Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smart Blog Readers, Limiting Factors

Those who predicted how my windsurf repairs would hold up got it right.

The boom didn't break my first time out (lame, non-planing session on Saturday), nor did it break the second time out (nice planing session today). It remains to be seen if it will break when I sail in more wind or with a bigger sail, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

The trimmed-down board felt slightly different, but not drastically better or worse than before. The narrowed tail is a bit sinkier when I'm schlogging, but it's still pretty darn wide, and my planing threshold hasn't changed noticeably. I could be imagining it, but I think railing the board to leeward has become a little easier, which is one of the things I was hoping for. The board also seems to jibe with less foot pressure and might be a bit smoother upwind through chop. Upwind angle seems similar to before the change- great by typical shortboard standards, but not great by formula board standards. I think that has more to do with the stiff old fin than with the board. When I'm well-powered upwind is respectable, but I'm usually not well powered, so I might be better served by a softer, "liftier" fin.

Toward the end of today's formula session the wind-chop had built to a large enough size that I thought it would be fun to ride my Exocet Windsup 11'8". So I rigged a 6.8 sail and went out on that. There's a point at the North end of Bonita Beach where broad shallows groom the chop into rideable (albeit puny) waves. I had fun out there, but there's only so much you can do on a crumbly, knee-high wave, which brings me to the second point of this post:

There are three possible limiting factors to windsurfing or paddleboarding performance:

1. The rider.
2. The equipment.
3. The conditions.

Sometimes we give too much or not enough credit to particular factors. For example, we might think a lousy board was awesome because we used it on an awesome day in an awesome place. Or we might think a great board was lousy because we didn't have the right skills or conditions to use it properly.

When it comes to waves, the right conditions are especially important. No matter how good your equipment is, you can't ride a wave unless you have a wave. This also works in reverse: If you're a good rider with good waves you can shred with almost any equipment... and indeed the equipment may not actually matter as much as people (myself included) tend to think it does. Case in point: Jeff from New York, who is profiled on the Peconic Puffin windsurfing blog. Jeff has been looking awesome paddleboarding waves on a Starboard "GO"; a windsurfing board that was never intended for waveriding. He's doing awesome because he's a good rider, and he has smooth, sizeable waves to ride.

Meanwhile, here in SW Florida I obsess about the nuances of my waveriding gear, which is ironic because I almost never expose the gear to waves over knee high.

The author trying his highfaluting board on a lowfaluting wave last winter.
 photo smallwavesup_zpsc776d6d7.jpg

1 comment:

Lady Notorious said...

The picture is hilarious :) I think that was even a "good" wave day at Wiggins.