In defence of "Freeride" ???
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.
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
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 !!!
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).
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
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 !!!
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?
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 " ???
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).
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
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