of Windsurfing Gear
Plastic = Shell over
foam core - Rotomolded e.g. Tiga, OBrien, HiFly.
a.k.a "glass" - Fiberglass wrap over foam core using Polyester resin.
Epoxy (refered to
as "Custom") = Fiberglass over foam core using Epoxy resin & carbon
stringers e.g. Gorge Animal, Petty, Seatrend, Open Ocean, Roberts, Logosz,
= These are Epoxy boards which are made in a mold using heat & pressure
which bonds the laysers together forming a seam along the side. These
boards are also coated on the outside with a thin plastice shell called
ASA (Alternative Skin) e.g. Mistral, F2, Bic.
1. Plastic Boards can with stand a lot of abuse, least expensive/ Heavier
& slower to respond.
2. Polyester "glass" - can take moderater abuse, lighter than plastic,
more responsive, and can be fixed easily at home by average person/
Heavier & more flexible than epoxy, yet lighter and stiffer than plastic.
3. Epoxy - Lighter & stiffer hence quicker to plane & respond, greater
speed potential. Easier to lift off when jumping./ The least impact
resistant of the 3 types & also more expensive. Not as easy to repair.
**General note - in Windsurfing "lighter" = more expensive.
4. Semi-custom production Epoxy - Good shapes, upper priced, yet not
as expensive as custom Epoxy. Light & quick and more impact resistant
than custom epoxy due to the ASA Skin./ More expensive than polyester
or plastic boards. Not as easy to repair.
Length - Size of the
board Tip to Tail, usually in feet & in cm. e.g. 8'6" = 263cm
Width - How wide the board is, measured at "Beam" (mast track)
& "Tail" (end of board)
Weight - Overall weight of board (with rider & rig weight) acts
against the volume.
Volume - "Amount of floatation", amount of foam core contained
Rocker line - Amount of lift from tail to tip
Rail tuck - Shape of "rail"(side of board) in relation to the
What does it all mean? Bigger
boards = Lighter winds, heavier riders, less expensive Smaller boards
= Stronger winds, smaller riders, more expensive More volume = more flotation
Width = A wider board has a more stable riding platform, and is more likely
to be a wave board. Rocker line = When a board has more rocker or "nose
kick" it is more of a bump & jump or wave oriented board and less race
oriented. On these boards the displacement of volume will be more "aft"
on the board. Rail Tuck = The harder the 90 degree angle on bottom rail
of the board, the more race oriented the board is. The softer or more
rounded the angle, the more bump & jump and wave oriented the board is.
The softer the rail is the more foot responsive "tourney" or "looser".
The harder the rail the greater ability for tracking or "holding the line".
Bottom shape = Flatter bottoms are more speed or race oriented. V-shapes
are more stable in rougher waters
1. Wave 2. Bump & Jump /
Freeride 3. Slalom 4. Race
Luff sleeve (sock)
- Sleeve the mast runs up, forward edge of sail luff panel - next panel
from luff sleeve transition to monofilm
Head - Top section of sail
Foot - Bottom section of sail
Clew - Outer corner of sail
Leach - Tracking (loose) edge of sail
Batten - Epoxy or carbon "stays" - running across sail giving
Camber - A preformed component attaching battens to mast giving
the sail a more stable draft
Wave sail design:
There are no cambers - the sail can move easily, rotate & be manipulated
when changing direction (jibing & tacking) quickly. The angle of the
foot to the clew is a "higher" cut than on slalom or race sails. In
other words you have less foot. To make up for this you usually have
more area above the boom especially in the head so that the wave is
not effectively blocking your wind. You also don't want a lot of foot
because it's wasted material- down low. You don't "rake" the sail back
as you do when slalom or race sailing. In wave sailing you sail the
rig more upright. Having a higher angle also makes it easier to perform
tricks without having the foot material get in the way. Wave sails are
rigged flatter than slalom or race sails and have a less effective wind
range. There is usually a half a meter between sail sizes e.g. 3.0,
3.5, 4.0. Some sail designers make wave sails for specific conditions
i.e. on-shore designs, side-shore designs, etc...
Race sail design: The luff sleeve is wider creating more draft stability.
There are more battens which create more lateral stability. There are
also numerous cambers (3,4, or even more) which create even more draft
stability by effectively attaching the battens to the mast. Race sails
are actually like a wing or foil, the shape is locked in. The head of
a race sail is smaller in relationship to the foot than a wave sail.
The head being smaller is good in a race sail because the sail is so
draft stable that when the wind hits the sail it's pressure creates
lift (push) up to a point, then the excess effectively "bleeds" or "spills"
off the leech (trailing edge of the sail). This is enhanced by the sail
(via the mast) twisting at the head. The wind hits the sail moving up
it and off the leech. The twist occurs because the head is small and
in comparison the most flexible section of the sail. The more downhaul
you put on the sail the more your are bending the mast and thus making
the leash loose or floppy effectively creating a "pre-twisted off" condition.
