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How I started Shortboarding

Around 1995 I started windsurfing with the BIC Dufour Wing longboard. That's about fifteen (15) years ago !!! Around 2002 I purchased an F2 Comet 330 longboard which has a flatter bottom, butt is NOT as stable as the 200 liter Dufour - for my 100 kilos... In 2005 I received  a BIC Samba longboard from a neighbour. At this point I started sailing on the St-Lawrence River with the Samba. Other sailors were mostly using shortboards and were always waiting for the right amount of wind from the correct direction :-(

In 2007 it was a special birthday for me, fiftieth (50th) and my wife n I discussed whether I should purchase a digital SLR camera or a brand new sailboard. Since electronics and cameras always seem to go down in price and sailboards up, I decided to purchase a sailboard. My original thoughts were to get a newer longboard, something like the Fanatic Viper from 2-rad or the AHD Zen from Auventfou. The fact that Tinho Dornellas designed the ZEN was an influence. Tinho is the only MASTER instructor in the U.S. and seems to feel like me, just get the people on the water - comfortably. 

I narrowed it down to the AHD ZEN 170 liter board. René of Auventfou asked if the board was for me or the family. He also asked me where I was currently sailing ... He convinced me that the AHD FastForward/FF 160 liter was the ticket. It is the same board as the AHD ZEN 170 without the centreboard and without the extra layer of protection. Sometimes wish I had that extra layer of protection !! More on that subject later. Cuz what I discovered quickly was, the board is very sensitive and as such I purchased a $150 board bag soon afterwards. I also had not realized that my previous mast feet and mast extensions would NOT work on the shortboard. The good news is this "newer" mast foot of $80 and the 40+ cm extension of $80 could be used on any future shortboards {and future winter sailboards too !}.

So, for my 50th birthday in 2007 we purchased my first short board AHD FF 160 liter 79 cm board

small boo boo right of mast track

So, what are the specs of this baby ?
Volume: 160 liters
Width: 79 cm or 32 inches
One Foot Forward/OFO: 53.8 cm or 21.52 inches
Length: 268 cm or almost 9 feet
Weight: 9.9 kilos or 21.75 lbs
Sail Range: 5.0 - 9.0 or 5.5 - 10.0
Fin Box: Power ie single screw/bolt
Fin Range: 47 - 53 cm
Included: Straps, pads and Select 53 Race Fin
Vee/Tuck OFO: 0.0/2.0
Vee/Tuck 8FO: 0.0/8.0
Rise 4FO: 5 mm
Tail Release: 3 mm
Bottom: double concave in the tail - rare now

To understand some of this check Board Design.

My evaluation and experiences with this board: In terms of volume, it was the correct volume for me to start shortboarding here. Discovered the board has a great range - very good from 7.0 to 10.0 and ideal 8.5 to 10.0. It is probably ideal with an 8.0 as well, but I do not have that size. {Purchased an MS-2 8-oh which has 2 cams - obvious to some, and this sail runs GREAT on this board as well !!!!} 
The board thus has ample flotation and does plane early from what I can tell. It does not float like a BIC Techno II and seems a little more stable than that board as well in terms of easy planing control. One can almost walk around the deck like on a large longboard. The fin that came with the AHD is great for the bigger sails and smaller fins were required for the 8.5 and the 7.0. In terms of quality, the board is VERY sensitive. It dings quite easily and I managed to punch a hole on the deck with my harness hook. The BIC Techno II on the other hand looks like it handles these issues much better. My concern with the BIC is: the top looks fine due to the extra plastic coat on the outside, but how is the actual styrofoam underneath ? The sensitivity of the AHD makes me hesitant to purchase the FF in 117 litres, which is what the local shop is recommending as the next board down i.e. mid-winds. If I had to do it again, as a first board, I probably would purchase the AHD ZEN 170 with the extra cover for protection and has a centreboard. One fellow who has the AHD 117 likes it as much as i do and felt also that it was too sensitive AND the footstraps do not go out far enough for blasting. I cannot make that judgment call since I still have a footstrap phobia. I have noticed that when blasting, my feet are further down the rail than a footstrap would allow...

 As marked here: AHD FF Review from Solent Sailboards 

"Character and Performance: With quite a thin deck, parallel sides, classic lines and the diamond shaped tail, the AHD looks very distinctive on the beach. The underwater shape is relatively flat with double concave merging into a single concave, giving a low grip, low drag feel.

It is a very quick board to plane and gets going easily with its powerful and solid fin. Once planing it is reliable and tracks well, and has an alive and lively feel; exciting and very comfortable to sail. The ride is very distinctive, being both balanced and cutting sweetly through chop. When blasting your feet find a very secure position on the pads despite the quite flat deck, and the board drives well off the fin, feeling light and stiff. In stronger winds it remains controllable even in quite heavy chop.

It s fairly easy to initiate gybes on, and - while it requires commitment to really drive the rail through the turn - if you give it the welly it s smooth and will bite and carve hard, making it a good board for both intermediate and advanced gybers

Since the board was expensive (for me), I had to start with the sails that I had. My best sail at that time was my Niel Pryde/NP Warp Speed 7.0 sq meter sail with 3 cams. This picture is NOT of my sail and is badly rigged - cannot find my pics ^&*

As you can see, it is a dacron type of sail and is at least well shaped - when rigged properly. I will either find my pics or take some fresh ones...I also had a duct taped Gaastra 6.4 that my buddy gave me when he purchased his new Sailworks Retro.

