Friday, November 15, 2013

Mike Burns - Air Funnel, Burner, Burner Soloshot test

So I picked up a Soloshot tripod head figuring I could use it in the wedding world, but you need to be too far away from the receiver to have it work in the wedding environment. But it's perfect for windsurfing!!! It's a little tricky to set up, and I when it was blowing a solid 4.5, it was hard for me to suck it up and get the thing all set up and "paired" with the transmitter. In the end, the soloshot worked perfect!!! I just had a little trouble with one of the tripod legs sinking into the sand while I was pairing the unit so the balance was off and the shot was a little off on the outside. Next time I know what to look for and It'll be perfect!! Oh, and the trip to the Gorge this summer totally paid off for learning how to do burners....... Amazing what a difference a week in perfect conditions can make..... Since then I've just been getting them dialed in.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Gorge 2013

The Gorge has quickly become one of my favorite spots I've ever been too. We were there only once before about 2 years ago and scored 9 out of 10 days on sails between 3.7 and 4.7. This year we hit the Gorge for 8 days. The first five days were on 4.0 (Two days because I didn't have a 3.0) and the last 3 on 4.5. We had wind every day. Christina, my wife, volunteered to pick up the camera a few times and got some classic Gorge type footage. I love watching Gorge videos knowing how difficult the conditions can be, but at the same time always having full power winds. Finally when I got used to going straight downwind all the time just to stay in the same spot on the river it was time to come home. I'm so gonna end up downwind next time we sail here in New York.

The Gorge 2013 - Mike Burns from Mike Burns on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The big 2013 Freestyle Board Review (100 ltr boards)

It was a little over 2 years ago when I decided to share my experiences with different freestyle boards to help give everyone looking for a board a little direction to what would fit them best. Two years later, I'm still getting questions extremely frequently about which board someone should buy, or how a certain board would perform like that person is expecting. Well, in chatting with Pete Dekay over at Windsport Magazine, we decided it was time for an updated list of freestyle boards. A 2013 Freestyle Board test NEEDED to be done. So through all of our available resources we were able to gather a really nice group of boards to test. We were also able to gather a wide range of testers for the official Windsport Magazine test. The results below are based on what I found personally along with talking with other testers. The testing was done in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina which has small chop. Just big enough to catch an edge if the rails are too sharp, and just perfect for for popping some nice height on the moves. The perfect real world testing grounds. No butter flat spot behind a sand bar where you could pop and spin the front door to your house. So the stage was set, and the wind more than cooperated. The wind ranged from low 5 meter sails to very powered 4.5 which would be about 16 to 25 knots. Perfect for the 100 ltr sizes.

So what boards were tested? They were all 2013!!

Fanatic Skate 99 TE

Fanatic Skate 100 Biax/glass

Starboard Flare 101 - Check out my updated review of the 2015 Starboard Flare (My new board of choice)

JP Freestyle 100

Goya AIR 99

Naish Freestyle 100

Tabou Twister 100

I'll start off with a short rundown of the overall performance and my impression of all the boards. Then I'll rate them in order in the different categories that would interest guys looking into the boards, like early planing, pop, sliding, etc. I do have to say that we were all expecting some things from certain boards, but then after sailing got a totally different reaction. So to start off, I'll go with the pair of Skates.


For 2013 Fanatic decided that both of their newer designs were so successful that they would go ahead and just make both! The Fanatic skate 100 is and incredible freestyle board that offers extremely early planing, really good spinning, a very comfortable ride, and maybe the best board to nail your first jibe in all the world. It was by far my favorite board in the last test I published and is still right there in the top of the pack. It's a step down in performance form the 99 ltr TE which is a slightly more radical design. Compared to the 99 ltr which is a more compact shape, the 100 ltr is a more slidey board than air type board. So the 100 ltr really likes the spocks, flakas, and grubbies along with all those carving style ricks like donkey jibes and such. For burners, air funnels, air flakas, ponches, and the like, the 99 ltr TE is the pick for sure.

