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The March 2016 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The Islands issue – Teahupoʻo tales from Robby Swift and Boujmaa Guilloul, Graham Ezzy muses about life on Maui, John Skye explores Gran Canaria’s other side, Raiatea – Lena Erdil’s adventures in a French Polynesia freeride spot, Isle of Wight waves – JC scores on his native island, Lancelin Ocean Classic event report, Peter Hart’s lessons learned 2015, Jem Hall high wind technique, Freeride tests: 115l. Boards & 6.5 sails.

Cover MARCH 353 480




Robby Swift and Boujmaa Guillol score the golden ticket to Tahiti and the twisting tubes of Teahupoʻo. Waves, wipeouts, pain and pleasure; the duo report from the famous reef.

Tahiti Medium

‘A little piece of paradise on earth, like windsurfing in an aquarium!’. Lena Erdil tells us more about her tropical tale of adventure in Ra’iatea, French Polynesia.


Despite eating his own body weight in barbequed #cow and #pig, our Pommie in Chief, JC, captured all the #Lancelin Ocean Classic  action for our exclusive pass to the event – #Lano-gram!


Friday the 13th! was strangely the day the Motley crew finally had everything go their way, no delays, no dramas just old fashioned going off on the Isle of Wight, JC reports.


Airton Cozzolino, the innovative kitesurfer, and Gollito Estredo, the windsurf Freestyle Champ, have both used their talents on the water to escape poverty, read their inspiring stories here.

RRD SKYE Bohnhof_2

Gran Canaria is famous for the beach of Pozo. Lesser known in the windsurf world is the other side of the island, home to the waves of El Paso and starboard tack down the line. John Skye gives the lowdown.


Maui is a paradise with many sides. Graham Ezzy reflects on his childhood there and life on windsurfing’s most famous island.



Board Intro

Fun, easy to use and designed for your pleasure; we test the latest freeride boards.



The team review the latest freeride sail designs, all aiming for a soft and easy-to-use power delivery.




Ph behind

Lessons Learned 2015 – Peter Hart reviews his year in the classroom; telling tales from school, he lets us know the good, bad and ugly from his year of coaching and the lessons learned.


Surfvival – Jem Hall gives us the tips and techniques to help with the windier and wavier stuff!


Looking for hard hitting, no holds barred journalism exposing the very latest in windsurfing?, well not quite but grab a biscuit and join us as we lift the lid on ‘new stuff’ right here.

We look at some of the latest thingy-ma-wotsits designed for getting your post Christmas gadget on.


Windsurfing and Islands go together like board and rig. The editor celebrates Island life from all points of the globe and its connection to windsurfing.

Is there a positive to a trip with no wind?, of course there is when Peter Hart, the master of wit and charm, is in town. Harty celebrates the joys of being skunked!


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There are few better places to be than in Brazil in January. Peter Hart’s wave riding Masterclass in ‘Jeri’ was the usual mix of sun, fun and watery action.

For more

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He doesn’t work for ‘Relate’ but Harty reckons a regular dose of misery is the means by which you keep the passion alive.

It was a soggy afternoon as we drove into the campsite in Normandy and onto our pitch at the side of the lake. My wife suggested that, given the depth of the mud, a spot up the hill away from the shore might be more practical – but I wanted to wake up by the water so there. Backing in, I crunched into a knee-high stump, cunningly placed just below a van driver’s field of vision. Driving forward with just a touch of petulance, I took the wing mirror off on a low-lying branch.  The tent erected in the shallower of the 2 puddles, we bedded down for the night. At 2 am, a gentle whistling revealed that a mouse had eaten a hole in our inflatable mattress, leaving us lying on the bare ground at the very moment the heavens opened and a river the size of the Seine washed through our living quarters. As a protest vote, both kids emptied the digested contents of their young stomachs into their pyjamas.

“No worries,” said my wife, “I’ve brought plenty of spares. Fetch me the kid’s bag.” “Which bag is that darling?” “The one I left at the top of the stairs and asked you to put in the van just before we left.” “No you didn’t …”

So there we stood, sleep-deprived, sodden with 2 naked, stinking, deeply unhappy offspring, 200 miles from the nearest Starbucks. Our European neighbours poured yet more salt into our suppurating wounds by threatening to call the authorities unless we stopped bickering. Options presented themselves, easily the most attractive of which was to torch the neighbour’s tent and then head straight back to the ferry port and the green green grass of home, where we could spend 2 weeks luxuriating in the delights of modern living –  dry clothes, air fresheners, a flushing toilet, a springy mattress, a fluffy duvet. But no. Britain was not built on such a flabby attitude to adversity. So like sensible birds, we upped sticks and flew south. Twenty-four hours later, after a journey not without incident, we found ourselves on the island of Oleron, slumped into our £9.99 camping chairs on a mound overlooking the Atlantic, a cheeky, local red in hand to toast the golden sun which was setting over the peeling waves of the Cote d’Argent. The acrid stench of kiddy kaka had been expunged from van and nostrils. The kids themselves had been re-dressed c/o of some very special offers at Decathlon in Rouen and were frolicking in the rock pools below as cheerily as the von Trapps (during the happy part of the Sound of Music before the Nazis arrived). And with the tent dry and re-erected in an altogether more summery corner of la belle France, the mood lifted beyond the heavens.

It was a great holiday. It’s what we do every year and every year we have the same conversation on the way home. Is it really worth all the work and discomfort? Apparently yes. The happy memories overshadow the discomfort and you do it all over again. Windsurfing is a camping with kids experience. If it isn’t, I fear you’re doing it all wrong. I read recently that the current high rates of depression are due to the pressure of 21st century life where we spend most of our time fretting about things that we have no control over and trying to plan for unknown consequences. Instead, like our forebears, we should spend more time living in the moment.

