View Full Version : boards weight, is important?

17th October 2008, 03:43 PM
I read an article on Boards magazine where they conclude boards weight is no relevant to planning or speed, whats your opinion?
also starboard boards are not usually the lightest but the isonics generally are very well apreciated on all magazine tests
is there an explanation here?
regards juan1

18th October 2008, 12:25 AM

I am not an expert but I believe that:

With all things being equal (sailor skill & weight, board size, sail size, wind and water conditions), a board that weighs less will plane quicker and hit a higher top speed.

Pumping to get on plane works much better with a lighter board since you not only pump the sail, but you also pump the board and fin with your legs.

With less total mass to move, lighter is better.

A lighter board at speed will also have a smaller wetted surface (riding higher in the water) and will generate less drag = faster speeds.

Take this situation to an extreme - same board design and size, one weighing 10kg and one weighing 100kg. Do you think the 100 kg board will plane as quickly and have the same top speed with all thing being equal but the weight? I think not. However, if the weights were only 2kg apart, the difference in performance would be very, very subtle, but the lighter board would still plane quicker and be faster, just by a small margin.

My thoughts which may or may not be correct.

19th October 2008, 04:24 AM
Ken, I totally agree with you. I typically have 4 or 5 boards in my fleet some are very light. Sailing those boards I can definitely jump the board onto the plane more easily and keep it there.

My lighter boards are also stiffer and I find that this makes the board feel more direct and responsive to gusts. So as far as I'm concerned +1 for light boards.

20th October 2008, 05:22 PM
Weight does affect the ride of a board. I see it as an aspect of the shape, really. In some situation and on some boards, if make a bigger difference than on others. A lot of the hype on light weight boards comes down to a certain light and crisp feel such boards have on the water which may not always pay out on more speed or earlier planing to a measurable degree (as Boards test point out). But in other situations there is no disputing weight affects the "performance". For example, in wave riding and freestyle, a lighter board will redirect more easily in the very, very fast moves that happens sometimes.

20th October 2008, 10:32 PM
you can see in many test that starboards are not generally the lightest, but in the same test as per isonics they are quikest.
is perhaps that starboard also dont consider the weigth a major point?
they are not offering pro editions as jp or fanatic...
regrds juan1

21st October 2008, 06:39 AM
I think a key word here is 'acceleration'.
When you apply a force to some object the lighter it is the quicker you overcome it's unwillingness to move. The top end speed of say a slalom board will probably not vary between boards of the same shape but of different weights, but the lighter board will get to that top speed sooner.
In wave sailing and freestyle, acceleration is perhaps even more important. You are always stopping and starting and turning, so the lighter board will feel looser.
I've just got the Evo 66 in the light construction and the acceleration is extraordinary for a small board. The light hull weight also helps its 'corkiness' as you pop it onto the plane.
You really appreciate the lightness in the air too – whereas heavy boards feel leaden on the feet in the air.

21st October 2008, 01:37 PM
In my experience, it depends.
Don't agree with the reported conclusion that weight is not relevant to performances: right weight is, indeed.
What I mean is that excessively light boards may result in having very low inertia, therefore a tendency to loose/gain speed continuously, expecially when sailing through chop. This in turn may result in the sailor getting tired easily, or even not reaching the "light" board's top potential. Probably this depends on sailor's physical shape: in my view, top riders are probably fit enough to get advantage of super light boards, weekend sailors usually are not.
If what BoardMagazine's results were that a few (few!) hundred gms are not much relevant for freeride board performances under foot of a recreational sailor, or in other words it makes no sense to be obsessed with weight unless you really know what you're talking about, I may agree with them.
All this of course depends on how much "light" is "light": in my view, the Sonic95 and iSonic111 I happened to sail are far from having such problem.
Also in my experience, and talking about slalom boards, stiffness may enhance performances better than light weight; but usually the two go together. Extra stiffness, however, will be hard on your legs and ankles in fast sailing over chop.
As for magazine test results, but please note I am not willing to bash anyone, only observing the obvious: the best performance enhancer by far, much better than light weight or stiffness, is advertising expenses.

21st October 2008, 02:24 PM
what about choosing the right size of board
when deciding betwen isonic 96 or 101 for example being the difference only a few grams,liters etc
how to compare the speed of the board for the same sail like a 6,7 taking in acount they have 34 and 36 fins
will the 96 allways be faster?
regards juan1

21st October 2008, 02:28 PM
Following this logic, why do Starboard make two constructions in the Futura (in the free ride board category). And most of the manufacturers try to offer the lightest options in boards. It could be all advertising hype but I'll continue to buy light for my Hi performance boards, maybe I'm a sucker for the marketing but I reckon the difference for me is obvious.

Mind you I did just order one of those 'porky' Isonics.

21st October 2008, 04:23 PM
Juan1: If you should compare weight at all, it must be between the same shapes. Otherwise the shape difference will for sure mean more.

Waiting4Wind: Some people just likes the lighter alternative. And in my opinion, the flex characteristics of the wood version is nicer (and if weights are reasonably close, flex makes a bigger difference to the ride quality than weight). Then there is the wood look which some also like. So, for the people that want to pay a bit extra for that upgrade, its there. If you don't believe in it and rather put that money elsewhere, you have the Technora version.

Geo: I agree with the concusion that it is probably easier to take advantage of lighter weight if you have a better and more active technique. And maybe even more importantly (maybe the most important?) is that a light board will have the psychological effect of _making you_ want to be more active with your feet. A light board is an activizer!

An anecdote: I just got my iS86 and my copy is over half a kilo heavier than my 08 iS76. But still, on the water the 86 feels at least as lively, maybe even livelier. I think it is the fact that the 86 has a really scooped out deck, effectively placing the rig closer to the water (and the the rotational axis of the board) and also placing board weight further back. So, small shape details can mean a lot when we talk about on water feel.

22nd October 2008, 04:55 AM
Ola: I agree 100% about psychological effect!
As for your iSonics, indeed having the weight back helps a lot, and the scooped deck should add some to stiffness too.

22nd October 2008, 02:30 PM
I understand that the fact A Albeau wins afect our minds so we trust whith isonics we will go faster but the same will happen if AA rides Fanatics,cause im sure hi will still wins .
what do you think , the rider counts 75%?
regards juan1