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Trial Run on the Football Field - SUN 27MAR2011

Drove the little one off to see a friend and the wife was going for a walk. Hey, it's a little cooler than yesterday and windier. Perhaps I can try the football field ? Winds hit 12 knots and more from the WNW. Put the 6-oh on the epoxy mast and used the pi winter sailboard # 3.14. Too many lulls in the wind and the angle was not good for the field. Still spring ski conditions. Tried board #2 which is now angled at 20 degrees. It felt like it could go, but it was too much work and looked like a train passed through in terms of tracks.

Put the Gaastra Flow 3X 7-oh on board pi and it went better.

Gave the session a 6 out of 10. OK. Was still out over one hour and tired after. Almost did a full tack.

Lesson: Need a better field than that. Next session - if it happens this winter - Near Mirabel !!!

Hey, my good friend Dolores went to Quebec City over the weekend and saw windsurfers doin' it on fields just near Québec !! COOL

Going round with pi/board #3.14 - SAT 26MAR2011

Saturday, sunny and winds steady out of the west at 8 to 10 knots - gusts went over 20. Went to the sod farm near Terrebonne with the two(2) slight modifications on board #3.14 - written about in last post - mast-base back a bit and back of skis tilted in slightly. The snow was crusty with about two(2) inches of soft stuff on top - spring ski conditions. Rigged the Gaastra Flow 3X 7.0 on the 490 - on the other side of the fence this time. All in all, I had to give this session a nine out of ten. Was actually able to do three quarter 3/4 tacks. Forget the downwind gybes cuz I wouda run into the fence. I am not much of a gyber in any case. Only fell about four times and none serious. The angle in the back helped a lot and feels like the third ski kept things smooth up front. Need to do more tests in deeper snow. As I was right beside hi-way 25, people were constantly honkin' as they drove by - too cold to wave :-) Just as I was considering to end the two(2) hour session, a fellow yelled out. He seemed to be the proprietor and asked me NOT to ski on the grass of the sod farm. Stated that he had tried signs, butt people take em down and snowmobile on the sod anyways. "The sign said long haired freaky people need not apply..." Guess that was my last run there :-( He said it was okay to go on the other side of the highway. Will check out near Mirabel areoport instead - have heard the kiters go on the fields of snow there. That's about the same distance from my home.

Tabou Rocket

Note: This post seems to be very popular. As such, i have added videos from youtube and vimeo at the end of it :) ENJOY



Since I have an evaluation of the Rocket compared to the Fanatic Ray and Hawk, I have moved this post back to the top of this blog/website ...see the followup section further down if you have already seen the "intro".
btw i am surprised how many people were interested by this post as it was !!

Well, I wrote to the infamous Matt Pritchard and yes, he would be able to supply a Rocket 125 directly to Canada. This is just amazing in terms of accessibility from an average joe windsurfer. If you are interested in purchasing a Rocket and live in North America , I suggest you contact Matt at this e-mail: matt@pritchardwindsurfing.com



Model        Volume      Length     Width    Weight     Box              Fin         Sails Size
Rocket 125     125            250          69            7.8     Power Box     FR 44         5.5 - 8.5


Why do I consider Tabou Rocket? Check out the mpora review:  http://boards.mpora.com/boards/freeride-boards-kit/tabou-rocket-125-gt-2008.html

and boardtests: http://boardtests.com/2011/03/tabou-rocket-125-ltd-preview-2011/

and here: http://www.boardseekermag.com/windsurfing-equipment-tests/clone-quotes/2010/tabou-rocket-125-2010.html


Here is the "teaser video" from Tabou in 2010. The 2011 version seems very muffled !!

Tabou Rocket 2010 from Tabou Boards on Vimeo.

In the 2011 WindsurfMag board tests one reviewer is quoted as saying of the Rocket 125: Sweet and very balanced performer! Great combination of comfort, speed, control, and ease of use. Felt very natural immediately with no need to "figure it out". Definitely a test favorite of mine in this size range. And James Douglass says: the Tabou Rockets 105, 125, and 145 get nearly unanimous praise.

