Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Gear for Sale - 10-11-09

1 X5 Boom Head $50 (new)$30 (used)
2 Hydrodynamix Boom Head $50 (new)
3 North Pro Comp Boom Head $50 (used)
4 NP carbon boom tail 2002 $125 (pinless, new)
5 X6 Carbon Tail $70 (new)
6 North Pro Comp Tail $40 (used)
7 Pryde Harness Lines 24" $15 (used)
8 Maui Sails Harness Lines:18", 20", 22" $20 ea (all new)
9 20-24" Adjustables $30 (new)

10 HPL Tail Pins $15 (new)
11 X5 Boom Tail Pins $15 ea (new)
12 Z mast cups $5 (both sizes - new)
13 NP Roof Rack Pads $25/pair, 2 for $40 (new, rrp$50)
14 NP Deck Plates $5 (new)
15 Mast Base Pins $5 ea (new, have lots)
16 RDM/SDM 30cm extension $50 (new)
17 NP uxt extension 48cm $30 (used)
18 Sunshine extension 48cm $15 (used - needs twin pin base)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

JP Slalom VI

The JP Slalom VI range has just been made public after lots of leaks in forums around the world!

Check it out here on the JP website:

The range has increased from 5 to 6 boards with an innovative rider weight/height based sizing system:
Smaller sailors:56 - 65 - 76 wide boards
Bigger sailors:59 - 68 - 82 wide boards
There is mention of the bigger boards having a vee hull up front and the smaller designs having double concaves up front but it is unclear whether the range for bigger sailors all have vee and the smaller sailors all have double concave.
If the ranges are designed differently it may make it harder for the go fast weekend sailor who wants a 2 board combo to choose! I was considering the 82-65 combo but think I will go the 59 and keep my Slalom IV84.
Some changes of note are:
  • The small slalom in the range is a little bigger - from 54cm/72L up to 56cm/81L
  • The 92L slalom in the range is a little narrower - from 60cm down to 59cm but with a wider tail. I would have thought that it could still take a 7.8 but now only the ideal sail sizes are shown in the board data. The ideal sail range has gone from 6.2-7m on the slalom V to 5.5 to 7.0m on the slalom VI.
  • Toe wedges are included as part of the board. This will be great when maxed but I hope it doesn't cause problems banking the front foot in the gybe and then removing the foot from the strap in the transition.
  • All tail widths are wider increasing their fin carrying capacity and directional stability.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

DIY - Batten Repair

Here is a simple Do-It-Yourself repair of a glass or carbon tube / rod batten.

The most common area(I have found) for batten damage & breakage is the join between the middle and tail tube rods on the cross batten. This joint is under enormous load when sailing & when rotating the sail(on water or land). Another common cause of damage is when carrying the sail and you happen to catch the end of the cross batten overhanging the clew on something solid.

A break in the batten is easy to spot with the sail rigged. There will be a kink in the batten that is usually a smooth transition (with a small step) between the batten tubes. The degree of the break can vary from a crack in the batten which appears as only a small kink in the sail profile right up to a full break where the batten halves flex easily and a sharp kink in the profile can be seen. It is possible to sail with a cracked batten but more damage can possibly occur by doing so and the draft will move around more than usual.

Batten Construction

Tube rod battens are usually constructed in 3 parts:
  1. The first part of the batten is a solid pultruded fibreglass rod that is about 8.4mm in diameter. The sides(windward and leeward) are tapered towards the tip that is inserted into the camber inducer. This allows the leading edge of the sail to have a nice progressive curve towards the tip.
  2. The second part of the batten is the middle tube rod. This is a pultruded fibreglass tube that is lighter and stiffer than a fibreglass rod of the same geometry. It has an outer diameter of 10.4mm(1mm wall) and fits neatly over the solid batten tip. This area of the foil still has some shape but is much stiffer than the tapered area of the batten tip.
  3. The third part of the batten is the tail tube rod. This is also a pultruded fibreglass(or carbon) tube that is stiffer again than the middle tube as it is 12.75mm in diameter and a slightly thicker wall. This part of the batten forms the trailing edge of the profile and helps to lock the draft and deepest part of the profile forward in the sail.
Each of these batten section are glued and pinned together. The joint is then reinforced with fibreglass tape and covered with a head shrink plastic coating to smooth the layup while wet. The heat shrink also reduces the wearing on the inside of the batten pocket and protects hands from fibreglass splinters. It pays to remove your camber battens once in a while to check for cracking of the heat shrink as this is a sure sign that the fibreglass reinforcement has fractured beneath. If this has occured and the batten joint seems to be ok, remove the heatshrink and fibreglass tape with a chisel and re-apply some more glass tape with epoxy. See the final stages of the repair below for details on applying the tape.

