Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quest for the Ultimate Miami Wave Board

I love experimenting with windsurfing gear, ask anyone who knows me… In the last 12 years I’ve ordered numerous custom boards, fins and even talked Barry Spanier (currently of Maui Sails fame) into adjusting the clew of a production race sail for me. Constantly evaluating and re-aligning pieces of the windsurfing equipment puzzle is a normal thing, right? I’m not obsessed, I‘m not obsessed… OK, maybe just a little… So, with the latest quad/duo fin craze sweeping the windsurfing nation,it was only a matter of time before I had to jump in with my take on it.

First, I did some research via the Internet, read a few articles and just talked out loud some ideas with fellow windsurfers. Thanks to Adventure Sport’s demo day, I was able to take JP Wave Duo board for a spin, and did like the feel. Next, I had to make THE decision: buy a production board (that’s sooo boring), order a custom (intriguing, but the closest shaper I would trust with this project is on Maui and it would be pricey) or just modify an existing board (Bingo! I got just the right board!!).

What I had was a couple of years old, an 84L Naish Hybrid Wave and although I loved it, I always thought it could use an extra fin or two or three. Analyzing all my options, I went for a Quad fin design, with smaller front fins, 4 fin boxes, If I didn’t like it, I could always use just back fins, but it would give me a lots of flexibility.

In windsurfing nothing is simple, and the next hurdle was the fin box selection. The lightest and strongest box for a wave board would be a mini tuttle box (MT), but availability of fins and fin boxes themselves was an issue. Also the surfboard shaper I recruited for this project, Mike (Birds Surfboards)never dealt with that type of a box and hesitated. After over a month of trying to get mini tuttle boxes and fins without doubling my project’s cost in the process, I reluctantly purchased US type boxes and fins.

Bright and early (so, I could make it to work on time) one crisp, sunny fall morning with my notes, sketches, fin boxes, quad fin set and my guinea pig of a board, I was knocking on the door of the Birds Surfboards shop. Mike, the head guy with a friendly smile and over 20 plus years of experience shaping boards, opened the door and invited me in.

Boardheads! Although we talked on the phone and
exchanged a bunch of emails, we talked the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of board shaping, etc. a lot longer than I planned. When I finally said goodbye, I knew I was running late.

I won’t bore you with details, but we did have few more snags along the road to glory, from minor differences between surfing and windsurfing fin boxes to re-installing back fin boxes due to a little type-o in my notes, but a couple of months later I had my old/new board back with 4 shinny new slots.

Now, if only weather would cooperate. Can I please have NE 20-25 with sunny skies, and make it on the weekend?!!

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