Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2012 Skate & New Northsails ID

For those of you with A.D.D. or if you simply get bored of reading really fast, skip ahead to a quick clip I threw together today. It has a few shots of just the 99 ltr board and 5.0 ID sail. If you care about my impressions of the 2012 goodies, keep reading and watch the video at the end.

I was anticipating the new gear arrival for a long time now. And my excitement was at a level higher than I can remember in recent years to get my hands on the new gear. Why was the excitement about this years gear more than years past? Well, for one, the Skate, my favorite board of all time has changed in design for 2012. My anticipation for the new skate was mainly based around the fact that it didn't need it to get any better. I was just hoping that they didn't screw it up. But it wasn't just Fanatic that was throwing a new product into the lineup. Northsails also came out with a pair of new wave sails. They still have the Ice, and Duke. Now they have also introduced the Hero and ID for 2012. The Hero being a 4 batten wave sail and the ID being a very lightweight combination of the Ices and Dukes. A lighter version of my favorite sails, I think I'll take that one!!

So Now I've had a few sessions on the new boards and sails and have a good idea of the new gears capabilities. So lets start off with the boards. I know people are in love with their 2011 skates and everyone was just hoping that Fanatic didn't screw up a good thing. The First thing you'll notice about the new skate are the specs. The 99 ltr lost 1 ltr from last year but still has the same width as last year at 63.5. It is significantly shorter than the 2012 model at 228cm. It seems like the nose is also beefed up a bit from last year.

So how do these changes affect the performance of the 99 ltr. They don't!!! At least for your average Joe that buys the board for it's incredible freeride performance. It planes up at least as early as last year, has every bit of speed that last years board had and carves the same perfect jibe that the 2011 model did. So then what did these changes in the 2012 model do? Well, If you're like me and want to go crazy spending as much time spinning, sliding and flipping as possible, you'll be very happy on all 3 accounts. For moves like an Air Funnel, or Ponch it's absolutely amazing. The shorter length lets you rotate freely without the longer nose grabbing the water and stopping the rotation. With the beefed up nose, it also has less of a tendency to bury the nose at the end of a sliding trick, and spinning all the way through double and triple flakas has never been easier. Basically, if the Rodeo and Skate from 2011 had a baby, the 2012 Skate would be it. No matter what you want to do on this board, it will be more than capable.

I also have the 89 ltr model which in my oppinion has improved significantly over last years 90 ltr. The 90 ltr last year was a bit more dedicated to freestlye than the 2011 100 ltr. The 90 ltr didn't carve as well as I would have thought for it's size, but the new 89 ltr, put some turn back in the board. I couldn't get over how much fun I had playing with the 89 ltr and 4.5 in the shoulder high side-on waves at West Meadow. Then when it came time for a trick, it had every bit of speed, pop and control that I loved about the 90 ltr last year. Now the 89 ltr is also a board for everyone just like the 2011 100 ltr and its 2012 99 ltr brother.

For the sails, I have some Ices, Dukes and my new favorite ID. I haven't had much of a chance to try the Ices and Dukes, but the ID is absolutely amazing! I have the ID in 4.5, 5.0 and 5.4 sizes. The first thing you'll notice as soon as you pick up the sail is that it's light. Really light!!! The ID weighs the same as a 1.5 meter smaller Ice. So the 5.4 ID weighs the same as a 4.0 Ice!! And the weight savings isn't everything. The maneuverability and range of this sail is just incredible. I was switching back and forth between my 4.5 ID and 4.0 Ice one day, and the ID felt even more locked down than the Ice when it got overpowered. The draft just does not move around on the ID. There is still more than enough low end power there for anyone. Possibly even more than last year's Ice/Dukes. So if you're in the market for a new sail, and you want something easier to maneuver and super comfortable to sail, the ID is the way to go.