2013 Fanatic Skate 99 TE

What can I say.... The 100 ltr was my past test favorite. When Fanatic updated the design to the 99 ltr it only got better! This board was the earliest planing and one of the most comfortable to ride board in the test in a straight line. The pop and sliding of the 99 ltr is just incredible! Double and triple moves are ready to go on this board if you're up for it. Even if you're not up for bouncing around more than once per trick, the 99 ltr will slide like a dream for the vulcans, then it will spin through a spock without catching a rail even with some chop. The balance of the board is perfect. So when you're rotating, whether it's in sliding across the water, or spinning through the air, the board won't pull you forward or back, and the wider nose keeps it from getting buried if you get your weight too far forward which was happening on some of the other boards. Even though the 99 ltr Skate was ready for well.....Gollito, those that were only interested in going back and forth with some jibing found it to be among the top, if not the best in the test for that too. I should also mention that the 99 ltr was the easiest board in the test to maintain speed on while going for switch stance tricks, which didn't surprise me since it was also the earliest planing and one of the fastest boards in the test. After falling in love with the 100 ltr skate from a few years ago, I was afraid that Fanatic was about to mess up something magical when they announced the re-design to the new shape. But from my first few runs on the new skate, I could tell it was another step forward. The shape was changed in 2012 by the way and for the most part carried over to the current 2013 board. The 99 ltr Skate is my pick of the test for not only being able to perform the most difficult moves with ease, but also being one of the most user friendly boards for just going back and forth on. That "easy high performance" formula that has been working for Fanatic has only gotten better. If you're shopping, grab one of these boards while you can!!

Goya Air 99

This was one of those boards I wasn't expecting all that much from. Goya's got some killer wave boards (from what I've heard) but hasn't been in the freestyle seen all that much. My first run on the 99 ltr Goya was when a really strong wind surge came through. I rigged the 4.5 and was very, very powered, right at the edge of out of control. I got on it and just couldn't help but think, wow, this is way better than I expected! It actually feels just like the Skate! Then I went for an air funnel. Bang! Right around just like the skate. On the way back in the slidey stuff is when I noticed the first differences between the Goya and the skate. The Goya slid ok, but gave a little hesitation going around in the full 360 for the spock. Then back out for an e-slider, no problem. But coming in again, time for a double flaka, and it was still hooking up and the nose was going under. The real difference in this board appeared when the wind started to back off to "normal" amounts of power. If the Goya isn't extremely powered, it's really hard to keep it at full speed. So setting up for switch moves, the board would just die while changing my feet. Also, while having what would be plenty of power in the sail to get the Skate, JP, or Starboard up to speed, the Goya was still just poking around, with not enough speed to hit any of the advanced tricks. All in all, you need a .5 meter bigger sail and much more power to make the Goya perform to it's ability. But as any freestyler knows, any trick is easier with a board that holds it's speed with less power in the sail. Definitely better picks out there for any level of sailor.

JP Freestyle 100

This was another one of those boards that I didn't expect much from. The last test of a JP that I did in the 100 ltr size (98 ltr I believe) was a major fail. That old board, didn't pop, spin, or really do anything a freestyle board should. So I sucked it up and stepped on the 100 ltr JP with very low expectations. "Well, this is much better than that old piece of junk," I thought to myself as I planed away from the beach. Again, first trick in the bag was an air funnel on the way out, and holy cow!! Kiri Style!! I got tons of pop out of that one. Coming in I go for a shaka. No problem! In fact, I had so much speed on the landing that I just popped it through to a shaka-flaka. Then I thought, "this thing actually spins faster than the skate." The ride wasn't quite as comfortable as the skate, but as far as fast spinning and double moves, the JP takes the cake. My first flaka attempt coming in turned into flaka bounced into a second flaka and spinning right through a third. The JP is a multi move machine and is the first board I can say actually holds it's own against the skate. But the JP is for the extremely advanced rider. It wants to spin one speed. Fast! A super fast spin is great for me, but maybe not so much for the first time spocker. Still, the JP is one nice board that planes early carves really good, and if you want a double move, this board is right there with the skate 99. The skate planes up a slight bit earlier, but the amount of early planing you give up in the JP from the Skate is equally gained in access to the double move pop. That said, there wasn't anything I could pull off on the JP that I couldn't on the Fanatic and vice-versa, but man that Jp can spin!!

