Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dirk's quads

I received this email from my friend Dirk and I'm happy to publish.

I 've always been trying to make a board that sails more like a surfboard instead of a windsurfboard "shorter turns, easier to go under the lip more speed of the top,...." The boards I made at Richard Green 's place worked really well for me in the bottom turn (you can always ask Glenn this), but in top turns I was always wrong in timing, came out with no speed,... anyway I always missed the next section because of my bad top turns.So my answer to this was to make something more like a surfboard.

Windsurf shapers tried the thruster set-up but there was still one fin (also too big) in the middle that gave a lot of drag. Then Kauli came out with the twin fin set-up, here we go something new, lets check it out!
I continued my research on surfboarddesign putting some more energy towards twinfins
Let’s look at a small part of the short board history. Shapers started with making shortboards with a single fin set-up, this was not working well enough and they came up with the idea of using 2 "smaller" fins. This already made a big improvement on the performance of the boards but there was still a lot of room for improvement.
In the early 80's shapers came up with the idea of a quadfin, but the first quad fins where very similar in feel to the twin fins and so the thruster setup -what gave a nicer balance between single and twin fin- took over. Quad fins where put aside, and only a few devoted shapers continued the research.
Recently a lot of shapers have reevaluated the quad design and are trying it out on modern shapes and designs.

So mainly what are the strong points of a quad in comparison to a single or twin fin:

from Kimo Greene:
Why Do Quads Work Better?

Quads are way faster than standard thrusters or even twin fins. Most would think, how can they be faster with an extra fin…wouldn’t that create more drag? Actually, because both sets of fins are working together on the rail, there’s nothing to slow you down like the center fin of a thruster. Quads are a lot more efficient with speed.

Quads are much more responsive than twin fins or thrusters. The reason is that the fins are set further up the board which essentially puts the fins directly under your back foot. The end result is an ultra responsive board that goes where you want it to go and fast.

Four fins boast an extraordinary amount of holding power in larger surf. A large number of the world’s best big wave surfers use quads in giant surf at Jaws and Mavericks. Many of them claim that a quad fin board has better holding power and speed in giant surf. If it works well at Jaws, imagine what it could do at your local beach break?

From Bruce Mckee:
1. A faster board with all turns having an added boost
2. More security taking a higher line, so pulling out of a close out section is easier, also running high and getting speed or sitting high and deep in the tube
3. also slamming a bottom turn without fear of spinning out "No more 'nursing' a turn"
4. Much more control in floaters
5. Drive of the top instead of a stall.
6. rail to rail turning
7. Also what you will notice when the waves are bigger (with the same small wave board) is that you will have absolutely no 'nursing' the board trough a high speed bottom turn
Anyway You will be slamming or putting all you weight into everything. Not because you need to, but because you can!

For me this was enough info to convince me in trying out the quad fin setup instead of making boards that everybody was going to make, (this was about 3-4 years ago). So I called Alex Mussolini asked if he was interested in trying a few quad fins (at that time I was making his boards so it was easy to get him to try this out). I redesigned the outline (opposite from the trend of wider and rounder outlines), the bottom shape ( a little bit more v of the back,..) and the rocker, and off course instead of a single a quad fin setup.
He used it in Chili and loved, at the same time I made myself a couple of Quad fins and I was blown away with the result. The only thing that was left for me to do now is to get the twinfin master himself "Kauli" to try a quad fin out, so let's see what he thinks of his board.
For me it does all what is stated above (apart from the tube off course) and in terms of normal sailing I can add that it gets on a plane super fast, also very good upwind performance and even in choppy water I have no problems controlling the board "knowing that I only use 4'5 inch fins, about 11,4 cm in depth".

PS. Wonderful photos of epic California surf here. Sequence 23 is truly incredible.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's an all about me post

I'm pushing the envelope of light wind wave sailing.

Yesterday I got in the water at noon and, as you can see from the graph, the wind was extremely light and onshore.

