Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tiesda You's I Sonic Design Sketches

Found this on Starboard's website explaining some of the design concept's on the new I Sonic Slalom and Speed boards

Before the year's development begins, Starboards design team discusses the different concepts to build and test. Tiesda You illustrates the theory behind some of the design concepts that were tested successfully and then carried over into the 2011 range of iSonics

"A deep deck concave offers three benefits. Firstly, by lowering the mast base, the moment created by the side-ways force of the mast base is reduced as the distance from the load to the point of pivot is smaller. It's easier to imagine the opposite. Consider a very, very thick board: the sideways force from the mast base will roll the board over more easily. This is desirable in raceboards like the Phantom Race and the Serenity, but slalom boards like to have as much control as possible. Secondly, the centre of gravity is lower. Any millimeter lower contributes to improved control and the rider will enjoy a more responsive board. Like the first benefit, it's a matter of moments and leverage as the ratio between the rider's controlling leverage over the board and the board's leverage on the rider becomes greater. Thirdly, the deep deck concave helps to break down the flow of air over the deck surface. Like a plane wing, the upper surface sucks the board upwards. With reduced suction effect, the board remains under control more easily."

"The harder rail edges help to release the water more cleanly. Again, it's easier to imagine the opposite: with round rails and without edges, the water likes to stick to the rails and will require more energy to release from the board. This energy is wasted."

"The harder rail edges can be achieved by removing material (thus keeping the wetted-surface area's width the same), or by adding material (thus increasing the wetted-surface area's width). There's quite a complex relationship between the wetted-surface area's aspect ratio and the range of use of a board. We have some extensive empirical data from years of testing the principle. It's extremely difficult to devise a mathematical model to predict the best aspect ratio for a given board, so we many of our prototypes are built to find the optimum ratio for each iSonic. In general, the wider the wetted-surface area can be, the shorter it will become to create an equal amount of lift. Like slalom fins, a high-aspect ratio is desirable as it's ultimately more efficient."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Speed World Cup Ranking 2010

The Speed World Cup rankings for 2010 have been released and i have finished 69th overall for the year. I had thought after the disastrous event i had in France i had finished further down the rankings so i was happy to find out that i had only dropped 20 places from 49th where i was ranked before the French Speed event. The full rankings are on the Speed World Cup website which you can see by following the link below:-

Monday, November 29, 2010

The PWA Dilemma - Choosing three I Sonics

Just found this on the Starboard website. Gives you an insight into what the top PWA pro's will be registering as their 3 slalom boards for the upcoming PWA season

The new 2011 iSonics are ready to be ridden hard by you, our customers. As far as the boards are concerned, they are ready get you over the finish line first, but there is a tough choice every slalom rider in the PWA will have to face: Because PWA rules clearly state that a rider is only allowed to compete on three board sizes per season.

The big dog is enjoying his iSonic

At Starboard we have a vast array of different sized people, different levels, different heights, weights, and styles. So naturally, we try to leverage our racing team efforts to ensure that there is a perfect board for everyone. So from slalom giants like Bjorn Dunkerbeck, to the lightest racers like Wilhelm Schurmann, Starboard's iSonic range offers extreme performance for everyone. We spoke to those team riders who have already made their choice to see what iSonic boards they are going to pick and why. For instance, Cyril Moussilmani, who is one of the tallest riders on the Starboard team is going with the 127, the 107, and the 87.

Racing a 117 iSonic
Cyril Moussilmani:

"For me this is the best 3-board quiver for PWA racing that I can pick. It covers all the gaps and although the choice of just 3 will always leave you a little hesitant, the other riders have to make the same choices, so in the end it's fair, equal and very good for the sport. I am looking forward to a new event on the PWA tour in Vietnam. Apparently it can get Pozo-windy out there, making my 87 the weapon of choice. I've used the 111 the most by far in 2010, and I find that one to be a big improvement over the 111 of last year. Under light-wind conditions, I'm confident the big 127 will deliver. I think we have what it takes to get the slalom world title."

Kevin testing a 117 Wood

Kevin Pritchard:

"I am having a hard time picking between the 117 wide and the 127 for my light wind board. Last year I loved my 131, but now with this new 117 wide, it could be a light wind dominator. I still need to cross my T's and dot my I's, but I think it could be the secret weapon for a guy my size. I am pretty much, middle of the road in the size of racers, and think that it will go pretty good. I am for sure going to take the 107 because that board is a workhorse, you can ride it with the 8.4 down to the 6.7, and still be flying around. For my small board, I might go back to the 87 as last year I took the 94. I liked it but I think if we have events in Vietnam, Pozo, and Fuerteventura, it could be more sensible to go smaller. With so many very effective boards in the range, choosing is tough."

Carrying an 97 to safety
Wilhelm Schurmann:

"I am definitely taking the 117 wide as my big board. I think it is going to be faster for me and will give me a chance against the bigger guys. I have not been competing too much on the PWA tour so I have the luxury of changing it up throughout the year. I still can only afford to carry around a couple of boards, so I am going to take the 117 wide, the 97, and the 80. With a quiver like that I am set."

Two boards for racing, and an additional freestyle quiver


"For me I only need two boards. I like the 107 and the 87 iSonics. That will get me out in any conditions. I really like the 87 because it gets going so fast. When I go cruising down the flat water in Aruba, the high speeds that I don't normally get just puts a smile on my face."