Below is an exploded view of the standard tube rod joint(between the middle and tail tube)

Inspecting the Damage

To repair the batten we first need to inspect what type of damage has occured. As mentioned above if the heat shrink is cracked and you can see the fibreglass reinforcement has fractured(white furry looking cracks) then at the very least the glass will need to be re-applied. The batten might be completely broken and once removed from the pocket it may only be held together by a web of heatshrink. In either case the heatshrink needs to be removed and the batten prepaired for the repair.

  1. Peel the heat shrink off after scoring it lightly with a sharp knife. Be sure not to damage the section of the batten that in not reinforced.
  2. Remove the fibreglass with a chisel. With the batten placed genly in a vice(with a rag protecting the batten from the jaws) guide the chisel by placing the underside on the carbon tube and the cutting edge towards the glass reinforcement. Gently remove the glass in narrow strips being sure not to damage the end of the larger tube. The stainless steel joint pins will now be visible.
  3. Flex the smaller rod lightly to see firstly if there is movement and the joint seperates from the large tail tube, and secondly if there are any cracks that open under load. If neither of these occur will not need to remove the pins in step 4 . Place some tape around the middle batten and butt it up to the edge of the tail batten to show how far the tube is sleeved. Place a ring of tape on the end of the tail batten(but not over the pins) and draw a line on both pieces of tape on the top along the centreline to show the way the rods should be aligned when the pins are removed.
  4. Removed the joint pins by knocking them out with the point of a small nail or a pin punch. The pins will still need to be removed if the middle batten tip is broken and is sitting inside the tail tube because we need to place a rod down the centre that spans the joint.

Repairing the Joint
The cheapest and easiest way to repair the break is by placing a small piece of rod batten inside of the joint. Pryde wave sails use rod battens constructed from the same material as the tapered tip on the tube rod battens. This means they are great to use for the repair and your local shop may have one that they can spare, if not a piece of one.
Cut a piece of rod 70mm long and lightly sand the outside to remove any release agend that may be left from the manufacturing process. Add a 1mm chamfer to both ends to aid insertion and to allow glue stay on the contact surfaces. Check that the rod fits easily into the end of the middle tube rod. If the rod is too tight or doesn't fit keep sanding the outside in even strokes until it does.

With everything sanded to fit you can start gluing the components together in stages. Use 5 minute araldite(epoxy adhesive) and glue the rod inside the middle tube rod, leaving the ends flush. Once the adhesive has cured, drill out the pin holes through the inner rod using the outer rod holes to guide the drill. Check that the joint pins fit in the drilled holes.

