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NEVER thought I would be writing about this subject - since I am struggling to get in them. However, I have seen some discussion on the subject and realize there are many different aspects to them. As such, for now I will post a video that seems to cover many things one can consider in terms of foot straps ... (Is it footstraps or foot straps ??)


Popular Posts/Articles:
Foiling: hydrofoiling.html
GoPro Hero: GoPro-hero.html
BIC Techno Formula: bic-techno-formula.html 
BIC Dufour Wing & Starting Windsurfing: my-bic-dufour-wing-and-how-i-started.html 
Tabou Rocket 125: tabou-rocket.html 
History of Windsurfing: http://history-of-windsurfing.html
Heavyweights: heavyweights-and-windsurfing.html
Physics of Windsurfing: jim-drakes-windsurf-physics.html  
Fanatic Shark: fanatic-shark.html
Formula and Long Boards: formula-boards-and-longboards.html
Light Wind Section: light wind section.html
Early Planing: early-planing.html

Getting Started: 
How I started Winter Sailboarding: how-i-started-winter-windsurfing.html
How I Started Shortboarding how-i-started-shortboarding.html
How YOU can start windsurfing: how-you-can-start-windsurfing.html
Parts of a Sail/Windsurf board discussed:
Sailboards sailboards.htm                          windsurf-board-categories.html
Fins: fins.html  and how to repair them ...
Sails: sails.html                                         
Sail Materials: sail-materials.html                                 
Masts: masts.html
Mast Bases: mast-bases.html
BOOM: boom.html                                
Accessories: accessories.html

My Boards and Reviews:
AHD FF 160 liter: how-i-started-shortboarding.html  
AHD SL2 132 liter: http://ahd-sl2-132.html
BIC Dufour Wing: my-bic-dufour-wing-and-how-i-started.html
BIC Techno Formula: bic-techno-formula.html 
Fanatic BEE 124 LTD: fanatic-bee-124-ltd.html
Fanatic Ultra CAT: fanatic-ultra-cat.html
JP SuperLightWind/SLW92: JP SuperLightWind
Mistral Equipe I LCS-XR: mistral-equipe-i-lcs-xr.html
Mistral Competition SST: Mistral COMP SST
Mistral Equipe II / 2: mistral equipe 2 aka MEQ2

HotSailsMaui SpeedFreak 8.5: HSM SPF 8.5.html
MS-2 vs Pursuit: maui-sails-pursuit-vs-ms-2.html 

Health & Safety:
Safety First: safety-first.html
BEE stuff: bees.html

Windsurfing in Montrealwindsurfing-in-montreal.html
Original Journal Entries: original-journal-entries.html 
New journal entries: new-journal-entries.html
Newer journal entries: 2014/2015 journal entries.html
2016 journal entries: 2016-windsurf-journal.html
2017 journal entries: 2017-windsurf-journal.html


Fanatic Shark 145 HRS

For MANY years I have been a longboarder and still am ...

When I started looking at shortboards around 2006, I was always looking at the Fanatic Sharks. Ended up getting a brand new 2007 AHD FastForward 160liter/79cm wide board instead.  Sold it about seven years later at less than half the price. That board was VERY sensitive and I banged it up good.

In 2016 my windsurf buddy  had a Shark 150 LTD for sale, but my windsurf funds were too low for that ...Later that same year ... I saw a 2006 Fanatic Shark HRS 145 for sale. In early 2017 I put a deposit on the 145 and picked it up in April.

Volume: 145 liters
Width: 75 cm or 30 inches
One Foot Forward/OFO: 51 cm or 20.4 inches
Length: 263 cm or 8.75 feet 
Weight: 9.4 kilos or 20.7 lbs
Sail Range: 6.5-9.5 (ideally 7.0-9.0 ?)
Fin Box: Power ie single screw/bolt
Included: Straps, pads and Shark 50 cm Fin

My wife asked ... "Why do I need this board?" 
Now, no reason for me to get upset about being asked that question ...  I do after all have too many boards. Probably about eight. Five that I use. The issue is - I MUST get in those foot straps. The beauty of this board is - it has an extra row of inserts that is NOT as far up as some StarBoard beginner straps, but up enough to make a difference... easier to get in and out - No Fear and No Loathing ...

Those straps should be EASY to get into !!

