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erin 6th February 2008 05:35 PM

Rio 2008 vs Phantom Race 320 vs Formula in gusty wind
Iím thinking of buy a third board intending for use those days then the wind direction isnít the best at my home spot. Itís a big lake but a fairly narrow bay with good conditions from SE-SW.On other directions, often SW on afternoon and but more W ,after work, I have some transport distance to get to clear wind and I think need a board with CB for that reason.
But first priority are planing mode, second medium wind cruising and at the end maybe some ability to introduce someone new to the game.

Now I have a Carve 121 with 6,0 and 7,1 and also an older formula ( 260 x 94 ) with 9,5 FW
sail that both work fine then the wind is steady. Last year I had lots of back pain and are still not fully recovered (maybe never be, btw Iím 50+ yo and 80 kg) so I will perhaps not get any bigger sails.

I have also owned a SB Express II (258 x 91) but it was too close to my formula and not so good when not fully powered up. I also had tried Hybrid Carve and Phantom 2007 (300 x 80), maybe too short time each to judge, but of different reasons they didnít convince me.

I think I need a fairly long and more narrow board like 2008 Rio S (269 x 76 that also fit inside my car) with a bigger fin than supplied or should Phantom Race 320 (x71) be more optimal for minimize ďsloggingĒ time. Perhaps Rio M (Rio L I think is too wide)

Q for the design team : why are they all rec. up to 9,5 sqm on the website and what about the weight increase, for Rio S, it was 12,3 and now 14,1 kg? Is there going to be more changes ?

I know those are compromises so I maybe should try to increase my skills and go for newer FW equipment with earliest possible planing. The only newer FW I tried is 2007 Apollo but I found it little scary downwind. It tended to dive through the big chop but that just a matter of trim ? (2008 be better but expensive and fragile ). Iím not competing, maybe FE160 will do ?
( Or maybe some of the biggest Futura or Isonic -08 to replace my old FW next year ?)

Lots of Q in my head so any answer or ideas would help me.

Thank you in advance

PG 7th February 2008 12:00 PM

Hi Erin

It would be interesting to understand why you did not like the Phantom and the Hybrid Carve. They do have the CB you are looking for, but obviously they are still missing something...

I don't think that switching from an older formula to a new one will change anything dramatically. There will for sure be come performance increase while planing, but non-planing cruising is likely to be worse, if anything.

I have not tried the Phantom Race 320 myself, but it sure sounds like a decent compromise for you. That is, if the priorites 2 and 3 have any value (subplaning cruising and teaching). On the other hand, it sure will feel different from a Formula when planing (i.e. heavier).

I have extensive experience using a KONA which I do think would feel quite similar to the race 320. It is clearly narrower than a Formula which means that it actually feels more like a freeride board (slightly overweight), both in the straights and in jibes. The value of these boards come from the fact that you use them in subplaning conditions, or to tack out from a bay that makes shortboards impossible.

But a Formula will of course plane a lot earlier, and is the correct choise if planing windsurfing is the only thing that counts.


erin 7th February 2008 09:04 PM

PG, thank you for your answer

I have own some longer boards and for teaching beginners I can borrow my old Klepper 370
that I sold to my next neighbour at my home spot. Cruising can be nice but for the moment it is the adrenalin kick with shortboards that I go for. (So no KONA, maybe in the future.)

I live at Lake Všnern (in Sweden) thatís very nice for formula but my problem is that it sometime is hard to see from the beach what the conditions are outside the bay. Owerpowered with formula gear is physical strenuous and dangerous. I also have a shallow beach to walk trough so itís take long time and hard work if I want to change gear.

The Hydrid Carve I tested was not in perfect shape. I couldnít get the CB out with my foot and on planning it felt more unstable than my formula. Had no time to adjust anything that day. Because it was in SB program only one year, I thought that Phantom should be better.

The test of the Phantom 301 was nicer but not the thrill of a formula and too short time for real judgement and once again in SB program only one year, but maybe I get it (and HC) an other try if possible. (I have the SB dealer not so far away)

The new Phantom Race 320, I have not seen and not so much info to read either yet.
The SB message maybe fit my needís perfect but statement from any tester would be nice.

Cut from SB Rio 2008 : ďFor advanced riders, the longer, narrower shape combined with the inboard heel-recesses and more flexible daggerboard allows the board to power upwind off the leeward rail. When planning, the tail with large cutaways and tail side-cuts deliver a powerful and exiting rideĒ. Could someone confirm that it works that good in reality?

