View Full Version : Light wind boards

9th April 2010, 02:46 PM
was reading a test published end of last year where they compared several boards in light winds. They basically tested a Formula Board, the Serenity, 145l Freeride board (in light weight construction) and 79cm wide slalom board.

Main outcomes(excl. Serentiy which is of course the light wind machine) are that the Formula with a 11m race sail starts planing at 7knots with pumping, while the freeride with a 8,5m freeirde sail at 8knots and the slalom with a 9,3m race sail at 9knots.

The overall result in the tester's opinion was that the freeride combination was the most fun in lightweight winds.

Any opinions? Do you think that a bigger slalom board (like Isonic 131 or 144) would do a better job? Seems that for an average weekend sailor the right lightwind equipment is a freeride set since it starts planing earlier and is not significantly slower than slalom in winds up to 14knots (+is cheaper and after 14knots you anyways change to smaller gear....)

9th April 2010, 05:45 PM
I think it could be true for a light weight rider.

But I know for sure that I don't get into planing with a freeride board and a 8.5m2 sail at 8 knots and a personal weight of 86kg.

9th April 2010, 08:03 PM
I think a test like that compares apple and oranges. Put side by side a Futura and an Isonic of identical volume and the difference in early planing would be very small, if any.

My old Mike Lab 77 wide, 270 long and probably 135L or so for 6Kg weight is one of the earliest things planing around here, and it is neither a slalom nor a freeride board nor a formula. What I mean is: build light with a lot of volume add some length and you get an early planing machine that picks up at 7-9knots depending on sail size. Fun is going to be relative: if the winds picks up no light wind machine is going to be "fun"!

9th April 2010, 08:45 PM

I don't buy an 8.5 on a 145 liter freeride board planing just one knot behind a formula board with an 11.0 - unless the freeride sailor is 65 kg and the formula sailor is 85 kg.

What about the width of the freeride and the volume of the slalom? Knowing this will help with the comparison.

Deja Vu
11th April 2010, 10:30 PM
No mention of the fin that was used. I don't buy it either.

11th April 2010, 10:48 PM
i agree the windspeed to plane is off, way off
but free ride is the way to go unless:

1. absolute early planing = formula
2. speed = slalom
3 at the same sailor weight and skill as above but without breaking the bank,
= freeride with big non cammed sails.


formula 155, f-2 lightning race, s-type 104, kinetic 269, tiga 268 ( plastic fantastic), starboard evo 104.

12th April 2010, 11:36 AM
I would give a lot of credit to this test.It was done by the Surf Magazine with German care and precision. They did it on Lake Garda with a wind meter according to the scheme:
- Start schlogging, wait until you are planing, stop, measure the wind, repeat the process N times.
- Do it with several boards, with and without pumping.

They admitted themselves that they would not have believed in the results prior to testing...

The freeride gear was a Fanatic Shark 145 liters in the lightest build, and I recall that the sail would have been a Severne Glide 8.5 (that is, not your regular freeride sail but comparable to about a 10 m2 freerace sail in planing power). The slalom was a Tabou with a Gaastra Vapor 9.3. For the formula test they used a Point-7 sail.

12th April 2010, 05:24 PM
My weight is 90 kg, to start planning at 8knots with regular freeride board and 8.5m≤ sail is impossible for me. I need at least 13 to 14 knots wind to start planning with this combination, perhaps with Severne Glide or NP Helium I could start planning little bit sooner but I would still need more than 10knots wind.
Specialized light wind sails like Glide or Helium have more low end power but they are harder to control in gusty winds. Normally at my windsurfing spots wind is from 7 to 20 knots with average 12 knots. With 8.5 m≤ NP Helium and freeride board you are totally overpowered at 20 knots, but you can still survive with formula.
Generally surf board with wide tail starts planning sooner. Usually slalom boards have wider tail than freeride boards, for example Isonic is wider than Futura and it starts planning sooner with same sail.

John Kemsley
12th April 2010, 06:36 PM
To many variables beng tested - board, fin, sail & rig, rider - should have used the same sail on all boards to get at least one constant value to work from

12th April 2010, 07:47 PM
I respectfully disagree with John K. I think the interesting thing about this test is exactly the fact that they are testing different gears which seem reasonable to me. You most likely won't put a 11m2 race sail on a freeride board, thus, having same sail wouldn't make much sense. They have put together rig+boards which one would actually think of buying.