 For those of you , who have not heard, Kevin Pritchard gave the kiters a piece of their own medicine when he sped past them recently in  a race where they offered to separate kiters n windsurfers and kiters said NON. Check his blog on my blog list at the right ...

Follow-up: One of the avid windsurfers with whom I "chat" quite a bit via e-mail was a big fan of Fanatic and Maui Sails. I purchased my TR-4 10-oh from him. He still is a big fan of Maui Sails. What was interesting was his evaluation of the Tabou Rocket 125 compared to some of his best Fanatic boards.

This is just one man's opinion, but it does make for interesting reading !!

There are always unwritten reasons for peoples opinions on boards and sails.  I have come to the opinion that a board/sail/fin/conditions/sailor weight/sailor skill/rigging setup/strap positions all have to be balanced to make a setup work for you.  no one can recommend sails and boards without knowing a lot of info about the sailor and conditions it will be used in.  I was finding that I was always using the ray 140 and the hawk 123 with my 7.5 switch in my given conditions.  I concluded that I needed the best 7.5 board I could find to fit my conditions and skills.  The ray was awesome but the sweet spot was an 8.5.  with the tr 8.4 and ray I was in love.  With the 7.5, I preferred to be on my hawk 123 (sweet spot is 7.0).  The hawk with the 7.5 was still a great board. The hawk with a 6.4 was a great board as well.  however, when I got 6.4 conditions, I wanted to be on a smaller board like my freewave.  There was to much overlap with the hawk and freewave.  The tabou kind of just fits my needs perfectly.  All boards have a sweet spot.  For the rocket 125 a 7.5 is the sweet spot.  My conditions here really are 7.5 (considered good wind for me) and 9.5 on the light winds days.  The drop from 9.5 to 7.5 is pretty easy.  I can plane the rocket/7.5 in 13 comfortably.  I can hold the 9.5 with gusts to 20 (averaging 15 or so).  This quiver just works.

That being said, the rocket is less lively than the hawk as the wind picks up.  The rocket is a lot more alive than the ray 140.  The rocket is so smooth that I get really comfortable and just have fun. The hawk had a tendency to get a little scary (for me and my skills) when the wind really got honking.  Some better riders may prefer the ride of the hawk.  I think the rocket 125 s the perfect blend of performance and easy sailing.  Not boring at all.  just easy to blast, easy to gybe.  The rocket is also super stable when not planing.  Probably closer to the stability of the ray then the hawk.  With the 7.5, the rocket planes almost as early as the ray with the 7.5.  it planes noticeably sooner than the hawk/7.5 combo.  The tabou is easier to pump onto plane.  It seems to glide better than the other two boards here.  The board is just perfect for me (and my skills, conditions, etc……………………..)

I was out last night on the rocket/switch 7.5 combo.  Winds were averaging 15/16 gust into the low/mid 20’s.  I could have easily planed up with a 6.4.  I never once considered coming in rig down.  The switch sails for me seem to have no upper limit.  They are steady as a rock and the center of effort never moves in the gusts at all.  I look forward to the gusts to just rip the board forward.  The rocket was just flying across the water with just the fin and a small piece of the tail in the water.  However, I was in total control.  The sail was stable.  The board was stable.  Everything just works with this setup.  The hawk would have been good as well.  just that the hawk would be more “alive” in these conditions.  I prefer the fun tabou to the more active hawk in these conditions. 

You read and read and read about opinions and conditions and size and weight, etc………………….
there is no perfect answer.   It has to fit the sailor.  
However, if you can get a ride on a new rocket, take it.  I really like it so far.


One other thing I forgot to mention about the boards.  Get the stiffest, lightest construction you can.  This has a lot of effect how a board feels.  The stiffer and lighter boards are easier to plane and ride than the heavier and slower reacting boards with the same shape. 

