Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Van Converted To Carry All My Windsurfing Equipment

In the middle of last year i managed to get my first van :-) as my Ford Escort estate was becoming too small to transport all my gear to the beach. I managed to pick up a 1998 Long Wheel Base Hi Top Peugeot Boxer Van. I decided early in my search that the van i was looking for had to be a long wheel base so i could fit everything in easily and a Hi Top so you can stand up easily inside the van when getting changed so it was a bonus that i found the exact size van i was looking for. It was also ply lined so this would cut down on the cost of materials needed to convert the interior. Since i got the van though it has constantly been in use either travelling to events or transporting bikes for my dad's bike restoration company so i haven't had the chance to finish the interior and as it wasn't needed for anything this week and the current spell of lack of wind i decided to get it finished.

My first job in the interior was to remove the plywood of the walls of the van so i could insulate the walls. I also decided the wooden floor was in a pretty sorry state so this was removed to be replaced. I got some 12mm Plywood from the local hardware store and using the old floor as a template cut the new plywood so it would fit the floor of the van and installed the new floor. I then got some rolls of loft insulation and fitted these to the walls of the van and reinstalled the old plywood walls that i removed. The main reason i insulated the walls was to reduce a bit of road noise but also help keep the heat in the inside of the van as i intended to sleep in the van at events to help reduce costs. I then got some linoleum used for floors in houses to cover the floor to help keep water of the wood and make it easier to clean. The linoleum i got looks like metal checker plate which has fooled alot of people into thinking i have put a metal floor into the van and i think it looks really cool in the van. As there was no panels on the inside of the doors i made some from 6mm Plywood and installed these on the doors of the van

For the racks for my board i decided to use lengths of 2" x 2" which i got from the local hardware store. First i installed 4 lengths vertically with a brace inbetween them for strength and i then installed 4 lengths horizontally for the racks i will put my boards on. These racks can be removed when i am using the van to transport bikes.

I decided to utilize some space near the back of the van for storing my mast extensions. I got some tool clips, attached these to the wall of the van at the back of the van so i have easy access to them

On the opposite side i decided to utilize the space there for storing my deck plates and got some 6mm Plywood and cut some slots into it for storing my deck plates

As the van is wide enough for me to sleep width-ways without my head or feet touching the sides i decided to use what space was left in the van and build a base for a bed with a shelf underneath for storage. I got some 2" x 2" lengths of wood from the hardware shop and first built the frame for the bed. I have made sure there is a cut out in the frame so i have space to get changed in the van. I will make up another section of MDF on a frame to support it to fill up this gap to put a mattress on when i want to sleep in the van.

And then i installed this into the van, securing it by screwing it the the floor and walls and made the shelf and top from 12mm MDF. On the shelf you can see the two 12" sub woofers for my sound system.

As you can see from the next photo's with all my kit in i can carry everything i have to the beach now and will not have to pick and choose what i take anymore. This will also be great when going away on road trips as you never know what you will need.

You can see in the next picture the cut out in the shelf so i have space to get changed in the van.

Finally as i love my music when i am driving and i will be doing alot of miles travelling to and from events i made sure the sound system was up to scratch by installing a Pioneer Head unit with 2 Pioneer 6 1/2" three way speakers in the front and 2 Pioneer 6 x 9" three way speakers in the back with two JBL 12" sub woofers connected to a JBL amplifier for plenty of bass.

I hope someone can use some of my ideas when converting their own windsurfing vans and if you need any advice please get in touch

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paddy's Day Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland Thursday 17th March 2011

On Paddy's day last week my sponsor Wind & Wave held an open day and fun Slalom/Speed event so i made the long trip up from Kerry to help out. I left at 5am and got up just after 10am and on arrival there was hardly any wind. Now i had been keeping an eye on the forecast all week and there wasn't much forecast but i made the trip anyway.

After a few hours the wind started to pick up so i decided to get out on my Starboard Phantom and 9.5m Raceboard sail and go for a cruise round the Estuary at Malahide for a couple of hours and get some practice in ready for the upcoming UKWA Inland Series. Not long after i had got on the water the wind started to drop off but i stayed out there in case it picked up and i had a great light wind session coming off the water knackered. The great thing about the phantom is you can get to enjoy light winds again when otherwise you would be sitting on the beach complaining there was no wind.

