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Topic: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

At the risk of grossly oversimplifying and upsetting the board shapers, it seems to me that there is a basic compromise. Wider thicker tails make is easier to learn and glide through the lulls and pointier thinner tails are slashier and precise on setting the rail on the bottom turn and carve like being on rails. The flip side is that the wide thick tails are hard to set a rail and mushier carving, and the narrow thin tails are totally unforgiving in lulls and with sloppy technique. Pros can work at the extreme end of the compromise while beginners and more average sailors benefit from some help from floatation. It seems to me that you cannot have your cake and eat it too, so we have to choose where on this continuum we want to be. This is where I think that the big name marketing hype does a real disservice to helping most sailors progress in this sport.

I base my theory on my following experience. I found the Starboard Fish the best beginner wave board ever made. With its’ wide floaty tail I had the time to learn how to work a wave before I sunk on a lull or due to my lack of skill, I was too slow. It also was ideal on a lake to practice the initiation of the bottom turns on wind chop. Joanna used it as a transition to short sinker boards. But as I progressed the tail was too wide to easily set the rail on the bottom turn and I appreciated moving to the Evo. More recently I love the sharp precise feel of my SOS R92, but I am in and out of the footstraps more often in the lulls than even my smaller E80 and it does not forgive any errors on my jibes. However in the waves it is plain gorgeous and the compromise becomes a small price to pay considering my progression as a better wave sailor.

Therefore at my skill level it seems that I would benefit from a slashier board at volumes above my 85kg body weight as there is not too much of a compromise with enough flotation to get me through the lulls with a bit of work, whereas with my smaller boards I might be better off to give me a fighting chance to get home if the wind dies.

I am looking for a replacement for my Aero 117 with a slashier SOS type board for my 8.0 and 9.0. (As much as it was a great board in it’s time as the initiation to get me on the big wave gear.)

I was also thinking of replacing my Evos with the SOS RF68 and RF82, but I am having second thoughts. I just might be better off in the real world for my 85 kg with wider tails in these smaller boards.

I would appreciate general comments on my theory so that I can then apply the theory to make my best possible choices. As well I would appreciate Jeroen’s, Robin’s and others comments on specific recommendations for my situation.

Mahalo,

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Well appriciated post Dolf. I'm very interested in this quest and curious what you will come up with next.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Apart from the SOS boards I have found the Mistral Syncro Fish 83 to be the best turning "wide tailed" board I have used. It rips Kanaha to shreds, but I have not had it up at Ho'okipa, but I guess that is irrelevant in these curcumstances.
I would say rail shape is one of the most important aspects of board design. Thick railed boards will not turn easily no matter what the rocker or outline!

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Tom,

I'm not ready to give up on this theory just yet. I was generalizing with the full knowledge that there are many factors, some more important than others. Would it not be a fair statement that a very significant factor in the manoeuvrability of the board vs. the flotation through the lulls is the tail width and thickness?

Let me rephrase my original question. Are there some generalizations that would help me understand the compromises and narrow my search for my ideal boards or is this way to simplistic a question? Ok maybe not a precise formula that I could crunch in my computer, but some ideas?

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Here's my 2 cents, which you're not going to like because it's not the formula you're looking for.

It's not only the tail, it's the whole shape.
IMO only shapers (and not even all of them!) can guess how a board works just by looking at it.
The ONLY way of understanding if you like a board is to try it. Period.
Forget about other people opinions, including magazines tests and forums. We're all different.
Make a rule of buying a board only after you successfully tried it.

Oh, by the way, I tried a 2006 Evo 74 for an hour last week and I loved it! smile

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Dolf wrote:

Tom,

I'm not ready to give up on this theory just yet. I was generalizing with the full knowledge that there are many factors, some more important than others. Would it not be a fair statement that a very significant factor in the manoeuvrability of the board vs. the flotation through the lulls is the tail width and thickness?

Let me rephrase my original question. Are there some generalizations that would help me understand the compromises and narrow my search for my ideal boards or is this way to simplistic a question? Ok maybe not a precise formula that I could crunch in my computer, but some ideas?

