Saturday, July 19, 2014

The verdict is here

Insane day at well City today! Zane and I spent all day testing different quivers, and the verdict is finally here (at least regarding the boards). We had a Goya Custom wave quad 78, a 2013 Goya One mono 72, and an Exocet 86 L Wave. For sails we had Goya Eclipse (5 batten), Banzai (4 batten power wave), and Ezzy Elite (4 batten). We rigged 3.4s for the Goyas, and 3.7 for the Elite, the wind was super gusty and there was a decent swell.
I was excited to finally get on the Quad, so I jumped on it first. That was a struggle. The board grips to the swell incredibly, you feel every bump, every chop. I now get why wave riders love these things. I's not like you can't jump the thing, but when riding, the board stays on the swell at all times. I wasn't feeling the love, but I still gave it a good shot. Then I jumped on the Goya One 72, and all of the sudden the river, the skies, the mountains, all my surroundings lit up. I could see everything, hear everything... In a stupor of joy, I heard the board's voice, and she said: you don't have to ride a quad if you don't like it, now let's grab that piece of chop in front of you and shred it into pieces... Seriously that's what happened.
When I came to shore (maybe an hour or two later), Zane was waiting and he knew I had seen something out there... I swapped the Eclipse for the Banzai to give the 4 batten sail a shot, but didn't love it. The sail is too on/off, whereas the Ezzys carry you through lulls with grace and bravado.
So in conclusion: I'm a monofin/thruster kinda guy, and I embrace my nature. Regarding the sails, I need to do some more testing, but again, the Ezzys will be hard to beat.
So what did I like about the One 72? The board TALKED to me bro!

Zane coming in after executing a perfect forward 20 yards from shore

Goya Custom Quad/Goya Banzai 3.4

Goya One mono 72/Goya Eclipse 3.4... This is the RIG!

Dude shredding...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

That's what she said

Just came back from the Event Site... What was that??? Nobody called this one. Temira (Gorge forecaster extraordinaire) called low teens, so I was just about to go on a bike ride when I got an email from Greg, who was at Hood River, saying there white caps all over... Checked iWindsurf, 19 at Swell City, so dropped the bike, packed my stuff and off I went. It turned out to be a solid 5.2 session, completely powered up from 5 to 7. The river swell was maybe hip high so nothing nuclear but nice ramps.
I guess the Gorge is as hard to predict as any other place!

Heading back home... I wasn't expecting to ride this weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No testing today, just blasting

Sweet session yesterday! Mid to upper teens, sunny, warm, great. I rode upwind (down current) from Hood River to approximately half way to Swell City, and found perfect blasting conditions. Spent all afternoon BAFing like a maniac, in the middle of what seems to be kite territory (those guys knew where the wind was because they were all there!). Regardless, there was plenty of space for us all. The swell was decent, but granted this was 6.5 conditions, this spot is supposed to go off when it's 4.7. The river exploration continues...

Gear notes: talked to one of the Windance dudes, those guys have sold all brands of sails over the years, and he's pretty stoked about the Ezzy Elite, so I guess that'll be the next sail I test out.

I was by the island East of Hood River

Friday, July 4, 2014

Gorge gear review, part 1

I just came back from my first Gorge session since the move. I've been trying to get some intel about what gear to get for the conditions here, and I was able to narrow the sail and volume range to 3ish-5ish, and 70is to 80ish. Now that's rather broad, so let the testing begin.
First stop: old friend David Ezzy (actually he has no idea of who I am) and his Tigers, paired with an 85 L / 25 cm fin Mistral Joker (what? is Mistral making new boards? Turns out they are). Got to the Event Site by 10 or so, assessed the wind an determined that it was solid 5.5. Rigged, launched, and got my ass handed to me 200 yards from shore... Got back, rigged a 4.7, and that was the ticket.
So how do the Tigers handle in Gorge conditions? First of all, I do not believe in reviews, I think you could copy the description of a 1970 F2 Lightning and paste it on a 2014 Quattro Shpere thruster and people would not notice. They all say the same thing! Tight turns, supersonic acceleration, no top end speed, will put you in orbit... You get the point. So you have to go and try shit if you can, and if not, just buy stuff and adapt to your gear. AYWAY, the Tiger has the trade mark Ezzy feeling, grunt, power, stability, no fuss and no muss. I know that feeling oh so well, I've been riding Ezzys for 6 years. When well rigged the sail feels like a feather, seriously, weightless in your hands. It actually depowers pretty well for an Ezzy, and in the air it feels super stable. So, verdict: more of the same awesomeness, worth considering them.
The Joker 85: I don't know about this board. It didn't have the crisp turning that an 85 L board should have. It does accelerate pretty well, and it jibes nicely, but it did not blow my mind. Sorry Mistral, it's not you, it's me. I may not be good enough to unleash the power of the Joker.