So how did the ID get so light? Well, mostly due to the new hi-tech material "ODL". There is still some x-ply on the ID in the areas that are "crash prone" like at the foot of the sail, but the ODL is used on most of the areas where the x=ply would be on the Ice. I did a little research on what exactly ODL is. Basically it's a laminate material, like x-ply, but using lighter weight materials. Technora seems to be the main ingredient. North has also added (or taken away) a few little weight savers compared to the Ice. The seems on the ID are single stitched, where on the Ice and Duke there is a double stitch. There is still protection on the backside of the batten tensioners to protect against wear while rigging, but instead of the usual full plastic backing, there is only a small strip of plastic. It still looks like it should do the job. They also dropped the double clew grommet from the ID. Honestly this thing has so much range, that I'm not sure you'd really need it. Other than that, the ID is pretty similar to the Ice. Really great handling, lots of range and just plain fun to sail only in a significantly lighter package.

Also, if you're into freestyle the ID does the duck moves unlike anything I've sailed. You just duck and put the sail where you want it. I made more Air Funnels and Bobs in my first session on the 5.0 ID and 99 ltr skate than the past 2 months of sailing combined! For freestyle, there is no comparison and you shouldn't even think twice about the ID. For everyone else, will you like the ID better than the Ice or Duke? Of course. But will it be worth the $100.00 premium over the Ice? That's up to you. For me it sure is.

I had a little downtime this morning, so I decided to make a quick little video with some of the details of the Skate and ID. I know I repeated a few shots, but when I was trying to find out more about the boards and sails, those were the things that I wanted to see the most. Enjoy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gorge: Full Power

I've been windsurfing for well longer than 1/2 my life. I've been traveling on windsurfing vacations for the past 15 years. Naturally people just assume I've been to the Gorge. When I tell them I've never been, I always get a glance followed by, "Yooouuu've never been to the Gooorge?" Sorry to say I have not. It's not that I didn't want to try it out, it's just that the stars never aligned.

While we were on our spring trip to Hatteras, the chatter started about a possible summer trip to the Gorge. Chachi was with us on the trip and all he kept talking about was how much fun the Gorge was and how windy it was in the summer. A time of year when a windy day is really hard to come by in the North East. Especially this year. So the thought was placed in my head, and as the windless June carried on, serious talks about the Gorge began. Ryan and Kerry were first to jump on board with the trip. That was enough for me. Our Jet Blue tickets were in my e-mail the next day!

On the flight Christina and I were filled with great expectations from all the hype at home. I caught a few z's on the plane while thinking of the huge jumps I'd take at the Hatchery that I've heard so much about. Since we arrived during the night we didn't get to see the beautiful ladscape that surrounded Hood River, the town we were staying in, and the US Mecca of windsurfing. Ryan and Kerry already flew in the night before, so Ryan was eager to show me around town. There are more windsurf shops per square block in Hood River than there are Delis in Brooklyn. It was like waking up in a candy store. the second I walked out of the Hood river Hotel, I could already see Big Winds, and The Gorge Surf shop. Up the hill was Windance and a million other places to spend all the money I had. Seeing the look on my face, Christina decided to hold onto my wallet for the remainder of the trip.

The plan for the first day was to try out the event site for some freestyle , then sail upwind to the hatch. I was told it's an easy sail about a mile upwind. It turns out it was a very easy sail about a mile upwind. The problem was that the wind came up another notch and my 4.2 was becoming a bit of a handful. Combine that with a strong current that runs against the wind, and going downwind in the Gorge is waaayyyyy harder than going upwind. It's the first place I've ben where the walk of shame starts upwind every time!

Day 2 we decided to go straight for the Hatch. The launch there was a little tricky as you had to walk down slippery rocks and hop a fishing net after you were on the board. Tyson showed up a little after we did and the place turned into a freestyle arena! Tyson would throw a loop, so I would try to go bigger! Then a shaka, so I would try again to go bigger! I couldn't really say that I did, but we were both going huge! Then there it was, the perfect ramp for the biggest shaka I've ever done. A little over head high and coming at a slight angle. Perfect! I hit the ramp with full speed, launched way into the air. High enough to watch someone's headcap sail by below me. Everything was perfect, then as I was floating down from the heavens, the wind decided to take a time out. Just for a split second, but it was long enough for me to get too far over the rig and now I was no longer floating down from the heavens, but falling like a meteor. I braced for impact and there it middle panel in teh 4.7 that is. I was fine, but my favorite sail ever was in desperate need of repair. no big deal. I knew exactly where to bring it. The same place I would be picking up my 4.2 from the previous day. Good old Olaf to the rescue! He does some nice sail repair work!

