Friday, February 21, 2014

It PLANES! (The modified windsurf - sup)

Last weekend we had some decent onshore wind in the 15-20 mph range. It would have been good conditions for my 6.8 sail and shortboard, but that sail is currently out of commission. So I had to choose between being jacked on an 8.0 or underpowered on a 5.5. I chose the 5.5 and paired it with my modified 10'4" Angulo Surfa windsup, thinking that combo might help turn the moderate wind and choppy water into something interesting. It ended up being a great session. Here are my observations, followed by a video.

Observation 1: Launching a windsup with no footstraps to grab onto is horribly awkward. I've decided to put a pair of front footstraps on the board to serve as handles, regardless of whether or not they're necessary when sailing.

Update- I did put footstraps on it- just the two front ones, and they work well.
 photo 0304141817_zps101d2cf1.jpg

Observation 2: The board planes! At first I could only plane on the way in to shore, with a little boost from a wave or swell. As the wind built I was able to plane on the way out, as well. Pumping helped with initiating planing, and the overall feel of the board as it got planing was like a really big waveboard. The board goes upwind well when planing and doesn't need to be tilted to windward to do so.

Observation 3: The fins I used (23 cm Drake wave fin and 21 cm Angulo sup fin) seemed like a pretty good match for the 5.5 sail and the conditions. There may be better sizes and types of fin for different conditions, but I'll try to figure that out later.

Observation 4: The board turns fine, and seems to have a more "drivey" type of turning than the "pivoty" type of turning it had before the modification. I didn't do any good jibes because I was timid in my attempts, but I think with practice I'll be able to jibe it nicely.

WindSUP Angulo 2-15-14 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cold Front Windsurfing: Day of and Day After

"Cold front" is kind of a misleading term here in Southwest Florida, since it never gets particularly cold. What it does get is nice and breezy, and, importantly, the breeze comes out of the Northwest so we get onshore wind and sizeable waves. Thursday afternoon was a classic NW wind day at Wiggins Pass, with enough push to get me going on a 4.5 sail and 83 liter board.

Wiggins 2-13-14 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

While the wind itself is exciting, sometimes the day after the cold front is even better. The wind calms down and shifts offshore, eliminating the chaotic chop, but residual swells continue to roll in, making for ideal SUP surfing or light-wind wavesailing. Friday morning delivered those conditions, and brought up to eight SUP surfers at once to Wiggins! I joined them, using my modified Angulo SUP. At first I tried with a sail, but in faltering single-digit winds I just didn't have the power to catch many waves. This was compounded by the fact that I was using my 5.5 sail, since the head strap blew out on my 6.8.

Anybody want a free 6.8 Aerotech Phantom with a needs-replacing head strap?  photo 83f23904-f50d-483f-8d2b-a690c32f586e_zps7a84cc0f.jpg

Paddle power was definitely the call, and I got to catch tons of nice waves and really get the feel for the modified board. I'm happy to report that it does most everything as well as before the step-tail twin-fin addition, and it does some things a little better for my purposes. What it does a little better is cut down the line of the wave, which gives me more speed and more ability to follow the about-to-break part of the wave as it peels to the side. The step tail does release from the water when the board gets going, which probably reduces drag and explains the better speed.

SUP WindSUP 2-14-14 from James Douglass on Vimeo.