So talk to your local dealer, or better yet, go to a clinic or some event where you can try the latest iSonics. Going home with the iSonic that suits you and your racing style is jus so much more rewarding. Try them out, and we promise you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Burrow Beach, Dublin, Ireland Saturday 27th November 2010

I again made the long trek up the Burrow Beach as there was 30 knot winds being forecast from the North East as i wanted to try and improve my GPS ranking for the Irish Speedsailing Championships. Low tide was at 8.30 so again it was an early start and when i woke up to leave at 3.30am it was -3 degrees which made me question what i was doing this for but the forecast was looking so good i decided to head up anyway. The drive up was interesting to say the least when not long after passing Portlaoise on the N7 it started to snow heavily which again made me question my sanity for wanting to windsurf in this but i pressed on as i had come this far. Eventually at 8am i arrived at Burrow Beach where the snow had disappeared :-) and to see Gildas Bechet and Oisin Van Gelderen already there and rigged so i checked the wind strength and as it as blowing 18-28 knots so i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic W53 Speed Special with 28cm Vector Maui Fins Ex Speed fin and 6.4m KA Koncept and headed out on the water.

It was cold, around 2 degrees and past minus degrees in the wind chill so 5mm boots, 3mm Hat and palm less mitts were called into action for the first time this year and once on the water it really wasn't that cold. It was a great session with the water perfectly flat near the sand bar until the wind started dropping after a couple of hours so i decided to call it a day.

Getting a bit more used to the W53 now and it suited the 6.4m Perfectly. Managed to get a peak speed of 34.62 knots but just missed out on moving up a place on the 500m raking in the Irish Speedsailing Championships by 0.02 of a knot after recording a 32.4 knot 500m run which sucked a bit but still a good session on the water and hopefully will get more at Burrow Beach before the end of the year and see if i can improve my speeds to move up to 3rd overall for the end of year ranking.

Speed Classic, Port St Louis, France

As you will have known reading on here i had my entry to the French Speed Classic in Port St Louis confirmed earlier this month so on the 12th of November myself and Steve Flannagan caught the ferry over to France from Ireland and traveled the 750 miles from Cherbourg to Port St Louis which took us 2 days to complete so arriving exhausted late afternoon on Sunday 14th November we checked into the house we were renting, had a quick rest and some food before getting an early night to try and catch up on some sleep.

We checked out the local area and relaxed on Monday 15th before heading down to the beach on the morning of the 16th to register. It quickly became apparent to me that the conditions were going to be too much for me with the winds averaging around 45 knots and gusting up to 65 knots and offshore so with my ongoing back problems this year i decided to give the day a miss. I was gutted with my decision as if my back was 100% i would have loved it out there but i really had to be sensible but full credit to the guys that did make it out. As the day went on though i wasn't the only one who didn't go out with some very good sailors also opting to stay on the beach.

The next 3 days from the 17th till the 19th there was little or no wind so it was more sightseeing so i took the opportunity to check out the famous canal at Saint Marie De La Maire and see where speed records have been broken.

On Saturday the winds switched 180 degrees so it was now dead onshore but also with this happening brought 3-4 meter waves making speed sailing hard work. Most people were reluctant to head out, again with some staying on the beach but i decided to give it a go. With the wind around 18 knots i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 and 40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin for a bit of extra float to help me through the waves and 7.3m KA Koncept and headed out onto the water. I wasn't on the water long at all trying to get upwind i heard the ominous sound of a wave coming just upwind of me so i looked round to see a wave breaking above the height of my head and onto my kit, wiping me out in the process :-( I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to get back to the beach. Once on the beach i was gonna head back out but i saw i had broken a batten in my sail so i decided then to retire before i broke anything else. I was really gutted as i at least wanted to get one run today.

The last day brought similar conditions with the organizers deciding not to hold any competition that day so that was the end of the event and a pretty disastrous event for me but i will learn from it an try to make sure this doesn't happen again at future events.

Before the long trip back to Ireland myself and Steve traveled down the coast to check out Leucate and La Franqui which has had it's beach pretty destroyed by storms which was disappointing as i wanted to try out the spot which has been put on the map this year by the dutch sailors before deciding to have a quick sail at Port La Nouvelle. As the wind was around 25 knots with some lulls i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 34cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa Fin and 6.4m KA Koncept and headed out on the water. I only managed a couple of runs until the wind started to drop which considering we were the only 2 out and the wind offshore i decided to head in but in the short time i was out i still managed a 29.6 knot max speed. The spot is amazing with really flat water and if i'm definitely back in the area i will try to get back here for a longer session.

It took a bit longer to get back to Ireland, about 48 hours as we had a bit of a wait in Cherbourg which we made good use of by cleaning all the sand out of the van and getting some cheap wine :-)) but i wish the trip could have gone better for me but still nice to have a road trip and check out some new spots in a new country

Burrow Beach, Dublin, Ireland Tuesday 9th November 2010

Haven't had the chance till now as i have been away for a few weeks but on the 9th of November the forecast was looking epic for Burrow beach with up to 35 knot winds being forecast from the North East which is the optimal direction for the location. As low tide was at 6am it meant an early start and i left Kerry at 3am, getting to Burrow Beach just after 7am and seeing the Steve Flannagan, Keith Gorman, Gildas Bechet, Oisin Van Gelderen and Garath Nihill were already getting rigged in the dark so i quickly had a look to see how windy it was. It was 28 knots gusting 35 knots so i decided to use my new Starboard I Sonic W53 Speed Special with 23cm KA Starboard Asymmetrical fin and 5.7m KA Koncept and quickly got changed.

