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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 522

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The truth is hiding somewhere in between what Sergio and Michael said. I have both slalom and freeride boards. Which ones are more fun depends on the conditions and what you want to do.

Slalom boards work best fully powered, fully locked in. Then, they can be easy to jibe, and plane through jibes better than any freeride board. But to get there, you need more skills and commitment - or very flat water. If you would use a 6.0 sail on a 130 l slalom board, chances are that you'd hate it. The board would feel way too big, and things would feel wrong and misaligned. For a 6.0, a 90 l slalom board would be a much better fit.

In some areas (Germany, Netherlands, Australia), slalom boards are very popular. These areas either have great flat water spots for speed, or often marginal conditions. In such conditions, slalom gear can be flat-out more fun. But in many areas in the US, slalom gear is rare because you'd need mad skills to really enjoy it.

At Kalmus, where we often have a lot of chop, there are only two guys who regularly go out on slalom gear. They use 7.5s if similar sized sailors on other gear are using 5.5s. They also go about 30-50% faster. They are both much better sailors than I am. In moderate chop, I can usually get a couple of extra knots out of slalom gear. That usually feels quite a bit more exciting, though. The good guys tend to be 3-5 knots faster than I am, even when we are on similar gear.

Does it make sense to go with freerace gear like the Fanatic Ray? I'm not sure. If you're really bitten by the go-fast bug, you'll probably switch to full slalom gear after a while. That happened to me and to a friend of mine. Keep in mind that slalom boards can be very different. The iSonics, for example, are often viewed as high-strung. Other slalom boards are easier to sail, and make it easier to go fast and stay in control. Perhaps they have a little less top speed for experts and pros, but they can be faster for non-experts.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13807

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SergioKapul wrote:
I see no point in freerides, they cost about the same, they
break about the same; but they're slower and less fun... It's like you have a choice of buying a porsche or a buick, and you want to drag racing most of the time, for same money what would you buy???

Assuming any chop, I'd buy the one with softer rails, a little more V, and a little more rocker. It's far more user friendly, far more comfortable (and thus often faster for us ordinary folks) in any chop, and the slight speed difference o flat water will fade in memory much more quickly than the memories of hitting curbs at warp speed when sharp rails catch.

Huh?

I will never forget the Roberts slalom board that got sideways under me in Oct, 1995 off Kihei. I'm good at spinout recovery, but ya gotta give me at least a FEW milliseconds. But noooooooo ... that thing lost traction, hit a concrete curb (i.e., its sharp rails caught a tiny piece of chop), and stopped INSTANTLY while I was still going 30+ hooked in. Fortunately, I came unhooked. Unfortunately, I then slid up the sail, inside the boom, and out the top of the sail, every last one of that yellow Gaastra F-1's battens slapping the back of my front like a bullwhip.

TWICE.

I'm also good at waterstarting, but not when there's a 55-gallon drum of water lashed to the mast. 20+ minutes of extreme hard labor later I managed to waterstart that fast and stable but error-punishing POS.

I hope racy sails and boards are friendlier now, but they still call one a slalom board and sail and the other a freeride board and sail for one or more reasons.

The OTHER most memorable instant in my 35 years of this was when my 80L Starboard EVO wave board grabbed me by the harness hook and taught me that shortwide boards are best suited for smooth water, modest speed, and modest power levels. That WFO pearl was the hardest slam I've ever experienced on water.

Next time you rig big, drop the hammer, and race some guy across the lake in heavy chop, "you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"

Actually, there are a few other questions in that scenario:
2. Can you really access feel that extra couple of mph on flat water, let alone heavy chop, or is it only on the GPS recording?

3. Does beating somebody across the lake mean you're fast ... or just that he's slow?

4. How will you feel when he beats you on his wave gear because his kit handles the chop better or he just has better technique?

5. And even if you never lose, any kid can go faster on a Yamaha DT-1.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2298

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seriously doubt a difference of top speed of over 1.5 mph is possible when comparing two expert level sailors, both on the same sized boards, one freeride with .5 smaller freeride sail, the other full slalom on .5 bigger slalom sails.
1.5 is a huge difference, one where I just can't see a sailor, any sailor, on full race slalom gear, can go by a EQUALLY skilled sailor using freeride gear.
Well, maybe someone like old Antoine can crawl past a equally sklled rider, but that is an exception, since we don't directly sail against the very top pros who weigh in around 230 lbs.
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SergioKapul



Joined: 04 Apr 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

conditions do dictate board type choice, but original post person was 145lb using 7.0/130 l board makes me think marginal winds, not super choppy,
so slalom with avg. skill level will be more FUN.
In Miami both ocean/bay side people choose fw/ or slalom, hardly anyone uses freerides utill ~18kn. Price wise slalom gear is more expensive at the beg. of season, then price drops plus used board market, so it's sometime cheaper to get a slalom/ than freeride. I know only one person that moved from slalom to freeride, while large majority went to slalom/fw and very happy....
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5688

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say up front that I tend to agree with SergioKapul's take. Slalom boards are fantastic in a certain range of conditions. Needless to say, when conditions get rough and testy, it's very demanding to go fast. Too much airtime can be scary, especially with more outboard straps.

