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15Jul/16Off

PETER HART – STEPPING OUT OF THE ONSHORE RUTS

PETER HART - STEPPING OUT OF THE ONSHORE RUTS

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STEPPING OUT OF THE ONSHORE RUTS

The reality of sailing waves in onshore winds is that it’s easy to do – but hard to do well.  In the first episode of a two-parter, Harty offers technical and tactical advice about how to rip up the mush.

Words  Peter Hart  //

  Photos  Hart Photography, Simon Bassett / 2XS, John Carter/ PWA, getwindsurfing.com


Figures are awaiting confirmation, but 92.7% of all windsurfers who sail waves learned in onshore winds; and having learned, they then continue to sail waves in onshore winds for 84% of the time until they hang up their split-toe booties. For some it’s an active choice – they embrace the inherent security in the ‘on’ bit of ‘onshore.’ But most are just victims of geography and oceanography. Waves are generated by wind – so you’re most likely to find waves on a shore that faces the prevailing wind. Hence wind and waves most commonly arrive together from roughly the same direction. Wind blowing side offshore over a cleanly defined groundswell, demand freakish environmental combinations – like a secondary weather system or a fortuitously placed underwater obstruction to refract the waves. They’re the skier’s sunny powder snow day. It’s lovely when it happens … but don’t set your watch by it. Even in those locations where you believe such conditions are normal, they’re not as normal as you’d like them to be. The message is, don’t waste your time expecting and waiting for perfection. Embrace onshore conditions, learn to sail them well and the extra tools you gather doing so will allow you to murder those clean swells on the offshore days.

The nature of the Challenge
‘Onshore’ is a mammoth subject in terms of range of conditions (how onshore, how big, small, clean, confused are the waves?) and potential moves. So in this first feature I’m going to narrow it down and shed light on the challenge that causes the most confusion – how to ride waves down-the-line (DTL) in onshore winds. DTL, by the way (BTW) means riding downwind facing the wave, front side. To start let’s compare the idyll to what we’re most likely to confront.


Even in those exotic spots famous for producing opposing swell and wind directions, perfect side-off riding doesn’t happen as often as you think. It’s just that when it does, the resident snapper captures the moment as if it were the norm.

 

Why is offshore easier?
Side-off is the dreamy, DTL wind direction. Assuming there’s a swell and they have the skill to get out there and manoeuvre to the right spot, people find the act of front side riding not just easy but immediately achievable because:

1. The waves are so much easier to spot. They’re lines marching in over an otherwise smooth sea.
2. The wind may not be very strong – so they don’t have power control issues and are not fighting a tiny ‘on off’ sail. (I know … because the wave carries you into the wind, the build up of apparent wind can be over-powering but only if it’s very offshore and the waves are big and fast.)
3. The wave face is almost certainly smoother. You know from gybing how much more confidently you commit to and drive the rail when the water is flat.
4. The wind holds the wave up, stops it breaking – so there’s less white water, and more unbroken face to work with. It’s also steeper with more power to redirect the board (and, yes, more power to send you over the falls).
5. And surely the most significant factor is that as you catch the wave you have no choice except to go down-the-line. That’s your natural reaching course back to the beach. You can’t physically ride it upwind backside (well you can but it will be dead into wind and you’d have to park the sail). And when you are riding front side, the bottom and top turns take place between a tight and broad reach on the original tack. You never have to turn through the wind. It’s the quadrant where it’s easiest to carve the board and control the power.


GYBING REFLECTIONS
You get a good idea how someone will fair in onshore wave riding from their gybe, and specifically one section of the gybe – the transition. The transition is where the board turns through the wind and where suddenly you’re confronted by opposing forces. You have to stay committed to the rail with knees and hips facing the centre of the circle and at the same time open the sail out and resist the outward pull of the rig. Feeling this twist at the hips, many stand up, centre themselves over the board, which then levels out and stops downwind. And that’s what will happen with their wave ride. The best exercise for onshore riding is on flat water, hanging onto the gybe longer and try to sail away for a few seconds in that switch foot clew first position.?


The key gybing skill to work on for onshore riding is to keep the sail powered and keep carving through the wind.

PHOTO Simon Bassett 2XS

Onshore pt 1 02
As you turn through the wind, open the clew out early and let your back hip move towards your back hand. Hold those angles so you exit clew first and switch foot.

PHOTO Simon Bassett 2XS


Clew closed and body straight and upright over the board – the carve will end downwind as will his wave ride.

PHOTO Hart Photography


 

Onshore – the greater challenge
When the wind swings onshore, all the above four points are ‘different’ – different as in ‘initially a bit of a nightmare’.

1. The onshore sea state can be a random mess – lumps and bumps everywhere – impossible to work out which lump will bear fruit.
2. It’s not always the case, but decent waves usually arrive c/o a strong wind, which may produce power control issues.
3. With so much room to build up, there’s chop everywhere. The challenge lies in finding a smooth spot on which to lay a rail.
4. The onshore wind blows the tops over prematurely. White water abounds. The waves tend to be ‘slopier’ and less punchy. It’s hard to be dynamic and put the board in places where the wave does the work. At least there’s less chance of breaking kit.
5. And here’s the really tricky bit. In onshore winds the ride takes you through the wind on one tack to the other. You’re not only downwind most of the time (power control hell) but to stay powered up and carving you need to sail switch foot (the feet in the ‘wrong’ set of straps) and clew first = very technical.

Let’s dive into the shoes of the willing but confused onshore rider. He gets out through the break, gybes (well done) and by luck or judgement picks up a wave that is walling up nicely. Here’s the typical sequence of misjudgements. His natural reaching course will take him upwind diagonally back to the beach so he’s riding the wave with his back to it. A downwind ride is 180° in the other direction, dead downwind. It feels all wrong. But, in for a penny, he’ll try and do what they do in the movies and carve downwind towards it. He drops down the wave, hits the bottom, eases onto the edge, carves off downwind, slows down and is met by an eerie silence. There is no wave to be seen or heard. Five seconds later the wave he shot out in front of finally catches him up and engulfs him.

He has a word with himself and deduces he overtook the wave because his bottom turn was too late and too wide. The cure obviously is to tighten it up by carving sooner and more aggressively.

Take 2 – He catches the wave and immediately cranks it over whereupon the rail buries in the wave face, trips and he … well he’s not sure what happened next but it involved an underwater 360.

Take 3 – Split the difference. Don’t carve quite so aggressively, especially not on the wave face itself, which is steep and curved and grabs at the edge.

So this time he delays a little and turns hard as soon as he reaches the flat in front. It’s going well but just as he’s climbing the face ready for the top turn, it’s as if a helicopter had decided to hover overhead, and he gets back-winded and slammed. Progressing from there, he becomes more aware of the wind direction and sail angle, and like a gybe, continually opens the clew and sheets out and tries to present the sail to the wind at all stages of the turn. However, although he’s heading off in the general downwind direction, the rides mostly remain infrequent, sluggish, lacking in ‘whoosh’ and ‘snap’ and generally unsatisfactory. Improvement starts with tactics and ending up on the right day on the right section of wave with the right kit.

Kit Choice
The subject of board choice in onshore conditions is as broad as it is tall – and is a subject we will dissect more thoroughly when in the next issue we get views from our men on the beach. The truth is you can ride down-the-line on any board with ‘wave’ in the title (wave or fsw) but you’ll have to do it differently. There are multiple situations but hear this. Wind blown waves tend to be slow. And with the wind from behind it’s all too easy to outrun them. What’s needed, therefore, is a board that naturally turns tight and fast – and nothing does that better than a modern multi-fin wave board. The short length gives it a tight tuning circle. The wide tail and the side fins react well to sudden pressure and drive the board round, at the point where a narrow tailed board would sink and stall.
And taking it to the level where you are really attacking the wave and gouging the bottom turn, the most important feature of the modern multi-fin is its ability to carve at relatively slow speeds without stalling. That means you can be waiting at the top of the wave and then drop and carve immediately without having to accelerate out onto the flat. Being able to turn actually on the wave face is key, but there’s more to come on that …

Onshore winds and sloppy waves are the perfect arena for a zippy freestyle wave.But if you specifically want to ride waves there’s another design that’s even better for the job. There’s a clue in its title…

 

Sail size
In onshore winds your sail choice is primarily governed by the general situation. It’s an upwind exercise. You need to get through the shorebreak, plane off the beach and jump. You’re battling against the wind. For all the above you need power. You take what you need. It’s a skill thing. The good guys need less and would rather go a little bigger on volume. Riding waves with too much sail is a nightmare. Most of the onshore DTL ride happens within 45° of dead downwind where the power is hardest to hide. With too much power the wild mastfoot pressure tends to bury the rails and overpower the fins, especially on tight top turns. Having said that, I prefer a little too much to too little. It could be my speed/slalom background. I don’t mind power; it just encourages me to go faster.


Your three wave riding priorities are speed, speed and speed.


DIFFERENT DAYS – DIFFERENT RIDES
There is no one way to do this thing. It all depends on wind strength and how onshore it is – and above all the size and power of the waves. Also note – if you’re trying this for the first time, the nearer the wind is to side shore, the easier it is. If it’s more than 45° onshore, you have to turn yourself inside out to stay powered up. So here are 3 different situations and approaches but the aim is the same – to maintain speed.

Without speed, you can’t carve powerful turns and throw spray.

Without speed, the board will trip and stall.

Without speed, there is no flow from edge to edge through the transitions.

Without speed, the sail loads up and heaves you out of shape.

In all these situations I’m assuming there are reasonable waves to work with. Not just peaking wedges but some, however messy, with reasonable length to give you room to bear away.


CHANGING LINES

In all wave riding your number one priority is deciding on the right line and where and when to do your top and bottom turns, which of course changes with every situation. In onshore riding in particular, generating speed on the wave without out-running it is the elusive skill.  Pozo in Gran Canaria is most famous for its jumping – but it’s also where you’ll see the highest level of onshore wind wave riding. Below we have two alternatives. The first, easier, is to pivot downwind on top of the wave, stay high, accelerate and then steer off the top and then back down the face. The second is technically a lot more demanding and involves dropping straight into a bottom turn, initiating it on the face and gouging brutally hard, all the time keeping the sail open. The latter is more exciting but with a tiny window for error. A full rail bottom turn actually on the face is easy to stack and only really possible with a dedicated wave board (preferably with more than one fin.)