Cheers

Paul

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
in other words, get the LTD version of the board, IF you can AND IF you have the skills !!!
these versions are more $$$ and more sensitive ie may need a nose job sooner than you think if you are still catapaulting all over the place ...

After REDSURBUS' comment, we communicated via e-mail and:

The only reason I posted that was because I bought a mistral SL 95 RD, which is  full carbon and light as a feather (no joke.....I worry about it getting blown away even in a f4) but took me a lot of sessions to get used to. You feel every bit of chop, especially in the muscles on the front of your legs near the bottom (the ones engaged when lifting your toes). In big swell its not a problem as the water is generally smoother, but in offshore wind about 100m out where it goes boxy it is hard work at first until you learn how to drive the board rather than being a passenger.

To get comfy on a board you just need a week of sessions on it, without a break! Then you will start to really know the board and what is easy, what needs more 'finesse'. For example my kode is a very easy going board in wood/carbon, It is very light all the same but I can sail for hours on it without a break now. The mistral took me a good few months of sessions through the winter (gaps too big between each session), as soon as the air warmed up and I got out on it regularly I became comfy on it......and then moved down to a tabou 74l......which is 20l less than my weight so a big jump but an easy one after the mistral.
I am by no means an experienced or good windsurfer, I have just been out a lot in the past 2-3 years so have learnt quite a lot. Portland Harbour is windy quite often, really safe as well so I can take more risks in terms of learning.

Take Care
Redsurfbus
http://www.redsurfbus.com/ 

Before I forget ... end of August 2011 I spoke with a fellow who surfs California and Montreal. He had some experience with JP, Fanatic Hawks and AHD Rebound. He said .. the JPs were NOT worth the extra money, Hawks could jibe on a dime and the AHD ate chop. He did not have any experience with the Tabou unfortunately. 

Here is a youtube of a fellow test driving his Tabou Rocket 135 !! 

 

Tabou Rocket 105 & 125 from youtube 

 

Tabou Rocket 125 with Ezzy 6.5


Windsurf 19 Jan 09 from rotorhead guy on Vimeo.

boardtests.com on 2011 Rocket 125 w/ Tushingham 6-oh


Dani Sfeir seems to be a speed "freak" who likes GPS and freerace equipment. He gave the Rocket 115 a 7/10 and the Ray 115 a 9/10 in the comments section. He gave a video link that shows the TR7 8.4 and Ray more than the Rocket 145. I have added the video here cuz I am also a Maui Sails fan :) The TR-7 is the first year Barry Spanier and company are using the clew cutout and the 8.4 also only requires a 460 mast now. This should make for a really light feeling and FAST 8.4. On the MS forum people seem to be raving about it. For others it means purchasing a 460 - for people like me :( I would like to try a RAY, but the issue for purchasing one is my fins are all powerfins and NOT tuttle :( For me the battle is Hawk vs Rocket. One friend has a Hawk 135 and another the Rocket 125. Only time will tell. Have found a local Tabou rider who sells the Rocket 125 at a very decent price - not the GT version... In any case... here is Dani's vid:


MauiSail TR7 XT 8.4, Fanatic Ray 115 LTD. from Dani S. on Vimeo.



The riggeek also seems to love his Tabou Rocket 140 as seen here:
http://www.riggeek.com/gear-head/2011-04-19-1

Apparently windsurfing magazine screwed up in their recent evaluation of the Rocket 145 {amongst others !!}: http://boardsurfr.blogspot.com/2011/06/windsurfing-magazine-board-test.html

In case you did not know ... windsurfing-direct used to distribute Tabou boards. Windsurf Magazine wrote a BAD piece about the main dude @ the company and i predicted that Josh would go down for that. Ironically since then Windsurfing Magazine has STOPPED publication AND windsurfing-direct no longer purchases nor sells windsurf boards.  
IRONIC

