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Speed Windsurfing

One subject I have NOT covered much is "speed windsurfing". These people are trying to attain speeds that are either personal bests or better yet, record speeds. There are many blogs dedicated to this subject alone and I will list some. I will try to cover some of the key elements as well. Butt first, the reason I started this post was this lovely video from vimeo. It is at Sandy Point, Australia and is well narrated, filmed, etc.

Clique on the FULL SCREEN OPTION &  ENJOY !!!
Sandy Point - A Speedsailors Dream from Windsurf Australia on Vimeo.

When we speak of speed windsurfing, what exactly are some key criteria?? Well, one factor that seems of utmost importance is FLAT water. Airborne under high speed is NOT fast. Strong, steady winds are obvious requirements :-) People tend to run parallel and close to the land. They seem to come around and then take full wind as they try to attain maximum speeds of over 30 knots (about 35 mph or about 55 kph). Kites managed to beat windsurf world records as they could run in shallower water. I imagine this has to do with water resistance. Also, kites can be placed up high where winds may be even stronger. For quite some time world records were set in the "French canal". Now people use GPS and record their speeds and I am unaware of what type of proof one needs to attain new records officially...

At this website we can see that the top GPS speeds of 2012 recorded are all over 45 knots (about 83 kph or 52 mph) !!

Boards used to be "speed needles", but are not necessarily so extreme any more. Sails are fully cambered race sails with 100 % carbon masts and booms. Fins are critical and everyone seems to have personal favourites. People are trying to squeeze every bit of speed out of every element in the equation. People of above average height - like 6' 2 " and above average weight - like around 220 pounds seem to be the ideal numbers {from memory}. This meant there were sailors who wore additional weight when trying to reach personal bests ...

Some speed sailing blogs that I look at are:
and this one has DIY, speed surfing, etc

and i always liked this speed windsurf video :-)

Had trouble embedding this one $%^&*( check out Antoine Albeau and a woman kiter ripping along

On the Starboard forum someone was asking about front arm fatigue:

f your sailing true speed conditions IE 130-140 degrees, then your lines are best when set way back. Your back hand will almost be touching back line, and your front hand is no were near the front line. This is the correct way as you use your body weight to sheet instead of pulling with the back hand and inducing a spin out. Coming back up wind should be a real struggle and exhausting, then your are going to be nicely set up for a proper down wind run

Forearm pump is common among speedies. Here's a few things you can do that might help, but Im sure you will be aware of these basic things already.

1: Find a stance and line length/position that allows to feel like you can let go of rig with your front hand (but dont unless your brave/stupid). This may take 10 or more runs of adjusting/altering trim to find what works "that day". Every session will be slightly different.

2: Start applying a couple of extra cm to your downhaul to give lighter feeling to your sail. Most speedies go way past normal recommended settings.

3: Make sure you have had plenty of carbs the night before (and no beer, sorry). Top up on porridge in the morning. Eat bananas (for potassium) on the day to help flush out lactic acid from your muscles. Stay well hydrated. Come back in for a break before your tank runs on empty for a 20 minute break and do a few simple forearm stretches and give your forearms a quick basic deep message to get blood flowing before going back out.

4: Make sure your wetsuit still has plenty of flexiblity in the forearm area. Wetsuits loose there flexibilty after time, and can cause forearm tiredness.

5: If you have your lines close together, open them up (a lot) aka SU11. More and more speedies are using their lines further apart.

6: If not already, start working pumping some iron to regain your arm strength (and some more).

7: Last but not least, If your using an older thicker boom, try and have a go of a narrower diameter boom. Chinook, NP and simmer do good 29mm booms. A thicker diameter will give you tired forearms quicker. I recently got an AL360 E3 slalom and the v-grip combined with the new school shape does help me to keep going longer.

Are you posting on

Non of this might work for you as there is more than one way to cook a goose, but good luck and good speeds __________________
Cheers - Mark H

added later:

Micah Buzanis just recently won at the Korea World Cup - May 2012.

He is with JP boards and Maui Sails at this time in his long career.

I have his Need for Speed DVD and have watched it many times. This guy can fly ...

In a Windsurfing Magazine of May 2011 he had some speed surfing tips:

1) get rid of the outhaul - wow - they get pretty serious on the wind resistance !!
2) rig big - just put more downhaul
3) sit for speed - seat harness and long lines - he suggested 30 inch lines on the MS forum
4) match up - use a training partner - he is now using Phil McGain of MS
5) tension battens - more low and less high
6) under handed grip and push rig away - using the 30 inch lines
7) higher boom - chin for good wind and nose for light - forehead for formula !! - lower when wind picks up
8) get physical - train - biking, etc
9) nutrition - endurance requires energy - races are like movies - sit and wait and then GO GO GO
10) mental - you have to want to win
11) tuning - tune and know your equipment way before the events
12) technique - practice, practice & practice ie TOW/time on water
13) lead don't follow - first is in front
14) adjustable outhaul - Micah uses it on one side only
15) weight helps - some races don't allow it and you must train with it
16) mast base - not just in the middle

sails that Micah uses under certain conditions:
Formula - 8 knots with 12-oh
               12 knots with 10.7
               25 knots with 10-oh !!!!
Slalom -   9 knots with 9.5
              13 knots with 8.6
              18 knots with 7.8
              20 knots with 7.0
              30 knots with 6.2
              40 knots with 5,5 !!!!

at 200 lbs/ 100 kilos I use {NOT a racer by any means :-)  }

20 kph/~10 mph longboard with 8-oh or 10-oh/ BIC Techno Formula with 10m sail
20-40 kph 8-oh & above 16 knots seems to be the magic number
30-50 kph 7-oh & about 20 knots seems to be the magic number
40-60 kph 6.3 and about 25 - this is due to lack of skills in higher winds

For SPEED people often talk about specialized boards, footstraps , etc Check out this video of a fellow going over 30 knots on a SUP with NO footstraps :-)


Later found this speed windsurf video from Holland. It seems it is the craze over there. They really look like they are lovin' it AND breaking PB's/personal bests...

there are ALWAYS new and fresh speed sailing videos