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Fall 2015 is HERE

We have had an unseasonably WARM September in 2015. It felt like the BEST weekend was Labour Day weekend with temperatures over 30 degrees C !! Why just 3 days ago, on the 26th I went on the local river becuz it was so beautiful out - was in bathing suit, etc. Today, it is 10 degrees C with winds from the NE varying between 12 and 22 knots and an overcast sky.

People seemed VERY anxious to get out as per quebecwind windsurf forum ...  Chantal said she was out on a 4.0 m² sail with her 115 pounds. I joked saying with my 230 pounds I would still need an 8-oh. Others said they were out on 5.x sized sails.

When I got there around noon, the parking lot was FULL:

That is one half of the lot and the other half was just as full with people coming down the path from the residential area behind.

There were about 2-3 windsurfers and about a dozen kiters:

Click the PIC

One kiter confirmed they were rigging 9 to 10 m² "sails"/kites. Typically I divide this in two (2) to see what one might use on a windsurfer ... Georges says this is NOT a good formula, but works for me - so far ... With my weight I often divide by two and then add one or so meters ...

Clique the PIC

 Checked back on the forum when i got back to the office and Georges was leaving in the p.m. GOOD LUCK parking buddy !! When he got there - there was NO more wind !!

Based on the charts from Luc Marinier's weather station on Ile Bizard, winds were still good in the afternoon !!

Hurricane Joaquin / Joachim is making his presence felt and there is a system off the east coast of Canada as well.,36.67,790

This weekend they are predicting winds between 40 and 50 knots at Cape Hatteras !!!
In the end the hurricane did NOT make "landfall", but S. Carolina received something like 14 inches of rain in 3 to 4 hours :-(

On October 2nd Yvente of quebecwind posted pics like this !!

and a video like this:

Two weeks later we were hearing about things like this:

Who says we are experiencing global warming ??

StarBoard iSonic 117L

In 2015 I had NO intention of purchasing a StarBoard iSonic 117 Wide. However, there was one for sale and not too $$$ locally available. Was thinking more along the lines of SB Futura 133 or JP SuperSport 136 ... In any case, I put my 2007 AHD FastForward for sale and within one hour it was practically sold and within two(2) more - sold and picked up !!!

With this and some left over money from another board, I could shop the end of season sales ... There was another SB iS 117W for sale out of Quebec City, but it was NOT much cheaper and a little beat up ... This one is almost like new ...

According to ISAF, this 2012 SB iS 117 wide board is actually 120 liters:[8370].pdf

The straps came in that little bag and the board comes with NO fin ...
Board is rated by SB as 7.0-9.5 m² sail compatible as per their website...
Benoit says he went to the AHD SL-2 for the 9-oh sail, but the iS board handles all the way down to about 6.2 with NO problem...
In terms of fins .. SB recommends a Drake Race 46 cm fin with a range of 40-48 cm fins. Kevin Pritchard has stated that he ALWAYS uses a 47 cm fin on this board...
The board has a OFO of 52.8 and as such can handle even bigger fins ...
Benoit has run it with 56 cm fins and that is what I will need to start with ...
More discussion on fins further down ....
I like to check where the balance point is on a board. Typically they are around the middle or around the mast track somewhere. This board has a balance point further back which suggests it encourages going way back with feet and leaning = FAST !!! Little surface on the water with great encouragement for hydroplaning !!!

The ONLY blemishes that are visible on the board are as follows:

The cutout was covered with a red Sharpie marker and hope it fades to same colour and filled foot pad blemish with some white silicone ... looks good in the hood now ...

A new 2015 carbon SB iSonic costs about $3000 and they now make them as 120 liter. This one is supposed to be 2012 and went through two(2) previous owners - one retired gentleman who returned it quickly. Another fellow from further down on the South Shore, Philippe ?, who felt he needed no more than 72 cm wide. Benoit was selling it cuz he wanted more of a light wind weapon that worked with his 9.0 m² sail. He went with an AHD SL-2 132. He had previously owned an AHD SL-1 140 and loved it... That was where he started with slalom ... So, people still like the AHDs !!! Not just the FastForwards !! Now auventfou is going with Tabou products and we will see how long AHD stays there ...

This iSonics seem to have been around since 2006. Around 2011 the 117 liter versions made their appearance. It is not until 2015 that StarBoard goes to 120 liters, but with the same 228x81 dimensions. So this model was around for about four(4) years ...

Some videos:

Starboard iSonic 117 Wide from WINDSURFING magazine on Vimeo.

This review summarizes the board and gives it top marks:

My buddy Geoff put a custom nose protector on his board:

When I received the board, I told Benoit that I felt like a kid who just bought a Ferrari, but does not know how to drive yet. This board will push my technique - no choice !!

