Friday, June 4, 2010

Gebi's "Freeride Raceboard From Hell"

I am a gearhead about windsurfing and kiting, no doubt. I always want to have the right gear to squeeze the maximum amount of joy out of whatever conditions nature provides. Summer in Florida you have to squeeze pretty hard, because the conditions nature provides suck. You're lucky if there's a couple times a week that the wind cracks 10 knots, and truly blessed if it happens during a gap in the thunderstorms and your work schedule. Oh well.

Last summer, formula windsurfing gear was my solution for getting a planing fix in 9-12 knots, and I kited on the great days that it blew 12-15. This year I'm going to try to reverse that; kiting in 9-12 knots and slalom windsurfing in 12-15 knots. Part of the plan is a 14 meters squared kite I bought a few months ago, and the other part is a custom directional kiteboard designed to perform exceptionally well in light winds. It was originally built by and for Olympic windsurfing medalist Mike Gebhardt. He sold me on it by describing it as "Da Freeride Raceboard From Hell". It has a wide shape and quad-fin setup similar to a course-racing kiteboard (the equivalent of a formula board in windsurfing), but with a stronger layup and tail and rail shapes more suitable for jumping and carving. Check it out in these pictures. For size comparison, the top board is my small waveboard for windsurfing.



It has been nothing but thunderstorms and fickle wind for the last few days here, but I'm hoping to get the thing on the water some time this weekend so I can do a full report.

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