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James 20th June 2007 12:17 PM

Why I'm into longboards
First of all, this is just my opinion and my experience. I know other people have good reasons for their own opinions and I respect that. Anyway, here goes:

Longboards are the most practical and most enjoyable boards for most people in most conditions.

I have come full circle to reach this conclusion. Though I fell in love with longboards as a kid, I got a Techno 273 after college and focused mainly on shortboarding after that. Saving my meager grad-student stipend, I then worked on my sail quiver, eager to access the much-hyped realm of early planing. I was disappointed to find that a 7.5 didn't do it - Most days were still schlog days. So I saved some more money and bought a 10.6. It was fun on my longboard but didn't work well on the Techno. So I saved more money and bought a F186. That was fun, but I still schlogged most of the time in the summer, and I had to deal with tons of rigging and repair hassles with the sail and board. Undaunted, I saved MORE money, and bought a 12.0 and a 9.4. Finally, I was able to plane about 50% of the time in those light summer days. But it was a huge rigging hassle and backbreaking if the wind got a little too light or too strong. Deciding whether or not to rig up on those all-too-common marginal days was stressful. Plus I was realizing that my setup wasn't good enough get me in the running in the local races. So I bought a F158. That was cool. I did ok in a race or two. But fins, board repairs, etc. were always a hassle, and the "is it windy enough to plane" dilemma was still agonizing in the summer. Then my monofilm sails started to self-destruct and my boom head broke. I was getting frustrated, but I still repaired things and kept at it.

Around that time I started teaching a lot of people to windsurf, and windsurfing with my girlfriend. It was a pain to pack for trips because I had to bring the F158 for myself and a separate longboard or prodigy for the others, because the formula board was lousy for teaching.

Then the wood finish on my F158 started to crack and split. I did my best to refinish it, but that was the last straw. The honeymoon with early-planing shortboard performance was over. I missed my longboard, which I had sold to finance the extravagant formula purchases.

So I sold my 12.0 rig, my formula board, and all it's accessories for chump change and purchased the only good, cheap longboard currently on the market. Unfortunately, it was not a starboard.

Since then I have sailed more often, with less stress and anxiety and less time spent rigging. I have enjoyed racing much more, and I have been able to share my board with buddies and beginners. I have sailed alongside my girlfriend on an even more simple longboard (a Bic Melody) and we've both had much more fun than when she used to slug around on the Prodigy while I alternated between leaving her in the dust and schlogging behind her on my formula stuff. I have learned new tricks like the rail ride and have enjoyed jibing and carving around on waves, which was a no-no with the F158.

So, I'll get down off the soapbox now, but before I do, I just want to put out a call to Starboard and all the other companies that haven't already done so, to produce and market cheap longboards. They're fun and rewarding for all skill levels without requiring strong steady winds or huge investments in heavy, complex rigs. Most importantly they bring beginner and advanced sailors closer together, stoking the fire of our sport. Longboards are the main course - shortboards are the desert. We need to get back to a balanced diet.

Screamer 20th June 2007 08:02 PM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
Some good thoughts there, alhtough it&#39;s an old topic. It depends a lot on where you live. I don&#39;t live in Maui, Tarifa, etc, but luckily I am able to sacrifice those <10 knots days and still get enough of my fix. (I say this having sailed (and abandoned) div2, longboards, formulas, for the past 15-20 years)
Btw, here is a fact often forgotten in this longboard vs shortboard debate (and there is a mini revival of the longboards for sure): An olympic lechner or similar div2 board will run circles around any longboard on any race course in very light winds. If I ever go back to light wind sailing, I&#39;ll go straight from my slalom board to Serenity or something similar.

Guest 20th June 2007 09:04 PM

RE: Long Boards
Screamer, where do you live?

crazychemical 20th June 2007 10:19 PM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
I agree with james for most of what he has said. My sister is a born longboarder whereas i&#39;m a shortboard fanatic. Though i must admitt, when we get our 3 bft conditions i repfer rigging my 7.6 (as i have no bigger sail) on her fanatic race 340 then on my SB go139. It just more fun, much more speed (i&#39;ve got pictures of my sister with the 7.6 rig cruzin a 6 or 7 knot breeze and this formula surfer with a 10 m² rig trying to keep up with her)
However, i must add that when i get +10 knot conditions it can sail my shortboard perfectly with a 7.6 rig and get into plane most of the time (though upwinds are dreadfull and i get tempted to just plane downwind and thus drift away). Also, when we hit a light 5 bft, so about 13-14-15 knots my 7.6 is the perfect rig to surf with on the Go139 and i get into planning all the time whereas my sister is staggering behind on her longboard because she&#39;ll have more problems giving the board the lift it needs to plane (this is partially because it&#39;s an older board (still said &#39;maid in West germany&#39; so a pre &#39;89 board) and therefore not really disigned for planning)
Another problem i face when surfing longboard it that when the wind picks up jibing becomes quite the trick because of the extensive tail you have to handle. also, in higher winds my sister seems to loose controle, even though she always sails smaller rigs then me. Whereas my Go139 in winds over 14 knots becomes a responsive board with early planning and it jibes and carves as if it were cutting soft butter.
The opposite is true for lightwinds: my Go becomes this clumbsy piece of wood on the water, it takes hours before it starts to jibe because of the sheer lack of speed, it is slow and just not fun like the longboard of my sister.
In lightwinds the longboard is more responsive to it&#39;s sailor than a shortboard because of the reduced width versus the volume. The rider is more balanced (looking at current longboard which vary from 120 liters (see exocet kona range) to about 220 liters with an avarage of about 180 liters) and the board is faster as it is slimmer then a shortboard.
Judging from all of this a rider, in order to deside what is really best for him, has to ask himself what conditions he would encounter more: lightwinds, or, highwinds? I&#39;m lucky, as the lake i sail on (veerse meer in the south of holland) has seewinds blowing in aswell as landwinds, thus it is sailable with shortboard just a bit more often then with longboards. However, i am glas my sister is a longboardaddict because the lightwind conditions i get there at the end of spring make it very hard for me to satisfy my needs.
Perhaps, it is adviced that a rider not only chooses a sailquiver, but also a more extensive boardquiver ... Longboard, shortboard, waveboard.

