Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OBX Challenge 2012

Any trip to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina is always a good one. When you get a bunch of pro freestylers together, it gets even better. Thanks to Makani Fins and Ocean Air Sports for getting this together. The event was April 19th to the 21st and the video focuses on the Makani Team Riders Mike Burns, Jon Sassone, and Tyson Poor.


  1. Sweet pro skills, both windsurfing and editing!!!

  2. nice vid Mike. if we put aside selling boards for a minute- how much difference does a pure freestyle board make over a fsw for getting into the sliding tricks?

  3. Thanks!

    If you're even thinking about getting into freestyle, a freestyle board is the way to go! There's also a good chance that a freestyle board is the way to go if you're not thinking about getting into freestyle. Some of them are even better for just plain blasting in flat water than their FSW counterparts.

    It's a different world being on a freestyle board compared to a freestyle wave when trying to learn a new trick. Don't get me wrong, a fsw will still be able to do the tricks, but it will take 3 times longer for you to learn anything. Considering it takes most dedicated freestylers a full year before they land their first vulcan, a few can make thing take excruciatingly longer.

    A freestyle wave is working against you in a couple ways.

    1) The obvious reason of different volume distributions between the types of boards. A freestyle board is designed to put enough volume under the back of the board so that when the rider is in the straps and not fully planing, the tail will still float. Nothing is more frustrating than nearly landing a new trick, but then not having the float in the board where you need it to sail away from it.

    2) Freestyle boards have thicker rails than few boards. During sliding tricks a FSW will catch soooo much chop while sliding that it really makes sliding through any trick in any amount of chop that much more difficult.

    3) Something that people see happening, but don't really understand until they are sailing a dedicated freestyle board. You can use a smaller sail on a freestyle board in the same wind you'd need a larger sail to get going on a FSW. They do plane up that much quicker (at least the good ones anyway) Using a smaller sail size means easier rig control. The single most cause of a person to crash while learning to vulcan is getting the clew stuck in the water. It's going into the water because you have too much power to control in the sail. If there isn't so much pressure in the sail in the first place causing it to get pushed where you don't want it to go, the more likely you are to make a trick. There's a good reason that the freestyle guys are using smaller sails than everyone else, and it's not because they like to sail with less power. It's because they get the same feeling of power much earlier because they get going much earlier.

    So yes a freestyle board will help out tremendously when learning freestyle. And sailing a freestyle board isn't the compromise it used to be. They are faster than freestyle waves (rockers are usually adapted from the slalom lines), Even the junkiest of modern freestyle boards will still plane up MUCH earlier than any FSW and they are plenty easy to sail. I've even taken mine into the waves and have had a good time.

    If you have any questions about a specific board, I'd be more than happy to help.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks Mike. The only time I got to try some true freestyle boards was the windsurf mag '10 board tests in hatteras. We had a 98L skate and jp with 4.x sails while the other 120L freeride and fsw boards had > 5.8m^2 sails. I was amazed how well these 2 boards planed so I certainly agree with your 3rd point.

      My 09 kode sounds like the anti freestyle setup but I've been using it for tons of lightwind freestyle. I think starting in '10 they moved more volume to the tail supporting your 1st point. I remember the freestyle boards were like standing on a SUP- crazy stable. And to your 2nd point the kode rips on the sharp rails but sub-planing in the straps you sink the tail if you don't have your weight wayyy forward.

      I'm 150lbs and on a lake with fluky light wind most of the time. Should I consider ~110L or ~100L? I'll be on a 85L wave board in high wind. I read your reviews from '11. Thanks for that too.

  4. At 150 lbs, you probably don't need a 110 ltr. That will also be a big jump to get to your 85 ltr. A 99 ltr Skate would probably do the trick. If you're sailing a 6.9 a lot, then think about the 110, but I'm good with my 5.4 North ID and 99 ltr Skate as soon as it hits a solid 15 mph. Then 19 or 20 mph and it's full power 5.0!!! I'm about 165 lbs by the way.

    1. very nice video & freestyle ! - thanks for sharing

    2. Mike,
      Is it realistic to use a 6.9 for sliding freestyle on a light puffy lake? In other words are there folks making it work in 5-13 mph?

    3. Yes! One of the most fun days of my life was just after I learned to vulcan. I was on my 6.9 Northsails Volcano and F2 Air at West Dennis Beach in Cape Cod. The Cape Cod locals were out ripping it up and we were just having a blast! The 6.9 Northsails Volcano was the first sail I ever made a planing duck tack on and if you're just learning vulcans, spocks and willie skippers, a 6.9 is definitely a doable setup. (I can loop, spock, flaka my 8.2 on the 128ltr without many issues) It's learning the new school power moves that you need smaller gear for.

