Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan
I am a beginner-intermediate (harness, straps - good; waterstart, planing gybe - not good). I have a 190 L Mistral N-trance and 165L JP Superlightwind. I have been using the JP board when the wind is low (chop is not this board's friend) and N-trance for stronger winds. Since there are so many awesome end of the year sales going on right now, I am considering upgrading N-trance to something lighter and smaller. My goal is to be able to ride with reasonable comfort in chop in stronger winds and continue working on gybes etc. After reading a little on the subject it looks like I probably need a freeride board. Need some advice on:
1. Volume. I am 220 lb. I was thinking 140-150 L. Should be enough to uphaul if needed.
2. Make and model. I do not want to outgrow the board fast. Right now I am considering JP X-cite ride 146. I am worried about the sturdiness of this board though. Bic Techno seems like a really sturdy board but it got not so good reviews in board comparisons (e.g. http://www.boardseekermag.com/windsurfing-equipment-tests/test-intr...). Apparently Bic likes to catapult people in waves.
What kind of wind range/sail size are you thinking? If you're sailing the 190L and the 165L in say 15-20 mph winds, then a 146L won't really be good for you in the long-term for winds higher than that.
For example, I am ~205 lbs and sail an older AHD Free Diamond 77 in winds that are ~15-20 on an 8m2 sail. (It has thin rails has a nice smooth ride. If you can find one used in good condition, it would still be a good board.)
Winds 19-25 and I jump to a 120L board or a 105L board. The chop goes up with the wind speed and a 146L will feel big above 20 mph.
It seems like a lot of people liked the RRD Firemove last year. It's wide and handles big sails, but is apparently smooth in the chop (I haven't ridden one.) The 120L handles 6.8-9.0m2 and the 110L handles 6.0-8.0m2.
I'd recommend that you try any board before you buy it - if possible. Got any buddies sailing something in the 120 range?
Thank you for the reply. I sail Superlightwind with winds 10-15 mph. I use sails 9.5 - 11.0 for that range. When I need a smaller sail, I currently switch to my N-trance because it is narrower and is much better in chop. The smallest sail I sail nowadays is 5.8 m2. Living in NW Ohio I did not have too many opportunities to use even that size over the summer. I have a smaller wave sail but never had a change to try it.
I read a little on RRD Firemove. It looks like a great board, but I am a little concerned about the low volume. Also, I could not find any info on durability. I will keep an eye for these boards though. Here in Toledo area there is no place to try anything. Next time I am in Hawaii or some other place with windsurfing shops, will do the testing.
Hatteras is a great place to try stuff, and it's a lot closer than Maui! Also, you might contact the Great Lakes Demo tour people next year to see what they have, or Mark Beauman, on this site.
You should at least consider getting a Starboard Go, and while you're still mostly
uphauling, at 100kg I wouldn't go below 140ltrs. The full foam deck on the Go will
be very forgiving for crawling back up onto. It will also provide some extra protection
from the inevitable punishment you'll be dealing out as you learn. Furthermore,
Starboard has the right board shape nailed for a freeride board. Can't go wrong.
My 130ltr Carve (modern Carve and Go models have the same shapes) is just as
fast as another friend's 130ltr AHD FreeDiamond 70, and the Carve will turn tighter
if you want it to.
A friend (over 200 lbs) picked up a 148ltr Techno last year and has enjoyed it greatly.
He had been sailing a really old slalom board with a very narrow tail and putting some
volume under his heels with the new Techno brought him from almost never
completing a gybe to almost always completing them in a year. He has had that
board out in some 5.5 days on Erie and Huron with some waves and swell
without burying the nose, so I wouldn't worry about that too much on the 148ltr size.
Another friend sails a Hifly board of about that size well into 5.5 territory.
Just for some additional perspectives: I'm 185lbs and and used my ~170ltr early
Starboard GO comfortably on inland lakes until waterstarting wasn't a question,
and gybes were often completed dry and at a dead stop. My personal wind
limit on that board was a 5.5 - when there was that much wind the board
started to have a significant proportion of the sail area and started to be hard
to control. I went from there down to a 130ltr Starboard Carve which is a
fantastic board. It felt _very_ small and nervous at first, although now it seems
tremendously stable to me.
Thank you for the reply. I have a couple of problems with Starboard Go boards. When I read about them online pretty much everyone says that those are beginner boards and people outgrow them really fast (usually within a year). My N-trance is not that much different. Also, they use a tuttle box. I have a bunch of Powerbox and Deep tuttle fins, so my preference would be one of those. Considering how many times one has to use those over the lifetime of a board - Powerbox is definitely my preference. No need for a screwdriver and just one screw. I should have added this to my original message.
Right now at the top of my list are: JP X-cite or Funride (same for 2013), Bic Techno and Exocet Sting Duratech.
Thanks everybody for your input both on the forum and in person. I ended up ordering Exocet Sting DT.