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March 14, 2007


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I'm curious. When a windsurfer gets on a wave - are you still actually sailing, or do you hit a takeoff point where it becomes more surfing than sailing?

And do those particular lunatics that windsurf Jaws-sized waves have some extra heavy-duty rigs? That's a whole lotta water to have land on top of your equipment.

There are moments where it's more surfing than sailing, but it's always a combination in my opinion. There's a neat phenomenon where even if the wind is too light to get you planing, as you begin to surf down the face of the wave you pick up speed...the sail's apparent wind speed increases...and all of a sudden you're powered up and can sail the board (in addition to surfing it) even though there's not enough wind to otherwise do so. Speed begets more speed.

Re sailing Jaws, (or Peahi as the Hawaiians call it!) from what I understand everything but the boards is standard wave sailing gear (all wave sailing gear is heavy-duty.) The boards (usually custom made) are a bit longer to accomodate the various needs of surfing down those 30 foot faces. Sailing Jaws is specialized stuff, and the people who do it are generally pros, and always with a support boat there to assist.

Meanwhile it's a regular occurence for people to have top of the line wave gear snapped into pieces by waves less than six feet high if everything goes wrong. The standard nightmare is the mast getting stuck in the sand or a reef, then a wave grabs the board (still attached to the mast) and pogos it. Snap, crackle, pop!

That's one hell of a video!!!

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windsurfing van

  • Bulkhead_wide
    "It's good to have a shredmobile" my friend Caldwell said, so I made one. It's a Ford E150 cargo van done up with lumber and k-mart plastic boxes.