View Full Version : In defence of "Freeride" ???

15th June 2011, 01:48 AM
I might be wrong but it seems to me that term "Freeride" is becoming an almost derogatory term to describe an allround "none specialist" board. A compromise somewhere between Wave and Formula.This is wrong.

IMO "Freeride" actually represents the pinnacle of board developmernt. Yes they arent as fast as dedicated slalom/Formula but thats a bit like saying a Porsche 911 Turbo isnt as fast as F1; which it isnt but the F1 operates in a controlled and almost sterile environment unrelated to real world driving. Throw in a bit of rain and we get the fiasco of the Canadian GP;throw in road bumps/pot holes ;diesel on road and things become different. Go off road and things are completely different.

Many sailors roll up at our beach;look in van and feel like the bloke who brought a knife to a gun fight.Get a good freeride and a decent wave board and that never happens. Two boards can cover 13mph to 40 mph.

15th June 2011, 01:53 PM
I couldn't agree more. But the new vogue is imho directed toward more to slalom board than formula one. Yes they say actual slalom boards are way more user friendly than in 90's, but imho some problems remain. I've seen some riders buying a slalome instead a freeride board, and therefore a 2 or 4 cam sail, bigger size. Imho this is dangerous, I don't think that this kind of stuff is easy to use like a classic freeride and freemove board.
Imho a freeride-freemove board still keeps the more advantages, even a freestyle or the so called freewave or frreestylewave, the most wanted here in Italy. A free+ board can successfully be used from absolutely flat lake like my spot, S. Croce Lake, to moderate wave conditions, as I've done with my "old" and good Mistral Score 112 in Traslovlage (Sweden) last year (I'm 90 kg).
Many doubts more with actual cambered sails, as in our "real world" riders DON'T always change the mast every time they change the sail, and they tell me that could cause many problems even with the new user friendly cambers. so camless sails forever over my Fiberspars

15th June 2011, 06:46 PM
We assume Slalom types are faster ;definitely case if we look at equal volume but compare eqaul width`s accross models and I`ll bet there`s not much in it.

On equal width the "freeride/freerace/freemove" will have that bit extra volume; probably needed more by heavier sailors.

Along lines of original poster how many photos do we see of Antoine Albeau powering to victory with a rescue craft in background or photo taken from rescue boat ??? Would all these racers choose the same boards if like the rest of us there was no rescue !!!

Good points from poster1.

I`ve got 3 boards in my van. Slalom;freemove;and a wave. Last year sailed 73 times. Freemove 48 times rest equally shared between salom and wave. Goes without saying which board I`d keep if I could only keep one and it would have been used 73 times. Cant say that about Wave or Slalom !!!

15th June 2011, 08:32 PM
More or less the same kit (slalom, super-X and wave). Last year I've been using mostly the ST104 but for more than six months there were only a few days over 12 knots on my spot, so I bought a slalom kit (Falcon 112 and Naish GP 7.8) to keep windsurfing. A bigger freeride would certainly have done the job but I did not want to go big due to my weight. I see it this way: slalom for medium/light wind & flat water, freeride for medium wind & moderate chops, wave for high wind & crazy chops (which does not happen quite often where I live).

15th June 2011, 09:10 PM

I agree 100%. Free (wave, ride, race, move) boards do an excellent job of meeting the needs of almost all recreational riders. You can see my lineup below and the HiFly Move 105 is by far the most fun to sail if the wind is over 15-18 knots. Smooth, jibes great, jumps well and is fast.

On the other hand, what you use depends on where you live and sail, plus the typical conditions. Where I live, the winds are very gusty and variable, so the Formula and ISonic work great for maintaining a plane in the marginal winds. Below is my usage stats from 2010. I have every outing documented for the last 7 years with all the appropriated readings off my GPS.

Starboard Formula 160 - 22
Starboard iSonic 111 - 30
Hi Fly Move 105 - 21
Tiga 263 - 1
Mistral Superlight – 2

16th June 2011, 12:02 AM
But Ken

Thats 5 boards and 10 sails. Thats surely in itself a good argument for "freeride" kit with wider range???

INo matter where I sailed I couldnt get more than 2 boards in my car !!!