In all honesty, I didn't really care for the sailing at the Hatch. We sailed there 3 times and all 3 days it was just overcrowded, voodoo chop central. far and few real ramps for jumping, and just an absolute mess of chop. Picture the heckscher chop, with mid summer boa traffic, that's about 2 feet taller. I'm not planning on going there again unless it's the only place there's wind.

After the session at the hatch, it was out to Doug's Beach. This place was BY FAR my favorite spot. It had stronger wind like at the Hatch, but also had smooth water for freestyle on either side of the river. For the last few days, I didn't even bother going anywhere else, even though the wind was stronger elsewhere. It was just day after day of the same thing. It's the only trip I've been on where we weren't alway rushing to the water at teh first sign of a whitecap. We knew it would be there later. All in all, we sailed 9 of the 10 days we were there, all on 4.7 or less. The plans for Gorge trip next summer are in the works.

We also had a blast white water rafting while we were there, and horseback riding, where Chrissy's horse was spooked by a bear. Yes everything in the Gorge is Full Power!

Flaka :Full Power!

White water rafting for beginners in the Gorge. That's my red paddle on the far right trying to breathe.

Shaka at Doug's. 3.7 Full Power!

Spocking my way though the jibatorium at the Hatch

Shaka at the hatch

Rocky launch at the hatch

Me and Ryan stoked after a full day of sailing

here's your sign


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Naughty or Nice?

It's that time of year when all the shops, and team Riders make their wish list for the next years gear. The closest thing that I can compare this time of year to is when I was much younger than I am now, and I was making out my Christmas list and sending it off to Santa. Every year I would hope that I was a good enough little boy to get all those things I had asked for on my list. It's almost the same exact feeling now while I'm placing my 2012 gear order. I know Santa's little elves have been watching me all year long and I just hope they haven't seen me causing all sorts of trouble this year.

Now the second part of the wish list is trying to go through that giant toy catalog and only choose the very few toys that you want the most. Well, the newest toy catalog offered by North Sails has simply made it very difficult to figure out which toys to choose. I want them all!!!! I was all set to order up the usual Ices and Dukes, but wait, there's a Hero and ID. So now I have to ask myself, what kind of a boy will I be this year. A hardcore wave sailor or a freestyle wizard. The reality always sets in that I live in NY where there are no good waves, at least not often enough to justify a true wave quiver, like the full x-ply Ice. So I always wind up choosing the sails that suit freestyle the best. So it's usually 5.3 and down Ices and a 5.9 Duke, but it's North's newest creation, the ID that I truly have my eyes set on. The ID stands for Ice/Duke which is an incredibly light version of those sails. It's an Ice from 5.0 down and a Duke from the 5.4 up. Ready for the bombshell.......the 2012 5.0 ID is the same exact weight of the 2012 3.4 Ice!! And the Ice already lost some weight from 2011! North is using a new material for them in the ID sails. On the website they openly offer up that it's true that due to the new material that the norths aren't covered under the typical 5 year warranty. But, considering the new material that isn't making par on Norths 5 year warranty is the same material that all those Ezzy riders rave about in quality, there's no doubt in my mind that these sails will have a nice long life to them as well.

So my wish list for 2012 is 6.4, 5.4, 5.0, 4.5 ID and 4.0 and 3.7 Ice (dear santa, maybe have your elves make a 4.0 and 3.7 ID next year)

Well, the sails were difficult enough, but now I have to chose boards! This was actually a no-brainer. The pair of 2011 skates I have right now are the best boards I've ever used in my life! Please sir may I have another. The 2012 Fanatic Skate Team edition in the 89 and 99 versions better be in Santa's sleigh.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Makani Fins Wave Xperience

Makani Fins not only have some really great products, (Makani is all I'm using now) but they are really into the sport and seeing it grow. I've talked to the Makani guys about starting events, and I'v seen them have some great clinics in the past. So check out the latest clinic in Hatteras.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Windsurfing IS a drug!