Now glue the middle tube to the tail tube rod using the tape & markings to correctly align the pin holes. Re-fit the pins before the adhesive has cured and allow it to set.
Once the adhesive has cured it is time to reinforce the joint. The easiest and cleanest reinforcement to use is glass tape(20mm) or ribbon but if you have worked with composites before plain weave carbon or glass cloth will do. The advantage of the tape is the ease of which it can be wound and its thickness varied. It is also easier to get a high glass content as excess resin is forced out in the winding motion.
Lightly sand the rod 40mm either side of the joint and mix up a small batch of epoxy resin. You will need a small brush (or spatula if proficient) and some electrical tape. If possible leave the glass tape on the roll in case you need more during the wetting out process. If you don't have the glass on a roll you can wind it around a piece of dowel and have a handle making it easier to put tension on the tape. You will need 30cm or so per repair and it is handy to have some spare in case you have to repair another batten.
Start by wetting out the first 10cm of tape. Wind the tape onto the middle rod end of the join with the dowel or centre of the roll on the opposite side of the tape to the batten. This allows you to keep tension on the roll. Wind the tape onto itself until you feel it gripping and then proceed to wind towards the join wetting the tape out as you go. Overlap by about a half tape width so that you have 2 layers of glass minimum over the joint. You might want to wind the tape around the middle rod just as it meets the tail rod to reduce the step up to the larger rod. Continue winding over the join until you reach the other end of the sanded area. Cut the glass of at a point which is still dry and wrap it around the batten with the brush to wet out.
With the electrical tape(preferably black) attach it to the batten just before the area you started winding the tape and proceed to wrap it over the glass tape with a small amount of pressure to remove and trapped air and excess resin. Finish the tape past the wetout glass tape and allow it to cure for 24 hrs. Dont worry about the excess resin sitting on the tape as this will crack off when the tape is removed.

When the resin has cured remove the tape and if there are any lumps lightly sand them out. It is a good idea to wrap the join in electrical tape again to protect the batten pocket from damage due to wear over time. Your batten is repaired and you are good to go. You can use the above method to replace broken batten sections with new ones if you can get your hands on the right diameter glass or carbon pultrusion. This would maintain the exact batten curve but is obviously a more expensive option.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Glascraft Goodies

I along with others had fun at the recent Glascraft Auction. There was a lot of Maui Sails gear as well as some Pryde stuff left over from when they were the state agents. I picked up a few bargains as did others. Some even had a choice of colours to match their existing sails!

Here are some spares & replacements for sale:

NP carbon boom tail 2002 $125 (pinless, new)
X6 Carbon Tail $70 (new)
X6 28mm Carbon Tail $40 (suits NP160 & down, used)
X5 Boom Head $50 (new)
X5 Boom Head $30 (used)
X5 Boom Tail Pins $10 ea (new)
North Pro Comp Boom Head $50 (used)
North Pro Comp Tail $40 (used)
RDM/SDM 30cm extension $50 (new)
Mast Base Pins $5 ea (new, have lots)
Maui Sails Harness Lines:
18", 20", 22" $20 ea (all new)
20-24" Adjustables $30 (new)
Maui Sails Boom Tail Pins $10 ea (new)
NP Roof Rack Pads $25/pair, 2 for $40 (new, rrp$50)

Note: The X5 head can be used to repair an X6/X3 boom in sizes 180 & up.
The X6 Carbon Tail can be used on an x3 boom also!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Gear for Sale - 26-9-09

I have more gear for sale:

JP Slalom IV 84 - $1300 - Excellent Condition(on right)

Carbon Art SP44 - $1250 - Good Condition

Neil Pryde RS Racing (2007) 6.7m - $550 - Good Condition
Neil Pryde RS Racing (2007) 5.0m - $650 - Excellent Condition
Select SL7 - 27cm - 2008 - $120

Neil Pryde X3 UXT 28 - $45 each
North Sails base (offset~15mm) - $50
Will allow longer range than mast track!
Gun Sails Downhaul Winch - $30
Garmin GPS 72 - $150
Includes Data/Power cable

Friday, 11 September 2009

Home Again

I am relieved to be home at last after my corrective heart procedure. The PFO(hole or flap that usually seals over after birth) was successfully fitted with an occluder that will completely grow over with tissue within a few months. This might just give me a chance to finish off a few movie edits, repair some gear and add to my blog some of the DIY articled I have promised.

Here are pre and post release images of the device sitting in the hole with the delivery cable.

Thankyou to everyone for their best wishes, I look forward to seeing you on the water.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

New S Boom Profile

Neil Pryde have release a new range of booms for 2010 with many new features including an S profile in the arms.

