Slalom v Modern Freeride Speed.
Tagged: tabou isonic futura rocket wide
14/05/2018 at 22:26 #53171
I have always been interested in what actually delivers the speed in a windsurf set up. Assuming the sailor remains a constant…..and like me is an ageing average Joe blaster……..there are 5 main components. Board, sail, mast, boom and fin. Now I know the set up that has “potentially” the fastest speed ( outside of a speed board on a speed course) will be slalom board, race sail, 100% carbon mast and boom and a high quality carbon fin. I say potentially because I have had that set up but obviously not the skill and or nerve to maximise its potential. So as just one example of the difference ….or lack of it….in terms of speed I recently did a run from Pottery Pier on the NW corner of Brownsea Island across to the beach at Hamworthy Park. According to my GPS that is a distance of 1.3 NM ( 1.6 miles). I was using a Tabou Rocket Wide 108 Ltd with a North Sail E Type 6.2 ( 100% carbon mast and boom) and a 35cm Select Slalom Edge fin. It took 4 minutes exactly. A couple of years a go I did the exact same run on an Isonic 107 with 35cm Select S1 fin and Tush Lightning 6.4 ( 75% mast and Aeron V Grip ally boom). OK not full slalom gear in terms of rig..that came a little later for me…. but a cammed sail. On that occasion I did the run in 3 mins 52 seconds. So only 8 seconds difference. When I used Isonics I later changed to using North Ram 3 cam sails but even with that combinations my max speeds and averages were only very slightly quicker than those I achieve on pure freeride gear…..and my freeride gear is so much easier to use and much less tiring. So I know where my vote goes!!16/05/2018 at 02:46 #53207
freerider – obviously you as the rider are a constant but the wind would not have been exactly the same, still I see what you are saying, what is it in the rocket wide that makes so much difference – I am still hammering away on my old isonic wood and just don’t see the point in changing – seems to be such a good all round board, from 6 knots just gybe training to 22 knots – full insanity, always feels the same – very planted at full planing, just very light in the nose so you have to tack really tight or enjoy your dunking !18/05/2018 at 22:13 #53298
Again it is not always easy to separate what sailing characterisitics are due to the sail and which are due to the board but in general the main differences I noted between using the Isonics and the Rocket Wides were:-
The Isonic needs to be turned off the wind a lot more to get going. It goes from being stuck to the water to popping and accelerating to top speed very suddenly and especially in stronger winds gives only one chance to find the rear strap. The RW is far more progressive. It will plane at a far slower speed and accelerates more progressively. Finding the rear strap is always easy because the board is sailed mainly off the front foot much like a fsw. The same applies to deceleration. Once insufficient power is supplied to the Isonic it slows down very rapidly. On the larger Isonics with a big sail I have often been caught in a lull and the board has slowed so quickly I could not get out of the ( very outboard) straps in time to a void just falling back in the water. The RW decelerates progressively so none of the same problems.
The RW never gets leary…..that applies to the 108 and 128. The Isonics just keep accelerating in stronger winds to the point where it takes a lot of concentration, energy and nerve to keep the hammer down. Try to sheet out and the board will lose control. Head upwind to hide and you risk getting lifted. None of those problems exist with the RWs combined with E Type sails. If overpowered there is always the option to sheet out slightly and be more upright on the board. The board trim does not change. So you have full control of the gas pedal!
The newer Isonics I owned were an improvement on earlier models but even so “blobbing” was something of a trial. A very low volume nose would purl if your weight was not kept quite far back, and gaining any ground upwind was a lost cause. The RWs will make reasonable progress at sub planing speeds and are reasonably easy to keep straight. Volume distribution is such that you can stand more forward on the board and direct the board upwind if required.
All of the above is why I say that ( at least for me) I have lost a bit of top speed and acceleration by changing to the RWs from the Isonics, but gained a lot more in terms of reliability and range. Basically it takes the angst out of any session!18/05/2018 at 23:40 #53305
I think you can accelerate more progressively on the old isonics depending on fin – when I use a slimer more raked backed smaller fin the board comes up more progressively, a bigger straighter fin tends to just ‘pop’ the board straight up
and yes I do so agree with you about that darned back foot strap, but you can plane all day with just the front strap – takes more concentration. Once on the plane it’s a solid ride
I am thinking of getting an atom 99 but fear it would not work in the really low wind range – my area is very variable and low to medium winds are the norm.
Also the isonic will come off the plane faster than some boards because of length, 230 cms compared with say a futura at 240, I can live with that25/05/2018 at 10:32 #53588
I wondered why i did not enjoy freeriding on a tricam 8.5m sail until someone explained slalom kit is designed for slalom racing i.e. go fast, cope with big wind shifts and gusts and lulls as you pass other sailors, ride through lulls, being technical does not matter as racers train to master the kit.