16th June 2011, 12:50 AM
Hi Floyd
I remember having similar discussions with you several years ago, I know your opinion about freeride and race gear very well. What is new however, is that I started to think along similar lines for the last season or two. Your F1 - Porsche analogy is very good, I often use it when in argument with my racer mates. I've been using Starboard iS122 with 7.3-9.0 sails, it served me very well but I think I'm going to replace it with a fast freeride of around 110-115 lit. I know I won't be able to use a 9.0 sail and I will have to find another board for the lightest conditions (probably a longboard). Slalom has it's place even for a recreational rider, but I decided to go for a route that seems a bit more fun to me. I often used my iS122 in rolling swell, gnarly chop, always pedal to the metal in the outboard straps, it just stopped being fun after a while (and it was fun I admit). I bought it for light-to-mid wind sailing, not for competition, I am not a racer and just don't have the dedication to do it all the time. Just a few points in addition to what you wrote about your Syncro:
1. In offshore 18 gusting to 25, then dropping to 5, there is always going to be some compromise. Actually my 75 wide slalom wasn't too bad for that, if the water was flat(ish). I don't expect ANY board to slog me fine in 4-5 knots, and then to work in 25. I put up with big, or I swim - no problem ;-)
2. If a sailor wants good planing performance in light winds, say 9-14 knots, and the water is not too gnarly, then I still think a slalom is maybe better than a freeride - depending on what you want of course. In that wind you are not going to get "excited" about maneuvering 8-9m rig anyway, and you're not going to pull any screaming carve gybes. In these conditions, a slalom ride can give you an edge in fun/excitement. In both of your examples, you needed a 7-7.5 sail to plane - at 105kg. That makes you lucky wind-wise, compared to many. Keep that in mind, I know guys 30-40kilos lighter than you, who have to use bigger gear regularly in their gusty inland spots. I think this is what Ken is talking about.

Of course other sailors will have different views. We all do it for fun right?
Fair winds

16th June 2011, 01:29 AM
Hi Screamer
Glad you are still enjoying WS. You`ll know not to take my posts too seriuosly !!

Your points are valid ;point I was trying to make was fact that Syncro could do so well in both conditions; when space/money/time is limited boards with wider range are invalueable. How many sailors are really capable of exploiting difference in performance between lets say a Carve 121 and an Isonic 107 in gnarly conditions and on flat ??? ???

Its easy to specialise; its harder design wise to make something do 2 different jobs. Think modern freeride/freemove is nearly there ??!!

Whats that old saying ?
"Older I get the better I was"
We should add
"and the more set in my ways " ???

Take care.
Good sailing.

16th June 2011, 02:53 AM

How much do you weigh? 105 kg? Are you planing on a 7.5 on a 124 liter mistral in 13 mph? Salt water maybe? Hard to believe. Anyway, I weight 77 kg (167 lbs) and can't plane in 13 mph winds (white caps beginning to form) with a 7.5 on my formula board. With a 9.2 sail and my formula - yes, with some pumping. Probably the 8.4 too with a lot of pumping. Of course, I don't know what sailing in steady winds is like so when I get on plane in marginal conditions, it's usually not for long, so I have to rig big to keep going.

I have a bunch of stuff and a dedicated van, but some of it has been around for a long time. I take pretty good care of the gear, so I get good, long service. I did replace one sail and two booms this year.

Here is my sail usage from last year:

11.0 = 5
9.2 = 10
8.4 = 6
7.6 = 17
6.6 = 13
6.3 = 2 (1985 Superlight regatta sail)
6.0 = 11
5.7 = 2 (replaced by a new 6.0 in March)
5.0 = 4
4.5 = 4
4.0 = 2

You can see that I got 21 days with the 8.4 and larger sails. I am glad I had the big stuff to stay on the water PLANING for the extra days.

When I bought the iSonic, I was divided between it and the Futura, but I finally went with the iS for two reasons. One, I like the challenge of a more demanding board. Two - earlier planing, faster acceleration and potentially better top speed (Yes, I know, more than two reasons). It also fit perfectly into my quiver of sails.

Formula - 11.0, 9.2
iSonic - 8.4, 7.6, 6.6
HiFly - 6.0, 5.0, 4.5 (& my old 5.7 that I don't use often).

