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SergioKapul



Joined: 04 Apr 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PeconicPuffin wrote:
zirtaeb wrote:
With slalom, it takes full expert level pilots to get top speeds, and more than that to plane out of most jibes.
With fast freeride gear, most expert sailors can hit the same top speeds, take a few seconds longer to get there, and plane out of more jibes than they ever could with full slalom gear.


I think that nails it. Unless you're an expert, a slalom board offers no advantages. And if you are an expert you're trading handling in chop and comparative ease of jibing for a few mph.


Problem with some on the responses, lack of actual experience on new gear, specially in lighter wind conditions(Guys from Gorge or SFB, etc..) In high winds slalom gear does need more technique, as a lightweight, I usually just jump to my wave stuff unless I'm racing(witchcraft tri fin custom/Naish Chopper, what a joy:)), but rest of the time slalom is great for inter/adv. windsurfer;;;and below 10kn formula could be amazing, it's just like gliding on air...
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SergioKapul



Joined: 04 Apr 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and high end freeride gear is just as fragile as slalom, it's build same way...
The 'durable' constuction a bit better but adds 2+lb, that's just doesn't feel good, again unless you're are in 30kn+ steady winds where things are very diff.
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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 524

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
Didn't read your whole post, but I'll counter..

You are showing a lack of respect here, and keep re-iterating the same points. From the boards you list, your assessment seems to be heavily based on slalom boards from 1999-2001.

zirtaeb wrote:
3S is a freestyle oriented freeride board, slow as fsw boards .... Remember, your 3S is as slow as most companies Freestyle WAVE boards, not anywhere near fast.

Pretty funny that you know more about my board than I do. The 3S has changed quite a bit over the years. It was a "freestyle oriented freeride board" in the mid-2000s, when it also fared poorly in tests. The shape has changed a lot in recent years; the latest models even have tail cutouts very similar to slalom boards. In tests, statements like "This is a fast board in a straight-line and incredibly comfortable and controlled at speed, especially on deeper downwind runs" are typical. If you bother to switch the stock fin with a speed fin, it goes even faster. It usually is about 2-3 knots faster than my Fanatic Skate 110 with a comparable fin. That's a freestyle board, so it has a slalom rocker and thick rails. I often sail it with slalom or speed fins. Anyone who's seen me on it at an ABK camp can verify that I'm fast on it. The 3S is faster. The XFire is faster still. I do about 150 sessions a year, always with a GPS, and mostly on these 3 boards.

PeconicPuffin wrote:
Unless you're an expert, a slalom board offers no advantages. And if you are an expert you're trading handling in chop and comparative ease of jibing for a few mph.

Written by a windsurfer who uses only freestyle and wave boards. No doubt you believe this, Michael. Does not mean it's true. I know several advanced (but not expert) sailors who prefer slalom boards or freerace boards to freeride boards. And what's "a few extra mph"? Most freeriders sail around at 18-23 knots. If you go up to 26 knots in the same conditions, it feels about twice as fast. Push it to 30 knots, and again it feels twice as fast as 26 knots. But that's something you actually have to experience. Check the GPS Team Challenge, and you'll see hundreds of windsurfers posting sessions on slalom boards every week. Some are experts, many are not.

The OP may not be an expert sailor, but he wrote:
frederick23 wrote:
I really like straps in the out position, seat harness, pushing the board as fast as I am comfortable given chop
That definitely makes it worth while considering and trying some slalom gear (frederick23: if you make it to Cape Cod, I'll be glad to let you try my slalom gear). If you know how to sail it, slalom gear can be a lot more fun than freeride gear. Whether that's the case depends on your skills and sailing conditions.
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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1205

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it's true that now I only use freestyle and freestyle wave boards (having sold off my slalom boards) because I can go as fast or faster as most everyone I sail with, regardless of what board they're on. (The exceptions to that statement pass me on non-slalom gear as well.) I keep a GPS watch in the van and wear it on occasion...32 knots is about as fast as I can keep it together on my fastest set up (93 FSW with a slightly swept pointer). I enjoy seeing how high I can get the speed, sure. BTW early on in the online GPS challenges I participated.

Slalom boards give up handling in chop, jibeability and swerveability (for playing with swell) in exchange for speed...speed that's really only available to advanced windsurfers. That's an observable repeatable fact (jibeabilty and swerveability may not be words, though.) If I had lots more money I'd own a pair of slalom boards, to get maximum thrills from the occasional bat out of hell bay crossing. Why not? But I only find myself doing that (or strapping on the GPS) 2-3x year, so my five board quiver doesn't include a pure speed machine.

