Brand New to Windsurfing

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webguy
mpolski
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Joined: 04/21/2019 - 16:21
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Brand New to Windsurfing

Hey everyone,
I'm new to the sport and am looking for some basic advice on the type of equipment I should get.

I'm 140lbs, am generally pretty athletic and good on my feet, and will be doing all my windsurfing on lakes with pretty low winds (averages around 10 - 15mph).

I don't plan on doing anything nuts out there out of the gate. I'd be happy to just cruise around and would like to get planing if possible.
That said, I do want a board that will give me some flexibility for those windier days or if I advance faster than expected.
In doing some internet research by myself, a Bic Techno 160 or the Starboard Go 161 seem like they might be a good fit, with a 5m sail.
But does that sound right to you experts given the parameters I've listed above? Is one better than the other? Or should I be looking at something entirely different?

Let me know what you think. I've reached out to a couple forums and local shops but haven't been able to get good guidance (most people know a lot about kitesurfing but not much about windsurfing - especially on lakes with less consistent wind).

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide!

Matt

Matt

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nitro
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Joined: 08/26/2003 - 15:07
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Sounds like you looking in the right direction for gear. This is page offers some good advice (and Chuck Hardin knows a lot about lake sailing) http://www.whitecapwindsurfing.com/rental/2014firstgear.htm

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FoilDodo
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

I have a Starboard Rio Medium that I think would suit you. You are welcome to borrow it with a sail. Have you taken a lesson?
https://www.the-house.com/starrsm11zz-starboard-windsurfing-boards.html

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mpolski
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Thanks for the notes.

@Nitro, the Whitecap Windsurfing page is nice - it's turned me on to the Fanatic Viper as well. Sort of leaning towards the Techno or the Viper at this point.

I'm leaning towards the 160L sizes. Think that's smart given my size (140lbs) and general athleticism, or am I just going to get frustrated? I'm trying to future-proof it a bit, and keep the whole set up a little smaller and lighter. But if a 160L is going to suck on a lake with light or inconsistent wind, then maybe I need to reconsider. Again, just looking for some nice Freeriding.

@FoilDodo, I have taken a lesson, twice in Mexico in the ocean which was a different animal. I'd love to borrow yours! But unfortunately I live in Minnesota. Smile Funny thing about the link you sent for The House... I went over to the showroom last weekend (it's 10 miles from my house in MN) hoping to get some advice. All the staff there at the time were surprisingly clueless when it came to windsurfing; their focus was very much in Wake Boarding and Snow Sports.

Matt

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FoilDodo
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing
Quote:

But unfortunately I live in Minnesota.

Sorry 2
Isn't Minnesota the same place as Wisconsin? Scratch one-s head
These guys windsurf: http://www.windpowerwindsurfing.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_18&products_id=6898

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ediksail
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Joined: 09/05/2008 - 22:22
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

New 160 l will be perfect for you. You can use it to progress and on a lighter days + you can use it with foil. They ship to US
https://www.windspirit.ca/onlinestore/windsurf/

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webguy
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Joined: 12/31/2000 - 22:01
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Welcome! Sorry, late to the party. Was assembling my thoughts...

As a former 140 lber, either of these boards will be plenty big for you. In fact, once you start planing, they will be a bit on the big side. They'll get bouncy if the wind nears or exceeds 20 mph. This will depend on where you are sailing - how big the chop gets as the wind picks up. A smaller lake or shallower spot will tend to make this less of a problem.

There are some differences between the boards. The Bic has a centerboard vs the Starboard having a center fin. That means when you are on those "in between" days of sometimes planing and sometimes not, the Bic will be easier to use as you can just kick up or down the centerboard as you need it. With the Starboard, you'll need to come in, remove the centerfin, install the plug and go back out. While both boards, after a few sessions can go upwind by fin alone, if you are somewhere where you want to cruise around in light wind and explore, the Bic is better suited. You don't really want to plane with the centerfin in with the Starboard because having that big fin upfront will make things screwy for moving into the straps.

The centerboard and its case add a couple of pounds to the Bic. It'll only really make a difference if you are carrying the board a decent distance to the water or putting it on top of a car.

The Starboard is about 6-7 cm wider so it will probably plane up just a touch quicker (assuming the centerfin plug is installed). You can also probably use a bigger fin with it but at your weight, you'll likely be fine with whatever comes stock. However, both of these boards are wide enough to be considered "early planing".