Some things to note, the board has NO vent screw and has quite rounded rails... It is long by today's standards, but that is okay with me !! Based on previous analyses ... I used to say the ideal sail for a board was its width divided by ten, which suggests 7.5 m² for this board and would NOT surprise me in the least. Since the board originally came with a 50 cm fin, I would be inclined to believe the board was also slated to handle 9 meter sails. This is confirmed both by board specifications and reviews ... The fin needs some minor repairs ... but started that right away !!

Also purchased a 47 cm slalom fin - thought there was NO fin with the board ^*(&*()
Zokay - will be GREAT with 8.x sails !!

This board used to belong to Dave Cadoret - before Ron. He used to be the president of the APVM/ Association de Planche Γ  Voile de Montreal. It was either his or the association's.

In 2009 the German windsurf magazine did a report on the Shark 145 ...
They marked it as 152 liters and 9.4 kg with same dimensions as the 2006/2007. In their tests they called it the sportiest and yet the longest board of the test. "The board glides very well, is fast and runs freely over the fin..." They say it is less comfortable in chop, which surprises me with the 75 cm narrow width ...

This is what Tinho Dornellas of calema sports said about the Shark 145 in 2005

Fanatic Shark 145

This board surprised me the most for how easily it planed. I put a 9.8 sail in light winds when no one was out sailing , everyone waiting for winds to build. With the conditions I had, I was expecting a fair amount of schlogging to the windline, but the minute I was on the off the shore, the board surged, wanting to plane. A smooth pump and the board was off on a plane. Frankly I did not expect this from a board that is fairly short, and having compared to boards of similar size in the Exocet, Starboard  and Tabou line.
Once on the plane, the ride is quick and the board is very maneuverable. The Jibe is OK , predictable and very accommodating to different techniques and rider input, always reliable.
The mast track is quite far back, so be careful to place it well forward of halfway.

The footstraps are placed perfectly for different rider stance and weight, as well as skill level and type of sailing to be done on this board. One thing I really like on these new fanatics is the multiple footstrap positions you are offered. Most European boards feature a footstrap width that is so extremely wide (for booties) that sailing barefoot feels like your feet are dancing around constantly. Not with these boards. You can close or widen the attachment position so your foot is either super snug or comfortably loose.

The overall looks of the board are very appealing with a polished and very harmonious outline. I don't usually pay attention to this (other than wincing at some butt ugly noses on some boards out there..) But the fact that the board behaves so well in rough conditions has me looking closer at what the nice outline is doing.
This is the same I found on the Eagle boards.

The Fin supplied is of very good quality and performance, and very light for its size.

I highly recommend this board for those looking for a board in this category, especially if you deal with choppy or wavy conditions. This board deals with rough conditions with total ease.

Heavier weight guys in the 100 kg category should love this board for its high wind abilities. It has the volume for underpowered sailing and it does not become too big when it blows.
This is also the board for light weights and women that seek that first high performance board to advance their skills such as using footstraps carve jibing, and planing.

Sails 9.8 ? 6.0

For 9.8-8.5 sails:
T= 145 cm
FO4, RO2

Intermediate sailing
T = 145 cm
FI 3
RI 2
Stronger winds, sails 8.0 -7.0
T= 142-140 cm
3/6/06 Lately I have tested the LTD with a Meanline B 46 cm and the board became an excellent jibing board. Nice surprise!!!

I even found a website that says the 2007 Shark 145 was good for 5-10 m² sails :

that is a bit much
with a 50 cm fin coming with the board, 10 m² is for sure the max sail size
would guess it is like my AHD FF 160/79 - best for 6-8 meter sails
Ron used 6.5 @ 135 cm mark in 16-20 winds, but is much lighter
Tinho warned to put bigger sails at 145 cm mark

Here is the sticker from a later year: 6.5 - 9.5 !!

In 2005/6/7 there were the Sharks 135, 145 and 160 with LTD versions of the 135 and 145. These boards already had the rounded noses...

In 2008 the sizes were changed to 130/145/160 still with the two smaller sizes available in LTD.

In 2010 they must have realised the Shark was a popular free-ride board and put some Eagle influence on their shapes and came out with 100/115/125/135/150/165 sizes. It was still the 135 and 150 that were available in LTD.

From 2011 until 2014 Fanatic dropped the number of Sharks down to 105/115/125/135/150/165.

Tinho Dornellas says he loved the Shark 145 most and I hope to do so as well !!!