At first light we all hit the water as we would only have just under 2 hours before the sandbar got covered over and everyone had a great session on the water. At times i was absolutely stacked and massively overpowered on my 5.7m and could have easily got away with my 5.0m but really just had to get on with it as i didn't have time to re rig another sail

I managed a peak speed of 35.18 knots, improve all my PB's for the year and move up to 4th position overall for the year from 7th in the Irish Speedsailing championships.

Loved using the new I Sonic W53 speed board for the first time. I bought it as i wanted a board to fill the gap between my I Sonic W49 and I Sonic 86 and this board does the job brilliantly as i was finding the 86 a bit to big at times but the W49 was too small is similar wind speeds when the 86 was feeling big. I also wanted a light wind speed board for flat water that would be quicker than the 86 which I've been using as my light wind speed board till now. Once i get the new W53 dialed it's gonna definitely be quicker than the 86 and hopefully help me to improve my speeds in lower wind strengths

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Speed Classic, Port St Louis, France

I am very happy that my entry has been confirmed for the Speed Classic in Port St Louis France this month from the 16th till the 21st. This has been confirmed as the last event on the speed world cup calendar and with a point factor of 3.5 being granted for the event a great chance for me to gain alot of points towards my final end of year Speed World Cup ranking as whatever points i gain from the event will be multiplied by 3.5.

You can check out my progress each day on the official website where you can follow the rounds live each day here

Scraggane, Castlegregory, County Kerry, Ireland 25th October 2010

When i finally arrived back in Kerry after my trip to the UK for Weymouth Speed Week the forecast was showing 20-30 knots winds from the South East which is perfect for Scraggane in Castlegreggory as the wind is offshore and flattens of the water so you can get some pretty decent speeds here.

When i arrived it was only 12 knots gusting to 18 knots so i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 with 40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and 7.3m KA Koncept. I also rigged up my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 34cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa fin with 6.4m KA Koncept in case the wind picked up and got into my wetsuit and went out on the water.

The wind was very gusty so hard to get any decent speeds but i managed a peak speed of nearly 28 knots which considering i was underpowered in the lulls was reasonably good and i had a good session on the water. After a while i decided to call it a day when the wind started dropping off which was a shame as i know i could have got speeds over 30 knots of the forecasted wind came through but still good to get out on the water.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weymouth Speedweek, Portland, Dorset, UK and UKWA Inlands Round 5, Rutland Reservoir, Whitwell, UK

This is the first chance i have had since i got back to write this but i went across to the UK last week to compete in Weymouth Speedweek from the 16th till the 22nd of October. I traveled across to Weymouth with Steve Flannagan who was also going to be competing there. Once again Nutt Travel came up trumps with another cheap ferry ticket of £209 compared to Stena who wanted nearly £400 for exactly the same trip. If you are looking for cheap ferry travel give them a shout.

After a mammoth 16 hour journey which included my sat nav getting us lost a couple of times (bloody irish sat we arrived in Portland just in time for last orders for a much needed pint on Friday evening and then got to bed ready in time to get a decent sleep before the comp starting the next day. We once again stayed at Spindrift Cottage which at £285 for the week meant the weeks rent was cheap as this was split between 5 of us as 2 lads i know from the UK, Neil Hardwick and Gordon Roach were also sharing.

We got up early and made our way down to the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy where Speedweek is always held and registered and then got rigged up ready for the competition starting that afternoon. The winds were light, about 8-12 knots from the North East so i rigged up my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and 9.0m KA Race and got changed and waited for the course to open. Once the course was open i headed out but found it hard to get going and as the course was a fair bit upwind i wasn't making much headway as i was off the plane slogging most of the time so after an hour where i hardly got going at all i decided to call it a day and save my energy for the rest of the week. After the opening party and meal arranged for that evening i headed back to the house early as i had to be up early to travel to Rutland on Sunday.

I'd known for a couple of months now that the last UKWA Inland Championship event clashed with the opening weekend of Speedweek which was annoying as i needed a good result at Speedweek to get points towards my Speed World Cup Ranking and the longboard racing i have been doing this year was just for fun so when seeing the weekends forecast on Friday i decided Sunday would be the day i traveled up as there would be no wind in Weymouth on Sunday. I got up at 4am and arrived at Rutland to find out they had 4 decent races in similar winds to what we had a Weymouth which was annoying but as i had already made the decision not to come on Saturday i had to get on with what Sundays conditions would give. There wasn't any wind at all for most of the day but i was still ready with my Starboard Phantom and 9.5m XR Race rigged and ready when at 3.30pm when we were called onto the water for 1 race so at least the drive up wasn't wasted as i finished 1st overall in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet for the event and did enough to finish 2nd in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet for the year, 17th Overall and 4th Master which considering it's my first year back racing longboards in 20 years i am absolutely stoked with my final results this year. After another 4 hour drive back to Wemouth i arrived just after 10pm, had a couple of pints and got to bed early enough as i was wrecked from my early start.

On Monday the winds we got for the day were around 10-14 knots from the North West which meant the wind up near Ferrybridge where the start was was very shifty and Gusty. I decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 5ocm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin again as the bigger board would carry my through the lulls easier and make the slogg back upwind a bit easier with the extra volume and use my 8.3m KA Koncept as i prefer this sail over my KA Race as it's a bit more lighter in the hands and i prefer it in winds over 12 knots. We had a good days session on the water but the chop was making it interesting when sailing down the course as i was building in size the whole way down so the big slalom board was a bit hard to control but i had no choice as i needed the volume to get back up wind as i was off the plane most of the time due to the big holes in the wind. It was also a bit of a lottery heading towards the start line hoping you would get a gust of wind to get you going and this was to be the same for the rest of the week but i had fun day on the water managing peak speeds of just over 25 knots.