We purchased the shortboard in the fall of 2007 and I tried it on a very windy cold day at the Pte-Claire Cartier launch site. People there in the know asked me what the heck I was doing... Explained that I just wanted to see if the kit could handle bigger winds and it can. My windsurf experience was not up to par then, butt I just had to know if I had made the right purchase :-)

I had lent my F2 Comet to a work colleague for one summer. He had that duct taped Gaastra 6.4 and he "got hooked". He purchased a new BIC Techno 160 and Sailworks Retro 7.0. We came up with the board volume together since he was about my weight and had had bad experiences with sinkers. I tried the Retro 7.0 on my board and discovered a new world. For my weight I felt I could go even a bit bigger.
So, the next year I priced out the Retro 8.5 with mast and boom. It was just too $$$. Went back to my buddies at auventfou and was introduced to Maui Sails of the infamous Barry Spanier. Wanted to stick to no cam light 8.5 sail and thus purchased the Pursuit 8.5. My buddy with the Retro 7.0 also purchased a Retro 8.5 not long after  I purchased my 8.5 :-) Just to say that yes, an 8.5 works really well for our weight in lighter winds around 15 knots - especially on our larger 160 liter shortboards...

As you can see in the following pic, the board has ample flotation for my weight and the sail is more than large enough for my size. This photo was taken on the St-Lawrence at a site I like to call Captain Morgan's.

At this point I was still uphauling and had two(2) harness lines on each side of the boom. I was trying to get used to a shorter harness line with the boom up higher. 

Another work buddy had just purchased a Nikon SLR and wanted to try it out. Think these are still the best pics I have of us windsurfing. Guess I better get him to come out again :-) now that our skills and speed have improved. Posted some of his stuff here in order to give him some credit where credit is due ..

Based on my notes, the first summer was dedicated to "getting used to the board", the next summer I had the new MS Pursuit 8.5 and started planing... Harness skills were getting better, but no foot-straps yet. I was hooked on this new experience of flying over the water and as marked in my profile, I am always looking to more time on water. The board is floaty enough and the sail works in a certain range. Others suggested formula boards if I want to get out earlier. For me this just is way too much of an investment in $$$ and we have had summers where water levels were so low I hit rocks in the middle of the St-Lawrence with my current fin(s). (Formula boards take giant fins around 70 cm long) Yes, I did purchase more fins - have a weed fin and a slalom fin now. Will dedicate another chat on fins cuz they are a critical part of the equation and were missed completely in the early years !!

So, what I did was try an MS MS-2 11.0 sail in 2009. The sail was an older version and I managed to break the bottom panel. It was still monofilm and later versions were stronger X-ply. This was a $200 experience/experiment, but showed me the sail just a little too big and yes a bigger sail would give me more TOW. So, I purchased an HPL boom which turns out to be carbon = bonus. Purchased an MS TR-4 10.0 with matching 520 cm 100 % carbon mast. That is now my lighter wind engine and yet , I still look for more. This year I will be using my BIC Dufour Wing longboard with the MS Pursuit 8.5 on the St-Lawrence in the really light unstable winds. Have read nothing, but good things about this old baby :-) {the BIC Dufour that is }

So, what are my final thoughts on the shortboard world ?

Am happy to have discovered it and yet find it a bit expensive for a family dad with four (4) kids. In terms of fun, can't be beat. Have many memories of myself smiling while flying. There is lots to learn and now do waterstarts, but footstraps and jibes are next and mandatory. The board is said to be able handle sails from 5.5 to 10.0. I have used up to 10-oh with no issue and down to 6-oh. In those conditions , it is too much for the board. This board is great from 7-oh to 10-oh. As discussed with some vendors, most boards have an ideal range of about 2 to 3 square meters of sail. After that conditions warrant another board.

In 2010 I purchased a 2000/2001 Fanatic LTD Bee 124 liter  63 cm board for bigger winds. It is older and narrower, butt for what I paid for it, it will be a great fun just to try and the board was a classique...It is in the basement up at the chalet and has not been tried yet ...

As you can see, like most windsurfers , the toy collection starts to become a disease :-)

Not sure I will ever need more than that for where I live and the conditions I sail in.
So: BIC Dufour 200 liter longboard + AHD FF 160 liter shortboard + Fanatic Bee 124 liter shortboard. One day hope to replace the BEE with a Fanatic Hawk 125 (no longer exists) or a Tabou Rocket 125. My eighteen (18) year old son says he will take the F2 Comet 330. It is better suited to his weight and size than mine. Hope he gets the windsurf bug too :-)

Life on the water = so sweet :-)

I try to bring one to two people to the sport every year :-) Even if they do not become avid windsurfers, I always hope they will spread the word :-)

With the longboard I learned most skills through reading and discussion. With the shortboard technique, it seems a little more complex and more to learn. Things happen at higher speeds and thus one needs to be ready. Not much time to reflect. For myself and my windsurf buddy we have started resorting to windsurf videos. There are many and I find them a bit expensive. However, I feel they give me ideas and courage. There are DVDs that are from "beginner to winner" and others aimed at specific skills like jibing/gybing. Names one often sees and are well known are: Guy Cribb, Jem Hall, Lars Peterson, Dasher, and Alan Cadiz... Even Micah Buzianis is on the Speed IQ DVD...And people are always raving about The Windsurf Movie and the 2nd one as well...Promo DVDs come with websites and magazines too....