It was a shame the wind didn't cooperate and give us some decent wind but everyone had a great time and i eventually got back down to Kerry around 11pm absolutely knackered after a great trip up to Malahide and hopefully it won't be too long before i can get back up there.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scraggane, Castlegregory, County Kerry, Ireland 13th March 2011

Not been on the water this year so far due to having to work when it has been windy (Never nice and annoying) and another winter as cold as last years so it was nice to see the forecast was finally showing some wind and reasonably mild temperatures last weekend so i decided to head over to Brandon bay on Sunday. I checked out the bay for an hour first to see if there was enough wind to get out on the wave kit but it was pretty marginal and not enough for me so i went round to Scraggane. When i got there it looked like there was more wind so decided to get out on the Slalom kit. It was blowing from the North so not as warm as i'd hoped for and with the Northerly swell there was rolling swell and Chop in the bay at Scraggane with breaking surf close to the beach. Now after experiencing the conditions at Port St Louis last year these sort on conditions are what i need to practice in so wasted no time in getting ready. A quick check on the wind meter showed 15-18 knots so i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 with 40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin with my 7.3m KA Koncept, got my wetsuit on an hit the water.

Had a nice session on the water with peak speeds around 26 knots in the big chop but there was loads of buoys back in the bay for lobster pots with ropes trailing from them and most of the time you don't see them till it's too late so after one too many close calls i headed back in

Nice to get back on the water though and hoping this year gets more wind than last year

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Speed Fins

I received my new speed fins from Vector Fins Maui. They are a new fin line called the Delta Speed and differ alot from normal speed fins in the fact they are alot wider in the base so have more fin area. This is turn should mean i can use a smaller fin than i normally would. I decided to first order a 25cm, 27cm & 29cm as i wanted some different fins for light winds than my EX Speeds on my Starboard I Sonic 86 and W 53 Speed Special. I will be ordering some smaller Delta Speed's later in the year but if you want to try the fins out let me know or come and find me at the beach. They are now also in stock at or you can order them direct at

For 2011 the European Speed Champion will be decided by the Euro Tour

I have just seen this information below that some of this years European Speed Events have been confirmed. Please see below the press release with the confirmed events. I will definitely be trying to get to Weymouth Speedweek but not sure what other events i can get to

In previous years the European speedsailing champions have been decided by a one off event. But this year the International Speed Windsurfing Class (ISWC) has responded to requests for a tour which decides the winner.

The participating national championships will be the hosts for the events which will be held all over Europe enabling participants where ever possible to drive to events and avoid the ever increasing difficulties of flying with windsurfing kit.

The king and queen of European speed will be decided by the riders best results from three events of the tour, if a points tie exists then the fastest speeds will decide.

The newly appointed tour manager Pete Davis said “ This change has come about from requests from our riders for more high profile events in Europe that don’t necessarily have big money prizes but offer good level of competition at great venues and it avoids the responsibility and demand on one event deciding the winner. Places for international riders will be limited so book early to avoid disappointment”

The current European Champions Andrea Baldini from Italy and Zara Davis from Great Britain have already committed to the tour and are looking forward to defending their titles against the world’s best.

The Speed World Championship venue is being planned later in the year to the decide the world Champions but the location is still to be decided upon so keep up to date on or register for email updates.

Provisional Calendar for the European Speed Tour

Country - Belgium, Dates - 17th to 22nd April, Venue - Gruissan, France, Contact -

Country - Sweden, Dates - 2nd to 6th June, Venue - Klagshamn, Sweden, Contact -

Country - Germany, Dates - 3rd to 10th Sept, Venue - Fehmarn, Contact - Germany or

Country - United Kingdom, Dates - 15th to 21st Oct, Venue - Weymouth, UK, Contact -

Country - France, Dates - Oct Date TBC Port St Louis, Venue - France, Contact -

Country - Greece, Dates - TBC

Country - Spain, Dates - TBC

Country - Italy, Dates - TBC

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Events I Plan To Compete In This Year

Well it's now the time of the year that i start to make plans at what events i can get to over the coming year. Money is very tight for me this year so i'm not sure if i will get to any others Speed World Cup events other that Weymouth Speed Week so it's likely i will not have a great World Ranking come the end of the year. Hopefully if the phone calls i have made this week about work as an Electrician in the UK pan out then i should be able to get some money together but until i get the news i have been successful in my job application then Speed World Cup events will unfortunately for me be put on hold.

