I think you have to use the wave more than using the sail. It is not just the lightness of the wind, I think when the wind is quite onshore, that you really have to wait at the top of the wave and drop in using the speed from that, like dropping in on a surfboard. You don’t really have any power in the sail anyway. If you try and go down the line you lose even more speed because the sail is like a handbrake. So you have to wait, drop in, stay upwind so you have apparent wind in the sail and then have the right timing. That is why when you get the timing wrong you have lost it. You might as well gybe out of the wave because normally you can fix the situation with the wind but if you time it wrong like that you are completely screwed. That is why you see riders either doing something sick or just doing nothing in similar situations. If you mess it up from the bottom turn then you can’t fix it.
I was riding 5.0m and my 88 litre board most of my heats. That 88 litre board is the board I use most of the time I sail and is the board I am most comfortable on, I use it everywhere. That exact board I have had since March and also the prototype of the production board since this time last year. It is the ‘Ultimate Wave’ quad from JP, the 2019 production board. I have used that at Ho’okipa, for all my training in Maui and all my training and competition sailing in Tenerife. I feel really comfortable on it. Our boards are designed around me wanting to compete in these conditions and to be a great board everywhere. I have been involved in the development and it has been designed to work in most conditions. It is an all-rounder. I have one Ho’okipa board which is exactly the same with a little more tail kick. That one board I just sail at Ho’okipa, other than that the Ultimate Wave is my favourite board. I have an 88 litre and an 83 litre and I pretty much only use them except in Gran Canaria where I used the 75 litre. If it was any lighter here then I would ride the 94 litre, but for 5.0m the 88 litre is fine.
Onshore wave riding is different. You have to wait for the wave to be really steep before you go. It is not tricky if you live in Tenerife, you can see the timing of the guys that live here. With practice it is all normal sailing. I like to be as light as possible for wave sailing. I used to be heavy when I was competing in slalom, I found that hindered me most in places like Tenerife when I had to go on my 94 litre and a 5.3m sail. So now I try and be as light and flexible as possible. That was diet, running, cycling, swimming, surfing and in the gym I don’t do any weights, just cardio and functional. Now I try and be skinny and flexible, I do yoga and I feel better in myself sailing in all the conditions. I don’t think it helps to be heavier than what your body is capable of.
“ Stay upwind so you have apparent wind in the sail.”
WERNER GNIGLER – JP SHAPER
Not only the young generation of riders like power on the waves, since the beginning of his career Jason Polakow is known for his high speed bottom turns and he loves fast boards –no matter if small or big waves. In wave sailing speed is your friend! Passing whitewater gets easier the quicker you are and jumps will be higher. On the wave, speed helps to position you on the desired part of the wave and to hit or avoid the steep, breaking sections.
The ‘Wave Slate’ is JP’s toy for typical European conditions – here the 3 key shape features making this board fast are:
1 – The parallel outline reduces drag and increases lift, resulting in more speed and early planing.
2 – The bottom shape combines two totally different rocker lines. On the one hand the quite flat rocker along the centreline supports early planing and overall performance partnered with a great deal of control. On the other hand, the strong V and narrow outline create more curve at the rail which takes over once ‘railed’ up.
3 – Under the footstraps, the deep single concave channels and accelerates the water to provide additional lift for early planing and speed.
The board is fast, early to plane and super efficient in generating and maintaining speed, making sessions in mediocre wave conditions very exciting. Shorter than previous concepts, these boards fit better into steep sections or smaller waves without getting stuck.The new ‘Ultimate Wave’ is the latest addition to the range merging the virtues of its predecessors. A manoeuvrable and fast board for bigger waves, the completely new bottom concept brought the crucial breakthrough in the development. The flat V in the front transforms into a double concave in the middle, then into a deep single concave under the footstraps (which create lift for early planing and channel the water for speed), and tapers off with a gentle V right at the tail. This creates a flatter scoop rocker line in the middle but keeps the curvy one on the rail. The flat centre line delivers the speed and planing power that matches the former ‘Thruster Quad’. The winger outline keeps the planing section rather wide for more lift and planing power. Overall, the ‘Ultimate Wave’ carves fast, turns smoothly and maintains speed no matter if on a huge down the line wave or a gutless onshore roller. The ‘Wave Slate’ will provide more power and fun when conditions are mediocre. As soon as the waves get bigger and the wind steady, the ‘Ultimate Wave’ is the favourite, not only for the pros!
“ Speed is your friend!”