That’s what sport is for. And nothing is better at it than windsurfing. So many people have said they love the sport because it’s so all-consuming that they have no time to cogitate over everyday problems. But the therapy only keeps working so long as the experience remains intense. The NWF is always a great time to monitor the overall health of windsurfing. You get to talk to people from every corner of the game from pros to those who took it up an hour ago at a taster session. Like a Party Conference, everyone fuels each other’s happy prejudices and it’s a right old love fest – most of the time.

But the saddest conversation I had was with Bill, alias Eeyore, who said (in a Brummy accent too which made it sound even more depressing): “I’m just doing everything I used to on the water, but every year a little bit worse.” I laid him on the couch and had a word. Had he bought any new kit recently? No. Had he sailed anywhere new? No. Had he tried a new move? Why would I want to do that? I might fall in. His time ran out but my parting gift was to tell him that the thousands of hours he’d invested learning this technical sport, had made it too valuable to give up. Rekindle the magic by getting uncomfortable again. The quest for ever-bigger waves is a dominant thread in this issue. I urge you to read Alistair McLeod’s experiences riding Pedra Blanca, a huge break way out in the southern ocean beyond Tasmania. If you do the maths, it’s about 6 months training and planning for about 30 seconds of action, which may or may not happen. But if it does …it’s basically camping with kids. You have to do a lot of work and handle a lot of sh*t for that special moment. But thanks to all the sh*t, when that moment does come, it’s especially special and therefore highly addictive. I’m not urging you all to head out to Jaws with iron resolve and your will updated. It’s just to remember those early days of windsurfing when you were putting in the hard yards, and when hours of frustration were punctuatedwith moments of unremitting ecstasy. It’s the pain as much as the pleasure that keeps us vital. By the way, they also mentioned that the other recreation that makes us live in the moment is sex; which apparently you also have to keep intense and varied. I couldn’t possibly comment.

PH 8th Sept 2015

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As the competition season returns from its summer holiday, Harty addresses the subject of competitiveness and competitions.

The mood in the pub last night was a little somber. Our team, the Tavernas, had just lost to the Chidham Village XI on the last ball of the game. (I apologize to European readers. We’re talking cricket. I would explain the rules if only I had a week spare. Just think of it as baseball with smarter caps). Here’s the thing. They had to score 14 runs off the last over – quite an ask – but our captain Walter hands the ball to good old Geoffrey, not because he’s the one to pin them down but because “Geoff hasn’t bowled yet.” What a lovely gesture. Except Geoff couldn’t hit a barn door with a beach ball even in his prime, which was a good 30 years ago. So why, I seethed inwardly, don’t you give the ball to Max, aged 17, who is fast, accurate and bursting with post-puberty testosterone? And so we lost.

24 hours later and I’m still chuntering – not just because of the result but also because I was given out lbw when clearly the ball was missing leg stump by a mile. The angel on my shoulder keeps reminding me that it’s village cricket for Christ’s sake (she didn’t actually blaspheme) – it’s just a bit of fun, chill out, enjoy the occasion. While the devil on the other shoulder, clearly on my side, is still mad with Walter for throwing the game and says there’s no point in playing unless you do your best to win. The thing is, Walter is a lovely bloke. Laughing away in the pub, he felt no remorse because, by his own admission, despite playing competitive cricket all his life, and despite being Australian, he’s not competitive. I don’t get it – but maybe I should.

He’ll probably edit the following bit out, but our cherished editor told me that ‘the Industry’ has been on his back to help promote racing – and could I help. Happy to. Here goes.

Racing is brilliant. I competed from 1983 to 2000 and loved every minute of it. So you think you can gybe? OK – now do it around a mark, in chop with 30 others breathing down your neck. Racing forces you to up your game. You’re a wave-sailor then. So you must be pretty fit. Well try a 20 minute wave heat where you have to score 3 jumps and 3 rides AND stay upwind and come back and tell me how fit you are. I’ve known amateurs who’ve gone for their first loops while in competition because the pressure of the situation has inspired and liberated them. Competition forces you to travel away from what you know; sail in different spots and so widen your skill and experience. And let us not forget the social factor. Windsurfers are fantastic people brought together by a common love of the sea, the outdoors and cheap beer. The prize-givings are legendary and the friendships made life-long.

How am I doing?
The eulogy is sincere, if a little rose-tinted. I didn’t love every minute. All sports have their downs – but surely one of the main attractions of competition is to intensify the extremes of emotion – one minute picking the remains of your race rig out of the icy Llandudno shore-break – the next dancing on the tables with your best mates after your first podium finish.

So why is it that more people don’t race these days?
In the beginning most recreational windsurfing took place inland on big boards. Racing was so easy to organize. At a club I ran, we held races every evening whatever the wind. Whoever was on the water got shepherded to the start line – sometimes less a race and more a communal float. But it gave them a focus. Today those same windsurfers are hooning up and down on the sea on short, wide boards having more thrills than are good for them. They feel they don’t need racing to maintain the buzz – although it could well add to it.

But here’s the thing – most people don’t enter competitions because they don’t see themselves as competitive and they don’t like competitive people. They encounter them in the workplace. They’re the sneaky ones who need to bolster their fragile self-esteem with constant accomplishment, and who aren’t afraid to deceive and intimidate to reach those ends. Although at the elite end of racing, you may encounter the odd sociopath, most ‘competitive’ windsurfers really aren’t like that. ‘A healthy rivalry’ like a ‘friendly’ between England and Scotland football teams, sounds oxymoronic – but it truly does exist in windsurfing.