One thing I have NOT mentioned very much is the cost of things. My BIC Dufour was free. My F2 Comet 330 with two(2) sails was only $200. My AHD FF 160 with board bag, mast base and mast extension was close to $1500. Yeah I know, sudden jump in price. Formula boards and LTD boards (lighter models and limited edition) can easily go for around $2000. If one is ready to purchase used equipment and older models, the price goes down drastically. Yes, they do not retain their value because people want the new stuff. My Fanatic Bee discussed below is 10 years old, but a great board. With a very specialized board bag , it was $300. This board was also $2000 in the day. This will be my "playboard" and I had a good idea what I want to try. Will get back to the blog with my experiences/experiments this summer of 2011.
Well, it seems people are interested in the Fanatic Bee 124 LTD. Thus I will attempt some further discussion on this board which seems to be another classic. These are some pictures of the board from e-bay. This board is GREAT shape and selling for only $400. The W on the board is a Sebastian Wenzel signature.

Thanx for understanding ... shortboard discussion is continued

SHORTBOARD Follow-up: Met a fellow in AUG 2011 who stated that a 160 liters is NOT a shortboard. For a fellow of my size a shortboard is around 110 liters - for him. He sails Lac Champlain and uses a 75 liter board and sails as small as 4.2 in winds up to 30 knots. Anything over 25 knots is too much for me.  I am starting to realize that in order to be a "real" windsurfer in Montreal you must be ready to travel !!!

2011 - decided to do a summary of my shortboard experiences and see if it was worth all that money !!
CSA = current situation analysis
NOT doing waterstarts
NOT using footstraps
NOT doing gybes/jibes

so, how did i get here ??
end 2007 -- turned 50 and purchased a NEW AHD FF 160 liter / 79 cm shortboard
early 2008 -- broke my shoulder ice windsurfing
                 -- only missed about three(3) windsurf sessions
                 -- first summer still sailing with my older sails and epoxy mast
                 -- tried the Retro 7-oh and felt i needed newer sail
late 2008   -- bought the MS Pursuit 8.5 and Autima 490/90 mast
2009         -- got better with the harness lines
                 -- started planing and catapaulting
early 2010 -- bought the TR-4 10-oh and 520/100 mast
                 -- started going on local river
                 -- windsurf in Maine at DI
                 -- took waterstart lesson from APVM
                 -- can now go really fast, butt NOT in straps !!
end 2010  -- now have ice and snow windsurf sleds !!
                  -- bought the BEE LTD 124/63
2011        -- another lite wind year
                -- barely used the BEE 124
                -- used the BIC Dufour and bought the Fanatic CAT longboard
                -- stopped going on local river after hitting rocks and cutting hand
                -- bought the MS-2 8-oh with mast 490/75 & sold Pursuit 8.5 Autima 490/90

DO water starts
LEARN footstraps
PRACTICE gybes/jibes !!
feels like i have been shortboarding for ages and NOT getting anywhere - 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 is only four years and the first year was with old sails !!!
ie find it difficult to remain patient !!!

2012  - so, I was supposed to be doing water starts? beach starts are fine, butt light winds have kept me on larger sails and only had one day where i couda tried water-starting - did beach starting on the 124 instead with a 6.3
so, I am supposed to learn foot-straps ? still chicken - will push harder
practice jibes/gybes? yes, on the Bic Techno Formula which is 170 liters and 94 cm wide !! works great with the TR-4 10-oh that I am keeping !!!
will move one side of footstraps on the BIC techno Formula forward and force myself to go for it !!!
and YES i am practicing jibes/gybes 

2013 -  This year started badly with the 10-oh misbehaving. And was NOT "repaired" until near the end of the season. As such, I spent more than 80% of my time on the longboards. I punched a hole in the CAT and purchased a Mistral Equipe I. Thus the short board skills did NOT improve. One thing for sure ... I need a better life jacket to practice water starts. Next year it will be back to the BTF, AHD and BEE. Unfortunately I am already looking at 140 liter boards - to better accommodate the 7.x sails :-( {in some of my earlier analysis - 135/140 would be ideal for an 8-oh and 125 for 7m sails!!!}
I also like having both an 8-oh freeride and 8.4 race sails. Using the MS-2 with NO cambers and monofilm repairs for now ...