Test Run of Board #3.14 - TUE 22MAR2011

In case you forgot, I re-configured winter sailboard #1. It is the third/3rd configuration, but using board #1 and thus I call it board #3.14. May also have something to do with the fact that I like pie :-) Basically the skis are flat and a third ski was added in the middle as a stabilizer. (see photo on 12MAR2011 entry)

The weather is unpredictable and we had some nor-westerlies this afternoon. When I got home at around 17h00 they were still going strong and were predicted to go for another hour. Packed my stuff and went. The big question of course is where to go. The river and lakes are finished - half ice and half water - no good for summer OR winter windsurfing. Perhaps the golf course in Terrebonne - nope, too narrow. How about beside the propeller plane aeroport - nope, that will never fly - pardon the pun. Okay, back to the sod farm just off the 25 and north of Terrebonne. Winds were still steady and still under 10 knots. Rigged the MS Pursuit 8.5 and struggled to get it over the fence without punching a hole in it - next time rig it on the other side. Winds were good and the board showed potential. Every time I got going, the back slipped and the front pointed upwind - obviously stalling everything. Believe they call this "spin out" in windsurfing and is usually a factor of using too small a fin ...So, the centre ski is NOT acting as a stabilizer as hoped. After a half an hour of some decent exercise, unrigged on the other side of the fence and went home. Still home before 19h00 - LIFE IS GOOD.

So, what to do about the slippage ? At first I considered a fin and then I took some balance point measurements. Before I put anything INTO the snow, I will try some balancing acts. On a windsurfer one puts the mastbase somewhere around the 135 cm mark from the back. This usually closely coincides with the balance point. On board #3.14 it seems the balance point is about 6.5 inches back. That's about 16 cm and quite a chunk. Before doing the crazy snow-fin thing I will move the mast back about 3 inches. After that re-evaluate. Let us hope I get another try at it this winter !!

Now I feel like a dummy. Just found an article in Popular Mechanics from 1987 where they used 3 skis and the outside skis were angled in just as board #1 was originally !!! Also, the central ski is further back.  Popular Mechanics article I will continue to do experiments before angling the outside skis. The ride before spin out was very good and showed potential...On snow I am NOT looking for the most efficient speed or maneuvering machine. That's for the ice - at least for speed. Just want to be able to go straight with the wind on the snow and as I said board # 3.14 showed potential... (Am now considering angling IN just the back connection to the skis !!)

Ten minutes of work and the two(2) modifications are done - ready for next test !! Moved mast-base back about 1.5 inches and back attachment is less than 10 degrees sloped in. And as always thinkin about the next mod - do I really need that third/3rd ski ?? Will test as is first !! Looks like Friday, Saturday AND Sunday look promising - too bad i'm getting my first haircut Friday - 8 months after I shaved my head and beard for cancer...

 

Sunday 20MAR2011

I guess that's it for winter sailboarding. The ice on the local river is melting and so is the snow. Another 10 cm of snow are called for this week, butt winds seem to only be good during the snowstorm :-( Oh well, guess all I can look forward to is windsurf on water soon !! Jim Douglass is already out on the water in Massachusetts with NO gloves. See the connection to his blog on "my blog list".

The other good news is, flowers will be blooming soon. The Easter cacti have started already !!

Jimmy Drake

As you may or may not know, Jim Drake has been around windsurfing a long time. There may be some issues with Jim, patent wars and who really invented windsurfing. In any case, I found some of his work on the physics of windsurfing. I am compiling it here: jim-drakes-windsurf-physics.html
That's it. Starting converting board # 1 to be flat with a central ski as a stabilizer. 

