View Full Version : Rigs for Kids
6th January 2007, 06:04 PM
I have two small girls and I am leaning towards getting them a Starsurfer for the summer. I am trying to determine which rigs to get them (they will be 9 and 11). The ezzy two rig package is a great deal but I am concerned that it may be nothing but a sheet of monofilm on an aluminum tube. The sailworks ripper looks real nice but it is very expensive.
They have sailed a few times last year and have the basics of balance, uphauling and going straight. They used really old large gear and they still enjoyed it.
8th January 2007, 11:01 AM
I looked at the Ezzy web page and checked out the 2.0/2.5 2007 Kids Rig setup and I agree, the price is certainly good.
Knowing the normal quality that Ezzy is known for, I suspect this rig package would certainly do the trick for your girls, but it probably does not have very much "down the road" potential.
Having taught a great number of kids, I know how quickly they progress, so I'm going to suggest that you look at the Sailworks Retro Ripper 3 3.3 m2 rig for your daughters. It will cost twice as much as the Ezzy, but
will provide significantly more performance and give them a really solid
small sail to start out and then you can build them a quiver of small light high performance sails that will have them planing almost from the first day.
A couple of questions need to be answered here.
How much windspeed do you expect your daughters will be sailing in?
How much (approx.) do your daughters weigh.
If your younger daughter is at least 60 lbs. and youir windspeeds are < 12 knots your younger daughter should do quite well with the 3.3 m2 Ripper.
The Retro Ripper 3 sails are fully tuneable, so if you have light winds, downhaul less and leave some shape in them.
If the winds are stronger, downhaul more, let the top twist off, and keep the profile a bit flatter to reduce the power.
If you are anywhere near the Hatteras or West Central Florida, let me know and we can put your daughters on a Starsurfer and let them try out the various different Retro Rippers to find the ones that will work best for them.
Hope this helps,
9th January 2007, 12:34 AM
My youngest is probably 65 lbs and the older is closer to 90 lbs. We live in New England, so they will probably sail in winds up to 12 to 15 mph, but as you know, it can blow quite a bit less.
I am surprised that you would recommend a sail as large as a 3.3. It sounds like I could just purchase the one rig and they both could have some fun on it. I was anticipating the need to purchase two sails, one in the 2.0 range and the other in the 2.8 range. Are these sails that light and tuneable that I can go slightly larger and only one?
9th January 2007, 06:47 AM
Without actually seeing your daughters and their skills, I cannot say for sure, but we've had students (100's of them over the years) as young and small as your youngest (and many that were probably younger and smaller) who did quite well on the Retro Ripper 2.5 and 3.3 m2 rigs. Both of these sails rig on the Sailworks 310 RipStick RDM and are as light as possible without sacrificing durability and tuneability.
Thus far, of the people I've recommended the Retro Rippers to, no one has come back and said they didn't like them and most have had nothing but praise for these rigs as they provide alot more power (and performance/speed as soon as your fledgling sailors can handle it) than the less expensive and flatter kids rigs.
A number of people have purchased other less expensive kids rigs and gotten their kids started in the sport on them, but have ultimately purchased the Retro Ripper in appropriate sizes and seen an immediate
improvement in their kids skill levels.
The Retro Rippers are simply downsized Sailworks Retros (for the most part) and they teach new sailors how to handle power in the rig right from the start.
Other rigs, that don't have as much power, may be easier for the first 1/2 hour or so, but beyond that, they don't provide a good progression, either in skill level or ability to sail in stronger conditions because the new sailor has not had to deal with very much, if any real "power" from the rig, so as soon as things power up a little they have problems.
With our "A Taste of Windsurfing" program, our students already know how to handle the power in the rig, from their 5-10 minutes on the simulator with Ellen, as well as how to uphaul correctly, keep the board an rig in alignment, get the rig across so it balances, how to "rotate" the upper body to add forward drive from the rig, and how to dump or reduce the power if it becomes too much for them.
Then I take them on the water and virtually all of them sail off, with me on the front of the board or on a tether right in front of them, with enough skills to sail across the wind, tack and return across the wind to where they started. This is in their first 5 minutes on the water.
So, I've become convinced that having a small lightweight sail that balances well and provides good progressive power characteristics is actually easier for them to learn on than a flat limited power rig, or a
floppy old style trainer rig where the power moves around alot.
If you are anywhere near Rhode Island, perhaps you can hook up with Ellen or borrow her 2.5 and 3.3 for a test drive with your girls.
I believe Ellen also has a Starsurfer.
Other than inviting you and your girls to come to one of our free "A Taste of Windsurfing" events in the spring, there no absolute "for sure' way to tell which size rig (s) you might need.
The real criteria, from my experience, is their ability to uphaul a rig of a certain weight. Learning to uphaul correctly (using the larger thigh muscles rather than the smaller muscle groups in the lower back and arms), seems to help the "little ones" sucessfully uphaul larger rigs than we might think them capable of.
Once the rig is out of the water, they can balance it, and the weight is no longer an issue.
And, if they have learned how to "regulate" the power (through sheeting in and out, as required, to keep the power steady and manageable for their petite size) they can progress very rapidly.
Their progress, and the ease with which they sail (as long a things stay balanced) will simply astonish you.
They will be ready to do things it took you as an adult days or weeks to pick up, in a couple of hours.
Hope this helps,
9th January 2007, 08:40 AM
Thanks Roger. As usual, you are quite helpful. We actually get down to RI quite a bit. I will probably spend quite a bit of time at Fogland this summer since I will be teaching the girls. It is a great place to learn.
9th January 2007, 11:51 AM
You are going to teach them to drive when they get a little older....right?
Teaching family members to windsurf is very much like teaching them to drive a car.
In my opinion, something that is much better to learn from someone not in your family.
Bring them to the Windfest at Frisco Woods Campground in Hatteras the 3rd weekend in April and they can learn for free, on the best entry level gear available.
Or, if a trip to Hatteras is not in the works, take them down to Ninigret Pond and schedule some lessons with Ellen. That will cost, but you will get the benefit of one of the most experienced kids instructors in the USA.
My guess would be they will learn more, more quickly, and have a lot of fun at the same time.
That's really the key to teaching kids almost anything. It has to be fun!
The more fun it is, the faster they learn.
Hope this helps,
9th January 2007, 08:06 PM
Let me clarify. There is a professional instructor there, Paul from Northwinds I believe, that does an excellent job teaching kids and adults.
Once they learn the basics, I will help them along.
By the way, I am not bad at teaching them. So far I have taught them how to ski, rock climb, swim, fish, and bike. I am a VERY patient person.
9th January 2007, 09:26 PM
No offense, but are you saying that if their DAD (who can probably sail pretty goot himself) will teach them to windsurf they won't have fun???!!
I think that that is not true, because windsurfing itself is fun. Furthermore if he will teach them, they will be having a good time together which is good for the family, RIGHT????
Peterk: I agree wit you. I think you will do fine teaching your daughters. Sooner or later, they'll become better than you and then, you will be asking them for advice. So i suggest you take your turn...
If they have the right equipment, kids learn extremely fast, no matter what kind of instructor they have (offcourse if the instructor is at least an intremediate/experienced sailor). I learnt to windsurf from my dad and I couldn't think of a better theacher if i would have to learn it all over again.
All the best and again, no offence Roger!
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