16th June 2011, 03:44 AM
You dont have to justify your kit choices to anyone;and that`s not my point at all.

There is a tendancy on this site to play up the role of Formula/Slalom both in its capabilities and usage and down play the role of "freeride".This is not a true reflection on what`s actually happening or a true indication of what many so called freeride boards are capable of.

To their cost Starboard adopted the same policy by dropping the Carve;they lost sales and reintroduced it !!!

The site/forum often wrongly promotes both Formula/Slalom when in reality 95% of sailors are better off on "freeride". (Fortunately real sales reflect more common sense) I often wonder how many beginners read these posts and go out and buy Falcons/Isonics etc only to have to sell them after a season or two.

II suppose we are relatively lucky in UK with wind but even at 105 k I would not need to resort to Formuila to enjoy sailing in 13 mph. I used to sail a Tabou Rocket 80 (150 litres) and that certainly planed well in 13 mph with 7.5. (BTW a 7,5 is less likely to plane on Formula than on a Tabou 80;the Formula needs big rigs to over come initial resistance; in my experience Formula hardly work with smaller rigs) I sold the Tabou; felt even that was too specialist with a relatively small range. )

You mention your weight and number of days sailing but not your winds covered. At 77k I would hope modern kit could could get you enjoying sailing without having to have 5 boards; if not many sailors are doomed, both on cost grounds and for practical reasons. (Storage/Transport) Its hardly an advert for beginners either. ???

Out of interest Ken if you were going on holiday and had room for only 2 boards which would you take ?
I`ll bet at least one would be freeride and if you had choice both would be ???

There is a reason Carves/Futuras/Hawks/Eagles out sell Isonics/Falcons/SuperSlaloms. They are more versatile , more useable boards which can cover a wider range of conditions with a wider range of abilities. They are in no way a compromise. They are the true performance boards; the Porsche 911 Turbos of the windsurfing world.Not the F1.
Good sailing Ken

16th June 2011, 04:16 AM
I think that every windsurfer has gone through all the arguments posted in this thread to make up his final purchasing decision, wether to go for a freerider set or a full blown slalom set.

I had endless mind fights and sleepless nights about it. :)

There is no right or wrong in this matter.

In the end we all choose based upon objective and subjective reasons.

Why does one choose a "hard" Porsche in stead of a "soft & comfortable" Mercedes ?

I guess it depends on a person's nature. Perhaps it's the quantity of testosteron in our body/brain ?

I often sail in Holland on lakes next to the sea. Flat water with lots of sea wind and not too much chop. I'm glad to be on full blown slalom equipment. Am I faster on it than on freeriders ? Probably not. But it jolly feels good and I have no problems controlling these fslalom boards even in high winds.

If I'm on the sea with lots of wind, I'm on a freerider or a wave board and it also feels good.

16th June 2011, 04:27 AM
I`m not being argumetitive Belscorpio its a genuine question.
How do you decide which boards to take when you go sailing. Conditions in Holland I would have thought similar to UK. ie unpredictable/fickle/ strong at times but every possible direction.Likely to drop even when strong. + poor forecasts ???
I notice you have 3 slalom boards ; a Formula plus a wave board and a freeride ???

I would struggle choosing which board/rig to get ready at beach let alone deciding what to take before I set off ???

16th June 2011, 05:14 AM
Yes, like in the UK, we don't have thermal winds. Too cold for that :)
In stead, winds caused by weather fronts. All directions, all forces.
Unpredictable on a long term, but not that bad on a short term (1-2 days max in advance).
Windguru is not that bad.

My best windsurf purchase ever was my trailer, 2 years ago. It carries 6 boards, lots of sails, booms and masts. When I go now to my favourite spots, I have always everything with me. Saves a lot of frustration.

I don't have much time during the week, but I think that I've had about 8 windsurfing weekends in a row containing at least 1 windsurfing day. Also the bank hollidays were generally good. It has been a good spring.

BTW, my Mistral Naish '85 wave board ain't a soft kitty neither.

16th June 2011, 09:04 AM
One is best;easiest; simplest; cheapest.Most fun.But men being men we have to look for another. A faster/smaller/bigger/newer model .More like the ones in the mags ???