Like Cammar,  don't think there are any simple generalizations and but unlike Cammar I think that you sometimes have to combine test rides with "beliefs". The reason is that it is perfectly possible that a board you test will not feel perfect at once, but will still be a board that you can grow on (or it can grow on you) in the future. So, therefor I think Dolfs quest for guidelines is still relevant, but I think the road to success will more go over understanding different aspects of how a board ride than different aspects of the shape. I other words, what is it REALLY that you want from our board and where can you compromise?

Some examples:

1. Soft vs Hard: Soft will be good for many non-experts since it helps in chop and smoothes out the ride, but at the same time many non-experts like a harder and more direct feel since it helps them feel what they are doing (or what the board is doing) in a better way. Even among pros this is a mater of taste

2. Back foot turning: Even very similar looking boards can behave very differently when you try to turn them over the back foot. Also some narrow tailed boards can be very stiff in the tail and some wide tailed ones can be whipped around very easily over the tail. Some boards keep behaving in a good way when sailed a bit back footed also in faster, bigger waves while other will demand a more dedicated front footed style when riding speeds get faster. Hence, it is very important to understand how you are turning and also how you adapt your style to different wave sizes. For example, the EVOs are very forgiving towards different sailing styles in smaller and slower waves but when riding speeds get higher they start to demand a more and more dedicated (front foot) technique. And if you want to continue to charge hard in bigger waves, your technique has to be very solid, pinning the board down with mast foot pressure ala McKercher.

3. Planing and upwind: Not the biggest problem on Maui compared to fx where I usually sail, but still not irrelevant. Simplified: you have fast or turny rockers and more or less width. Wide and fast will generally always be easier, but comparing slow and wide with fast and narrow get complicated. Most people tend to feel more effective on a fast and narrow shape wrt planing and upwind, but your comments regarding the (slow 04/05) EVO 80 shows that in some circumstances (like when "waiting" on a wave and in slower wave riding) the wide plan form can be a real help.

4. Speedrange and turning: This is related both to 2 and 3. There are several ways to make  board handle turning at high speed and several other ways to make it handle turning at lower speeds and then you also want good speed, upwind, planing etc. This means there are many, many compromises to be made. Fx, you can make a relatively wide and fast rockered board turn reasonably well at slowe speeds by having lots and lots of outline curveature. This is for example how your Aero works. The problem with this design is that when wave riding speds get faster, you have both the width and tail width, the outline curve and the fast rocker working against you. The end result is a limited speed range in the wave riding. If you compare with an EVO, there is a fair bit of width, but there is actually also a rather straight outline curve which works together with lots of rocker. Width helps you keep speed i slower waves, the rocker helps you turn, but the straighter outline also makes it possible to pin the board down at much higher speeds which s what gives the EVOs a much bigger speed range on a wave. BTW, you can see some of the "Aero thinking" also on the much more radical Pure Acid 74. This is much, much smaller board and hence oriented towards much faster riding. Rocker, rails, v layout are all optimized for fast riding, but this is compensated with a rather curvy outline which extends the performance of the boards towards slower riding while only taking very, very little away from the fast riding performance. Compared to the EVO, the is pretty much the opposite way of getting at a bigger speed range and this shows up in the characters of the two boards.

5. Where do you need help? This is the most important point in my opinion. For most wave sailors, the crucial point in wave riding is when exiting the bottom turn and going into the top turn. This part both involves a lot of body english, lots of sail handling and lots of board handling and then you need to coordinate all this with what the wave is doing. A "pocket style" board like the EVO (or SOS RF for that matter) will help a lot by practically turning by itself i this part of the turn (due to a lot of rocker). A faster tailed board will require much more precision and power when you want it to go vertical. I often see rather competent sailors failing getting that "flair" in the top turns because they mess up in the transition. So, while the often more narrow and direct fast tail boards have a very good hold in the turns and make both entering and holding the bottom turn carve easy as well as provide a good and easy top turn, they make the hardest part of the wave riding harder. Conversely, a board like the EVO may requires more "user competence" in some circumstances, but they unquestionably are super loose and easy in the transisional part. To complicate this further, the "easer" the conditions are, the loss problematic the transitional part of the top turn-bottom turn gets. In side/side off and in a wave size you are perfectly comfortable with, this is much, much less of a problem. So, if you have no problems to get the vert you want in your turns you are likely to be better of by optimizing some other aspect of the boards performance.

