High Performance Windsurfing Sat, 02 Sep 2017 06:43:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hydration: Do I Need It? Mon, 19 Dec 2011 00:12:21 +0000 Ever wonder why you don’t feel as fresh on Day 4 of the regatta as you did on the first day? Sure, your tired, you’ve been racing all week, but...

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Ever wonder why you don’t feel as fresh on Day 4 of the regatta as you did on the first day? Sure, your tired, you’ve been racing all week, but is it possible you’re not recovering in the same way that other athletes are recovering? After the last race of the day, everything you do to your body after that moment, effects your recovery for the following day’s racing. Let’s have a quick look at some important recovery tips and techniques that will help you get back to 100% for the next day of racing, despite how much you destroyed yourself on the water that day!

This article is adapted from an article in Australian Sailing Magazine, written by Andrew Verdon, AIS Strength & Conditioning Coach, with input from Michael Blackburn (AST Laser Coach) and Jo Vaile (AIS Performance Recovery coach).

Windsurfing for long periods of time – especially under stressful race conditions – builds lactic acid. A good recovery program at the end of each race day or training session is ESSENTIAL.


  • After long training sessions, or if you’ve done multiple training sessions in one day.
  • Competing in more than race per day.
  • Competing regularly.
  • Competitions over long periods of time (ie, several days)
  • History of, or current injuries
  • High levels of fatigue/muscle damage (ie, strong winds/waves etc)


There are four main aspects you should attend to when doing recovery:

  1. Warm down immediately
  2. Stretching
  3. Nutrition
  4. Sleep


Spend 5-10 minutes warming down after every training session or race day. This begins the repair process and enhances the removal of waste products from the muscular system. A short walk around the beach or very light jog to the park across the street will suffice here.


Always complete five minutes of light stretching. Usually after windsurfing, the muscles that get tight are your calves, hamstrings, quads and shoulders. This stretching is to relax the muscles, so no need to do 60 second hard holds, static stretches of 5-10 seconds are best.


You’ll want 3 things here; fluids, carbohydrates and protein. Focus on re-hydrating with fluid as the MAIN priority, then re-fueling with carbohydrates and protein. There are plenty of liquid drinks that have carbs/protein added, that will make this easier.

As soon as you finish the final race of the day and hit the beach, EVERYTHING you put in to your body after that moment effects your recovery for the next day. Maybe skip that Quarter Pound meal with coke and try a protein shake and some cold pasta with a bottle of water.


The foundation of good recovery is always SLEEP. Sleep is probably the most important and significant process in recovery despite a lot of people paying little attention to this during regattas. The bulk of the restorative and renewal processes in your body happen during sleep, so aim to get to bed half and hour earlier to aid these processes. Aim to get 7-9 hours sleep after heavy training sessions or race days to give your body the BEST CHANCE of recovering.


Once you’ve got the basic 4-step recovery process down and comfortable, maybe it’s time to think about these advanced recovery techniques to give your body all the help it needs to get back in shape for that next race the following morning. These advanced recovery techniques will only really give you an advantage if your stretching, nutrition and sleep is already up to standard. These advanced techniques, used without getting a decent night’s sleep, might not really give you any result at all; and are also more logistically harder and expensive than the simple 4 steps mentioned above. The advanced techniques include:

  • Contrast Water Therapy
  • Cold Water Immersion
  • Compression Garments


Alternating between hot and cold water on the whole body helps to increase blood flow and stimulate the central nervous system, which can reduce swelling, decrease stiffness, increase your range of motion, reduce muscle soreness and improve the removal of metabolites. Research suggests that an equal amount of time in hot and cold water immersion in a bath/spa or shower is ideal. For example, 2 minutes in cold water in the bath, then 2 minutes in hot water under the shower, then repeat this 3 times.

Always finish with cold water to reduce body temperature and inflammation. This cools the whole body which is great for recovery.


Cold water immersion (more commonly known as ice-baths) are a great way to reduce muscle and core temperatures, decrease metabolism, reduce inflammation, enhance blood flow, decrease pain and reduce muscle spasm. The best temperature is around 15 degrees, sitting in the bath for about 2-5 mins although you can actually get decent results just using cold tap water and staying under for 5-15 mins. Another option is to take a walk in the ocean water for 5-10 mins after you’ve finished de-rigging (as long as it’s not “tropical island” warm.



Putting on a compression garment after sailing, is a great way to decrease muscle soreness, increase bloodflow and decrease lactate levels. The claims made by many manufacturers about their supposed benefits to be used whilst training are yet to be validated.

For windsurfers, where we use A LOT of leg strength, full length tights are a great option. These full length versions push blood back up the legs to the heart; like a pump. If you’ve done a lot of pumping that day, a full length shirt could also be a good option.


Jo Vaille, AIS Performance Recovery expert, recommends that recovery should be approached in this order:

  1. Warm-down and stretching.
  2. Nutrition (ie, sports drink / food)
  3. Hydrotherapy (using water or showers)
  4. Compression garments (these can be worn for 2 hours or more)
  5. Nutrition (meal – usually dinner)
  6. Massage (either self-massage or use a foam roller or book yourself a massage therapist if you can!)

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Pro FW Desktop Wallpapers (PT II) Fri, 25 Mar 2011 16:24:02 +0000 Another year has gone by and looking at the stats on this website it’s easy to see that one of the most viewed articles is the first Pro FW Desktop...

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Another year has gone by and looking at the stats on this website it’s easy to see that one of the most viewed articles is the first Pro FW Desktop Wallpapers collection I posted on here a while back, as a means to put together some nice photos of Formula Windsurfing. There is still very little in the way of hi-resolution images floating around the internet and the major brands still shy away from using them in their photoshoots, so I thought it would be nice to put together some images that were collected over the last few months in Australia, as a number of big names were in town for some of the Australian FW racing events. Here are 14 wallpapers available FREE right here on CarbonSugar in a variety of screen resolutions. Enjoy!

To give credit where its due, the list of wallpapers includes:

Photographers include Paul Santelmann, Rob Plim, Tam Ting and Adam Craven however all images have been edited, airbrushed and otherwise touched-up and dirtied by myself.


Wilhelm Schurmann (BRA-999)

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Jesper Vesterstom / Brett Morris

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Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111)

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Sean O’Brien (AUS-120)

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Jesper Vesterstrøm / Sean O’Brien

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Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111)

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Downwind Racing

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Jesper Vesterstrøm / Brett Morris

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Sean O’Brien (AUS-120)

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Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111)

1920×1200 (Widescreen 16:10)
1600×1200 (Fullscreen 4:3)
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Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111)

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Chris Ting (AUS-5)

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Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111)

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Racing Action

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Why Your FW Starts Need to be Better (Pt II) Tue, 15 Jun 2010 02:32:18 +0000 Without a doubt, the most crucial part of any race is how you get off the startline. Sailing off the line at the favoured end in clean air, ahead of...

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Without a doubt, the most crucial part of any race is how you get off the startline. Sailing off the line at the favoured end in clean air, ahead of your competitors allows you to control the fleet in to the first tack and help cement your position in to the first upwind mark. That being said, great starts are one of the most difficult skills to master in windsurfing racing. We have already looked at some basic starting tactics in a previous article, so in this ‘Part II’ of formula windsurfing starts we will revisit some of those ideas and explain them further, as well as introduce some simple ideas on how you can test startlines accurately everytime.

As we discovered in the previous article:

In a fleet of 50 boats, roughly 4-5 sailors will get a great start, another 10 will get an OK start and the rest of the fleet will get a bad start. There is usually not enough “clean air” for everyone to have room to get a great start.

Knowing the theory of how great starts are set up is important and consists of 4 factors. Great starts involve mastering these factors:

  1. Knowing the possible places to start on a line
  2. Working out which end is favoured
  3. Getting a transit
  4. Timing and anticipating the gun

1. Knowing the Possible Places to Start On A Line

For simplicity, a startline can be divided in to 5 areas.

formula windsurfing starts

  • Boat end Starboard start
  • Middle of the line Starboard start
  • Pin end Starboard start
  • Pin end Port start
  • Boat end Port start

Typically, when starting on port tack sailors look for a pin-end start to travel to the right side of the course and/or reduce the number of upwind tacks. Starting in the middle of the line on port is usually a result of having to dip behind Starboard sailors, and thus for simplicity, the line can be just divided in to pin-end and boat-end for port starting.

2. Working Out Which End is Favoured

The most crucial part of the start is being able to quickly and accurately work out which area of the line is the best to start on. A line can be favoured in different areas for more than one reason:

  • The wind direction favours a particular end of the line
  • The position of the first mark favours a particular end of the line
  • A geographical feature or other change effects the wind on a particular side of the course


When testing a startline, keep it simple. Look for ‘major’ advantages; you are not able to pick 1-2 degree changes by eye.

Boat or Pin End?

A quick and easy way to test whether the line is boat, middle or pin end favoured is to sail to a spot about 2-3m directly downwind of the start boat and on Starboard tack, begin a short upwind run from that mark. Look at the angle you are sailing out of the line. If you are able to cross the startline within 10-15m of the starboard you can ‘generally’ say the line is boat favoured. If you take nearly 20-30m to cross the startline from 2-3m downwind of the boat then the line is more favoured towards the pin of the line. Figure 2A shows this drill being performed.

formula windsurfing starts

Remember you are only looking for ‘major’ differences between the favoured ends of the line. The distances shown in blue in Figure 2A should be measured by eye ‘roughly’. On a planing windsurfer you travel too fast to be able to measure individual degrees or metres on the water, so your aim here is to just be able to tell whether the line is boat or pin-end favoured.