Here is the most decent video I found with this board so far and it is Hatteras !!
In light wind with an Ezzy Cheetah 9.5 !!

The kid says he is using a 4.3 on a Shark 145 cuz wind is howling @ 30 knots !!!

So, my plan is as follows: In  the next year or two up my skills to the point where I can make a decent decision on quiver choices... Do I go with JP SLW92, Shark HRS 145 and BEE LTD 124 OR JP SLW92 , AHD SL2 132 and a FreeWave 115 ?? 😊
Of those boards, the only one i don't have yet is the FSW 115 !!

So far managed to try the board a couple of times ... Both at OKA and neither a true success. Once at the main beach and once at La CrΓͺte. As Tinho says, I seemed to like the mast at the 140 mark. However, this seemed to make tacking impossible. The board floats less than I thought - for my big carcass. The AHD  FF 160 was much floatier. The balance point on the board seems to be around the 120 cm mark from the back. Perhaps I should keep mast base back just in order to practice the straps ? For now will wait for water levels to drop before making next attempts. In 2017 Montreal  had floods like many had not seen before. Last one like this was in the early seventies !! Access to many sites was not available. Boats were not put on the water yet ... Time to be more cautious. Will go back to MEQ2 longboard until everything settles down ...

Fanatic Blast

Just when I was getting used to the idea of "free move" windsurf boards\sailboards ...
The following things happened ...

  1. The freemoves gained such popularity that ...
  2. The Gecko replaced the Fanatic Shark completely - NO MORE Sharks !!
  3. The Fanatic Hawk 135 disappeared
  4. The BLAST as a "free carve" showed up and then
  5. The Hawks disappeared completely - NO MORE Hawks !!
Somewhere I read the disappearing model(s) had been around for about ten(10) years ...
For me certain models like the Sharks and the Rockets feel like they are timeless ...
Excellent boards that are difficult to improve on  even more ...
The Tabou Rocket has managed to stay around - for now ....

Before we go too far, the Blast is apparently based on the Stubby concept and looks like this:

That image makes it look like a typical freeride and does NOT show how it has a parallel outline with the stubby nose .. Let's try again ...

Ah, much better. One can see the narrow diamond tail (like the AHDs) and the wide middle to front that is almost parallel plus the wide, short stubby nose ...

Personally I am NOT a big fan of the narrow tail nor the short boards. Thought this was due to my lack of windsurf skills, but was reassured when reading some comments from John Ingebritsen on the iwindsurf forums where he does NOT like the short boards nor narrow tails on wide boards and he IS a blaster !!

Here is an extract from the 2017 Fanatic brochure:

clique to enlarge
Local windsurfer, Force10 has had the Gecko 120 LTD and now a Blast 115 LTD.
Was surprised that he would change out so quickly ... and asked him about it ...

"The Gecko is a very easy board to sail, supremely polyvalent (multi-purpose), quite fast but it lacks 2 things:

Power in the tail for larger sails in lighter winds, so with my 8.3 it was only good with the 8.3 fully loaded" and "The board was getting pretty big and bouncy around the 6.4 mark"...

These comments don't surprise me due to the narrow tail of the Gecko, but I do NOT see how the Blast would be any better in that regard. However, sailor in question also has a Fanatic Falcon LightWind 152 which should be fine with an 8.x sail and the appropriate fin. Since I have a JP SLW92 which is similar to that Falcon, those boards are fine in 8.x weather if and when there is NOT much chop. With 90+ cm width they tend to slap the water if one is not skimming over it !!

The Gecko 120 is 76 cm wide and slated for sails 6.5-8.5. When I used an 80 cm freeride with a 7 meter sail in the appropriate conditions, it was rough and so, it is not surprising that the Gecko would have issues in 6.4 weather ...

So, how does the Blast 115 address these issues or concerns ?? I do NOT think the power in the tail will be improved... However, the board with 66 cm width should be ideal in 6.4 conditions. My personal concern, once again, is the board is only 232 cm long. 

Force10 does a good description  of the Blast 115 here and he does mention the Blast seems to be for more advanced sailors while the Gecko 120 is a little more forgiving and user friendly...
I will attempt to translate the key factors into English here ...
Actually, let's try google translate :

with some key points about the Blast 115...