I'm also of the opinion that slippery RAF sails with 6-7 battens can work really well with slalom boards. Good fins matter too.

When it gets down to it, you have to ask yourself where do you like your straps. Slalom boards don't always offer inboard straps. Freerides and FSW designs usually offer lots of strap positions to suit many sailing styles. Not necessarily as fast, but often great with respect to maneuverability.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2298

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think quite a few of us old guys migrated from full blown slalom to freeride, and not finding a noticeable drop on board speeds.
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.
Plus, slalom gear is FRAGILE, susceptible to minor dings and no pressure dents.
OP is obviously not expert yet, so possibly performance freeride is the catagory of choice, but fast slalom also is in the running.
In used boards, only slalom is availible at the top end, so that's where you gotta go for used boards. Fast freeride boards have been out since around '09, with some great easy handling slalom boards since '07.
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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 522

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
1.5 is a huge difference, one where I just can't see a sailor, any sailor, on full race slalom gear, can go by a EQUALLY skilled sailor using freeride gear.

I ride both freeride gear and slalom gear - sometimes both the same day to see what exactly the difference in speed. Last time I did so was 4 days ago. My top speed on freeride gear (3S 96 with a 5.7 m wave sail) was 27.35 knots. My top speed on slalom gear (XFire 90 with KA Koncept 5.8 ) was 29.75 knots, 2.4 knots = 2.76 mph faster. Top speed with the slalom board and speed sail was 28.2 knots. This was in smallish chop (Kalmus SW near low tide).

The results are in line with what I have seen before. On flat water, the differences are larger. Both boards had speed-weed fins of similar size. I sail the 3S more often than the XFire and have it dialed in better. With more practice on slalom gear, I could have gone a bit faster. The board alone usually gives me a knot or two extra speed, the sail another knot or two. Overall, my top speed on the 3S with a freerace sail is 34.4 mph, on the XFire with a speed sail 36.5 mph. And yes, two extra mph at this speed feels like a lot.

The difference is in gear and skill. With my current skills, I can definitely sail slalom gear 2-3 knots faster than freeride gear. The faster speed sailors on our team typically beat me by 2-3 knots on flat water (here's an example session). In chop, they beat me by 3-5 knots, and more than 5 knots if I switch to freeride gear.

zirtaeb wrote:
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.

Not true, except perhaps in strong chop on a beam reach. The expert slalom sailors that I know will plane out of jibes on slalom gear almost every jibe. Slalom boards tend to hold more speed in jibes if you have the necessary technique. I don't have that in chop, but it is clearly my lack of skills if I don't plane out of a jibe when powered up on a slalom board. On flat water, I will plane out of more jibes, and keep more speed, on slalom gear. Better slalom sailors can do the same in chop.

zirtaeb wrote:
Plus, slalom gear is FRAGILE, susceptible to minor dings and no pressure dents.

You may be talking from your experience with your iSonic here. They are quite well known to be very light and very fragile. Both iSonics took heave damage at the last Windsurfing Magazine board test - other slalom boards did not. I have not had any problems with my RRD XFire, despite some interesting catapults. Had to fix my freeride & freestyle boards a few times, but I use them more, too.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2298

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't read your whole post, but I'll counter..
3S is a freestyle oriented freeride board, slow as fsw boards.
In Tabou's line, the Rocket is their fast freeride board. Manta is their slalom board.
Yes, X-Fires are fast, but absolutely NO faster than my 1999 MikeSlab blue label 8'10's, and usually slower in top speed, but a little quicker coming out of planing jibes.
Heck, I have a '98 KineticFree276 that goes faster than X-Fires, but it's too thick to jibe well in medium winds.
I have a Seatrend272, now in PuertoRico, the yellow '01 that within 1/2 mile per hour, keeps up with the best slalom sailors in Berkeley, and there are a few, if were both somewhat powered up.
And the Naish 9'er, the 2000, easily keeps up with anyone with full blown slalom gear if my sail size is within .8 meters.
Oh, when powered up, I can plane out of more jibes with freeride than with dedicated slalom boards. Just more momentum (weight), smaller easier to flip sail, softer rails that hold better in chop, friendlier fins that have some swept.
Remember, your 3S is as slow as most companies Freestyle WAVE boards, not anywhere near fast.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2298

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy And yes, I also have FSW boards from JP, the 84, and the 84ProSlalom (moderately fast), and the venerable 255 from 1999, faster than the FSW, slower than most fast freerides.
Your example of comparing top speeds using a 3S is like me racing against the top slalom sailors using a JPFSW84, against their '13 and newer full slalom boards.
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PeconicPuffin



Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 1203

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.

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http://www.peconicpuffin.com
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