HARTY
X-ON > The more achievable line – check the track – staying high on the wave before dropping into the top turn..

PHOTO Carter/PWA

harty2
X-ON > A full tilt onshore bottom turn on the face from Graham Ezzy.
PHOTO
Carter/PWA



Ride 1 – the ‘squirt’ turn – clew first DTL.
You can gauge the brilliance of your riding by how long you stay on the wave face and how little time you spend on the flats out in front of it. The following approach is useful for all situations to get you facing the right direction and help you generate speed.

Out the back heading in, moderate your speed and chug upwind looking back over your front shoulder for a swell with some shape. One comes. You bear away onto it.  Hopefully at this stage it’s just a benign, sloping face. Now head upwind along it, not just to gain ground, but also to open up the space for you to ride downwind. Slow down and let yourself drift to the top.

Looking downwind you see it walling up nicely. The squirt turn is basically half a flare/pivot gybe. Almost stationary with both feet in the straps, drop the back hand right back, tilt the rig to windward, sheet in, power up the back foot and at the same time drop the hips back and to the inside (towards the back hand). The board squirts/pivots round at the top of the wave. As it reaches downwind, open the clew out and rock onto your front foot to kill the rotation. You’ll now be facing downwind along the wave and, if that squirt was good and tight, you’ll still be at the top of the wave.

Now lean forward, keep the rig forward, accelerate down and along the wave and above all hold the clew open so it’s always above the wave. Two or three seconds of that is all you need to generate impressive speed.

To complete a top turn and redirect down the wave, all you have to do is look over the front shoulder at the beach, move the hips down the hill and pressure the heels. Pull up on the toes and if possible present the underside of the board to the lip or the white water and let it bang the board round. As the board turns upwind, move the back hand forward to keep the sail open.

What was all that about?

The pivot turn at the top of the wave replaces the bottom turn so you don’t outrun it but get a feeling for generating speed from the wave by staying high.

You get the crucial idea of opening the clew and keeping it above the wave. The clew below the level of the wave is an accident waiting to happen.

With a simple 90° top turn you grasp that the sail stays in the same plane all the time and the board just turns under it.


BOTTOM TURNS VARIOUS
To excel in onshore winds you have to erase from your mind the Maui-esque image of what you want your bottom turn to look like – rig sheeted right in and laid to the floor and you peering along the mast at the lip you want to smack – that’s only possible in a side or side-off wind where you’re initiating your turn across the wind (like a gybe). The onshore wind bottom turn is a different animal. You take up the same angles but with rig totally clew first – how clew first depends how onshore the wind is.

harty3
X-Off  > The classic Ho’okipa lay-down bottom turn from Brawzinho. It’s a beautiful thing but only possible in side or side off winds. (BTW the photo has been flipped for a better comparison)..
PHOTO
Carter/PWA

harty4
X-Off  > The same move in Pozo’s side onshore winds (more ‘on’ than ‘side’) beautifully executed by Victor Fernandez. To get this angle of ‘gouge’ and hold the sail clew first takes strength,
athleticism and rubbery hips. PHOTO Carter/PWA


Ride 2 – bigger waves – more wall, speed – drop and bottom turn.
It starts the same as above – cruising upwind along the unbroken face, stopping, pivoting round, levelling off and heading down the line high on the wave. But this time you use that speed to drop into a proper bottom turn.

Drop diagonally down the face onto the flat to give yourself room to turn. The bottom turn in slow waves has to be tight. But don’t just hoof on the back foot or you’ll stop. You lean forward as you drop, powering down through the boom to lay the rail in the water.

The key element is the back hand and the sheeting angle. If you’re not over-powered, push the rig forward and open it out for maximum power.

If you are over-powered, over-sheet a little but be prepared to sheet out immediately. As you carve, push your hips towards the wave and immediately open the back hand so you can see the wave past the clew. Hold that clew first position as you climb back up the wave.

To start with don’t look to smack any lips but go for an early top turn and a more gentle redirection. As before, look down the slope, power up the heels, move the back hand forward to hold the clew high and open. Keep turning on the heels until you’re facing back upwind.

What was all that about?

Introducing a proper bottom turn followed by immediate top turn, there has to be agile, dynamic weight shift from rail to rail, the hips predicting the changes of direction and making themselves the centre of the circle.

Making bigger faster turns, you now have to stay oriented, be constantly aware of the wind direction and adjust the sheeting angle accordingly. You discover it’s much easier and more efficient to sheet in and out by moving the back hand up and down the boom rather than pushing and pulling.

Ride 3 – world cup glory – drop and go – snap snap!!
One easy way to measure the difference between the riding performances of a Pro and an Am is the time between their bottom and top turns. With an Am it can be an eon, as they bumble off clew first to a different county before finally redirecting. With the pros it’s 2 seconds or less.

Watch the world cuppers ride at Pozo. It’s 50 knots and very onshore over the punchy shorebreak wave – if ever there was an excuse for screaming 100 metres out in front … But they’re riding upwind and then suddenly, snap! and snap! They’ve banged out a downwind bottom and top turn in the blink of an eye.

Of course it demands huge commitment and some cute depowering skills – but this is the way to take your onshore DTL up a notch. The difference to our second ride is that you’re missing out the ‘squirt’ turn. Instead, from heading upwind, you drop straight into a full power bottom turn.

Think of pro bottom turns and you think of Jason Polakow hooting out onto the flats,  dropping his rig in front of a Pe’ahi monster and staring at the lip along the tip of his mast. But there’s no time for that now, the wave is too small and slow. If you lay the rig down, you’ll never have time to get it back up again in time for the top turn.

You have to initiate the turn and set the rail actually on the wave face. And then with the back hand so far back it’s almost on the clew, extend the front arm forward to sheet in – at the same time driving that power into the back section of rail to snap the board round (it is a carve, not a pivot).  Releasing that pressure is the trigger for you to snap the other way off the lip.

The difference here is that you don’t try to power up clew first for any length of time.  Instead, you open out the clew and top turn all in one movement. There is SO much room for error. Number one, making such sudden changes of directions, the power surges in the sail are wild – and if you don’t have your body exactly in the right position, it’s curtains.

What was all that about?
It’s the next level and above all, about exploiting the board’s designed ability to initiate turns suddenly (without a bear away) and gouge deeply without tripping. That first ride we did, you were turning through 90° – this time it’s through 180° and back again – that’s wave riding. And to make such turns, hand movements have to be even more exaggerated. The rule with such a bottom turn is, move the back hand back to where you normally have it – and then another yard.


The beauty of White Water
In onshore winds white water abounds so get used to it. There are many kinds of foam and it’s not all bad. The ‘bad’ stuff rebounds off the seabed and explodes following the top to bottom breaking of a powerful swell – give it a wide berth. But in onshore winds the waves often get blown over and crumble from the top. There’s a layer of white but underneath is solid water. This is good stuff. Wave-riding you can bottom turn towards it, present the underside of the board – and because the water is actually moving, you get an explosive reaction from it, similar to a pitching lip – but not so destructive.

Onshore pt 1 08
Harty getting redirected by some solid Irish foam.

PHOTO ( Getwindsurfing)


COMMON QUESTIONS answered
We’ve hardly scratched the surface but here are solutions to some of the most common onshore DTL issues.

I take off, bear away to ride and the wave disappears.

You gotta look before you go. If downwind there is no wall, then wait.

Unlike real surfing, you’re often not taking off on the peak but behind it so your bottom turn takes you towards a breaking section.

The key tip is always to ride upwind on the wave you’re going to ride downwind. On good days you make a figure of 8.  Ride upwind, foot off down the line, top turn, ride upwind again and repeat the process as the wave reforms.

I’m ending up miles downwind every time.

Unlike in side off wind, where DTL riding is effectively taking you across the wind, in onshore winds you DTL ride is pretty much dead downwind. So I refer to the tip above, put some money in the bank by riding upwind first.

I can’t bottom turn in onshore winds without bouncing.

Cutting you some slack, it may be the conditions. If the water on and in front of the wave is choppy, it’s a mission to carve smoothly. Choose your spot more carefully. The waves out to sea may be bigger but the deeper the water, the bigger the chop. Often the inside waves that have reformed in shallow water are smoother and more fun.


DOWN the LINE Onshore
This was one of the best days of the recent winter period. The wind had swung more westerly (only 20° onshore) and the relentless winds had generated a proper swell. In this sequence, former pro Jamie Hawkins displays all the key elements of an onshore ride – the line, the timing and power control. All the way through the sequence the sail stays at the same angle to the wind and the board just turns underneath it.

After a wide bottom turn he makes the transition to the heel edge early. A good line in has left him right by the peak. Check the height of the clew.


Rocking onto his front heel, he presents the nose to the white water and looks and projects himself down the slope in anticipation of the acceleration. It’s very tempting here to yank on the back hand – but don’t, you’re too broad to the wind.

PHOTO (Hart Photography)


Great power control – the back hand slides forward and he opens the sail right out to dump the excess power and send a load of spray into the February sun.



From a technique standpoint, there are 2 main reasons for bouncing.

1. Running too flat a board. Wave boards especially are much more stable on their edge where they can knife through the chop.

2. No power control. If you get over-powered as you fly off DTL, you’ll lean back and sheet out. With the nose riding high, you’ll bounce for Britain. Get the power under control before driving into a tight bottom turn.

I get overpowered and/or catapulted as I get to the top of the wave and try to top turn – even with my back hand right forward.

It’s very very common and usually down to NOT enough turn in your top turn. Remember where the wind is. In an onshore wind, if you top turn to face straight back down the wave, you’re on a broad reach = catapult territory. Commit to the heels longer to keep the board turning until you are across the wind, facing upwind along the wave.

It can also be from opening the clew too much. When it’s really breezy you leave the back hand back a little on the boom to keep the clew closed in order to deliberately oversheet and depower.

Getting worked is also a symptom of losing all your speed.

I always stall my top turn. I either lose speed, or even worse, flop off the back. It’s all too popular a gaffe in onshore DTL.

There are multiple reasons.