Couple of hours later and $3.40 in hardware and it is ready for testing !!! Am going to call it board # 3.14 since it is the third configuration and using using board #1. And I like pie :-)
Now all I need is some colder weather and some winds.
Did I just ask for some cold weather ?? :-) Yes, I must be going nuts :-)

This foto was taken at initial consideration:


Removed the bulky mast-base setup, moved the mast-base up about four(4) inches and put some more anti-skid tape. Here's a peek:


Habe gesehen, dass dann und wann Deutsche sich hier anmelden. Herzlichen Gruss aus Kanada :-)

Friday March 11, 2011

Well, the gentlemen removing the fish-huts were right. The river is now a giant lake. My windsurf buddy said, "Only five(5) more weeks until we windsurf." And he won't go with gloves n hat. So, that probably means I will be on the water in about three(3) !! And one blog I follow => James Douglass under "My Blog List", he has already been out on the water, windsurfing in Massachusetts !!!

Then how come I cannot get the mystery of windsurfing on snow out of my head? After reviewing some more videos on the web, I have come to the conclusion that the next step for me is a three(3) legged sled. This means the two(2) skis on the outside stay flat and there is a third ski in the middle. I believe this acts as a rudder and keeps the board on track. I have already started drawing plans !!!



But just the same, I hope that lake on the river freezes for me because those would be IDEAL conditions for sled #2 with 20 degrees leaned out skis !!!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Managed to get out of work early. Was actually accidental - forgot I had the van at work {sorry Pierre}. Made it home by 15h30 and on the ice by 16h00. They were taking the fish-huts off the ice and putting signs up - "Do not go on the ice". Asked the dudes if that was for today or the next couple of days where rain and higher temps were announced. It was for the next few days, but he suggested i stay in the paths/sentiers.

Winds were much lighter than earlier in the day and from ENE at about 8 knots max. Put the 8.5 and used board number 2 with 20 degrees angle out for a test. It was fine when running on the ice and not bad on the snow. When starting in snow with lighter winds it was another story...

It was real fun just trying to stay on the path.

I was at St-Rose where I had been last week, on the east side of the bridge, but this time there was no-one about gawking :-)

Winds died down a bit and I left. About a good half an hour to 45 minutes of good exercise outside and still home before six (6). Life is good.

Next coupla days are rain and up to 8 degrees Celsius.
Since I LOVE the ice runs, hope it all freezes up again after.

Oh yeah, the bloody ferrule cap of the mast came off again and was difficult to remove from the top portion of the mast $%^&* This time cleaned inside where the ferrule goes - some people call this the female portion. After that I sprayed marine lubricant SailKote inside the female portion and outside the male portion. Also read some people have used wax to seal ferrules. Was surprised I could not find more discussion on this PITA on the web. btw PITA = pain in the axx

Current dilemna - when to stop the shop

In my possession I have four (4) boards, four (4) masts, six or seven (7) sails and about six (6) fins. In the summer I go on the water about forty (40) times per season. How can I be satisfied with my current stuff and just enjoy.

Before short-boarding this was never an issue.

Now I seem to be "shopping" and cruising the web looking for deals constantly.
Do I change my 8.5 for a cammed 8.5?
Do I get a Kona One?
Do I change my 15 year old harness? {Matt Pritchard says YES :-) }

Feel like I used to be a minimalist and just had what I needed to get on the water - my longboard and about three(3) sails. Now my longboard doesn't go fast enough and wish I had a race type longboard. My shortboard has too thick rails and yet planes really early.

Once I am on the water (or ice) these issues all disappear. I smile, I whoop and wave at fellow servers AND kiters. Share the paradise I call it.

Perhaps the solution is to move to a place right on the water and live the dream. Just go whenever it blows. This way equipment just falls by the wayside and the time on water becomes the fun, which is what it is all about anyway.

This is the first time in any aspect this has happened to me and I hope to overcome it !!