      That said, I can plane on my 5.4 and 99 ltr in 15 mph, so to get a whole 6.9 setup for me to only plane in 2 less mph, is not worth having (although I did take it out in Cape hatteras one day and had a blast). But then, usually the wind here on Long Island is either over 15 or single digits. But if 6.9, is you're sail of choice, don't be hesitant to try new tricks. Any time trying something new will make you better than if you never tried at all. If anything, it makes things easier when you switch to a smaller sail. And the main thing is time on the water. He with the most water time wins!!! So 10 6.9 days are still way better than no 5.4 days! And if you are using a 6.9 a lot, it's worth having a 110 ltr freestyle board. A 109 will still have pop with a 6.9 where you'll loose it with a 99 ltr.

      Also, if you're not planing (under 12 knots) there's no point in rigging up a 6.9. Take a 4.7 out for light wind practice and you'll have a much better time.

    4. (mostly way)Under 12 kts is dominant once the water gets warm enough for trunks. I've been using my 122L SUP or 112L fsw for this really light stuff. As you say the 110L freestyle won't really help with this. I sold my 7.5 rig yesterday so 5.8 is my biggest now. I'll just have to see what kind of pop I can get with the 430 mast.

  5. hello mike..sorry for the longest comment in your blog :D..even that am not registered to this blog but i really enjoy googling ur name and reading your blogs about equipment and sessions
    am not even as 25% as good u guys are but i think that in this clip there is a diffrence between the level of the US freestylers and the european ones ... i think that the european guys have more fluid style...after all who am i to make such a judge!!!so what do you think
    any way i dont know if you remember me but i am the libyan guy who asked you some months ago about the prices of the fanatic skate 2010
    as there are only few windsurfers and no windsurfing shops in libya that means that the chances to get a board are almost non.not to mention the price tag!!!
    any way after alot of searching and waiting i think that i may get the chance to get a 2012 tabou and before yesterday i knew nothing about Tabous so i told myself that Mike is the best one to ask
    my questions are how good is tabou ? am looking for something to use all around the year in flat and choppy water..maybe some small waves as well with windrange from 14 to 35 knots(yea because i only can afford about 900 dollars)and i want to use it to learn basic freestyle tricks and to blast with speed + jumping and maybe try a forward loop with....yea i can see that am very very very demanding
    i tried alot to get a fanatic skate 100 but i wasnt lucky enough
    now my chances are Tabou twister 100,3S 96 or a kode 103 from 2010
    between the standard edition and LTD edition which one will last longer and stand jumping and crashing impact better
    i weight some where between 158 and 165 pounds and ive been using an RRD avante move 95lt and now am stuck on a bic techno 283 from 2002
    thanx alot for your help and patience

  6. Hey Mahmoud. Now it's your turn to stick with me. I think the clip doesn't really show what the US freestylers can really do. Basically the entire clip was taken from a 15 minute heat during the competition. Normally when your watching videos they shoot for at least a full session. That's why I have to laugh when I see a 1 minute long clip on you tube. It means that's all they could land! The rest of the time they were crashing. We put together a 5 minute clip from 1 camera and 3 sailors with 15-20 minutes of total footage! I know guys that shoot hours of footage to try and catch a single move to put into a video.

    Here's a clip of Bryan Metcalf Perez freesailing: Keep in mind, Tyson, Rob and other guys can beat him in competition https://vimeo.com/30746276

    I'm heading out to the Gorge this summer, where hopefully Tyson and the west coast guys will be sailing. Then we'll see what you have to say about the differences in styles.

    For boards, I haven't tried the tabou recently so I can't say for sure. Didn't like the old ones from 2 or 3 years ago at all.

  7. yea then both of us are agreed that this video doesnt show what those guys can do....and thanx for the explanation of how the clips are devided on many sessions....to be honest if i videoed all my session the best thing u will find on would be a curve gybe and some 360s attemps
    sure i will be waiting for George clips as i love this place....never been there but love it
    thanx alot for ur advice mike

  8. Yeah I an't wait to get out to the Gorge! The problem is finding someone to video. By the time we get a day that would be good for taping, nobody wants to sit around and do the video taping. Myself included. You need 5.0 or better sailing to learn the "power moves" like burners and konos. This entire month we only had 1 day like that. And typically we only get 3 or 4 days per month with strong enough wind to take out the 5.0 or smaller. Well at least until we get to winter time. Then we get lots of wind, but it's hard to get a go for it attitude when it's snowing and you can't stop your eyes from watering because of the cold. Anyway, get that freestyle board and start going for it!