Could be poor wave selection and top turning too late on a wave with no ‘throw’ – i.e. there’s no power or slope to help redirect the board.

The commonest technical reason is simple over-sheeting. It’s so tempting to initiate top turns by falling against the sail and pulling on your back hand. In onshore winds you initiate the top turn very broad, clew first on the other tack.  So if you pull on the back hand you immediately oversheet, or worse still, pull the clew through the wind and get backwinded.

Next month, I’ll uncover deeper layers of onshore hell, or is it now heaven? And I’ll be abetted by sailors, pro and weekend warrior alike, who have had more sailing this winter than is strictly legal and are keen to share their recent experiences and discoveries.

Misery for you all since Harty’s foreign clinics are full through to November. But check his website, www.peter-hart.com, and his Peter Hart Masterclass fb page for UK dates.

The post PETER HART – STEPPING OUT OF THE ONSHORE RUTS appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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29Jun/16Off

AFFAIRS OF THE HART – TAKEN BY STORM

AFFAIRS OF THE HART - TAKEN BY STORM

_B9Q1672


Harty discusses the reality of storms and stormy encounters.

Windsurfing became popular for many reasons; but one of the most compelling was that here was a small, cheap, fiendishly simple sailing craft which could perform meaningfully in winds and seas where million dollar super-yachts could do nothing but rock and roll under bare poles and provoke endless streams of vomit from its miserable, life-threatened crew.

Windies look forward to storms just to show the sailing world who continues to boss the big winds. Oh yes – we tweak the nose of gales and laugh in the face of storms … or do we?

The term ‘storm’ is usually hyperbolic. According to the seafarer’s vernacular, a storm is a force 10, or to give it its full title, ‘storm force 10’ – 50 knots – brutal. Most people are on their smallest sail by a force 7 (30 knots). That’s pretty fierce. A force 10 produces more than twice as much pressure as a force 7. If you’re already maxed out on your 3.7, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Storms have been the talk of the winter. I’ve known a few over the years – here are my most and least memorable.

‘Force 10 at Hayling’
More mature readers may remember the feature from this very magazine in the late 80’s. On the strength of an impressive forecast, a handful of us abandoned the London Boat Show one January morning and fled to the coast. We arrived to some big waves and a proper gale; but it wasn’t off the scale – perhaps 35 knots. We all got out and thrashed around for a bit, when a confluence of events occurred to turn a good day into an iconic one. In the blink of an eye, the cold front swept through. The wind suddenly increased and banged round offshore, just as the sun came out and just as the local photographer Kier Francis turned up and got ‘the shot.’ So violently were the tops of the waves whipped away, that for about 5 minutes the sea was completely hidden by a blanket of spray. Just visible through the atomised mist were the sails of 5 windsurfers, highlighted by a shaft of light that emerged from an otherwise inky black sky. It was like an over-the-top Renaissance painting depicting angry gods and divine mischief. This was pre Photoshop so people believed it. Had that gust come through while we were on the beach, we would never have gone out. From a sailing point of view we didn’t really do anything. A few seconds after the shot was taken we were all flattened  – that was the force 10 bit. But for a moment we were just in the right place at the right time.

TARIFA and the speed storm
I don’t know which competition is officially the windiest, but battling for honours is surely the Tarifa speed world cup of 1993. At the briefing on the second morning the race crew were in turmoil. The best speedsters were gathered at the best speed course in the world. Given the forecast, a world record was on the cards … except there was a delay. One of the rescue boats had radioed back to say they were measuring 55 knot winds with gusts of 60. What were the legal implications? Could it possibly be wise to send us out in force 11 offshore winds? It wasn’t about wisdom and under pressure they reached a compromise. In the event of a sailor getting into trouble, the boats would only rescue the human, not their kit. To sail back up the course upwind meant going some way out to sea where both wind and sea state were even wilder. Most decided to walk back. Only 2 of us elected to sail, Dunkerbeck and myself. Dunky because he could; me because I had to. I’d had knee surgery 3 weeks before and walking wasn’t an option.

The problem was that if you let go of your kit in 50 knots, it’s just airborne and gone.

My survival plan was to imagine I was pinning down a hungry alligator. Simple mantra, power to the nose, stay low and do NOT let go!  On one run back out, I had to drop in because I couldn’t see, so thick was the spray. It was so brutal the rig started cartwheeling with me hanging on. I stood on it to sink it and waited. After 5 minutes I tried a waterstart. The wind had only to sniff the underside of the sail for me and rig to get turned over again. Back on the beach someone revealed that the scary gust had been recorded at 64 knots. That’s force 12 – a hurricane. When someone tells me now they’ve sailed in a hurricane I nod politely in disbelief.

On the course itself it was carnage. Ten of the fleet were hospitalised, 6 bones were broken along with 2 world records. What an event.

THE GREAT DAMP STORM SQUIB of 1987
At 2 am on October 16th 1987 I awoke to a loud crashing – surely not a riot in the streets of sleepy middle class Chichester? I opened the front door and the wall, which 200 years ago had been built to protect visitors from the prevailing south westerly, had been demolished by the wind. It was ferociously stormy but what I remember most was how it suddenly went from a typical thrashing, screeching gale to a deep sinister hum – something I’ve haven’t experienced before or since but which people tell me is the noise of a
proper hurricane.

Sleep was out of the question, so determined to exploit this cloud’s silver lining, at 7 am I headed for the beach.  Due to fallen trees, the 12 minute journey took an hour. But when I arrived, the sea looked absolutely … pathetic. The storm had tracked so rapidly that it had no time to build up a swell. Worse still, it seemed to be dropping. They say winds are like love – if they get up suddenly, they die equally suddenly. Three sail changes later and I still hadn’t planed.

Some 30 years later, I still enjoy a good storm and the winter of 2015/16 has been a corker. Apart from kit making the whole process a lot more enjoyable, the main change I see is in the onlooker’s attitude. At Hayling, on that glorious day, I remember a small crowd (at least 10 of them) cheering us on. Today there seems to be more and more people desperate to be worried on our behalf as we confront the stormy challenge.

“Aren’t you being very irresponsible?” High winds and rubber hats don’t aid communication but I was determined to get my point across to this risk-averse humourless bint.

“Danger makes you feel more alive. Humans thrive on challenges. I mean look at the great explorers. Scott wouldn’t have got anywhere near the South Pole with attitudes like yours.”

“He died.”

Good point.

PH 23rd February 2016

The post AFFAIRS OF THE HART – TAKEN BY STORM appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

Click here to read more: Windsurf Magazine

29Jun/16Off

AFFAIRS OF THE HART – TAKEN BY STORM

AFFAIRS OF THE HART - TAKEN BY STORM

_B9Q1672


Harty discusses the reality of storms and stormy encounters.

Windsurfing became popular for many reasons; but one of the most compelling was that here was a small, cheap, fiendishly simple sailing craft which could perform meaningfully in winds and seas where million dollar super-yachts could do nothing but rock and roll under bare poles and provoke endless streams of vomit from its miserable, life-threatened crew.

Windies look forward to storms just to show the sailing world who continues to boss the big winds. Oh yes – we tweak the nose of gales and laugh in the face of storms … or do we?

The term ‘storm’ is usually hyperbolic. According to the seafarer’s vernacular, a storm is a force 10, or to give it its full title, ‘storm force 10’ – 50 knots – brutal. Most people are on their smallest sail by a force 7 (30 knots). That’s pretty fierce. A force 10 produces more than twice as much pressure as a force 7. If you’re already maxed out on your 3.7, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Storms have been the talk of the winter. I’ve known a few over the years – here are my most and least memorable.

‘Force 10 at Hayling’
More mature readers may remember the feature from this very magazine in the late 80’s. On the strength of an impressive forecast, a handful of us abandoned the London Boat Show one January morning and fled to the coast. We arrived to some big waves and a proper gale; but it wasn’t off the scale – perhaps 35 knots. We all got out and thrashed around for a bit, when a confluence of events occurred to turn a good day into an iconic one. In the blink of an eye, the cold front swept through. The wind suddenly increased and banged round offshore, just as the sun came out and just as the local photographer Kier Francis turned up and got ‘the shot.’ So violently were the tops of the waves whipped away, that for about 5 minutes the sea was completely hidden by a blanket of spray. Just visible through the atomised mist were the sails of 5 windsurfers, highlighted by a shaft of light that emerged from an otherwise inky black sky. It was like an over-the-top Renaissance painting depicting angry gods and divine mischief. This was pre Photoshop so people believed it. Had that gust come through while we were on the beach, we would never have gone out. From a sailing point of view we didn’t really do anything. A few seconds after the shot was taken we were all flattened  – that was the force 10 bit. But for a moment we were just in the right place at the right time.

TARIFA and the speed storm
I don’t know which competition is officially the windiest, but battling for honours is surely the Tarifa speed world cup of 1993. At the briefing on the second morning the race crew were in turmoil. The best speedsters were gathered at the best speed course in the world. Given the forecast, a world record was on the cards … except there was a delay. One of the rescue boats had radioed back to say they were measuring 55 knot winds with gusts of 60. What were the legal implications? Could it possibly be wise to send us out in force 11 offshore winds? It wasn’t about wisdom and under pressure they reached a compromise. In the event of a sailor getting into trouble, the boats would only rescue the human, not their kit. To sail back up the course upwind meant going some way out to sea where both wind and sea state were even wilder. Most decided to walk back. Only 2 of us elected to sail, Dunkerbeck and myself. Dunky because he could; me because I had to. I’d had knee surgery 3 weeks before and walking wasn’t an option.

The problem was that if you let go of your kit in 50 knots, it’s just airborne and gone.

My survival plan was to imagine I was pinning down a hungry alligator. Simple mantra, power to the nose, stay low and do NOT let go!  On one run back out, I had to drop in because I couldn’t see, so thick was the spray. It was so brutal the rig started cartwheeling with me hanging on. I stood on it to sink it and waited. After 5 minutes I tried a waterstart. The wind had only to sniff the underside of the sail for me and rig to get turned over again. Back on the beach someone revealed that the scary gust had been recorded at 64 knots. That’s force 12 – a hurricane. When someone tells me now they’ve sailed in a hurricane I nod politely in disbelief.

On the course itself it was carnage. Ten of the fleet were hospitalised, 6 bones were broken along with 2 world records. What an event.

