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How are we supposed to get better ??

We all want to get better at water starts, foot straps, pumping onto a plane, gybes, bigger winds, waves, you name it ... Jim from Kingston wrote in and says he shares my frustration ...

Some of us are older, some coming back to windsurfing and most of us have to work for a living ...

One example that always makes me laugh is when we get back to the beach and people are complaining that it was gusty. My typical response is,"Bienvenue à  Montréal." Even Environment Canada announces the winds as 20-40 kph, 30-50, 40-60, etc ... That is a ten(10) knot range !! Yesterday at Pointe-Claire a fellow windsurfer summed it up,"Mieux d'être over." We were watching two dudes schlogging about. One had rigged down from an 8.5 to a 6.5 and looked like he was drifting along i.e. worse than schlogging.

Okay, we cannot do much with the environment; nor with the fact that we are weekend warriors ...

Jim and I have both been to Hatteras, North Carolina and both feel that the Sound is THE PLACE to try new stuff and learn. Water never seems to go over shoulder depth, there is usually good wind (less gusty) and is a large expanse of water that never gets crowded.

What about back home? Jim now has a Kona One with an 8.2 and I have a Mistral Equipe 2 XR with various sails in the 8.x range. These are our GO TO setups... MANY times I have gone to Oka, La Crête and I was either alone or there were only some  kiters and I on the water ... up to the point where Sylvain was out on his kite foil and I was out on the MEQ2 - with the rest sitting on the beach.

It was so calm and quiet this day, that I put on the TR-4 10 m² sail:

Jim and I have other boards and sails: Fanatic Shark 165 or 145, SB Kode 137 or AHD SL2 132. The issue is: how often we really get to use them. The conditions need to be right and we need to be sure our skills (or lack thereof) do NOT put us in danger.

This summer I had a magical moment on my Shark 145 and old North Sails Duke 6.9. I was absolutely flying on the water. All the stars had lined up - wind, sail, board, fin and me. Too bad I was not in my straps. Young fellow who was parked beside remarked on how fast I was going - which confirmed it was not just a feeling.

Jim says he had a magical moment at Hatteras on the Carve 137 and found himself in BOTH footstraps ...

Unfortunately for some of us, these magical moments are few and far between. We speak about needing TOW to improve, but with what kind of conditions ?? We are not all these thin, athletic people living right beside the ideal conditions and can go at a drop of a hat. On the local quebecwind forum I often comment that I need to go to work, have a family, etc and cannot go over the border to Lake Champlain at the drop of a hat !!

Some locals like Georgie have gone over to the dark side completely - kiting. Some like Yvente have learned that kiting works in light wind, when winds are up high AND in the winter. Although both Yvente and I do winter windsurfing near Montreal , as in on ice n snow ...

So, remember words of encouragement or suggestions are always welcome to folks like Jim and I 😊

and YES, we should go to Hatteras more often !!!

Tropical storm Anna just missed us when I was there ...

"Unknown" makes some important suggestions in his/her comment... Firstly the suggestion is - how do we get better more quickly ?? Secondly, TOW/time on water is only useful if certain skills are practiced. If one goes out in the same conditions , at the same place and does the same things without trying or practicing those skills lacking, then TOW is just that - only more TOW with no improvements. No pain - no gain.

Helmut, my windsurf buddy, has improved his water start skills more than I. Bruno of 2-rad suggested to him that it was a key skill to improve shortboarding and Helmut practiced it every chance he got. Kudos to him, but I also know Helmut will not go unless it is shortboard weather ie 15+ knots and he has windsurfed at the islands in the Caribbean, Spain, etc. I only started more of this "practicing" this year and things are improving. For me, the most elusive skill is the footstraps. Perhaps I should use them in the winter on the ice ??

Thanks again to all who write in !!!

Jim from Toronto confirms that TOW and consistent conditions are vital to improvement. Here is an excerpt from his e-mail:

"I was fortunate enough to get to Bonaire for a week, a week ago.  I’m sure you know about Bonaire but I must say it exceeded expectations.  There was planing wind all day, every day for the week I was there and I gather that’s the norm for most months (Sep, Oct and Nov having fewer good wind days).  The water was generally between knee and waist deep.  In essence, I got in as much windsurfing in a week as I managed all of last summer and in far better conditions.

Bonaire offered a great learning environment and I was able to get comfortable enough planing to try getting into the foot straps.  (Others further up the learning curve spent their time practicing their carve gybes.)  I had some success and some failure but I did improve considerably and know with more opportunity and some coaching I’ll end up being able to properly use the foot straps (and can then start working on carve gybes).

I understand that the dynamics change while planing and you need to change your body position from what was previously normal starting with adjusting to having your feet further back in those foot straps.  I plan to go back to Bonaire next year to get more time in the right conditions but will windsurf here this summer and hope the stars will align on occasion and provide me with opportunities to get into those foot straps."



WindSUP wazzup

Unfortunately it feels like the foils have taken the wind out of the WindSUP sails, pardon the pun. Just when WindSUPs and inflatables were starting to be a subject of discussion, the foils fired up.

Locally Franco Ittiandro has tried a number of boards, long and short, and has decided that his recent purchase of a BIC WindSUP 11'6" was the best fit ever ... He did have issues with the EVA skin, but it was covered under warranty ...

No, that is NOT Franco in the next images 😄
Franco is like me - older gentleman , heavyweight , still loving the wind and the water ...

The thing is, the WindSUP is NOT just for light winds, beginners, etc. The implication is obviously that you can stand up paddle as well, but most reading I have done on the subject (on windsurf forums), the majority of the people are windsurfing and quite often in the waves (not mast high though).

