RE: What wave board?
Thanks for your input. The demo was a K96, not 86. Might be a bit wide, but if so I?ll sell it and trade down after a season of testing it out at a demo price. Seemed a prudent compromise.
As to the salt vs fresh water differences, I think it is most important at marginal floater sizes and has little effect on pure sinkers or big boards. Fresh water sailors in this size of board will be rewarded with an extra 5 L of volume, but I also think it?s a little extra width and fin size.
More than just buoyancy, I think the performance differences are an issue of fin lift, tail lift, and viscosity. Especially in regard to wave shape, I?m convinced that ocean waves and lake waves aren?t similar. Lake waves are at higher altitude, with slightly less dense air pushing on less dense less viscous water (sailors who sail in the mountains know that you get relatively tiny waves and need big sails because the air is thin). For a given amount of moderate wind and fetch, I find fresh water chop to be much rougher than salt water chop, though this can be hard to compare because of bottom effects on waves. For a long time, I thought I was imagining it, but I never fail to have the same reaction, so I think it?s real.
On the great lakes, below wind of 20 kts, we?re really comparing a mix of waves and swell that are comparable to local wind-driven waves on the ocean (and not the breaking swell that is commonly called ?wave sailing?). Above 20 kts, and the great lakes often form swell that gets smooth glossy faces and runs in sets, but the pitch is WAY tighter than breakers on the ocean. The chop component is rougher than on the ocean, and thus choice of a slightly wider / larger board can limit the useful range as the ride can get a bit rough. This is all true, even in very deep water on the great lakes, so it simply cannot be a matter of shallow water affecting wave formation (as is commonly stated). I think a lot of it is purely wind-water interaction.
Boat sailors I know who have experience in the ocean and the great lakes all attest that, when the great lakes are in full gale, it?s far more treacherous than on the ocean in a comparable storm. For instance, in a full gale, the waves on Ontario are commonly 4-5 meters with a period of -9 seconds. I?ve only been out in that stuff in a 6 ton sailboat, which was plenty sobering and I don?t want to do it again. The biggest I?ve windsurfed in on Lake Erie is about 30 kts (survival sailing for me that day). More commonly I have been able to get out when it?s 15-25.
All of this makes it so that great lake ?wave sailing? is far different that ocean wave sailing, and I?m not sure it?s even comparable to the onshore ?mush? I read about. Bottom line is that I never know how to interpret wave board reviews, since they?re not designed nor test sailed in the kinds of conditions I sail in. I?ve stayed away from wave boards, because I?ve never been sure they are big enough for my purpose.
This is my first foray in to wave boards, and after a few fronts go through, I?ll let you know what I conclude.
Sorry for the long post...