Two are double the cost of one with less than half the fun with either.You are already loosing out.One of them will now be too fast/small/big/new. It`s the most dangerous. You`re gonna get hurt one day soon !!!

Three is only a third more costly than two.But it`s now an obsession, a distraction, a nightmare.You haven`t a clue which one to choose and when you do its the wrong one.The best one is home.Costs are spiralling. (you now need a trailer ?) Likely as not, your best mate,the one who sailed somewhere else last weekend, is thinking of taking one of them off your hands and when he does you`ll think forever he got the best one !!!

You decide.

Belscorpio (and Ken) have at least 5 ??? (Boards that is;I hope)

Apolgies to female sailors; its having a go at men really !!!

16th June 2011, 09:37 PM

Yes, I have five boards, but one is 26 years old (Superlight) and the other is 15? years old (Tiga 263). Both are kept in the garage unless I think I can use them.

You ask if I had to take two boards for a trip, which would I choose. As I said, the HiFly 105 is the most fun, but where I was going would guide me to choose. Hard to say. However, in the mid 90's I went to Maui for the US Windsurfing Nationals. I took two boards, one smaller freeride and one larger course/slalom. Big mistake! The course racing was run in 8-12 knots. I never planed. I was a longboard racer, but didn't consider taking it for obvious reasons. One guy out of 200 had a longboard and smoked everyone. The boards I had worked OK for slalom and the long distance when the wind came up, but I didn't do very well. The long distance race was from Kahana to Ho'okipa and back. I was happy to have finished in the building 20-25 knot winds in 3 meter swells (a distant passing hurricane kicked up the swells).

I am all for freeride boards, plus I think that anyone reading these forums will understand that the iSonics and other dedicated race boards are NOT for everyone. I make this point often.

Good sailing in the UK - warming up a bit I expect.

16th June 2011, 09:58 PM
Hi Ken
Its been warm but cooling down and raining loads but I`m off to France soon and then onto Kos !!! (taking only 2 boards mind!!!)(Oh and 1 wife)

Freeride V Slalom
"When one board cruises easily past another it is almost certainly due to a combination of sailor ability;sail type;size and set, and fin suitability.In our long experience of speed testing big board driven speed differences are extremely rare even between "competition" and "recreational" hulls.It comes down so much to control. Many modern freeride boards are easy to sail fast;and if you factor in boards being driven to the max with big sails and skilled sailors it should come as no surprise that fast freerides can and do compete with slalom designs.World cup history is littered with cases of standard production boards winning races."

Not my words. Lifted from Boards Mag test on fast Slaloms !!! Written by Bill Dawes

Good sailing.

16th June 2011, 11:42 PM
"World cup history is littered with cases of standard production boards winning races." But what do they mean by production boards? It is a slalom shape from last year now on the market, or a freeride? Boundaries are no so clear: I've heard about the Hawk being used in competition, the Falcon (2010) is advertised as a "freerace" and the Ray Ltd is now more expensive (but neither faster nor much easier, I'm afraid).

16th June 2011, 11:45 PM
I`m off to France soon and then onto Kos !!! (taking only 2 boards mind!!!)(Oh and 1 wife)
That means 3 women.

Floyd, do you also take your sails on the plane to Kos ?
I always find it a hustle and bustle.

I often go to Rhodos, where I always rent all the equipment (boards & sails).
Guess what, the boards are always freeriders. :)

16th June 2011, 11:50 PM
the Falcon (2010) is advertised as a "freerace" and the Ray Ltd is now more expensive (but neither faster nor much easier, I'm afraid).
I've got a Ray 125 of 2009. Not a bad board, but I found that I had quite a lot of spinouts with it.
My son is using it now.

17th June 2011, 12:31 AM
I know Rhodes is fantastic.Been to Blue Horizon a few times; sailed there from Pro Centre.They were great. They will sort all your kit out if you take it. (to and from airport/storage/rescue) (Easyjet carry kit quite cheaply)
Not been to Kos before ;I`ll let you know how we get on.
Will be hiring in Kos this year;my boards are for France.

Good Sailing

Rhodes next year ???

17th June 2011, 12:53 AM
Yes, I have been at the Blue Horizon too the last 3 years with my son.
The Pro Centre is super.
I'll probably go again this year at the end of august.

Good Sailing to you too.