Guess I should put my GoPro video here as well ? :-)

In 2015 I started looking at smaller boards with a little more performance ...
Like 2008 JP SuperSport 136, 2011 Futura 133, 2014 SB iSonic 107, 2011/20012 SB iS 117L and even 2000 Fanatic BEE 137...
In order to do this I need some CA$H ...
and so I decided to sell my AHD FF 160/79 with the 48 cm fin...
I posted it on one of five websites where i post to sell and within one hour I had a serious buyer.
Within four hours it was sold, but with fin AND bag ...
Patrick seemed a little discouraged with some of the bruises, but the board is intact ...
I was kind of sad to see it go :-(
This was my first shortboard and the only one I ever had NEW ...
Oh well, onto the next ...

guess this is the last video of this board with me ...

this was the listing:
2007 AHD FastForward/FF 160 litres 268x79cm powerbox - viens avec aileron de 48 cm.
Beaucoup de flotation avec 160 litres et plane rapide avec 79 cm de largeur.
C'est un peu magané vu que c'est ma première planche de shortboard.
Va très bien avec des voiles de 7.0 à 8.5 (jusqu'à 9.0 j'imagine).
Je l'ai essayé avec des voiles entre 6.3 et 10.0
2007 AHD FastForward/FF 160 liters 268x79cm powerbox - comes with 48 cm fin.
Lots of flotation with 160 liters and early planing with 79 cm.
Since it was my first shortboard, it is a little beat up.
Goes VERY well with sails 7.0 - 8.5 (and probaby 9.0).
Have used it with 6.3 to 10.0.


If I want to go through the discussion of the BIC Dufour Wing, perhaps I should put my spin on windsurf boards. Since I do NOT do any wave sailing nor bump n jump, I tend to call them sailboards. Where I live there are rarely days where the pros go and put on a show.

In terms of windsurfers, people who sailboard or windsurf, I call them newbies, average joes or intermediates and the pros.There are SO many things to learn, one tends to feel like a newbie more often than not :-) For me this is part of the attraction of modern windsurfing. There never is an end to the things to try and learn ...

The BIC Dufour and other earlier boards were longboards that were long, with a centreboard, small fin and made as one big piece continuous piece of "plastic". At this time there were NO footstraps yet. I do not want to go into the full history of boards here, mostly would like to get into the confusing issues of today's boards. 

Since the term longboard exists, there must also be shortboards. These are shorter and made with styrofoam covered with multiple layers. Believe it was around 1979 when Gary Efferding, an aerospace engineer, experimented with vacuum bagging the sandwich layers. 

The previous pic looks retro - very punny cuz Bruce Peterson has his name on this pic. Here's a more up-to-date pic from WindSurfing Mag: Now that the windsurfingmag has disappeared - so has the image $%^&*() I got lucky - someone else had a copy of the pic on their website :-) Lesson - copy the image to your PC and then put it in the blog - NO LINKS %^&*()

This new technology is obviously much lighter. It is also more fragile. For learners and newbies, board manufacturers will often put an extra layer of soft material to save the sailor's knees when getting on the board and to reduce scuffs and dings. Once a boardsailor becomes more proficient and starts to go faster, there is a danger of catapulting i.e. getting thrown over the front. If one hangs on to the boom, usually everything works out. However, on occasion one may punch a hole in the nose or front of the board. People  try to use nose protectors or attach foam on the boom. The good news is, these repairs are common and quick. When I punched a hole in my shortboard with my harness hook, it was repaired professionally within a few days and cost only $60. So, don't worry, just let it rip !!

Shortboards no longer have centreboards and have specialized fins often made of carbon. Boards used to have only one fin, butt wave boards now often have two(2) or even four(4) fins !! I will dedicate another discussion just to fins, since they are a critical element in the whole picture today. At first these boards were quite narrow and there were even speedneedles that broke world records in terms of speed on the water... Now the boards tend to be wider, even the waveboards are wider than boards of say ten (10) years ago.

One thing that was standardized with the shortboard is the mast- track. At least now a mast-base can fit into ANY of the modern boards. No longer need to worry about the piece that came with the board. The only thing I have discovered that is board specific is the length of the screw(s) for the fins. Here not all boards are made equal. There are power boxes, tuttle boxes, deep tuttle and the older US box.

Boards became so wide, there is a class of boards called formula boards and also hybrids, that are up to 100 cm/ 1 meter wide. These boards also use specialized fins up to 70 cm in length. The formula board sails are typically race type sails with cams and are as large as 12 sq m. Once again, I will dedicate another discussion to the sails.

Nowadays there are young people doing all kinds of tricks on bikes, skateboards, etc. Well, the same is true of sailboards. This is called freestyling in the windsurf world. They are now at the point where they use man made ramps and rails, just like many of the other crazy modern sports.  Obviously this can be hard on the equipment and the people !!

image from whitelion blog
As seen above, boards come in all shapes n sizes and have many different dimensions AND uses. One speaks of liters which ironically is the same as cc's. Liters are spoken of as giving the board flotation. Some say the minimum flotation required for a person is their weight in kilograms plus about 20 or 30 more liters - this is for newbies and their first board.
The Sail Calculator of James Douglass can make suggestions for first boards
 { clique the icon, download it and edit it in Excel as you wish :-) } . Width obviously gives stability. There are many other aspects of a board as well, such as weight, width one foot forward (from the tail end) aka OFO, vee, tuck, rail, etc. Also speak of the components/composition and in today's world one speaks of carbon, kevlar, epoxy, etc...
Let me find some diagrams to illustrate parts and namings  ...

The above image is from the WindSurf Magazine of May 2005 pg 67.

Most of my diagrams and pastes come from the web and I may not credit them all and I apologize for that. If ever someone wants me to remove their information, they need only e-mail me and I will gladly settle out of court - just kidding :-)

For more terminology check Board Design.

