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Lightweight windsurfers and wind minimums

As a heavyweight of over 100 kilos / 220 pounds ... I have been using large gear for quite some time. Folks like Dave White aka Whitey , who is heavier than me and dances on boards, suggests this is not necessary... Lightweights don't even need to think about that... Gear is aimed at average weight windsurfers - let's say 170 pounds or about 75 kilos ...

So, when someone of 130 pounds starts asking about sailing Formula and which sails to use, I get surprised. Is that really necessary and what are the wind minimums for someone like that ?? A big 100 cm wide board and a big sail larger than 10 m² ??

For me 10 knots / ~20 kph is my wind minimum for longboarding with 8.x sails. Larger sails work, but are also MORE work... People are saying 10 knots planing is attainable with not too much trouble...

This is me - out with a Mistral Equipe II XR carbon race longboard with a MauiSails TR-4 10 m² race sail in about 10 knots. People say I can go faster railing board with mast track forward and in the railing straps ...

Lightweights on the other hand, can plane in winds even less than that !!
In this video I do not even see much pumping ...

My question is : Is it necessary to go to a Formula board and pump large sails or even try to handle them when one is SO light ??  And in that video , how is that fellow able to hold up such a large sail ? What does he do if it drops in the water ??

A wide freeride or freerace with an 8.x sail should plane early enough for such a light weight ??
Like this ...BIC Techno Formula 94 cm wide with 7.8 sail ...

Who the heck would want to do this - pump like crazy with BIG gear in LIGHT winds ??

For myself as a BIG heavyweight, I use a BIG, WIDE freeride board JP SLW of 92 cm width with the race sail MS TR-4 10 m² in over 12 knot winds in order to be planing ...That is my wind minimum for planing - NO pumping ... and YES straps can drop planing threshold too !! My bad - not in straps ...

When I asked on forums if it was worthwhile to go from 10 to 12 square meters, it was pretty much a BIG NO. So, i cannot imagine lightweights on such large sails either ... nor on Formula boards ... still feel it is overkill - unless you race or ...

Based on what we are seeing now, perhaps wind foiling will take care of the light wind dilemma ?? Regardless of sailor weight ...

Will post a video from AHD since they have been at it the longest and have designed a board around it. They are now talking of making another foil board with more volume as well - this one is around 110 liters ... and FLYS in about 7 knots of wind


  1. A few things as someone who weighs 150.

    - Footstraps are very important not only in heavy air but maximizing your light air windsurfing as well. There are a number of small things that happen such as lifting on the front strap; and closing off the gap and riding off the fin with the back foot that aren't necessarily apparent.

    - My biggest is a 10.8. I usually use a 9.5. Those aren't big if you use proper uphaul technique: straight back, use your legs not your arms, etc. An easy uphaul helps but is not necessary.

    - Yes, imho, it's worth it. Planing in those conditions is like powder skiing. It's not everyone's cup of tea but in places that aren't windy, can add considerably to one's season.

    - you are correct that most will tell you that going above 10 probably isn't worth it. It doesn't lower the planing threshold much - may 1-2 mph but also because the biggest race sails are cut relatively flat and freerace/ride sails in 9.5 region will be fuller.

    - There isn't much to be gained from 92-95 cm to 100 unless you race. If you race, you want every possible advantage as if you fall off a plane going upwind once and your competitor doesn't, you're toast.

    - Longboard: the advice you've been given is correct. You will basically foil off the centerboard in that configuration.

    1. based on web search, you are in Atlanta. Share some videos in light winds - if you wish - would be appreciated. thanks for your comment !!


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