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WindSUP: Sealion XL vs Exocet 10'0 / 10'2
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Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 2546

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to date, i've heard of very few windsurfing rocker windSUP's. the industry has abandoned its base to pander to a crowd with money. if the wind is 5-10 mph any board will do.

if the wind is 9-16 mph, planing long boards rule. so few options, it's sad.

banana rockers help with turns, but if one cannot stay upwind/plane what's the use? oh, the surf community has to be catered to.....

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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 7:19 am    Post subject: WindSUP vs Sealion Reply with quote

Having been avidly sailing Wind-SUP's over the last few years here in Eastern North Carolina primarily on Exocet Kona 11-5 and the Exocet Wind-SUP I have to agree with Jingebritsen about the benefits of planing long boards especialy for the side-on conditions so typical of what we have here. I also have a Naish 11-5 Nalu SUP with the windsurf foot insert. Although once on a wave it surfs well because of the typical surfboard oriented rocker it is a lousy planing board and just will not plane effectively. This is true of a lot of SUP boards made for sup surfing which also have mast foot inserts.

However, I think it is important in this overall discussion to differentiate between what I see as two Wind-SUP wavesailing mindsets.

First there are a lot of individuals, especially those lucky enough to live where they have ready access to side off winds and waves like at Hatteras, who when it comes to wind-sup sailing on the ocean are primarily only interested in waveriding! They want to be able to use the smallest sail they can on a shorter more manueverable sup board. They are looking for just enough sail size to give them enough power to sail out through the surf and then cruise around while waiting for a set wave. Then they turn and catch the wave for surfing rides etc. For them wave riding is pretty much the sole priority and they are not really interested in planing around on the outside. The sail is just the motor to get them out past the break so they can then turn, catch and surf the waves.

Certainly there is absolutely nothing wrong with that as we all know how fun wave riding and surfing is. For those primarily wanting to just wind-sup waveride and especially who have access to sideoff wavesailing spots, a more rockered surfing oriented board typical of most SUPs designed for surfing but also equipped with a mast foot insert for sailing, work great.

The other mindset, which I believe includes sailors like Jingebritsen, myself and others is that we like being able to combine wind-sup wavesailing with windsurfing outside the break. We especially like being able to get up on a plane on a board that peforms well powered up and planing and with larger wave sails for added power. Additionally for the side-on conditions we frequently sail in, the extra power of bigger wavesails like the Aerotech Phantom 7.5 or 6.8 really help you power and punch out through the often rougher surf and breaking waves in light wind sup conditions. Plus riding on boards like the Exocet wind sup's thanks to their more windsurfing oriented design, really helps give you upwind drive and speed to keep you upwind in side-on conditions. Then once outside you can putter around if you want and wait for a setwave to ride or you can sail around with greater speed still catching waves and/or just enjoying classic windsurfing out on the ocean. Once planing it is great to have the speed on the outside to catch and ride ocean swells too. When up on a plane they offer significantly improved windsurfing longboard like planing performance too and are quite fast for big boards. Finally as a big 200 pound guy I find that the larger volume of these boards really helps when winds are light for ease in uphauling the sail, making non-planing jibes and slow tacks in amongst the ocean swells, chop and inside surf zone.

So my point to this discussion is just to say that both forms of Wind SUP wave sailing are certainly valid, fun and enjoyable. I think that it is just important to realize that if you live in an area where you have primarily side-on conditions, and if you want to combine some waveriding with classic windsurfing on a SUP in light wind conditions on the ocean; that chosing a the right kind of wind-sup is critical to maximizing your fun.

Good winds and waves too,

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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

antonputtemans wrote:

Exocet is the only one with their trademark step-tail, but is that really the holy grail??

For my use it is. When I need to replace my Kona One, it will be with another step-tail. You end up with a board that's long for displacement sailing or SUPing and short for planing. You also don't need to walk back as much on the board while on the plane and don't require a sliding mast track to be able to sail in a confortable position in those on-off days where I plane only 50% of the time.
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, gotta chime in on this one. Sealion proponent here and active wavesailor on the OBX. Indeed, we are blessed with frequent side off conditions for which the Sealion excels and is likely the best option out there.

Though for onshore, I have recently found that the Sealion works actually quite well! I have been riding the sealion since 2010 so my experience is relatively high, but I have not had it out much in onshore. Early when I tried it in onshore, it seemed to "sweep" out from under my feet due to the wave pushing in at the same direction as the wind and no straps to keep board with feet. Additionally, I found it difficult to make work in the onshore conditions. However, I now believe that those early misgivings were due to lack of experience in how the sealion works.