Repeat this same drill on port tack from the pin end of the line. Assuming the wind hasn’t changed dramatically since your test at the boat-end, using deduction you should be able to get a better idea of which end of the line is favoured.

*NB. If a line can be crossed easily on Port tack, then the PIN-END will be favoured if you decide to start on Starboard.

Position of the Marks:

A good race director will set the top mark directly upwind of the startline. As we know, courses are not always perfect and marks can sometimes drift, so it’s important you always check upwind from the centre of the startline how the first mark sits in relation to the startline. If the mark is placed dramatically to the left or right side of the course, you may wish to change your start position to get toward the particular side of the course the mark is placed in quicker.

Favoured Side of the Course:

Every location is different and often times there can be a favoured side of the course because of a:

  • A geographical feature (ie, a mountain, shore or river entrance along one side of the course)
  • A tidal feature(ie, a deep channel on one side of the course); or
  • A general wind phenomenon (ie, a seabreeze with less wind out to sea)

If there is a majorly favoured side of the course due to one of the above factors you should investigate whether to change your start position to take advantage and sail to the favoured side of the course quickest.

formula windsurfing starts

In Figure 3A a windward/leeward course with a reach mark is being used. The line is slightly port favoured (notice the direction of the wind) and Sailor 2 has started at the pin end on starboard tack. The first mark has been placed dramatically to the right side of the course, and Sailor 1 has seen this and tacked on to Port for a boat-end port start taking him to the right side of the course quicker and taking advantage of the better angle on Port tack.

This is an example of when a startline may have been Pin-End, Port favoured, but getting to the right side of the course may have been more important, so a boat-end Port start could be utilised.

Relative Abilities:

Something that is often overlooked but is still a crucial factor is understanding and knowing your abilities against other sailors in the fleet. It might not be possible to line-up against every sailor before a race start or you may have never sailed against this fleet before, but where possible, note your pointing angle and speed relative to the sailors you consider your main rivals in the fleet.

It is not always a good idea to start in a position which may give you a direct disadvantage against a rival sailor. An example of this is someone who sails very fast upwind but at a low angle. If that sailor was to start above the line on starboard against a sailor who sailed slower, but pointed much higher, he may not be able to clear the higher pointing sailor and have to dip below them, thus negating the extra speed.

In this instance a better tactic would have been to start just below this high-pointing, slower sailor to blast with extra speed off the startline and be in clear air even with the lower angle upwind.

One of the secrets to a great start is to not have better sailors in close proximity to you who can take your clean air and/or force you to tack early. If you sail in a regular fleet you should have a good idea who the better sailors are and know their strongpoints.

By knowing who the stronger sailors are, you can also identify the WEAKER sailors. When jostling for positions on the startline, you can often find gaps on the line to accelerate in to where the weaker sailors are positioned.

3. Getting A Transit

Once you’ve ascertained where you think you will be starting on the line, it is now important to get a TRANSIT of the startline. A transit is an imaginery line that runs through the startline to a marker on the shore so that at any point you can work out where you are on the startline relative to this marker.

To get your transit, park yourself at the startboat (either on the inside of it if it is a big boat, or on the upwind, outside of it if you can see through the boat to the pin-end buoy standing on your board) and line yourself up with the pin-end buoy and the flagpole on the boat. Imagine a piece of string between each end of the line then extend this mental string all the way to a clearly visible landmark on the horizon. Now that you have that marker on the shore, drift upwind/downwind a few metres and get an idea of how that marker changes in relation to the line.

Getting a reference to your shore marker above and below the line will help if you need to sail over/under someone on the line during the pre-start.

The transit becomes very important in larger fleets with longer startlines. The larger the fleet, generally the ‘transit-sag’ becomes bigger.

The transit-sag effect is that the sailors in the middle of the line will drop 3-4m below the level of the line because they believe they are over the line. This is what makes a ‘middle of the line, starboard start’ quite famous as in planing conditions you can sail over the top of these sailors taking their clean air and creating a gap for you to accelerate in to.

4. Timing & Anticipating the Gun

Syncing your watch correctly with the starter is extremely important. A planing board travels at 8m per second, so if you sync your watch 1 second out you are throwing away 8m at the start which is a huge margin.

The windier it gets, the slower and more distorted sound travels as well as the more difficult it is for the starters on the boat to put the flag up and down. There can always be discrepancies between the sounding of the gun and the flag hitting the top of the flagpole. To make it easier on yourself, stay as close to the starboat as practical for the first warning signal and check the sync on the next signal to make any corrections. If you are downwind 100m from the starboat, by the time the sound of the horn reaches you, you are 1-2 seconds out of sync!

Anticipate the Gun.

Having your watched synced is extremely important for the final step in the ‘great start’. As mentioned earlier, in planing conditions, boards travel at 8m/sec, which makes major changes in direction very difficult. Formula boards are particularly unresponsive when you going from a broad reach to a tight upwind angle as you do when you are running the startline on Starboard tack. It might take you as long as 3 seconds to get up to a good upwind angle out of the start and as long as 8 seconds to reach full speed and angle.

For this reason, in planing conditions (only!) if you are running down the startline you should ‘anticipate’ the starting gun and go on -1 seconds.

Yes, go on -1 seconds.

Why? Firstly because on the formula boards you require the extra second to begin rounding up in to the wind and secondly, because that extra second could give you the extra advantage to the sailors around you on the line, getting your nose in front of them and giving them dirty air instead of them doing it to you!

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Better Buoy Rounding Tue, 27 Apr 2010 12:14:27 +0000 Photo: Eric Bellande Buoy roundings are an important part of any windsurfing race and a key area to make (or lose) places and positions in a race. Done correctly, bottom...

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Photo: Eric Bellande

Buoy roundings are an important part of any windsurfing race and a key area to make (or lose) places and positions in a race. Done correctly, bottom buoy roundings can set up your position for the next upwind beat and create opportunities for passing or protecting a lead early on in the next upwind beat. Top buoy roundings are equally important as they set up the lines taken on the downwind run. Correct buoy roundings involve a small number of steps; here we will discuss them all.

The steps to a correct buoy rounding are:

  1. Line in to the buoy
  2. Unhooking from the harness for control
  3. Shift of body weight to manoeuvre around the buoy
  4. Pumping to accelerate once the buoy is rounded

1. Line in to the Buoy


Rounding the bottom buoy, whether a gate or a single mark, to start the next upwind leg, the line you take in to the buoy will determine your line out of the buoy (as you round it). Starting the next windward leg it is important to get to your maximum upwind angle as soon as possible to gain a safe-leeward position upwind. Sailors behind you will find it difficult to pass you to windward sailing in your dirty air, however if you round the buoy too tight and take longer to start pointing on the new leg you create a space where sailors behind you could get an advantage if they round the buoy tighter.


Figure 1A shows the RIGHT and WRONG lines you can take in to the bottom buoy. The RIGHT line is to head slightly deeper in the last 20-30m before the buoy travelling a few metres below the buoy and then aggressively turning upwind as you round the buoy to make a very tight angle around the buoy. The WRONG line is to head straight to the buoy and as formula boards turn much slower than waveboards it is very difficult to change direction so quickly and you will take a few metres after the buoy to get to your optimum upwind angle.

Figure 1B shows the WRONG line taken in to a buoy which creates a space upwind of the sailor and  the buoy which sailors behind who round the buoy correctly can use to their advantage to gain positions on the next upwind leg. To protect a lead you must take the RIGHT line around the buoy to keep all sailors behind and to leeward of you making it difficult for them to pass you in your dirty air or forcing them to tack away.

The actual distance in metres between the RIGHT and WRONG lines is only approx 4-5m difference. This is not an exact figure but merely an educated guess that the sailor will judge themselves on the water nearing the buoy. When other sailors are in close proximity you must obey all the normal sailing rules and choose the best line in to the buoy that is available given the circumstances.


Rounding the top buoy does not require a particular line in to the buoy. Techniques involved in rounding the top buoy will be discussed in Section 3.

formula windsurfing

In Figure 2A two sailors approach the bottom buoy. Sailor 2 will not likely get clear ahead before the buoy and will have to give Sailor 1 ‘mark-room’, which essentially allows Sailor 1 to pass him to round the buoy.

In this instance, the best option is for Sailor 2 to slow down dramatically, let Sailor 1 gain a distance of 10-15m ahead and then ‘ooch’ downwind as far as possible below the buoy to round extremely tight on the buoy. If you put a little pressure on Sailor 1 they will often take a very tight line in to the buoy and have to round the buoy very wide, creating a space for you to attack on the upwind like in Figure 1B.

Figure 2B shows the path Sailor 2 should take if given this opportunity by the mistake of Sailor 1.

2 & 3. Unhook for Control & Shift Weight Forward


Rounding the bottom buoy in medium to strong wind conditions it is important that you UNHOOK FROM THE HARNESS. Distinct changes in direction on windsurfing boards with large fin sizes creates a large spike in load on the fin which usually causes the board to excessively rail, the nose of the board to lift and become unstable and the board to slow down very quickly. The stronger the wind gets the more this will have an effect and sailors can actually be at risk of crashing due to the behaviour of the board when the fin is maximum loaded.

To help with control, unhook from the harness and keep your legs slightly bent and body weight forward to keep the nose of the board down and keep the speed up. You should be unhooking from the harness 2-4 seconds before you reach the buoy.

As you round the buoy, tilt the rig back aggressively as in doing a tack to get the board to point as soon as you round the buoy.