On Tuesday the wind was a bit stronger at 14-16 knots at the start of the day but again from the North West. The chop had also got bigger so i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 with 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin as using my 144 would be suicide in the chop and my 8.3m KA koncept as the wind was gusty with big holes in the wind again. Towards the end of the day the wind was now gusting over 20 knots which was interesting hanging onto the 8.3m but you had the just grit the teeth and get on with it as you needed the bigger sail at the start of the course and getting upwind but i could have done with my 7.3m Koncept at the other end of the course. I decided to call it a day about half an hour before the course closed as i had a massive catapult where i banged my knee of my boom and was now finding the 8.3m way too big but i still managed a peak speed of 27 knots which considering how out of control i was most of the afternoon in the massive chop i was happy with. One thing i learned from today was that my crash from a year and a half ago is still playing on my mind as it happened in similar conditions and when the nose was catching i was backing off a bit so i know i could have probably gone quicker if i had pushed it a bit more so i will work on that from now one so i can go quicker in choppy conditions.

Wednesday and Thursday were light wind days with about 6-8 knots each day so i had a couple of sessions on my Starboard Phantom 380 Race and 10.5m Demon Design VG5 i bought so i am a bit more competitive in winds below 10 knots next year. The sail itself is very powerful and i had the board fully railing in the light conditions so i know it will give the power i need in the lighter stuff where my weight is a hindrance when most of the guys i compete against are a good 20 kg lighter than i am.

On Friday which was the last day we finally got winds from the west but not at the forecasted 20 knots unfortunately. We only got 10-14 knots so i used my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin again with my KA Race 9.0m and only managed to get a couple of runs in as it was very hard to get going and the water was very shallow so my fin was catching all the time. I still managed a 24 knot peak which i was happy about as i was underpowered all the time.

That was it for Speedweek and i wished i could have got some decent winds from the right direction and showed how fast i know i am but you have to deal with what you get and i finished 35th overall in the Gold Fleet and i am now 49th overall in the Speed World Cup Rankings so i am pretty stoked about that. Just got to figure out now how to get to Port St Louis for the last event of the year and inprove my world ranking

Friday, October 15, 2010

Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 5 Ladies Island 9th & 10th October

With wind finally forecast the same weekend we had a Speedsailing event organised for we checked all the speedsailing locations in Ireland and decided that Ladies Island in County Wexford had the best forecast for the weekend but only on Sunday so we called the event for Sunday and had Saturday as a fun day to meet up, get the smaller kit tuned after it gathering dust in the garages all summer and have a bit of crack.

I drove up from Kerry on Saturday morning as i couldn't afford 2 nights accommodation and arrived at Ladies Island just after 9am. With the forecast now looking a lot better on Saturday (But we couldn't hold any official racing as it had already been decided that Sunday was the day for the official event) of 15-24 knots i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 36cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa fin and the Starboard I Sonic 101 with 38cm Vector Maui Fins Rockit Fin that i had borrowed for Weymouth Speed Week from my sponsor Wind & Wave to i could get the board dialed and rig up my 6.4m & 7.3m KA Koncept's. I used the I Sonic 86 with the 6.4m KA Koncept first but later in the day in the afternoon the wind dropped slightly so i then used the I Sonic 101 with 7.3m KA Koncept. After a good 4-5 hours on the water we all decided to pack up, head to the B&B, get a shower and head out and get some food. I managed to find a great B&B in Roslare Harbour called Padua B&B where i got a twin room for 65 euro which is excellent value for a B&B so close to the Roslare ferry and i highly recommend staying there if you need somewhere to stay if catching the ferry.

On Sunday morning after breakfast we all headed back to the beach around 9.30am to find the wind was only 10-15 knots but forecasted to get up to 18-25 so i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 50cm Vector Maui fins Canefire Fin, Starboard I Sonic 111 with 40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and Starboard I Sonic 86 with 36cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa fin and rig my 6.4m, 7.3m & 8.3m KA Koncept's. I got changed and headed out on the water after the briefing on my I Sonic 144 and 8.3m KA Koncept and got planing most of the time but there was big holes in the wind. After a couple of hours on the big kit the wind started to build as forecast so i switched to my I Sonic 111 with the 8.3m KA Koncept as the wind was now more constant and alot choppier so the 144 was bouncing around alot making it hard to control. After probably 1/2 an hour i was getting pretty overpowered on the 8.3m with the wind now a constant 18-20 knots so i switched to my 7.3m KA Koncept on the 111 and had another hour on the water before going in and having a break. After my break i took out the I Sonic 86 with the 7.3m KA Koncept and after a little while the wind started to gust up to 25 knots so the 7.3m was now a handful so i went in, switched the fin in the I Sonic 86 to a 32cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa fin and changed down to my 6.4m KA Koncept and went back out on the water. For me this was now my fastest kit combo of the day and after another hour i went in a decided to call it a day as i could hardly hold the boom anymore but it was great to see all the smiling exhausted faces on the beach after a great day on the water after so long without any decent wind.