To get the most out of these boards on the early planing side, you'll eventually need larger sails. At your size, if you are athletic, you could go up to an 8.5 without a problem, unless...

you foil. Foiling will allow you (as your skills progress) to use something like a 7.0 (at your weight) as your biggest sail and have fun when the wind is 10 mph or even less. In general, a skilled foiler can use 2m or less sail than a conventional board. While foils are expensive, the eliminate the need for a big, heavy and expensive sail/mast/boom to get the most out of those 10-15 days.

The Bic comes standard with a deep Tuttle fin box. No idea why the Starboard doesn't but they didn't ask me. Biggrin The Bic is a bit large and heavy but you could use it for your first foil outings. Foiling isn't for experts any more and some even feel like foiling is easier for early intermediates than dealing with straps, etc. (You can foil with just the front straps or strapless if you chose) Presently, the deep Tuttle is the defacto standard for foils although there are some regular Tuttle and Powerbox options available - your choices will be much more limited. The regular and deep are essentially the same, just that the deep as a case that extends further into the board (and the fin/foil has a corresponding taller head). You can put a regular Tuttle fin into a deep case using longer screws but not vice versa.

Both boards are made by well-regarded companies so no major difference there. Construction should be similar in durability although the methods are slightly different. The full EVA deck on the Starboard will probably be more pleasant if you are just plunking around on a summer's day or teaching a friend.

Other things to consider:
1) You can easily go to a smaller volume but similar width board at your weight if you thing you'll end up wanting a more livelier ride.
2) You may want to through the Techno 293 OD in the mix as it is a bit longer and will give a little better light wind performance.
3) If you are going to mainly plonk around in lighter air, look at a longer WindSUP or a Kona (or it's cheaper brother, the KonaOne). They'll be longer, offer better glide when non-planing and the Konas perform pretty well when planing. I think Exocet has a pretty decent WindSUP with a centerboard.
4) Again if light air is 90% of your sailing, look for a quality old longboard. They'll be a bit narrower but at 140 lbs, not too terribly difficult to deal with. Mistral One Designs, Equipes, Superlight IIs are all good (also similar boards from their competitors). The original Mistral Superlight can be a lot of fun in 5-15, too. It's one of the few 80s boards worth considering.
5) Again, if light air is 90% of your sailing, the new WindsurferLT, the redesign of the original Windsurfer, looks like a ton of fun. Simple, basic, good to explore and plunk and probably decent fun in 15.
6) If you thought foiling was your future, you can get a floaty foil board instead. Most foil boards have a decent amount of volume and width. Probably not what you were originally looking for but just making sure you are aware of that option.

Hope this helps without obscuring your original question. Sorry about the sun setting on "The House". Back in the day, it was a big mail order shop but smaller shops did a better job on the internet and the market gravitated more towards performance equipment. Their niche was on basic gear and generic "price point" equivalents to popular brands. I think the 08 recession set their windsurfing business back beyond long term recovery as they seemed to focus, as you found, elsewhere.

Also, check out Isthmus in WI. They do a very good job and have a decent inventory.

Hit us up with any more questions and good luck. Windsurfing is an amazing amount of fun.

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moredownhaul
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Joined: 05/10/2007 - 07:28
Posts: 667
Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

I can tell by your post you will progress and outgrow a big board really quickly.

Perhaps this would suit you better
https://windsportatlanta.com/content/board-4-sale-32819

Yes 3

I agree with Webguy, Isthmus is awesome, I just bought a JP from them.
Talk to Gary or John.

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Randy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Guys - you never outgrow any board. You just get more of them.

BTW - I agree on Isthmus as well. Had nothing but good dealings with them over the years. .

There is no off season.

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webguy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing
Randy wrote:

Guys - you never outgrow any board. You just get more of them.

My scale would disagree with you... Cray 2

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moredownhaul
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing
Randy wrote:

Guys - you never outgrow any board. You just get more of them.

BTW - I agree on Isthmus as well. Had nothing but good dealings with them over the years. .

How about 'progress beyond'?

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Randy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

I never progress. I just think up better excuses.

BTW - didn't you write up a rather detailed discussion about learning to windsurf and what gear to get in another thread or one of the commentary articles*? If so, might be a good time to link it here or put it up with a sticky or something.

*Apparently not. I went through 20 pages (the last 5 years) of articles and didn't see the one I was thinking of. So it may have been in a thread somewhere. But where? I don't even know if we have a way to search old threads.

There is no off season.

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webguy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Search

You can go all the way back to a kinder, gentler time if you want. Biggrin

I have the archives from the beginning ( a few posts got zapped somewhere along the line) but haven't figured out how to strip out all the useless stuff and post them.

Last article I did was the first part of two parts. The second part was never written. So typical of the ADHD brain.

Late edit: Love the "progress" comment, Randy. I'll have to add that to the yet unwritten Lexicon.