In lighter winds or if your line in to the buoy is a little too tight, you can throw in a few pumps and ‘ooch’ the board downwind (losing a bit of speed) to get yourself deeper than the buoy to have a good line close to the buoy when you round it. These extra few pumps will mean you are already out of the harness and have your body weight forward for when you round the buoy.


Rounding the upwind buoy and heading to a downwind leg requires footwork and position of the rig to get the board to foot off aggressively downwind. With your front foot, pull up in the strap, lean the rig forward and shift your bodyweight forward for a few seconds while the board turns downwind.

This is the same technique as initiating a gybe, except that the back foot does not move from the back footstrap as in a gybe. This is a ‘sail by feel’ technique and requires the sailor to feel the movement of the board under their feet and apply more pressure when necessary needed to push the board.

4. Pumping to Accelerate


In planing conditions it is important to put in a strong 3-6 pumps after rounding the buoy to get the best angle upwind after the buoy and help accelerate after the change in direction. By pumping and going for maximum height after the buoy, you will make it difficult for the sailors behind you who will usually have to foot-off to get out of your dirty air and lose considerable ground.

In very strong winds it may not always be beneficial to pump however sometimes making 1 pump as you hook yourself in to the harness is good for acceleration.


Training for bottom buoy roundings is very easy and requires little setup.

If you have access to a buoy, place one anywhere in the water.


1-      Practice approaching the buoy from a normal downwind angle 50m from the buoy. As you get 20-30m from the buoy, head deeper to get 4-5m below the normal line in to the buoy then using the techniques discussed above, round the buoy.

2-      After rounding the buoy, sail upwind for 20 seconds to practice getting to maximum height and speed quickly after the buoy.

3- Repeat 10 roundings on one tack, then 10 roundings on the other tack. (Despite most courses having port rounding of the buoys, with gate courses you will inevitably need to be skilled in round buoys both directions).


1- With a partner, repeat the same as Drill 1 but start the run to the buoy from 150m away. Run in close proximity with your partner, fighting to see who can get to the buoy first. 30m from the buoy make a decision about who will arrive at the buoy first.

2- If you have overlap nearing the buoy, force yourself downwind as in the techniques discussed and try and hold your height and position around the buoy.
If you are behind, practice the techniques in Section 1.

3- After rounding the buoy, sail upwind for 30 seconds to practice holding your position with a sailor behind or in front of you. 

4- Repeat 10 roundings on one tack, then 10 roundings on the other tack. (Despite most courses having port rounding of the buoys, with gate courses you will inevitably need to be skilled in round buoys both directions).

Final Notes:

If you do not have the ability to use a buoy, you can practice Drill 1 with an imaginary buoy; just pick a spot on the water to practice the techniques. Be conscious of starting the manoeuvre on the exact spot on the water you have chosen.

Also remember that in the Windsurfing Appendix B rules (which we use), we are ALLOWED to touch the buoys.

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Tuning Your Kit for High Wind Tue, 16 Feb 2010 05:23:07 +0000 High wind Formula racing! It doesn’t get any more exciting, challenging, fulfilling and hardcore than that! With class rules that allow the Formula boards to be raced in up to...

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High wind Formula racing! It doesn’t get any more exciting, challenging, fulfilling and hardcore than that! With class rules that allow the Formula boards to be raced in up to 35 knots, its important that regular racers learn the do’s and do not’s of setting up their equipment to stay in control in high winds. Here we will discuss different tuning ideas and suggestions to get the most out of your equipment as well as sharing some secrets that most sailors wouldn’t know that the pros are doing to keep their gear on the water and going fast.

  1. Downhaul Settings
  2. Outhaul Settings
  3. Batten Tuning
  4. Board Setup
  5. Boom Setup
  6. Technique

1. Downhaul Settings:

All formula sails work best when rigged to the specs on the sail using the correct mast for that sail (except of course when brands print the incorrect sail specs!). In the case of strong winds, it usually is ok to pull on an extra 2-3mm downhaul but very rarely does it help to pull on more than this!

  • A sail which is underdownhauled is unstable, heavy, has no acceleration, feels sluggish and creates a lot of backhand pressure which often creates a lot of spinout on your fin due to the draft being too far back.
  • An overdownhauled sail on the other hand becomes twitchy, unstable, unable to point and feels unresponsive.

Although the tendency for the guys who’ve joined the formula racing from years of slalom racing is to just pull more downhaul, once you’ve exceeded the max-downhaul point for your sail you are actually making it more difficult by pulling more downhaul. Overdownhauling your sail can do two things; 1) release the pressure on the nose of your board, making the board fly out of the water and 2) make the sail feel very twitchy and unstable in your hands.

If you are using a widesleeve modern sail, look at the two battens above and below the boom when rigging. If either of these is ‘s’ bending towards the luff then you are most likely using too much downhaul.

For the best performance, rig you sail to specs and work on the next 5 points to get control of your gear; downhaul is probably the last thing you should resort to in strong winds.

2. Boom Settings:


Outhaul plays a MAJOR role in control in high winds. Put your boom out an extra hole (or two) and make sure your outhaul lines are setup that you can pull a lot of outhaul on. There is a point you will reach that you will start to lose angle with this amount of outhaul pulled on but it will give you control. As you improve, you can start to use less outhaul in the same winds which will give you better angle. See the Batten Tuning section below for more ideas on improving your use of outhaul for control.


Longer harness lines will help in strong winds. Most top sailors are using fixed lines despite the popularity of adjustable lines in different styles of windsurfing such as RS:X and slalom. A good option is to run adjustable lines that stay relatively fixed (ie, are hard to adjust on the fly) as these can be adjusted in between races on the beach fairly easily but still are stiff enough to not slip during races and become too long. A good example is the Neilpryde Adjustable harness lines which are extremely difficult to adjust on the water without breaking the clips, but stay in the length you adjust them to forever if you change them on the beach.


This is an interesting one. A lot of people advise lowering the boom in strong winds for control. This is a technique used in slalom boards where you are not relying on fin and rail pressure to the extent we are on formula boards. Lowering your booom 1-2cm may help for control, but lowering it any more than 1-2cm will actually make sailing more difficult!

Why, you ask?

Lowering the boom shortens the triangle you make between your boom, your arms holding the boom and your legs touching the board. This is the centre of lateral resistance and effects your power-to-weight ratio on a board. A heavier, taller sailor with longer arms, will usually be much faster and more in control in high winds (if all equipment and skill levels are the same). By lowering the boom you are reducing the amount of leverage you have on the board and it actually makes it more difficult to hold on to the sail in strong winds believe it or not. It is liken to the effect of using a board with a smaller tail in high winds, you don’t get the same leverage which makes holding the rig down much easier.

3. Batten Tuning:

This may suprise a lot of people, but many top pros are doing some tricky things with their battens to give them more control in stronger winds and sometimes allow them to hang on to a bigger rig than others out on the course.

When you get very overpowered, most people’s tendency is to pull on a lot of outhaul. This moves the drive of the sail further back which can sometimes make you lose angle upwind and make your sail feel very twitchy. Although most of us would happily exchange a little angle to gain some control, on certain sails it is possible to have both!

Find a piece of 8mm tube batten around 40-60cm long. 8mm is the same diameter as the large section (the opposite  end to the thin tip section). Push this piece of batten in to the batten pocket above the boom whilst still having the original batten in place. With a bit of effort, there is usually enough room to get both pieces in to the batten pocket.

What this does is stiffen the back section of your sail dramatically, which keeps the draft forward on your sail and gives you much more stability. More stability means you might be able to sail in strong winds with the outhaul pulled on only 90%, not 100%!

Generally speaking this is only necessary in some brands of sails. From our experience, Neilpryde and Point-7 sails which have more luff curve than other brands have more neutral back hand pressure and probably wouldn’t benefit from this extra batten. GaastraNorthMauiSails and Severne sails which have a less radical luff shape would be better suited to this idea.

For extra stability you can even add this extra batten to the batten below the boom; with two extra battens in (above and below the boom) you get very good stability in the top end of the windrange however you may lose some sail shape in light winds, so remember to take them out on the light wind days.

4. Board Setup:


The best thing you can do in strong winds which will help the most is to move your track forward. Usually more wind means more waves/chop and much more fin pressure, so the nose of your board will usually start to lift and that’s where you can get in to trouble. Move your track 1-3cm forward and test your board once again. If you can hold it down, keep it there, if not, try it even more forward. Don’t be afraid to move the track all the way to the front, if that is the only way you can keep your board down, then go for it.

Note that the further you move your track forward the harder it is to sail downwind sometimes. This is because with the track all the way forward the nose keeps very flat and downwind in chop it can be harder to get the nose clear of the waves to stop it catching. It is usually much better to be in control upwind rather than downwind in strong winds as there are features on the board that can help with the downwind more than upwind (see below).


Try running your back footstraps a little looser. This will allow you to get your foot much deeper in to the strap which is the equivalent of having a footstrap 5cm further in to towards the middle of the board. If you can’t handle downwind in the outside strap then get in to the chicken strap…

…in high winds you should ALWAYS run a chicken strap. Even if your board is comfortable and your skill level is up to allow you to sail downwind without it (which is usually faster), it’s nice to have one on for the time in between races where you are cruising around; it saves quite a bit of energy.

Find a nice light strap and make sure it is SUPER tight. Having a loose strap for a chicken strap is counter productive as you don’t want your foot completely flat on the back of the board. It is much better to be on the balls of your feet so you can control the railing of your board to help dodge rogue swells and compensate when you get out of control. The tighter you have your chicken strap the more control you have of your board; aim to only have the beginning of your arch in the strap, not your entire foot.