So all and all it was a pretty awesome session. By the end of the day I could not move my arms. I need to start working out.

So what's next? I need to compare this rig with others, and try a lower volume board (78 L or so). The Joker felt a little bouncy in the gusts, so I may need something smaller. In the end is a matter of what do you like the least: slogging in the lulls, or bouncing in the gusts.

OK, more to come soon.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Windfest

We all know the wind hates me, but it hates Windfest more. For three years the Hood River event has run on 0 wind days. It is still lots of fun, a full weekend of demos, clinics, and beer. I thought this year was going to be no exception as I pulled over to the Event Site parking lot. I hung out, learned a few freestyle tricks, introduced myself to Bruce Peterson (great guy btw), and drank some Full Sail lager. I called it quits at 4 on Saturday, and as I was getting on I-84, I saw the trees moving. All of a sudden the river was full of whitecaps, I could see them from my rear view mirror. So I stand corrected, the wind hates me more than it hates Windfest.
All these people hit the water right after I left

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Good bye Seattle!

I can't believe that another year has gone by! I moved to Seattle in July of 2013, and now it's time for me to say good bye. I'm heading to Portland in one week, and hopefully this will be my final destination after years of travel. For the past 10 years I've lived on the East, the Midwest, and now the West coast, and everywhere I go I seem to have the ability to find a bunch of nuts who are hooked up on windsurfing. No matter the conditions, or the weather, there is always a somebody who likes to sheet in, and I somehow find him. I hate to say good bye to good friends, so hopefully I'll be seeing these guys when they go down to the Gorge, as they usually do. So I guess I'll see you there folks!
Wednesday City League at Des Moines. A bunch of old race boards, friends, and wind. Perfect. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Goya One 105 liters

Andrew (aka Waveseeker) just finished testing his new ride, a Goya One 105, let's hear what he has to say:

The 2014 Goya One 105 L arrived last month to replace a cracked 2009 RRD FSW LTD 105 L. I’ve been riding that, and an identical 90 L RRD board for the last three seasons. How does the Goya compare? Well, actually, it might replace both of them.
I’m 5’11”, 160 pounds and I windsurf almost exclusively on Lake Michigan and only when it’s blowing 18 knots or more. I managed about 40 sessions between my two RRD boards in 2013. (See Windsurfing Movie 12 - Year in Review) Our conditions max out at sustained winds of about 35 knots, with gusts into the low 40s. But, two-thirds of the time we get 5.4 to 6.2 weather.
The Goya is a more competent wave board than the 105 L RRD. It has a more pronounced tail rocker, the forward-most foot strap position is 10 cm closer to the mast track, the overall length is more than 10 cm shorter AND it can be set up as a thruster. All of this makes it crazy maneuverable and an amazingly fun board to ride. The double concave V bottom smooths out the ride over chop, cushions landings and provides greater structural integrity over RRD’s flat bottom design. Despite the wave bias, the board still planes as early as, if not sooner than, the 105 L RRD because of extra width and volume in the tail. About the only disadvantage of this rearward volume redistribution is the tendency for the nose to submarine if you don’t pay attention. You could say the Goya is "less forgiving," but more experience with the board makes you appreciate the trade off.
Thrusters have shorter center fins than the single fin on regular boards. If I rig a 6.2 Naish Boxer, I’ll ride the Goya with a 27 cm center fin and two 10 cm side bites. I would have to use a 34 cm fin with this sail on the 105 L RRD. Shorter fins are great for shallow launches with heavy shore break. You jump on the board and go instead of walking your gear to deeper water while getting pounded by the break.
The Goya might replace the 90 L RRD as well. The Goya is definitely fun. You can stomp on the rail and turn it on a dime. I’m not sure why it should be more maneuverable than the 90 L RRD—the Goya is carrying around an additional 15 liters of volume after all, but I’m guessing it’s not any single thing. There is the tail rocker, the forward foot strap position, the thruster fin set, and the overall compact length (3 cm shorter than the 90 L RRD). Whatever it is, it works. Earlier this week we had our semiannual 30-knot day on the Big Lake. Sustained wind was 33, +/- 5 knots with a peak recorded gust during the sesh of 43 knots. Although I would normally ride the 90 L in these conditions, I wanted to test the Goya. It did Francisco proud. I used a MauiSails 4.0 Global with a lot of downhaul and a 22 cm center fin in thruster mode. The board remained very composed on the water and in the air. So much so that if I didn’t already own the 90 L RRD, I’m not sure I would buy one. The 4.0 accounts for less than ten percent of our sessions. If the Goya can do the job reasonably well when it’s really cranking, there’s no need for a second board. Before passing final judgment, I’d like to test both head-to-head. But, I hope the Goya does well. Having just one board saves space in the car and makes it easy deciding which one to bring to the launch. Simplify : )

It looks like we have a new favorite!