Translator from GOOGLE

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 than 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 find many videos 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.

In the comments section Clyde, who is a lightweight sailor, felt the Blast 115 did NOT meet up to his expectations. He feels it does NOT schlogg well and in terms of early planing has to send it downwind to get it going. Ironically when I posted these concerns on windsurf forums, people suggested freemoves and freewaves. No-one addressed it on the Blast other than one suggestion to move back in the mast track bit.

from iwindsurf forum:

Bought a 115L Blast from Ocean Air this spring. Way fun. Glad I bought it. 

I own an aging 115L Fanatic Freewave. I consider this board the ultimate light wind wave board - fast , smooth, maneuverable. Compared to the Freewave, the Blast holds a bigger sail more comfortably (due to it's tail width), and edges out the Freewave in pure straight line speed. The Freewave with its narrower tail is more responsive in turns and performs better in waves by design, but the Blast turns with amazing confidence at high speed as it digs and holds its rail at full speed. 

so yesterday I sailed my brand new Blast 115, 2017, LTD 

I thing this is my first review, if I buy new thing I typically do it on closeout; so review is kinda obsolete. This is probably a really new thing that I bought (although it is 2017, and yes it was on sale) 

in my review I'll try to avoid the use of words good and bad. When we say good it actually means better, and bad means worse. All is based on prev experience and on relative comparison. 

So, first of all my level is intermediate, may be aspiring intermediate. I wndsrf for 35 years and I enjoy everything from 8.5 to 3.5, jybe being my weakest link. I complete almost all my jibes (well not on 4.0 and stronger) and this week I even started to exit planing (thanks to Peconic Puffin, Coach and Kevin K). 

The reason I bought this 115 is that I had 
Fanatic Ray 145 light edition, 82 cm wide, 2011 
Fanatic Ray 130 wood, 71 cm wide, 2011 
Exocet Carve 103 liters, 64 cm wide, I think about 15 years old 

Although 145 and 130 are identical shape, 145 is lighter than 130 and actually better. I first bought 130 for 8.5 primarily, but it is a bit small, works nice in the gust with 8.5 but in the lulls it is a bit too small. 145 on another hand is perfect with 8.5 and even with 7.0 it is better than 130 

So basically I had two boards for similar conditions, and when it was blowing strong 7.0 this Ray 130 with its width was too bouncy for the chop. 

So I wanted to move from 145...130...103 for sails 8.5... 7.0... 6.0 to 

The width wise I had 82...73...64 

So the Blast 115 with width 66 seemed like a good choice. 

(Also notice my absence of experience with other modern brands and trends, like Magic Ride, Ray 145 from 2011 is definitely the latest and the best I have sailed) 

Straps are in outboard position, and I started with mast foot in the middle at 130. Later I moved it two cms forward, and this was much better. It was better in pumping on the plane and more stable and also first in the chop there was like a noise of blasting from my fin (no pun). I am guessing it set the board into more horizontal position. I'll move another cm forward next time just to find the optimum. 

Wind wise first two hours it was more like an overpowered sailing on 6.0. I was on stock 38 fin (i don't have smaller power box fin, but I'll buy it shortly), but not a single spin out. 

Then it died down, I rigged 7.0 and for 15 minutes I sailed it in the perfect 7.0 conditions, with very moderate chop. Then it hit really strong, I was really overpowered had couple spin outs and sailed another two hours on 6.0 again very well powered and sometimes overpowered. 

To me in those conditions it was absolutely better than my Ray 130, no comparison whatsoever. In fact I would be using my Ray with those 7.0 only for those 15 minutes. And coming back when it hit would be much more difficult than on this Blast. And using this Ray 130 with 6.0 - forget it! 

I am not sure with 6.0 what woulda be better, this Blast 115 or Exocet 103. Very very competitive, even with wrong fin. 

For my liking blasting on the reach I liked it very much. Very responsive when you want to "wave" sail the chop. Very stable straight on the reach, ignoring this chop. Very comfortable upwind and downwind. Shlogs upwind well as well. 

Uphauling on flat water in the wind shadow with occasional gusts - had no problem on both sails. 

Jybes - liked it. As I said, exited few jybes with speed (but also did so on Monday in stronger winds on 103 and 90 liters - so I can't contribute my success to the board exclusively). 

I think that the width 66 with parallel outlines serves two purposes. First when blasting the drag is created by the max width, so it is the same as the similar width of more classical shape (like compare to my Exocet 103 l at 64 cm width). On another hand the effective width is actually wider in lighter conditions (like pumping, or recovering from the jybe with no exit speed, or burring the rail when shloging upwind, or uphauling) 

I also like the weight, it is light, and this is great feature. The fact that 130 was heavier than 145 was an eyesore. 

The only unusual thing is the wide boxy nose that I see all the time when on the reach, but it doesn't affect the performance in any way. It is just there, a bit an unusual view, but I was already accustomed to it by the end of the day. Also speaking about the nose, NSI pad was applied and the one that fits is the widest possible square pad 

To sum things up, I am very happy with my upgrade, and at the moment I can't complain about the single thing.

I had my second session yesterday and want elaborate a bit. 
The forecast and my local knowledge was calling for 7.0 conditions, but when I arrived it was 6.0 

I took my Blast anyways instead of 103 and had a fantastic time for probably 1.5 hours. Then it died and I was shlogging doing light air pivots and light air upwind and then even straight downwind for last 100 meters 

Then I took Ray 145 thinking if may be I should rig 7.0 as well. But it came back so I went again for a very good hour on the Blast 115 with the same 6.0 

Then it died again and I switched boards. First 45 minutes it was very nice light air shlogging, turns, upwind... and then one gust, another, increasing and increasing. Certainly the water was very calm in the beginning and no chop and it required quite a bit of pumping to get going. First time actually sailing 6.0 on 82 cm board, but it was fantastic. In jybes it was a bit more drag that needed, but the extra stability for not falling. Then the wind was even stronger with a chop back, so I quit. 

I must say it was extremely nice combination of one sail 6.0 and 145 and 115 complementing each other. 

I have no drawbacks to report on this 115. Easy to pump on, easy upwind when powered and even easier when shlogging, very predictable in the jibe, no spin outs even with stock 38 fin. A very good sensation of speed and very nimble under the feet, and very controllable if you want to ride it in S line, chase some bumps, or turn downwind a bit to sail from the "wave" 

Also I recently bumped in the specifications of 2011 Ray. The 115 LTD version has the same weight as this Blast and practically same dimensions, although of course it is not a stubby. I certainly suspect that it woulda be very similar in terms of performance. But there is no way to find out Smile And no reason. Regardless, I have now very nice quiver of two LTD Fanatics, bigger Ray 145 2011 and 2017 Blast 115, that work very good together.

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 !!