The head and leech at this point are going to create even less resistance
to the wind. Outhauling more will flatten out the sail taking out the
draft or shape. Doing this decreases the effective wind range of the
sail. The race sail gets raked back. The larger foot closes the gap
between the board & foil (again helping stability and efficiency). Race
sails have great wind range because of the draft stability, the large
foot and the ability to effectively "bleed" excess wind by "twisting
off". The wind range is wider in each sail size than it is in a wave
or bump&jump sail. In race sails you can usually space at every meter
e.g. 5.0, 6.0, 7.0.
Bump'n'jump sail design:
An all around sail style. They are often referred to as freeride and
are easy to handle. They are designed to get the sailor on a plane quickly
and have more low end power than a wave sail design.
Slalom sail design: Similar to a race sail these sails are quick
to plane. There is not as much stability as a race sail but slalom sails
are much more user friendly. The luff sock is smaller so no water gets
trapped making it easier to waterstart. There are usually only two cambers
in slalom sails.
Length & Width = Surface
Surface area corresponds with sail size i.e. bigger sail = bigger fin
More surface area creates greater lift.
Wave Wave - Bump & Jump Freeride,
Convertible, Teardrop Blade, Pointer, Elliptical
The more swept back (from the leading edge) the fin is, (also known
as the "amount of Rake") the looser or more tourney the fin is. This
creates more responsiveness to changes in the rider's foot pressure.
The longer straighter fin can create great amount of lift (like a dagger
board) and are great for going up wind (into the wind). This is also
called "trackablity" i.e. "the long blade fin tracks well...". They
do not respond to subtle shifts in foot pressure as well as wave fins
do. If a sail is too big compared to the fin size, it will cause the
board to slide or "spin out". If the fin is too big the board will lift
up out of the water. Any fin can spin out, there are a lot of factors,
however, that can help keep you from doing so. All fins have a low pressure
(vacuum) side and a high pressure side when you are sailing. As you
apply more pressure to the fin with your back foot, you increase the
vacuum pressure on the upwind side of the fin. This provides an opportunity
for air from the atmosphere to get sucked towards and become attached
to the low pressure side of the fin from the tail of the board, and
thus causing you to spin out. To help keep you from spinning out, there
are a few things that you might try: SLICE THE WATER WHEN LANDING When
jumping (or even getting your board out of the water 1 inch) you provide
a path for the air to travel to your fin. In order to close this path,
you need to bear off (turn downwind) in the air, so that when you land,
your fin slices through the water, and eliminates the opportunity of
the air to reach your fin. After your board is back covering the water,
you can redirect your board. ABSORB THE BUMPS Another helpful hint is
to bend your back leg a bit to help absorb the chop, and keep your board
covering the surface of the water. Bending your back left also puts
a bit more downward pressure on the back of the board, and also helps
keep the air channel closed. MOVE YOUR FIN FORWARD Moving your fin a
bit forward, and away from the tail (where the air comes in), helps.
Also having a cutout on the back of your fin increases the distance
from the tail to the back of the fin, yet doesn't effect the center
of resistance (effective location) of the fin. The concept of the flapper
you may have read about for the tails of race boards is based on the
principle of keeping the area behind the fin covered so air cant easily
reach the fin. MOVE YOUR MAST BASE BACK Moving your mast base further
back in the track will position your sail more upright (not tipped way
back behind your board), and may reduce the pressure you put on your
back foot. USE A SLOTTED FIN If all of these things fail, you can always
use a slotted fin. A slotted fin forces water through out the slot and
constantly clears the air off the low pressure side of the fin, and
as a result, keeps you from spinning out. The disadvantage of slotted
fins is drag. The blade fin you are using on your board is fairly "high
strung". This type of fin has a short chord length (length from front
of back of the fin as the water travels), which has low drag, and provides
a lot of lift (gets you upwind), but is a difficult fin to use in low
speeds, and is hard to control at most speeds.
Indexed MCS Measurement
The INDEXED MCS measurement system was developed to compare stiffnesses
between masts of different lengths. MCS numbers only mean a stiffer
or softer mast when comparing masts of the same length. For example:
compare the 430/25 and 460/25. Even though the 430 has the same MCS
stiffness number (25), when a 30cm carbon base extension is added to
reach the 460 length, the stiffness is actually softer than the 460/25.
By indexing all masts to one length (465cm), it is possible to use the
MCS concept and compare masts of different lengths. Indexed MCS uses
some arithmetic to relate every mast stiffness to 465cm length for more
precise relative stiffness numbers.
INDEXED MCS = OVERALL LENGTH CUBED DIVIDED BY MID POINT DEFLECTION X
Example: Compare a 430cm with a mid-point deflection of 172 and a 460cm
with a mid-point deflection of 184.
MAST LENGTH OLD MCS INDEXED MCS 430cm Mast 25 21 460cm Mast 25 25