On the PWA speed circuit, the collective spirit was extraordinary. We helped each other out, shared notions, borrowed and lent kit even to our closest rivals. After all, where’s the value in a victory if the bloke you want to beat doesn’t even have a mast to use?

That same spirit permeates most amateur competition. You only have to watch one of the Masterblasters at the NWF where 200 plus pros and amateurs converge and collide around the same course, to see that the desire to win and friendly banter are not mutually exclusive. And whether you like it or not, in order to have learned to windsurf at all, you have a competitive streak. But like most, it is probably under control and focused on cracking the next move or moving up the rankings, rather than crushing an opponent. So if you decide to enter your first regatta, you will not encounter a fleet of little Napoleons, quoting rules and barking orders from the crow’s nest. You’re more likely to meet a bunch of Walters. And Walter is a very nice man  (although he should never have let Geoff bowl the last over…)

PH 31st July 2015

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The January/February 2016 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The Far Shores issue – Antoine Albeau’s New Caledonia adventure to the Isle of Pines, Mauritius – the ultimate windsurfing playground, Jono Dunnett’s Round Britain windsurf circumnavigation, Pe’ahi power – Niño Jaws action, Alohagram – Aloha Classic commentary by John Skye, 105L crossover boards and 5.7 sails tested, Peter Hart’s crossover board tips and technique, Jem Hall – one-handed manoeuvres instruction, Freestyle World Champion Dieter Van-Der-Eyken interviewed, World travel guide.

WS352 480



Known as the closest island to Paradise, Antoine Albeau and friends headed to this little known tropical outpost to find out just how close to paradise they could venture.


John Carter reports from Le Morne, Mauritius, on an epic swell and an even more epic venue, offering windsurfing for all levels and all disciplines, the ultimate windsurfing playground.


The Aloha Classic decided the PWA wave titles in dramatic style. We breakdown some of the key players’ performances with John Carter’s JPEGs given John Skye’s expert commentary treatment.


Belgian sailor Dieter Van Der Eyken won the PWA freestyle crown with a calculated approach to winning, John Carter caught up with him to learn more about his winning formula.

41 year old Jono Dunnett become the first person to windsurf around Britain without an on-water support team. 98 days later, he completed his inspiring circumnavigation. This is his story.


On the eve of the Aloha Classic, the first big swell of the season lit up Maui’s most famous big wave – Pe’ahi – aka Jaws. JC captures the raw power and beauty and the riders tell their salty tales.

Our guide to some of the windsurfing hotspots around the world. If you’re in need of a solar powered recharge, then read on for our shortcuts.



The test team review the latest boards built for versatility.

FANATIC Freewave 106,
RRD Freestyle Wave V3 106,
STARBOARD Kode Freewave 103,
TABOU 3S 106,
JP FSW 102,
QUATRO Tetra 109,
GOYA One 105

The sails whose job it is to do it all, the team test 2016’s all-rounders.

NORTH Volt 5.9,
SEVERNE Gator 6.0,
RRD Move 5.7,
EZZY Elite 5.7,
GA Cross 6.0,
NEIL PRYDE Fusion HD 6.0,
P7 Spy 5.9



The Joy of Crossing over – Peter Hart tells you how to tweak technique and set-up to exploit the full range of possibilities from your Freestyle Wave board.


Letting go – Jem Hall teaches the technique and benefits of one handed manoeuvres.


Our first 2016 issue kicks off with a new look at the new news and releases for a new case you didn’t get the idea, it’s kinda all about the new!


The Far Shores. The editor pays tribute to the far shores and the sailors who reach for them, at home or abroad.

Peter Hart remembers the first man of windsurfing photography, Alistair Black.

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Far from being a Greek tragedy, the town of Ialyssos in Rhodes is a windsurfing paradise. Peter Hart explains the attractions and Juergen Niens and Bertrand Crausaz give the local lowdown. 

Words  Peter Hart, Bertrand Crausaz // Photos  Rob Whitely, Peter Hart, Bertrand Crausaz and Morten Knudsen

There can’t be many places in the world where the transition from aircraft to planing is that quick. The Pro Centre in Ialyssos is 15 minutes from the airport. Our flight last week landed at 4pm and by 5, we were skipping across the azure waters on 5.2’s. We sailed for 2 hours (they don’t shut up shop until 7). Desperation drove my group to push on until they were hauled from the water screaming. According to the Guru of Wind, that was to be the last we’d see of the wind for the week. I wasn’t that worried. This was my 5th June clinic to Rhodes and I can count the windless days on one hand. Sure enough, by the afternoon of the next day we were planing on 6.5’s. By the end of the week the group were pleading for a rest having planed every day – the last 2 on 4.2’s.

Rhodes is a consistently windy place. Jurgen, the co-owner of the Pro Centre, explained that thanks to a concrete development in the far corner of the bay, which heats up to boiling point, Ialyssos gets its own thermal when all around is calm. The sea conditions are what are commonly known as ‘real world.’ You can head for the flat water paradises and learn to gybe, only to return to the chop of home to find you can’t. In Ialysos, the wind blows pretty much dead side shore from the left, all the way to the beach to leave rolling chop on the inside and smooth swells away from the shore. When the wind kicks in above 20 knots (as it frequently does) you can get a ride-able wave. It’s also a brilliant place to learn to jump and loop. Dave White, who ran dealer meetings there for years, says it’s like Clacton (in a good way),  except 20º warmer and with Photoshop blue water. The accents are also far kinder on the ear.

“ Iallysos ticks more boxes than most people have boxes to tick ’’ Peter Hart 

So much of windsurfing is tactical. Gybing is as much about knowing where to do it as how. My groups embrace the lumps, which they say adds an all important dimension. When they learn a move in Ialyssos, it stays learned. It’s not hard to sail there. The lowest intermediates are giving it a good lash. But it makes you work. There’s a hint of a shore-break and a gentle downwind current that makes you speed up waterstarts and hone your pointing.

