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Juampe 15th September 2010 08:57 AM

Choosing the correct board

I've been at a windsurfing school this summer and I really enjoyed it and would wish to continue. However, where I live there are no rentals and I've bumped into a wall: ¿What board should I choose?

After some inactivity my weight has gone up to 115 Kg (253 Lbs). For what I've been reading this means the board should have a minimum volume of 115 + 10 (125 L) in order to pull the sail up without the board shinking. I still have to learn the waterstart so I must pull the sail up from the board.

Up untill now I've only sailed on a Satrboard Start L (225 L) during the lessons (10 hours) and 6 hours more on my own. I've always used the daggerboard on the board and I must say it gives me some cofidence going upwind. Some people say a board without a daggerboard would last longer as you can progress even further. I remeber that the first times I would drift alot with the daggerboard since I was closing to much my sail and trying to go upwind without gaining any speed first but I finally felt confortable going upwind with the daggerboard. ¿Would it be as fast to learn to sail without a dagger board? ¿Is it real that a board without a daggerboard would be more progressive? It is quite a lot of money to spend on a board that would be too big soon, but I don't wish to waste my money on a board on which it would be too difficult to continue learning.

On the other hand I should be able to carry the board on top of my car so I can't affoard a hughe board, plus they also say it would turn too big too soon.

At first I was thinking on getting a Rio, but people usually say the GO would be a better alternative as it would last longer. But I'm still a bit worried if learning to go upwind without a daggerboard would be hard. I was also thinking on the biggest models, but I've started thing a Rio M or the Go 155 would be better alternatives in order to extend the lifespan of the board. However it worries me that It would make my learning harder, although on the Start L I used on the school I usually didnt fell to the water much (only a couple of time) so maybe geting a board that is not as wide and with less volume would be the way to go.

My level is quite low... I went sailing without footstraps and the position I found confortable was between the initial position and the intermediate position. I was trying to get further back but the board would try to face the wind. I left my vacations just when I was learning how to go a little backwards on the board.

I was thinking on sailing on calm waters such as lakes, or sea protected waters such as bays. However, as I get proficient, I would like to sail on the beach, where there are small waves that break at the shore (Non surfing beaches).

For more research I've done I get more and more confused. The only thing that is certain is that it is quite expensive so I want to make the correct decision.

I would appreciate your opinions (Maybe the choises I have in mind right now are completelly wrong). If there is any other option I would be glad to know about it. If there is a guide on how to choose your board it would also be appreciated. I'm really messed up and I really wish to get wet soon.

Best regards


Roger 15th September 2010 12:34 PM

Hi Juampe,
You are correct to ask these questions!
First, for you to progress at the max . rate, you need to be comfortable.
So, switching to a board without a centerboard/daggerboard is certainly possible, but the amount
of true upwind sailing you need to do at the sailing sites you choose might be a deciding factor also.
The Rio M is going to be a bit tippy at first for a 115 kg. (253 lb.) sailor.
At your skill level, you need significantly more volume than 125 liters.
If you decide on a GO 155 (pretty good choice, but it gives you virtually no ability to stay upwind with your
current rig steering skills set) you will have a little trouble at first, figuring out how to "tip" your board to stay upwind in sub planing conditions.
What windspeeds do you think you will be sailing in?
Sail size will be pretty important in your initial success. Too big and you won't be able to handle it easily,
too small and you will hardly get moving.
So lots of choices and decisions to make.
Perhaps you might buy a Start M (210 liters x 94 cm wide) as this suits your current weight and skill set the best. Look for a 6.5 -7.5 m2 rig with a fairly light (min. 75% carbon) mast and a no cam sail.
You can always retract the centerboard and practice sailing the Start M as a shortboard and use foot steering vs your current rig steering.
The Rio M is a possibility, but at 195 liters x 80.5 cm wide, and you can do the same thing, with the same rig (s) but initially it will be a little tippy.
It is probably more important that you be able to use your current skill set and have success right away.
Perhaps buy a used Start M or Rio M and a used 7.5 free ride rig as a transition to more wind and getting used to sailing the board with the centerboard up (retracted) but with the option of put the CB back down if you get too far downwind.
Hope this helps,

Juampe 26th October 2010 07:54 AM

Hi Roger,

Thanks for your advice.

I've been searching for a used board for over a month and I've been unable to find an entry level board (Start or Rio) for sale. Corret me if I'm wrong, but I guess a Start M would get too big too fast, making the expense of a new board far too expensive for such a short lifespan. The Rio M is unavailable on every store I've mailed... The most promissing reply is a store that hopes to get some of these boards on late December, maybe January.

Right now the only available board -from the previous message- is a Go 155 and a Go 144. However I don't feel too confident about this board for three reasons:

1) Would it be possible to uphaul the sail with my weight?
2) Would it take too long to learn how to "tip" the board and get going in subplannning conditions?
3) Would rig steering work at all without a center board? or would I be once starting from zero?

The board has a really nice price as the price has a discount of 26%... But I'm worried if it won't let me progress due to the lack of volumen, or due to my lack of skills. I wouldn't care if it makes things a bit harder as I was really confident on the Start L board of the school I went to and i would be looking for something with a little more exciting... but that won't make me stuck for ages.