"Fast as a slalom board, but "easy" as a Freeride. "

"If you compare with the Gecko 120, the Gecko has more stability, gybes more easily in moderate wind but for the rest, Blast is superior in planing and in high speed gybes."

Force10 mentions "nose dives" in his reviews as do even some reviews on  the shorter Free Moves.

What about the Hawk ??

"The Blast replaces the Hawk with a different approach; It's not the same feeling, it's more "connected", direct, significantly more aggressive in the gybes without asking for better technique, I feel more attack with the Blast. The Hawk cut the chop, whereas the Blast flies over it (absorbs it), you must be in the straps and not be afraid to press the gas ... 

the short nose sinks a little only if you are semi-planing (schlogging)..."

Not sure why, but when I read all this, I get a feeling that it sounds like the new Severne FOX.

When are we satisfied with the boards we have ? It feels like we are always looking for the board that planes earlier. Reminds me of the commercials\adverts back in the day when we watched TV\television. They were always advertising "cleaning even more white" and the "closer shave". Read somewhere that we now have seven blade razors ??

In any case... it does sound like a FUN board that can kick ass ... If you want to go with bigger sails or are a little less "technical" than Force10 or heavier like me , I guess either a Gecko 120 , 133 or Blast 130 would be the ticket.

Cannot much other than the marketing video @ this time ...

Fanatic Blast 2017 from Fanatic International on Vimeo.

Now get out there and ride !!! sorry - BLAST !!

Now some videos are starting to show up ...

fanatic blast 130 ltd from Rave Creative Ltd on Vimeo.

Preparing for the 2017 Summer Windsurf Season ...

My 2017 winter ice sailboard season is now most probably OVER.
I did manage to get out about ten(10) times with a satisfaction factor close to 80 %.
The biggest issue is still, as always, the deeper snow...

So, what worked in the summer of 2016, what did not and what are the plans for 2017 ??

Sails are covered and will stay as such , unless ... skills improve and smaller required ...
Have HSM  Fire 6.3, NS Duke 6.9, MS TR-6 8.4, HSM SPF 8.5 and MS TR-4 10.0 m² sails

The Mistral Equipe 2 XR carbon was asked about, but these boards are difficult to find and was my most used board in 2016. Replacement would have to be an Exocet RSD2 or a Starboard Phantom. Those boards are VERY expensive (even used often over $2000) and I would be lucky to get $800 for my MEQ2. Just bought a Makani 32 cm fin to replace the Fanatic Hawk 34 cm fin lost last year too ... Great board with sails 7 to 10 meters !!

The JP SLW92 was almost sold last year for $1200, but again, everyone warned me that I was selling it before I got to use it to full benefit. Took their advise and still have it. Good in 12-15 knots with 8.x and 10 meter sails ...

The category that is of the most interest, as always , is the mid-wind section. These for me are winds from 20-40 kph and perhaps even  30-50 kph ... My first shortboard in these winds was an AHD FF 160 litre\79 cm wide board. After I sold it, I tried a Starboard iSonic 117W. That board was WAY too much for me and I swapped it out for an AHD SL2 132. That board I can sail, but it is VERY challenging - with my lack of skills. You see, I have a foot strap phobia and never practised water starts cuz I could always uphaul. The board does NOT tack easily due to its short length of 232 cm. In terms of gybes, I typically did light wind gybes, while this board flies !! So, I put that board on the market for a fair price. If I sell it for that price, ok , otherwise I will practise with it when the spirit moves me.

To go back a step, people were suggesting the Fanatic Geckos, either 120 or 133 litres. None used and reasonable price since they are still fairly new ... So, found a 2006 Fanatic Shark 145 HRS. Paid a little more than I wanted to, but it is the board that will get me in the straps !! There are MANY strap positions, the board is longer and with 75 cm width will go in somewhat higher winds with chop. Unfortunately it did NOT come with the fin and I have 40 cm fins and a Makani weed fin that is supposed to be good for 7-8 meter sails ... Missed out on a decent 46 cm fin @ 2-rad. Was hoping to sell another fin first ... Bruno knew I was interested and did not let me have first dibbs.  Next time, just buy it !!

I also still have my Mistral SLE 303 which is also good for practise in the mid-winds and it is a board I can bash & not worry about since I got it for under $100... Just realised, looks like it had a sunken mast track way back then !!

Ah yes, and I do still have my Fanatic BEE 124 LTD to practise in the BIGGER winds...