The Pro Centre is run with precision and efficiency and the North/Fanatic/Gaastra/Tabou kit (with JP and Pryde as an option 100m further up the beach) is immaculate. In peak season they rent out over 100 boards. Sounds frantic but the sailing area is huge. Jurgen’s partner Bertrand says that many choose to avoid July and August because they think it will be busy – and as a result it’s often less busy than June (when flights are also cheaper).

Ialyssos lies at the urban, more lively end of Rhodes and overlooking the coast of Turkey. When a couple, just one of who sails, go on a windsurfing trip, it’s rare that both have an equally good time. Here they have a good chance. Last week culture vulture Pauline, walked about 30 miles a day taking in the extraordinary history of Rhodes town. Polly did about 50 metres, remaining horizontal with a fine book on the sheltered lawn of her bungalow, which overlooks the sailing area; and from where she can keep an eye on her husband Nick.

We stay in the Blue Horizon hotel right on site. It’s clean and comfortable if a little generic. Hence we forgo the full board deal and opt for B and B.  Away from the sports bars and a further 10 minute walk into old Ialyssos town, nestle some classic loal Tavernas. On the last night we crawled from one having been fed about 10 fresh, home-cooked courses and drank the place dry for €12 a head.  And what’s wrong with it? The smooth pebble shore-line is a little uncomfortable under bare feet, although the boys have laid carpet right up to the water’s edge; and I narrowly avoided a €500 fine from the water-borne local police for sailing bare-chested. You’re supposed to wear a buoyancy aid, or at least a rashie. I guess they have to make up the deficit somehow… For me clinics must be more holiday and less boot camp. The wind and sailing are crucial but it’s also essential to have pleasant surroundings offering a variety of alcohols and a comfortable place where you can sit and exaggerate about the day’s events! Iallysos ticks more boxes than most people have boxes to tick.

Pro Centre RHODOS
Juergen Niens and Bertrand Crausaz have 3 centres in Iallysos running for over 28 years, we asked them for their big fat Greek guide.

Iallysos is a top destination where you will find all the facilities you deserve for a perfect vacation. The sailing spot is situated in the centre of Ialyssos, a welcoming traditional village with a beautiful promenade inviting visitors to stroll along the hotels, colourful shops and to explore lively bars and restaurants waiting for you do indulge yourself in delicious Greek, International and fusion cuisine. Wandering, chilling, dining, dancing or whatever you feel like after a hard but fulfilling day of windsurfing, is all possible.

Ialyssos itself is small but picturesque and nestled at the foot of Filerimos Hill, the site of an ancient acropolis named The Temple of Athena Polias (do not miss the panoramic view from there!). Ialyssos is situated at the north-west coast of
Rhodes, only 15 minutes from the airport “Rhodes Diagoras”. You can reach it within an average flight time of 3 hours from most major European airports.

The Pro Centre Rhodos is well-known for the Meltemi a thermal wind offering you a constant perfect side shore wind from 16 to 25 knots. In July and August, there is a 95% chance of planing conditions, in June and September there is still about 80%.

We have three centres to match your respective needs. The biggest one lies at the front of the beautiful Blue Horizon Palm Beach Hotel, the second one lies on the other side of the hotel, with the third 500 metres away at a slightly more wind-sheltered location known locally as Windmill Beach. The centres offer you the latest windsurfing equipment by Fanatic / North as well as JP Australia and Neil Pryde and Tabou/Gaastra. The friendly international service team eagerly welcomes you and is happy to provide you with customized support for finding the right gear.

Our centres open on the 24th April and close on the 24th October.

Pro Centre 1 holds a huge range of the latest 2015 Fanatic & North Sails equipment. Opening at 9 o’clock in the morning and closing at 7 o’clock in the evening, you are given plenty of time to explore the wind and crystal blue water, improve your skills and test out the latest kit. We store 3.4 – 8.2 rigs and all our masts are made of 75% carbon. Along with boards and sails, you can also rent harnesses and wetsuits but in the summer months, board shorts and a rash vest will do.  Once you have arrived and checked in, we welcome you to join us for a quick tour into how the station operates. We care for your safety: our Baywatch tower is manned throughout the opening hours of the centre and our professional team will be eager to help you to prepare your gear, assist you and always have a handy hint.

Pro Centre 2 is only 100m to the left of Pro Centre 1 and has a range of the latest JP and Neil Pryde gear. Choose from more than 70 boards at our centre located in beautiful palm gardens and only 30m from the sea, allowing you the opportunity to change your sail in a very short time!

Pro Centre 3 known as the Windmill Centre is located around 500 metres walking distance from Pro Centre 1. This centre provides perfect learning conditions for beginners as it is sheltered from the strong winds and waves of the bay. At this station we provide you with the latest equipment by Tabou and Gaastra, renewed every year. You have access to more than 50 boards of every size and type with sails between 1.0 to 7.5. Again, you will find the Windmill centre situated less than 30m from the sea. If you want peace and quiet, this centre offers a more chilled out atmosphere!

The 3 centres offer you the possibility to bring your own gear. Please ask for our package including the transfer of your equipment from the airport to the centre and other services such as the Baywatch tower and water rescue.


The 4 star Hotel Blue Horizon, one of our partner hotels, is perfect if you prefer a room with an ocean view. The hotel welcomes guests of any age and is equipped with a swimming pool, a patio, a volleyball court and a tennis court. A friendly and enthusiastic team is happy to offer you various sports and leisure activities. (dolce far niente ..Aka doing nothing!  is warmly welcome too of course.) If you prefer more private rooms or apartments, low budget or luxury hotels, do not hesitate to contact us. We shall happily try to find accommodation tailored to your wishes and budget.