One thing I didn't mention before, is that I should carry the board on the roof of my car which, infact, isn't that big (Peugeot 206).

The spot I've choosen to progress is quite known by surfers: Mundaka. However, I would keep sheltered from the waves in the river side. That's why I'm so concerned about uphauling the sail since the board would need some extra volume due t the fact it won't be pure salt walter. There are several reasons for choosing this spot...

1) The river side is protected from the sea y a beach making the water flat.
2) There are tons of sand banks... When the tide is high the banks get coverd by water making it possible to jump off of the board in many places and walk back to shore (Except while sailing over the river).
3) In case of any problems, the tide current should take you near the beach that protects the river side.
4) Most of the time the wind direction is South or North... This makes it posible to sail from the beach at one side of the river towards the beach at the other side with side winds.
5) When the tide is low there is a spot on the beach that protects the river that is deep enough to sail... once again, if something goes wrong I'd go back to the beach or carried away to one of the sand banks where there is an easy exit.

Should I wait for a Rio M to come in while looking over for used material in case something comes along? ...or should I go along with the Go?

Best regards

Roger 26th October 2010 07:42 PM

Hi Juampe,
I looked at your Mundaka sailing site on Goggle Earth, Looks pretty good.
How much current in in that river.... does it flow with the tides near the mouth of the
After checking out your sailing site, I am even more convinced that you need the bigger, higher volume board. I still suggest the Rio L or M or a Start L or M. You need the extra float at your weight.
Only way to tell if a smaller board will work for you, would be to try to rent a smaller board (maybe at the site where you took your lessons) and see how you do with something in the 150 liter range.
You might do OK, and then on the other hand it might be so "sinky" and unstable that you cannot sail it at all.
Only way to tell for sure is to try it, and if you buy one, and it's wrong, you are going to lose some of your investment trading it back on something larger.
Have you looked at any online shops there in Spain?
You might find something a long ways from where you live, or have to drive to pick up, or even have it shipped to you, but as popular as windsurfing is in Spain, there must be some large begnner intermediate boards available somewhere.
Hope this helps,

Juampe 26th October 2010 09:53 PM

Hi Roger,

The latest image on google earth is with low tide. Most of the sand you see on the image gets flooded creating a larger body of water...You must walk some feet into the water to get some depth, but it adds quite some space knee-waist high... and then you fall into the river. There is a shipyard inside the river so it is dredged from time to time -they once dredged so much the famous wave at Mundaka dissapeared, although its back again-. Since the river is deep, it carries a great volume of water -mostly salt water from the sea- therefore the most noticable currents are tide currents, which are really strong at the end of the river since it is the narrowest spot, plus the sea side has nice waves to surf and -since the river is dredged- it usually adds the rip-current to the tide current. Not a nice place to go for a swim.

Most of the windsurfing at spain is done in the south or at the mediterranean sea (More than 700 Km away from my house). I took my lessons at Formentera, which is quite far away and the boards are all the Start L and the maximum sail size for the school would be 5.5m (As I recall since my teacher asked for a 6.0 or 6.5 in order to try to hook in and there was none). Hope there was a bit more of windsurfing at the north, as it would be great to test some boards and get the feeling... But there's no chance. That's the main reason I keep asking in order to keep my money save, as I shall buy the equipment at an online store and get it shipped.

I've visited about 20 online stores at spain -not including the islands due to shipment expenses- and none of them got the Rio M. Only one of them has replied he could get one from a school, but he told me he wouldn't recomend it since it has some damages. Some reply they have the Start L, but I see it hughe to carry on the roof of the car plus I really think it probably has a low lifespan. Most of the used equipment is the Tabou Rocket or Naish Kaluha, which seems easier to find on the stores but I haven't seen one live, so I'm not too comfortable buying something I haven't seen live. The Rio and Go, I haven't tried them out but I've seen them live, and it gives me some security on what I'm buying. However, most of the used equipment I've found are board with volumes under 140 liters... even some online stores won't sell new boards with more volume than the Go 144. It seems that where most of the people sail, they rent until they've got reasonable skills and then they buy a board. Once again, this is not possible where I live :(.

I'll follow your advice and keep dry until I can find a Rio M.

Thanks for your advice.

Del Carpenter 28th October 2010 11:26 AM

Hi Juampe,
I looked at internet pictures of a Peguot 206 and understand why you are concerned that a Start board or a large Rio might be too large to carry on the roof. The good news is most Starts (maybe all), some Rios, and some Naish Kaluha's (maybe all) have an opening on the bow you can use to help tie them onto your car. Most other boards, especially those which are not designed as beginner boards don't have a bow opening. A rope tied to the bow opening and one around the fin plus ropes or straps going around the board and through the door openings can securely fasten a board to your Peguot 206 with or without a roof rack. A large piece of foam rubber can be use to protect the finish on your roof if you don't have a roof rack.

You said you think the Start L "probably has a low lifespan". I guess you meant you think you would outgrow it too soon. My 2001 Start is big enough (230 ltrs) to extend my windsurfing season by 5-10 sessions each year when I really want to stay dry because both air and water temperatures are cold, such as today when I had 25-30 mph winds with air temperatures of 44 fahrenheit (6.66 celsius).

I hope you find what you are looking for soon.

Del Carpenter

bella 27th December 2010 03:01 PM

thank you for your good information

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