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Freeride Boards for a Newbie
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Joined: 09 Sep 2010
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tmonty wrote:
What about the Starboard Start?

Monty, I think you'd be better off looking at the Starboard Rio. It is like a larger, indestructible version of the Futura or GO. Plus it has a retractable centerboard. W/ the right fin, the Rio planes well.

The Start, I think if you look closely is almost wider than it is long. It could be mistaken for a massive frisbee. I think you sacrifice a lot of glide/speed w/ the Start.

Comparable to the Rio is the Bic Nova, or the Fanatic Viper. Any of the three would probably be a decent choice.
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Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9465

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The one thing that we must remember is the fact that stocking windsurfing gear is a luxury these days for retailers. Today's economy is focused on real business that must support both their goals financially and yours. Believe me, you can order from a large number of places around the country, but the focus is on ordering product, especially when it comes to boards and sails. You may need to wait, but you do have the opportunity to negotiate a good price and the kind of service and support you expect. Remember, there are those components you need that I mentioned earlier. Maybe windsurfing isn't as customer oriented as some would prefer, but realistically, things have to be suited a specialized business model and marketplace. Often patience is key.

When I started windsurfing in the mid 80s, I had to wait almost a year to start because nobody was offering racks for cars without gutters. Once I found that gutterless Thule racks hit the market, I jumped on it. When it really came down to it, the extra time let me focus on the best products to start the sport. Like you, I was dedicated no matter what, and I have to say that I never took a lesson and taught myself the sport. Believe me, with strong determination, windsurfing is quite doable and very rewarding overall
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Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 3307

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a planing long board is very popular in the great lakes.

the link tandem sails great as a solo for big guys. it also allows the owner to introduce young folks to windsurfing. kids respond best to non-verbal cues. it's a whole lot of windsurfer for the money. one could sail it, teach on it, paddle it, and grab great lakes surf. it planes well with max sails. has shiite loads of stability if the wind surprises.

higher end long boards have been great up there too.

windSUP's have become super popular. they plane when the wind is strong. that's quite the stand out in the SUP mkt.

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Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 1500

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point's been made and I am not trying to repeat any of this, just adding my 2:

The gear you're looking at is, in fact, useless for learning - regardless of conditions or talent. I started slalom racing (on gear not much unlike what you're looking at) a couple of years ago after decades of relatively competent short board sailing and wave sailing. My first thought while manhandling the 8.5 was "ugh, what did I get myself into"...

A 5m soft sail is to a 9+m cammed sail like a trainer kite to a 14m. The S type is a fine free-ride free-race sail, but it does have a moderately wide mast sleeve that fills up with water (which makes starting frustrating), it has cams that prevent the sail from having a "neutral" gear and has about twice the weight of a wave sail. In addition, you will fall into your sail while learning, and you will likely ruin or tear through the mono film material. Plus, a boom powerful enough to handle a 9+ sail will be really heavy (or REALLY expensive), definitely larger grip/tube diameter and therefore much more tiring to your arms. This gear is meant to be sailed hooked into a harness 95% of the time.

The combination you're looking at is an "all or nothing" kind of setup. Either you're in the foot straps and harness, fully powered, and zipping along or you're swimming. There's no room for exploring, experimenting and improving in small increments.

I would look at a large standup paddle board that can be fitted with a centre fin and a used 5m - 6m wave sail made from laminate that can take some abuse. Many people, even seasoned sailors, are finding a new appreciation for that type of gear. It doubles as a paddle-board, it works in less-than-ideal conditions to cruise around, improve sail handling, and work on general skills that come with time on the water (TOW) and that translate to planing short board sailing.

FWIW: that's coming form a guy who's trying to learn how to surf on a < 6' thruster. Wink trust me, I'm with you. The investment in both money and time for windsurfing is just too great to start out on the wrong kit.

florian - ny22
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Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 656

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should definitely go for a longboard.

I'm 215# and restarted 2 years ago. I tried first my old longboard and old soft 6m sail. From that experience and from reading a lot on the subject, I decided to buy a Kona One 2 winters ago. I'm very happy with the purchase. I learned to plane in the straps on it, to waterstart and I'm currently working on my gybes. The board is also great just for gliding around, to teach others and for the kids. It will also cover well the wind range you are describing. It can be raced at more than 25 kts, and for me, it is quite confortable in choppy 20 kts. Bear in mind that most advice given is from lighter people...

It's not the only longboard around, but it is a very good versatile board that will float you well at 220l.

For the sails, I started with a choice between a 5.2 power wave sail and my old soft dacron 6.0. The 6.0 was way better for me, no comparison! The 5.2 is just flat in lower non-planing wind, so quite unstable, plus heavy compared to the 6.0.

I went on to buy a 7.5 Ezzy freeride that has seen a lot of use. For me, it was a good size to learn to plane Not too heavy for me, meaning I could adjust and contort much more than I'm doing now, while allowing me to plane in winds between 15 and 20 kts. I now have a 9.0 that I use more, but I don't think I could have learned as fast with it because of the extra inertia of the large rigs. Errors are more costly. And I completed the kit with a 6.0 Freeride that I use in wind higher than 20 kts.