"The clock has long been ticking for conventional boom design, and that’s because the performance has been held hostage by simple physics. It’s simpler eally; as wind pressure increases, a straight or convex boom effectively becomes shorter as it bends in response to increasing sail load, making the sail fuller, less efficient and harder to manage.(Ask your forearms, they’ve been putting up with it for years). Everybody make way for the new convention; the ‘S’ profile boom. The unique shape commands the sail to retain its shape and length whatever the breeze, providing a more stable andpredictable delivery, and more useable power. The ‘S’ profile is standard this season acrossthe entire NeilPryde range, so everyone can get their hands on it."

I am sure that this will help when loaded up on a slalom course with high apparent wind but I kinda like the boom arms giving way slightly and giving the sail more depth when going deep off the wind, a bit of natural nos. I am told it is only 10mm or so that the boom varies from a conventional profile and with the new race and slalom sails requiring more outhaul and clearance from the boom this should not compromise tuning. However the boom may touch more sail on older sails when bagged such as the RSR. I am looking forward to checking them out when they arrive in the shops.

The X9 feature new
box section tails that
increse in width in the
larger boom sizes.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Grundys 8 Aug 2009

Well I have finally had a decent session at Grundys(Goolwa - Clayton channel) and feel that I have a taste of what this strip has to offer. I rigged big with a NM PB the focus of the day. It is such an effort to get gear to the waters edge that I did not have the motivation to rig my 6.2 which may have helped the team with a better peak and 10s average. I already had 3 boards and 2 sails out there as the initial forecast was predicting 15-20. We ended up scoring 15-25 early with with winds increasing to 20-30 later with occasional 35 knot gusts.

I also improved my alpha 500 as it was perfect in the top corner with plenty of wind and flattish water. I have since checked the track and found a 26.56 at 51 metres, I might have to see if other software calculates the track within the 50m radius! Unfortunately I ran out of card space on my headcam and would have liked to have mixed a video of the alpha track and video footage, maybe next time.

I analysed my NM and have learnt a lot, I pulled up a little early and also hit a few lulls through the run which I cant do much about. I think if we get another day with a similar direction and more consistent wind 37+ will be easily achieved.

Today I spent 10 hours trying to find the best way to incorporate a speed readout from the gps data in a head cam video. I can get it to play as a subtitle but embedding the subtitle for further editing it the hard part. Most software keeps it as an option for DVD playback. I had a bit of fun putting the 2D projection down the side.

Monday, 3 August 2009

JP Speed Boards

The much anticipated JP Speed boards have finally been released to the public. I have had a 49 on order for a while and hope to receive the beast at the start of September. Apparently Antoine is going to use the range of speed boards in Karpathos, they include a 54(73L), 49(65L) & 45(53L) an come with a G10 fin(28, 26 & 24 cm). MVM has already been sailing them so there will be a number of JP/Pryde combos around. I hope to use it as a step down from the JP60 with predominantly 7 .0& 6.2. Watch this space for more info in the coming weeks...
See the range in more detail on the JP site:
Here is an interview with Antoine as a flash file:

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Gear for Sale 09-07

I have more gear for sale:
JP Slalom IV 68 - $1390 - Excellent Condition
Carbon Art SP44 - $1290 - Good Condition
Neil Pryde RS Racing (2007) 7.8m - $690 - Excellent Condition
Neil Pryde RS Racing (2007) 6.7m - $590 - Good Condition
Neil Pryde RS Racing (2007) 5.0m - $690 - Excellent Condition
Ka Koncept 2006 9.0m - $300 - Good Condition
NP 520 Race Pro 100% Carbon mast to suit $200

Saturday, 27 June 2009

6 months on...

It is six months since I had a stroke on Christmas day and although most of the feeling has returned to my right side I still have the occasional "bad day". Most bad days are compounded by having to work in man made environments in front of a pc. After six months of tests the probable cause appears to be a hole in my heart that showed up in an echo. This hole allows small clots to short cut a path to the brain rather than being filtered by the lungs. I will be on asprin daily for the rest of my life. The best therapy I find is time outside with my wife and 2 year old and of course windsurfing.

