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Light Air Wavesailing, Gaining Ground in Your Area?
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btbill



Joined: 05 Jun 2002
Posts: 218

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Light Air Wavesailing, Gaining Ground in Your Area? Reply with quote

As perhaps some of you know, I am a big proponent of Light Air Wavesailing. I have been promoting it on the OBX Beach Life blog ever since I set my strapless feet on the padded Sealion deck and hit the summer time seabreeze side/side-off surf back in 2010.

I believe there are increased numbers joining the Light Air ranks on the US East Coast, but here in Hatteras it still remains core to only a few local guys and fewer visitors who we see out there. In Nags Head, I am literally the only one doing it, though there are a number of standard SUP surfers in the area.

All in all, I wanted to start a thread on your take in your area to see if this relatively new windsurfing discipline is gaining traction and perhaps more folks are getting into it, given now that we are well into standard summer time light air and smaller yet fun surf conditions!

If its not gaining traction, what do you think is the barrier?


Last edited by btbill on Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bates



Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 300

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I too am a proud owner of a Sealion and love it. I was out last night in RI in some light stuff and waves. I even had a kiter (who switched over from windsurfing, I call that retiring) demand a turn at it. He was so stoked to ride waves again on a windsurfer. like setting up and catching them with the board and surfing the wave. I think it might be gaining some traction here as people have bought SUP boards with the deck option, and once they see people doing it they will throw a rig in their car more often. People don't like to do things that other don't, so its a matter of seeing it. A huge plus they are also good for teaching new windsurfers on flat water. In terms of wavesailing, many windsufers havnt discovered the beauty of side-off, and are even less likely to do light side-off. I for one would go surfing many times that i could have sailed the sealion. Maybe that is a barrier.
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mat-ty



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
Posts: 1090

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nahant is rocking with people doing stand up and light wind wave riding . Really catching on in a big way. Great spot, two miles of beach . clean water, plenty of parking (only three bucks) Love it!!!!!!!!!
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swmckay



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mat-ty wrote:
Nahant is rocking with people doing stand up and light wind wave riding . Really catching on in a big way. Great spot, two miles of beach . clean water, plenty of parking (only three bucks) Love it!!!!!!!!!

I'm definitely sold on it. After waiting around last summer, I bought a surf-oriented sailable SUP to complement my aircraft-carrier sized "cruising" SUP. Smart move: lots of fun using it as a SUP, and terrific as a light-wind wave-sailing board. I've been out several times now in 14-16mph wind and swell not much bigger than waist to chest high. A 5.3 sail is enough to get out through the break, easy to catch waves with, and once you're on a wave, there's plenty of power from the apparent wind. It'll probably double my sailable days here.

I don't seem alone, either. Last year, there were just a few people doing it (not including me). This year, the numbers have noticeably increased.

As Matty says, Nahant has had pretty good crowds of surfers, SUPers and SUP sailors. Yesterday was kinda perfect light-wind conditions: 15mph side-off and 3.5 foot swell at 8 seconds. Small, perfect peeling waves the whole length of the very long, clean, rock-free beach. Nobody will ever make a windsurfing movie there, but it is a damned good spot.
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kajTEK



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

whoa!! thanks for this post.. i have never heard of sealion boards.. but they been around since 2008? or before?

where can I buy one of these (in southeast or florida)? anyone sell em at shops anywhere--- or used?


Last edited by kajTEK on Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wilanz



Joined: 25 Oct 2011
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get some of the SUPers in you area to check it out. I had been SUP surfing and SUP paddling for about a year until i tried with a sail. I am now so hooked that if the wind is over 10mph, I rig a sail.

I do keep a paddle with me all the time and my SUP sessions are now more fun since I don't deal with sloppy conditions and the dreaded side chop.

Barrier?
- the cost of sail-rig, time to rig and extra gear to carry.

I got lucky and had some stuff given to me and then I upgraded as I went but now my rig is more expensive then my SUP!
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rswabsin



Joined: 14 May 2000
Posts: 222
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up a Kona 10.5 longboard a few years back and it has really doubled my ocean and wave sailing time. What I like about these (whether it's the Sealion, Kona or other SUP) is that they prevent getting skunked on lack of wind so you can always get out on the water especially for the afterwork session. Sailed last night till 6:45 and the wind actually filled in nice for fully planing conditons the last 1/2 hour. I picked up a 6.7 Hot Sails Maui Super Freak ultra light and rig it loose for power. Great fun but sadly it hasn't caught on here in NJ. Most 10 to 15 knot days I sail solo.

