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.