The riders have been the same, and that is what makes it so interesting as well. Same guy testing different board+rig in same place and condition.

I wouldn't have believed it myself, but Surf Magazine usually is quite accurate on their tests. And the figures are there to prove it.

If nothing else it is at least an eye opener to test different gears before deciding on what to get. I fortunately can have 2 boards, thus, I might consider a freeride + early planning sail for light wind. Once it gets above 14knots I switch to smaller board and different sail.

Deja Vu
12th April 2010, 10:09 PM
"gear" = disk with teeth cut into it etc . plural = gears (more than one)
"gear" = equipment. Plural = "gear" being a collective noun. Other examples of collective nouns (words that are spelled and pronounced the same for both singular and plural) are; sheep, deer, information, equipment, and of course the most famous or infamous being the word "beer". Two sheep, three deer and four cows where in the field enjoying the nine beer the hikers had forgotten. Please don't take the above too seriously. It is interesting to watch the English language evolve (or devolve) as time goes on. I just wonder if the evolution of this language has accelerated somewhat due to the number of beer (beers) being consumed on a daily basis?

12th April 2010, 11:42 PM
Deja Vu, that's a lot of crap, or shall I say "craps" LOL :)

Unregistered, like I said, I think it could be true for a light weight rider.

Did they mention the weight of the test riders ?


12th April 2010, 11:47 PM
Fanatic must have got their sums right with Shark bearing in mind results of test mentioned and "fact" that Martin Van Meurs got 38 knots out of one. (He didnt state exactly which one ; assume the 130 ??)

Couple of years ago I hired one in Feurteventura (its all they had left) and sailed it in waves !! It was great; taking into account its size !!! Didnt give impression to me that it was capable of both planing in sub 10 knots and then doing 38 knots !!! Think it might need a fin change to do both ???!!!

13th April 2010, 01:28 AM
Weight of riders: 80kg
Skills: advanced

13th April 2010, 02:07 AM

I know that I can get a freeride board planing with a 8.5 m2 from 10 knots with heavy pumping. But I find that the difference between 8 and 10 knots is huge. In this wind range every knot counts.

And there is still the issue of going upwind of course which will be hard with this equipment. No, I prefer definitely formula equipment in these conditions. It offers me a more relaxed ride, despite the heavier gear.

It remains an interestic topic, though.

13th April 2010, 03:00 AM
It about equates to what I find. Using a Bic Techno 2 160 litre and 8.0 sail (85 kg weight) I find that a gust and energetic pumping can get it onto the plane, and once there, with the help of the apparent wind, I can keep it going in about 10 knots average.

As for fun,the 160 (short and wide) approximates the feel of smaller gear once up and blasting. On those iffy light wind days when it's unlikely to blow up, it ticks all the right boxes.

13th April 2010, 09:33 AM
I've just picked up an anemometer and am going to take it with me on the water next time I sail to see when I start planing with my Futura 93 + 5.8m (30cm fin). Being what most would consider a super lightweight rider at 55kgs it will be interesting to see what wind I need to start planning with this smaller freeride kit.

Does anyone know if by planing, in this test, they mean confortably getting and staying in the footstraps or if it's simply getting the board to lift out of the water? Because there is certainly a difference of at least 1 - 2 knots I would say between the two.

13th April 2010, 05:06 PM
Generally slalom board will get you planning with less wind than freeride board because slalom boards are wider. But on the other side, race sails like Gaastra Vapor are designed for top speed, not for early planning, so with specialized light wind sail you will get planning with less wind. From this you could conclude that best option, for early planning is slalom board with light wind sail, but problem is that slalom boards and light wind sails donít always work very well together.

If you have wind in range from 10 to 15 knots, you can use light wind sail 8.5m≤. But in area where I live wind is gusty, and I believe this is true for most windsurfing spots. This means wind is less than 10 knots for 20 to 30s, and then up to 20 knots for 15 to 20s. Obviously you canít change to smaller gear within 20s, so you must use sail with huge wind range. Specialized light wind sails donít have huge wind range, you get few knots at low end but you lose much more than that at top end.

At the end only really usable option to get planning when wind is less than 10 knot is formula, especially for heavier windsurfers and upwind sailing.