Even better than a chicken strap is a DOUBLE CHICKEN STRAP. These were made popular by the Mike’s Labs boards in San Francisco, who’s owners were used to racing in the strong winds and vicious chop of the Bay area. A double chicken strap allows you to have a strap closer to half way between the outside strap and the centre of your board instead of just being in the middle. This gives the best placement for leverage and control whereas in the middle like a normal chicken strap is a little bit unbalanced.

The new 2010 Exocet and JP FW boards have a double chicken strap feature which is sure to be very popular as it also means the chicken strap can be utilised in much lighter winds as it can sometimes be more effective. Traditionally most other brands have shied away from double chicken straps as it means extra plugs need to be built in to the board which adds weight (as does the extra strap).


Sorry to break it to everyone but there are certain boards which are designed for high winds better than others. As a ‘general’ guide, here are the boards we’ve found to be the best in stronger winds:

  • Gaastra Vapor (all versions)
  • Starboard LWR
  • Exocet Warp (2010)
  • JP 100 Pro
  • Starboard F159, F160 and F161

These boards usually have a combination of vee the length of the board (often all the way to the finbox), wide tails for leverage and concaves to give a smoother ride over the swells. The nose shape also plays a role in a boards abilities in strong winds; all these boards have nose shapes designed to handle strong winds and chop very easily.

5. Fins:

geometrictwistFins play a bigger role than anyone could imagine. It is simply not as simple as saying “I should use a smaller fin” when you go out in strong winds.

You should pay much more attention to the characteristics of fins. A great high wind fin will have a lot of ‘twist’ in the tip. Twist allows the fin to depower when it gets overloaded. Much like the leech of a sail spills off the power in a gust, the tip of the fin spills off the power and stops you getting out of control. The more twist you have in a fin, usually the more controllable it is in high winds if the foil is working, however it is then at the expense of angle upwind if you have too much twist.

Raking your fin (less upright) also helps create more ‘geometric twist’ in a fin, however having a more upright fin will keep the nose of the board down a little. It’s a catch 22. Older style fins like a Deboichet R13 were commonly sailed at +8cm (2.5 degrees from vertical) which helped keep the nose down in stronger winds as this is a fairly upright fin, however, these fins didn’t have a lot of twist and were quite stiff compared to newer fins so aren’t as controllable in strong winds as the new shapes available. The rake can sometimes be a little confusing for some people, so our recommendation is to find the rake (consult your fin maker) that suits your board in light/med winds; you should be safe using that same rake in strong winds but add a little more twist to the fin for control.

Next comes the stiffness. In modern formula boards of the past 4 seasons with wide tails of +78cm at the one-foot-off mark, stiff fins will be the worst thing you can use for control. In the old days (<2005) everyone thought you’d need a stiffer fin in high winds as the soft fins would have too much power. This really isn’t the case as usually stiff fins (from the old days) have much less twist and are very bitey under your feet.

A new, modern, soft fin such as a VMG Blade, Kashy, Virus, Ifju, Z fin or others in certain circumstances create a lot of ‘vertical lift’ under the board which helps keep the nose down and have a better ratio of twist and flex which will help control the board in strong winds. Whereas a lot of guys used to change down to 66cm fins a few years ago, a modern fin will allow you to use even a 70cm in stronger winds than you could imagine.

If you want to learn more about fins then check our previous article on “Everything You Should Know About Formula Fins”.

6. Technique:

Technique plays a major role in all wind strengths in Formula Windsurfing. Where it makes the largest difference, is in strong winds as good technique will help keep you on the water.

The most important part of technique is your STANCE. Arms should be straight, and your body should be hiked out as far as possible from the sail. To hike even, further, you can even try tilting your head to windward as this increases the hike your torso gets. A few points to remember when hiking:

  • Straight arms
  • Shoulders rolled forward (to make your arms longer)
  • Front leg ‘relatively’ straight and back leg slightly bent (see above photo)
  • Forcefully arch your torso backward (it doesn’t need to twist forward, but its ok if you do)
  • Tilt your head to windward to get the torso even further out.

The further you can hike, the better ability you have to absorb the gusts as they hit you and create more leverage against your sail and fin, which helps prevent you getting slammed. This also goes back to the ‘lowering boom’ argument from earlier. My experiences suggest lowering the boom any lower than 1-2cm will take away the leverage you have from your stance and make holding down the sail even harder. Move the track forward, before you move your boom.

Technique Over Chop:

Finally, the biggest liability for sailors in high wind is keeping control of the board as you go over chop and swell. Usually, when overpowered, your board rails excessively at the top of a swell and then spins downwind aggressively as the wind gets under the nose of the board, then you die.

There is a special technique to getting over the swell which is a combination of timing and shifting your body weight. Much like driving a rally car fast is about shifting the weight through the corners, keeping a formula board on the water is about shifting your body weight to compensate for the extra lift over swells.

This is what SHOULD happen:

  1. Nearing the top of the swell – sheet out a TINY bit to reduce power, shift your body weight forward.
  2. Going over the swell – keep the sail slightly unsheeted, BEND YOUR KNEES (all the way to your chin if you need) in time with the wave to absorb the steepness of the swell whilst still keeping your body VERY far forward.
  3. As you enter the crest after the swell – sheet in aggressively and point the board hard in to the wind to compensate for the extra power generated by lifting over the swell.

All that should happen in 2 seconds!

To explain further, each swell you go over you should be bending your knees as the wave moves underneath you to keep the board trimming flat. Much like a mogul skiier uses his knees to absorb the bumps in the snow. Don’t unsheet the sail completely, as this will fly the nose of the board. Simply unsheet 5-10cm to reduce the power in the fin as you go over the swell. Shift your entire body forward (in the harness) about 30cm to help keep the nose of the board down.

If you have no choice but to get airborne over the swell, lift your back foot to raise the back of the board and keep it flat so it is not flipping whilst in the air.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

That’s all you need to know about high-wind formula sailing. The most important part to all this is PRACTICE.

Singlehandedly, the best way I’ve improved my high-wind skills was when everytime I arrived at the beach with +25 knots and all my friends would be rigging slalom. I would rig my 10m and go for a very short blast on the formula board before switching to slalom. Gradually over time I’d get more and more used to the feeling and control in strong winds and be comfortable enough to try new settings in this wind. Then at the next race event it blew +30 knots and I was the only one who was prepared for these kind of winds. It’s that simple. Go get out there!

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HWR vs LWR Wed, 27 Jan 2010 12:06:56 +0000 Being the bigger of the formula board manufacturers Starboard decided to cover their customer market this season by releasing two formula boards instead of the usual one. With the board...

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Being the bigger of the formula board manufacturers Starboard decided to cover their customer market this season by releasing two formula boards instead of the usual one. With the board designs fixed for two years (2010-11), for those who aren’t lucky enough to own both, a difficult decision lies ahead to choose whether the HWR or LWR will be the board under your feet this season. Starboard chose to market these boards specifically tailored to different weight riders; heavy and light, simple right? The numerous posts on forums and emails to this author would have us believe the opposite. So to help everyone with their confusion and to find out the differences between these two boards, we sat down with Starboard/Severne teamrider Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111) whose been in Australia over the January period testing the new boards, to find out his take on what people should be riding this season.

Before we start with Jesper’s comments, let’s go through a few things about the boards for those who don’t already know; starting with the names.

HWR = stands for Heavy Weight Racing
LWR = stands for Light Weight Racing

With the below specs of each board, you can quickly see that the LWR has a larger volume and a smaller tail width. Having a larger board for ‘lighter’ sailors essentially started the confusion as you would think, that a lighter sailor would need a smaller board right?


Some other things to note about the boards is their development pathways. Essentially, the previous 160 and 161 have been very popular boards with many top riders last season, even more so than the later 162 model. Starboard noted this and took the path of developing two very different boards which each show some important characteristics of their predecessors. Despite the new cutouts and tailshape and slightly different rockerline, it’s fair to say that the LWR is a development of the 160, with it’s ‘looser’ feel and smaller tail for blasting off the wind. As the 160 was popular in windier, choppier conditions, so too will the LWR be. The HWR, is a development of the 161 and 162, capturing a few great features of each board whilst making some certain improvements as Jesper will discuss.

So now to Jesper’s comments …

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

After some training in Sydney I may have some insight in to what board would be best for you to choose…


We have all seen that all the boards developed over the last four years are working really well even now. It’s really up to the racer to get the best out of it on the course. Many sailors quickly blame their gear for being slow, but hey, if you are stuck in the 2nd row on the startline – everything is pretty slow right?

I have been testing the HWR and LWR quite a lot in a variety of conditions. Mainly in flat to choppy water – which is pretty much like what the worlds in Argentina will be held in and also what we race in on the international circuit.

The HWR and LWR are two totally different boards, no question about that. The most fun board to ride is the LWR – it reminds me of a slalom board with a narrow tail, round nose and is really just easy to sail. Despite this, I am still choosing the HWR for racing at most events this season!

To put things in perspective I am 189cm tall and 89kg.

The LWR is as I said before, a great board. It will work really well for smaller guys 60-78kg. It rides a lot different than the HWR and depending on the size of the rider you probably want to look in to riding bigger fins in light winds. If the board get’s clear wind it really goes fast and keeps accelerating whilst still being easy. Downwind the board sits high and there is no chance that the nose will ever catch the chop, one can go super deep and fast. If I come to an event where it’s going to be windy each day, I would not make any doubt to register the LWR. The Grand-Prix in Fortaleza, Brazil for example would be the perfect place for that kind of board. Or Łeba, Poland with side/on shore 15-25 knots.