Now, only a few days ago on a whim (warm water, sunshine, etc..), I had it out in onshore waist plus crumbers and it worked surprisingly well! Was able to easily ride backside, cut up into the shoulder, float onto and down the whitewater, turn DTL opening the sail hard and hit this downside lip for a clean cutback. Basically, I could wave ride it onshore very much like I would ride my standard kit. I have the Sealion Pro model which has a thinner rail and only 115 ltr volume. It the most aggressive of the line, and works great for my need. I also sail small sails on the Lions. 4.5m is my standard for all wind speeds from 5 to 20 mph. Only change up on this is that I found in onshore, I would go a little bigger in sail (5.3m) in about 10 - 15 mph wind.

All in all, the sealion works great, is the best board I own (or at least a tied/close second to my Quatro 92 twin) and I am saved by the sealion as it allows me to get out just about any day I want to as long as there is a little wave out there!

See more of my experience and local Hatteras sealion action.
(note link is a search result for "Sealion" on OBX Beach Life" blog. Thus, simply scroll down though the search results posts to see photos, commentary, etc... over the years!) Very Happy

PS: also one of my favorite aspects of the sealion captured in this photo... Hard to head carry with the other large WindSUPs out there!

Additional note:
Indeed, I fall into the first mindset of Windnc's post. Basically, I use the sealion as a surfboard and the sail to replace a paddle. I remain only in the wave zone and do not free sail in the ocean with the sealion. Only time it planes is when on a wave. Thus, if you are looking purely to ride waves, the sealion is good/best option, if looking to freesail in ocean and ride waves secondary, then likely other options out there may be better fits. One additional thing to note, regarding the pure wavesailing boards. The sealion is only option out there with a standard windsurfing mast track. All other surf SUPs have a screw in option for a mast base. Depending on conditions, that may be risky for failure due to heavy stress on the area when down in the impact zone. I have broken many extensions due to the stress of the impact when waiting for a set to clear while down in the zone. The sealion does not move much when hit by the wave energy while the rig pushes hard against it due to wave energy. Given all the extensions I have broken due to this scenario, I find that the screw in option may blow out easily if under similar stress. After all, the surf SUPs out there are not windsurfing boards. They are SUPs with windsurfing as a secondary option in how to use the board, while the Sealion is light air wavesailing first and foremost.


Last edited by btbill on Fri May 30, 2014 9:36 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jingebritsen wrote:
banana rockers help with turns, but if one cannot stay upwind/plane what's the use?

The magazine reviews, many owners, and especially WSers who have never tried them or tried them with inappropriate components, have said it for decades about (mostly wave) boards with rocker (and/or multiple fins): "Slow, can't point, hard to plane, can't get or stay upwind ...". Within reason, I consider that an overly pessimistic blanket statement. Certainly there are real bananas that fit that description, but I've found only one or two production versions like that in 35 years of sailing. One was a HiTech designed in Hawaii expressly for nothing but turning in Hawaiian surf, the other some sticky slug made and labeled expressly for riding Gorge swell in the current.

The key distinction in the quote above is the word, "if". It's sort of like saying, "If something is X, it's X" ... true, but circular and not informative. Having owned many scores of wave boards and tested over a hundred, I amend the statement, "Slow, can't point, hard to plane, can't get or stay upwind ..." with "unless, of course, ya put a bigger sail and fin on it, suck it up, and sheet in." i.e., I have no problem ripping upwind when powered "properly" (a judgement call) on a wave board, including the SeaLion, even where there's no current. I've seen several WSers say, "I can't get upwind because I'm on a [insert some user-friendly 80L Gorge or wave board]" ... whereupon I hop on my 65 liter gnat at 190 pounds and fly upwind to my heart's content. The difference? Horsepower, traction, and confidence. Screw efficiency.

My first tentative windSUP reaches with no footstraps proved a struggle to get upwind. By the second or third session, as I got used to more power, it went upwind just fine ... for a banana. It's not going to win any dashes to upwind marks (unless the other guy can't plane), but even with no current it gets me high enough to run downwind when I wish without risking a hike. Numbers? Getting upwind a quarter mile in one round trip across the river is fairly easy if powered normally, despite getting distracted by lips on the way, and that's with small wave fins on the board. If Id'a wanted a Formula board Id'a bought one, but Jurg tells me this thing will work with a pair of near-slalom fins up to about 34 cm if I want to put a big slalom sail on it.

I'm thinkin' about it, considering the number of lazy, otherwise boring summer days we get in the mid-teens. A 7.0, occasional knee-high swell, a planing banana ... what's not to like?
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

btbill wrote:
Hard to head carry with the other large WindSUPs out there!

I changed the grip material in the handle for a more secure grip, and now carry my rigged SL like I would a strapped WS board. But then, I don't face the windy hike you do to the water's edge.
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