One aspect of a board that seems obvious is the "front" and the "back" of the board. For a green newbie this is NOT so obvious. I am always trying to make sure they know the "front" of the sail and the "front" of the board. This helps when I am yelling instructions from the rowboat or paddleboat :-) 

Actually before I "speak" about cut-outs ... let me introduce the flapper, which was the precursor to the cut-out or was actually done in conjunction with one another ... The flapper was a rubber piece that protruded from the back of the board allowing the fin to be placed further back and as a consequence, less of the board could be on the water = faster. Roberts in Canada and Seatrend are the two that I am aware of and this occurred in the late 90's ... They are supposed to reduce "cavitation" and were "known as anti-ventilation skirts". Not sure what this means except it is supposed to reduce spin-out AND these boards were FAST. Dude locally could NOT sell his Roberts 140 liter flapper board for $200, but then again the flapper was busted. Curious to know how that was repaired and how it goes now ...

and now on to ...

Bottom shapes -- cut outs

"Cut out´s are more a rule than an exception when it comes to freerace- and slalom boards. The first thing you think about regarding cut outs is that it reduces the water resistance while planing, is that it or is it more into it?

Cut out´s – Improved speed potential and maneuverability
Cut out´s gives you the wider tails benefits of stability and early planing, and once you are planing you benefit from the narrower tails decreased water resistance. At the same time you will get improved speed potential and better maneuverability at high speeds. Cut out´s also reduces the wider windsurfing boards tendency to suck into the water." 

Okay, one has a sailboard, fin(s), mast(s), boom(s), sail(s) and what next ? Obviously one needs clean water without too much current. Winds need to be side-shore or onshore and NOT too strong for one's experience.  As a beginner, the lighter the better. Would be nice to have some nice sunshine and clean launch spot too. One thing I find is the biggest PITA, is finding a place to rig the sail on land. Once in or on the water, what next ? People get going with sail uphauling or water start techniques. When going fast on the water, one eventually planes or has less board surface on the water.
(Guy Cribb is known for his instruction clinics and documents and here he explains about EarlyPlaning)  

taken from Jim Douglass blog - not sure where he got it
legend:  LB means longboard, F is Formula and B&J stands for bump n jump

Planing is one thing, but there are actually people who hydrofoil with windsurf boards. This requires a very specialized foil.

To turn the sailboard one needs to "tack" or gybe/jibe. These are sailing terms which mean turning with the wind or into the wind.  Boards usually go at an angle to the wind, butt down-wind runs are possible. One cannot go straight upwind.

So, depending on the board, one may need to waterstart a sinker, be able to do tight jibes/turns, plane in light winds, freestyle, slalom race, wave sail, bump n jump, schlogg and explore , etc. etc The board is obviously a very important part of the equation and dedicated windsurfers/boardsailors have more than one and perhaps many boards. Personally I have four (4) boards ranging from 124 to 200 liters and from 63 to 79 cm width AND I still donut have a hi-wind board.

Bic still makes boards, but is still more suited to newbies and average joes. The original Windsurfer disappeared, butt is still used the world over - especially in Australia. The name Mistral has been around forever. Now Starboard seems to have more board types than any other supplier. They are especially known for their formula boards (and the GO back in the day). Fanatic boards seem to be known for their quality and speed. Other well known brand names are AHD, Angulo, Carbon Art, Drops, Exocet, F2, Goya, Hifly, JP Australia, Mike's Lab, Naish, Quatro, Roberts, RRD, Seatrend, Tabou, Tiga, Thommen, Wind Obsession, etc... Roberts and Mike's Lab were custom boards that seem to have become mainstream. Custom was the way to go many years ago. Today average joes like me can get what the pros use !!

A completely different concept is the tandem board. Two (2) people of about equal skills can plane, jibe and have a riot together. Unfortunately for the fun, they are $$$. Better to rent em. 

And here is the biggest windsurf board yet :

Not only are there many different types of boards, butt the supplier list seems endless. Personally I try to support the local shops as much as possible. I do buy used and have purchased in the U.S. I do NOT deal with companies like windsurf-direct and they have been reviewed badly in the first 2011 Windsurf Magazine. My windsurf buddy ordered a really nice LTD at an amazing price from the Carolinas. It was shipped without bubblewrap and arrived with the pack open at both ends. Needless to say delivery was refused. Foxwatersports repaired the board and they were re-negotiating and then Fox sold it to someone else. I had suggested to my buddy he drive down !! He feels like he missed a deal of a lifetime. A Fanatic Hawk LTD 135 for around $1200 !!!

Boards cost a lot. They change a lot. Where would one start ? I feel I was VERY lucky to start with the BIC Dufour Wing on an inland lake, progress to the F2 Comet 330 and the BIC Samba - plus I was wise enough to progress to a 160 liter , 79 cm wide shortboard. To buy the wrong board and then stop windsurfing is a loss of $$$ and one less buddy on the water. To buy a board one outgrows too quickly is also such a waste. I always say "beg, borrow or steal." Kidding of course, butt take lessons, take your time, try stuff and  


One board NOT to be dismissed is the Mistral Windglider. It is NOT really a sailboard, but it does have a sail, mast n boom, etc. It is inflatable and FUN for all. Found it easier to get non-athletes AND kids on a Windglider than on a very floaty longboard with a small sail !!