Maybe if I get that new harness, it will be enough ....:-)

Windsurfing with Snowboards

It seems in Latvia they have licked the issue of windsurfing on snowboards. Found this on a great Australian windsurf forum ==> http://www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Windsurfing.

http://vimeo.com/20479724    watch it FULL SCREEN - HD


Snowsurfing 2011. February from Māris Minkevics on Vimeo.

this is what I wrote on the Australian website regarding snowboards and windsurfing or boardsailing
"this is much more difficult than you realize

here in Canada it is winter now and I have built a snow sled using skis

experiments with snowboards showed that it required bigger winds AND if you stay in the boots , it will be very awkward on one leg of the run - also NOT so easy to control direction other than with the sail

this looks like it is from latvia where they have done much more winter windsurfing than here in Canada - here it is like I am the pioneer ...
will try to get a video on my blog"

there are MANY other posts on this blog regarding winter windsurfing - search google for joewindsurfer winter

FRI 04MAR2011

Weather for the weekend is NOT sounding good. Today is Friday and there is a potential of winds from the SE which is VERY unusual. This means I would need to go to the spot I broke my shoulder in 2008. Anticipate a little snow (about 2 to 3 cm) on a good surface of ice. The wind stayed from the NE and was NOT too strong. This means it is NOT worth checking out Vaudreuils ...Temps were about minus 5 Celsius.

Went home early and straight to the River near my house, but this time on the other side of the bridge. I had forgotten that all the kids had their March break now. The parking lot behind the church in Ste-Rose was completely FULL and there were kids everywhere. Parents were there too. Many people took the week off to avoid babysitting costs and to spend some quality time with their kids = VERY NICE !!!

Was not able to park too close to the River, but there were good paths all the way there. Checked the wind with my meter and was not getting great readings. Winds were still out of the NE or SE and maxing out at about 8 knots. There was at least 3 cm of snow on the ice. This means it was big sail time and flatter board time.

Rigged the MS Pursuit 8.5 and used board #1 - the red one - with 10 degree angle outward. Walked the kit out to the "ice" and got the looks :-) There were people everywhere and they were ALL turning in their tracks and starring. Once I got out on top of the River, people were stopping, taking pictures and just generally starring. They stopped walking, X-country skiing, ice fishing, skating, etc :-)

The entertainment portion was the most fun of the day. As I said, the winds were NOT great, but fun just the same. It felt like a typical summer day where you say, "if only the winds were a little stronger." At times I have considered trying my TR race sail 10.0, but that seems a bit extreme :-)

With the lighter winds and the low angle on the skis, it was difficult to go back upwind. Tacks on ice and snow are starting to get there. Still have NOT attempted a jibe -- not on ice nor on snow.

Oh yeah, it was actually warm enough with the workout, that I took off my gloves and hood on occasion.

So, finished my week early, went winter sailboarding for over 45 minutes and was home before 17h00 :-) Life is good

WED 02MAR2011

This morning at 5h30 the winds were excellent out of the W to go NW later and the temperatures were around minus 5 Celsius. There was some fresh snow on the river, but not too much to hamper my ice sailing. I stood outside and pondered. Do I go in to work a little late. If I take the van and go straight to work after, my wife may not even notice and people show up late at my work all the time. Problem was , it was still quite dark :-( Okay, what I'll do is, monitor sunrise for next morning sesh and leave work an hour early. The sun did not come up enough until about 6h15. This means I could have been off the ice and on my way to work by 7h30. Could make it there by 8h30, only about 1.5 hours later than my usual arrival.

Plan to leave work early. Yeah, right. Meeting set to go at 14h00 until 15h30. Leave at 15h15 to catch the train and there is someone wandering on the subway tracks = stalled ^&*() Luckily made the train, but fell asleep and missed my stop. Grap a different bus and make it home by 17h00. Feels late, but winds are still good out of the NW. Okay, let's monitor sundown too %^&*() Looks like 18h00 is the limit in order to be packed by 18h15. At least we now have 12 hours of daylight.

The sad part is, rain is starting to become a norm in the forecast. Perhaps I will be lucky and it will be cooler up north with a bit of wind this weekend. Will not be able to stay too late if it is Sunday. Have a ticket to see the 80's band OMD/Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark :-)