In bigger fleets however, lighter winds and being a bigger rider you definitely want to go for the HWR. Why?! Because this board you can really push to the max. When saying push I mean it really points upwind and you can push on the back leg and it just goes for more angle. If you are stuck in bad air/water there is always a chance where it will become a lot harder on the LWR as you need to go more for speed, especially being a bigger guy. Since everything is settled on the first upwind in most races – you don’t wanna be losing angle and going for speed. I have tried experimenting by getting myself into the worst situation and I can always comeback on the HWR. On the LWR I can too, but to a lesser extent as I need to go for more speed and I lose too much angle.

The HWR takes smaller fins. The tail is powerful compared to the LWR and I am still using 70cm fins on the board at all times. Being a lot wider the board planes really early and you don’t have to bear away too much when pumping onto the plane after tacking or starting.

To summarise:

  • If you are +80kg go for the HWR.
  • If you are <80kg and you usually sail in light winds, go for the HWR.
  • If you live in a place where there is consistent medium winds, like in Sydney where the wind varies from 12-20 knots, go for the HWR.
  • If you live in a windier place with swell and chop (like Fortaleza) go for the LWR.
  • If you live in a light super wind place, like Florida, go for the HWR, regardless of your weight.

I will be using the HWR mostly this season, but for the windy events, I will be on the LWR.

Any questions, you can drop me a mail; find me on

Here is a collection of places you can buy bitcoin online right now.

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The 10-Step Carbon Extender Fri, 16 Oct 2009 02:41:42 +0000 If you’ve been sailing FW for a few seasons then no doubt you’ve broken a mast at some point or know someone who has. Ever wondered what you could do...

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If you’ve been sailing FW for a few seasons then no doubt you’ve broken a mast at some point or know someone who has. Ever wondered what you could do with the broken pieces? With just one ‘bottom section’ you can build yourself a custom carbon extender at any length, which will help prevent you bending your expensive aluminium extension when you are extending it +30cm. In 10 easy steps we will show you how to build an extender out of your broken mast section and impress your friends at the beach.


  • 1x mast bottom section (broken or complete)
  • 1x mast top section (to be used as a hammer!)
  • Hacksaw & sharp knife/blade
  • Sandpaper with block (80-120 grit)
  • Acetone & an old rag
  • Epoxy & Q-Cell Filler
  • 300mm x 200mm piece of 200g per m2 “plain weave” carbon
  • File (the bigger the better)
  • Bank/Credit card (an expired one!)
  • Plastic cup & stirrer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Masking Tape & a Pen
  • Clear Plastic film (any thickness, any size)
  • Tape measure.
  • Glass of beer (optional)

Let’s get to work. I would suggest doing this outside (or in the garage if you’d like to escape your other half).

Figure 1a

Step 1 – Cutting.

Step 1Cut the broken mast section to a length of 460mm (obviously one end is the bottom of the mast) – important to make the cut square to the edge of the section (otherwise in use the mast will bear on a point instead of the full circumference – refer Step 9.).  You can check by putting the cut edge against the bottom of a mast and marking the high points; sand the high points using 80 grit on a sanding block.

Step 2 – Sliding.

Step 2Select the section to use as the spigot which needs to be 270mm long (pink section in Figure 1a).  The mast has a taper starting at about 600-900mm above the base.  Slide the ferrule of the broken mast through the mast extender from the bottom until it is a firm fit.  Mark 150mm above the top of the mast extender; this is approximately the top of the spigot.  Remove the broken mast and mark the 270mm spigot + 50mm both ends of the proposed spigot. I use the masking tape to make these markings.

Step 3 – Knife Me.

Step 3Remove any plastic film/stickers/graphics on the mast so that carbon is exposed (best to use the sharp knife/blade to scrape and remove any film).   Give the spigot  a clean with the acetone to remove any glue used on the film and then a light sand to remove any high spots.  Now slide the broken mast inside the mast extender, get a firm fit – maybe force it a little and then re-mark 150mm above the top of the mast extender.  This point may have moved from the mark you made in Step 2. After you have removed the film and given it a sand, remove the broken mast.

Step 4 – More Cutting.

Step 4Cut the mast 270mm below the mark made in Step 3. Next, cut the broken mast 50mm above the mark made in step 3.  Now the spigot will be 270mm long + 50mm at the top as a contingency that you will remove later (Step 6) after the spigot is glued to the mast extender.

Step 5 – Cleaning & Peanut Butter

Step 5Clean the inside of the top of the mast extender and the outside of the bottom of the spigot with acetone.  In your plastic cup, mix up an adhesive paste using epoxy and Q-cell (filler) to the consistency of soft peanut butter and coat both surfaces with this adhesive.  Slide the spigot up from the bottom until you have 150mm + 50mm of contingency extending above the top of the mast extender.  Now with a rag and acetone clean any adhesive on the inside of the mast extender below the spigot (otherwise it will foul the adjustable mast extension).

Step 6 – Cutting? Oh yes we do.

Step 6When the adhesive is set, cut the extension of the spigot to length – 150mm above the tip of the mast extender.  Next repeat Steps 2. 3. 4. & 5 for the reinforcing cylinder (blue section in Figure 1a).  Tap the reinforcing cylinder into position with a mast top section.  Important to get a firm fit;  it will not be perfect as the taper angles vary slightly, but it needs to be firm!

Step 7 – Carbon Time!

Step 7When Step 6 is complete before the adhesive sets, you can then build up the diameter of the spigot where it extends inside the mast.  As this section is tapered use 1 layer of carbon reinforcement 150mm long and then a second wrap 75mm long (carbon rectangular strips will be approx 170mm wide – circumference of spigot + 10mm overlap).  Mask the top 50mm of the mast extender to avoid painting with epoxy in the next step.  Give the spigot a light sand and then clean with acetone. Wet-out the carbon with epoxy resin on a film of plastic and then use your bank card to remove the surplus resin.    Apply a light coat of epoxy resin to the surface of the spigot and then lay-up the carbon over the spigot using a gloved hand.  Now you need a strip of clear plastic about 40mm wide that you will wind tightly around the carbon overlapping the proceeding layer by 50%.  If you cannot find plastic, use insulation tape (do not use masking tape – it will stick to the carbon).

This plastic/tape clamps the carbon around the spigot to ensure a good adhesion and squeeze out the air and surplus resin that may be entrapped below the carbon.  Do this step carefully so that the carbon threads in the weave remain straight (If you try to tighten too much the carbon layer will twist around the spigot).  Position the lap in the top layer at 900 to the lap in the bottom layer.

Step 8 – File Me!

Step 8After the epoxy has cured, use a file or sand paper to remove surplus epoxy at the step where the mast touches the mast extender.  It is important to have a well defined step to seat against the bottom of the mast.  Now sand the carbon layers on the spigot until the mast will fit; it is preferable to have a firm fit not sloppy. You will need to sand the lapped areas first to remove high spots.  I find it best to get a strip of sandpaper about 50mm wide, 250mm long and use it like you would polish your shoes (covering half a circumference).

Step 9 – More Filing.

Step 9When the mast will slide over the spigot check that you have good contact around the full circumference at the step; you may need to use a file to remove any high spots.

Step 10 – Oh yes!

Step 10Drink your glass of beer.


Use a pair of disposal gloves to avoid getting epoxy or acetone in contact with your skin.  Step 7 is quite messy as you will have to handle the wet epoxy carbon laminate.  If you get epoxy on your skin it is preferable to use a laundry power to remove the epoxy – not acetone as it is absorbed through your skin and will lodge in you kidneys.

Photos by James Briggs & Sean O’Brien

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Recovering Lost Races Mon, 22 Jun 2009 01:45:36 +0000 Photo: Rob Plim No doubt, nailing the start of any race is one of the most important factors in winning windsurfing races. Starting well requires great board handling skills, a...

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Photo: Rob Plim

No doubt, nailing the start of any race is one of the most important factors in winning windsurfing races. Starting well requires great board handling skills, a good knowledge of the conditions and the fastest lanes around the course as well as nerves of steel and a tiny bit of guts. A great start usually paves the way for a great race as everyone behind you is fighting in your dirty air. But what happens when you don’t get a good start? No matter how much preparation you do, there can always be some unforseable disaster such as other boards crashing around you, sudden drastic wind changes that leave you stuck on the line or even a bit of carelessness on your behalf. So what do you do when you’re left floundering on the startline after the gun? Do you give up? Or do you shift gears and go on the comeback trail? This article we look at adjusting your game plan to minimise the damage done in a bad start.

This article is adapted from a great article in the latest Australian Sailing Magazine (June/July 2009). The article was written by 1992 America’s Cup winning tactician David Dellenbaugh and originally published in Speed & Smarts, a newsletter by David on tactics, rules and boathandling. We have adapted it for Formula Windsurfers.

When your position on the race course suddenly goes pear-shaped, it’s time to change gears and re-adjust your game plan. It’s important not to throwaway your original race strategy, but consider making a few adjustments:

Take A Moment

Before you start punching holes in your sail or sailing back to the beach without so much as even attempting one upwind beat, take a moment to assess your current situation.

  • Is this early or late in the race series?
  • Do you already have a discard?
  • How good is your boardspeed in relation to others on the course?
  • How confident are you in your pre-race strategic plan?

Why you should ask yourself these questions is to do with how much “risk” you would want to be applying when you get back on the comeback trail in the race. If you already have a few bad discards, it’s probably not worth risking everything to get back the bullet in this race.