I finished the day with a peak speed of 29.79 knots and 100m of 28.91 knots which meant i finished 4th overall and 1st Master for the event so i was stoked as this has now improved my Irish ranking to 5th overall and with 1 event left in the calender i have to finish 3rd overall or higher and improve my GPS 10 second average and 500m so i can achieve my goal of finishing in the top 3 in Ireland.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland Friday 24th Spetember 2010

On Friday last week i drove up to Dublin from Kerry as the forecast was looking amazing for burrow beach with winds from the North East which is the perfect direction and 20 knots gusting up to 25 knots so i reckoned it was worth the drive up. I left Kerry at 3.30am and got there at 7am but as i was pretty tired i decided to have a quick sleep in the van before rigging up. I woke just after 8am and saw the wind was around 18 knots but a little bit gusty so i decided to rig my 6.4m KA Koncept and use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 32cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa Fin. I got changed quickly and got out on the water but as soon as i got out the wind went more Northerly and dropped :-( so i spent the next half an hour slogging around and i couldn't get going. As the tide was also nearly overlapping the sand bar there wasn't much point rigging a bigger sail as there would be no sand bar to keep the water flat for speedsailing i decided to head in, derig and head over to Malahide. Steve Flannagan had also arrived at this point after being stuck in traffic for 2 hours also decided to head over to Malahide with me.

Once we got there there wasn't much wind so we stopped in by Wind & Wave to see if any arrangements had been made for John's burial and wait and see if the wind would pick up. After a little while the wind picked back up to around 10 knots so myself and Steve went down to the sailing club and rigged up. I decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and my 8.3m KA Koncept. I hadn't used this combo before so was interested to see what it was like. Once out on the water is was apparent that wind was very gusty and it was hard to get going but i still had just under an hour on the water until the wind dropped right off. I should really have been on my 9.0m KA Race but it was good to see what the low end performance of the 8.3m was like but i think that the 9.0m still has a place in my quiver in this wind strength as i would have got planing sooner on my 9.0m and been able to sail through the lulls easier as well.

I had a nice little session that helped me take my mind off what happed to John and at least my trip up wasn't wasted after not getting the forecasted wind at Burrow Beach

UKWA Cup 5, Christchurch, Dorset, UK

Sorry for the late update to my blog but since the death of my good friend John Kenny my mind has been on other things. On the weekend of the 18th and 19th of September i went across to the UK to take part in one of the UKWA Cup (coastal) events. I decided to get the morning ferry over from Roslare so left home at 3am to get over to catch ferry on time. I managed a few hours sleep on the ferry which was well needed and then carried on with my journey to Christchurch, stopping off on route to collect some new Chinook Mast extensions from Ed Britnell at K-Bay and finally arriving in Christchurch at 7pm.

I decided to rig up my 9.5m and get it ready for the next day so i wouldn't have to rig it the next morning and i would be able to relax instead of rushing around getting my equipment ready. Once that was done myself and a few of the other competitors walked up along the sea front to the local pub to have a few pints and catch up, get a pizza and then got back to the campsite reasonably early to get a good nights sleep ready for the next day.

I woke up the next morning but there was no wind so i went a registered and got my Starboard Phantom and XR Race 9.5m down to the beach ready for when the wind picked up which it was forecast to do and went to relax waiting for the wind to pick up. Just after lunch the wind started to fill in to 6-8 knots so we were called out onto the water for the first race. During this race the wind started to pick up a little bit more which i did prefer as i was able to get the board on the rail upwind which was making the racing a bit more fun. Once we had finished the first race the wind picked up again to around 10-15 knots but the sea was now getting very lumpy making the going tough for the second race and i was exhausted once i had finished so decided to sit out the next race and then made my way out for the 4th race but once out at the start line the wind was now dropping off and shifting around so the race crew made the call to finish racing for the day and we all headed in.

That evening it was back down to the pub for some freshly cooked fish and chips :-) and then i headed back early for some sleep as i was knackered and a few of the lads headed over to Bournemouth which i didn't really fancy. The next morning i woke up and my back had seized up and it was windier than the previous day so i made the decision to not go out unless the wind dropped of a bit as i didn't want to hurt my back any further as Speedweek is not too far away and didn't want to miss it due to injury. I was disappointed as racing longboards is a lot more fun in a decent wind and i had to be sensible in case my back got worse but the wind didn't drop so that was the end of the event for me.

I finished the event 1st overall in the Raceboard Unlimited fleet and 7th Master which i was happy with and hopefully i will be able to make it to Rutland for one of the days to compete in the last Inland event

Sunday, September 26, 2010

RIP.....John Kenny

I am still shocked that my good friend John Kenny passed away last week. The next time i turn up to go speed sailing and he will not be there giving me a kick up the arse cause i'm not sailing fast enough and not see him charging down the speed course usually setting the fastest runs of the day is going to be wierd. Whenever i sailed with him he was always pushing me to do better. He lived his life to the full, giving 100% in anything he did and the world will be a much smaller place without him in it and he will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him. RIP...mate hope your getting 50 knot runs in up there

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dungarvan, Ireland Monday 13th September 2010

Last week i headed over to Dungarven as the wind was forecasting 25-35 knots SW-WSW which is the perfect direction for the speed course. Unfortunately though when i got there at 1pm the wind was nowhere near that with the wind 6-8 knots with the very occasional 12 knot gust coming through. As the wind was due to pick up decided i would use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 32cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa fin and Starboard I Sonic 111 with 38cm Vector Maui Fins Rockit fin and rig my 6.4m and 7.3m KA Koncepts. I left my speedboards in the van and get them ready only if the wind picked up.