As an example of that these things are not so easy, I personally like sailing both EVOs and Acids at Kanaha and I don't have to adjust my style much when going between them. But at Hookipa, where an Acid would be better if you follow common logic, I have much more problems adapting to the Acid style. The reason is that I'm closer to my limits at Hookipa and hence being on a board style that suits my own sailing style gets more critical. Same thing happens at home in Sweden. The good days (sideshore) I can sail any one of my boards rather well but in really shitty cross on conditions I perform significantly better on my EVOs. The reason is again that since sailing good in bad stuff is hard, I'm closer to my limits when its bad.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Ola, I think you are right on there & similar things could be said for gorge type conditions, example is my Acid 70 2004 vs my HiFly Twinzer 76. Everything about the Acid said control to my mind: narrow, thin railed, though seems to have a faster rocker. That said, comparison between my HiFly76 & Acid blew me away, I could not believe how much more controlled I felt on the shorter, wider,  thicker Twinzer board. There are so many factors at play it can be difficult to tell. Of course throwing in the twin fin doesn't help matters.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

THANK YOU OLA! That is exactly what I was hoping for. Tying my experiences with the Aero and Evo makes your theory easier to understand for me. I have copied your essay and sent it off to the printer in Kahului so that I can digest it on the beach. My hope is that I can learn where I have to make compromises and where I can get what I want. I'll probably be back here in a few days with some questions. Many many Mahalos.

Jeff, I have said this before, but Ola's essay makes my point so eloquently. It would be very beneficial to have a data section on your website. I find a serious lack of technical information to understand what makes the various aspects of our sport work. There is so much art, mystique and tradition that I often find it hard to get real data to make informed logical choices or to use my gear properly. I would volunteer to write the section on big wave fins. The audiophile forum that frequent has a WIKI section for this purpose.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Dolf, when will you understand that windsurfing is too complicated with too many variables to solve with a formula. You would do better trying to come up with a unification theory!

GP is right, the best way to pick a board is to sail it not measure it!

OK so board tests and dimensions can narrow down the potential field of boards you should try, but until you ride it you won't really know.

I realise this is a problem as most shops won't let you try a board before you buy it. This is where forums like this come in handy as you can get feedback on the stuff before you buy it.

Ola, as for your point #3 - I think planing and upwind are very important on Maui. We have a strong down-wind current and the wind is always holey and gusty. People tend to ride bigger boards here than they do in Europe (under similar conditions). I find I need about 15 extra litres to deal with the enormous holes in the impact zone. A 1:1 board volume to Kg sailor weight works well here.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Tom wrote:

Dolf, when will you understand that windsurfing is too complicated with too many variables to solve with a formula. .

I respectully disagree as per your comment below

Tom wrote:

OK so board tests and dimensions can narrow down the potential field of boards you should try, .

Yes indeed, and when I finish digesting Ola's comments and get some more clarification I will be well on the way not only to doing that but further having a few rules of thumb to help me with the process.

Tom wrote:

This is where forums like this come in handy as you can get feedback on the stuff before you buy it..

Yes indeed, along with the rules of thumb that I hope to develop and any other data that I can collect. It is not only a rewarding end result, the process is challenging and fun for me. I am retired so I need to keep the brain exercised.

Tom wrote:

A 1:1 board volume to Kg sailor weight works well here..

A good generalization but it should be adjusted for sail size and sailor skill level. Would you like my formula?  wink

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Dolf,
I'm testing about 16 different wave and freestyle wave boards between 80 and 90 liters this days for Windsurfing magazine (that's why you see me at Kanaha), but I won't tell you what I think about them for two reasons:
- they told me not to make my impressions public
- what I think about a board is not necessarely what you would think about it.

Anyway, if you really insist, everything has a price... wink

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

What a coincidence, I'll be at Kanaha tomorrow! big_smile

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Aloha Ola,

I have gone over your comments and if you would be so kind to clarify many arising questions.

“Soft vs. Hard”
Is this primarily a function of rail shape?

“you have fast or turny rockers”
Is it correct that more rocker is turnier and flatter rocker is faster?
Is it true that wider is slower and narrower is faster, but this is not as significant a factor on speed as the rocker?