My hope for the next six months is for my health to keep on improving and my level of strength and fitness to increase. I am currently 110kg(which is great for speed sailing) and hope to get down to 105kg which will suit my new focus of slalom and marathon racing. There are 5 events in the pipeline for this summer and since we will be losing a lot of our speed locations in the lower lakes(flow restricters will be utilised to raise the lower lakes to pre-drought levels) I am really excited about the buzz of racing and the burn of marathons. It is less a case of the lucky gust and more a case of best man wins! I still love speed sailing but I dont want it to headline my sailing menu as much as it has in the past, I want to taste a few more dishes!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Light Wind Cruiser - JP Slalom IV 134

I had a light wind cruise on the JP Slalom IV 134 at Goolwa on Monday(8/6/09) in about 10-15 knots. Man I love this board, it is just so much fun in light breeze and is the only floater I have. The other great thing is that I could be out on the 7.8 with either the 92 or 104 with the wind dropping out - whack in this baby and you are going again in a few minutes, no 15+ minutes to rig another sail. Also gybes like a smaller board with relatively thin rails and stays or hovers above the water if it does pick up again.
I also tried the new Select Proslam 47 for the first time, and although I wasn't powered it showed nice speed off of the wind(~30) and still held a reasonable angle heading back upwind. I look forward to more time on this big gear with some slalom & marathon events that are in the pipeline.

I also caught a bit of footage tailing Carl & Joe. At least the water is flat when it is this light...
I looked at the camera after the run and noticed condensation inside the housing and thought the video would not turn out at all. In the end it is slightly blurred but still shows the action.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Gear for Sale

I have the following gear for sale:
Select SL7 - 27cm - 2008 - $120
Neil Pryde X3 UXT 28 - $45 each
North Sails base (offset~15mm) - $50
Will allow longer range than mast track!
Gun Sails Downhaul Winch - $30
Garmin GPS 72 - $150
Includes Data/Power cable

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Video Camera - GoPro Hero Wide

First impressions...
I can remember seeing some photos of this camera as a wrist mount a few years ago and thought it was a bit of a toy - a tiny little box that was not as stylish as others on the market but when I looked into it further I realised that it was so compact that it could not be any other shape!

The GoPro Hero Wide is powered by 2xAAA batteries which take up the whole rear of the camera, as with most cameras it is best to use Lithium(3hrs) or NiMH(2hrs). There is some onboard memory(16Mb) but it is definately best to put a 2Gb card in straight away. It can shoot TV resolution(512x384) video and 5Mp stills with a range of auto shoot options such as a burst of 3 shots or continuous shooting every 2 or 5 seconds.
Special attention has been paid to the point of sale presentation, the camera packaging is a fabricated clear acrylic box which provides a full view of the camera and its housing. It is rare that this attention to detail is shown in packaging design these days.

The camera is extremely easy to operate and navigate through each of the different shooting modes. I did however take my helmet of before a run just to make sure that it was recording(red flashing light). The camera beeps when you manually shoot stills and record which can be heard inside the helmet if there is not too much background noise. There is also an invert shooting option so that the camera can be mounted upside down. I have not tried this yet but imagine it would be good when mounted under the rear of the boom arm.

The housing is shock and waterproof and has a robust rear seal that is rated to 30m. Check out the AAA battery in the foreground! This thing is tiny and as a result you dont even realise you are using it.

What you get...
With the standard kit you get the camera and housing, a stick on flat mount and a USB/RCA combo cable. I chose this kit as I wanted to stick the camera to the helmet and did not need the helmet head strap mount. This would be suited to cycling or vented helmets that you didn't want to stick a mount on.

Roll Bar Mount Kit.
For the boom shots I mounted the housing directly to the bar clamp, this allowed the camera to shoot down the tube that it was mounted on. This worked well mounted on the boom grip adjacent to the head as the camera is pointed in the centre of the action around the sailors chest. I took some still photos after putting the camera on the tail of the boom and will try this the next time I sail. I think the other linkage pieces will be required so that the camera can sit beside the boom and centre closer to the mast base.