I guess six(6) boards is a bit much !! Only two(2) are really worth anything in terms of $$$ and am trying to sell one of 'em ... Know people who have a two(2) board quiver and even some who have a one board quiver !!

Now just waitin' for wind and water !!

DIY selfie stick in a backpack

One of the things I love about windsurfing in  the winter is, it is all about the experimentation. Yes, people have developed the sleds that work on ideal ice, but ice n snow here are ALWAYS far from ideal. The ice is too rough for such sleds, there is too much snow, etc, etc

With the first ice sled that I made, I was NOT careful enough and busted my left shoulder during the first trial run. Since then I have learned to be more careful... The current ice sled I am using works quite well and I typically use a HotSailsMaui Fire 6.3 sail, which happens to be my smallest recent sail and is rarely used in the summer...

My first selfie stick was made with a wooden broom handle and was shaved to fit boom. It broke at that point and I lost a GoPro 4. Luckily there are now cheaper options like the Pictek used in this video. The angle was meant for me to see how the sled works with the hopes that the background shows up. It shows the ride VERY well, but with no background. Just the same, I am calling it a success - cost me about $20 ... and less than one hour to put together...


Since people DO seem interested  in HOW i made the selfie "pack", let me explain ...
First I started with a smaller backpack and ideally with 2 zippers in order to close the opening from both sides - NOT sure if all packs come like that now ...

Originally I had thought to make the back plate out of wood. Then the consideration  was - what if I want to try this in water ??? Need something out of plastic ... A cutting board that just fits in the bag would be IDEAL ...

In the above photo, the PVC pipe was already installed. The next consideration was - how big of a PVC pipe to put ?? Wanted the GoPro handlebar mount to fit and the PVC NOT to be too flexible ie NOT move around too much ... 3/4 inch pipe fit the bill and so only needed one ten foot length (cut at the store so as to fit in car) , one 45 degree angle, some PVC glue , U clamps to bolt to the board AND nuts n bolts ... Made the long bar four feet for now - can always shorten it - that's about 1.2 meters.

After everything has been carefully glued in a WELL ventilated area and dried in the house where it is warmer ... The entire contraption was put back in the backpack, tied all up nice n neat and the first trial run was done 😏 

Since the video above showed the rider and the area around him\me ... I decided to try and make something where one could see both rider and landscape - or angle the camera up more ...

This added some weight when I tried making a demo tape .. It showed me which angles might work. In order to reduce complexity, weight and do next experiment, I will cut the TEE from the bottom - allowing the possibility of putting it back with a coupling ...

So far this winter - all in 2017 for the 2016/2107 winter season, I have been out on the ice n snow ten (10) times with the following information: 

I presume with the last dump of 1.5 feet of snow (great for kiters) and temps going UP, my winter season is over ... Now I will have approximately one month off - most windsurfers from this area and from Toronto are planning their trips to Hatteras in this period !!! Great start to the 2017 season !!

"How fast were you going ??"

People often ask, "How fast were you going?" when they meet me ice sailboarding or see the videos on ice ... Believe I have done about 50-60 kph max. Buddy who kitesurfs on ice with GPS says he goes 80 kph. In order to give a REAL feel for the speed on my iceboard, I made this video in 2013:

To get a TRUE feel of what people do in terms of speed on the ice, one only has to check out Jeff Brown of the iceratz:

When I go out on ice n snow, my intention is NOT to reach some amazing speeds, but instead to have FUN n get out in the SUN ...

In the summer, it is pretty much the same idea for me. I want to be outside, on the water, having some fun and getting fresh air. In terms of windsurfing classification (if there is such a thing) I would consider myself a "freerider". No free-style, no slalom speed runs and no racing. Some of my favourite sessions have been out in light wind on a longboard when no-one else is around...

Then again, the same board with a little bit more wind can be a whole lotta FUN:

There are people like AA who seem to like speed on the water and try to beat records ...

BUT I am NOT one of them. Perhaps if and when my skills reach a level where I might be competitive,  it would be another story 😊 However, at this time in my life, I am in no hurry to get anywhere fast. For me windsurfing is all about the FUN and the TOW (time on water). For different people that means different things ... Some look for speed, others like tricks, some like to try the new things like foiling and some like the social aspect ...

For now when people ask me, "How fast were you going?" , I try to be nice n polite  ...
Much easier than giving the long story about no need for speed 😊