It's not so easy to have a drug addiction. Sure it ruins lives, and could cost the user their family, friends and even their own lives. Not so different from windsurfing really. Without wind, the windsurfer will get cranky, fidgety, and start lashing out at friends and family, kinda like a crackhead that hasn't had his fix. But, at least the local crackhead can go get his fix at will, provided he hasn't spent all his money on heroin.

The past month has been rehab for all the windsurfers in New England. At first, the lack of wind this spring/summer had all the local bloggers whining and crying. I could have sworn I drove past Michael Alex (Peconic Puffin) on a street corner with his hand reaching out, trying to feel the breeze coming off of the passing cars. Yes indeed, we were all in some serious need of a taste of our preferred substance, wind. But as the weeks of no wind went on, the whining started to stop. The complaining started dying down and we started to set into the reality that there just isn't any more wind. Our bodies got used to not windsurfing, not feeling the spray from the water splashing against our ankles while speeding across the water. We were finally free of the NEED to sail. The Need to fly through the air. The Need to be truly free by throwing all of our cares into the wind and not worrying about anything other than the moment we were in. Windsurfers all over New England overcame their addiction and triumphed from the forced rehabilitation that mother nature forced on us.

Until Monday and Tuesday. Like the most masterful drug dealer in the land, Aeolus (greek wind god) knew exactly who to pray on, and what to deal out to make the most impact to get people back using again. Not only was Aeolus dealing some wind, but it was in it's most potent form. It was between 20 and 30 mph! Now just after one taste, Windurfers in New york, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are back off the wagon and waiting for the next fix, which looks to be on Sunday. So when, you're windurfing friend blows off the BBQ on Sunday, or suddenly becomes ill and can't make it to work on Monday, it was because they needed the next fix. Yes sir, we are using again, and it's never felt so good.

Guilty as charged.

Look out Johnny, that's my wind!

Flying high!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hatteras 2011

It's been a couple weeks since we got back from our annual spring trip to Cape Hatteras. It's taken us this long to recover from all the sailing we did there. We managed to get 15 out of the 17 days and I didn't need anything bigger than the 5.3. There were more than enough 3.7 days to get really dialed into those conditions. One day Chris Eldridge and I did an upwinder from Ocean Air all the way to the Windsurfing Magazine house which was all the way down by the Canadian Hole. Later on that week Windsurfing Mag dumped off about a dozen 100 to 120 ltr boards at our house to finish up the photoshoot. I rode a Fanatic Falcon that they dropped off that would simply blow right past anything else on the water. That was before really sheeting in! It was a great trip with great friends and I'm really looking forward to our next Hatteras trip. Here's a few clips of one of the days I was on the 4.2 ice & 90 ltr skate.

A Few Clips From Hatteras from Mike Burns on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Freestyle Board Reviews

First off I'm and expert freestyler that weighs between 165-170 lbs. (75 kilos for our friends across the pond) I've sailed all of the boards I'm reviewing From Long Island, to Cape Hatteras and Bonaire, so I've got a real feel for all of them. (with the exception of the JP 98) I've sailed more freestyle boards than anyone else I know. I've also owned more freestyle boards form different brands over the past year than most magazines that do write ups on freestyle boards. So I figured I'd help some of you guys looking for a freestyle board know the strong points and weaknesses of those boards I've owned. So what boards are they, the 2011 Fanatic Skate 90ltr and 100ltr, 2010 JP Freestyle 89ltr and 98ltr, 2010 F2 Rodeo, and 2009 Mistral Joker. I've had plenty of time on each of these in all sorts of conditions so here are my views of each.

First off, the 2009 Mistral Joker. I'm including this one in the reviews even though it's a couple years old. This was the board that changed what freestyle boards are supposed to be. Gone were the slow, totally dedicated freestyle boards of the past. Those boards were great for sliding backwards, but the 2009 joker is simply a great all around board. It is fast, easy to sail, and has very good carving ability. It also feels much smaller than it's 99 ltrs. The tail of the Joker (along with the JP) has a little less volume than other freestyle boards, so it's a little less stable to learn the sliding maneuvers. That said, it will slide though any 360 type trick without ever catching the rail. It's thick rails up by the mast track help to skip sideways over even steep chop. It's also very good at tricks you need to carve into like shakas and ponches. All in all, it's better at the more advanced set of tricks than vulcans. In 2009, this blew everything else off the water. It just did all the tricks I needed to learn better than the other boards in 2009 and it also was great as a large wave board. However that was 2009 and this is 2 years later. The other brands took note and have improved on a great design.