Photo: Bofur Viganj

Evaluate Your Risk

In any moment in a race, especially when you’ve had a terrible start, you must decide how much risk to take. Are you willing to go out on a limb and take a flyer out to one far corner of the course? Sure, it might be a winner and you’re back with the leading pack at the top mark, but it could just as easily be a loser, and you’ve wasted a chance to get a solid recovery score which will help consolidate your regatta results sheet. As a rule of thumb, when it’s early in the event (depending on how many races will be run at this regatta), you should generally take fewer risks. If you are recovering from a bad start, try to sail to your strengths; if you have good boardspeed, use that with one-on-one tactics to pass each board in front of you at a time. Taking large risks early on in the race can sometimes be a disaster. When you get closer to the finish line (eg, Lap 2) it’s time to start taking more risks to get the points you need.

A good example of this is if after your bad start, you see most of the fleet heading left on starboard tack. There is a one in three chance (33%) the right side could pay off. These odds are probably not high enough to take the right side on the first beat, however, if you are still doing poorly on the second lap, it might be worth giving the right side a try.

Minimise The Damage

Not making simple tactical mistakes is always good, but it’s even more important when you are behind in a race. Usually, the leaders in a race are further spread apart, so taking risks to get from 3rd to 1st doesn’t have much damage associated with failing. When you are down the back of the fleet, there is much more traffic and dirty air; the boards are usually closer together so small mistakes can result in larger damages.

When you get behind in a start, resist the urge to get frustrated and go for impulsive tactics. Sure, a bit of frustration is great for getting your adrenaline up, but don’t let it put blinkers on your race strategy. When you are behind, be patient and always pay attention to the boards in front of you to see the mistakes they are making and avoid them. It’s very easy to pick the best areas of the course for wind when you are watching the boards in front of you sail in to a big hole or a gust. Avoid making mistakes by sticking to your strengths and pass the boards in front of you when they make mistakes.


Photo: Bofur Viganj

Strategy or Tactics?

When you are playing catch up, another decision you will have to make is whether to focus on strategy (wind shifts) or tactics (other boards). Both are important, but which to favour depends mostly on whereabouts you are in the race. Immediately after a bad start, don’t worry about other boards, get as quickly as you can to the favoured side of the course and close the distance on the rest of the fleet.

As you get closer to the finish line, the boards are spread out and you begin to run out of time to make large strategic plans. The second lap is when you should switch into tactical mode and start racing the boards immediately around you.


Don’t Throw Your Plan Away!

Many sailors often spend a long time before the start of the day’s racing collecting information out on the course about the wind, current, startline etc to find out which side of the first beat is favoured. But if they get a bad start they often seem very willing to forget about this information and head to the other side of the course. This often doesn’t make sense. Unless something changed in the start, the side that was favoured before, should still be just as favoured afterwards; if you decide to go to the other side of the course – you might be putting yourself even further behind!

A common example of this is getting buried on starboard tack on the startline and then tacking on to port to get clear air – the sailor then usually sails to the right side of the course instead of tacking back on to starboard when he’s clear of the starting boards (see Figure 1a for a diagram of this). If the right side isn’t favoured – why sail to it? One tack should take you roughly 8 seconds, at 8m/sec speed (average planing speed for a FW board) you would only lose 64m. Be aware that on a normal 1200m windward/leeward course (taking 15-20 mins) you would lose MORE than 64m by sailing to the non-favoured side of the course.

If your pre-start race plan said to go left, you might consider changing your mind after a bad start and going right when:

  • You only had a slight preference for the left;
  • Going right is the only way to get clear air (but it’s usually a bad sign and a risky strategy, if everyone else is going left); or,
  • Conditions changed after the pre-start.

End Note

Racing windsurfers is a very mental game. Very few sports place such a high value on sharp analytical thnking, so it is suprising that sailors don’t focus more on psychological training (we hope to get some more articles about ‘psychology’ on here in the future). A sailor can have the fastest gear and the best fin on the planet, but this doesn’t help you if you are ‘psyched out’ of the starts. It is difficult enough to remain focused when things are going right on the race course, let alone when they go wrong. Take a moment to read through this article again and hopefully having some more informed ideas about ‘what to do’ when it all goes pear-shaped, will give you that confidence boost you need to get back in to the race.

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The Ultimate FW Board Tuning Guide Thu, 02 Apr 2009 12:55:22 +0000 In late 2007, the IFWC elected to lock the registration of Formula Boards for 2 years, meaning we’d all be riding the same boards in 2009 as we had been...

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In late 2007, the IFWC elected to lock the registration of Formula Boards for 2 years, meaning we’d all be riding the same boards in 2009 as we had been in 2008. Now, after a full season on the current boards, there exists an unprecedented opportunity to have your board ‘already’ dialled in for the new 2009 season. So, in order to help you to go faster, here at CarbonSugar we’ve asked some of the sports’ top professional FW sailors, to share their settings and opinions on the boards they are riding in both 2008 and 2009. Coupled with precise measurements and some inside information about the development of each board, here we present the most comprehensive current formula board tuning guide available anywhere on the internet; everything from mast-track, footstrap and boom positions, to recommended fins and cutout plate strategies. Enjoy!

There were 8 boards registered with ISAF for use on the FW circuit. These included, the F2 FX-Z/FX-VI, Mike’s Lab L8, Starboard F162/Apollo, Gaastra Vapor, Lorch Thunderbird Formula F1 and the Exocet Warp Formula 100. We haven’t had access to all of these boards as some of them weren’t available in the countries we tested in or weren’t properly represented on the FW Pro Circuit during 2008, so for the purpose of this tuning guide we’ve only reviewed the more mainstream and widely available of the boards which included, Starboard F162, Gaastra Vapor, F2 FX-Z/FX-VI, Exocet Warp Formula 100.

The riders interviewed for this tuning guide include:

  • Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111)
  • Gonzalo Costa-Hoevel (ARG-3)
  • Steve Allen (AUS-0)
  • Sean O’Brien (AUS-120)
  • Allison Shreeve (AUS-911)
  • Dennis Littel (NED-13)
  • Markus Bouman (NED-6)
  • Steve Bodner (USA-4)
[table “” not found /]

* right now, we haven’t been able to get access to any of the new F2 boards for measurement. If someone would like to supply these measurements, that would be great! Email them to Sean.


We’ve supplied fin suggestions based on the fins the riders have previously tried with the boards. Its possibly that many different styles of fins will work with each board. We’re not suggesting you need have one of the suggested fins or you are wasting your time, merely that if you had already decided to buy a fin, here’s some helpful suggestions on model. We’ve tried to suggest a model from each brand but obviously not every fin was available to every rider. Consult your fin maker for more specifics before making a decision.

Mast-track settings and boom-height will change dramatically based on the fin you are using. We have given the settings as a ‘guide’ only. Start with our settings and then make adjustments to your own preferences and sailing styles.

Starboard F162 / FWOD

Starboard F162 Formula Board

Starboard released two versions of their F162 board. The second version, released mid way through 2008, was an identical board given the graphics of FWOD (Formula Windsurfing One-Design, pictured left) as Starboard made a bid to create the new Olympic Windsurfing equipment for the 2012 Olympics. Although Starboard always maintained the shapes were identical, there was some speculation that the rocker lines were changed on the newer FWOD versions (weweren’t able to find this on the boards we measured however) to give them less flat towards the tail however, the main feature riders will notice is that the new F162’s or FWOD versions, sport a thicker grey paint and logo on the bottom of the board, either to stay with ISAF’s policies on Olympic equipment being difficult to modify by sanding or to help with early problems they had with the board with the veneer of the bottom of the boards weeping.

The F162 came under early criticism from the general public on the windsurfing forums that the board wasn’t performing well compared to its competitor’s boards, however, after a 12 months on the market it would appear now that it was just a case of sailors not realising how different this board was to its predecessors and not tuning the board correctly.


Compared to the F160/F161 Starboards, the new F162 is considerably wider in the tail and has a wider and thinner nose, with considerably less nose-rocker leading up to the front of the board. The concept behind the thinner and flatter nose, was to aid with the ‘sticking’ problems that the 160 and to some extent the 161 had downwind, whereby the big and bulky noses of these boards would catch each wave and slow the board down. This new nose has been quite successful in improving downwind speed on the F162 even with the wider tail, which although helps immensely with upwind ability, the wider the tail, the more wetted surface-area you are dragging downwind.

This board sails incredibly ‘flat’, meaning that the nose sticks to the water and the board feels very rigid and stiff under your feet.  Because of the flat nose-rocker, you need to be mindful of always trying to set up your gear to keep the nose clear of the water. Even with good rail pressure, without the nose lifting you can produce too much leeward rail engagement, which slows the board down. As a result, the best tuning settings are ones that free the nose and help to rail the board.


No doubt, with the ‘flat’ characteristics this board has when it sails makes fin choice a lot more critical then previous Starboard boards. The F162 requires an extremely powerful fin to help rail the board and lift the nose to get the board to ‘free up’ and stop sticking to the water. Don’t mistake a powerful fin for simply just an ‘upright’ fin; these are two different things. What the board requires is a powerful fin and the best way to do this is to try fins with little to no ‘geometric twist’ and torsionally stiff. The best fins showing these characteristics are the Kashy XS/XXS, VMG Blades ‘K’ model and Hurricane FRB6 with ‘0’ twist. During testing this board we found the Deboichet R20 not powerful enough to keep the nose of the board lifting.

