RE: More iSonic Questions...
I'll paste in your questions here and answer them one at a time.
1) From the sounds of the above, you seemed to like the Huckers better than the Retros for the iSonic. What did you like better about them?
I feel the Hucker's have a bit more top speed, and while they feel a little more "pitchy" at first, once you get used to this feeling, and get the Hucker on the right mast to put it in "speed-slalom" mode, I think the Huckers work a little better for me.
Nothing at all wrong with the Retro's for this purpose, it's mostly that the Huckers are my "new" sails and I'm using them more to find out as much about tining them as possible. I also have a 9.1 NX Formula and now a new 7.8 NX to try against the Huckers and Retros.
I think each type of sail has it's strong points and none of them have anything that I would call "weak points".
So, for now, I'm using the Huckers alot, and plan to try out the new 7.8 NX as soon as I get the conditions.
The 9.1 NX Formula has become my new light wind sail as I'm rigging it on a 490 cm SW Lightstik mast and it makes the 4 cam NX seem lighter than my 10.0 m2 Retro which rigs on a 520 mast.
2) For quickest planing on the iSonic what do you do? Head downwind and pump? Do you start with the front foot in the strap like on the F-Type, or is the technique different?
Maybe I'm just getting lazy and older, but I didn't find that pumping was the quickest way to get on plane.
Yes, bear off, maybe flutter pump the rig and fin a bit and the Isonics just seem to "slide" onto a plane.
For really marginal winds, full body (all you've got) rig pumping can be effective, but looking for ways to bear off and "ooch" the board onto a plane seems nearly as effective.
You can move back until the front foot is in the strap but you are not yet hooked in in really marginal conditions, then shift your weight between the front and back foot to get the fore and aft (pitch) angle of attack to optimum and the board will slide onto a plane pretty easy.
In more powered conditions, I hook in first, then get the front footstrap and get up to nearly full speed, then find the back strap, and begin to sail "on the fin". Fast and easy, but just because it works for me does not mean it will be the best for you.
Try different things:
Mast foot positon
All of these are important aspects of getting the optimum "balance" on the Isonics, and when you get if right, you will be very fast, plane early and everything will see effortless.
3) For control at speed, any tips? When I am going fast over chop (not huge chop), I feel a bit out of control sometimes, too much bouncing and heels catching in the water. I get a little more control when I put more pressure on the rear foot and lift the front foot to get the nose up, but I am still not quite comfortable and in control even then. This board receives very high praise from everyone on control in chop, so I am pretty sure it is a technique issue.
If I'm reading you right, you have the impression that lifting the front foot lifts the front of the board.
I've never found this to be true and as I remember you are my size or smaller so it's probably even less true for you.
Big guys (190 lb. +) do something with their weight that seems to lift the front of the board (how else can they sail with the mast foot fully forward for good upwind speed and angle on formula boards) but we smaller and lighter sailors can't do this, in my experience.
Lifting with the front foot, while really pusing hard across the top of the fin with the back foot (across the top of the board and parallel with the water's surface, not DOWN) allows you to rail the board slightly and this helps to get max. fin lift (across the top of the water in the upwind direction) so you can begin to "ride the fin" and get more of the board clear of the water.
When you "rail" your board slightly to leeward, you get both horizontal and a tiny bit of vertical lift.
When you can get you board to be really fast and free, with less of the board touching the water, control in chop gets easier because the board almost "picks it's own way" through and over the chop with much less pitch AOA change. The board seems to "level out" and just ride over the chop. Helps to get the mast foot as far back as possible so you have less
of the board "in the water" for the chop to work on and cause bounding and rebounding cycles that are hard to control.
To go faster, and on a beam reach, flatten the board out (rail to rail or the roll axis) as much as possible, and lighten up on the fin pressure.
Hope this helps,