Now all I need is some wind to test it out !!

While waiting, I took a good look at the board :-)
It is obviously VERY light - quoted at 6.4 kilos = 14 pounds (light as a feather)
and still stiff and solid !!
it has a very thin and wide nose - and low rocker
has a scooped out deck - markings say to move boom up 2 to 4 cm
with thick rails at the back
it is VERY short @ ONLY 228 cm it is the shortest board I ever had or sailed ..
thus board's centre of gravity is further back - means NO standard uphaul on this baby
cutouts have two different layers

2016 cutouts seem even more "complex"

These are StarBoard - Remi Vila's suggestions:

This is the basic set up for iSonic 117 that we test with riders from 65 to 100 kgs :
Foot Straps : Totally in the back position for the back one and middle for the front one or back if your are not tall.
Mast Base : recommend position or 5mm more back
Boom : Eyes height
Harness Lines : Adjustable one that you can trim between light to strong winds. Minimum length, hand to elbow
Fins : 42 with 7.8 44 with 8.6, 9.2 44/46

About one week later I purchased a used MFC 46 cm tuttle box pointer fin. The fin fits perfectly into the deep tuttle box, but the 80 mm screws I received with the board are just NOT long enough. On SB forum i saw discussion about 90 mm screws (about 3.25 inches) $%^&*( KNEW I shoulda brought the board $%^&* Now I will scramble to try and get screws cuz there is supposed to be wind on Monday - in two days - and shops are starting to have less hours open. WHY do not the hardware stores carry such screws OR fins use standard easily acquired screws %^&*
Looks like an amazing combo though !!

Geoff warned me that the paint is NOT blended into the fin and suggested using a 3M scrub sponge, I sanded it using 180 and then 400 grit, which is a little quicker. Now fin is NOT as pretty, but definitely SMOOTHER #$%^&*()_+

Looks like i purchased George's fin from auventfou :-)
George saw the fin at OKA and says I did a good job :-)

Bruno of 2-rad had / has 90 mm / 9 cm screws at $3 a piece = reasonable and now it is raining drizzling and NO wind. However, there are NE winds announced for almost the rest of the week !!

Was feeling the fin may be a bit freeride/freerace for the board - before even trying it properly. And so, when I saw a Mistral SLE 303 for sale with the slalom fin, I purchased the fin with the board for less than $100. The fin is marked as 46, but measures at 44 and I am now in the process of fixing it up with some MarineTex and then some black paint after ...

Could not find any black paint and so put some grey primer and sanded it again with 400 grit. It is NOT perfect, but ready for the first trials !1

Looked up what fin/sail combinations people are using with the iSonics. Remi suggests:
iSonic 117 : Deboichet SL4 : 6,5/38 ; 6,8/40 ; 7,2/42 ; 7,5/R16 44 ; 7,8/R16 44 ; 8,3/R16 44 ; 8,5/R16 46 ; 8,8/R16 46 ; 9,0/R16 46
 iSonic 117 Wide : Deboichet SL4 : 6,8/38 ; 6,8/40 ; 7,2/42 ; 7,5/R16 44 ; 7,8/R16 44 ; 8,3/R16 44 ; 8,5/R16 46 ; 8,8/R16 46 ; 9,0/R16 46 ; 9,6/R16 48
So, Remi is saying this board is good from 6.8 to 9.6 !!
and BEST combination ==> iSonic 117W : 8.6/46

As indicated on the sticker on one of the side cut-outs. ALL boards should have this !!!

Clique to SEE it better

Like Geoff said - will probably need three(3) fins - the 46 cm for bigger sails, another for smaller sails and perhaps a weed fin ... Will start with the 46 cm MFC and go from there ...

One day hope to ride like this fellow :-)

Rene Egli - Fuerteventura from BarcelonaBoards on Vimeo.

The irony is that this "race horse" makes me a little nervous in terms of my skills (or lack thereof) and yet, I was looking at the Gecko 120 as a potential "replacement" for my AHD 160 ie next step up - well down in size actually. Ironically these two boards are NOT that different ... They are close in volume, width and sail range. The StarBoard iSonic is over one kilo lighter and about 14 cm shorter than the Fanatic Gecko. It will be a little more of a "sinker" and tacks better be FAST.