Next on the list is the 2010 F2 Rodeo 98. It's basically the same exact board as the 2011. All they did was move the fin box a tiny bit forward for 2011. This is a great freestyle board. Definitely one of my personal favorites. When you first try the board it will feel a bit weird because at only 225cm and all that volume in such a short board, it's kind of directionally unstable. But once you get it figured out, which took me about 2 sessions, you'll be loving life. The Rodeo is tied with the Skate in the early planing department. It will pop up on a plane much faster than most of the other boards and will blow away ANY freestyle/wave in planing. It's also a very fast board. Faster than freestyle/waves and the 09 Joker. The pop of the Rodeo is incredible, and sliding afterwards is very fast. Also having all that volume packed under your feet makes the board easy to cheat throgh the end of a move that would other wise go under water. The one drawback to the Rodeo is the jibing/wave riding. It's very short and thick rails don't make for a good carving board. It will fly through jibes, but they will always have a wide arc. It also makes the board harder to learn shakas and other moves that require a really hard fast carve to initiate. I really do like the rodeo and would recommend it as a close second to the skate. So the strong points of the Rodeo are planing popping and spinning. The weakness is carving.

Third up is the duo of the JPs. I list them both because the JP 89 and 98 don't really sail like the same board at all. First is the 89 ltr. The 89 is a shaka machine. It's simply incredible at doing shakas. You can screw it up so bad and because of the amount of rocker the board has, there is a huge sweet spot where you can land a shaka. The downside, is the board suffers a bit at all the other tricks. It's thin and narrow tail helps carving, but if you're looking for forgiveness in the sliding tricks, look at the Rodeo or Skate. That said, it can easily spock, flaka and go for switch stance tricks. Another thing I found interesting about the board is it's range on the high end. I'e taken this board out in well over 30 knots many times and really didn't want anything smaller. I was really surprised as to how much wind the 89 ltr could handle for it's size. The oh so obvious strong point of the 89 ltr is its shaka-ability. It's obvious that the 89 was designed specifically with this move in mind. There really aren't any real weaknesses of the JP 89. It doesn't offer as much stability or early planing ability as the 90 ltr skate. It will still do all the tricks just fine, just not quite as easily as the skate 90. I would recommend the JP 89ltr as THE board to learn a shaka on. If you really want to crack that move, the JP is the king. If you're looking for a board that offers a more rounded freestyle ability, look at the skate. But if you're looking for an easier sailing, earlier planing, faster version of the JP freestyle/wave this is for you.

The 98 ltr JP is next on the list. This is the only one I didn't actually own, and for a reason. For advanced freestyle, it's just not cutting it. It planes nice and early and has a great feel while sailing. But after sailing the 89 ltr, I was expecting a lot more out of the 98 ltr JP. A buddy of mine had it out that doesn't do freestyle before I tried it and he mentioned the lack of pop. I figured he just didn't know how, but when I got on it, I was surprised how much effort it took to get this board out of the water. Then once going backwards, it kept hooking up in the slides. It as really hard to pull off a funnel for me unless it was perfect. It's almost like it only wants to vulcan while you're sliding backwards. Getting the 360 out of it was really hard. Strong points of the 98 would be planing and a lively ride. It's really a great freeride board, not a freestyler. Weaknesses: everything freestyle.

Now on to my current boards and hands down favorites. The skate 90ltr and 100ltr. One thing about this pair of boards that I noticed right off the bat. The 100 ltr has more rocker than the 90. I was wondering why you'd change up a boards rocker so much only one size away from each other. The short answer, when switching back and forth from the 90 to the 100, all the moves require the same body weight distribution. Last year was hard for me when I was switching back and forth between my 98 ltr Rodeo and 89 ltr JP. I'd spend 1/2 the day learning the board, before I could start making progress on the tricks. With the pair of skates, I can go back and forth without any kind of change in my posture or weight distribution in the tricks. Fanatic really nailed both designs.