Tabou Twister 100

Now here's a board that going in I heard so many good things about. Looking at the giant tail you think that it would spin like a dream and plane up super early. Sitting on the beach it was voted most interesting graphics to look at while waiting for wind. Stepping on the Tabou and getting in the straps I noticed that the footpads were extremely comfy. But the neat graphics and comfy deck pads were all that the twister 100 has going for it. It was one of the most interesting boards to look at on the beach, but once it hit the water, everyone felt basically the same thing. It's slow to plane,slow at speed, extremely uncomfortable to schlog, and not much pop. I didn't think it spun that good either for spocks, but someone else thought it was ok in the spocks so putting the spinability at the middle of the road of test boards would be a gift. I've been doing flakas for about 6 years and for the first time I actually pearled the nose while carving into a flaka, not once but the first 2 times. I had to back off the speed to get the flaka. So this is a board that like to go slow, so maybe it's ok for someone doing their first attempts because it has to go slow. That's not to say that the skate, JP or any of the other boards won't go slower if you wish and still be just as effective. This was my least favorite board in the test and really took away any sort of confidence going into tricks that I had after pearling the nose twice while just setting up for a simple flaka......

Naish Freestyle 100

This is one crazy looking board. It's got some funky rail and tail shapes going on. The deck is also as flat as a pancake. I was really curious as to how it would sail. Getting on it, the board got moving just fine, but it hits a wall in the speed department pretty quickly. The flat deck and I mean flat like you're standing on a piece of plywood also makes the ride in a straight line kinda tiring on your legs. On the way out, again, right into the air funnel and the Naish banged it right out. It takes a little more effort to hold the speed, but it was definitely capable. On the way in, it was time for a spock that the Naish had no problems with. It actually rotated really well through the spins. I just wish it had some more speed. It was too slow for me to pull off any multi-spin moves, but for the single spin tricks it does what it's supposed to. If they just fixed the deck and made it a little faster it would be a board worth having. I was actually surprised how good the board was in the middle of the tricks while at the same time being kind of uncomfortable to set up for the tricks.

Starboard Flare 101 - Check out the 2015 Flare review - the board has been updated and the drawbacks about the 2013 model have been taken care of.

The starboard was another one of the test favorites among all levels of sailors. It planes up easily, and has great speed like the pair of Skates and JP. The ride is nice and lively and feels really fast. The lively direct feel is something that I really like in my boards. The flare was also king of the carve and a power move monster. So for carving into a shaka, the Flare would set the rail and never trip or slides out. It's got that same sure footing as the 100 ltr skate while going for a trick that you need to start with a quick carve like a shaka or ponch. For the new school power moves it doesn't lose any speed while switching your feet just like the JP and Skate 99. One thing I did notice is that the mast track was placed a lot farther forward on the board than all the other boards in the test, so I kept missing the footstraps when I was trying to get in them. That's simply a mater of getting used to the strap positions though. The one big negative of the Flare is that the rails are really, really sharp and catch the chop too easily. In the chop it was more difficult to rotate through double flakas and the Flare catching on chop would stop a few moves from being completed that would have otherwise been made on some of the other boards like the skate, JP and Naish. The ride can also get really bouncy in the chop compared to the other boards. But even with these drawbacks, the Flare overall, is a really, really nice board and would be one of 4 boards in the test I wouldn't mind owning.

So now that we know what to expect form the boards, how do they directly compare to each other? Here's a rundown of certain performance aspects we expect form a freestyle boards and how they directly relate to the other boards in the test. I'm going to rate each quality as to how the board does that specific task from 1 to 7. There are 7 boards in the test so 1 will be the best, 7 will be the worst. It's not a scale, it's a direct comparison and it's the direct place that the board falls in. If there's a tie for certain placement then all teh bards that are even will appear in that place. Keep in mind there are 2 different skates in the test. So....drumroll please.....

Early planing

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

2) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya the Air 99

6) Naish Freestyle 100, Tabou Twister 100

Top Speed

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya

6) Tabou

7) Naish

Maintains speed while in lull or while switching feet for switch moves

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

2) Jp Freestyle 100, Fanatic Skate 100

4) Starboard Flare 101

5) Goya Air 99

6) Tabou Twister 100, Naish Freestyle 100

Carving tricks like donkey jibes, carving 360s, and other classic style moves where the board doesn't leave the water

1) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101

2) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

4) JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya Air 99, Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Twister 100

Tricks that require a quick carve to initiate like a shaka, ponch or kono

1) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

4) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Goya Air 99, Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Twister 100

Pop - how readily does the board want to leave the water without a ramp

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, JP Freestyle 100, Starboard Flare 101

4) Fanatic Skate 100

5) Goya Air 100

6) Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Twister 100

Sliding Control - This means the amount of control you have to alter your sliding rotation speed and the forgiveness the board gives while sliding

