Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hawk rescue

Yesterday, I saw something that nearly made me cry: a hawk, kept outside, standing on its tail, unprotected from the rain and the sun, and covered all over with rust stains (I hope you realize that I am talking about a Fanatic windsurf board and not a bird!). Compare to the fancy designs on newer boards like Scott's  TExtreme NewWave, Jim's RRD FireMove LTD, or even my Black Beauty (Exocet Warp 71), the Hawk always was a bit of a wallflower - but this was too much! The board needed to be rescued!

Ok, in an ideal world, I would have just spent $2K+ and gotten a brand-new iSonic or Falcon. I loved the Falcon 111 at the Windsurfing Magazine board test this spring, and loved Dani's new iSonic 90 even more when he let me try it a couple of weeks ago. But all the traveling that Nina and I did earlier this year has depleted the fun-funds severely. Even a used iSonic or Carbon Art board was more than I could afford, especially if you add a couple of hundred dollars for shipping. So when someone expressed interest in buying my old Bic Nova 120, and said he had a 95 l Hawk to sell for cheap, I was hooked. I had sailed 100 and 120 l Hawks from 2011 at WorldWinds in the spring, and loved the boards. The size I was looking for was 90-95 l (to fit in between my 82 and 110 l boards), so a Hawk 95 sounded just perfect.

The first thing to do, of course, was to look for test results. I found the 2006 test report from the German "surf" magazine, where the Hawk 95 got very high scores almost everywhere. More importantly, it scored very high in the speed, planing, and upwind categories, where it trailed only the fastest board in the test, a JP Super-X. Reading the report for the Super-X was even more fun. Here are a few descriptions from the Super-X writeup (with my approximate translations):

  • "sauschnell" (wicked fast)
  • "extrem hartes Fahrgefühl" (extremely hard ride)
  • "Wie man dann einen Spock zelebrieren soll, ist dem Testteam ein Rätsel" (its a mystery to the testers how to do a Spock on this board)
  • "Kontrolle ist keine Stärke" (control is not a strength of this board)
  • "In der Halse muss das Wasser spiegelglatt sein" (for jibes, the water has to be as smooth as glass)
I found it very refreshing to read such "clear" language in a test - you'd never see that in a US magazine. It made it easy to see that the Hawk was a better board for mixed conditions that sometimes might include serious chop.

After reading the test, I just had to drive out to swap my old Nova against the old Hawk at the next opportunity. Seeing the board in such poor cosmetic shape almost made me drive back without it - but the seller quickly drove to the next hardware store, got some rust remover, and slapped the pink acid stuff onto the board. It removed all the rust stains from the pads right away, and made decent progress on the rest of the board. After a second application and some brushing (don't ask about the brush!), the board started to look better, and I decided to take it home. The one advantage of all the stains was that I had to pay only $60 (plus the Nova). 

I spend a considerable part of Saturday afternoon cleaning the board up some more. On the bottom of the board, wet sanding with 1000 sand paper did the trick; on the top, I used some more rust remover. The ding stick also came out to fix a small harness-mark near the mast, and some wear on the nose - but now, the board is as good as any 5-year old board that has seen a bit of use. When I put it on the trailer, I discovered that the width of the board under the foot straps is rather narrow - narrower even than for the JP Super-X 82 which used to have its place on the trailer. I can't wait for the winds to pick up so that I can try it!
Disclaimer: It's been 7 days since I windsurfed the last time, 11 days since I was able to use something smaller than an 8.5 m sail, and 46 days since I planed on small gear, so withdrawal symptoms are setting in. I know that the situation has been even worse for some of my friends who had to spend the summer in New England, and hope that this post helps them forget their wind frustrations for a few minutes. Well, maybe I should not have added this disclaimer to remind them of their misery...


  1. Nice catch on the Hawk! Who knows when I'll ever get to actually sail my new board. I've had exactly 3 windsurfing days since I left Maui on July 16; a few people have managed to pick up p1 or 2 days more than that. There is no adjective to describe just how pathetic this summer hard been.

  2. Withdrawal! October first looks like the next event - I'm planning toughing it out with a low tide