Starboard Forums

Starboard Forums (
-   Ask Our Team (
-   -   new vs. old slalom shapes (

slalomguy 17th December 2006 01:55 AM

new vs. old slalom shapes

Do you mind summerising the main differences and advantages/disadvantages of the traditional narrow /long boards as compared to the new short/wide slalom shapes.
And which iS size would you recommend for a 94kg rider sailing in 15-25 knots choppy bay conditions?

Ian Fox 20th December 2006 11:09 AM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Hi Slalomguy,

It's a bit unclear how far back we want to define "traditional" (which in turn can vary the scope of the answer), but if we define "traditional" to be the slalom boards of the last few seasons (ie : the current "life" of slalom, as compared to the previous "life" of slalom pre extinction) ...

The real difference and advantage would be the increase in rideability and range, which in most conditions makes the new boards faster, or easier to be fast on. The iSonics really have quite a flat trim/ride, which is something that was not so easily achieved on traditional boards. Especially with the current range of iSonics (with even more improved jibe) there really is not any significant performance downside to the new boards.

Upwind ability, ability to efficently carry bigger sails and fins (where required) early planing, planing thru lulls and carrying power thru jibes all rate better on iS than more traditional shapes.

The traditional narrow boards feel possibly sharper or faster in the water and in some cases give a enhanced speed "sensation" however head to head and gps testing shows the calmer new generation boards are deceptively fast.

It's also worth noting that a poorly designed short/wide slalom could easily be a real ugly board to ride/jibe, however with iSonics the results have been very positive, both to our testing and (maybe more importantly) the general public.

There are very few who have spent time (or money) on the iSonics who don't find them a better overall slalom solution than the longer, narrower traditional designs.

For a 94kg rider in 15-25kts Bay chop, the 3 sizes in typical consideration would be iS94/101/111:

94 would be a good top end board, more demanding and potentially critical around the 15 kts range, especially if the 15kts was marginal. For a serious focus on overall range, the 101 is a really good choice (and my favorite), and it's early planing (with moderate skill and decent tuning) is not far behind the larger 111 and even 122. 101 has a really good jibe and good speed in both light and powered conditions. A bit bouncier over chop in high winds, less of an issue with bigger riders.
iS111 is a safer bet for heavier riders in lower (~15)and mid range(15-20), but with more compromise on the real top end 20+, especially if it gets really lumpy or choppy.(although, by comparison, you will find the iS111 still a better choice in these conditions than most "traditional" longer, narrow designs.

OK, make that 4 options; The iS122 is an absolute wildcard in that windrange, but for a heavy rider remains also a possibility with excellent low end and mid range(10-20kts), more challenging (but still very capable) in serious chop above 20 kts. But an unreal jibe for such a "big" slalom. Doubt it ? Me too. Try it.;)

Deciding which end of the 15-25 kt range you will spend most of your sailing time in (on this board) - or alternately the sail size range/swetspot you desire)will influence the optimal choice.

Most people initially fear the wider, flatter shape in chop, but a few sessions quickly convert them, and in the clear majority of cases, there is no "going back" after that. If you've any doubts, please try for a demo or test. Or more info.

Cheers ~ Ian

slalomguy 20th December 2006 05:15 PM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Thanks for the reply Ian.

Philip 23rd December 2006 05:29 AM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Good response that also lays to rest the periodic rumours that short and wide is on the way out.

And all the best for 2007 to the *Board team and all those who make this forum such an informative place to be. :p

SIN909 24th December 2006 02:30 PM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
I'm not Ian but this is what I can share: I started sailing slalom boards towards the late 90s when shapes were still comparatively long and narrow. Today I'm on a modern short and wide board and for me the most noticeable difference is how much more free of the water the new shapes ride, particularly in chop. The older shapes could ride free as well but it seemed to me only in flat water. THe new shapes have much shorter rocker flat which is I think why they feel this way. I figure the shorter rocker is compensated by the wider tail shapes so early planing is not so affected. And for sure the range of the new boards is outstanding. I use one board in up to 30+ winds on a 5.5 and the same board in winds less than half the strength on a bigger sail, with a fin change of course, although a change up to a larger board would probably be ideal. I find the newer shapes easier to gybe as well. It feels it's because there is less board in the water so there is less board to deal with in the turn.