No doubt you believe everything you wrote. Doesn't mean it's true, or good advice for the OP (who will hopefully demo a variety of boards and choose what he likes.)

boardsurfr wrote:

Written by a windsurfer who uses only freestyle and wave boards. No doubt you believe this, Michael. Does not mean it's true. I know several advanced (but not expert) sailors who prefer slalom boards or freerace boards to freeride boards. And what's "a few extra mph"? Most freeriders sail around at 18-23 knots. If you go up to 26 knots in the same conditions, it feels about twice as fast. Push it to 30 knots, and again it feels twice as fast as 26 knots. But that's something you actually have to experience. Check the GPS Team Challenge, and you'll see hundreds of windsurfers posting sessions on slalom boards every week. Some are experts, many are not.

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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1205

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SergioKapul wrote:


In high winds slalom gear does need more technique, as a lightweight, I usually just jump to my wave stuff unless I'm racing(witchcraft tri fin custom/Naish Chopper, what a joy:)), but rest of the time slalom is great for inter/adv. windsurfer;;;and below 10kn formula could be amazing, it's just like gliding on air...


For the sake of argument what conditions would you describe as being ideal for showing how slalom gear is great for intermediate windsurfers, in comparison to something with softer rails and more V in the bottom?

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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 524

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
Heck, I have a '98 KineticFree276 that goes faster than X-Fires, but it's too thick to jibe well in medium winds.

That must be a hell of a fast board. A quick Google search of GPS-Speedsurfing.com shows a recorded speed of 43.5 knots for an XFire 80. That is pretty darn fast for any slalom board.
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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 524

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time to end this, so I'll summarize. The original poster got recommendations from 6 windsurfers, plus questions from others. All 6 agree that slalom boards require more skill than freeride boards. Skill level required is somewhere between intermediate to expert, depending on the conditions and on whom you ask.

Two posters (zirtaeb & PeconicPuffin) state that they have switched from slalom boards to freeride boards, and think freeride boards are a better choice. They also said they had more problem jibing slalom boards. A third poster (techno900) still has a slalom board, but prefers freeride as soon as the sail size drops below 7.0.

Three posters (SergioKapul, swchandler, and I) recommend slalom boards, at least for some conditions. They say they'll often or sometimes switch to FSW or similar in serious chop and/or very high wind.

Both sides claim to know lots of sailors who agree with them.

The conclusion is that slalom boards are not for everyone, but that there are definitely a number of windsurfers out there who love them, and prefer them in some conditions. Not everyone will be able to go faster on a slalom board than on a freeride board. With the right skills and conditions, though, slalom boards can be faster and more fun, at least to some windsurfers. Only a small minority of windsurfers with very high skills prefers slalom boards in (almost) all conditions.

Almost everyone seems to agree that you should test a bunch of different boards before deciding. Freerides boards will probably be a bit easier to find at rental centers. If you get a chance to try slalom boards, keep in mind that they may have a bit higher learning curve, and may be harder to sail until you get them dialed in.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5694

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It comes as no big surprise that folks often have negative things to say about slalom boards. They're too fragile, don't jibe well, and they're way too high-strung to have fun just sailing about. This thread is peppered with these clearly skewed views.

One has to keep in mind that every windsurfing brand has it's own lamination design and schedule. So, the real world durability can vary greatly between different companies. All my slalom boards are Mike's Labs custom made by Mike Zajicek. Arguably, they are the industry benchmark in lightness and durability, and anyone that has one or is familiar with Zajicek's boards will attest to that fact. Like LeeD, I'm still using a 1999 8'10" regularly today. This board is super fast and friendly, it can handle really rough conditions with aplomb, and it jibes on a dime. While I have much newer Mike's Labs, the old 8'10" is still my overall favorite. The fact that it has held up all these years is a testament to it soundness and durability. Of course, it wouldn't have done as well if I threw it about and dropped it on the rocks, but that's not the point when we talk about build integrity and on the water durability.

As I pointed out earlier, whether one would like a slalom board has a lot to do with footstrap placement. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages with outboard strap positions. Overall though, the view that slalom boards only work in straight lines is a misnomer. They easily weave through open ocean swell, and they can do it very well at speed. Now, they're not going to maneuver like a FSW or a B&J board, but these boards really aren't as fast on the water either. Yet, when it comes down to it, some folks will be happier and more comfortable with their straps more inboard, and often with a single strap in the back on-centerline. By choosing a freerace or freeride design, they usually offer both inboard and outboard positions to suit different sailors, or offer flexibility for sailors that are learning and gaining experience over time.
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jingebritsen



Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 2373

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

catchy rails can mean too low of a boom or base too far forward. also these too settings are magnified by weed fins. when one does more than one of these things it gets worse.

catchy rails have not been that prevalent for years, BTW with any design in the past 6-7 years....

slalom boards are lots of fun when one wishes to go fast and not wave ride. some free rides go fast and are fun in the surf. some FSW boards are just re-labelled free rides.

do most have room in their lives for lotsa boards?

slalom boards typically jibe very, very well.

specialist light wind slaloms jibe well if one keeps the power on and the arc tight.

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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1205

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

boardsurfr wrote:
Time to end this, so I'll summarize...


Good summary!

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