1) Fanatic Skate 99TE, Fanatic Skate 100

3) Naish Freestyle 100

4) JP Freestyle 100

5) Goya Air 100, Starboard Flare 101, Tabou Twister 100

Sliding speed - The speed of which the board will rotate while planing across the water through a funnel, spock, flaka, etc. 1st is fastest, last is slowest

1) JP Freestyle 100

2) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

3) Fanatic Skate 100, Starboard Flare 101, Goya Air 99

6) Naish Freestyle 100, Tabou Twister 100

Double Moves - Shaka/flaka, double flakas, double spocks, and anything else where the board needs enough speed, and pop to get more than one rotation out of a trick.

1) JP Freestyle 100

2) Fanatic Skate 99 TE

3) Starboard Flare 101

4) Fanatic Skate 100

5) Goya Air 99, Naish Freestyle 100

7) Tabou Freestyle 100

Balance - how the board feels when in the tricks. Is it front heavy, back heavy, does the nose get buried or does the tail always want to go under? 1) = most balanced

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Fanatic Skate 100, JP Freestyle 100

4) Naish Freestyle 100, Starboard Flare 101

6) Goya Air 99

7) Tabou Twister 100

Forgiveness - How much room for error do you have when sticking that new trick

1) Fanatic Skate 99 TE, Fanatic Skate 100

3) Starboard Flare 101, JP Freestyle 100

5) Naish Freestyle 100

6) Goya Air 99

7) Tabou Twister 100 So after all this info, what board do I want to own? For me there are 2 winners this time. the Skate 99 and the JP 100. I'd be perfectly happy on either one. The thing is what would you guys be happier with? The Skate is a little more forgiving because you can control the spin and has a really nice ride for anyone, not just the freestyler. Anyone whether they want to try freestyle or not will enjoy the skate. The JP is the king of double moves for sure so at the Pro-level, the JP even outshines the Skate. I think the Skate will be the best choice for 99% of the sailors out there though for it's ease of use and early planing. The other notables would be the Flare 101 and Skate 100. The Skate 100 is a little better in the chop than the flare, but the flare is a little bit livelier of a ride. The Flare does suffer though in the chop because of the bouncy ride and sharp rails sticking in the chop. Happy sailing, Mike

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Long Island is back!!!

After the past 2 relatively windless years on Long Island, I was beginning to think that the good old days of day after day of Southwest thermal action were long gone. I was beginning to think that the only time we'd be getting wind again was while we were wearing drysuits. But this spring and now start to the summer has been more than making up for the windless years of the past. I just hope I'm not jinxing everything with these comments. Official spring on Long Island starts for me when we get back from Cape Hatteras at the end of April. Last year and the year before we found ourselves writing about how long it's been since our last session. Last year I went a full month to the day between sailing sessions in June. This year however is totally different. Not only is there more wind, but it's really close to being able to plan a trip to the beach to windsurf like you would any other sport. In may we had two different 6 or 7 day consecutive stretches of 5.0 and down sailing with many more days in between. I counted 20 days of 5.0 and down at Heckscher in May of which I managed to grab 11 (would be 6.0 without the Fanatic skate and Northsails idol combo that I'm using) June hasn't been quite as windy, but 12 or 13 days of sailable days wouldn't be a stretch. Unfortunately most of them were days I was working but I still have 5 days in June under my belt and the month isn't over! It's been blowing since last thursday and has been blowing 5.0 for at least a couple hours every day since. And it looks to be windy for as far as the forecast can see! Also, I should mention that to catch these windy days at Heckscher, one needs to totally disregard iwindsurfs botched forecasts. They don't have any local forecasters and are spread too thin as the forecaster is doing the entire eastern seaboard. They haven't called for 20 mph winds a single time in this last stretch of 5 or 6 windy days in a row. 10-14 is usually their call. Best bet is to check windfinder for a good forecast and compare that to the NWS marine forecast. Joe's beach is right on windfinder now for one of the forecast spots and the forecast is really, really good.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Incredible Day at Heckscher.

Another great shot from John Dunn!

Sometimes everything just comes together. Yesterday was solid 4.0 all day long at Heckscher State Park. Our usual launch at heckscher is still closed, but personally, I like the temporary launch the park was kind enough to let us use even better!! Yesterday we were at Filed 6. At the launch there are showers, drinking fountains, bathrooms, grassy rigging, picninc tables, and BBQ pits. The only downside is the longer walk to the water, which really isn't all that long. The hazards in the water are clearly marked and with 20 or so windsurfers on the water yesterday, nobody had any issues running into anything.