“(slow 04/05) EVO 80 shows that in some circumstances (like when "waiting" on a wave and in slower wave riding) the wide plan form can be a real help.”
This is personal preference. As long as the board is fast enough to catch a wave it is fast enough for me. I believe that you or others have called the A117 slow as well. This is not my opinion. I now only sail it only with my 8.0 and 9.0 and the only time I found it slow was when I lost my common sense and was in over mast high waves. This was scary but it happens so rarely that it is just not an issue. What is really important to me is that I can keep a board planning in the lulls and when waiting on a wave without having to get in and out of the footstraps or worse sinking.
Is it correct that a board’s ability to stay on a plane in a lull is the same as how “early planning” it is?
That is important to me but it seems to have some complications. I believe that you called the Aero a “technical board that needs to be worked to get it on a plane.” Pumping my 8.0 and 9.0 is no fun. I just sheet in and wait for the wind to do the work. No problem; and it is so wide that it glides very nicely through the lulls.

“you can make a relatively wide and fast rockered board turn reasonably well at slower speeds by having lots and lots of outline curvature.”
Am I misunderstanding you here? I find that the narrower or sharper tails have a shorter moment arm so they are easier to tilt and dig in the rail to turn them.

“Width helps you keep speed in slower waves”
Ok, now is this really width or actually volume and it is safe to say width as the 2 are usually related?
If keeping speed is the same as early planning, are you saying that more width (and/or more volume?) helps in early planning?

” BTW, you can see some of the "Aero thinking" also on the much more radical Pure Acid 74. This is much, much smaller board and hence oriented towards much faster riding. Rocker, rails, v layout are all optimized for fast riding, but this is compensated with a rather curvy outline which extends the performance of the boards towards slower riding while only taking very, very little away from the fast riding performance.”
Joanna tested Jennifer Henderson’s used 60 something liter Diva which that year was based on the Acid and she found it terribly slow, "like it was dragging an anchor”. (She ended up with a JP rad wave 64 which IMNSHO does not hold a candle to the E70.) Is your comment size or year specific?

“For most wave sailors, the crucial point in wave riding is when exiting the bottom turn and going into the top turn.”
My Achilles heel is definitely the initiation of the bottom turn. With due appreciation to your analogy to skiing I got it a lot better, but it is still the weak link. If I nail that the rest seems to follow quite well. My difficulty with the Aero and to a lesser degree with the Evos is initiating the bottom turn – tilting the board, setting the edge (digging in the rail) and leaning forward into the turn. I find that the wide tail is so stable that it is hard to dig in the edge. I put the rear strap on the Aero off center which helps a bit, but I was hoping for more. Now of course I want this “improvement” without having to compromise on the many positive aspects of these boards. As I said in my first post I find this easier on the R92, but the price that I have to pay is getting out of the straps and forward sooner in the lulls. For me, for this size only, I find it all in all a better compromise. I also tried an OES Xcross 66 which has even more of a compromise. I find this unacceptable on a 123 liter board. I’d rather have my Aero. On smaller sizes I think that this would be a real concern.

"pocket style" board
Would you please define this?

“Conversely, a board like the EVO may require more "user competence" in some circumstances, but they unquestionably are super loose and easy in the transitional part.”
I am not so concerned with this transitional part. But over time as I improved I find the Evos a bit mushy on the bottom turn. The R92 is sharper, more precise, like a hot knife through butter. I think that your terminology is to call this hard vs. soft. Is that correct? Would you call the Evos soft? Would a harder Evo in the smaller sizes be what I am looking for?

“I'm closer to my limits when it’s bad.”
I’m not in your skill level so I am always closer to my limits. That’s why I don’t have different gear for different experiences. I just want the single best gear that helps me the most do what I want to do.

Many mahalos,

Last edited by Dolf (2007-10-05 19:25:40)

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Ola... you asked for it!

lol

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Dolf I 100% garantee you will not like the same boards as GP!

My comment about narrowing a field is about looking at a specific "style of board" such as being tested by GP. It is not about picking individual boards.

Volume is only relevant in non-planing conditions. When planing only the planing surface matters.

keep thinking!

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Ola,

Yes sorry that was a bit long. No worries if you think that not all of it is relevant enough to respond to. I definitely found my exercise worthwhile as I am slowly understanding a bit more.

Tom,

I can now look at a big wave fin, analyze the components and give you a rough idea what it will behave like. You understand in serious depth how the different aspects of a sail work, their interrrelationships and not only how it will perform but what could be changed with what result. Peter Thomman pretty well described how my boards perform just by looking at them on the beach.