The most popular one on iwindsurf seems to be the Exocet WindSUP 11'8" (especially for the heavyweights like myself).

John Ingebritsen speaks favourably about ALL the Exocets on the North American iwindsurf forum.

People have even compared the Kona One with the Exocet WindSUP with some surprising results !!

but before we go any further, just check out what this windsurfer is saying about the Exocet WindSUP !!

it is from this discussion:


Owning both the Kona One and the Exocet Wind-SUP 11'8" I have had extensive experience sailing and paddling both over the last several years here in Eastern North Carolina. For sound side (flatter water) windsurfing I prefer the Kona One as the daggerboard system works better and I think it is a little faster board. However, for ocean and light wind wave sailing the 11'8" is the winner hands down. The Kona One also works quite well as an SUP but is a little narrower. Also due to its thicker hull you end up standing a litttle higher off the water. This contributes to a slightly higher center of gravity too which makes it a little more tipsy until you get used to it compared to the 11'8" when paddling. 

The 11'8" remains a super fun board for light wind ocean/wave sailing and especially fun for doing downwinders! This is because thanks to the daggerboard you can really cut high upwind and easily sail a couple miles up the beach. Then kick the dagger back up and blast back on deep planing broad reaches riding swells and waves as you go. Fun - Fun -Fun. Once back at your starting point, just repeat the process. I use an Aerotech Phantom 7.5 sail almost exclusively for this purpose. 

As an SUP it is very stable, easy to paddle, and paddles faster than you would think a big board like it would. I have also taught several rank beginners to windsurf on it as well as SUP paddle and it worked very well with more than ample stablity for that. 

I wrote a review on this board over a year ago which talks about how it performs as an SUP in paddling mode as well as under sail. You can check it out at: 


I have several other reports on the 11'8" posted on my blog there as well. 

My only big complaint is that it is a heavy board when carrying and or taking off your vehicle. However, once on the water its light wind performance and paddling ease more than make up for it. Also, I and others have had problems with the daggerboard gaskets coming out. However, since putting tape over the front edge of the gaskets and adjacent bottom surface, I have had no more problems with this. 

I think that if you want both a windsurfing and SUP all in one board that you can sail ocean, waves, flat water; teach beginners to windsurf on, teach beginners to SUP on, as well as have a fun SUP for both ocean and flat water paddling; then you can't go wrong with the 11'8". 

Good winds 


and also ...


I used to own the Kona and now own the 11'8. Here are my thoughts on the different aspects of their performance: 

Early Planing: I felt like the Kona needed 1-2 knots more wind to plane than a light-wind shortboard would need. For the 11'8 the planing threshold is more the same as what you'd expect for a big shortboard. 

Speed: I'm sure I haven't seen the true "top speed" of either board. They both go fast and stay pretty controlled when powered up. The Kona is a little more comfortable to sail overpowered, though, especially when having to bash over/through rough water. 

Jibing and Carving: The 11'8 carves and jibes better. 

Glide: Both boards seem to glide about the same to me in flat water, although the wider 11'8 may get slowed down a little more by head-on chop. 

Daggerboard: Kona daggerboard is more powerful for upwind sailing, and the gasket makes a better seal. The 11'8 daggerboard works adequately for getting you upwind, but it doesn't give enough power to let you "rail" the board. The 11'8 daggerboard also has a flimsier gasket more prone to catch water and break. 

Waves: The 11'8 is better for catching and riding waves and swells, both because of its shape and because of the centered footstrap options, which the Kona does not have. 

Beginners: Beginners like the 11'8 better because its more stable and the daggerboard isn't as sticky to operate. 


So, this makes deciding between a K1 and a WindSUP that much more difficult. If one is into the K1 races, there is no question what ti purchase, but otherwise ??

Summary of 2017 summer sessions

As usual, it seems it was a disappointing year - in a number of ways ...
Now almost end of October and the season is quickly drawing to an end ...

1) ONLY went out about 37 times - there were years where I went out over 60 times
2) as usual about 80 % of the sessions were on the MEQ2 longboard with HSM SPF 8.5
3) the JP SLW92 was used 2 or 3 times
4) the Shark 145 (which was purchased this year) was used about 5 times -
5) both slalom boards were NOT used at all - keep trying to sell the AHD SL2 132
6) still NOT in the footstraps - NOT much planing this year ...  biggest wind 60 kph

also lost some fins ... and cracked one too - one fin repaired and one replaced

guess it does not help that i have not been out in the last two weeks
with my new job it seems weekends or time off are the only windsurf possibilities
the local river is only good when the water levels are high and i cracked my fin there :-(

the good news is - all the old BIC Dufour Wings were sold ... replaced with a BIC SL220
also sold all the large fins I was no longer using - like the last trimm fin i had ...

One session with the Shark got a 2 outta 10 at the beginning of the season and one session got a 9 outta 10 in the middle of the season. On that day I really felt like I was "flying" and when a young dude confirmed it - it made my day. That was the one day I should have been in the straps !!!

this summer i made NO videos ... i think it was too disappointing
wanted to try the homemade back mount, but never did ...
this year making videos and maintaining the blog were not considered fun ...
Adobe Flash is being removed by 2020 and causes issues with embedding from youtube
Photobucket is asking people for all kinds of money now and so many pics are no longer available.
people like Cluffy keep taking their videos down - have to find a way to copy them %&^*() options are , netvideohunter on firefox and FreeYoutubeDownloader for windows ...
also had to go through ALL posts and resize videos - many seemed off for some reason ...

on top of all this ... my windsurf vehicle , the van, is on its last legs ...
the car was sold and get a new one - no candidate for windsurf transport ...