The wind looked like it was starting to pick up so i got changed and hit the water with my I Sonic 111 and 7.3m KA Koncept but couldn't get going so after slogging over to the speed strip i waited a while to see if the wind picked up, which it didn't so headed in, changed the 38cm fin to a 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and rigged up my 8.3m KA Koncept and headed back out. I only got a couple of planing runs after that so after half an hour headed in and de rigged.

I really wish the forecast came through and i didn't get skunked but if i hadn't have driven over and the forecast came through i would have been more pissed off. May be one day we will get a decent day here and finally see the potential on Dungarven Speed Strip

Saturday, September 11, 2010

UKWA Inlands Round 4, Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, Farmoor, Oxford, UK

Sorry for the late update but i have been very busy since i got back from the UK where i was last weekend competing at Round 4 of the UKWA Inland Championships at Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, Farmoor, Oxford, UK.

When i arrived in the UK i had to go to Hayling Island first to meet the KA Sails importer and then finally arrived in Farmoor after 24 hours of travelling at 8pm. I also had my new van with me so setting up camp took didn't long as i would be sleeping in the van for the weekend and would be a bit warmer than sleeping in a tent. For this event i had my new Starboard Phantom but also as KA Sails do not make a dedicated raceboard sail i had a 9.5m Tushingham XR Race to use so i would be competitive. I have tested all of my current KA Sails and they don't perform as well on a raceboard in under 8-10 knots of wind so i needed a sail that would give me the best performance in these conditions. Above 10-12 knots i will be on my current KA Sails as in this wind strength they have as good a performance if not better than alot of the dedicated raceboard sails out there. Once KA have a dedicated raceboard sail i will get that when it is available.

On Saturday morning i awoke to sunny weather which was nice but no wind. As i have been competing in the raceboard unlimited fleet this year i decided to stay in the same fleet, registered and went to get my gear ready. Just before 10 they decided to get us on the water so i headed out and we had 2 races before lunch. Both races were in light gusty winds with big wind shifts of 30-70 degrees which made the upwind legs hard. You would get headed, tack off to take advantage of the wind shift and straight away get headed again so playing the wind shifts was pointless and getting a good position after the upwind leg was a bit of a lottery. After lunch we had another race but the wind dropped during the race to almost nothing so we were kept on the water while the race crew waited to see if the wind picked up again. After about half an hour the wind picked up to around 6 knots so the class flag went up to signal that the start sequence was about to start and we had another race. Just before the end of this race my arms were starting to cramp with all the pumping i had been doing so i was glad to hear that this was the last race for the day.

On Sunday morning i woke up and my back was killing me so took a couple of painkillers and thankfully after a while it started to feel alright but i would have to give the pumping a miss for the day so hoped for a bit of wind. We got on the water just after 10 and had 2 races in light, gusty winds again with big wind shifts which made racing tough again and around 11.30 the wind dropped completely as some rain came through so we had an early lunch and wait for the wind to pick up. About 1 1/2 hours later the wind picked up to around 6-8 knots so we went back on the water and had another 3 races. The wind picked up a bit more which meant that my weight wasn't really a disadvantage anymore and i was enjoying the racing more. I wish it could have been full on planing conditions though as i was still underpowered going off the wind.

I headed back in absolutely wrecked and i finished the event 2nd overall in the raceboard unlimited fleet and 5th master. I'm also 16th overall in the Inland series now which considering this is my first year racing a longboard in 20 years has exceeded my expectations for the year. Depending on the forecast for the first 2 days at speedweek i might be able to make the last event at Whitwell as Round 5 of the Inland Championships clashes with Weymouth Speedweek but if there is decent wind forecast in Weymouth then my priority is competing in speedweek and to achieve a Speed World Cup ranking so if this is my last Inland event this year then i am happy with my overall performance in the series and look forward to next year where my goal will be to place higher up the fleet.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland Saturday 28th August 2010

On Saturday i headed up to Malahide just outside Dublin as my sponsor Wind & Wave was holding a fun day. I left Kerry early and got up to dublin around mid day and saw as i arrived that it was windy but first i had to have a chat with some of the speed sailors to sort out a few issues that have arisen with the Irish Speedsailing Series.

After that was all sorted out i checked out the conditions again and as it was around 12-14 knots gusting up to 18 knots i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic with 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin with my 7.3m KA Koncept and got changed and hit the water. As soon as i got out i realised the wind was very up and down and with the usual confused chop that Malahide gets it was hard to get any decent speed. It was also very hard to get going and i spent alot of time slogging around. It was my first time on the 7.3m and it feels alot lighter in the hands that the 08 Koncept's but doesn't feel as powerful which is due to the shorter boom i think. They also easier to lock in, in the gusts and when a gust hits you can feel the acceleration you gain from the gust.

I stayed out for a while until i started to get cramp in one of my calf's as i went to put my foot in the rear footstrap as i got pulled out of shape in a gust so headed in. When i got into the shore one of the lads noticed i had water in my aqua pack holding my GPS's and when i got them out of the pack i noticed one of them had water inside around the screen. I quickly put it over the heater to dry it out but it is still not switching on a few days later so it looks like it's fucked and i'll have to get a new one.