Why does board design have to remain in the mysterious dark ages for the rest of us? I was thinking something along to lines of "Board Design 101" or "Board Selection for Dummies" I don't have the interest to do this task but I do want to understand some more what is a difficult compromise and what can really be achieved to give me what I want in my board quiver. I don't like being frustrated without knowing why.

Tom wrote:

Volume is only relevant in non-planing conditions. When planing only the planing surface matters..

Yes I understand that. You say "when" planning. So now my question is for "early" or "starting" planning" the factors have to be related to the non-planing hull as it isn't planning yet. What are these factors? I think that Ola said width but I would like some elaboration and clarification. But to "keep" a board planning through the lulls I think that you would have to be correct that only the planning surface matters as the board is already in planning mode. So what are these planning surface factors? And are these 2 questions related?

I would venture an educated guess that the questions are related as one is the same process as the other only in reverse. I would also guess that the area of the planning surface is a, if not the most significant, factor as I can feel the board settle down and have more contact area with the water before it looses plane. I am hoping that Ola will shed some light on this.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Dolf,
ask Peter Thommen!
Here's my guess of his answer:
"Listen Dolf, the variables that influence the behavior of a board, even just a specific characteristic like the ability of keep planing in the lulls, are so many that I can't really tell you..."

Bottom contour, outline, rail shape, volume, width, thickness, lenght, weight, rocker... IMO you can give a general rule for each of these variables (like, the flatter the rocker the faster the board and viceversa the more rocker the slower and turny the board), but it's the magic combination of all of them that will give you a very good board... which I still believe is also a matter of luck, when it happens.

See what I mean? Too many variables to set up a system of equations... also because they do interact with each other in a non linear way! They are not independent.
Meaning, the effect you can expect if you change 10% of one variable and 10% of another variable together IS NOT the sum of the two effects you will have if you change those variables singularly...
Imagine with 9 or more of them!!!!!

On top of that you add sailor weight, skill, sailing style and sailing conditions... good luck!

Last edited by cammar (2007-10-06 07:59:22)

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

cammar wrote:

Dolf,
I'm testing about 16 different wave and freestyle wave boards between 80 and 90 liters this days for Windsurfing magazine (that's why you see me at Kanaha), but I won't tell you what I think about them for two reasons:
- they told me not to make my impressions public
- what I think about a board is not necessarely what you would think about it.

Anyway, if you really insist, everything has a price... wink

God this must be TOURTURE for you. Test, test, test, and say nothing!

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

GP wrote:

IMO you can give a general rule for each of these variables (like, the flatter the rocker the faster the board and viceversa the more rocker the slower and turny the board),.

GP, That is all I am trying to acccomplish! Along with which are the variables that are dependent and therfore one has to select a compromise on a continuum! This is not a save the world, what is the meaning of life, quest as per your forum, just to understand the basics of board design so I have a basic understanding of what I can hope to achieve in my board quiver. Please don't blow it out of proportion.

GP wrote:

it's the magic combination of all of them that will give you a very good board... which I still believe is also a matter of luck, when it happens..

I am not trying to to come up with one comprehensive formula. But I do believe that it would be possible IF someone (not me) took on the challenge. It was not luck that put a man on the moon. The more science and engineering we add to any subject the higher the probability of achieving a better result. But this is a subject for your forum or Tom's irrelevant one. This is not my goal.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Jeff Henderson wrote:

God this must be TOURTURE for you. Test, test, test, and say nothing!

It bloody well is... but the worse torture is the test itself, actually...
80+ liters in 25-30knots, with my weigth... can you imagine?
The only thing I testing is how long my body can take it!
Thank god (that'll be you) I have a Superfreak out there!!!! It already saved my life in numerous occasions...

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Yes, I did ask for it, didn't I. First, I believe that even if you get a rather good understanding on how different aspects of a shape influence the ride, the most important thing is getting everything to "fit" together. This is what creates the really good boards. And like Cammar point out with his fabricated (but realistic)Thommen quote, it is probably impossible to "see" this "holistic part" by just quantifying in number or by looking at details. And I would even go as far as saying that very few shapers could take a shape that is not their own, copy it and then change a specific aspect of the ride without messing up the rest. If it is their own shape from the start, they have a better idea of how it works though, but even then there is often a bit of luck involved with the truly best boards, I think.