The Skate 90 ltr: It does EVERYTHING very, very well. Every trick you try will be easy and the planing of the 90 ltr is truly remarkable. I was out-planing guys on 5.3s and 100 ltr boards. It planes up much earlier than the JP 89, but I think it will have a more limited top end to it. And although shakas are easy enough on the board, you need to land them right to make them nice. The skate won't self-shaka like the JP does. But for every other trick in the book, the fanatic has the edge. The JP 89 also has a little better carving ability than the 90 ltr skate because the rocker is just so flat. But that flat rocker is just insanely fast. you'll blow any of the freestyle/waves out there away with this thing. And all that speed translates into explosive tricks. It's no wonder Gollito can do 4 or 5 moves in a single sequence. The speed just carries right through. The strong points of the 90 ltr skate are planing, speed and spin-ability. Weaknesses are lacking. It doesn't shaka as well as the JP 89, but certainly isn't any harder than the other boards in the review.

Skate 100 ltr: My favorite board of all time! It planes like no other, it pops like no other and can actually rip through a regular old carve jibe. If there is a weakness to the 100 ltr skate, I certainly haven't found it. It will slide through every transition with ease. If you were to take all the best qualities form the other boards and pack them into one design, this would be it. It even shakas as easily as the 89 JP. The outline and rocker combo of the skate makes for a fast, easy carving freestyle machine. This board is also great for those guys not even doing freestyle. it's just a great back and forth blaster as well. My favorite tricks are air funnels, bobs and shakaflakas, but when I let a buddy of mine use it, he was raving over how well it just jibes, and donkey jibes. I would not only recommend this board to guys for their 100ltr freestyle board, but to anyone looking for a 100ltr freestyle board. Weakness: I've got to keep looking.

If you're still with me, here's a list of some qualities that people are looking for in a freestyle board. I'll rate the boards in the order from #1 to last in the order that they perform.

Early Planing
#1 Skate 100 /Rodeo 98
#2 Skate 90
#3 JP 98
#4 Joker 99/JP 89

#1 Skate 90
#2 JP 89
#3 Skate 100/ Rodeo 98
#4 Joker 99
#5 JP 98

#1 Skate 100/ Rodeo 98
#2 Skate 90
#3 Joker 99
#4 JP 89
#5 JP 98 (not a typo, the 89 ltr has much more pop than the 98ltr)

Sliding Control (ability to control the speed of a slide once you start a 360 like in a spock)
#1 Skate 100
#2 Skate 90
#3 joker 99
#4 JP 89
#5 Rodeo 98 (only goes fast)
#6 JP 98 (only goes slow)

Sliding Stability (how far out of that perfect position can you be before the tail goes under during moves like a spock)
#1 Rodeo 98
#2 Skate 100
#3 Joker 99
#4 Skate 90
#5 JP 89
#6 JP 98

Carving for trick (like a shaka)
#1 Jp 89
#2 Skate 100
#3 Joker 99
#4 Skate 90
#5 JP 98/ Rodeo 98

Carving for a jibe
#1 Skate 100/Joker99
#2 Skate 90/JP 89
#3 JP 98
#4 Rodeo 98

Ability in High winds
#1 JP 89
#2 Skate 90
#3 Joker 99/ Skate 100/JP 98
#4 Rodeo 98

What board will I like if I'm switching from a freestyle wave?

#1 Skate 100
#2 Skate 90/ JP 89/ Joker 99
#3 JP 98
#4 Rodeo 98

Wave Ability
#1 Skate 100 / Joker 99/ JP 89
#2 Skate 90/ JP 98
#3 Rodeo 98

If there's anything I'm leaving out, or if you have any questions about any of these boards, just let me know.

Happy sailing,


Thursday, March 3, 2011

East Coast Windsurfing Festival 2011 is a go!!!

We just got word back from the parks dept. that the 4th annual East Coast Windsurfing Festival is a go. Mark your calendars for June 11th and 12th and expect the usual big turnout with lots of action and fun. I'll be updating the ECWF website as soon as I get a chance, but I wanted to let everyone know the official dates as soon as I could.