The fins we recommended for this board are currently:
Light Winds:

– Kashy 72/70 XS
– Ifju LWXS 70*
– VMG Blades K76/70
– Hurricane FRB6 ‘680’ S- 72/70

Strong Winds:

– Kashy 70cm XS
– Ifju LWXS 70
– VMG Blades K70
– Hurricane FRB6 ‘680’ S- 70


*We hadn’t tried a cutdown Ifju at the time of testing. But presumably they would be as good as the 70.

Starboard F162 Formula Board

In lightwinds, the tail width of this board will allow cutdown fins up to 72/76cm however most of the riders using this board used 72/74cm fins. The board requires a lot of power both from your fin and also from your sail, so it is recommended in light/medium winds to always use the biggest sail possible. Pro rider Jesper Vesterstrøm suggested he used his 11.8m sail up to 18 knots which is higher than other riders on other boards.  The extra power from your sail will help generate the lift the board needs to rail and also help power the bigger cutdown fins you are using.


This board sails very flat, so to counteract this characteristic you need to get all the power and leverage towards the back of the board. Start with the mast-track all the way in the back (with your plate covering the serial number even) and straps in the back holes (front and back straps). Your boom height will depend on your style, however it is recommended to use as higher boom height as possible to help lift the nose of the board. Using larger cutdown fins, may cause the nose to sit lower in the water due to the amount of vertical-lift they produce; having a high boom, straps and mast-track back will help to counteract the fin and the boards insitence to keep sailing flat.

In stronger winds, the mast-track can be moved forward to aid with control, however it is not recommended to go much further than the middle of the track, even in hurricane conditions.

[table “” not found /]

Overall, this is a very comfortable board to sail and the specified weights of the boards we measured were all within tolerances. It may require a little bit more tuning than other boards if you have been riding the previous Starboard FW boards as the F162 is a very different animal to its predecessors.

Gaastra Vapor Racing

Gaastra Vapor BoardGaastra entered the Formula Board market quite late, with the Vapor Racing 2008 board their first ever FW board. Shaped by Tabou shaper Fabien Vollenweider and developed by Steve Allen (AUS-0) and Hubert Mokrzycki (POL-25), Gaastra were pretty quick to snag a good market share of the FW boards sold in 2008, even if it took them 10 months to acknowledge the board even existed on their website!


We’ve written a more in depth review of the Gaastra board which you can read here, however, the fins have changed immensely since that article was published and we recommend using the settings mentioned below rather than in the previous review.

The general characteristics of the Vapor board are that its got a nice amount of scoop-rocker, a very wide tail, similar (which we like!) cutouts to the F162 and a very well designed nose which has just the right amount of vee/concave and thin outline built in to it to make this board a real performer downwind, even in strong winds.

The board arguably feels similar under the feet to a Starboard F160, however, with the wider tail, the board feels much more ‘free’ even in light winds. It is a very ‘aggressive’ board, meaning that the nose rides high in the water and the board feels very twitchy and responsive under your feet. Although, there will be no problems with control, even in high winds, with this board, the general ride characteristics are that the board is extremely loose and ‘flighty’ with the nose being lifted easily and fin/rail pressure being generated easily. All the tuning settings for this board are to keep the nose tracking straight without bobbing up and down which is can do with the wrong mast-track position. This is one of the few boards that is not very fin specific, almost any fin will work and feel comfortable with the board, which is a great attribut to its design.


As we mentioned, this board works well with almost any from an old Deboichet R13 up to the latest Kashy/VMG etc super soft fins. With the very forgiving feeling this board has in high winds and the safety the nose of this board creates when sailing downwind in big swell, it will be possible to use much larger fins in higher winds with the Vapor board. We found the best fins suited to this board are the newer, much softer, swept-back fins such as Kashy, VMG Blades, Deboichet R20 and Hurricane FRB6 as these fins create a bit of vertical lift under the board which helps to keep the nose down a little and under control.

Different to the Starboard F162, you don’t need as much power from the fin to generate rail pressure with this board, so we recommend getting fins with maximum amount of twist in the tip which will help depower and settle the board down when the fin loads up in high winds and will also allow a much more comfortable and smooth ride downwind at deeper angles.

The fins we recommended for this board are currently:
Light Winds:

– Kashy 74/70 XS
– Ifju LWXS
– VMG Blades K76/70 (Gaastra model)
– Hurricane FRB6 ‘682’ S- 72/70
– Deboichet R20


Strong Winds:

– Kashy 70cm XS
– Ifju LWXS
– VMG Blades K73 or K70 (Gaastra model)
– Hurricane FRB6 ‘682’ S- 70
– Deboichet R20


With a 12m sail, the mast-track should sit in the middle of the track. Any further back and you begin to stall the board as it does not require the track so far back to lift the nose, the shape of the board does this automatically. As it is quite an aggressive board, when the wind gets up you need to move the track forward to keep control of the nose. With the track 2-3cm further forward than centre, the board comes in to its own in strong winds, with a very comfortable and easy ride, despite how responsive the board feels under your feet. It might be possible to stay in the outside straps in strong winds much longer on this board compared with any other, due to its nose shape and wide tail. Straps should always be in the back holes on this board and boom height needs to be as high as comfortable.

We recommend running a higher boom and mast-track further forward to keep the nose at the optimum control level. If you were to move your mast-track further back than middle (to help lift the nose) and then run your boom lower to compensate, the board seems to ‘stall’ a little and be slower to get planing.

[table “” not found /]

Overall, Gaastra have done a very good job providing one of the few boards this season that is as fast as it is easy to sail and tune. Any fin, any sail and any sized rider will suit this board.

Exocet Warp Formula 100

Exocet Warp Formula 100 Formula BoardIt was said that Exocet’s Patrice Belbeoch developed the Warp Formula 100 entirely on his own without testing against another rider or another board brand. Whether that is true or not, Patrice certainly came up with a very different board for the 2008 season, turning away from trends or copying other designs and creating one of the most talked about boards in 2008. With its slick carbon look and black paint, the new Exocet, aka the “Black Machine” turned a few heads this year when Argentinian rider Gonzalo Costa-Hoevel ended his long-term deal with F2 to ride the new Exocet.


The first thing to notice about this board is the weight. At its ISAF registered weight, the Warp Formula is nearly 1kg lighter than than any other board on the market and we’ve found by weighing a number of different boards the gap could even be more than 1kg.

Much like the F162, the Exocet sails extremely flat, with the nose sticking to the water, however this characteristic is due much more to the underside of the board’s shape. There is very little rocker and concave in this board and very little nose-rocker towards the front. Exocet have widened the tail of this board immensely and the Exocet has become the widest tailed board behind the new F2’s, with an extra 1cm over the F162 and 2cm over the Vapor at the 30cm off mark.

The board has a similar sailing feeling to the F162 upwind in that the board sails incredibly ‘flat’ with the nose sticking to the water, however it feels a lot more stiff and rigid under your feet than the F162, probably due to the wider tail and flatter rockerline. With the super light weight, the board planes up considerably earlier than other boards with an 11m sail and has extremely good upwind angles in lightwind with its flat bottom shape. The nose appears to stick a little downwind in stronger breezes however this can be fine-tuned with the right fins and setup.


Much like the Vapor board, the Exocet’s strengths are that it appears to suit a variety of fins. Everything from older R13 fins up to the latest Kashy/VMG etc super soft fins. The extra width in the tail allows the rider to use a big fin in stronger breezes however the fin must be working to help lift the nose of the board otherwise it could be counter-productive. Different fins give this board a different riding style. Using more traditional fins such as the R13, the board feels incredibly stiff under your feet and generates a lot of lift and speed upwind. As the R13 is a fin that generates a lot of ‘railing’ very easily downwind, we found this fin to give almost the best performance downwind in a variety of windstrengths as it helped rail the board which could clear the ‘sucking’ nose of swells and also reduce the wetted surface area of the board downwind; decreasing drag.

Despite what fin you decide to use, the fin needs to have considerably less rake than other board models. A fin that is less upright will help to lift the nose of the board and may also generate a little more geometric twist in the fin which can help with speed downwind and giving the board a more comfortable ride downwind.

The fins we recommended for this board are currently:
Light Winds:

– Kashy 72/70 XS (rake 4.5 deg)
– VMG Blades K73/70 (rake 5 deg)
– Deboichet R13 S– 70 (rake +4)
– Deboichet R20 70 (rake +4)


Strong Winds:

– Kashy 72/70 XS (rake 4.5 deg)
– VMG Blades K70 or K68 (rake 5 deg)
– Deboichet R13 S– 70 (rake +4)
– Deboichet R20 70 (rake +4)


The mast-track on this board needs to be run as far back as possible at all times; even in strong winds. The same goes for the footstraps. The reason being, upwind you need to release the nose of the board and having your setup all in the back with maximum pressure on your fin will help to generate the rail pressure needed to lift the nose of the board. Downwind, this board is susceptible to the nose catching waves and slowing down. To counteract this you must get your weight centralised over the back of the board and aggresively rail the board with your feet. Hitting the swell at an angle, whilst the board is extremely railed, will help reduce drag and improve your speed downwind. Fin choice will help with this and one of the main reasons we’ve included the R13 fin with this board is that it is arguably the best fin to generate the rail pressure needed to rail this board downwind and ‘fly the fin’.

On another note, there has been mixed responses as to whether this smaller, lighter board can handle a 12m. The Exocet feels lower on volume than other boards on the market (even though on paper, it is even bigger than some of the other baords) because the overall thickness of the board is less at the the tail and the flatter rockline makes the board appear to sit lower in the water. Although, Gonzalo has been using 12m successfully in light winds in the early part of this season, some heavier riders might find this board a little harder to get planing with the bigger rigs because the board will stall when the nose is pushed down during pumping.