But details can still be fun so here we go again:

Dolf wrote:

“Soft vs. Hard”
Is this primarily a function of rail shape?

Rails, rocker and bottom shape (concaves etc) are probably the most important parts.

Dolf wrote:

“you have fast or turny rockers”
Is it correct that more rocker is turnier and flatter rocker is faster?

Right, but it is very difficult to quantify a rocker. The actual lift in mm or inches does not say much, it is the shape of the curve, or more exact, the flow of the curvature.

Dolf wrote:

Is it true that wider is slower and narrower is faster, but this is not as significant a factor on speed as the rocker?

Right. Just looking at a modern slalom board is enough to understand that wide can be fast. But for waves we have to be careful as we do not only value speed in terms of low drag rockers but also ability to still turn at speed which puts more emphasis also on the outline.

Dolf wrote:

“(slow 04/05) EVO 80 shows that in some circumstances (like when "waiting" on a wave and in slower wave riding) the wide plan form can be a real help.”
This is personal preference. As long as the board is fast enough to catch a wave it is fast enough for me. I believe that you or others have called the A117 slow as well. This is not my opinion. I now only sail it only with my 8.0 and 9.0 and the only time I found it slow was when I lost my common sense and was in over mast high waves. This was scary but it happens so rarely that it is just not an issue. What is really important to me is that I can keep a board planning in the lulls and when waiting on a wave without having to get in and out of the footstraps or worse sinking.
Is it correct that a board’s ability to stay on a plane in a lull is the same as how “early planning” it is?
That is important to me but it seems to have some complications. I believe that you called the Aero a “technical board that needs to be worked to get it on a plane.” Pumping my 8.0 and 9.0 is no fun. I just sheet in and wait for the wind to do the work. No problem; and it is so wide that it glides very nicely through the lulls.

The A117 actually has a fast wave board rocker (I even believe some crazy person did over 40 knots on the thing in Australia) so in this absolute sense it is not slow (rails are not that fast though). However, the width and outline makes it not handle speed in the turn. So in that sense it is a "wave board for slow riding". EVOs have a much slower rocker but handle higher riding speeds better.

Keeping speed is not the same thing as early planing and this holds especially for sailors with less technique since some boards need some tricks to get going early but are rather easy to keep speed on once planing.  And keeping speed through a lull is not the same thing as keeping speed on a wave.

On the Aero, it seems you use sheer sail power to get it going early. This is possible due to the size of the board. But to get the Aero going really early with smaller sails, you have to be a bit more technical and light footed. The reason is mainly its rather short length which makes the mid "planing part" of the rocker shorter. If you don't have lots of power at hand, you need to "trick" the board up on the mid part of its rocker. Once there it will glide through lulls very well though. The Aero is and interesting board to discuss since it is so extreme. Many people think its a "big EVO" but it is actually more a super blown up Acid.

Being able to "wait in the straps" is mostly a function of a wider tail and/or a more compact planform which puts more volume and surface area further back (and of course more volume helps too)

Dolf wrote:

“you can make a relatively wide and fast rockered board turn reasonably well at slower speeds by having lots and lots of outline curvature.”
Am I misunderstanding you here? I find that the narrower or sharper tails have a shorter moment arm so they are easier to tilt and dig in the rail to turn them.

Right, but again it depends on what we find hard. If one has problems entering the turn, then width will not help. But the problem in slower waves (or slower riding) is often that the board might stall and then lots of outline curvature helps. It keeps the board "loose on its rail", ie there is no stiff spot on the rail on which the board settles. Instead it becomes free to "roll on the outline". Kind of hard to explain...
The "tilting and digging" you describe is something I associate with comparatively higher riding speeds and the faster you go, the narrower you have to go if you still want to really dig that rail. In fact, at slower speeds it becomes the opposite, if you still want to carve hard and lean in aggressively (to gain speed) you NEED some width or you will simply overpower the board.

Dolf wrote:

“Width helps you keep speed in slower waves”
Ok, now is this really width or actually volume and it is safe to say width as the 2 are usually related?
If keeping speed is the same as early planning, are you saying that more width (and/or more volume?) helps in early planning?