A few shots from last year's event.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bonaire 2011

There's nothing I look forward to more than our trip to Bonaire every winter. We get to leave the cold and ice and head to paradise. This year in Bonaire the wind was a little on the light side. That being said, I did manage to plane every day for 2 weeks on my 5.9 or 5.3 and 100 ltr Skate. You had to get on it early though as most days the wind would die off by 10AM. The 3 best days of the trip were the first 3 days of the trip. Full power 5.3 all day every day. After that it was usually get up at 7:30 get to the beach at 8am, sail the morning session and come in for lunch. Then proceed straight to the Amstel brights and sangrias. Hanging out on the beach with our family and friends rally make the trip what it is. even without much wind there were smiles all around and nobody wanted to come home.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Fanatic Skate first impressions

Yesterday looked to be a nice windy day and almost above freezing. So with my brand new set of Fanatic Skates I headed to the Training Grounds with George and Joe. Chris showed up later on after my run in with the crazy bible lady, ( another story in itself). As I pulled up, George was finishing up rigging his 5.3 which looked to be the call. The wind was a little too far west to get a clean fetch, so a bigger sail would hopefully get us through the lulls.

George was on and off a plane so I rigged up my 5.3 as well on my 100 ltr Skate. Right off the beach I could tell that this board was going to be one of the greats. After a few runs I was really getting it dialed in. It planes very early. It pops very well, at least as good as the rodeo. The thing that I liked most about it is that it was so settled when sailing along in a straight line. Not bouncy or weird to control. Just ready to pull off the next trick whenever I was. The last board to really pull off the ease of sailing like this was the 2009 Mistral Joker which George happened to be sailing right next to me. We swapped for comparison and George said the same thing. It's a lot like the Joker but more stable.

For carving, the 100 ltr skate was really well mannered and would make the short, sharp turns into a shaka really well without a hint of sliding out. I even made a few regular old jibes on it, and I have to say it's holds the rail really well, and planing out of a jibe has never been easier.

For the sliding tricks, you won't find a better board. The first flaka I tried actually bounced me in the air around the second part of the 360 landing fully planing. So needless to say, a true double flaka is a piece of cake with Skate if you can already get the board in the air after the first one. Sliding a spock doesn't get any easier. It likes coming into a spock with the toeside rail landing first. Some boards like being landed flatter to spin, like the rodeo. Anyway, it spins so freaking easy I kept ending up with a 540 instead of a 360 without trying. I made a few grubbies I would have crashed on any other board with. So the 2011 skate is hands down the easiest sliding board I've tried and very, very forgiving if you mess up a little.

In the air, it was very controllable for the shakas and ponches I tried. Not quite as fast through a ponch rotation as the rodeo, but definitely better than the JP of equal size. Even on the sketchy landings from under rotated shakas, the board slid into the 360, where the Rodeo never would have and JP would have just stopped dead.

I would highly recommend the Skate. There just doesn't seem to be any weakness to the board. Other boards seem to be very strong at certain tricks, while not so hot with others. The 2011 Skate seems to do it all, and do it better. Anyone thinking about a freestyle board would be very happy with the Skate and I'm sure it will impress you more than expected. It definitely gave me more than I thought it would. There are areas where other boards might barely beat out the skate, but as a whole, the Skate is the best all around. I'll have side by side comparisons with the skate, Rodeo, JP, and 2009 Mistral Joker as soon as I have a chance to sail the skate in different types of conditions.

I'd like to end with a great quote form a very wise individual that showed me the light (skate)

"Any day of sailing is a GREAT day of sailing." - Andy Brandt

I'd like to add any great day of sailing is even better with a 2011 Fanatic skate.

Happy Sailing.


Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 fanatic skate is here!

After months of drooling over pictures on the internet of the 2011 skate, a pair of the sexiest freestyle boards I've ever seen have finally arrived And they're all mine! I got a 90 ltr and 100 ltr. I'm planning on doing a nice review and comparison between the recent boards I've owned. So look for an in depth comparison of the 2011 skate, 2010 JP Freestyle, 2010 F2 Rodeo, and the 2009 Mistral Joker (I know it's not a "new" board but it is still very popular and has a good following) I took a few pics of the skate because I'm in the middle of a snow storm and I was tired of looking at the same old ones on the internet. You can look too if you want.