I managed to get a test run in 2015. Winds were NOT on shore and so I was VERY careful in my experimentation. Wanted to see how the whole thing looked n felt. The board takes off like a shot. There is no first gear, it is GO ! It was more of a sinker than I thought and standard tacks can be forgotten. The balance point is further back and any leaning forward will just sink the nose. Helitacks are the only option and obviously any kind of jibe/gybe. I need to nail my water starts before I go all over the larger waters with this board. Previous boards all had the possibility of uphauling with one foot on either side of the mast base - except the Fanatic BEE LTD 124. Even that board I take out in bigger winds with on shore winds, but was able to tack. This board will force me to go to next level. In the past I could hide behind the forgiving qualities of the board - NO MORE. and that is why i purchased this board. Sold two(2) boards and with another $300 out of pocket got the racehorse. Now we just need to get to know each other :-)

added audio from windsurfing magazine used by WindSpirit as well :-) which u can pause ...

At one point I was considering a FreeMove board , since the Fanatic Shark is no longer available. Because 120 liter boards are around 80 cm wide and I already have a FreeFormula of 92 cm, i would NOT go larger than 120 liters. Then I looked at the specs again ...
It is 120 liters , 236x80 and about 8 kilos. The SB iS 117L is 117 liters (120 as per ISAF)  , 228x80 and about 6.4 kilos (it is LIGHT). It seems the only significant difference is 8 cm shorter and almost 2 kilos lighter. So, they are NOT so different when one looks at them on paper !!

Here is a "young lady" on an iSonic 120 with a Loft Sails 7.8

Sony Action Cam windsurf à Mazerolles 26 nov 2012 from opop on Vimeo.

Summary: It is VERY difficult for me to evaluate this board - at this point in my windsurf history, this board is too much for me !! I am too heavy at over 100 kilos / 220 pounds and lack of skills / comfort zone. One needs to be ready for such a board. It has a GREAT reputation and is no longer available/different sizes made now. I ended up with BENF's AHD SL-2 132 which has a little more volume and is a little easier to handle ... It is also about 80 cm wide and I wrote a post on that board too ...

As the June 2011 Windsurfing Magazine suggests in their review of this board:

"Beware: It's an absolutely brilliant board - for a small set of highly skilled people"

OKA Labour Day Monday 2015

It is RARE that I will put a post to discuss an outing. Usually cover this in my journal entries. However, today was a special day !!! Winds were to be from the SW at about 30 - 50 kph as promised all week and never deviated from this and if anything just kept getting better !!

So, obviously I brought my 30-50 kph combo which allows for lighter AND stronger winds... AHD FF 160/79, BEE LTD 124/63, HSM SPF 8.5, NS Duke 6.9, HSM Fire 6.3 plus fins 34, 40, 48 cm and Makani Hahalua 43 cm weed fin. Water is low and there are MANY weeds @ La Crète ..

When I arrived at 10h00, I got one of the last six(6) parking spots at the end of the "parking lot". Benoit told me that at the gate he was informed that 100 cars passed between opening at 8h00 and 9h00. The parking lot got so full, that two fellows almost had it out. One called the cops. When the cops arrived and they were pointing in my direction, I told them,"I had nothing to do with it" :-)

The best meter reading was 10 knots for a second or two :-( There was a fellow with a Formula, 70 cm fin and 9.2 sail going NO WHERE :-(
Supposed to get better and so, RIG BIG ...
Kiter came in with his 20 m² sail !!!
I rigged AHD FastForward 160 liter with HotSailsMaui SpeedFreak 8.5...
Fellow beside me had a SB Formula 155 with only 85 cm width ...
Marc Cyr was out on his Fanatic Hawk LTD 113 with a Naish 7.8 and later 6.4
Roni was out on his Shark LTD 150 and Tushingham 8.0...
The wind just kept getting better and better ...
Saw Marc go by with the board in the air and about 2 inches of fin showing !!!
Told him he was FLYING - told me I was not doing so bad either :-)
Still no straps - did i say that out loud :-(
Left at about 16h00 when the wind was picking up even more !!
It was HOT (over 30 degrees C) and I was exhausted.
Drank two(2) bottles of water and I NEVER bring water !!

Here is the graph

and a small video to show how many people there were
when i left there were over thirty cars on the road towards the windsurf/kite area !!!

Here is the video :
(filmed at 2h45 when winds were good as per charts, but light in the video)

Oh yeah I rate ALL my sessions - cannot give it more than an 8.5 outta 10 - winds and conditions were just all over the place :-( But it was still FUN in the SUN !!

sub-note: The tall Guy (pun intended) just got back from three(3) weeks at les Isles de Madeleine !! What a lucky dog (you can say that in English - NOT French)... He says that typically it was 10-20 knots with two(2) days rain and only a few over 25 knots where he sat it out ... Now THAT sounds like a windsurf holiday - although it is kinda far. The trick is to catch the midnight ferry and sleep on the last half of the journey :-)