And what if theres no wind?
You will have a hard time to get bored on the pretty island of Rhodes even if the wind is too light for windsurfing. There is a variety of sightseeing spots and excursions for you to enjoy, literally from Alpha to Omega. Visit the butterfly valley, the water park, or the UNESCO world heritage site of the famous old town of Rhodes, the oldest continuously inhabited medieval town of Europe. Once in Rhodes you feel that every stone tells a story. Rent a bike or book a bus tour for exploring the beautiful landscape, little villages or historic sites of the island. If you want to stay in the water, you can take a snorkel trip through one of the hundreds of beautiful coves in the morning and be back in time for your afternoon windsurfing session.

Before you starve after a long and active day, ask the team at the centre where to enjoy the best local Greek cuisine.

Special offers
While Northern Europe is preparing for the winter season, we are still surfing under the Greek Sun, book now for our End of Summer Special for stays from 27.09 – 25.10.2015. 4* Beach Hotel Blue Horizon, 7 nights Double sea view room incl. HB + 7 days of windsurf rental from 350 Euro per person.

Find the best package through our travel partner Sportif ( or contact us directly at

Website and contact

Pro Centre Rhodos
Juergen Niens and Bertrand Crausaz
Ialyssos Beach
Summer phone +30 2241 095819

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Free-ride Fin 2 (1)


The fins that power our free ride boards are an overlooked part of the engine that drives our fun on the water. We take a look at the market with key industry players, a buyer’s guide and of course to kick it off, a lesson from the master teacher, our very own Peter Hart.

Words and Photo – Peter Hart

”Here a 120 free-move board  is cracking around like a board half its size, thanks partly to the thin, curvy rails but also to the relatively small free-ride fin (35 cm) with a lot of sweep in the tip. But beware – the fin shape and size, have to compliment the design of the board. For example  putting  a small, raked fin into  a  more race speed oriented model as an attempt to make it more manoeuvrable, may not work because it would not fully release onto the plane. To be manoeuvrable, a board has to be well-trimmed and planing freely.”

“I knew I was good!” You chunter to yourself as suddenly and unexpectedly you experience a feeling of light, efficient symmetry with arms and legs equally but gently loaded and the board planing straight and level without you having to twist and contort. And good you may be. But essentially you’ve chanced, albeit momentarily, upon a perfect set-up where the lateral forces of a well-set sail are perfectly matched by the size of the fin; and the fin itself matches the width of the tail.

The aim is to feel like that the whole time across a wider range of conditions. And part of the solution comes from dialling into the information coming through your back foot from the fin; and then recognising when a change up or down can restore balance or tilt performance in a certain direction, towards top speed or acceleration, for example.

Ask a racer which is their most influential item of kit, and they’ll point to the fin. Free-ride boards are more forgiving both to set-up and to sail but you ignore the importance of the fin at your peril. Space is short and the subject huge but here are some points to ponder as you look to grow your free-ride fin quiver.


What is a free-ride fin?
Like the board itself, the classic free-ride fin seeks to blur the boundaries and provide the best of every world. The powerful, upright mid section gives you something to hoof against and converts the sail’s power into instant lift, acceleration and planing speed. The swept back tip holds the tail in through carving turns, makes the gybes feel smoother, less ‘skippy’ and allows you to vary the shape and steepness of the arc.

The limitations of the given fin.
The fins given away with the free-ride boards have improved enormously over the years. The size offered will tend to work best with the middle of the board’s recommended sail range. For example, say you have a 130 ltr free-ride board with a quoted sail range from 6 to 9 sq m, the standard fin (perhaps around 48 cm) will work best with sails around 7 to 8 sq m. It’s when you flirt with the extremes of sail size that you’ll benefit from a fin change.

The symptoms of too big and small.
When the fin is too small for the board and/or the sail size, the board slops from edge to edge. It never full releases onto the plane. It sits deep in the water and although you may feel you’re pointing upwind, you’re actually crabbing sideways. It’s easy to overload the back foot and spin out. If it’s too big, you feel you’re fighting the fin as soon as you start to plane. It’s like having jack-hammer under your back foot. It’s hard to bear away and in extreme cases, you’ll tail walk.

Reasons to change fin size.
Matching fin to sail size is the primary objective but not the only one. Going slightly bigger offers extra lift and acceleration at slower speeds – good if you’re feeling your way into the straps for the first time; and also if you’re sailing in enclosed waters where you need to get going quickly in a gust, stay upwind; and where you haven’t the space to get up to full speed.

Relating fin design and size to your board.
The free-ride board category is enormous. The choice of fin(s) depends on where your board lies on the speed, manoeuvrability spectrum. At the speed end where the boards are aping slalom shapes (aka ‘Free Race) with their flat bottoms and harder, straighter edges, you’ll err towards a deeper, straighter fin, with less sweep in the tip (if any). At the ‘squirrily’ end where the boards have more curve in the plan shape, thinner rails and more’ v’ underneath (aka ‘Free-move’), the fin can be smaller with more rake. The ‘v’ displaces a little water, increases resistance – hence you can get away with a smaller fin.
And finally …

Get a plastic ‘cheapy!’
Beware of planing obsession! Free-ride boards, especially the bigger ones, make excellent light wind training platforms for practising and nailing the basics – tacks, gybes, backwind sailing etc. – at which point the big planing fin is a bit of a liability. For very little money you can pick up a small plastic training fin – or cut down an existing knackered, fibre-glass one. With a shallow (30cm or less) and preferably wide fin, the board is more manoeuvrable off the plane and you can mess about in knee-deep water.