[table “” not found /]

Overall, Exocet have done a great job with this board and provided an interesting competitor to the F162, Vapor and F2 boards. This board, might have more advantages for lighter riders as it ‘may’ have more potential for early planing used with an 11m sail in lighter winds. It is a very easy board to sail/trim upwind however might require a bit more tuning downwind to get the best speed out of the board.


F2 - FX-Z Formula BoardF2 did something unusual in response to the IFWC’s two-year board design lock; they registered two boards, with the FX-VI being produced early on for the 2008 season and the FX-Z only being made available to the ‘general’ consumer much later in the 2008 season. Although the boards share some common characteristics, they are two different boards, with F2 shaper Patrik Diethelm working with Gonzalo Costa-Hoevel on the boards before Gonzalo switched to the Exocet team halfway through 2008. The boards appear to have followed two completely different development paths, each following on from the 2006 and the 2007 F2 boards, which were very different in concept.

For the purpose of describing the general characteristics, we will describe both the FX-Z and FX-VI at once.


Compared to the other boards on the market, the major design feature of the F2’s is their incredibly wide tails, with the Z being slightly wider than the VI and both being almost 5cm wider than any other board at the one foot off mark. Both boards sport a very rounded outline in their tail and a lower overall scoop-rocker than previous F2 boards which allows them to have good early planing ability despite the drag of the extra tail width.

Looking at both the boards, they appear very square as the tail is almost the width of the nose, but on the water is where they show their abilities. Both boards have a very ‘aggressive’ sailing style which is a little bit more technical to sail comfortably than other boards on the market. The F2 boards are easily railed with their flat vee section in the tail and very sharp rails in the middle however this can also make the boards feel very ‘flighty’ in stronger winds and chop and more mast-track forward pressure is needed to keep the nose down.

It is probably a fair comment that these are both ‘lightwind’ specialist boards. With the added tail width, it’s possible to run fins bigger than ever before (Pro Rider Dennis Littel used an 83cm cutdown Kashy fin in light winds with the FX-Z in 2008) as the added leverage from the board’s tail width allows greater control. The majority of riders will be using much larger cutdown fins in 2009 as large (+76cm) cutdowns are still relatively new on the market. To some extent, the F2 boards have helped drive the need for bigger cutdown fins in other boards on the market.

In stronger winds these boards can become a little more difficult to sail as they require a taller and heavier rider who can use their height to leverage over the board to keep control and stop the board from flying the nose; especially downwind. Of course, the wider the tail the more leverage you get against the fin but also more drag you get whilst sailing. It is a tough comprimise with these F2 boards as they definitely have the best lightwind abilities of any board on the market this year but at the expense of being more difficult in stronger winds and a little more technical to keep the speed up downwind as the tail seems to suck a little on the downwind legs.

F2 recommends the VI as the choice for lighter sailors and the Z for heavier/taller sailors. This is a good recommendation as generally speaking, most of the taller, heavier riders on the tour used the Z versus the smaller guys using the VI when they had both to choose from.


F2 FX-VI Formula Board 2009As usual, the F2’s sport the booster pipes and adjustable cutout plates to help with the tuning difficulties downwind. The concept behind the booster pipes and cutout plates have always generated a lot of discussion in the FW world and many theories are out there as to their effectiveness. Originally, when the pipes were brought in to their FW and slalom range in 2006, F2 stated that the pipes were to eliminate the vacuum created in the large tail cutouts while travelling at speed. From testing the boards in the past seasons that have used the pipes, its been more apparent that the pipes play a better role in reducing the vacuum at low speeds especially when trying to pump on to the plane. The same can be said for the current boards, as the tail width does have the propencity to ‘suck’ to the water whilst trying to initiate planing.

The cutout plates, give the rider four options (with plastic ringed spacers allowing the adjustments) by either using no plates, or putting 1-3 rings in between them to make the cutout depth smaller. All of our test riders found the board performed best with 2 rings in on both boards; in either strong or light winds, upwind or downwind.


No doubt, with the insane tail width of these boards, it’s possible to use bigger fins than ever before. We had tested a smaller amount of fins out with these boards so there may be many more options available, but for tuning purposes, fins that work with the VI will work in the Z. Softer tipped and fins with a little bit more ‘geometric twist’ are a must with these boards to help release the board a little bit from the water and help it to rail. The fins need to be fast to generate the best lift but also to be powerful to help rail the board downwind. The best fins showing these characteristics are the Kashy XS/XXS, VMG Blades ‘K’ and ‘B’ models, the R20 and Ifju LW models.

The fins we recommended for this board are currently:
Light Winds:

– Kashy 78-80/70 XS
– Ifju LWXS 70*
– VMG Blades K78/70, B78/70
– Deboichet R20

Strong Winds:

– Kashy 70cm XS
– Ifju LWXS 70
– VMG Blades K70
– Deboichet R20



[table “” not found /]


[table “” not found /]

We hope you are able to use this guide to better tune your boards in 2009. CarbonSugar would like to stress that it is actually a ‘guide’ and not a definitive tuning methodology. Everyone is different and we only sampled a small number of fins, so please our recommendations as a basis to begin tuning and try your own settings to see if they are faster.

Feel free to post your comments/suggestions and personal experiences about the boards in the comments so the discussion can be built on.

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Sneak Peek at VMG Blades Mon, 09 Feb 2009 10:38:46 +0000 In recent seasons the number of worldwide custom fin manufacturers has increased and sailors around the world have begun to see new fin names popping up on equipment lists on...

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In recent seasons the number of worldwide custom fin manufacturers has increased and sailors around the world have begun to see new fin names popping up on equipment lists on the World Tour Events. One of those names that has been popping up in recent times is VMG Blades, a new fin company based in Australia with origins from the work of Boogie at who specialise in high-end, full-custom boutique carbon FW fins made at a reasonable price. CarbonSugar caught up with Chris Ting from VMG Blades to have a ‘sneak-peek’ at what these fins are about and to find out how we can all get one under our feet in 2009. Read on to enjoy the full interview with Chris …

How did you get into the fin game?

I’ve always been active in sailing; both racing competitively and building equipment. I’ve built my own windsurfers (everything from Formula to Speed) and even a state of the art Sports Yachts back in 1993, which was featured on the cover of September 1998 “Australian Sailing Magazine” (see below).

Anyhow, I guess it was no surprise that I started talking with Boogie at C3 Fins back in 2002. C3 Fins had just won the FW World’s with Kevin Pritchard (USA-3). I became a bit more involved, by providing feedback and occasionally inputting into the development. When Boogie retired from making FW fins in 2006, he offered to sell us his IP and tooling.

In the early days we dedicated a lot of time working closely with Boogie, to make sure we re-produced C3’s extremely high standards. From there we started an ongoing development program. We still keep in touch with Boogie to bounce ideas around. (Actually I was just speaking to him yesterday!) I hope we can live up to Boogie’s hard earned reputation.

How do your fins differ from other fins currently on the market?

Originally, C3 molds started with A, B, C, etc, so we have continued along that line. The latest evolution is the ‘K’. We commissioned Boogie to develop the ‘K’ fin using his latest foil design. We then got down to the detail of developing the best layups to meet our performance requirements.

Looking at the current trends on the FW fin market, other designers have moved toward swept-back outlines with very torsionally stiff layups. We decided to go our own way with an outline with almost neutral twist. This gave us better ability to control the twist characteristics of the fin by the layup; without having to combat or trade-off against the ‘geometric twist’ built into a swept-back outline of other fins.

Your fins appear to be ‘lighter’ than other fins on the market? How so?

Yes, that’s usually the first thing a lot of people notice when they pick up one of our fins. We use 100% carbon in the laminate and because of our outline we only have to put the carbon in specifically to control the bend and the twist, not to counteract the twist produced by swept-back outlines. We also cure our fins under extremely high pressure and heat which allows us to get very good fibre to resin ratios which results in a minimal void laminate. We have a few secret ingredients which also help keep the weight of the fin down; developed by C3 Fins. Any weight saving on your rig is a good thing. Have you ever seen a winning skiff with heavy foils these days?

Do you have a range of fins?

We’ve pretty much finalised our range of fins. We already have specific bends of the ‘K’ model for different sailing styles and equipment. We’re developing cutdowns, which help extra light-wind performance and balance the super-wide tails of current boards. For the serious racers, we are continuing to build fins to their personal specifications.
We have just finished testing our latest prototypes and are very pleased with the results. The current fin is extremely competitive. The fins have been described as very easy to sail, with an automatic trim and a feeling of hydro foiling.

Who Is Behind VMG Blades?

Anthony Woodrow, Brett Morris & I.

But Who Are You????

I (Chris Ting, AUS-5) am the actual guy who builds the fins. I’ve been actively racing FW since it began in Australia and I headed over to Portugal for the FW Worlds last September. (I hope I can make it to Spain this year!) I am also the President of the Storm-Riders ( Windsurfing Club in Sydney which organises the big and growing fleet of regular FW racing on the east coast of Australia. VMG Blades is based in Sydney, Australia, testing in Botany Bay. I hope we can see a lot more sailors head over this way and enjoy our windy summers down under.

So when can we order a fin?

Production is limited at the moment. When the doors are fully open and ready for business, I promise CarbonSugar will be the first to know!

In the meantime, if you’d like to enquire about our fins you can get in contact with us at

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