The water conditions at field 6 are just incredible for freestyle/ bump and jump sailing. Meaty ramps on both tacks for all sorts of big air trickery and the new sand bar in front of the pool keeps everything nice and flat for the tricky slidey stuff. I was in heaven yesterday! I did take a few runs over to field 7 (the normal windsurfing beach) and the water seemed to organize a bit better there now too. I'm thinking some sand bars formed from the storm. Bonus!!! I can't wait to get my next session at heckscher! Hope to see you there!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Shorts you NEED!! (for under your wetsuit/boardshorts)

Well, if you're like me and are in the water more than you're out of the water, eventually the parts we don't talk about get things happening we don't want to think about. I've been looking for something to wear under my boardshorts and wetsuits for a while. So far, I've been using a pair of dive shorts (talk about no style) for the past few years, but I knew there had to be something better out there. There's a new company I ran into while searching for some new undershorts on the internet. The name is Helo. I was a little uncertain about ordering since I never really heard of them before and wasn't so sure if the product would be any good. But I was in need, and they looked like the best option. So I ordered some. Got them about a week ago and had a chance to try them out the past few days here in NY under my wetsuit. All I can say, is thank you Helo!! Finally something I don't mind putting on under my boardshorts. They're very comfortable and dried nice and quick and look cool if they happen to hang out from under your boardshorts a bit. Ordering was easy and the order was shipped the same day. Here's the website: I know, I sound like an advertisement. But trust me, this is more of a public service announcement.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cold Spring is Not a Bad Thing.

In the North East of the US the temps have been way down this year. Last year on this date (March 20th) the high temp for the day was 71 degrees. Today when I woke up it was 31 degrees and the front porch was iced over from last night's hail storm. All of my friends are complaining about the cold weather. Dropping the kids off at school is paralleled with the mutterings of parents "this cold sucks" or "that stupid hedgehog has no idea what he's talking about." All I was thinking to myself today while dropping the kids off at school was, "Thank god it's still cold out. West Meadow will be working for sure!" You see, when the air temperatures start heating up in the spring, the cold layer of air that rests against the cold water won't let the warm air mix down. The result is no wind over the cold waters of the Long Island Sound. However, if the air is cold enough to mix with the cold air over the water, then it's windy day after windy day at my favorite windsurfing launch in the world. As I'm loading up the windsurf mobile to head to West Meadow again today, the thoughts of my 4.0/4.5 day there on Friday are fresh in my head. The wind lasted all day and just started to die off as the sun went down. John Dunn, an incredible photographer, was able to make it out to take some pics of the amazing sunset that we get at West Meadow. Hopefully I'll have a repeat today!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Northsails Idol Review: taking the red pill

