Words John Carter, Finn Mullen, Matteo Iachino, Ross Williams, Peter Munzlinger, Cedric Bordes, John Skye, Arnon Dagan, Antoine Albeau, Jordy Vonk, Kurosh Kiani, Pierre Mortefon, Mateus Isaac, Andrea Rosati, Tristan Algret // Photos John Carter
Chop, it’s part of windsurfing whether you like it or not, and how to deal with it is a challenge almost all sailors have to face. Slalom racing at Sotavento is one of the most extreme chop scenarios in windsurfing, John Carter asks the racers who fly over it on the brink of control for their tips on how to keep board and sail in check and Finn Mullen finds out from RRD, Gaastra and Tabou on the design tweaks for chop management.
As I have said many times you need to be comfortable to survive heavy chop. If you are comfortable then you are faster. If you just search for speed you will struggle for sure and when you are on the edge of control you will actually lose speed compared to a sailor who is in control. I try to make my sail softer. This allows your body to stay still and it is the sail that is moving. If the equipment is stiff then you have to move with it. A softer sail is better in choppy conditions. You don’t want the sail too flat or it will move too much; it is a balance. If you feel you are flying away then move the mast track forward, which may make the board stickier, but if you hit a strong gust you won’t fly away. The body is like suspension in chop. I use really long harness lines because of that so that your legs are free to move a lot. I use 32 plus harness lines as they make it easier to hold on in rough conditions.
“ You need to be comfortable to survive heavy chop.”