THE GREAT DAMP STORM SQUIB of 1987
At 2 am on October 16th 1987 I awoke to a loud crashing – surely not a riot in the streets of sleepy middle class Chichester? I opened the front door and the wall, which 200 years ago had been built to protect visitors from the prevailing south westerly, had been demolished by the wind. It was ferociously stormy but what I remember most was how it suddenly went from a typical thrashing, screeching gale to a deep sinister hum – something I’ve haven’t experienced before or since but which people tell me is the noise of a
proper hurricane.

Sleep was out of the question, so determined to exploit this cloud’s silver lining, at 7 am I headed for the beach.  Due to fallen trees, the 12 minute journey took an hour. But when I arrived, the sea looked absolutely … pathetic. The storm had tracked so rapidly that it had no time to build up a swell. Worse still, it seemed to be dropping. They say winds are like love – if they get up suddenly, they die equally suddenly. Three sail changes later and I still hadn’t planed.

Some 30 years later, I still enjoy a good storm and the winter of 2015/16 has been a corker. Apart from kit making the whole process a lot more enjoyable, the main change I see is in the onlooker’s attitude. At Hayling, on that glorious day, I remember a small crowd (at least 10 of them) cheering us on. Today there seems to be more and more people desperate to be worried on our behalf as we confront the stormy challenge.

“Aren’t you being very irresponsible?” High winds and rubber hats don’t aid communication but I was determined to get my point across to this risk-averse humourless bint.

“Danger makes you feel more alive. Humans thrive on challenges. I mean look at the great explorers. Scott wouldn’t have got anywhere near the South Pole with attitudes like yours.”

“He died.”

Good point.

PH 23rd February 2016

The post AFFAIRS OF THE HART – TAKEN BY STORM appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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9May/16Off

JUNE 2016 ISSUE ON SALE

JUNE 2016 ISSUE ON SALE

Panel15

WINDSURF MAGAZINE #356 JUNE ISSUE ON SALE NOW

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


Subscribe or buy your copy here in either 

Digital or 

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


EURO ISSUE – Lena Erdil gives the lowdown on the Tenerife Slalom training camps, Cadizfornia – Freeriding spot guide to Cadiz, Algarve road trip adventure, Graham Ezzy’s thoughts on Europe, Hayling Island Storm Frank waves, Monty Spindler and Antoine Martin profiles, Peter Hart’s tips for heavyweight sailors, Heli. tack how to with Jem Hall. Freeride test special: 140l. boards & 7.5 twin cam sails. Spain, Portugal and Canaries travel guide.

001 FC JUNE 356 3

BIG JUICY READS

RRD

SOLITUDE
Frenchman Sylvain Demercastel roadtrips to the Algarve and reflects on the joys of not flying, experiencing the unknown and discovering new spots, even if they are just new to you!

Antione

YOUNG GUN
Antoine Martin thrives on innovation in his wavesailing and a disregard for boundaries. Big waves, massive jumps and even greater wipeouts are his staple but what makes a young mind like Antoine’s tick – JC finds out.

Cadiz

CADIZFORNIA
María Andrés gives us a spot guide to her homeland of Cadiz in SW Spain, a place she describes as a natural playground to enjoy watersports and having many more windsurf spots outside of well known Tarifa.

Lena Erdil

TENERIFE TRAINING
The annual Tenerife training camps have produced remarkable results for the riders that attend them on the PWA slalom tour. But what is it that makes these training camps so successful? Lena Erdil gives us the low down.

HAYLING

HURRICANE @ HAYLING
John Carter adds to Hayling Island’s illustrious lineage of iconic high wind sailing images as Storm Frank hits the South Coast of England and Chris Audsley, Paul and Jack Hunt score its bounty.

LOFTSAILS_BTS-6 Main RT

MONTY SPINDLER
From working with the original windsurfing pioneers, to topping recent podiums, Monty Spindler is one of windsurfing’s most understated characters. A true craftsman, Iain Marwood profiles Monty’s unique path.

Ezzy

EUROS!
Graham Ezzy, muses on windsurfing life in Europe through the socially observant eyes of a Princeton educated Hawaiian sailor on the PWA tour.


GEAR SHED


TEST 1

LITRE FREERIDE BOARDS   
Our testers review the light wind hulls designed for your freeriding pleasure.

RRD Firemove 140,
Fanatic Gecko 146 ,
Starboard Atom 140 ,
Tabou Rocket Wide 138 ,
JP Magic Ride 142,

test3

TWIN CAM SAILS 
Twin cammed – twice the pleasure of a full on race sail or half the power? – the test team find out.

North Sails Warp 7.7,
Severne Turbo 7.5,
GA Sails Cosmic 7.5,
Neil Pryde Hornet 7.7,
Tushingham Bolt 7.8,
Ezzy Lion 3 7.5,
Simmer 2XC 7.8,

TEKKERS

 

HARTY

PETER HART TECHNIQUE – THE CHALLENGE OF BEING BIG
Large folk appear to be at a natural disadvantage when it comes to windsurfing skills compared to their regular sized peers. But Harty shows how with a change of attitude towards kit, themselves and technique, they can even the balance.

JEM HALL

MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL – THE HELI TACK
Jem Hall gives us the lowdown on nailing the Heli. tack.


BOARDSHORTS

LATEST & GREATEST
The Panama papers contained information that the windsurfing industry sought to hide offshore. Well, not really, but if you want to find out about the latest kit, this is the place, honest guv!


Cam NC15_ls_ARU91_0611

SARAH, CAMERAS, ACTION!
Sarah-Quita Offringa is one of the most talented and photogenic sailors in the world with a smile that lights up any lens; we sat down for a quick catch up with Sarah to ask for her POV (Point of View) camera tips.

SPAIN, PORTUGAL AND CANARIES TRAVEL GUIDE
We round up some of the best windsurfing spots to go blast, ride, rest and relax in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands and get the best knots for your euros!

 

SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
The Editor explores the influence of Europe in windsurfing’s past and present.


AFFAIRS OF THE HART – KEN’S WAY 
Peter Hart catches up with his old Sea Panther buddy Ken Way, the Leicester City psychologist and part of the legendary Way family who spearheaded the UK windsurfing industry.

 

Get your 

Print or 

Digital copy

 now!

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Sub2016web480

 

The post JUNE 2016 ISSUE ON SALE appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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9May/16Off

JUNE 2016 ISSUE ON SALE

JUNE 2016 ISSUE ON SALE

Panel15

WINDSURF MAGAZINE #356 JUNE ISSUE ON SALE NOW

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


Subscribe or buy your copy here in either 

Digital or 

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


EURO ISSUE – Lena Erdil gives the lowdown on the Tenerife Slalom training camps, Cadizfornia – Freeriding spot guide to Cadiz, Algarve road trip adventure, Graham Ezzy’s thoughts on Europe, Hayling Island Storm Frank waves, Monty Spindler and Antoine Martin profiles, Peter Hart’s tips for heavyweight sailors, Heli. tack how to with Jem Hall. Freeride test special: 140l. boards & 7.5 twin cam sails. Spain, Portugal and Canaries travel guide.

001 FC JUNE 356 3

BIG JUICY READS

RRD

SOLITUDE
Frenchman Sylvain Demercastel roadtrips to the Algarve and reflects on the joys of not flying, experiencing the unknown and discovering new spots, even if they are just new to you!

Antione

YOUNG GUN
Antoine Martin thrives on innovation in his wavesailing and a disregard for boundaries. Big waves, massive jumps and even greater wipeouts are his staple but what makes a young mind like Antoine’s tick – JC finds out.

Cadiz

CADIZFORNIA
María Andrés gives us a spot guide to her homeland of Cadiz in SW Spain, a place she describes as a natural playground to enjoy watersports and having many more windsurf spots outside of well known Tarifa.

Lena Erdil

TENERIFE TRAINING
The annual Tenerife training camps have produced remarkable results for the riders that attend them on the PWA slalom tour. But what is it that makes these training camps so successful? Lena Erdil gives us the low down.

HAYLING

HURRICANE @ HAYLING
John Carter adds to Hayling Island’s illustrious lineage of iconic high wind sailing images as Storm Frank hits the South Coast of England and Chris Audsley, Paul and Jack Hunt score its bounty.

LOFTSAILS_BTS-6 Main RT

MONTY SPINDLER
From working with the original windsurfing pioneers, to topping recent podiums, Monty Spindler is one of windsurfing’s most understated characters. A true craftsman, Iain Marwood profiles Monty’s unique path.

Ezzy

EUROS!
Graham Ezzy, muses on windsurfing life in Europe through the socially observant eyes of a Princeton educated Hawaiian sailor on the PWA tour.


GEAR SHED


TEST 1

LITRE FREERIDE BOARDS   
Our testers review the light wind hulls designed for your freeriding pleasure.

RRD Firemove 140,
Fanatic Gecko 146 ,
Starboard Atom 140 ,
Tabou Rocket Wide 138 ,
JP Magic Ride 142,

test3

TWIN CAM SAILS 
Twin cammed – twice the pleasure of a full on race sail or half the power? – the test team find out.

North Sails Warp 7.7,
Severne Turbo 7.5,
GA Sails Cosmic 7.5,
Neil Pryde Hornet 7.7,
Tushingham Bolt 7.8,
Ezzy Lion 3 7.5,
Simmer 2XC 7.8,

TEKKERS

 

HARTY

PETER HART TECHNIQUE – THE CHALLENGE OF BEING BIG
Large folk appear to be at a natural disadvantage when it comes to windsurfing skills compared to their regular sized peers. But Harty shows how with a change of attitude towards kit, themselves and technique, they can even the balance.

JEM HALL

MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL – THE HELI TACK
Jem Hall gives us the lowdown on nailing the Heli. tack.


BOARDSHORTS

LATEST & GREATEST
The Panama papers contained information that the windsurfing industry sought to hide offshore. Well, not really, but if you want to find out about the latest kit, this is the place, honest guv!


Cam NC15_ls_ARU91_0611

SARAH, CAMERAS, ACTION!
Sarah-Quita Offringa is one of the most talented and photogenic sailors in the world with a smile that lights up any lens; we sat down for a quick catch up with Sarah to ask for her POV (Point of View) camera tips.