The latest "craze" seems to be the SUP aka Stand Up Paddle. Special carbon paddles are used and people surf the waves with them. Some SUPs come with the mast track for windsurf sails. People actually say these boards manage to get out over the surf with much less problem than one would anticipate from such long boards. Some are considering going to this type of board for teaching rather than the traditional long board like the SB GO or AHD ZEN. This allows one to teach on the board and when there are waves , light winds or NO winds, one can still get out on the water. I actually have done this with my BIC Dufour Wing using a long canoe paddle and the six(6) year old son on the front of the board. He loved it. Told him, improve those swimming skills and there will be a sail on the board :-) Kids just love the water and lake experiences.


Once you find a board you love or works for you, you too will begin to appreciate the freedom and feel the world around you. I did NOT try to describe ALL the different types of windsurfing, the different types of boards, etc. My feeling is go local ie check what others are using in your area or where you intend to go . What is interesting in our times is: there are windsurf vacation spots where you can learn and try all kinds of equipment...

Since I had an issue with my shortboard, I have started opening the "vent plug" when the board is not in use. MUST remember to close it when I go out on the water. My psychological trick is to take both screw drivers out whenever I attach the fin. Philips for the fin and straight for the vent plug. Some people put markings on the board to show where straight line on screw should be lined up when tight. When I open my vent, there is sometimes a hissing. Have tried the "wick trick" where you put board in the sun and paper towel in vent. Does not seem to find any more water. They say the vent plug should be opened anyway when flying, when in hot car, etc...

I have been doing some analysis on the numbers {since I love statistics} and I drew up a chart of sailboard volume and ideal sail sizes. Someone commented to me on a forum that board width is just as important these days. So, I added approximate board width to the chart as well. This is all just number collecting at this point, but I enjoy it.

click to see more clearly

One article I read suggested a certain board width for certain sails. Once again, since i like numbers, i broke the linear formula down to board width=3.85*sail size + 36. For example, for a 7.5 sail, the board width should be about 3.85*7.5+36=64.875 cm wide or about 65 cm. On my chart above i suggest slightly higher widths...

In June 2011 WindSurfing Mag had their article and analysis of free ride, free race n slalom and light-air shortboard tests/reports. I used the numbers to re-evaluate whether the above numbers still hold true. It semed like the boards were getting a little wider and volume was still a factor in sail range, but width was becoming more n more of a deciding factor. The boards were 100 to 155 liters and 62 to 90 cm wide. Here's the numbers I came up with:
In the volume vs sail size discussion, the numbers still seemed okay for the 125 to 155 boards. However, the smaller boards from 100 to 125 liters now handle bigger sails - in some cases it seems as much as 1 square meter !! This shows one needs to look at the specs more closely on the smaller boards as per year of manufacture !!! This is logical. I just did not expect such a big difference ...

In April 2011 there was a test/report on twenty(20) hi-wind boards. Will do an analysis on those numbers to see which factor is the most consistent - volume or width? The two(2) are strongly co-related at these low volumes and widths - here is my chart:


windsurfing/boardsailing and hope to be able to continue til the day I die.

...bye bye miss american pie ... :-)

I believe I already discussed the "new" shapes like the StarBoard/SB Serenity. The SUP is out now and there used to be hybrids. I am happy that people are spending effort to try and get people on the water in light winds because that was the big kick in popularity in the early 80's. Jim Drake is doing experiments at SB, AHD has the SeaLion and has some newer ideas as well ==> ahd-back-to-the-future-tacktik

This dude builds his own surfboard - for a windsurf board, you have to add the mast-track, but the rest of the process is the same. It looks like WAY too much work for me - it better be good after !! Surprisingly the video does NOT show someone surfing the board !!

Here's another one I just discovered that I find entertaining - perhaps due to the music with the Charlie Chaplin look ?

I just discovered that the Whitelion Blogster on my liste has built MANY boards . 
Check it out !! BoardBuilding 

I discussed board costs a little bit in the section about my starting shortboarding ...

A fellow is trying to sell his SUP/windsurfer on kijiji in May 2011 and wrote a nice summary/story:
The stand up paddle and windsurf board is spotless and in new condition as it’s only been used 3 times and extremely well taken care of. It’s stored in a board bag which provides protection. The brand new board bag is not included but can be added for $120 (The bag retails for $180 plus tax – a savings of $83).

The Starboard SUPer 12’6” the best hybrid stand-up paddle and windsurf board around. It has the exact same size and shape as the Starboard 12’6” Cruiser but the Cruiser does not have the windsurfing features of the SUPer. With the SUPer, you can buy one board for stand up paddling as well as windsurfing.

Windsurfing focused features include a fully retractable daggerboard (never been used) and 2 positions to screw in a mast base.

It's covered in EVA for great grip and comfort (whether standing or on your knees). This board uses Starboard’s AST construction.

It has a long 12’6” / 380cm length to give it nice glide and speed. It’s 30 inches wide to give good stability for stand up paddling in a variety of conditions but not so wide that it’ll slow it down. It’ll be much more stable than paddling a narrow and tippy windsurf race board. It’s the perfect family board to get everyone involved.

It's a great board to learn to windsurf and stand up paddle on.