After this happened i have been given some advice from one of the guys on the seabreeze forums in Australia that they put the GPS's in zip lock bags and then put the bag inside a aqua pack and this saves the GPS's getting wet if the aqua pack fails. Wish i'd known that before but i'll definitely do that from now on. The thing that annoys me the most is that the instructions that come with the GT-31 state that the units are waterproof/water resistant to 1m if immersed in water when obviously they are not. If anyone uses the GT-31 with a aqua pack then use a zip lock bag as well to save the same thing from happening to you as for me that's £114 down the drain and i now have to buy a new GPS

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2011 Starboard I Sonic Speed Boards

The details of the new Starboard I Sonic Speed Specials have just been released and they look amazing. Loving the minimal look with no paint. Hopefully i can get some money together to get a W58 to go with the W44 & W49 I Sonic Speeds i already own :-)

The new iSonic Speed Specials: designed and developed by Björn Dunkerbeck, Carlos Sosa, Remi Vila, Tiesda You. The R&D team took the opportunity of having a clean sheet to focus on new shapes and a new dedicated speed-specific construction.

Shapes: the shapes of the new W44, W49 and W53 are Björn's exact custom replicas shaped by Carlos Sosa. These have evolved the last season to include deep deck concaves, benefitting with added control and improved aerodynamics. The W58 maintains its 2010 shape as it remains the top choice for all-round medium and light wind speed runs.

Technology: an all-new Speed Technology was also developed: a pure carbon construction with carbon overlapping rail wraps for total stiffness and an ultra-light paintless finish.

"The W53 is a great contest board when it is flat. You can use 7.8 down to 6.2. It's easy, it has great control and it is very, very fast. The W49 is good from 7.0 to 5.6. Faster and just as easy with the same levels of control. The W44 is the most fun to ride but it needs the most wind. Use it with sails 6.2 and down to 5.1. These boards have been developed over years and they are the fastest boards I got to date. Carlos Sosa and I have been working on speed boards together since 1986 and with great results. Try them out and windsurf faster than ever. Enjoy your speed sailing." Björn

iSonic Speed Special W44

Sails: 5.1 to 6.2
Ultra Flat water: 20cm fin
Flat water: 22cm fin
All-round conditions: 24cm fin
Choppy / light wind: 26cm fin

iSonic Speed Special W49

Sails: 5.6 to 7.0
Ultra Flat water: 22cm fin
Flat water: 24cm fin
All-round conditions: 26cm fin
Choppy / light wind: 28cm fin

iSonic Speed Special W53

Sails: 6.2 to 7.8
Ultra Flat water: 26cm fin
Flat water: 28cm fin
All-round conditions: 30cm fin
Choppy / light wind: 32cm fin

iSonic Speed Special W58

Sails: 5.8 to 8.0+
Ultra Flat water: 28cm fin
Flat water: 30cm fin
All-round conditions: 32cm fin
Choppy / light wind: 34cm fin


  1. 1) No-paint finish on the deck and rails - for minimum weight

  2. 2) Very deep deck concave - increases control, closes the gap between sail and deck

  3. 3) Fish scale pad grooving - unidirectional traction. Grips when you need them to, helps to release when you don't.

  4. 4) Minimal pads = minimal weight

  5. 5) New Slick Straps by Drake - includes the convenient strap-size indicators.

Fenit, County Kerry, Ireland 23rd August 2010

Finally the wind came back :-))

I only had time for a quick session so i decided to head over to Fenit to coincide with the High Tide so i could sail in the estuary. On arriving it was looking windy, about 20 knots gusting up to 26 so i decided i would use my Starboard I Sonic 86 but as i was putting a fin in i managed to break the head of my screwdriver in the process damaging the head of the fin bolt. All the screw drivers i had left were smaller so i damaged the head even more trying to get the bolt out so as i couldn't get the fin attached to the board properly i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 with 38cm Vector Maui Fins ZX fin and 6.4m KA Koncept.

As soon as i got on the water it became apparent that the windy was very gusty while massive holes and i was absolutely stacked in the gusts but at least it was windy. I spent the next hour having a great time realising how much i missed full power slalom sailing but the main drawback of the lack of wind is my sailing fitness has suffered so will have to work on the now as my forearm muscles were cramping up. The lightwind sailing helps with the fitness but nothing can simulate the work out your forearms get when sailing overpowered.

One thing i have realized about this location as i haven't sailed here much is the windier it gets the chopper it gets and wish i could have used my Starboard I Sonic 86 as the I Sonic 111 was a bit too big in the chop and gusts

All in all though it was great to see the wind back and to be sunny at the same time was awsome and i hope there is more sessions like this in the coming weeks

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sandy Bay, Castlegregory, County Kerry, Ireland 21st August 2010

The forcast was for light winds in the morning with the wind increasing in the afternoon so i decided to head over to Castlegregory to meet some friends and get back out on the Phantom to continue getting used to the board.

When i arrived at Sandy Bay it was raining and hardly any wind so i went up to Jamie Knox's shop to chill out for a while and wait and see what the wind would do. Not to soon afterwards the rain stopped and the sun came out with wind starting to pick up to about 8 knots so i headed back to Sandy Bay and rigged up my KA Race 9.0m and got the Starboard Phantom 380 ready, got changed and hit the water.

The wind was very gusty with massive holes in the wind but i still managed to get in to the back straps a few times and for about 10-20 minutes the wind picked up to about 12 knots and i managed a peak speed of 22.23 Knots which has incresed my personal best max speed on the board a little

I stayed out a bit longer until the wind started to drop so headed in but happy to get a session in a bit more wind to work on getting used to the board for my next UKWA event. The rest of the week is looking good for wind so fingers crossed the wind drought has ended and i can now get out on the smaller kit again.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2011 Starboard I Sonics

The new 2011 Starboard I Sonics have just been released. The new boards look awsome, definitely gonna have to save some money to get a new I Sonic 137 to replace my I Sonic 144 and possibly a I Sonic 87 to replace my I Sonic 86

Since its introduction in 2006, each successive iSonic range brought with it two or three new upgrades, four at most. From 2010 to 2011 however, the latest iSonics boast no less than six upgrades over their predecessors.