SPAIN, PORTUGAL AND CANARIES TRAVEL GUIDE
We round up some of the best windsurfing spots to go blast, ride, rest and relax in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands and get the best knots for your euros!

 

SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
The Editor explores the influence of Europe in windsurfing’s past and present.


AFFAIRS OF THE HART – KEN’S WAY 
Peter Hart catches up with his old Sea Panther buddy Ken Way, the Leicester City psychologist and part of the legendary Way family who spearheaded the UK windsurfing industry.

 

Get your 

Print or 

Digital copy

 now!

 App_store 158x53px android_google_play 158x53px Windows Store logo 158x53px

Sub2016web480

 

The post JUNE 2016 ISSUE ON SALE appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

Click here to read more: Windsurf Magazine

6May/16Off

AFFAIRS OF THE HART – THE JOYS OF GETTING SKUNKED

AFFAIRS OF THE HART - THE JOYS OF GETTING SKUNKED

IMG_4426

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it certainly will. It’s how you handle it that counts. It may not be all bad.

“ For years Robin had been pumping me for information about Maui. Robin, for all his loveliness, is terminally indecisive, on top of which he throws his money around like Scrooge with no arms. With good friends, you have to embrace their weaknesses but in the end I lost patience and said “Listen, stop faffing about and just book it. Stay in this unit in Haiku, which is cheap as chips. Go in May and you won’t even have to think about the wind, you’ll sail every day so much you’ll be begging for a break.” And strike me sideways, he did what he was told. For the first time in living memory, for the whole month of May, there wasn’t one planing day. When I bumped into Robin after his return I braced myself for a fist in the face. Instead he recounted tales of a fantastic holiday. He intimated it even saved his marriage. Him and his wife were both hard working professionals with a chronically skewed work life balance. Had he gone sailing every day and left her with the two kids, it could have been the final nail. Instead they watched whales, went walking in rain forests, swam in waterfalls, surfed and snorkelled and enjoyed as a family one of the most stunning islands on earth. It was also in a pre Windguru era, so he always believed it would be windy the next day. Hope eases depression.

As a travelling windsurfer, if it hasn’t happened already, you will, at some time or other, get skunked (the vernacular for getting no wind at a windy spot.) You can’t fight the laws of probability. It’s happened to me in all the places you’ve heard of where it’s purportedly ‘windy all the time.’ No it isn’t. It may be statistically advantageous but that does not represent a guarantee. I’ve even been skunked at the top of Mt Washington in New England, the second most consistently windiest spot in the world behind Commonwealth Bay Antarctica. It’s not a windsurfing venue but thanks to a bump in the jet stream, averages force 8. Not on this day – not a breath. How such an apparent disaster effects you depends, mostly, on you and, just like sport itself, on mental preparation and attitude. Out of all the ‘skunkings’ I’ve had only two have been really wretched and even one of those wasn’t so bad. As a young(ish) pro I scraped the pennies together for a Maui training trip. In January you don’t count on relentless trades but you’d expect really good swell and perhaps 50% planing. It rained solidly day and night for a month. After a week I decided to go for a surf only to be told that the water was so murky from the run off that I would certainly be eaten by a big fish. For the entire trip we stayed inside, watched videos, ate junk food and wallowed in our misfortune.

Two winters later I tried Western Oz. The signs looked good as I touched down in Perth. The ‘Freo Doctor’ was blowing and people were planing up and down the Swan River. As I headed up to Geraldton for some waves, Andy Mason, a pioneering speed sailor, said: “keep an eye on the temperature mate, it doesn’t look good.” He explained how if it got any hotter than about 29°, a heat low formed over the desert which produced offshore winds that blocked the onshore seabreeze. Up and up crept the mercury. For 2 weeks it was 40° plus and we had no choice but to sit in the water with a bucket over our heads. Someone pointed out that Australia had transport and we didn’t have to stay there. A couple of calls established that most of the west coast was suffering the same way but that the east coast was having a cracking summer. I decamped the 3000 miles and spent the last 2 weeks of the trip sailing Long Reef in the north of Sydney in glorious 20 knot Nor’easters and head high waves. I was learning – there was no such thing as a bad trip – just no contingency plans. Barbados was my favoured wintering ground in the 90’s. The light is amazing for pics and the locals hilariously good company. On the first morning, I was woken at 5.30 am by the ever enthusiastic snapper Alex Williams. “Get up Harty, it’s windy. Get to work!”

“Alex, we have 4 weeks. Will you chill out and let me sleep!” He didn’t and just as well for that was the last we saw of the wind.

After a while you get a feeling for a weather pattern, which isn’t going to budge. The milk was spilled so there was no point crying over it. The morning would start with a trip to Bathsheba and the fabulous waves of the east coast. Surfed out we would return for tennis with the Talma brothers Brian and Kevin, culminating after some weeks in the now infamous ‘Barbimbledon Trophy’ which we won because they forgot to turn up for the final. It was one of the best trips ever.

These days I lead people to foreign parts for a living. I hope for wind but I no longer dread the doldrums. I can’t help feeling partly responsible having dragged them half way across the globe under false pretences. But I find that more and more people ‘get’ what it takes to be a windsurfer, and above all a wave-sailor, and it isn’t exclusively about laying back against a force 6.

This topic has arisen because this has been a meteorologically messed up El Nino year. We’ve just had news that a certain Herr Koster has driven the guts of 5000 kms up and down the west coast of Oz for just one day’s sailing in over a week of chasing the wind. And I’ve just returned from Brazil’s Jeri, where in the past 8 years I have experienced perhaps 5 windless days. This year we got 10 of them. It was a brilliant trip. Ask the crew if they would have preferred some more wind, and they would have said yes for sure. But as for the learning experience – for a start, getting 10 knots rather than 25, they sailed a lot more – and that sailing took place in the interesting, wavy zone – after all, there’s no point drifting miles out to sea. They learned to, or improved, their SUP’ing and surfing. They now understand so much more about wave selection, double-ups, lefts and rights, where to be on the wave for maximum speed and when to get off it. And best of all, their hands were not so blistered that they couldn’t hang onto a cocktail …

PH 24th Jan 2016.

The post AFFAIRS OF THE HART – THE JOYS OF GETTING SKUNKED appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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7Apr/16Off

MAY 2016 ISSUE ON SALE

MAY 2016 ISSUE ON SALE

Panel1 copy

WINDSURF MAGAZINE #355 MAY ISSUE ON SALE NOW

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


Subscribe or buy your copy here in either 

Digital or 

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


The .com issue – Is the internet good or bad for windsurfing? – John Carter asks the pros, Traversa unplugged in Mozambique, disconnected in Tasmania – off grid adventure with Flo Jung, South Cornwall waves – Praa Sands explored, Azores travel, Windguru founder interview, Maui Ultra Fins new weed/shallow water fin lowdown, Summer wetsuit guide, Slalom test: 115l. boards & 7.8m 3-cam sails and part two of Harty’s onshore tips.

001 FC MAY 355 small


BIG JUICY READS

Spread Paul Lane

THE LATE SESH
John Carter hooks up his Iphone to roam in Margaret River in the company of Scotty McKercher and Philip Koester, finding a break that tests the best but still remains a beauty worth detouring for.

camping

TASMANIA  
Flo Jung disconnects from the internet in a journey to the ends of the earth in Tasmania to find the wild roots of a windsurf trip again.

AT0A9992

TRAVELLING FREE 
Thomas Traversa, Jules Denel and Gilles Calvet travel to Mozambique to windsurf but along the way discuss social media and its outcome on our windsurfing world.

GC15_ls_POL111_0710

CYBERSAILING
John Carter recruits John Skye, Chris Murray, Chris Pressler and Guy Cribb for a both hilarious and thought provoking discussion on the good and the bad of the internet’s impact on windsurfing.

_B9Q030888-yellow-blur-in-bg

DUTY FREE – THE MOTLEY CREW RAID OF PRAA SANDS
Timo Mullen and Ian Black set out to find the windsurfing treasure of South Cornwall; explorer in chief, John Carter, tells the salty tale of their voyage.

JC MAIN SHOT

AZORES
The Azores is within easy reach of Europe and offers verdant lands and rich coastlines full of exuberant life. María Andrés and Emilio Galindo tell their story of finding a paradise only a few hours away but still having all the adventure you could wish for.

GEAR SHED

test 1

115 LITRE SLALOM BOARDS
Our testers review the high octane hulls of the slalom race course.

FANATIC FALCON TE 112,
RRD X-FIRE V8 114,
STARBOARD ISONIC CARBON REFLEX 107,
TABOU MANTA 71

test 2

7.8 3 CAM SAILS
De-tuned slalom engines or super charged compromise? – the test team find out.

GA SAILS PHANTOM 7.8M,
LOFTSAILS SWITCHBLADE 7.8M,
NORTH SAILS S_TYPE SL 7.8M,
RRD FIREWING MKIV 7.8M,
SEVERNE OVERDRIVE R7 7.8M,


TEKKERS

Onshore 16 pt two 01

PETER HART TECHNIQUE – ONSHORE Part 2
Real Tales – Harty continues his exploration and explanation of sailing waves in onshore winds, this time calling on the experiences of some informed locals.

D7-660

MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL – THE MOVES THAT MATTER PART 2
Jem continues his ‘Moves that matter’ with the tricks, jumps and wave riding tips to help you improve at all levels.

GA_DY1 _D1_0404

HOW TO – ONE FOOTED BACK LOOP
Graham Ezzy tells us how to drop a leg in a back loop, advocating ”the best ways to get better is trying completely different moves that are beyond your ability!”.

 


BOARDSHORTS

LATEST & GREATEST
Spies recruited, listening devices planted and no lead left unturned. Ross Kemp can’t go where we can – we bring you the latest reportage from windsurfing’s cutting edges – sort of!

LOWDOWN
Maui Ultra Fins Delta series

 – Maui Ultra Fins

 Designer Rick Hanke is an aeronautic engineer by trade but we caught up with him to find out more about his innovative fin design – the Delta series – for shallow and weedy waters.

WINDGURU: THE INTERVIEW
Almost certainly part of your daily internet diet as a windsurfer is www.windguru.cz. Used by everyone from weekend warrior to the PWA, we spoke to its founder, Vaclav Hornik, for a closer look at one of windsurfing’s most popular websites.