14th April 2010, 12:46 AM
It of course depends on where you sail.

When Surf tested FreeRace sails (like Gaastra GTX) in the size 8.5 they found that the Glide 7.5 did have more low end (both planing and speed), but on the other hand it had less top end (both speed and control).

The conclusion was that the Glide 7.5 is an excellent sail in places with light and stable wind, like where winds are thermal. In places with gusty and variable wind the Glide was thought to be too much of a wrestling match.

But it does prove an intersting point, there is not a single truth when it comes to sail size!

If the Glide 7.5 has more power than a freeride 8.5, then a Glide 8.5 has to be VERY powerful. It would be fun to try it...

14th April 2010, 08:59 PM
Another issue impacting planing that became exceptionally clear yesterday - I was out on my iS 111 and a Maui Sails TR-4 7.6 in light conditions. A friend was on his new (I think it was an '08 or '09) 130 liter freeride board (unnamed, not Starboard) with a 8.0 Retro and was having considerable trouble getting it to plane. I am sailing by at 25 knots and he couldn't plane even with pumping.

I couldn't believe he was having that much trouble since he was an experienced sailor so I took it out for a test ride. I had the same problem, it was a "dog" and I never got it to break loose and plane flat and fast on the surface. The nose was high and the tail low with too much drag. Mast track all the way forward.

Then after closer inspection to see what was happening, I assumed that it was the VERY soft rails running all the way to the tail. The board just couldn't break away and plane with a clean release of the water, it just wrapped around the rails, holding it down.

The board was wide, light, plenty of volume, but what a piece of crap. I went to the companies web site and from what I could tell, the new model of the board has much sharper rails.

14th April 2010, 10:43 PM
Bigger board and bigger sail, must have been a pretty s*** build/design. Would be interesting to know the brand in order to stay away from it...

15th April 2010, 02:08 AM

I am not ready to name the brand, since it looks like the 2010 model may have fixed the problem (from what I could see from the photos on the web site). I guess the board was designed for novice sailors to begin the freeride experience, but if it won't plane without a ton of power, then what a blunder.

I guess it is incumbent upon the buyer to know something about board design before buying, but in this case, most novice or intermediate sailors probably would not notice the soft rails or be aware of the impact.

It's also hard to believe that a major company with years of experience would design something like this, but to keep all of this in perspective, this is just my opinion and others could disagree. Therefore, I think it's best to not identify the brand.

15th April 2010, 03:41 PM
Ken. I think that when you state what you claim to be fact rather than just opinion (your original post) you ought to name names.After all, if the fault has been rectified on this years model but the older ones are still being bought second hand, people have a right to know .

Presumably the board was tested by some magazine or other at the time. couldn't you at least point us in that direction? We ought to be able to read between the lines if the test has any credibility, otherwise what is the point of testing!

16th April 2010, 03:46 AM
OK, here's the deal - I haven't been on a big freeride board for about 8 years. With ample wind, my iSonic 111, Formula 160 and HiFly Move all get on plane quickly and accelerate very fast with a clean water release. My last freeride board was a Techno 283 and it planed up nicely as well.

What I found in the short time I was on the 2008 Naish Freewide 130 was NOTHING like my past experiences on my boards when it comes to planing and accelerating. It just felt like it was stuck to the water.

Others may have a different opinion, but this is what I found.

16th April 2010, 06:03 AM
Thank you Ken. Now I know it wasn't another make I was wondering about.

16th April 2010, 08:10 AM
I think they introduced this shape in 2010/09 so I guess it's still quite new. I don't know how much cheaper Naish boards are than SBs but they certainly don't seem to undergo as much R&D as SB... or maybe that's just because SBs marketing is insane, not really sure.

26th April 2010, 09:58 PM
does anyone have a copy (.pdf) of this article about the planing thresholds of different setups? if not, is there a link to a back issues page for surf magazine so i could purchase a copy of the article?

is surf a windsurfing magazine or a surfing magazine? this is an article that all the windsurf magazines should have tested on years ago :).

thanks for the help


27th April 2010, 03:31 AM
SURF is a German windsurfing magazine. You can buy the article online in their website
Go to : Test & Technics
Got to: Tests
Search for: Material fŁr Leichtwind.

The article is all in German though.