If you're a fan of "The Matrix" all you needed to see was the title of the post to get a pretty good idea of how much I like these sails. I say it's like taking the red pill, because it was truly eye opening about just how good a sail can be. Things that you thought impossible before, are now easily attainable!! It's taken me this long to write a review of the new 2013 Northsails Idol because I felt I really needed to try all the sizes I had to make sure the entire range was good. Why did I feel the need to try all the sizes? Well, the Idol is Northsails new 4 batten Freestyle/wave sail, with the focus on freestyle. Last year I was on the ID, which was a revolutionary sail unto itself. The light weight and crisp handling made it my original choice for sails when I was ordering this year. That is until one of my European friends who had already tried the Idol at one of the early release expos told me that the idol was better than the ID! Better than the ID!!! Now he had my attention!! Still I was skeptical because I was definitely not a huge fan of Norths other 4 batten sail, the Hero. Although the 2012 Hero was superb, and perhaps one of the best at what it was designed to do (wave riding with multi-fin boards), for powered up bump and jump blasting and freestyle it was very lacking in lightness, speed, maneuverablility and stability. So you can imagine how much arm twisting it took for my buddy to convince me to not order the best sails I've ever ridden with the ID, and go for another North 4 batten, of which I was already skeptical because of my feel for the Hero. So I ordered the Idols for the entire quiver. My fingers were shaking as I hit the send button for the order really thinking I was making a huge mistake not going with the ID again. They arrived about a month later and the day that they arrived, it was blowing 30 knots!! The moment of truth!! Can the new 4 batten have the stability and live feel that I loved about the ID? So the first session was with the 4.0 Idol. Rigging the sail, you notice that the boom length is shorter than on the ID. Perfect for freestyle! My buddy Chachi also just received his quiver of Idols that he also hesitated about ordering since he liked the Ice so much. We hit the water at the same time. the beach was West Meadow beach where there are head high waves on the outside and glass flat runs on the inside. Chachi was working the loops on his wave board on the outside and I was working the freestyle on the inside. After about 45 minutes of sailing we came in to compare notes. Our words were exactly the same. "I'm never ordering a 5 batten again!" We both felt the same thing. The Idol is WAAYYYY more stable than the hero was, and easily as stable as the 5 batten North counterparts. So for blasting in flat water, freestyle or for wave riding the idol does it all! For freestyle, the 4.0 was incredible. Even in super gusty conditions (20-40 mph) I never felt out of control. For the freestyle trick, dear god, there's never been anything like it!! It wants to spin and lift! In all my years sailing I've never used a sail that was so in control while at the same time having that "lift" that you need to get the extra height in the tricks. The first day on the sail I was sailing better than I ever had, hitting tricks cleaner and with more speed than ever before. Later on, another buddy of mine Ryan showed up and rigged 4.2. He was coming off Maui Sails (notorious for lacking power and wind range), so his reaction was even bigger than ours! He's 200 lbs and was planing earlier than guys on 4.7s and 40 lbs lighter! Normally he would have been struggling on his 4.7 Maui when I was full power on my 4.0. Now we had the same perfect power, me on 4.0 and Ryan on 4.2. Another stoked Idol owner!! Later on that day the wind backed off a bit and I rigged the 4.5. It was the same great feel that the 4.0 had. Very light, speedy and locked in even when overpowered. I couldn't believe this!! I was totally expecting the 4 batten sails to be easily overpowered but they weren't. The only thing I was thinking is that as the battens get further spaced out, like in my 5.6 that there's no way the sail would still be as stable. This is why I took forever to write the review. I really didn't believe that a 5.6 with only 4 battens would have any kind of wind range. Finally a few days before we left for Bonaire (2 weeks ago) I got a day on the 5.6. It was cold and gusty. To my surprise, not only did the 5.6 have great range, but it also had a really nice light feel to it. It has plenty of overlap with my 5.0 and jumping straight down to the 4.5 from the 5.6 is a definite possibility although for freestyle, I'd still want that 5.0 in the middle to always have the perfect power for learning new tricks. As for how the Idol will react in the different tricks, it does EVERYTHING!!! For all the new duck tricks like Konos, burners, Air Funnels, the sail will duck exactly where you duck it. No guess work or adjustments. It goes where you want it and it won't slam back up in your face or dive down to the water. Duck it, let go and it will float where you leave it until your ready to blast off! Then when you are ready to take off, you will find much more lift available than anything else I've tried. This extra lift also has transferred into other tricks like ponches, shakas, and double moves. So if you're up for bouncing the second flaka, or after a shaka bounce into another flaka, it has become much easier! To the point where on the ID I used to only get the second bounce on occasion, to now I can get it almost every single time. And that was from the first session on the Idol. For moves like vulcans, spocks, or even helitacks, they will be much easier from teh shorter boom length and high cut sail foot. No longer will you have to worry so much about catching the clew and the sail dragging you over. It will just go!! So for me the Idol is the perfect sail in EVERY size. The range is much, much better than I expected, the speed is much better than I expected, and so far everyone that I know that has tried one has been blown away by the overall performance of the Idol. I would recommend the Idol to anyone looking to windsurf!! The one thing to keep in mind is that it is just about all full monofilm, so if you're in wave where the sail might hit a reef and tear, it would be something to consider. However there is still x-ply on the impact areas by teh mast sleeve and on the lower foot of the sail where you might end up crashing on it. And trust me, I crash on there A LOT!! For any sort of flat water, or high performance wave sailing, and especially freestyle, this is THE sail!!! Don't even hesitate! More power, lighter handling, and better tricks are waiting!! Seriously, I've never been so stoked on any sail. They are that good!! If you're in the market for a new sail, you need to at least try one. Oh, and one more thing to mention, the Idol comes in about $100.00 cheaper than the ID and is also the cheapest freestyle/wave sail in Norths lineup. As if we needed another bonus!!!