Rob
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btbill



Joined: 05 Jun 2002
Posts: 218

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kajTEK wrote:
whoa!! thanks for this post.. i have never heard of sealion boards.. but they been around since 2008? or before? ...
where can I buy one of these (in southeast or florida)? anyone sell em at shops anywhere--- or used?
-luke


Likely hard to find a used one as they are fairly new and relatively niche/in demand.
New, you can order direct though windsurfdeal.com or contact me if on the OBX. Would love to see an east coast dealer (especially here on the OBX as it would really help bump up local sailor numbers), but I do not believe there is a dealer yet on the US east coast.
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d0uglass



Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 1089
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's gaining some ground here in Massachusetts. There were 3 or 4 of us out at Nahant on Saturday.

On another choppy onshore day I lent my sail-sup rig to a windsurfer who had been supping and afterward he said, "when it's like this [choppy and onshore] it's more fun with the sail."

My SUP isn't always my first choice for light-wind wavesailing, though. When it's side-shore or especially if it's side-off, I tend to choose a floaty fsw board with a big wavesail. In those conditions it's nice to accelerate to fully planing speed and get in the footstraps to zoom frontside down the line. If I'm sailing a SUP in those conditions then I feel like I'm stuck in 2nd gear and can't benefit from the apparent-wind boost on the wave.

I think an obstacle to more people doing light wind wavesailing is the polarization in design between boards that are good for SUP waveriding (but don't plane or have footstraps) and boards that are good for fast windsurfing-style waveriding (but are too narrow or otherwise unfit for paddling in waves). I'd like to see more done to evolve step-tail designs like Exocet's WindSUP 11'8", which seems to be the only board on the market that can plane efficiently with footstraps AND catch waves easily as a SUP. There would be a lot of potential in some smaller versions of that- maybe something to replace the Curve / Kona 10'5" which wavesails well but is too narrow with too severe a step-tail to SUP well.

I'm curious about trying a SeaLion but I'm skeptical about its ability to plane as a windsurf and to glide and catch small waves as a SUP.

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btbill



Joined: 05 Jun 2002
Posts: 218

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d0uglass wrote:
It's gaining some ground here in Massachusetts. There were 3 or 4 of us out at Nahant on Saturday.

I'm curious about trying a SeaLion but I'm skeptical about its ability to plane as a windsurf and to glide and catch small waves as a SUP.


Yea the SeaLion is not a "planing" board. The only time it is really intended to "plane" is on the wave itself. Most of the time you are riding slow with just enough speed to pop whitewater and navigate out through the surf zone into position to pick up a swell. Once on the swell, the board "planes up" but not like the normal ride on a typical windsurfer. The plane is driven by the swell rather that wind in most respects. More like surfing the board with the wind to complement.

Basically, riding the SeaLion is primarily in the wave zone. I rarely leave the zone unless I need to get up wind. The immediate snap turn capability of the board puts you on the swell near immediately and the DTL ride is fast with plenty of looseness for the 135 ltr ride. I can easily go top to bottom while DTL, and can get relatively vertical at the lip with a snappy cutback.

Overall, if you find yourself "planing" on the SeaLion by wind power, its time to grab your smaller kit. Additionally, the SeaLion tends to spin out quite easily when wind planing which notes its intention to be primarily used for wave riding.

However, as a sub-planing board when outside, it tracks upwind quite well, is super maneuverable with pin point 180 degree snap turning ability to catch ocean swell quite well within relative close proximity to the surf zone.

Another consideration for the SeaLion is that it is best suited for side to side-off conditions. Side-on I have found that in light air the board is usually swept out from under my feet with no straps. Its ridable, but there are likely other options out there which may be better suited for side on. However, for side to side off, the SeaLion is likely the best out there for true DTL aggressive waveriding in a light air setting.

I find it an excellent alternative to holding a paddle in hand, or prone paddling on a standard surf board. Especially since while on the SeaLion, you can literally catch nearly every good wave that comes across the zone by seeing the swell approach easily and getting into position just as easily for the ride itself!

Plus, wave riding technique (especially sail control) learned on the SeaLion translates quite well once you are out on your 85 ltr twin or quad riding chest+ and 25mph winds!


Last edited by btbill on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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