I just wanted to check what's the limits of The Experiment. I ended up having a blast.
At noon the waves were absolutely perfect. Yoshi was out there surfing and we shared some incredible rides. Mast high at the bowl and then perfectly peeling right and left (I clearly could only go left, upwind).
A couple of hours later, the swell peaked and it got too big and started to close out. Still some heart stopping drops to be made.
There's 12-14 hours delay between the NW buoy readings and Maui. Check it out.. 15 feet at the buoy means over mast high on the reef!

I went out again at 5, together with Glenn. Alex was on the beach and took these photos. Thanks!


This is an italian 19yo sailor in vacation. OMG, is that ok to post photos of him or somebody is going to get offended 'cause he's too young?
He just got on the island, had no idea of how Kanaha works and tried to go straight through the waves... good luck!!! Needless to say, he got hammered.

The funny thing is that I've been testing 9 different longboard sailing SUPs last week. Which one would have I picked yesterday? None of them...
Once again, thanks a million to Jeff Henderson who got me into longboard wave sailing. It gave my an amazing amount of emotions, rides, hours in the water (and that magic double page photo on Windsurfing mag. Can anybody help me find it in the blog archive? I don't have the time this morning...), but I might just be done with longboards.
My re-shaped strepless 100l freeride board works incredibly well and it's just too much fun!

And now some surfing, since the weekend and Monday offered fantastic conditions.

I would have liked to brag about my progress on a shortboard, but I can't for two reasons:
1) I had a friend available to take photos only in a day in which I went out on my 8.6
2) I'm not making any.

Well, no problem... I'll brag about my regression on the longboard instead!
After having used the 6.10 for quite a few times, in fact, I completely lost the timing and positioning. As you can see from the following three photos, I was always too deep/late.
I like this first one a lot though.

Finally I stick a drop!

Copying dad's hair style.

No matter how much I suck, I always have fun and get energy from the ocean out of a surf session... can you tell?

More waves the next couple of days, should be fun. The wind? What do I care...

how Kazuma shaped my custom surfboard part 3

Beautiful glassy (in the morning) waves in Maui these days make for some really good surfing.
Gentle breezes in the afternoon make for superlight wind wave sailing sessions.
I can go like this for the rest of my life...

But it will change soon: more bigger waves are just around the corner and by wednesday the wind should come back, even though with a slightly more onshore direction than usual. The tail of the front that created the next swell may brush the islands and bring some rain. In the meantime, I'm enjoying these incredibly beautiful sunny days.

Ok, I wanted to end this post here, but I just ran into a photo of my lovely friends Laura and Sierra on Facebook and I couldn't resist... hi girls!

There's only one possible answer to the question "which one?": both!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So much stuff to post, not much time to post...

...that's the story of my life!

This is not the suggestion of a color scheme from a reader, this is Jeff's personal 4.7 Superfreak Ultralight. I think I don't need ideas for my new 4.7 anymore...
Am I going to copy those colors? No, I'm going to steal that sail! So nice!!!!

Been busy in the ocean, either teaching, testing SUP boards for Windsurfing mag or having fun.
Thursday was a really good day with wind and waves. Too bad I had to test longboards from 9 to 12.30 at Sugar Cove (once you made it through the pounding high tide shore break with little or no wind on the inside, it was actually fun) and I had very little energy left for the sunset session...
Still, plenty fun in both sessions and I even found the time to stop at Hookipa to take a few pics in between. The light sucked, I'm only going to post three of Levi who constantly rips.

Top turn.

Bottom turn.

Mid wave 360.

More (and better) photos on Makani's blog. Looks like he took some videos too, so stay tuned.

Kazuma part three video and interesting ideas from a Euro windsurf shaper coming up soon. Stay tuned here too!

No wind and plenty waves for a few days, time to go surf. The wind should be back around Tuesday/Wednesday with plenty more waves.
Life is good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

last sunday

Some photos from contributor readers to show how different the conditions can be the same day in Maui.

