Monday, April 4, 2011

Windsurfing Mag Board Test Wrap-Up

From left: Me, Josh Angulo, Andy McKinney, Josh Sampiero

Wow, it sure was an incredible week at the Windsurfing Mag board test house in Avon, NC. My hands are as calloused as hooves, and muscles I didn't even know I had are sore from promiscuous use of so many boards and sails. Some of my favorite memories are:

1. Giving someone's significant other her first-ever windsurf lesson, in cloudy 48 degree weather, and watching her get the hang of it and sail off on her own just a few minutes later.

2. Having the wavesailing champion of the universe, Josh Angulo, rig my sail and hook it up for me. (And remind me, as I giddily ran towards the water, that I had forgotten my harness.)

3. Hearing the chatter of an overtaking board and John Ingebritsen shouting "Yeah Baby!" as he blew past me for about the twelfth time.

4. Finding the board and sail combination that actually let me keep up with Ingebritsen for a while during the big group photoshoot. (Exocet RS5 115 and 6.5 Ezzy Freeride way beyond powered.)

5. Watching beefy editor Josh Sampiero plane on 4.2 and 3.7 sails in a nuking squall on the 110 liter Angulo CV1... while petite Anne McKinney of "Wind NC" was still able to hang on to her 4.2 and ride a 69 liter Tabou DaCurve.

6. Hating a board on my first ride, then changing the footstrap positions and loving it.

7. Watching four friends from Newfoundland raise righteous hell on the water- both in the Pamlico Sound and in the hot tub. Mainly the hot tub.

8. Seeing one range of boards (the Tabou Rockets) praised by all but a few discriminating testers, while a certain board in another range garnered nearly unanimous derision.

9. Being one of few who planed on the really light wind days. (Thank you JP Super Lightwind and Starboard UltraSonic 147, and thank you formula windsurfing for teaching me how to pump.)

10. My Virginia buddy Chad Perkins winning the board toss. W.E.T. power!

11. The awesome big dinners cooked by Sue from Buffalo, the awesome alcoholic hot chocolate drinks prepared by Maddy from Florida, and the awesome sweets made by Anne and others.

12. Having two big catapults when my fin hit a sandbar- but catching both on my helmet camera.

I'm going to try to embed my day 3 through 7 videos below.

Day 3: 8-14 mph Northeast. Rode the JP Super Lightwind in the morning (on video), and the Starboard UltraSonic 147 in the afternoon (not on video).

Day 4: 10-24 mph Northeast shifting East. Rode the Starboard Carve 111, JP All Ride 106, Angulo CV1 110, Goya FXR 116, and Tabou Rocket 125.

Day 5: 10-18 mph North in the morning, fizzled later. The only board I rode was the Starboard iSonic 117 with an 8.1 Gun Sails Future.

Day 6: 15-25 mph West. In the morning I rode the Angulo Magnum 112, RRD Firemove 110, Naish Gran Prix 128, Angulo Kihei 155, Starboard iSonic 117, F2 Xantos 140, Tabou Rocket 145, and Naish Nitrix 155. For the mid-afternoon photoshoot I rode the Exocet RS5 115, but didn't film it because I didn't want to be wearing my dorky camera in the pictures. You'll just have to trust me that it was awesome. Late in the day when the wind really cranked I nabbed a 5.0 and rode the JP All Ride 106 and the Naish Nitrix 105.

Day 7: 20-30+ mph West. Rode the JP All Ride 106 and the Naish Nitrix 105, with a smaller fin than the stock fin on the latter. Sail sizes were 5.5 way overpowered and 4.2 just right.


Kyle said...

Sure was a pleasure to meet you James. Hope we can sail again one day!

Johnny Douglass said...

Looks like a ton of fun. I especially like your choice of more elder-friendly music for the videos, particularly the Sunny Side of Life.

Brian said...

So which board was your fav? Can you say? Pretty cool that you met Josh Angulo. Did he sail too or just handle the gear?

James Douglass said...

Kyle- It was great meeting you, too, man! I need to learn some of those freestyle moves that you've got.

Dad- It WAS a ton of fun. Maybe next year they will do a test of elder-friendly boards and you can join in.

Brian- I had a couple favorites, and Josh Sampiero didn't say we couldn't say, so I'll go ahead and say. For light wind I liked the Starboard UltraSonic 147, which seemed like a well-tuned blend of slalom and formula boards that had the best qualities of each. In medium wind the Exocet RS5, Angulo Magnum 112, Naish Gran Prix 128, and Starboard iSonic 117 Wide were all very sporty and exciting slalom boards so it was tough to pick the best. But I would lean towards the Exocet for being as fast as anything while also being simple, easy, and compact. In strong wind I thought the Tabou Rocket 105 was very fast yet "secure" feeling, the Angulo CV1 110 was playful, the Naish Nitrix 105 was intense, and the JP All Ride 106 was sporty but not extreme in any aspect. Josh Angulo didn't sail because he didn't have a warm wetsuit.

Morley said...

Thanks James, it was your test videos showing you having fun still with those big boards and tiny sails that convinced me last weekend that hanging on to my RRD 115 and 5.0 was reasonable, until the holes between the 20-25 knots filled in and I switched to my Evo 80.

tbuckee said...

I went to the Windsurfing Mag website and looked at the 2011 board tests. I didn't see the "unanimous derision" board. Which one was that?

James Douglass said...

tbuckee- Naish Nitrix 155. Unless someone in the second week of testing liked it.

antonis torvas said...

Hi Just a short question
i am ready to buy an RS5. Do u think will fit with my Ezzy Cheetah 6.5 in light medium winds?
Thanks in advance

James Douglass said...

Hi Antonis- 6.5 is a perfect sail size for the RS5. Whether or not it will work well in "light to medium winds" depends on your definition of light to medium winds. For me at 75 kg a 6.5 felt good on the RS5 in 15-20 knots.