Saturday, November 20, 2010

Super!

Q: "What do you want for Christmas and your birthday?"
A: "I don't know."

So, both Nina and I were facing the problem of what to get for two upcoming occasions. I was starting to fear endless hours of clueless shopping in the near future... but then, we stumbled into a great solution.

In Ninigret 3 days ago, the guys who where having the most fun in gusty conditions were on slalom/freerace equipment (Starboard iSonic & S-Type). Wouldn't it be nice so have something like that? Paying $2K for a new board is not an option right now, though. But during this year's visits to Sailworld Cape Cod, a used, $500 JP Super-X 82 was always smiling at me, begging me to take it home. A few years back in Cabarete, a Super-X board had been my absolute favorite, even more so than the SuperSport boards that replaced them (and which I also like a lot). A bit of research on gps-speedsurfing.com showed that Super-X boards can go faster than 70 kmh, which would be a rather dramatic improvement of my current PB.

When the wind forecast for today predicted upper SW 20s, we decided to go to the Cape, which tends to have much steadier SW winds this time of the year than other places close by. My Skate 110 tends to be a bit too bouncy for such strong winds and the resulting swell in Kalmus, and my only alternative was my old 96 l JP, dating back to about 2001. The board is ok, but not exactly fast, and too big if the wind picks up into the 30s. Nina is set up better, with a newer JP 76 l wave board that she sails a lot and loves. It so happens that she bought the board earlier this year used at ... Sailworld Cape Cod.

When I started looking at the Super-X at the beginning of the year, the volume of 82 liters seemed a bit low for me. Since then, the wind & waves in Maui and the Gorge pretty much forced me to sail boards in the 85 liter range during our vacations there. That helped to get comfortable on the smaller boards; but what helped even more was learning to sail the F2 Missile. Compare to the 62 liter Missile, an 80 liter board is huge, and really easy to waterstart and sail.

With all signs pointing the same direction, it was only a question of time, and so I finally bought the Super-X yesterday. It helped a bit that I had a fin to return which did not fit properly, so that I did not have to put down the entire $500. What helped even more was that Jim told me I could return the board if, against expectations, I would not be happy with it.

Today, we got up early, and made it to Kalmus at 9:30 am. The wind was a tad lower than forecast at about 22 mph, but I wanted to take the Super-X out, and rigged a 5.5. A few minutes later, I was planing in the typical Kalmus chop, and having fun. My second jibe attempt of the day was dry (which is pretty good for me in Kalmus on a choppy day), and my overall jibe success rate was higher than on any other board I had sailed there in similar conditions. At one point, when I mishandled the sail a bit at the end of the jibe, I looked back with the luffed sail and was amazed that the board just did not stop planing. Cool!

I had rigged smaller than usually, since I wanted to make sure I had a sail that worked well with the board. Nina was out on her 76 l wave board with a 5.0 (typically, I'm on a 7.0 when she's on a 5.0). When the wind died down a bit and neither of us was planing much anymore, she switched to the Super-X, and soon was planing most of the time again. I think the actual volume of the board is closer to 90 liters than to 82, but the fact that it was made for early planing certainly helped, too. When the wind picked up again later, the Super-X got a bit bouncy for Nina in the Kalmus chop, so we switched back, and I got to have some more fun. With my additional 50 lb, the board was well enough behaved, although it was a bit bouncier than a wave board. We can't wait to take the board out in flat water!

So we ended up with a new board in our quiver that we both like. Nina can use it as her "big" speed board, and to work on jibes and carving tricks when her Skate 100 gets too bouncy.
I'll use it when the wind picks up a bit more so that she wants to switch to her wave board (or maybe the Missile :). Since we'll both use it, we decided to give each other one half of the board as a present for our birthdays and Christmas, which solves a number of problems at the same time: the issue that I did not really have the money to spend on another board right now, and what presents to get each other. Another great windsurfing Christmas present! And just like the Tricktionary Trickpack and the GoPro HD from last year, we get to use if before Xmas, since we'll probably take a 2-month break from windsurfing around here just about then.

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