steveC 25th December 2006 12:16 AM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Hi SIN909,

Just curious about the size (length, width & volume) of your newer board. I have a brand new slalom board that I haven't tried yet, and its almost 23cm shorter, a centimeter wider at the middle and it has a noticably wider nose and tail. My older slalom (from very late 99) is still an awesome board that proved itself repeatedly over the years, even in some pretty wild conditions. If the new one is superior in ways that you noted, I'm going to be very stoked. I've sailed Northshore Maui many times before, so I'm aware how challenging the conditions can be when the trades really kick in, especially outside the reef line.

Was the newer board the one you used in the speed and slalom racing during the 2006 season? If I recollect correctly, your standings in the competitions were right up there.

SIN909 25th December 2006 01:00 AM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes

My board is 8'0" and 22 inches wide Mike's Lab and what I used this season. Took delivery sometime in May so it's a fairly late shape. Thr rocker flat is 30 inches. Not sure about the volume but estimate it to be about 85 litres. Also what I really notice is how the board seems to skim over the top of the chop and so if you get in a groove is actually not so bouncy in bad chop. Probably modern slalom boards like the isonics work along these lines. For sure the board played a big part in the results among others factors. On another note there were some questions on this forum about whether to go with a new board or sail if you could only choose one. Well in my experience, unequivocally I would say go with the new board. I stayed on my Nitro4 sails and was still competitive. Boards get delamed and lose their performance whereas sails stay essentially the same. As well I feel there are greater advancements in board design over sail design, particularly the last few years. I think wide and short slalom boards with shorter rockers makes more of an impact performance-wise than wide luff sleeves.

steveC 26th December 2006 12:11 AM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Hi SIN909,

Thanks so much for your response. It's very interesting to note that my new slalom board is also a Mike's Lab, and it's virtually the same size as yours. Given your satisfaction with your board, I know I'm going to be super stoked. The older slalom I mentioned is also a Mike's Lab. I took the opportunity to visually compare the two boards, and the thing that really caught my attention is that the V really extends forward on the board, and is quite pronounced in the nose section, thereby creating fairly deep concaves. Very different from the many ML boards I've owned in the past where the V was quite subtle and pretty much limited to the tail sections . I can hardly wait until I get the new board on the water.

Please indulge me with one last question. What fins have you been using, and what sizes where they? I have always favored Tectonics Goldwings, but I'm tempted to try an F-1 Falcon in the 30-32cm range.

slalomguy 26th December 2006 08:02 AM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Talking about fins,do the short wide boards need larger fins?
A few people I have spoken to seem to think so.

geo 26th December 2006 11:01 PM

RE: new vs. old slalom shapes
Just can't resist jumping in.
I have been sailing slalom boards since 1990. Turned to short/wide just last season (Sonic 95).
I must note that rocker flat has evolved among narrow boards too. My '90 slalom board had a 50" flat; my '97 RRD 281 had a 30" one and '99 RRD 278 went "back" to 35", not that much for a 21 1/4" wide board with a 12 3/4" tail.
By sure new style boards with wide tails provide plenty of power and leverage over the fin, so that one can use a big fin for early planing and upwind and still use it at full speed; but efficiency is limited by tail and fin dimensions. Narrower boards just get into their own as the speed increases: the faster one goes, the more lift he gets from the narrow tail and the small fin. One must remember that lift is direct function of surface (so of tail width), but varies with speed square: at every small increase in speed, power is increased more than proportionally, so that one can use it to gain even more speed, and so on; and small fin and tail dimensions take quite a while before being felt as a limit to speed. The final effect is a feel of "unlimited" speed capability; a bit like that of a sporty engine as compared to a Diesel one. An Otto cycle motor increases efficiency as throttle is full open and revs go up, resulting in a feel of the engine wanting to run high; while a Diesel engine has similar efficiency at any gas position and speed. Just like narrow boards prefer high regimes, while wide ones are OK at any, but with a "dull" feel.

All times are GMT +7. The time now is 05:39 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.