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mpolski
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Joined: 04/21/2019 - 16:21
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Thank you so much for all the info. Amazing. The Starboard GO is out. Good intel regarding the centerboard vs the centerfin. That's huge and something I didn't even know. I learn something new every day.

I like to hear the reassurance that I'd be fine with a 160L.

I think foiling is in the distant future so not ready for that path yet. But good to know that the Techno could, in theory, potentially do that for me.

Much of my days be in light lake wind, but I don't want to go the path of the SUP or getting something that's too long. But excellent insight that a slightly longer board will help with lighter wind days.

After posting my initial question, I saw the WhiteCap Windsurfing page. Hardin also mentioned the Techno 293 OD, but when I look at the specs between that and the Techno 160, the 293 OD just seems so much bigger (205L, 9'6" long). Then I noticed Hardin raves about a Fanatic Viper. Might be a nice middle ground. When I compare the Viper 75 (160L) to the Bic Techno 160, it would appear that even though they're the same volume, the Viper 75 is 8" longer and 2.5" narrower. In my novice head, this tells me that the Viper might be better for those light wind days. But is being 2.5" narrower going to be significantly more challenging for someone of my ability? As of this moment, I'm up for the challenge, especially if it means better light-wind performance.
(I see that it's also got a Powerbox and you mentioned that would limit options for foiling, but since foiling isn't a huge priority right now I'm not too concerned about that.)

What can you tell me about Fanatic Vipers? Do they have a bad reputation, or do you think that would be another good option as well?

As of this moment, I'm actually leaning towards the Fanatic Viper 75, but maybe there is something I don't know about the Vipers. If they are terrible, then it's going to be the Bic Techno 160.

Thanks so much!

Matt

Matt

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webguy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Glad that you found any part of this helpful.

Length = glide. It has to do with the physics of displacement hulls. The longer the hull, the higher the theoretical speed. The only way for a water craft to exceed that is to hop on top of the water: plane. A more lengthy discussion

Now that we dispensed with hydrodynamics 101, the Viper is now available in a number of widths: it's a bit heavier (read: probably a bit more robust) as it's intended for teaching applications as well where it may encounter less than attentive users. It's a fine board. 75cm is fine. If it's all you know, you probably won't notice much difference but side-by-side, a mid 80cm board will be more laterally stable. It will also plane a bit sooner when the wind comes up all other things being equal. Wider is not really a benefit for gliding but the difference is minor.

Fanatics, I believe, are built in the same (Cobra in Thailand) factory as the Starboard, to Fanatic's specs. Fanatics are fine boards and, at the pointy end of things, as good as any other production brand.

I do know that one of our locals who has long owned a Viper (iirc) and is probably around 180-190 just bought a used 83ish cm older Starboard for his lightwind board. He's a bit bigger than you but I think he wants a bit livelier board for those 10-15 mph planing days. The Viper remains in his family. Maybe he'll add his $0.02.

Opt longer if you are going to be subplaning mostly. Opt wider if you think you are going to seduced by the thrill of skipping over the water. Planing really is another world - all of these boards are capable of doing 25+ in the right hands and wind. Not that plonking along isn't good but why a lot of us bias our gear towards the windier side of things. It's all good - just think about what things spin your wheels.

PS In case you or anyone else is wondering why Starboard just does a centerfin: the centerboard clutters the deck a bit. For someone starting out, it adds a bit of complexity (is the board up or down?). A centerfin simplifies things at the cost of versatility in variable conditions.
PPS Techno ODs are bigger because they are intended to bridge the world of longboards and shortboards. Lively performance in planing conditions yet reasonable performance - especially upwind - in non-planing. It exists to provide a youth pathway to Olympic and higher level racing.

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Randy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Not sure where in Minnesota you live but you might check this out. Though the shop seems more oriented to kiting many kiters were/are also windsurfers so they may be able to give some good advice.

http://www.lakawa.com/

There is no off season.

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mpolski
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

Yeah thanks! I reached out to those guys as well before I started looking nationally.. The folks at Lakawa also said they don't windsurf anymore; their new focus is kite surfing.

Matt

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ediksail
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Joined: 09/05/2008 - 22:22
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

You may check craigslist.
I found this one, great for beginners and not so expensive
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/spo/d/excelsior-rrd-stand-up-sup-windsurf/6873134175.html

and this site also looks ok:
SXSGOFAST.COM

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webguy
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Re: Brand New to Windsurfing

If that were local, I'd grab it in an instant. It's a touch wide but you when you graduate from it, you'll be able to teach everyone you know on it.

Great find, Ed. Good

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