_69T0080

SPRING SUMMER WETSUIT GUIDE
Winter was so last winter, spring/summer is where it’s at for our May issue and to kick off the new season we’ve rounded up some of the latest offerings of fresh rubber from the brands.


SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
The Editor explores the effects of the internet on windsurfing and how best to manage it while staying true to the soul of our sport.

AFFAIRS OF THE HART – SAILING MATES 
Harty eloquently discusses how the company you keep on the water can make or break a day.

Get your 

Print or 

Digital copy

 now!

 

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30Mar/16Off

PETER HART MAURITIUS CLINIC

PETER HART MAURITIUS CLINIC

43_Mauritius_windsurfing_centre_club_mistral_spot_800x533

PRESS RELEASE:

Sportif Announce 2016 Mauritius Windsurfing Masterclass with Peter Hart.

Sportif have announced the next Peter Hart windsurfing Masterclass to Mauritius from 20 November to 01 December 2016. Enjoy 10 days of flat water to easy wave sailing with coaching from the master himself plus a social week, with group dinners and non-clinic friends and family welcome.

You can join Peter for a 10 day windsurfing holiday staying in the 4* Coral Resort with coaching from Windsurf magazines’ own Technique Editor. Voted as one of the top 3 most influential windsurfers of all time, this year Peter is conducting his Masterclass weeks at the end of November which includes everything from water starting to wave sailing at the all round spot of Le Morne
Speaking about his previous clinics, Peter says,
“Conditions were so good that the photos do NOT do it justice – and to have such amazing windsurfing conditions on the doorstep of a truly classy hotel, is just unheard of. Words fail me to describe its beauty both as a place and a windsurfing venue. Lying some 500 miles to the east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius challenges Maui for windsurfing perfection. It’s a beautiful island with a fascinating ethnic west/east mix. After just a week there in 2005, I had no hesitation adding it to the calendar,” says Peter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
44_Mauritius_windsurfing_centre_club_mistral_action_1_800x533
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43_Mauritius_windsurfing_centre_club_mistral_spot_800x533

The minimum standard is planing in the footstraps and harness on a 120 ltr board so Intermediate sailor are welcome. The conditions will also work for windsurfing couples or friends who are at different levels. Non clinic friends and partners are also welcome, with group dinners in the evening and the group sailing from the beach directly in front of the hotel. If you are a beginner, or want to do some kitesurfing, surfing or SUP, Sportif can organise lessons or rental for you.
Price: 10 nights All Inclusive from £2,899pp or excluding flights from £2,099pp including 7 days Peter Hart Masterclass and 11 days windsurf rental. Spaces are limited and Sportif say the places are usually booked up within a few weeks of going on sale, with people already booking on.

To book call Sportif on 01273 844919 or see www.sportif.travel

<ENDS>

The post PETER HART MAURITIUS CLINIC appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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18Mar/16Off

PETER HART – THE JOY OF CROSSING OVER

PETER HART - THE JOY OF CROSSING OVER

cross-over 01

PETER HART – THE JOY OF CROSSING OVER

The development and continual improvement of the freestyle wave board is surely one of windsurfing’s greatest success stories. Peter Hart tells you how to tweak technique and set-up to exploit the full range of possibilities.

Words  PETER HART  // Photos  WIGHTSHOTS/BARBARA CLOSE 

I  have an almost unnatural relationship with my 103 freestyle wave board. It has its own passport; lives in the spare bedroom and in the past 6 months I’ve probably seen more of it than my family. If I got points for the water-miles I’ve covered on it, I’d be able to fly around the world for nothing. I’ve just come back from Tarifa, where for 7 days the ‘levante’ blew between 15-30 knots – sometimes over a head high swell. Backed by 3 sails and 2 fins, I could handle every situation with the one board. I blasted; I rode waves; I did the odd trick (very odd in some cases). Yes a 103 is about 20 litres too bulky for 30 knots but it still offered so much more than pure in and out survival. When things get tricky, often the best board to sail is the one you know really well. A good freestyle wave covers so many bases that you get to sail it a lot and get to know it really well. You may have already surmised that I’m a bit of a fan. I can’t think of one reason why someone looking to experiment with styles, widen their general repertoire and become a more rounded windsurfer, wouldn’t have one. So, remaining as impartial as possible, over the next few pages I aim to clarify the concept and then explain how to make it perform in various areas. But first, to appease aging sceptics, let’s quickly turn the clock back.

‘Wave/slalom’ and ‘Chameleons’
Windsurfers of a certain vintage may wish a pox on the whole cross-over concept having been corrupted by early interpretations – ‘do everything’ boards which ‘did nothing’ very well.
In the 80’s and early 90’s design features were more polarised. Speed came from sharp, slab-sided rails and straight narrow outlines. Manoeuvrability came from soft edges, and heaps of rocker. Hence in that era, speedy boards carved only long precarious turns and wave boards were slow to plane and just … slow.

The new category, ‘wave/slalom’, therefore sounded oxymoronic. Shapers, who were asked to fashion this all-rounder, felt they’d been burdened with the impossible task of building the perfect partner for the sexually confused teenager. What they came up with was a hairy, beer swilling rugby type wearing scarlet lipstick and a tutu – i.e. something that failed to appeal to those on either side of the fence. It stunk of compromise.

Rigs were the issue. They were still quite ‘draggy’ producing a lot of sideways force that had to be resisted by long edges (260cm plus) and relatively big fins. The only way to make a board more manoeuvrable at speed was to make it smaller and thinner and load it with a smaller sail, which then demanded high winds. Hence the whole cross-over concept ran out of legs in boards much above 85ltrs. The deciding factor was, and still very much is, the fin. If you have to fit a big fin to resist the forces of the ‘grunty’ sail you need to get planing, the ‘wave’ bit of the ‘wave/slalom’ evaporates.
Cutting to the modern chase, the gradual development of ever more efficient rigs that produce less and less lateral drag, has allowed us to shorten the outlines. Losing 30-40 cm of edge brings huge benefits:
–  shorter boards turn better. There’s less resistance, less rail to trip over; they conform better to a curved wave and fit between chops.
– there’s less dead wood. The volume is more useable. It’s under your feet and in extra width, which means that smaller boards feel more stable and bigger boards are more controllable.
Today you don’t have to shape a board like a court jester’s slipper, with six inches of tail rocker, to make it turn. Manoeuvrability comes as much now from the blend of outline, rail profile, underwater shape AND the fact that more efficient rigs allow us to use smaller fins. So it is that the once distant qualities of speed and manoeuvrability are edging closer and closer together. Today’s boards are like cars. They all are fast. Some are faster than others determined mainly by the size of the engine.  Boards, purely in terms of shape and design, share more in common than ever. What makes them behave differently is the size and style of rig you use; where you stand; where you direct the power and the size and style of fin. We now have a board that allows you to really play with those alternatives. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the modern freestyle wave board.


EMBRACING THE INBOARD FEELING
Fsw’s offer inboard and outboard strap positions. It’s nice to have the option, but I believe going outboard is to miss a trick. The greatest transformation you can make to your sailing, if manoeuvres are on the agenda, is to learn to sail the board from the middle. To find comfort in a straight line, you have to stand taller and more inboard and drive the board, not the fin and rail. Not only are inboard straps easier to get into, but this upright stance nearer the centre line, with the front foot as the platform, is the best position from which to pop or drop up or downwind into carving moves.

//  Unless you stand tall and inboard using inboard straps, they will feel uncomfortable.  PHOTO by Hart Photography.

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//  The 103, 5.7 sail and 26 wave fin = manoeuvre heaven. The in-straps carving 360 is a good test to see how well the fsw is set up for moves. It’s hard if you’re over-finned, over-sailed and standing on the edge. It’s a move, which forces you to keep the board flat and carve off the front foot.  PHOTO Wightshots/Barbara Close.


Making the Choice – understanding the design.
Freestyle wave boards all lie somewhere on the freestyle to wave spectrum. Which you plump for depends which aspects of those two designs most appeal to you. Let’s describe simply what both are good at.

Freestyle Board. The thrust of modern freestyle is to do big aerial moves (often off flat water) at huge speed. To achieve that, the modern freestyler needs a board that planes fast and early with a small sail (the smaller the sail the easier the trick is to control), and that pops (jumps) easily. What we have, therefore, is a low-nosed ‘slabby’ railed board with hard release edges with a flat, slalom board rocker-line and a very thick tail, which pops easily out of the water.
What isn’t it good at? Not much cop at carving. The thick rails make it bounce and trip– and thanks to the tiny fin it’s not the board you’d choose for screaming around in chop. Its application is very specific – get it planing and then immediately do something very dangerous.
Wave Board. Jumping is important but most wave designs are about smooth rail to rail carving. The key is to be able to initiate turns suddenly and steeply (i.e. without bearing away) engaging all the edge to draw tight fast arc turns on the wave face without tripping or out-running it.
Hence a wave board looks like a surfboard with a curved outline and thin grippy rails. Small outboard fins have a dual purpose of driving you around turns and holding the rails in. It has exaggerated nose rocker to help you bottom out of steep drops and jumps, and varying degrees of tail rocker to add a bit of ‘pivot’ and ‘snap’ to the end of turns.
What isn’t it good at? Nose and tail rocker mean it pushes a bit of water so can be slower to plane and marginally slower when on the plane. It’s not the best upwind.

The Blend
So by blending the best of both you get a board, which planes early, is rapid, pops easily into jumps and carves hard fast turns. What is there not to like?
It’s easy to spot where boards lie on the spectrum. The most revealing indicators are the nose and tail. The lower the nose and the thicker the tail, the more oriented it is to speed, early planing and popping into ‘new skool’ freestyle. The thinner the rails and higher the nose, the more wave oriented it is. Choose a board for the conditions you get, not the ones you dream of getting, and then play to its strengths. But just a word about freestyle – it’s not all about mid air contortion. The style of tricks (I prefer to call it ‘classic’ rather than ‘old skool’) that most aspire to, such as duck gybes, up and downwind 360s etc, start with a fast, hard carve which is easier on a freestyle wave with a wave bias. And if you are interested in new skool, the ‘basic’ tricks such as Vulcans and Spocks, which involve a pop, a twist and a backwards slide, are arguably easier to learn on a freestyle wave than a dedicated freestyle board because its softer edges are less likely to catch.