“Free-ride boards are more forgiving both to set-up and to sail but you ignore the importance of the fin at your peril”



Dietrich (Rick) Hanke, Founder and President,
‘’Freeriding is one of the most popular windsurfing disciplines. Boards and sails have to cover a wide range of sizes in order to match the sailing conditions and rider weights. The same is valid for the fin. The fin must provide a side force over a wide range of speed and courses without the danger of flow separation (spin-out), the fin must be fast (low drag) and easy to be controlled also under choppy and high wind conditions. Further, gybing too should be easy and without losing speed.

The design process which is applied at Maui Ultra Fins is the same for all types of fins and can be divided in several important steps:

1 Optimization of the profile (foil)
2 Optimization of the outline
3 Manufacturing of prototypes
4 Testing under real conditions

The most important and time consuming part is the selection of the foil and the optimization of the foil parameters like relative thickness, nose radius, position of maximum thickness and speed. At Maui Ultra Fins I use a fluid dynamic comput-er program where the forces (lift, drag) can be calculated as a function of all the parameters and combinations. The resulting foil polars give the design engineer all the required information on the way to an optimized foil. The fin outline has to be optimized in accordance to the required fin area, the box dimensions, the required stiffness (no breaking), the flexibility and the overall drag, which is additionally influenced by the aspect and taper ratio. For a complete new fin about three to five prototypes are designed. When all parameters are selected the fins will be drawn with a CAD program which also delivers all data for machining the fin with a CNC machine in G10 material. The relevant data is then transferred to the manufacturer and the prototypes are ready for testing by windsurfers with different levels at different places in the world. By comparing all results in performance and behaviour (feedback form) the final fin design (box-sys-tems, length range and printing design) for the series is selected and the fins are produced.Simply said, fins are the sails in the water. The fin must compensate all side forces of the sail which are transferred to the board in order to sail a straight course. That means that we must handle this part very carefully because the total performance of the board depends also very much on the fin performance.

Each damage – especially at the leading edge – reduces the fin performance. Therefore it is recommended to use your fin cover when you are back at the beach and do not stick your fin in the sand. Small damages to our G-10 fins can be sanded. If the damage is bigger you can use epoxy resin or super glue to fill the damaged part and create a smooth surface by wet sanding. (280 to 600 grade sanding paper).’’


(Graham Turner, founder and owner,
‘’Unlike 10 years ago, nowadays the standard fins coming with freeride boards are well suited to the board. The most popular freeride fins we sell in the shop are ones with a curved tip, slightly raked back and with a fine entry profile. The US box is still popular as it allows people to move the fin forward and back. We like to really talk with people and discuss their fin needs but in general we would sell a more raked profile for smaller freeride boards and swept at the tip for bigger freeride boards. Upgrading from the basic design is very popular also, something like a ready to race style. There is a slight premium in price of course but what you get is a slimmer profile throughout , like a top end race fin but detuned slightly for comfort. It would be a fin more for somebody who works the board to plane and enjoys driving and pushing the fin as opposed to just being on the board for the free ride. As we say you’re either a driver or being driven and it’s important to recognize which you are when choosing your fin. Material choice can depend a lot on the waters you sail in – if you are somewhere rocky or  shallower, stay away from carbon or polyester,  g10 is best as you can sand it down and offers durability and longevity.  Modern  weed fins are really good and often overlooked, they are as quick in weeded waters as they are not picking up drag. Another important point is what sort of freeride board you have, if it is a soft feeling, carve/comfort biased board, they don’t like race ready, stiff fins. Equally if you have a more race orientated board, stay away from a softer, flex tip fin.’’

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The November/December 2015 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The Cool winds issue. High wind kit test – 80L wave boards and 4.7 wave sails. Kauli’s South Pacific exploration, Cranking Cornwall, Tobago travel, Isle of Wight circumnavigation, Danish Sizzler – the battle for Cold Hawaii, Harty’s wave directory part 2 – wave selection and wave types, Jem’s gybe exit tips, Sebastian Wenzel, Fanatic’s shaper interviewed, How to make a sail – the Point 7 production process, Xmas gift guide.


Ever searching for the prefect wave and breeze, we join Captain Kauli Seadi as he tells us more about his South Pacific odyssey to the Society Islands, Cook Islands and Tonga.

A classic southerly forecast lit up St Ives bay last spring and duly rewarded the Motley Crew. JC reports from the dunes of Mexico’s, a small sandbar with a big punch!

The 2015 PWA Cold Hawaii delivered red hot action in the North Sea; John Carter reports on an epic event and quizzes the top 4 on their North Sea secrets.

John Carter catches up with Fanatic’s head shaper, Sebastian Wenzel, to find out more about the life of a shaper, twenty years at the top of his trade.

Andrea Cucchi gives us an exclusive behind the scenes look at the production facilities used by Point 7 in Sri Lanka and an insight into the manufacture of a sail.

Ripe with tropical vibes and great windsurfing, Tobago offers the authentic Caribbean experience. Nick Jones and Jem Hall explain why you should let its trade winds lure you there.

Ross Williams and John Carter go all the way round their home island. Armed with a decent safety boat and an experienced driver, JC tells how their circumnavigation went down!



The test team examine the latest boards for strong wind conditions.

RRD Wave Cult V6 LTD 80
TABOU Da Curve 86
QUATRO Cube 85
SEVERNE Nuevo 86
JP Thruster Quad 84

4.7, the magic sail number, the team test the latest designs for 2016.

NORTH Hero 4.7m
RRD Vogue 4.7m
EZZY Taka 2 4.7m
SIMMER Icon 4.7m
NEIL PRYDE Combat 4.7m
POINT-7 Salt 4.7m
ATTITUDE Allstar 4.7m
VANDAL Riot 4.7m
GOYA Banzai 4.7m


Peter Hart explores how the wave sailor’s approach and expectations are affected by the various types of waves and how to decode them.