In addition to being an excellent beginners board for flat water, the shape is excellent for advanced paddlers that want to try downwind paddling in high wind. The shape is also good for long board paddle surfing if you have the skills for it.

The original fin and fin bag from Starboard are also included.

Here’s a link to Starboard’s web site for more info on the board:

The 12’6” SUPer and the identically shaped 12’6” Cruiser have been 2 of the best reviewed SUP boards. See below for complete text of one review. Here are web sites for 2 more reviews:

For more photos of the bag, go to:

Starboard SUPer 12'6"Paddleboard and Windsurf Board


Amara and I have been using the finest windsurfing equipment made for playing renting and teaching in our Watersports Centre at Blue Lagoon Pattaya. Amara's experience goes back over 30 years. We have been testing Starboards SUPer 12'6" with the view to keeping these boards in stock and on the beach year round and introducing them as the ideal family and resort board.

As a pure SUP - this shape first entered the market as "The Cruiser" and was years ahead of even the big name board manufactures. It was ahead for the following reasons:
- Carry Handle moulded into the board and placed in balanced position.
- Construction Materials - evolved under some of the toughest and most competitive conditions on the water.
- Tail Rocker, the curve in the tail allows you to easily pop the front half of the board out of the water, for easy turning by shifting your weight back on the board. This also provides good release of water "rather than dragging its rear end"
- Thinned out rails at the rear of the board, provide a carving edge for hooking into the face of a wave.
- Full EVA covering - non slip - non scratch - tough.
- Very stable even for big guys.
- Fast, it was a viable race board before dedicated race boards reached the market.
- Textured EVA in the standing area, so that you know where you are on the board without looking down.

As a Windsurfing Board
- Smooth, smooth and did I mention Smooth?
- The long waterline and efficient shape, makes her glide at speed in merest puff of wind.
- The width is just right for windsurfers at the beginner to intermediate level - The - Starboard Start Board is ideal for first lessons, but after that the SUPer 12'6" brings the reward of effortless speed in light wind. The width also puts light wind freestyle tricks into the "definitely attainable" orbit of mortal beings.
- The Center-board System has been perfected over the last 8 years and is now excellent. - The foot operated knob that raises and lowers the Center-board is easily removable.
- This is the style of board that made Windsurfing a smash hit in the early 80's.
- Highly recommended

As a compromise between SUP and a Windsurfing Board
- The Center-board adds 3kg to the weight of the board
- We recommend adding a piece of rope between the double leash inserts to provide an extra handle for entering and leaving the water.
- No foot-straps - a good idea - on this style of board, foot straps are not required. They would add weight and cost and get in the way far more than they would be useful.
- If we have a large group of SUP students or windsurfers, we can use one piece of equipment to look after our guests. This saves money and storage space.
- Unfortunately we are completely out of stock until late January 2010

To give you some idea of the boards performance as a pure Paddle Board - please read below.

The October issue of BOARDS (reputable UK windsurfing magazine) conducted a test and review of the leading SUP's available on the UK market. This is the first industry test and comparison that includes a Starboard SUP. Starboard's 12"6 was put to the test against its rivals and shone brightly... very brighly!

The non Windsurfable model received very high praise

"The board was clearly one of the fastest on test"

"The Starboard (12"6) was extremely popular with all testers"

"... highly rated by all for its maneuverability, speed and ease of use"

The full result for the Starboard 12"6 reads as follows

Starboard offer two models of paddle board: the 12'2" (shaped by Mark Raaphorst - top SUP rider), designed for wave riding and the more athletic rider and the 12'6' (by Svein Rasmussen/ Jim Drake) which we had for our test, designed for more stability for both SUP and light wind freestyle.

On The Water: The Starboard was the longest board on test, it looks quite narrow with a thin tail and a lot of rocker. Before you even climb onto it, you can see that the tail rocker actually lifts the tail clear from the water! Climbing onto the board, it's noticeably less stable than some of the wider boards here.

As soon as you start paddling, stability is not a problem and it glides very well. The board was clearly one of the fastest on test, feeling quite easy to maintain a decent speed over a long distance.

Despite its length, it maneuvers very well and can be pivoted on the tail very easily. The board picks up small waves and swells easily and is easy to steer while riding.

Fitting: The deck of the Starboard is covered in decent EVA (not wrapped around the rails). There is a nice guide on the deck that shows you the balance point of the board and hence where to stand. The Starboard also features a well-placed carry handle in the middle of the deck, making it a lot easier to get to the water's edge!

The board is supplied with a 23.5cm flex fin, as seen on long boards (surf). It also has FCS inserts for two thrusters fins.

There is the option of a centre-fin to give stability to those who are learning and to allow the board to be used as a longboard (windsurf) along with brass inserts for Windsurfing Mast attachment.

Popularity: The Starboard was extremely popular with all testers. It made first place in terms of popularity (it was in the top two for every tester), and was highly rated by all for its maneuverability, speed and ease of use.

Strengths: Speed, maneuverability and versatility in waves and on flat water.

Weaknesses: Slightly harder to balance on than some bigger boards.

Overall: The Starboard is a great all round SUP for both flat water and small waves. It's easy to use and has something to offer everyone from complete beginner to advanced wave rider It has a really nice balance of length for glide and straight line stability and a thin tail with lots of rocker for maneuvers and wave riding. Add to that well thought-out fittings and the board is hard to beat. 