Screamer 21st June 2007 03:27 AM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
Guest #3
My location says: Belgrade, Serbia. If you&#39;re interested, you can find it here (zoom out a few clicks to see this part of Europe):,20.46999931
You&#39;ll see a large river running from NW to SE through it :D:D:D
I sail on Danube river (mostly), some inland lakes and Adriatic coast of Montenegro in the summer. What is unusual here is that inland sailing is chalenging (sometimes brutal), while the coast is mellower (although it has its share of storms of course). Yes, if you count the light wind days in my area, longboards may make sense, but you also have between 50-100 good days a year (from 11 to 40+ knots). More than enough for me.

Randy 21st June 2007 04:01 AM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
Screamer, sounds like a great place for sailing, but not everyone is so well situated. Also. 50-100 days sounds like a lot, but thats 1-2 per week. If they don&#39;t occur on weekends, or whenever you are off work, then your odds of getting a good shortboard session are 1 or 2 in 7. A "losing streak" could go on for weeks at a time.

I sail both long and shortboards, and for different reasons. Sailing a longboard, is sailing w/o the expense and hassle of owning a "real sailboat." Its also a lot faster, and IMO, more fun than a sailboat. Sailing a shortboard seems more like "surfing", but can be done with or without the waves cooperating. You don&#39;t even need an ocean - a lake or river will do. All you need is wind - and a fair amount of it. But neither shortboarding, or longboarding is for everyone. In this sport, longboarders are a small minority, though hopefully one that will grow.

It will be interesting to see if the longboard revival is for real. I live in a place (inland SE US) where light winds prevail. If anyplace is a longboard haven, it should be here. Yet few local sailors are sailing longboards, now, and its been that way for the more than 10 years I&#39;ve been windsurfing. James&#39; story is sort of similar to mine. I started out on longboards, and gave them up more from frustation than anything. (Couldn&#39;t to get into the straps, hard to get planning sometimes, difficult in high winds etc.) I went to wide formula boards, hybrids, big sails, etc and even sold my longboard. Along the way, I got into conventional shortboards from 84 liters on up. Last spring I bought an old (1987) Mistral longboard. Soon found out that my longboard sailing had improved greatly, even though I had been sailing different types of boards. I got back into longboards in a very big way, racing, and sailing in winds light and strong. I eventually got a Serenity. Now I sail it in non-planning winds, and switch to one of my shorter boards when planning is possible. My thinking is to get the best ride for the conditions, and sail as much as I can.:)

rod_r 21st June 2007 10:08 AM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
I think it&#39;s important to make a distinction between longboards of old and the new breed of longboards being produced. Boards like the kona style are almost as much of a planing hull as they are a traditional longboard, and appear to give the user the benefit of both worlds. It doesn&#39;t have to be one or the other.

Del Carpenter 21st June 2007 11:03 AM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
I love longboards because so much of the time they are the only appropriate board for the conditions I sail in. Even on many of the days with planing winds in my area, the longboard is still the best bet becaause the winds are too variable.

I have no hope that new, good longboards will ever be inexpensive. I believe the complications of adjustable mast tracks and fully retractable daggerboards argue against inexpensive longboards. I hope lots of new longboards are made so some of them will become less expensive.

James 21st June 2007 11:07 AM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
Hey guys. I&#39;m really happy with this response. Thanks for sharing your stories and stuff.

I&#39;m going up to a longboard race in Annapolis, MD this weekend. Should be a lot of fun. There are some signs of growth in windsurfing in Virginia and Maryland. It helps that there are active clubs in both states that do racing and beginner instruction on longboards and hybrids.

Guest 21st June 2007 11:24 AM

RE: Why I'm into longboards
Hey guys, check this video...this are some good, relatively easy things to do also when there is no wind.

I have been the last week in the water 3 days here in my local spot with almost 5-7 knots having really tons of fun. I always ended with a smile in my face.

Check this is a video of Ceaser, a guy in Bonaire that sails windy or not.

you can do this with your longboard or with your wide board....same fun!

best luck!
Ricardo Guglielmino

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