THE FREESTYLE WAVE SAILING OPTIONS
Some are reluctant to go down the fsw route for fear of what it might say about them – i.e. they don’t know what they want. They’re not good or committed enough to sail a dedicated wave or freestyle board and so have plumped for a compromise. Tish and pish. Here are 3 good reasons to embrace a fsw.
1. There’s a clue in the title. It promotes a sailing style in its own right. Freestyle in the waves. It doesn’t have to be crazy stuff. In a spot like Jeri (Brazil) where the waves are small, the wind is windy and there are long flat patches between swells, fsws reign. Their early release and extra speed add another dimension to the session. On one run in you’ll do a full speed trick (old or new) on the flat. On the next you might tap into a wave – and on the way out no board is better at jumping. It’s a style of sea sailing where you’re getting your dynamism more from board speed than wave power.
2. A flat water wave board.  Wind is easier to find than waves. Wave boards are not so great on flat water especially if it’s gusty – they don’t have enough ‘glide.’ But using a fsw you have the extra speed to imitate wave moves, hard carving etc, but without the wave.
3. Inspires a change of style. It’s the perfect stepping stone from free-ride to wave. It’s a board which has free-ride/speedy qualities, but which encourages a lighter footed, more manoeuvre based set-up and stance.


It’s ALL in the FIN
The tuning range of a FSW is huge and it’s largely down to fin choice. The one supplied covers the most options but that is just the beginning. All the fins displayed work with this board and totally change the feel and how you sail it. It’s currently set up with the tri fin thruster arrangement for proper waves. The 26 is a single fin option for more speed in waves and general manoeuvres. The 30 works with most things but specifically for a bit of blasting and sails of 6 and above. And the 22 freestyle fin works with the 5.2 sail if you’re into a bit of new skool pop and sliding – but not much else.



//  Many horses for many courses. PHOTO Hart Photography.

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//  A bit of blasting. The 30 cm fin gives you a familiar free-ride feel. How much lift you get from the fin determines your stance and, upwind, whether you sail the board flat or windward edge down. PHOTO Wightshots/Barbara Close.


LIVING WITH THE 103
Fsw’s are many things to so many people depending on the size (of the person and board), sailing location and style. I am going to share my experiences of sailing and tuning my 103 for different occasions. They are not necessarily the views of the management – but it’s a start. I have chosen the big end of the fsw scale – 110 litres is about the chunkiest available – because they offer the widest possibilities. As you go under 90 litres, the need for control, usually in lumpy seas, mean they’re often almost indistinguishable from wave boards.  If you fear you’ll be spending half the day with a screwdriver constantly re-tweaking, let me reassure you that in every mode I use the inboard straps, a waist harness and 32” lines. All I’m changing is sail size, boom height and fin.

Scenario 1  – The FSW as a happy Blaster
We have 15-18 knots of wind. It’s bumpy/choppy. There’s open water and mates about who might want to spar. Although they’re committed speedsters, you may want to confound them by throwing in the odd gybe. If you’re from a blasting background, you need to recalibrate. For the same conditions on a free-ride board, you’d rig the 7.5 on a 120 with a 40cm fin. We need to introduce a different feel and will try to go as fast by lightening everything up, making better use of the power and sailing more efficiently off the toes.

The Fin
My 103 comes with a 30cm cross-over fin (straight in the middle, swept in the tip). The US style slotbox that accompanies SOME  fsw’s, won’t accommodate much bigger. (On test this month though, more boards house power boxes than US – 4PB v 3US). Although the blurb advocates a sail as big as 7 sq. m. for my 103, for that fin I feel a 6.5 is the best match. A wave/freestyle sail is best because the higher effort lifts you into a taller stance and unweights the board. A slalom design by contrast shoves the board down and relies on a big fin.

Setting UP
If you’re struggling to tell the difference between the wave boards and fsw’s, say in the rack of a hire centre, apart from the label on the flanks, the fsw reveals itself by offering inboard and outboard straps. This is a good thing. Outboard straps put your feet in the best position on the rails to drive the fin. You may want to use the board in a race.

If you’ve come from free-riding, even though the fsw outboard straps aren’t that outboard, the stance will feel familiar. But here comes the ‘but …’, I have actually never used the outboard straps on any of my fsw boards. If you’re looking to move towards wave sailing, or just improve your gybes, use the inboard settings from the get-go. It’s the biggest most significant change you will make to your style. Which holes you use for each strap depends on your height – but I go for the biggest spread (front straps forward, back straps back), which in turns gives you the greatest freedom to move and gets you used to the wider, more stable wave sailing stance. And here’s the biggest difference, open them up so your front toe reaches across the centre-line. From that position you can get into front foot carving – another major change.

Getting going. The whole thrust of manoeuvre based sailing is to be mobile between the feet and enter manoeuvres with speed, but NOT over-powered. In general that means you have to work a little to get going. Even though a 30cm offers reasonable resistance. It only starts to lift as you’re planing. You can’t hoof against it at slow speeds and hope for a reaction. Even on a big fsw with a 6.5, be of the mind set that it’s the rig, not fin power, that gets you planing. So basically unload the fin completely by bearing away much more than you might be used to.

Speed
For the 15-18 knots blasting session I’ll raise my boom up a bit, just above shoulder, to encourage a tall, toes-down stance. The 32” lines are long enough for me to hook in early and hold the rig upright as I move into the straps. It’s a complete delusion to think you have to be over-powered to go fast. Loads of power does give you performance on the extremes of up and downwind – but in the area where you’ll be doing most of your performing – within 10° of a beam reach – that extra power is just drag.

The speed stance

The speed stance, and windsurfing in general, is about reacting to different pressures. And above all, about feeling what’s going on in your hands and under your feet.
The advantage of this ‘less powered up’, manoeuvre based set-up, is you have more freedom to move, hips, feet, hands everything. So as you get going consider the following.
Stand tall. Having the feet inboard and deep in the straps feels strange and uncomfortable to start with – but only if you drop the hips and hang outboard, at which point the ankles bend uncomfortably. So stand taller, lift the hips, let the legs straighten, stand more over your feet, sail off your toes and get a feeling of driving the board rather than the rails.
Mobile feet. Just because the straps are inboard, it doesn’t mean your feet always have to be inboard. Nicely powered, you’re not threatened. You don’t need the straps to glue you to the board. If you feel the 30cm fin starting to lift the windward edge, react to that force by pulling the feet out of the straps an inch or two. Most of the time my feet are some way out of the inboard straps – and only deep in them for moves.

Upwind sailing always demands the cutest trim. Fsw’s have a flatter rocker and a hard release edge that bites. But it’s now, if you’re an ex free-rider, that you have to begin to unplug that back foot. If you’re really powered up, yes you can run a flat board and push the fin quite hard. But just comfortably planing, you may have to unweight the tail, move the hips further forward and sail more off the front foot. You’ll know if you’re pushing too hard – you just stall.
Speed. Going fast on a fsw is about giving to the power and letting it pull you along rather than hunkering down against it.

“ It would be harsh to say that big free-ride kit makes you lazy … but it does ”

Trying to overtake someone when you’re maxed on slalom kit, you lower your stance, tighten the core and actively drive harder against the fin and rails, veins bulging, tendons straining. But on a fsw, stand up, drop the toes and concentrate on running a flat board – and then play with the fore/aft trim to make that perfect connection. On a more wave oriented fsw with nose-kick, you want to get the nose up a little to stop it slamming into chop. A higher boom helps, as does less outhaul and a little more back foot pressure.


DAVE WHITE and fsw love.
Dave White, former world champ speedster, is famous for making all boards go fast. His favourite party trick on photoshoots is to overtake pro slalom’rs on his fsw and is in little doubt as to the design’s speed and endless versatility.  “If the mobile network hadn’t already taken the initials we’d be talking about EE’s as this category covers Everything Everywhere. If you want to be pedantic you could find a few conditions where a FSW might not fit the bill, though apart from 8.0m sails I’m struggling to think of a time where I couldn’t have opted for a FSW and had a good sail.  The key to this versatility is the fin or fins. At its extreme, I’ve watched Shaun Cook win a slalom round on a FSW using a 38cm f-hot slalom fin. At the other end of the scale, I wouldn’t travel without a 22cm wave fin. Does that mean they’re providing the wrong fin, definitely not. It’s just the one that covers the most bases. I’ll use the 22cm wave fin in my 106 when it’s all about riding, though I have another fin that fits between the two for my everyday south coast conditions.”

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//  Whitey tanking using a 28cm fin and ripping on the same 106 with a 22cm wave fin. PHOTO Shaun Cook

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SCENARIO 2 – Carving tricks and Moves.
17-24 knots of wind – flat water with the odd breaking ramp – this is fsw heaven.  The emphasis changes to fast, fun carving tacks and gybes, ducks, 360’s, floaty chop hops etc. I go for a 5.7 and a 26cm wave fin. Sail and board match each other perfectly. For those coming off bigger kit, the fin feels … small. As one guy said as he stepped on such a set-up for the first time, “has this fffff thing got a fin?” The wave fin is less a lift device and more a means to help control turns. At 26cm, it is still huge by a pro wave or freestyler’s standard, but unless it’s howling you don’t get the free-ride, speed sensation of the board releasing onto the fin. The board rides a bit lower, feels a bit stuck on the water. But that’s a positive for carving moves where you WANT the board to hold in.

The general tip is again to react to the forces. With even less coming under your back foot, you should naturally favour the front foot more and more, to the point where you even place the back foot forward of the strap. Look down and on most points of sailing you’ll see your harness hook above your front foot. You’re standing more centrally using the front foot as your platform. The big change now is that sailing upwind, your windward edge rather than the fin is your source of resistance. Push it in with the heel of the front foot.


THE FSW as a WAVE MACHINE
The bigger fsw’s (100 ltrs +) are generally designed towards speed and early planing but still work brilliantly in small waves, especially in bog and ride conditions when you have control of speed and power. You need to be sympathetic to its design and favour a ‘pivoty’ style to make sure the thick rails don’t get stuck in the face.