There is this magic material called "dyneema" . It seems it creates a hammer proof windsurf board - if it was to cost $200 more per board - that in my mind is reasonable... That is how much a nose repair would cost anyway !!

Some search hit this blog about "calculating a windsurf board volume".
Nowadays that should NOT be necessary. Information is posted directly on the board.
Older boards or custom boards did not have data on the board.
Since my BIC Dufour was received before much internet and after it's popularity - so, NO info in the mags, i did a calculation of the volume at that time ...

It may be fairly obvious that volume is area and not weight, butt i wish to stress the obvious just the same...

Let me see if i can dig up my calculations :-)

First I broke the board down into sections and used the theory that a circle would reflect the shape of the board - this yielded a volume of 462 liters = obviously way OFF.

Next looked up the area of an oval which is length times width times 0.8
Again broke the board up into sections and came up with a figure of 157 liters. This is a little more reasonable, butt obviously low. It looks much bigger than my 160 liter short-board !!!

The closest approximation was using the simplest method. The board is 378 cm long, 68 cm wide and 11.5 cm thick. These values are all at the longest, widest and thickest points. If we assume the board was a block then 378 * 68 * 11.5 = 295.6 liters. Now we know it is not a block and if we assume it is more like an oval shape from the top, then 295.6 * 0.8 = 236.5 liters. We are already approaching more realistic numbers. We know that the board is also shaped. Since the board is NOT a lean mean machine, then perhaps we can apply the oval logic i.e. use a 0.8 factor. So 236.5 * 0.8 =189.2 liters. This number is only 5 % off the figures literature has given me - namely 200 liters.

So, i would simply use this method to estimate volume of a board in the future.
Length in cm * width in cm * thickness/height in cm * 0.8 (for oval) * 0.8 (for shaping) / 1000 (to give liters)

Will try this approach with the modern 160 short-board to test validity.

Length = 268 cm
Width = 79 cm
Height = 10 cm
So, 268 * 79 * 10 * 0.8 * 0.8 / 1000 =  135.5 for a 160 liter board
This is a larger margin of error 25/160 * 100 = 15.6 % error.
The problem here is there is a significant difference between a 135 and a 160 liter board.

How can we adjust for that and where is the error coming from ?

My original estimate for thickness was 13 cm and adjusted to 12. When i looked from the side, i put 10 cm.
If i put 12 cm as the thickness check out the results !!!
268 * 79 * 12 * 0.8 * 0.8 / 1000 = 162.6 liters
WOW - cannot get much closer than that...
2.6/160*100 = 1.6 % error ONLY
This shows that the thickness MUST be evaluated CAREFULLY...
there is also the question of how to get your rig and board to the water.
personally donut believe in carrying it on one's head.
anything over 7-oh, i carry to the water separately ie rig n board are apart

here Tinho , the master instructor, gives us some good hints !!
if you have windsurf stuff - you gotta store it and move it about
there are plenty of windsurf vehicles
what about storage ?
here is some good discussion:

just found this piece at

the reason I like it is cuz it discusses the misconception that one MUST plane to have fun. This MAY work in hight wind locations, BUTT that is NOT where we all live !!! { AND it talks about average joe windsurfer :-) }

"Misguided recruiting

A number of designers and brands have proclaimed that their goal is to get the beginner planing as early as possible. Then the beginner will be hooked, and a new windsurfer will be born. The unfortunate truth is that this would be a planing focused windsurfer, a wind neurotic that has to rearrange his life to be able to hit the beach when it is windy. The statement "I windurf regularly and only in planing conditions"  is impossible for most people. Between family committments, work, hobbies and everything else it is very unlikely that average Joe will be able to hit the beach when it is windy. Average Joe needs to be hooked on a sport that he can practise whenever he has time. Out of the mass of average Joe's a number of radical Ricks will emerge, forming the hard core of the windsurfing community. But in order for average Joe to have fun in all conditions, and to step up to high wind windsurfing at his own pace, he needs very versatile equipment. He needs a next generation longboard!

"Windsurfing together" is an underappreciated flavour. The social aspect of "together" makes a lot to feed the need to windsurf "regulary".


For a beginner or improver I do think that the only sensible recommendation is a KONA Style/One (or similar design) that works well in a very large wind band, from 2 to 25 knots. It tutors the beginner in light wind technigues, and will later allow him to learn to use harness, footstraps, carving jibes, etc. It is even possible to get into racing using the same board. In fact, there is really no need to ever purchase a large freeride as the KONA fulfills that role very well."

Here is another discussion on the various types of sailboards :

Just for fun I wrote down the different sailboard categories that i refer to:

1) longboard - and i include race, beginner, hybrid/fun/crossover + SUP ie with or without centre board
2) Formula - 100 cm wide
3) Free-Formula - 85 to 95 cm wide
4) Free-Race/Slalom
5) Free Ride
6) Wave/Bump n Jump
7) FreeStyle
8) Speed 

As noted earlier - each category also has it's own types of sail and fins ...

This fellow, Brian Hinde, of Open Oceans , has a summary of his material on sailboards:

Here's a link with similiar info: