Monday, November 22, 2010

Kauli's Quad - The Man Himself Explains All

It is amazing that how much a picture of or a few words from Kauli can create a stir, my post "Kauli's Odd Looking Quad'' commenting on a single picture snapped by JC in Cabo Verde is so far the most read post on this blog since it's creation.

While people are rushing out to buy the latest 2011 gear manufacturers are already looking towards 2012 designs and I wonder if we'll all be riding boards like this is 12 months time?

Enlarged view of the boards that have caused such a stir!

John Skye managed to ask Kauli a few questions about his latest quad designs.

"I managed to track Kauli down and ask him what the deal was with his funky tailed boards. He says the winger keeps the tail width narrow and allows him to really turn the board off the tail when he needs to get vertical. The swallow tail he said was to keep some drive through the tail, which has a lot of rocker. For me Kauli is the master of innovation. He is thinking so far ahead of everyone and has been since I first met him nearly 10 years ago. Even then he was experimenting with really short boards and whilst people laughed at them, see if you can find any board over 8'0 now! He had an off hand comment at the beach the other day that he couldn't sleep at all because he thought of something new to try... Who knows what it is, but if it works, expect the world to be following in his footsteps shortly!"

So there you have it sounds interesting. Thanks to John for passing on these comments.

More to follow...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Speed World Cup - The Heat is ON!

Well it all comes down to the final leg in France, with the 2010 title being chased by Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Anders Bringdal and UK's Martyn Oiger.

Martyn is currentky set to win the 2010 title but Anders is pushing hard and Bjorn is not far behind and is currently leading this event.

The green flag has been raised so we'll know within a couple of hours who will be crowed 2010 Speed World Champion. Fingers crossed for a British triumph.

Martyn Oiger, Speed World Cup, France 2010. Martyn is sponsored by Hot Sails Maui, Starboard and Black Project Fins.
More to follow...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NO PWA Power NO Excuse

OK, so I have been looking forward to watching LIVE video and reading the TICKER on the PWA site during the event but all we seem to be getting is the excuse "Just like the past few days, there's no power or internet connection at Curral Jaoul" which to me is rather a poor excuse! Did noboddy think that maybe just maybe they would have to move location, could they not get a gererator, could they not have a mobile phone link so that the ticker at least could be updated from the main base. All seems a little odd to me! I bet there are other frustrated fans out there and that is a real shame.

For those who don't know what this is, it makes power! Answers on a postcard to the PWA!

More to follow...

Mid 1980's Quad – The Missing Link Between Windsurfing & High Fashion?

I am not a particular follower of fashion. Or so I thought. On reflection it seems that we are all a product of the fashion industry. Take my current getup as example A: I am wearing my usual uniform of cutoff cargo shorts and a faded t-shirt – a look that my wife, who is a religious Vogue devotee claims is very on trend. Apparently there is something of a nineties revival happening in the fashion industry at the moment. Having chosen today’s outfit based solely on what was clean and close when I emerged from the shower, rather than what deemed “in” by fashion editors, I am reminded of the trickle down effect. If design houses like Burberry and Prada hadn’t decided that the mimimalism of the nineties was due for a comeback, would I be wearing something different? Are my Old Navy shorts simply an economic alternative to what was seen on the fall/winter runways. Probably. This is where I admit that my clothes (and yours) were chosen for me. The conclusion: we are all a product of current (and past) trends in the fashion industry. It might sound like something from the former Soviet Union or Orwell’s 1984, but it is the fashion designers and the editors who have first glance at their creations who decide what we wear, how and when we wear it and how much we pay for it. If you can get it on the high street, rest assured that there is a far more expensive original floating around on Bond Street or in Harrods. Unless you eschew clothing altogether; or you are a designer yourself, you can thank the Matthew Williamsons and Anna Wintours of the world for whatever “look” you are currently sporting.
1980's fashion!
Fanatic 2011 or is it 1985?

So how does this relate to windsurfing? Have you looked at a magazine lately? The 2011 sails, boards and related paraphernalia seem to have gone back to the flouro colors that we all remember from the 80’s. It looks like Klepper are making a belated comeback. It is not just about colour; even some wave boards are starting to mirror their mid-80’s relatives with wide points moving forward and asymmetric board and fin combinations starting to rock the traditional boat once more. Is it just me, or has Video Killed the Radio Star been on repeat in the Fanatic design studio for the past year? They might just be onto something at Fanatic…after all, the era of excess is when people made money, took risks and lived large…what could be more fitting for board design than a throwback to the energetic 80’s? Take a look at this picture sent to me by Chris Jackson who made boards in the UK during the 80’s (and is getting back into the industry, but more of that cycle later).

Doesn't look that different to Kauli's latest designs! Although not so sure about those clear plastic fins.

While quads didn’t catch on 25 years ago, perhaps because Kauli wasn’t around to give the trend validity, some designers were way ahead of the game, or perhaps just at a different part of the cycle. Now that production techniques, equipment and sailors themselves have improved, it is interesting to see how design concepts come in and go out like the tides. These waves of creative destruction, a phrase coined by economist Shumpter, encourage producers to seek out new products and new companies try to exploit new market niches, those companies that do not innovate are left in the wilderness as new brighter and spunkier ones start to strut their stuff. By following the trends set by riders in Hawaii, Australia, South Africa or even Cornwall (which seems to be going through its own 80's revival in the industry with a number of innovators starting to get noticed), the industry is constantly evolving. While new designs are not always  better than their predecessors, over time mistakes are ironed out and we all win. 

More to follow...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PWA Cabo Verde – First Action

The final PWA event of the year finally got going at 10.57 local time although it must be rather a frustrating day for all but one of the competitors as they wait for their chance to shine in the long man on man 30 minute heats. Thomas Traversa must be feeling rather happy with life after progressing in Heat #1, now he can sit back and relax as the others struggle to get enough wind to complete heats, while Sorlut must be wondering whether his contest is already over as it looks unlikely that the double elimination will ever get off the ground.

It is easy to see why Thomas Traversa made it through his heat, he's been enjoying the light winds, although that is not surprising his listed weight on his PWA profile is 61kg!

Heat #2 was on the water with Angulo leading Voget when the conditions worsened and the heat was cancelled. They’ll now have to stay on full alert on a short holding period until their heat is run. Those further down the order of play sailors can relax, not quite as much as Traversa but with some confidence that they will not be needed today.

More to follow…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kauli's Odd Looking Quad

I have been following the PWA Cabo Verde event closely. I have teamed up with Skyeboy to bring you some snippets which are posted on which you might want to check out. But my post is not about that but about Kauli's interesting looking quads. Check out this picture from yesterday.

Pic Carter/PWA

Here is the enlarged version, you can clearly see the shape.

Fins are a long way forward with a strange looking tail shape, forward fins are very close to the rail. Looks like the two back fins are quite a bit bigger than the front which look like big thrusters.

I will see if I can find out some more info.

More to follow...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Speed World Cup Preview - Port Saint-Louis

You would be forgiven for thinking that the PWA Cabo Verde event is the only windsurfing contest this week but just as things are starting to heat up on the desert island (and I can’t wait to see the live video) the best and most dedicated speed sailors are making their way to the south of France to rather less glamorous industrialal town and port annex of Marseille at the mouth of the River Rhône.

The Speed World Cup which started the season back in April with the F2 Gruissan Speedweek (Gruissan France) and has taken in ranking events in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK before returning to France for the final 2010 showdown which will decide who finishes the year as the world’s #1 ranked speed sailor. While GPS tracks have increased in popularity with sailors competing virtually with each other across continents it is always great to get people together and tackle the same conditions and push each other forward in more traditional competition.

The rankings are currently being led by Anders Bjorkqvist SWE with Steven Flanagan IRL not far behind. Bjorn Dunkerbeck SUI is currently ranked in 8th and I will be interested to see if he makes the journey south. With a weighting of 3.5 this event proves to be decisive and the 5000 Euro prize fund should help to temp a few more of Europe’s fastest sailors who want to end the year with a little bonus going into the expensive Christmas period.

My man on the inside Martyn Oiger currently ranked 14th will be reporting from the event. He has been training hard and after a 3rd place finish at the last event in Weymouth he is poised to challenge for the title and improve his ranking. The wind report looks good for the event which runs from the 16th through to 21st of November in the town of Port Saint-Louis, France.

Not much so far on the event website but I believe that tracks will be posted when the event kicks off.

More to follow…

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wanna Go FASTER - The Art of Speed Sailing

I certainly do! I have now competed in a couple of speed events in Maui. I even made the trip to Molokai to check out a potential speed course protected by a shallow reef but fast speeds remain extremely elusive with my best 100m speed of 33.7 knots which I set back in August. Now back in Bahrain and with the desire to record my first open water 40 knots I decided to enlist the help of a couple of friends more familar with the art of speed sailing and asked them to give me their top secrets to going fast.

Check out my full article on Wanna Go FASTER - The Art of Speed Sailing

Deep off the wind is fast but remember that you’ll need to have plenty of power, so rig big, very big. This image was generated using a real GPS speed track, the further the green line from the centre the faster the sailor was going. But be warned, go too far off the wind and your speeds will drop dramatically.

More to follow...