It is all about the timing and the landing. You need to set off at the right moment at the right angle and have a lot of power in your legs. The more speed the better. When it is dead flat it is all about the way you move the sail and use the wind to take off. It is not all about throwing yourself and the gear in the air, you really have to use the wind to get up there.
“ You really have to use the wind to get up there.”
The two main factors that maximize ‘pop’ in a freestyle sail are inflation and leverage. By tightening the leech and moving the shaping higher in the sail we can increase leverage. This makes the effect of loading up and then releasing power more exaggerated, and increases the lift. The inflation is how the sail can become deeper and more powerful when loaded up. There are a few variables that influence this – materials, skin tension and shaping distribution.
MATERIALS: We use more flexible materials to allow the profile to become deeper under load. The Freek’s Dacron luff panels and eM3/eM4 laminates are more elastic than traditional X-Ply materials. This helps the sail to load up and then explosively release power like a spring. The wider mast sleeve also increases the use of flexible materials and positions the most flexible (Dacron and sleeve cloth) right at the front of the sail. This means that this power surge pulls forward rather than sideways for maximum efficiency.
SKIN TENSION: The softer the sail (less skin tension) the faster and more it inflates. Rigid sails with high skin tension do not allow enough range of movement in the sail. The Freek uses 5 battens to get its stability and this allows us to decrease skin tension for more dynamic inflation.
SHAPING DISTRIBUTION: Most of the shaping in the Freek is added onto the luff curve at the front of the sail. At rest the sail sits very flat with a lot of excess material in front of the mast. Then when it’s loaded up this material pulls back into the sail and becomes depth. The difference between these two states is what makes it ‘pop’.
JAMES HOOPER – SEVERNE BOARD SHAPER
To make a freestyle board ‘pop’ we need to increase the angle of attack from the flat/planing trim position to launch angle as instantly as possible. The main variable is the distribution of surface area. By reducing surface area behind the back foot, the tail of the board can be jammed down just prior to release. This maximizes the ‘pop’ effect when the rider unweights the board. The Psycho has parallel rails to allow the board to sit comfortably in the planing trim and then a tapered tail to create a clear difference between these trim positions – load and unload. High volume rails allow the rider to progressively build up pressure to load up before take off. Thin rails can knife into the water before the pressure can increase. Square edges release water instantly to prevent any sticky feeling when the board leaves the surface. Understanding and balancing these variables is the key to maximizing ‘pop’ and our freestyle board – the Psycho – is the result.