Grab Bag Mount Kit
You get 2 curved and 2 flat 3M stick on mounts. The curved mount is well suited to helmet mounting - make sure you get the position right as the 3M adhesive won't give you a second chance. You also get 2 Horizontal Surface Quick-Release Buckles, a Vertical Surface J-Hook Buckle and a spare Thumb Knob with Nut and Bolt.

Helmet Mount.
I chose to mount the camera slightly forward of centre so that it sat a little lower. The mass of the camera and the wind resistance was minor and didn't affect what I was doing whatsoever. Also, with it slightly forward you can duck your head when you flip the sail in the water and the back of the helmet takes any contact instead of the camera. With the camera off this also means that the mount will not damage the sail doing the same.

Boom Mount
Mounting on the front of the boom you don't even notice the camera. I am not sure if it would hamper the rig flip as I was speed sailing on the day I used it and didn't even gybe.

Rear Boom Mount
Mounting on the rear of the boom grip or the tail you can get another interesting perspective.
The wind was blowing in the back yard and I had to point the camera into the sun. The wide angle lens will still capture the full sailor even this close.

This camera is one of the best investments I have made! I can re-live the sessions and show others what I "get up to". I would even consider getting a second to shoot 2 views at once or the standard model to shoot others over greater distances.

I purchased the GoPro Hero Wide and the mounting accessories from Adventure Cams HQ.
They had the best prices I could find and also included a Windows Movie Maker tutorial DVD and a handy Spudz Lens Cleaning Kit. The delivery was promt and everything was well covered in bubble wrap. They are also Australian(WA) so you are supporting local business.

JP/Pryde 1st & 2nd - 2009 PWA Ulsan World Cup

JP/Pryde riders Antoine Albeau & Micah Buzianis have finished First and Second in the Slalom at the world cup event in Ulsan Korea. Both are still not 100% physically, so this is a true reflection of their talent and confirmation that the JP Slalom Gen V boards and the Pryde Racing Evo II's are damn fast & easily controlled.

See the event writeup here:

Monday, 18 May 2009

Sandy Point 16 May 2009

Although I didn't have the session I had hoped for I was happy with the footage I captured on my new camera. I had a play with helmet and boom mounts and have a lot more ideas on interesting angles.

Here is a quick low resolution edit of some of the footage. I will do a full review of this fantastic camera shortly.

The GoPro Hero Wide is available from Adventure Cams HQ

P.S. my boom isn't really that squeaky, it is the sound of my hand moving on the boom grip!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Micah's foot injury

Micah's foot injury seems to be healing well and he has had several sessions putting it through its paces...

"Saturday 5-9-09 The foot felt great this morning, this is relative to how it was feeling this week, I think the sail was very good for it. The sorest spot was the ankle not the break site so this is a good thing. The wind was a bit lighter today so I think another session will help even more, I certainly need the water time with only three days till I leave for Korea. Once at the beach I went with the JP 68 and my RSRacing EVOII 7.0 again. It was more like 7.8 weather but this was exactly what I needed another day of mellow sailing. The water was a bit flatter as well so it was again much easier on my foot, if we can get this flat of water in Korea I could be ok."

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Micah Buzianis Interview

Hi Micah,
Thanks for taking time out to answer some questions.

What are your aspirations for 2009 (sailing & life)?
World title all the way, I was feeling very in tune and lined up for a good run this year but now with my broken foot I am not sure how soon I will be back. I was supposed to be in Austria right now for the first race of the season but I am not back on the water yet, hopefully this week and then I will be ready for Korea. In life I just want to be the best father and person I can be! I would of course love to win the lottery but since Hawaii doesn't have one I don't think that is going to be in the cards.

Do your family ever come with you on tour?
They have come with me a few times but now the kids are old enough to need their own airline tickets and with the price of flights now I can't really afford them to come all over with me. I really wish I could because it would be great to have them along, there seems to be a lot of down time on the road and it would be nice to spend it with them.