With this in mind i have planned to do the UKWA Inland series again to try to improve my results from last year and will again compete in the Irish Speedsailing Series and also go to Weymouth Speedweek again. Not sure if i will get to it but hopefully i can do the Round Hayling Marathon this year but that depends on the forecast as it is the day before one of the Irish Speed events.

The events i plan to go to this year are:-


Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 2
(26th to 27th March 2011)


UKWA Inland Series Round 1, Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire, England
(16th to 17th April 2011)

Round Hayling Marathon, Hayling Island, Hampshire, England
(22nd April 2011)

Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 3
(23rd to 24th April 2011)


UKWA Inland Series Round 2, Derwent Reservoir, County Durham, England
(14th to 15th May 2011)


UKWA Inland Series Round 3, Rutland Reservoir, Leicestershire, England
(11th to 12th June 2011)


UKWA Inland Series Round 4, Rutland Reservoir, Leicestershire, England
(23rd to 24th July 2011)


UKWA Inland Series Round 5, Farmoor Reservoir, Oxfordshire, England
(10th to 11th September 2011)

Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 4
(17th to 18th September 2011)


Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 5
(8th to 9th October 2011)

Weymouth Speedweek, Weymouth, Dorset, England
(15th to 21st October 2011)


Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 6
(19th to 20th November 2011)

Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 6 (Roll Over Option)
(26th to 27th November 2011)

As per previous Irish Speedsailing Championships the event locations are picked on the Thursday before the event with the location having the best forecast chosen to hold the event. Regular updates are made on the Irish Speedsailing Championships Facebook page and website.

I will also have KA sails available for demo at all the events i will be attending. Come and find me at the beach, look out for the KA Flags

My New SUP

Well I've taken the plunge and bought my first SUP, a 12'6" Starboard Cruiser. The coast near where i'm living in Kerry is perfect for Surfing and Supping and as the start of the year has been just like last year with hardly any wind i wanted to get something to work on my fitness and take advantage of the great waves in the light winds when there is not enough for my wave board. Had it out a few times already and it's a great board for learning the basics. Got the whole package (Sup, Board Bag, Carbon Paddle, Paddle Bag and Leash) for a great price from a guy in england

Not too much else to report as i have been working all the hours i can and saving up for my new KA Sails i have on order so not had too much spare time to get out and when i have been able to the wind hasn't cooperated :-(( so haven't been able to get out windsurfing but hopefully now the days are getting longer i should be able to get out in the evenings after work.

European Speed Championship Tour

New rules have been set up for this year Speed Championships

Windsurfing European Speed Championship Tour 2011

For 2011 the European Speed Champions will be decided from the results from participating National events.
Criteria for Tour

• Based on the results of accepted European National championships.
• The Male and Female competitors’ tour winners will be crowned the European Champions.
• The best of three results to count for the ranking, if a tie exists, then the riders fastest speed will decide.
• All events to count as a factor of one.
• Additional prize money and timing systems will be used by organisers to encourage higher profile sailors.
• Before an event is accepted as a counting round of the tour the local organiser must agree to accept minimum standards of speed competition.

ET Minimum Standards
 Fixed course over a minimum distance of 250 m with starting gates
 Accurate timing system, Navi GPS and GPS results pro as minimum standard
 Minimum speed of 28 knots achieved at least 3 times by 20% of the whole fleet, to qualify as a counting round.
 Event to run for a minimum of 5 Days on a fixed date
 A minimum of 2 months notice of event with published NOR and confirmation of entry by organisers one month before.
 Competitors have to be fully paid up members of the ISWC to get a European tour championship ranking. This does not exclude them from their National championship as long as they are members of their National association.
 Off shore course wherever possible
 Includes a Junior Fleet where ever possible
 Encourage festival style with clinics etc if possible
The Countries that have agreed so far to the standards and wish to take part are Belgium, Sweden, UK and Germany. Dates and details to follow.
Invitations have been sent to Spain, France, Austria, Holland and Ireland who have shown an interest in being included. European Riders who wish their nation to be included please contact your national speed championship organisers and ask them to contact us.

Not sure what events i can get to this year but i'll try to get to at least one