So for the sail sizes, I think you should start with either a soft 6.0, or a freeride 6.0. You should then continue with a 7.5 or so and complete your kit with a 9.5. A single boom 200-250 boom can cover the 3 sail sizes in a pinch, but you may end-up with 3 masts depending on you sail choices.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After being out of windsurfing for a good 20 years and never at that point was into the shortboarding, I entered back into the sport 3 years ago. I'm also a Great Lakes sailor in the conditions you described at 215#. I started back into sport with a Starboard RIO M - 195 lts 80 wide against the suggestion of the local sailors. It took me a whole day to realize I wasted my money. After about a half of a season, i bought a 2010 Shark 165 adn LOVE it. You don't need a centerboard on a big finned freeride... infact I think I used the centerboard on my Rio only once.

I found the shark easy and fun for what I was looking for so I also bought a Shark 135 as well. My sail quiver is all sailworks 5.6-6.5-8.0-9.5.

It think that something like the Rio or even the Start is good to start off on but you soo quickly grow out of it. I really wished I had listened more to the folks that knew at the time. I found the quality of the Starboard (at least the Rio) was much less than the Fanatics I have.

I will say a board like the Kona would be a good start as it will never be replaced by smaller boards.

Just my experience from re-learning and as a happy Fanatic Shark owner sailing the same conditions you are. I don't think you could go wrong with the Shark 165.
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Joined: 11 Sep 2007
Posts: 841

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beaglebuddy wrote:

WS is the opposite, most anyone can get underway on a small sail and big board the first day ...
Ahh, I agree with your synopsis, but this creature, most anyone, can't master windsurfing in this way the first day without real hard work and a struggle. Just standing on a board in mild winds remains a challenge for the average person. Then learning how to uphauling a sail will make for a long wet day for sure. Then, once that is mastered you have to answer the internal question >>What the F*ck? What do I do with this sail thingie?<< We won't even include the major question which is >>How in the world am I going to return to the launch? <<
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Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 1248
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, not to beat a dead horse, but what you need to learn windsurfing is a:



The largest model of the Starboard Start, Rio or Fanatic Viper would be good. Or if you want something a little more stylish that you can also use as a paddleboard, a Kona Mahalo or an Exocet WindSUP 11'8" would do the trick.

I've been a kiter as well, and I have to say the learning process is very different. With kiting, power and speed are easy- you're up and zooming along as soon as you dive the kite- way before you learn control.

With windsurfing it's the opposite- you can't get any speed or power until you learn very good control of the board and sail. Since you have zero speed or power to start with, you need a board that will float at a standstill while you're struggling to balance and get the sail to work.

It takes a lot of practice on the water to get from the "sailing standing up" stage to the true "windsurfing" stage of high speed planing. But once you achieve the high speed planing part, it's just as much fun as kiteboarding, IMHO.

Good luck, and welcome to the sport! Smile

PS- Adding power by rigging big is also a lot harder in windsurfing. In kiting it's easy to add more power by pumping up a bigger kite, and the only consequence is that it turns a little slower. In windsurfing, since you have to personally pull the sail up and manhandle it, it's a lot harder to manage a bigger sail. The plus side, though, is that you can always pull up your sail and slowly sail to shore, even if the wind gets so light that a kite would have fallen out of the sky.

James' Blog: Windsurfing Equipment Size Calculator

Last edited by d0uglass on Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 4556
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My old housemate was 275lbs. He was the fastest at the '89 Ponds SpeedTrials Qualifying.
Had plenty of buds who windsurfed from 245 down to 220 lbs., certainly over 10 ( I was into speed trials competition back in the turn of the late '80's).
For your prescribed FRESHwater and basically no wind conditions, a minimum of 150 liters is recommended, if you're super athletic and tough mentally.
A longboard around 250 liters is a better call.
A Formula board is borderline too small because of strap placements.
If I, an expert 150 lbs rider, was going to your area, my main board would be 120 liters with a 8 meter sail.
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Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, my take.

ME: 130kg+, 6'3"

My Boards: 2010 Starboard Go 175, 2011 Starboard Carve 151

My recommendation would be to get a "lightwind" board. In my case that's my Go board. My Carve is a pretty good high wind board IF I throw the right fin on it. Right now in your case a good light wind board will handle about 80% of the conditions you're going to see, a "high" wind board the other 20%. So get the lightwind first. And get something you'll keep after you progress out of the learning stage.

In my opinion the JP Super Lightwind is just heads and tails above anyother board in the category right now. I got to ride one this summer in 15 knot wind and loved it. Basically it's a giant slalom board. When I replace my Go that's what's going to replace it. You can learn on it, I learned on my Go.

The Go's from 2011 on are considerably narrower than mine (about 10 cm narrower). Still good boards, but won't get you planning as early. They make a 171 with a dagger board which may be a good fit for you.

I've never been on a Fanatic Shark, so can't comment about them.

Sail-wise, look for a 9.5 or something around there. That should pull you up on a big board at about 12 knots.

I'll tell you this, being a big windsurfer is not common. DO NOT LISTEN TO LITTLE PEOPLE WHEN TALKING ABOUT BOARDS AND SAILS. Persepective: my 151 is the equivalent to a 77L board for a 150 pound person. Shocked I can take my 175 with my 9.5 out in 20 knots and chop. I can take my 151 out in 30 knots.

Most windsurfers are built like marathon runners, not offensive linemen. The advice is well intentioned, but people who are used to 80L boards and 4.2 sails just can't empathize with guys our size.

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