Unless you are a sklled racer I doubt many woudl get much difference in speed when blasting about on the sea.25/05/2018 at 11:39 #53591
I think there is a huge range of speed that we generically call blasting. I have had my GPS watch for about a year now and it has been a bit of an eye opener. I sail mostly onshore waves, with wave kit and in these difficult conditions I can often average speeds well below 20knts yet I have been planning ‘fast’ in my own view of my sailing. I guess the reality is I’m sailing against the wind and waves a lot of the time, almost all of the time when you think about how you stay upwind looking for a decent wave to ride and I only bear off and ride waves for a very short duration. But even when I look at sections where I have blasted in downwind it is often circa 22kts top speed. That is probably half as quick as a PWA racer’s top speed on a similar day.
So thinking about recreational blasting I guess this starts at around 15 / 20 kts and I assume most rarely break 25 kts in any session where as high end slalom kit is designed for hitting 30kts averages in rough water, 40ish top speeds. My conclusion is that most recreational sailors do not push slalom gear anywhere near its full potential.25/05/2018 at 14:58 #53600
I am thinking of getting an atom 99
I’d urge you to try one first. Some people like them, but I & everyone else in my group at Vassiliki last year hated them.25/05/2018 at 23:34 #53606
Some say that the freemove category is/was a fad. There are detractors for pretty much all the ‘move’ boards including the JP Magic Ride, Atomiq, Gecko and even the Rocket Wide. Some love them and some hate them.
I think the ‘move’ category may have evolved as a compromise between a Freerace board and a Freeride board, with the intention of the designers to produce a new style of board which was stable and offered a greater wind range with less volume underfoot. A one board quiver for the progressing windsurfer. You don’t see anyone buying a 100L, 110L and a 120L in the freemove category as you would if a sailor was buying slalom or freeride boards.
The correct type of sail a good fin and an active technique (in some) are necessary IMO to make these boards work which are shared commonalities with slalom boards. I think it’s easy to blame a board for lack of performance when the real problem(s) may lay elsewhere.26/05/2018 at 01:14 #53607
radialhead – I think your advice is correct, I had a quick jump on a friend’s 100l rather slim, looked like 60-65 to me, board and it was a nightmare to tack and uphaul, easy to gybe once on the go, but not funny at a standstill…26/05/2018 at 03:08 #53608
So, the width of that Atomiq 120L is quoted as 80.5cm which is a VERY wide board for many and would require a larger sail in the order of >7.5m imo. Also, a very large fin. Then, step back, close haul the sail and drive it onto the plane with the front foot in one motion. This should work in theory, unless they carved a convex (suction cup) on the hull…;)26/05/2018 at 03:29 #53611
Meant to say single concave (suction cup).01/06/2018 at 22:10 #53911
I can only speak for the Rocket Wides and although several boards are categorised as freemove that does not mean they all share the same characteristics. Tabou never in fact called the RW a freemove. They refer to it as a wide freeride…and a further development of their standard Rocket freeride line.
When I bought my RWs I got the overall impression that the Atom was best as a flat water “near” freerace but hairy on more bumpy water, the Ghecko, an easy intermediate oriented board, the RRD, a manoeuvre oriented freeride, and the JP very much like the Atom. So all aimed at different uses really………Fanatic seemed to go back to rather less wide designs over time whilst the RRD and Atom stayed the same, and I think JP made the Magic handle rougher water a bit better. The RWs have changed a little ( I have not tried the later designs) but kept their basic characteristics. The changes are mainly in the rocker line, and, I am told, make them a little quicker.
I hear a lot of people saying the wide freerides are too wide for stronger winds/rougher water…or that they need a big sail to match the width. As far as the RWs are concerned both those observations are wrong in my experience. I sail the 128 with 6.6 7.3 and 7.8 sails. I sail the 108 with 5.8 right up to 7.3. Both boards perform well regardless of the size of the sail. I have sailed the 108 in flat water and very choppy water with swell. It has impeccable manners in both. Just like a slalom board the width serves to provide early planning and glide in lulls. Once fully planning the widest section of the board is clear of the water so has little impact. Unlike slalom boards the volume distribution of the RWs is even, not tail biased, so the board width also adds stability for uphauling and slogging off the plane if required. The RWs are also very thin so do not have the slab sied rails of a slalom board…or indeed some more conventional freeride and freerace boards. The board therefore sits lower in the water, adding stability at rest, and making water starting as easy as a low volume fsw.03/01/2019 at 15:40 #61434
I having hard to descide between the Freerace and pure Race. My lokal store says I should buy a Tabou ROCKET instead of the Starboard isonic 107 that I was planning to buy. I am starting with windsurfing again after a break but i have been windsurfing shorter boards in the mid 90s and I want speed. Is the difference big in speed between the freerace and the pure race board with a race sail?03/01/2019 at 16:23 #61444
Fintastic – where do you want speed? Get gear to suit the conditions you sail in. Unless you are slalom racing where you need a board and race sails to cope with wind shifts and lulls from other sailors keep to freeride gear, afterall wave gear hits 35knots and crappy old freerides 40 knots.03/01/2019 at 19:24 #61445
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