BR Erland

James 7th February 2008 10:00 PM


Starboard's description of the Rio 2008, which you quote, sounds a lot like my experience on the Kona: "narrower shape and ... daggerboard allows the board to power upwind off the leeward rail. When planning, the tail with large cutaway ... delivers a powerful and exciting ride." The Kona really does have a fast, "adrenaline kick" ride when planing, and is much more manouverable than any other board of that size. Also, the nose rides high and free so you can blast over chop without fear if the wind gets strong.

Of course, if I had the cash I would get one of the new performance race longboards like the Starboard Phantom 380. That would be a sweet machine with a 9.5!


Ken 8th February 2008 12:38 AM


The others have offered good board advice, so I will comment on your 50+, 80kg, back pain issue.

I have been sailing & racing Formula for over 6 years and a couple of years ago had serious back pain too. Went to the doc and found out that I lacked core strength, so I went to a physical therapist to get started on a strength program. I now work out three days a week to build/maintain overall strength including my core as well as stretching on a regular basis. At our age, If you plan to stay in the sport, you have to have a regular weight program. Make sure you see a Dr. and find out exactly what is happening with your back. If you have a disc problem, weights may not be a good idea.

All this resulted in a huge improvement and has almost elimnated my back pain. I too weigh 80kg and am 62. I have no problems sailing with an 11.0 on my formula board in conditions up to 12-14 knots, but I change down to my 9.2 or 8.4 pretty quick as the wind picks up.

Yes - downwind on a formula board can be scarry, but that's what makes it so much fun. Push yourself and take tiny steps and before long, you will be shocked at what you can do.

erin 8th February 2008 05:56 PM

yes maybe KONA can do the work but perhaps RIO can do nearly the same in gusty wind and better in steady stronger wind? And itís shorter and fit in my car and have the same finsystem, Tuttle, as my other boards.
Btw you mention the Phantom 380 , are you wellknown with the rules of raceboard class? Is it max. 1005 wide, L 2700-3800 and min. 14 kg ? I told that I not competing but if I have a chance to participate in local ďfunracesĒ of course I do and it that case it might be something to take in consideration.

Nice videos, specially that in the ice bay. You are a real Viking.

erin 8th February 2008 11:21 PM

I had the same diagnos and got the same "medicin" for my back problem as you, I think.
No disc problem and almost normal for my age the doc told me but I still have some pain.
I now use easy-uphal ,adjustble harness lines and started to get used to adjustable outhal too. Much to handle but also get extra safety then I'm out with my 9,5 and now you have inspired me to go even bigger.
BR Erland

James 9th February 2008 01:17 AM

Erin- The Rio probably planes a knot or two earlier than the Kona because it's wider. But based on my experience riding wide hybrid boards like the Mistral Prodigy, which is similar in shape to the Rio, I think the narrower Kona is smoother and more comfortable both in gusty wind and in really strong wind. But I guess you have to use what will fit in your car. :)

The max width for raceboards is 70 cm, and the max length is 380 cm. The best board to win in the raceboard class would be a true 380 cm long raceboard like the Phantom 380 or Mistral Superlight II, but a slightly shorter longboard like the 70 x 350 cm Kona can do OK in those races. A wide hybrid like the Rio will be at a disadvantage unless the wind is strong enough to be fully planing around the course.

Good luck with your choice.

PS- That isn't me in the video- it's a friend from Canada. But I do windsurf in the winter here in Virginia, where it's usually 7-15 degrees C. :)

steveC 9th February 2008 01:21 AM

Hi erin,

I think there is little doubt that Ken's recommendation regarding developing a strength building regimen is a good plan for us older sailors. At almost 59, I'm beginning to believe that I will have start a weight or conditioning training program to strengthen my back, as I find it becoming easier and easier to tweak it.

However, I did want to emphasize the importance of using a mechanical downhaul tool. Probably about 10 years ago I started have back problems that I think were nerve related, as I developed pain at my right hip and along my lower right torso, and it started becoming increasingly difficult to walk normally. I ultimately discovered that the stress I was putting on my right side while downhauling my sails was the source of my problems. Although I had no problems of any kind for many years earlier, the affects of age started getting the better of me. By regularly using a mechanical downhaul tool, my problem literally disappeared.

Ken 9th February 2008 03:16 AM

Erin & SteveC,

Yep, a down haul tool is essential for the large formula sails, even though the most recent editions have less down haul force than the older models. I also have easy-uphauls on my 11.0 & 9.2, and will get another for my 8.4. Luckly, I rarely have to uphaul since I don't drop the sails very often.

I have adjustable outhauls on all my booms for my 6.6, 7.6, 8.4, 9.2 & 11.0. Luckly, I have a dedicated boom for each sail, although a couple are probably 10 yrs old or more.

To prevent an injury, I do jumping jacks and trunk rotations for a couple of minutes before rigging, and then some more with stretching before I go out on the water. You do what you have to do to have fun.

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