This big jump was made possible by a new internal R&D methodology that allowed the team to start their research at an earlier stage than before. Remi Vila, new head of racing development at Starboard, partnered with Cyril Moussilmani, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Kevin Pritchard and Jimmy Diaz to kick-start the 2011 cycle with a strong influx of fresh energy and new ideas very early in the season. Add to this extended R&D time the experience of Tiesda You, Svein Rasmussen and Jim Drake, and the 2011 iSonics are born.

UPGRADE ONE: Harder rail edges in the tail
With harder rails, the board releases from the water cleaner and quicker: this increases top speed, enables quicker acceleration in gusts, improves earlier planing and improves the board's ability to maintain top speed in lulls. On sizes 80, 87, 90, 97, 107, 117, 117 Wide, 127 and 137, the planning surface is also wider and shorter than previously (higher aspect ratio planing surface): this improves bottom-end efficiency. With a harder release edge, the iSonics also gain more jibing power: the rails have the ability to store more energy as the racer enters a jibe that, a fraction of a second later, releases into more exit-speed.

UPGRADE TWO: Very Deep Deck Concaves
The 2011 iSonics have VERY deep deck concaves. By going so deep, the level of control is maximized. The pivot point between sail and board is kept as low as possible. The centre of gravity of the board is also lowered further to minimize undesired swing weight. These very deep deck concaves also break the aerodynamic suction effect that often lifts the nose out of control in high winds. Last but not least, the gap between the sail and deck is eliminated and the mast track can be moved back to improve top end speed without compromising control (mast tracks have been moved back 1.5cm in the 90, 97, 107, 117, 117 Wide, 127, 137 models). Note the very deep deck concaves require the boom to be set about 2 to 4cm higher than your normal setting.

UPGRADE THREE: Individual cutaway trimming
The planing surface tabs directly behind the back heel were individually tuned to carefully adjust the ride and trim of select iSonic models (97, 107, 117, 117 Wide, 127, 137). This individual tuning minimizes skin friction between board and water for more top end potential, increases the liveliness of the board and boosts acceleration, without breaching the limits of control if conditions get rougher.

UPGRADE FOUR: Paintless finish
Paint is eliminated from the deck and rails of the board to minimize weight of the iSonic WoodCarbon and Carbon models. A grey pigment is used instead, that provides UV protection and adds a textured finishing effect. Pad sizes were also minimized in a chase to eliminate every unnecessary gram of weight.

UPGRADE FIVE: Snug Strap Positioning
All the front footstrap plugs were narrowed down to have an aperture of 14.5cm, which is narrower than usual. The angle of the front strap was also turned to sit more square to the length-axis of the board. These two tweaks combine to give a very snug fit to the front foot, allowing the rider to adjust pitch and roll more effectively as the board reaches top speed.

UPGRADE SIX: new 80 concept and new 117 Wide concept
Two all new concepts are added to the iSonic collection. The iSonic 117 Wide is 80.5cm wide, filling a much needed niche between the 75cm and 85cm models. Based closely on the 85cm model, the 117 Wide has the lowest thickness-to-volume ratio, giving it a massive wind range. This ultra-slim shape is a clear new favourite and the board we most recommend as an upgrade to any slalom quiver. The iSonic 80 is a slimmer version of the iSonic 87, but this year the rail shapes were also thinned down. This improves high-wind control and further reduces bounce when jibing in choppy conditions. The new high-wind reference for light and medium weight racers.


All iSonics are available in Wood Technology. Wood offers the best ratio between light weight, comfort, control and stiffness. Ideal for all-round performance in all conditions, especially high wind.

The iSonic 90, 97 and 107 are available also in WoodCarbon that are lighter and stiffer for racers who want more bottom-end acceleration and sharper sensations. Ideal for medium wind conditions.

The iSonic 117, 117 Wide, 127 and 137 are available also in Carbon. Carbon Technology is Starboard's lightest and stiffest option, with the highest levels of bottom-end acceleration and the sharpest sensations: ideal for the medium to lightwind conditions. For more details on the constructions, see the Technology page.

  1. No-paint finish on the deck and rails of all WoodCarbon and Carbon models - for minimum weight

  2. Harder rail edges in the tail - more speed, acceleration and jibing power

  3. Individually trimmed planing surface tabs (97, 107, 117, 117 Wide, 127, 137)

  4. Snug Strap positioning - more effective pitch and roll control

  5. Reduced amount of strap inserts - saves weight

  6. Very deep deck concave - increases control, closes the gap between sail and deck

  7. Fish scale pad grooving - unidirectional traction. Grips when you need them to, helps to release when you don't.

  8. Minimal pads = minimal weight

  9. New Slick Straps by Drake - includes the convenient strap-size indicators.

  10. Upgrading from an older model?

    Here's our recommended comparison between older versions of the iSonics and the newest edition:

    • iSonic 86 Slim - iSonic 80
    • iSonic 86 - iSonic 87
    • iSonic 94 - iSonic 90
    • iSonic 101 - iSonic 97
    • iSonic 111 - iSonic 107
    • iSonic 121 - iSonic 117 or iSonic 117 Wide
    • iSonic 131 - iSonic 117 Wide or iSonic 127
    • iSonic 144 - iSonic 137
    • iSonic 150 - Ultrasonic 147 (coming soon)