What is your most used gear combo(sail, board & fin) on maui?
I would say for racing my Neil Pryde 7.0 RSRacing EvoII, JP GenV 60 Slalom board and a 36cm JP production fin(yes production fin these fins rock and I do use them to race on!) For waves it is my JP Real World Wave 82, Neil Pryde Alpha 5.4 and a Maui Ultra Wave fin.

What is your most used gear combo on tour?
This is a hard one since we see so many different types of conditions, I get a lot of time on all my gear. I would say from 7.8 and up is the most used stuff.

What boards and sails will you be registering for the 2009 racing season?
Well since I am not going to Austria I have a little more time to keep this a secret.......Not really I have pretty much known for a while what I was going to register, JP GenV 60, 68 and 82, and Neil Pryde RSRacingEvoII 5.5, 6.2, 7.0, 7.8, 8.6, 9.5.

I know a large percentage of your time is spent on R & D, on what component would you spend the most time conducting on-the-water testing? It is pretty close to equal on all components, but since I live in Maui and Neil Pryde R & D is focused here I would say it is on the rig, sail and mast first then booms, battens, bases all that stuff. This is one thing I really like about Neil Pryde they spend a lot of time on R & D and not just the development of the sail designs but the progression of all the components as well as making sure the durability is there as well.

Are the JP slalom boards optimised for the RSR/RSS sails or are there some compromises made to make them work equally as well with other brands? Do you try to test other sails with the boards?
I haven't done any testing on the boards with different sails. I am focused on making the fastest and easiest to ride boards for all, I know there will be some differences when they are used with other boards but I think they are overall very easy to sail and get used to. They will first and foremost work best on the JP for sure but with small tweaks in fins and different mast and footstrap positions any one will be happy with them.

Some of the more common terms used to describe fin and board performance are slippery, directional, balanced etc., are there other terms you commonly use to describe performance when talking with Werner?
No regular ones that I can think of, slippery is for sure the most used as we are always looking for more speed.

How developed are your senses after having so much testing experience - can you tell when a board has 1mm more vee or a 5cm longer planing flat?
I think I have pretty good senses on how a board or sail should feel, whether or not I could tell this small of a difference I am not sure. If it were faster or slower I am sure I could tell this quite quickly but I am not sure I could always tell what the change was.

I always wonder how the way a board performs is communicated, do you use a benchmark, say last years board and say how the board you are testing differs in speed, acceleration & control or is it more of a case of you like the overall feel of a board better than another?
For racing it is always side by side testing, if we are trying to make a new generation of slalom boards then we will start testing against the current production boards or if there is another brand out there that is going really well we will get this board and do some testing against this as well. But we will always go against what we have and know currently.

Do you use GPS for testing, I remember the Slalom IV were quoted as being 2 knots faster overall than the Slalom III?
I do use a GPS while testing race gear. It is more for just a reference than to give any definitive answers.

Have you ever been interested in entering any speed comps or are you too busy with your current schedule of racing, R&D and family commitments?
I would like to do some speed but I am so focused on all of the above that I don't have the time or resources to do it properly, I would only do it to win and if I can't prepare properly then I would rather put that energy into my priorities.

Have you done any R&D on the JP speed boards that are in the pipeline or is that Antoine's department?
This is all AA's department, I got to see the boards at the photo shoot here on Maui last month but since I was on the couch the whole time I didn't get a chance to try them. They looked very good though, I am sure there are going to be some fast times on these, they are developed by the fastest windsurfer on the planet.

I noticed you do not have a fin manufacturer on your sponsor list, what are you using at the moment or is that top secret?
I am using whatever is going the fastest, I have some of everything right now.

Thanks again for your time Micah and best of luck with your recovery and the 09 season!


Saturday, 2 May 2009

DIY - Fins

There are many reasons why you may want to mould your own fins - you may want to save money, to make a shorter copy of a favourite fin or improve the performance of a fin in certain conditions.