I would say keeping speed is more of a width thing, ie wide and thin will do a better job at keeping speed when you're out of wave and sail power than narrow and thick will. Keeping speed and early planing is not the same thing (as discussed above). Early planing is often helped by more width and sometimes by more volume, but if you're on a "reasonable volume" from the start, more volume mostly help when you want to add more sail. I would say that for most people in waves, it makes more sense to stay on smaller stuff and work on the early planing technique. The reason is that is get progressively harder to make the stuff maneuverable enough when you go bigger and bigger. You have proven that it is also possible to go for the up size route. In some circumstances this makes sense, but as I think this thread shows, it is not easy to design such a big wave board. You have to induce some extra compromises and in the end you get a board with a narrower range etc.


Dolf wrote:

” BTW, you can see some of the "Aero thinking" also on the much more radical Pure Acid 74. This is much, much smaller board and hence oriented towards much faster riding. Rocker, rails, v layout are all optimized for fast riding, but this is compensated with a rather curvy outline which extends the performance of the boards towards slower riding while only taking very, very little away from the fast riding performance.”
Joanna tested Jennifer Henderson’s used 60 something liter Diva which that year was based on the Acid and she found it terribly slow, "like it was dragging an anchor”. (She ended up with a JP rad wave 64 which IMNSHO does not hold a candle to the E70.) Is your comment size or year specific?

Older Acids are a completely different thing. The first ones of the new, fast generation is the 06 Pure Acid 80 and 86 and then the PA 74 and 68 followed in 07. BTW, the Kombats from 07 and forwards are VERY similar to those Acids with mainly wider tails and wider shoulders differing


Dolf wrote:

“For most wave sailors, the crucial point in wave riding is when exiting the bottom turn and going into the top turn.”
My Achilles heel is definitely the initiation of the bottom turn. With due appreciation to your analogy to skiing I got it a lot better, but it is still the weak link. If I nail that the rest seems to follow quite well. My difficulty with the Aero and to a lesser degree with the Evos is initiating the bottom turn – tilting the board, setting the edge (digging in the rail) and leaning forward into the turn. I find that the wide tail is so stable that it is hard to dig in the edge. I put the rear strap on the Aero off center which helps a bit, but I was hoping for more. Now of course I want this “improvement” without having to compromise on the many positive aspects of these boards. As I said in my first post I find this easier on the R92, but the price that I have to pay is getting out of the straps and forward sooner in the lulls. For me, for this size only, I find it all in all a better compromise. I also tried an OES Xcross 66 which has even more of a compromise. I find this unacceptable on a 123 liter board. I’d rather have my Aero. On smaller sizes I think that this would be a real concern.

Good that old skiing analogy helped. One reason the transition is not a problem is that you sail Maui (Kanaha, right?). Few places are so "easy" since waves are good and powerful but not too fast and powerful, winds is generally sideshore etc etc. All this makes the transition part and getting vertical easier.

I think that offsetting the strap is really a sign that the turning technique is not the best. In fact, with wider tails, I think the top turn get more problematic and then you would not want your foot leewards. I think what you are saying actually indicates you are on a bit to big boards relative the conditions (or relative the riding speeds). From the sound of it, it limits your wave riding a bit, but on the other hand you also praise the benefits by the size and style of boards. The problem is that if you want to keep the "stubbie planform" with its benefits, you need to sacrifice some volume when sailing a performance wave. The alternative is getting a more traditionally shaped board where you can normally squeeze in some more volume and also give it a bit flatter and more "effective" rocker and still keep the performance on a faster wave. With EVOs, as long as the riding speed is rather slow, you can almost go as big as you want (even I can sail the EVO 100 monster rather well in slower conditions despite being sub 70 kilos) but as riding speed increase, it gets more and more important to be on a smaller board. If we compare with a Pure Acid, you can often keep some more size in faster conditions, but on the other hand when you go to big its problematic even in slower waves.


On the Aero, its also a function of how the board is designed - wide tail and fast rocker. Making it heavier rockered would probably make it to slow and ineffective for you needs, so in a way its the end of the road (but of course it can still be improved a bit like all boards).

Dolf wrote:

"pocket style" board
Would you please define this?