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//  Perfect size fun waves for a big fsw. Cutting back off the top is where thrusters can really help you maintain speed and control.
PHOTO  WIGHTSHOTS/BARBARA CLOSE


BLESSED BY A FSW Case Study 1:  Doug
Doug is a bit of an athlete. In-between sessions in Ireland, while I took the group on a SUP tour, he followed … swimming. He’s that sort of bloke. It’s an attitude that was mirrored in his sailing. He loved the physical challenge and therefore craved wind and big powerful kit; which was fine but not when it came to tackling waves and especially not when the wind was fluffy. The first step to ‘de-grunting’ him was to suggest a 103 fsw. But his first move, despite my suggestion, was to turn it into a free-ride board by loading it with a slalom 7.0 and having a 34cm fin specially made. It didn’t work that well. The big sail shoved it too deep. Since then he’s completely lightened up. In Kerry this year we reduced both fin and sail and he’s now using the fsw as nature intended – standing taller, sailing more and more on the toes, needing less and less power to achieve the same speed and above all, sailing and gybing more and more off the front foot.

//  Doug still a little too much on the back foot but in the process of being transformed by his 103 fsw. PHOTO Hart Photography.


BLESSED BY A FSW Case Study 2: Greg
Greg arrived on a wave course having learned his craft free-riding with huge kit on the lakes of his native Hungary. Short lines, seat harness, hunkered stance; he was the model of 90’s technique. He’s a very bright bloke (consultant cardiologist) and extremely fit and wiry. His approach was to buy a wave oriented 95 fsw with thrusters. We changed his basic set-up, longer lines, higher boom, waist harness to get him off the back foot. The rest came just from reacting to a new feeling. After a year, he’s now riding down the line with the best of them. “The fsw is fantastic,” he says, “it forces you to sail differently but at the same time isn’t so different and radical.”

//  Greg extended, relaxed and laying all the rail of his 95 fsw.
PHOTO Hart Photography.

//  Smart folk buy the board to suit where they live. Harvey, resident of Tarifa where wind is plentiful and waves are sporadic, favours a small fsw for its speed and versatility.
PHOTO Hart Photography.


Carving
The fsw introduces you to a wave board styIe of full rail carving. You become more aware of the mastfoot as a carving device responsible for controlling the front section of rail and the feet the back section. It helps now to lower the boom a couple of inches to just under shoulder, which allows you to drop on top of the boom and apply that mastfoot pressure as soon as you lean the rig into the turn. But the biggest change is to shove the front foot deep into its strap and initiate turns with the toes of the front foot. To do that you have to bend the ankle, which projects your whole body forward and puts you in a far better position to control the exit. A good exercise is to practise edge to edge carving across the wind. Leave both feet in the straps. Because the back strap is so far back, you have to favour the front foot or you stall out.

NEWER SKOOL
We’re in the glorious force 5 zone where pretty much every combo planes (under the right guidance). Looking to go more new skool, my alternative in the same wind is to go for a bagged out 5.2 and replace the 26 with a 22cm freestyle fin. This is a good intro. to the ‘big board, small rig’ style of sailing. Less power makes many tricks easier, especially upwind ones involving a sail transition – eg duck tacks, push tacks, upwind 360s. And the smaller fin makes the ‘pop and slide’ tricks more achievable. How to get into modern freestyle is a tome for another time.

SCENARIO 3 – Into the waves
Read Tris Best’s fine review of 105 fsw’s in this very issue and you will note that fsw is a pretty broad category –  they are all equal in the waves – but some are more equal than others. Much depends on the stable and the shaper – some have taken their wave designs and made them a bit straighter – others have taken their freestyle designs and made them a bit curvier.  With all of them, notably these big ones, you accept what they are and play to their strengths. It’s not a board you’re looking to tuck, Kauli style, into the pocket of 15ft pitching Punta Preta lip. For the expert it’s the best option on semi-planing days when the swell is lazy. Its extra speed creates dynamism out of dead situations. On days when you might have taken a SUP with a rig, you could take it up a notch with a floaty fsw. For the amateur, the advantages are more obvious. 90kg Yorkshireman Steve Mather, learning to love the waves, describes his love for his 103. “It gives me confidence to get out and survive the lulls – but what I most like is that it’s flattering. You can give the edge a bit of a misguided kick and it will keep going!” When it comes to turning on the face – well you keep pushing until something catches. In general it’s good to favour more of a back foot style – that’s pressure back not weight back – to stop the straighter edges catching in the face. The lower nose on some models means you have to be a little more cautious taking steep drops.

The Thruster Option
Design advances are gradual but fsw’s seem to have come on enormously in the last few years – notably their wave performance. Many now come with an option for thrusters (small side fins). I was a little suspicious when I saw these appearing in the bigger models, believing they may be a market-led addition. Thrusters pull the taiI into the water, which is just what you don’t want when you’re trying to get a big board to release in marginal winds. So they’re not really a flat water option – unless it’s howling.  Interestingly, as you will read in this issue’s fsw review, several brands (Fanatic, Goya, Quatro) provide thruster boxes, but only supply the board with a single fin and blanking plates for the thruster boxes. So the option is there but with reasoning that single fin is best for most. But they really do help on the wave face giving you the confidence to push a little harder without the rail skipping out – they also keep the board driving round and stop the board stalling during the cutback.

Conditions permitting, in the next issue Harty will be looking at ways to get into and improve your wave riding when it’s onshore (and probably cold). Spaces on his courses are few and far between these days so check out the schedule on his site www.peter-hart.com and book early!

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17Mar/16Off

PETER HART – AFFAIRS OF THE HART – LASTING IMPRESSIONS

PETER HART - AFFAIRS OF THE HART - LASTING IMPRESSIONS


PETER HART – AFFAIRS OF THE HART – LASTING IMPRESSIONS

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

“ I wager that many of you have fantasized gently about giving up the day job and becoming a full time professional windsurfing photographer. In the modern age of incredible digital cameras, how hard can it be? Surely thanks to their lightening shutter speeds, multiple frames per second and auto-everything, you just adhere to the monkeys-and-typewriters probability theory, keep your finger on the button, point it at the ocean and sooner or later you’ll luck out. You might. However, one decent shot in 10,000 won’t feed the family; and it certainly didn’t in the pre-digital age when every failed sequence cost you a tenner’s worth of Kodachrome 64. To shoot windsurfing successfully demands patience, tolerance, imagination, artistic flair, an intimate knowledge of the sport and, due to the fact that often the money shot can only be captured from the water on the stormiest days, extreme physical endurance.

It’s therefore not surprising that so many photographers who cut their teeth in windsurfing went on to excel in other fields of photo journalism. For example, Jon Nicolson went from capturing many of the early world cup speed events, to being the favoured snapper for Olympus and the Williams Formula 1 team. Andy Hooper, who produced numerous images for this very magazine in the early 90s, is now the chief sports photographer for the Daily Mail and has been UK sports photographer of the year no less than 5 times.

But the father of them all was Alistair Black, who recently passed away at aged 88. Not only did Alistair set the standard in terms of water photography but he also sired two famous windsurfing sons. Frazer was the first British export to Hawaii; while Ken, one of the world’s most durable and respected sailmakers, is Tushingham’s chief designer.

Alistair grew up in Campbeltown on Scotland’s west coast, where he developed his passion for the sea – and for flying. The airbase at Machrihanish (also a top windsurfing beach) was nearby. To some extent he lived his life in reverse. He started with a ‘proper’ job, trained as a dentist and served with the RAF before moving south and setting up a successful practice at Lee on Solent, where he was an active member of Stokes Bay sailing Club. Aged 40, he decided he’d had enough of staring into people’s mouths, and headed off to the London School of Art to study photography. He emerged technically informed and his life by the sea had given him a keen eye and intimate knowledge of all things wind-driven. But as he set out to make a living from marine photography, his major strength was his sense of adventure and his water confidence. While his peers contended themselves with taking chocolate box style pics of various boats from a safe distance in the comfort of a heated launch, Alistair, wet-suited up and early waterproof Nikons in hand, got properly stuck in. Ken takes up the story. “I was often his boat driver. He’d want me to get really close to the big yachts and sometimes he’d make me manoeuvre right in between the spinnaker and the hull. It was very precarious because those early racing boats were right on the edge and forever broaching. But the crews loved it and the pictures encapsulated the action like never before.”

It was of course at this time in the early 80’s that the sport of windsurfing went nuts. His son Fraser was quite a talent and was invited by Ken Winner to work at his school in Florida. It was there he was offered a place on the prestigious Mistral team and was flown over to Oahu to compete in the 1982 Pan Am Cup – the first proper, high wind, professional event.

Everyone needs a break and Alistair’s was to shoot that regatta. Conditions were extraordinary. This was windsurfing at a completely different level. Alistair’s shots of the long distance race, sailors planing on their 4m Pan Am cruisers in the massive swells off Birdshit Island as waves thundered onto the rocks, live long in the memory. Fraser was far too laid back to take the fledgling pro circuit seriously. Having made it to Hawaii, he stopped right there (and is still there 35 years later). But he was a great promotional sailor and gave Alistair an obvious excuse to make many trips to Oahu. ‘The wetter the better’ was his motto and he took residence over Diamond Head’s infamous reef.

His work soon transcended the world of windsurfing. He was twice crowned Sports Photographer of the Year and his image ‘Jump for Joy’ (a fabulously composed arty jump shot) was sports photograph of the year in 1984. His talent came to the notice of Nikon, who staged exhibitions for him in London and used many of his images in their advertising.

He had an obvious connection with windsurfing but also continued to shine in the rarified world of big boats, doing shots for Ted Heath and round-the-world legend Peter Blake.

The first time I worked with Alistair was testing ‘funboards’ in the Solent on a drizzly March morning. He had just returned from an assignment in his favourite spot, the Rangiroa atoll in French Polynesia. But despite the dramatic change of circumstances, he was as enthusiastic as a boy who had just been given his first Box Brownie. Ideas and enthusiasm flowed and you were always swept along by his passion for what he was doing. After another 20 years in a wetsuit, he retired and moved to the Isle of Wight. ‘Retire’ gives a totally false impression as he remained active and swam and played tennis right up to the last.

PH Peter Hart 4th Nov 2015

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