Let's start with Camille Juban at La Perouse. Sequence #1.

He did better in sequence #2.

Thanks to blog reader Tormod for those. Here's more windsurfing and surfing photos of that day.

Here instead, some photos from Sprecks from Bob.
This guy broke the mast in the landing of a forward and it went right through his board.

Good old Alex Aguera won the last speed event (and the whole thing, I think...).

Need a hand to outhaul, gals?

I instead, had a sweet shortboard surfing session somewhere in Lahaina. So, again, there were all kinds of action, no excuses to stay dry.
Here's my friends' favorite ones:
1) I didn't know there was a south swell (what?!? Too bad for you brah...)
2) The drive to the south shore is too expensive (sell that 6-8 cylinder polluting truck and get a cheaper car!)
3) The drive to the south shore is too long (go live somewhere where the ocean is 6 hours away and you'll know how spoiled you are...)

PS. Thanks a lot to all the readers that sent me their Superfreak Ultralight designs (see previous post). They are all good and even though I haven't fallen in love with any yet, they gave me some good ideas. Please keep sending them. I will put them together in a post later on.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Epic wavesailing (three days ago...) + Superfreak design contest

Hard to report on an epic session after three days... the stoke is starting to fade out, but I'll try anyway and I hope that those photos quickly taken by Tato (gracias!) in a five minutes stop at Hookipa will help.

Let me list the components that made my session epic.
1) the waves. Head to logo high with a shape at times absolutely perfect: a big bowl upwind and gently peeling down the line for 4-5 turns and an eventual aerial section at the end.

This is Kai in a beautiful bottom turn.

2) the wind. Perfect 5.0 side off.

Judging from the gear, that could be Robby Swift.

3) the tide. Low enough to be absolutely flat and chop free for some of the best bottom turning conditions ever.

Camille Juban.

4) the crowd. Something like 10 windsurfers and 5 kitesurfers that thinned out towards dark.

Ferdinando ends up in the downwind section of the channel and almost gets sucked into Lanes... I wasn't there, but I can tell from the photos that those conditions weren't easy...

5) my gear. My 5.0 Ultralight Superfreak is so good that I returned my 5.5 regular Superfreak, 'cause I wasn't using it anymore even in really light wind... by the way, this last one is for sale at the shop Kanaha Kai. It's the yellow one with the blue dolphin in the photo below (that was one year ago, brand new). Used very few times, around 300 bucks I believe... soon on the online shop too, so if you're in Maui and are interested hurry up before it ends up somewhere else!
But what actually really made the difference was that Goya 81l that I put back together. Once again, a very good design from Francisco/Keith.

6) the sunset. Unbelievable, no words for that.

In the end, a day so good that it may well end up being the best of the winter! I'd be stoked to have 2-3 more like that... let's hope so!


I'm looking for a cool design of my new UL quiver. If anyone feels like contributing, the very simple Superfreak custom design system is here. Follow the instructions to save the file and send me your suggestion. It has to be UL, so use the the UL colors at the bottom of the palette wherever the system allows you to put them on the sail.

Wow, that was quick! A few hours after I published this post, blog reader Jan sent me his suggestion. I want to publish it because it's a good one and it was the first one. Thanks a lot. Can anyone do better?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

how Kazuma shaped my custom surfboard part 2

Here we go, part two of the collection of little videos with Matt Kazuma Kinoshita.

Yesterday (monday) I took the board out at Lowers (first time there on a 6.10).
I was impressed by the fact that catching waves wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but after the first two waves I commented with Michelle that I didn't quite find the sweet spot for the turns yet.

Then I caught a couple more and she saw both, one from the back and one from the front while she was paddling out. I ripped both of them apart (oh come on, let me exaggerate) and she went:"GP, what the hell were you talking about?"
"Well, I guess I must have found the spot!"