I chose to make my own fins when I copied a Flow 66 back in 1998. It came with both an upright and swept fin and I wanted the same versatility so I copied them using a quick method that only took a few hours. I also wanted to use a Tuttle Box instead of the Power Box that was used on the mistral, so I also had to cast a new head. I also fabricated my own fin box which is still going strong today.

I will break down each of these steps into their own DIY articles as follows:

  • DIY – Fins – 1 Step Lay-up Process

  • DIY – Fins – 2 Step Lay-up Process

  • DIY – Fins – Making a fin Mould – Quick Mould

  • DIY – Fins – Making a fin Mould – Production Mould

  • DIY – Fins – Making a Fin Base Mould

  • DIY – Fins – Moulding a Fin Base

  • DIY – Fins – Making a Fin Box Mould

  • DIY – Fins – Making a Fin Box

  • DIY – Fins – Designing & Making a Fin Plug (original)

  • DIY – Fins – Making a G10 Fin

  • DIY – Fins – Making a Fin Copying Machine (pantograph)

I hope to do these articles in the coming weeks(& months!), watch this space.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

JP Slalom Boys

From the JP Website:
Antoine Albeau, FRA 192, and Micah Buzianis, USA 34, went to South Africa to test the first generation of slalom boards for next year. Werner Gnigler just finished a set of prototypes and tried out a few additional new shape details.

Check out the Boardseeker interview here:

Select Caspar - First Impressions...

Well I had my first session on the Select Caspar 27 & 25 yesterday and I have got to say that I am very impressed. I arrived at the Goolwa channel to see other sailors on mainly 5.5 to 6.2m sails. The forecast was for winds increasing to 30-40 as they swung from WNW to W to SW. It was already quite square(SW) and small squalls had been hitting during the morning. I ventured to the bank with the CA44, RSR6.7 and the Caspar 27 and waited for one to hit. The guys downwind on the bank were waiting also but I was in the upwind "Box Seat". After a few minutes I saw one touch down, some of the guys went too early, I held back until I could see it hitting the start of the course and off I went.

I didn't need to pinch to the start of the run as the gust had a little more west in it - Perfect. I hit the run and the fin felt perfectly balanced, just enough lift but slippery. I was trying to evaluate the fin more than getting a good run and hugged the bank for most of the run, near the end I bore away slightly and hit 42.55. Many runs followed but the wind was more SW and we had to bear away into the channel. Runs were short and rounding up intense as the chop was about 45cm and about 1m apart. You were right on the tail of the board with the foot of the sail hitting the chop. The fin did not spin out once and sailed upwind very well.

On that first run I got the feeling that the fin just wanted a deeper angle and had a limitless top end. It was very predictable and I wished the wind had stayed W for longer runs to really see what I could get the fin to reach.

I look forward to the next session on the Caspar, in deeper conditions.

GPSSS Ranking for the day:
GPSSS Session Details:

See Caspar's interview on Eric's speedsurfing BLOG:

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Sessions - The best of 08

With the Autumn doldrums upon us I thought I would post my favourite sessions from 08.
We got the forecast 20-35 knots but the course was quite square(~100 degrees)
I had some trouble getting comfortable initially but kept on creeping higher. Beat my PB peak many times over and had a 43.82 10 sec. Its days like these that make to no-fires bearable. Chris.D was flying on his *boards and looked in control from the outset & Sam was also flying and got a few PB's also.
The photos below were taken by Kevin Page(thanks again Kevin!) from the opposite bank.

Me on a downwinder, I think this was just after I got lifted and was regaining control hence the board trim;)

Heading back upwind 1

Heading back upwind 2 - note the bommies in the foreground we usually shred our feet and fin tips on.

Heading back upwind 3

Sam downwind

Sam from a distance.


My other favourite session was when I had a go at the 1 hour and got a PB(25.55). I was the only one out and it was after my Grandmothers funeral. I will have to post the track to GPSSS as it hasn't been added to the top 10!