Its just a loose term for boards designed to excel when going vertical and staying close to the "pocket". The opposite would be boards the excel more at flat out carving. In reality all boards do a bit of both, as do most sailors. I sometimes use a few images from Guincho, Portugal as examples: http://www.olah.se/Windsurfing/Guincho-06/index.html The first sequence (pic 2-6) shows a more vert pocket style and pic 7-12 a more open face carving style.


Dolf wrote:

“Conversely, a board like the EVO may require more "user competence" in some circumstances, but they unquestionably are super loose and easy in the transitional part.”
I am not so concerned with this transitional part. But over time as I improved I find the Evos a bit mushy on the bottom turn. The R92 is sharper, more precise, like a hot knife through butter. I think that your terminology is to call this hard vs. soft. Is that correct? Would you call the Evos soft? Would a harder Evo in the smaller sizes be what I am looking for?

Yeah, hard vs soft is pretty describing. And yes, I think EVOs are soft in character. The reason I personally like this (and am willing to sacrifice that more direct and precise feel) is that the softness makes going though chop on the wave easier and also typically gives the board a wider riding speed range. The softer and rather forgiving nature simply makes it easier to go where I want. I prefer to get my "fix" from hitting the wave just like I want instead from having the board "feel" in a certain way while doing it. And the "mush factor" of the EVOs is mostly a feel thing. When you just let them run they carve very precisely - its just that they filter out that precise feel before it reaches the sailor.

If you're looking for a "harder EVO" I suggest you should take a spin on one of the Tabou Pocket waves and see how you like that.

Dolf wrote:

“I'm closer to my limits when it’s bad.”
I’m not in your skill level so I am always closer to my limits. That’s why I don’t have different gear for different experiences. I just want the single best gear that helps me the most do what I want to do.

Well, ideally, we should all ride at the limit always. Regarding gear, something which have helped my sailing the last few years is go outside of my preferences a bit. I nowadays both sail different types of boards and to an ever bigger extent I sail big boards in conditions where I would normally sail a small one and vice versa. Not only does this help me understand the limits of the boards I sail better, it has also made me improve different aspects of my technique. For example, going for bigger boards means I must nail the turn initiate and generally use more power in my sailing. Going for smaller boards means I have to work finding the line on the waves which generate the speed the small board needs to work. Then I can try to incorporate both things when I sail on the "right" size. Similarly, when sailing a different type of board, I try to find what this board is especially good at and then try to use the board to the max for "that thing". Then, when I'm back on my normal board, I try to do the same move despite that it may take more technique do to it now. One can say that I try to use the "different" board to place a certain feel in my head which I then try to keep with my own board.


There is more to say but, well... I'll think I'll stop here.

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Wow!
I,m just back from 3 weeks Brandon Bay (had some awesome sailing there by the way) and first thing i read is that Dolf wants to get rid of his Aero and maybe replacing his Evo,s too...whats happening???
Replacement for the Areo...i can,t imagine a single waveboard that can carry a 9.0 period.
For the Evo...
|As what you described on Zandvoort what you like on stuff you shouldn't try the SOS Fish boards..too aggressive.
Actually i think you would like the 88 a lot, as a replacement for a E80, ignore its sizing and try to demo one!
I used it in Ireland with everything from 6.0 liiiiiiiiiight wind in niple high side-off and shorter slower turns. till 4.7 fully powered in over masthigh, wide fast turns and hard smacks and aerials in/to/of/under the lip big_smile
I got the board almost a year now but im still impressed about the ease it adapts to the conditions and the ease of use in all those conditions.

I could try to give a whole analyse of the board like Ola does, but as i told you before...i really don,t get a clue of why it works the way it works so i can just say its a brilliant shape.

One thing i totally agree with, with Ola, is that using wrong combi,s make you a better sailor!

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23

Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Ola. Write a book dude!

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Jeroen,
the first thing I want to know about your trip to Brandon Bay is: did you meet a blonde girl called Shawna? Pretty good sailor, pretty good looking.
She lives in Maui and was there till last week. She told me the conditions were really good...

Second thing is: 88l in 4.7 powered up conditions and still good? Really?? That must be a hell of a board... How choppy was it? Maybe it's quite offshore hence not so choppy... never been there...

Today another day of ugly test sessions of 80+ liter boards on fully powered 4.7... I'm hating it!

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Re: Boards for Pros vs. the Rest of Us.

Cammar! I´ll fill in for you in that test anyday!!!

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