Pretty stoked, but it is so much more work. In two hours I caught something like 6 good waves. With the longboard I would have probably caught three times as many. And I was exhausted.
Getting into short board surfing at age 45 is probably going to be one of the most radical things I ever did...

In the afternoon I tested a few standup boards (for the Windsurfing magazine) and that made it for quite an intense day.

Nothing compared to today though, that was absolutely epic wave sailing. Too tired to report about it. Come back tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

NNW swell

The highly hyped NNW swell arrived and Hookipa went off. Choppy conditions due to a very high tide and a mix of windswell. A hundred people out, way too crowded.

Despite the fact that the session was clearly (IMO) dominated by Levi Siver, the best photo of the day goes to guy on a Smack (is it english Phil?).
As Ray suggested (check his photo reportage from the north shore of Oahu), I changed spot and took this one from the beach. Nice angle, but way too many good photos ruined by the other sailors in the way. I went back to my usual spot on the cliff...

Here's a start of a Kai Lenny mini sequence: a push loop.

Unfortunately he breaks the tip of his mast in the process and heads back to shore. He is a bit too downwind, so he tacks and heads out again. He gets a gust, sees a set and...

Throws a big "broken-mast-ditch-mid-air backloop". Click on the photo to appreciate it better.

Here's how his gear looked after that. Forget about sailing back upwind like that, he heads towards that little bay just downwind of the rocks...

Not before having caught another one. If you click on the photo, you can see that he's totally laughing...

A huge backloop by Andres Martinez. I always sit on the same spot on the cliff, so when a sailor reaches the horizon line it means it's a really high jump.

Jason Prior always has peculiar outfits.



Yoshi hits the water to dominate (and create) the over 60 category... good job!

Francisco Goya mid wave 360.

Patrick Bergeron in a way too busy photo.

What was I stalking about?



Unkown sailor on a new Goya sail. Interesting talk by designer Jason Diffin about sail stretch control on the Windsurfing mag main page.

My sessions report.

I went out at Hookipa around 1 when the crowd was still acceptable, but soon it became clear that there wasn't enough room for everybody.
Then I moved to Lanes, but it was as choppy as it gets. So decided to save my energy for the evening sesh. I love when I do the right thing...

I caught my last wave at 6.50, after having sailed the last 20 minutes completely alone in the light of a beautiful full moon.
Wave sailing in the dark is a trip. Here in Maui the moon rises upwind (east), so when you go down the line (west) you don't really see the wave. You got to go by feel.
It's a bit scary, since you don't even know exactly how big is the wave you're on and what kind of section you have in front of you.

Nonetheless, I was so lucky to even stick an aerial. I felt the wave becoming steep under my rail, I pictured that there was a lip right downwind of me and I went for it. And I can't even do aerials with the sun light!!! Maybe I should close my eyes every time I'm on a wave... nah, the other sailors wouldn't like that.

Guess, what... that wasn't even the highlight of my session!
In fact, I managed to do a manouvre that I always dreamed of when I first saw Robby Naish and Sean Ordonez doing it years ago. I don't know if there's a name for it.
You're heading out, you see a wave, you jibe on it but don't flip the sail and ride it like that going upwind, backwinded and with the feet still in the footstraps of the old side.
I did it on the first wave of my second session and it felt terrifically good. And then I did it again.

I'm overly stoked.


As you can see, the swell peaked already, but now there's another component of 10 seconds period.

That'll make it more consistent, but less clean/organized and with occasional big sets (when the two components will overlap on the reef).
Windwise, the weather map doesn't look as bad as forecasted. Considering the variety and richness of my light wind quiver (a couple of sailing SUPs, The Experiment and a few over 80 wave boards), I may end up rigging a sail today too... but right now is glassy, I'm going surfing!

PS. I predict a period of prolific blogging. If you enjoy this blog, please do me a little favor to reward me for the huge amount of time and passion that I put into it: forward its address to all your friends that may like it. Thanks!