Jem hall

Jem Hall assists you to fire out of your gybe exits.


Freshly baked, carefully crafted and brand spanking new – we list the latest to be called the greatest.

Oh Santa please give us wind for Christmas and I don’t mean from Nan’s brussel sprouts. All we want is a nice present of a force 5/6, but anything else in this guide would be good too!


The editor looks forward to winter and wonders in the light of recent reports on ocean temperatures, what weather it will bring?

Harty ponders on why Autumns in Ireland and Scotland are like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get  – but they’re always ‘chocolatey.’

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Dolphins off the Pitons  St Lucia_0024


Harty analyses the mystical attraction of Fungie the Dingle dolphin.

“So, Annabelle (name changed to protect the guilty), what do you most want to get out of this week, here on the Dingle Peninsula in SW Ireland with its stunning beaches and amazing breadth of conditions, where sailors the world over come to learn and hone their jumping, riding and general windsurfing? What is top of your wish list Annabelle?” “I really want to see the dolphin.” It’s a reply I’m now used to when running clinics in Kerry.

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon (and I’m surprised if you are because he’s become a global watery legend on a par with Robby Naish) ‘Fungie’ is a bottle nosed dolphin, who for the last 30 years, has colonised Dingle harbour on the south side of the peninsula. He has been neither trained nor tamed; nor is is he lured in by the promise of food. But for some reason he seeks out human company to the extent where a small industry has grown up around his ever presence. He is a wonderful quirk of Nature.

I met Fungie on my second trip to the area in 1984. A well-oiled and scarcely credible local told me that the Dingle harbour lighthouse keeper had witnessed a solitary dolphin escort the fishing boats in and out of the harbour.

With little else to do the next day, I drove over the Connor Pass from Brandon Bay, dropped into Dingle and sure enough with 5 minutes of parking saw a dolphin-like sea creature playing in the wake of a boat as it chugged towards its mooring.

There was no wind and this being well before the era of SUPs, I had no means of getting up close and personal. For a while I watched from the shore and that was that. I don’t want to appear blasé but I’d surfed with dolphins in Oz just 6 months previously; so, sweet though the yet-to-be-named Fungie appeared to be, I didn’t mark it down as a life changing experience. But it takes a long time to become a legend …

Fast forward 10 years and I was back in Kerry running clinics. There’d been no wind or swell for 2 days. In a desperate search for action, I led the convoy 25 miles over to the beach of Inch where a light northerly wind combined with sun can produce a howling katabatic wind … but not today. Arms were folded in defiance as the team stared grim-faced at the mirror sea, inwardly delighted to have someone to blame.

“I know …” I said scraping the barrel for options, “ …lets go and have fish and chips in Dingle and perhaps play with the dolphin?”

I hadn’t really thought this through. As we arrived at the little beach at the entrance to the harbour, the sun was setting and the tide was whooshing out – and I hadn’t seen this dolphin for a decade – nor did I know where he hung out.

“What do we do now?”, enquired the sceptical group’s spokesman. “Just leave this to me.” I said climbing into my wetsuit and grabbing my surfboard. “I’ll just go and get him.” I paddled out, sat astride my board and viewed the massive expanse of the harbour in the dimming light; and then as I slapped the water and cried ‘Fungie’ as enthusiastically and confidently as possible, I have never felt more ridiculous. But as the group looked on with ever increasing incredulity, the water gurgled and from the inky depths shot Fungie. I fear the story may have grown with the telling but I swear he jumped clean over me. Within in a minute I was joined by 5 others, my reputation, if not repaired, then definitely on the mend. He stayed with us for perhaps 10 minutes before seeking more lively entertainment. But that was enough, we’d all been well and truly ‘Fungied.’

I now make a point of visiting Fungie every year and in the 18 years I’ve been doing clinics there, I’ve never not seen him. I always pray for a light wind sunny day that gives us the excuse for a visit. From a purely windsurfy point of view, the harbour is a great place to sail. Thanks to the network of surrounding hills and valleys, it often gets wind when nowhere else does. But in truth we’re there to bother the dolphin.

Some of the encounters have been beyond magical. On one occasion we were hanging around in the bay beside the channel keen not to get in the way of the tour boats.  Fungie seems to be a bit of a petrol head usually choosing to follow the engines. But on this evening he peeled off and decided we looked more interesting to the point where he wouldn’t leave us until he’d knocked every one of us in – either by powering underneath and smacking up the dagger board or leaping right up behind us so his bottled snout was right by your ear. I have never witnessed such genuinely hysterical and explosive laughter. If you could have bottled the atmosphere that night and turned it into a tonic, you would be a rich man.

He was there with us again only last month – a little less acrobatic but still eternally curious.

The future looks … short …

The saddest fact is that the legend that is Fungie can not live forever. He was fully grown in 1983, which means he’s around 40 years old. Atlantic bottle nosed dolphins can live to 50 but a more normal age in the wild is 25.

There are 12 full time jobs that depend on him remaining alive. The skipper of one of the tour boats, Jimmy Flannery, has been taking visitors out to see him since 1987- that’s been his only job. He says the passing of Fungie is a bridge he’ll cross when he comes to it. Such commercial pressure has led many to suspect that the dolphin has been replaced many times. But Fungie is unique. He has a nick out of his tail sustained from a propeller some years ago. It’s also ludicrous to replace him with some random dolphin and expect him to stay there. As to why he stays in the harbour and communes with us daily in the way that he does … well no one really has the answer. You suspect in the dolphin world he may be a bit weird. Experts say he does commune with other dolphins outside the harbour and that he had a girlfriend who died there which is why he stayed in the area.

