Kona, to shorter sailable SUPS, to some awesome lightwind shortboards - there are so many incredible options for light-wind wave sailing right now.

Mac, I think you'd be well-served to give that Sealion a demo. It may not catch waves as easy at first, but as you push closer to the peak, you will be just fine - and you will reap lots of rewards on the wave.

Today, I'm cursing the wind - it's 8 - 12 knots side on here in socal, but there's a great swell. Hopefully tomorrow it goes side-off for some killer surfing.

NC Paddle Surfer said...

I disagree and I suspect Naish may feel the same as me.

Whenever there are waves, all I can think about is throwing this annoying sail (or kite) on the beach because its ruining my surfing.

So I SUP in more and more wind, because it's the most fun way to rip a wave (for me).

I'll leave wind sports to high wind days, when performance wave sailing boards work.

At higher performance levels, compromise shapes just aren't good enough.

Adding $50 of cost to a SUP for windsurfing X 1000 boards is $50,000.00 lost to the manufacturer when only 5% of the customers use it.

The low performance issue is reason enough to just offer the option on longboard SUPs, which is exactly what Naish is doing. It also works well for entry into windsurfing for newbies.

Anonymous said...

NC: Are you saying that you wouldn't want the option to sail the 9 foot Naish Hokua? I take your point that Naish has included a mast thread in the bigger boards, but my sense is that a bunch of my surf buddies would get interested in windsurfing (and give the company a good return on its $50 if they buy another board or two)if they tried out a sail when the wind was too strong and/or the waves too mushy to surf. i guess that's why RRD puts mast threads in all sizes of their SUPs.

I wouldn't want to compromise on surf shape either, but I don't see why many of these smaller SUP shapes wouldn't work fine in the waves. (Call me crazy, but the rides that these guys get sailing their SUPs look fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlzhV6eNv3g ) Of course, in the right conditions a wave-dedicated windsurf board is going to outperform the SUP, but I think a small sailable SUP would interest a few windsurf folk (for example, intermediates who want to try out the waves, but who can't make the full commitment to a $2000 quad fin to use when the conditions are perfect). Just my 2cents. --james

NC Paddle Surfer said...

I have used my 7'8 hokua under wind power (with a kite). It's a total failure. It's the fastest SUP on the water surfing and a total dog under wind power.

I have a database of rockers in my garage. I measure everything I get my hands on to further my education and understanding of what works and why. SUPs and windsurfers are night and day different. At advanced levels of both sports compromise shapes that do both will never satisfy people long term. It works better at the lower performance levels where people are more accepting of less than perfect.

ralph said...

NC paddler- how accurate is your 5% use estimate for sails on SUPs?

Bill said...

Yea, stay tuned as we may be hosting a casual light air SUP wavesailing WaveFest this summer in Hatteras?!

Will be a great time to share experiences, shred some light air surf, and perhaps have some friendly competitive heats?! :)

Will plan for a "non-busy" weekend for folks to make a quick long weekend hop to the islands for some sun, light air, surf, etc...!

Details to come on the OBX Beach Life forum and/or blog.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in knowing a good sail and fin set-up for the 9-8 Element. This would be for a beginner, probably be used around Oahu when the surf is down and some onshores. Thought maybe something on Craigslist to start with. Mahalo for any insight!

Waterturtle said...

Anon, I use the standard thruster fin set up that comes with the Element...and a 5.5 wave sail does fine....just enough to power you through the waves on the way out on a light wind day.