If I may end on an uncomfortably touch-feely note, I do feel that sometimes us windsurfers take the environment for granted – and that for us it’s not an environment but just some liquid to carve tricks on.

A day out with Fungie makes us all realise that what we use as a playground is the home of some extraordinary creatures – and one of the most extraordinary is still alive and well and living in Dingle.

PH 1st June 2015

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It’s the holiday season. You’re heading to a windy Riviera. Harty muses over the pros and cons, joys and misery of flying with kit.

“I do apologise for the delay”, said the captain. “We seem to have a problem loading the last bag. It’s rather large so they’ve had to call for a fork-lift truck.” His voice oozed frustration.
“That’s your ‘Big Red’ Harty!” chuckled Dave White, my travel companion. “It’s grounded the plane!.” Big Red was my protest vote. On a whim, our favoured airline had suddenly changed their interpretation of a ‘sailboard’ from 3 bags (board, mast and sails), to just one – and there was to be only one sports bag per passenger. How do you fit all your kit for 3 weeks of speed and slalom competition into one bag? You build ‘Big Red’ that’s how. It was less a bag and more a huge, red amorphous, marquee of sack – totally impractical and almost impossible to get a hold of, as the beleaguered baggage folk were discovering.

Fully laden it was over 75kg. I slid my 15kg weight jacket in the top and it was a mere drop in the ocean. Amazingly it arrived in Fuerteventura. Not surprisingly the Canarian handlers refused to even attempt to handle it; but after much bartering we were allowed to drive our hire car into a restricted area and collect it ourselves off the tarmac. That was a pre Health & Safety era when slipped discs were a way of life and check-in staff hadn’t got wise to the old trick of wedging your foot under the scales. And this is now when every gram needs to be accounted and paid for. In many ways it’s more straightforward because although it’s stricter, at least there appear to be rules and protocols. Yet despite hundreds of flights with boards, I always turn up with a sense of foreboding … because someone behind those check-in desks with only a C- in the Excel spread sheet exam has the power to ruin your day.

A week ago I had pre-paid a very reasonable price for 2 bags with Monarch. Before I could even find the receipt and explain what the 2 crocodiles were all about, the nice lady had tagged them and got a bloke to wheel them away, all whilst wishing me a very pleasant flight and extolling the virtues of a twinser over a quad. But a month before that, travelling with another altogether less together airline, and having followed the same pre-paying procedure, I was told the computer definitely said “no.” Where followed one of those conversations where you’ve been dropped back into a less informed Millennium. “What you say it is again? Windsurfers?” Am I seriously the first person who has flown to this windy destination with a board? Managers were called, who called their managers’ managers as if this was the most controversial occurrence in the airline’s history. Meanwhile, the queue behind stood static and tongues clicked – all of which got the trip off to the most stressful start at a time when you should be bursting with joyous anticipation.

Shall I shan’t I take my own?
The two elements that make or break the dedicated windsurfing trip are the wind and the kit. By bringing your own, you have some control of the latter – but is it worth the hassle? It’s a puzzle with more questions than answers but the experience of three different sailors on a Greek beach where I was coaching last week, distils the choices. I should add they were all staying at or near a centre where the kit is famously plentiful and immaculate.

# 1 Nick – doesn’t bring his own
Nick is a competent free-rider of a certain age, coming on courses for the craic as well as to work gently on his nearly planing carve and duck gybes. His kit at home is quite old so enjoys the newness and variety of the rental gear. In terms of tuning, he’s been sailing a while and knows what works for him. Asked about bringing his own, he says his holiday starts at the seafood bar at the airport – and anything that eats into his fun time and offers the potential for backache, is absolutely not worth it.

# 2 Stefan – brings his own
I see Stefan there every year. He brings his 100ltr freestyle wave and a couple of rigs. He always sails with a smile on his face but has a dogged agenda to crack certain carving moves – 360s, push tacks etc – and knows the wind and kit he needs to do it. If it’s less than 15 knots he doesn’t go out or just practices heli-tacks off the plane. As the tricks get trickier success comes to a large degree from intimate knowledge of your board and rig – knowing how deeply you can push the rail; the power application of the sail – so nothing is a surprise. With those variables taken away, he can focus on the technique. Loads of the boards in the centre would do the job but he doesn’t want to waste 2 or 3 days getting used to them. As for the hassle factor, he doesn’t bring much; and he’s German and therefore super-organised.

# 3 George – doesn’t bring his own (but sort of wishes he did)
George is a trickier case. He has a board and rig that he really loves at home and harbours an instant mistrust of other brands. One problem in centres is the assumption that everything is perfectly rigged. It may have been once – but you’re often inheriting the tuning horrors of the last person who used it. That happened to George twice on day one and reinforced his perceived hate of the sail brand in question. We did turn it round as over the week he began to realise how key tuning is to performance – and how impossible it is to perform even if you think the kit isn’t working for you. For most people, a well-stocked centre is the only time people get a chance to try and feel the differences between board and rig categories. But George still loves his own kit and I sympathise. But here’s the thing – he loves it so much that he’s terrified of it being damaged in transit – and that’s a grim reality most of us in the business have confronted all too often.
The compromise I suggested next year, is that he should bring his favourite rig – like a 5.7. That immediate familiarity will make him feel at home and will help him make studied judgements about different boards. A complete rig will weigh about 10-15 kg and will be accepted easily by most airlines. Just having your own boom and lines keeps you in touch with home and gets the positive juices flowing.
The alternative is to take up international snooker …

PH 28th June 2015

PHOTO CAPTION:   Racks full of kit, keen helpers to help you tune it and a hassle-free. flight are three reasons to leave your own kit at home …

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