Category Archives: Gear

Firewire’s New Modern Planing Hull Kiteboards – Vader & Vanguard

firewire

Benefits of the Shape:

These boards give you the following benefitsSuperior upwind capability – The MPH design is a planing hull, designed to create more lift than a standard direction board which technically function as a displacement hull similar to a boat that sits down into the water. The MPH planing hull provides a ride that feels like your gliding as the board continually wants to accelerate giving the experience of forward drive which is being produced by this hull design. This forward drive translates to getting you upwind much easier than traditional boards which is beneficial for all riders, but particularly great for larger riders who used to have to sit on the sidelines on light wind days. Even in flat water riders enjoy how easy it is to get upwind and the board outline is great for practicing transitions, tricks and airs on this board.High Performance ride – These are high performance boards ridden by some of the top surfers in the world. You get the exact same shape with the Kiteboard build of the Vanguard or Vader so you know it will carve and turn incredibly well.Predictable stability – The Vanguard has proven to be a very versatile board. The parallel outline from nose to tail provides more overall surface area and make it a very stable platform. You will feel asmoother ride through the chop and inadvertent weight shifts won’t send you toppling off the board like a standard surf shape. This makes learning on a Vanguard a snap! We recommend the Vanguard for beginner and intermediate riders or people who are new to strapless. But don’t worry, it will absolutely keep up as you progress and advance.Durability – The MPH boards are made from our Future Shapes Technology (FST) that offers superior durability yet is still very light. You will get years of use out of the FST construction, much more so than a standard polyurethane board.Environmentally conscious – Did you know that every FireWire board is Eco certified by Sustainable Surf.org? FireWire is committed to making the most environmentally friendly board on the market with new building materials such as Entropy bio-resin and Paulownia wood deck skins featured in our TimberTek models. 

Rider suggestions regarding board setup:

The parallel outline of the MPH design places more rail line in the water than traditional shapes. This means the there’s similar amount of rail in the water at any given time on a much smaller overall board size. We use 185lb/84kg as a general guideline for sizing the Vanguard. For larger riders over 185lb/84kg the 5’6” or 5’4” is recommended and for medium/smaller riders under the 185lb/84kg mark, the 5’2” or 5’0” is suggested. Of course wind and other factors can be taken into consideration. More wind look towards the shorter side, less wind the longer side. The Vader is intended to be ridden 1”2” or 2cm-5cm shorter than your preferred Vanguard size.

Small miracles  The parallel rail outline and MPH design allows you to ride a very small board size. Don’t be intimidated by the smaller sized models. We have a lot of customers that won’t believe they can kite a board as small as the Vanguard and will purchase a 5’6” only to come back and buy a 5’2”. Smaller in this case can be better. You can get a skateboard feel with tons of control. Felix and some of our other riders report that they ride 5’2” in triple overhead surf with no problem. In fact the board feels more stable in large surf than a traditional 6’+ board! And don’t forget, the Vader should be ridden even smaller and will get you the same dependable hold in any type of surf.

V vs.V  Vader vs. Vanguard Comparison – At first glance these boards look very similar with the tail the only noticeable difference from afar. Our endless hours of testing these two models revealed that the Vanguard is really stable and works well for the beginner/intermediate kiter. While the Vader is pure adrenaline and caters well to the intermediate/advanced riders. The reason behind this is the Vader has a bit more tail and entry rocker which translates to tighter, quicker turns. In comparison, the Vanguard will tend to draw out these same turns making it feel stable and slightly more predictable. The Vader’s bottom has deep channels allowing it to hold and grip on big turns so again, it can be ridden even smaller than the Vanguard. Both boards will want to drive forward and race quickly down the line but the Vader will offer a bit more vertical attack and tighter carves. Either board will allow you to experience the fluid feel of the latest planning hull designs and get you back upwind instantly!

Traction pad placement  The rear foot placement should be very far back towards the tail. When using a tail pad we recommend that you position the back edge of the pad approximately 1” or 2cm in front of the deck plug. These boards ride really well when even weight is provided on both feet. Or for an immediate rapid turning response, weight you rear foot further back on the board.  Big Winds offers front pads if you choose to go pad vs. wax.

Fin suggestions:  Big Winds has stocked the Vanguards in the past with Futures Fins, and have found success with the following Thrusters from Futures:  John John & F4 Tech Flex.  Quad Sets:  F4 Quad and V2 Rasta Quad.  5-Fin:  Mulcoy.  This summer we had FireWire build our Vanguards with FCS II’s, and the Performer Thrusters in PC or Neo Glass are our go-to!  Sold as a thruster, with optional Quad rears, check out the FCS II Performer Fins.  Have a look at our fin options here:

Big Winds Kiteboarding Fins

For any other questions regarding FireWire kite surfboards, feel free to give us a call at Big Winds 1-888-509-4210, or come by the shop to take a FireWire kite surfboard for demo!

Free Stand Up Demo

Test the newest race and tour boards in Hood River this weekend!

JET-Team-8.20.14-by-Gorge-Us-Photography-11

No registration required.
Just show up!

When: Sunday, 4/19, 1-3pm
Where: Hood River, Event Site

Will will have various performance paddles for you to try as well as some, if not all, of the following boards:

Amundson
TR-12’6 x 29

TR-12’6 x 27
TR-T 14′
TR -X 14′
TR- 11’6″ 

SIC
X-Pro 14′

V2

Starboard
Elite Tour 12’6
All-Star 12’6 x 24

Elite Tour 11’6
Naish
Javelin 14′ X 26 LE

Bark
D2

Downwind 14’
Contender 12’6
Appleby Race 12’6

Naish
Glide 12’6 x 30 GS

 

Review: Paddle Grip Wax

Highly experienced Big Winds paddlers weigh in on the virtues of Grip Wax from Element Expeditions.

Steve Gates:

In putting together my kit for the Molokai to Oahu Race (M2O) this past summer, one of the first things that went into the bag was a tube of the Warm Grip Wax from Element Expeditions. I made sure my Team’s paddles were all appropriately waxed. I know from experience it helps in relieving the grip tension on the shaft, so it’s especially effective in long distances races like the M2O.

Grip Wax at M2O

Matt Morrow:

I just returned from three days on SUP surfing on the Oregon Coast. It was my first time paddling using gloves and I was worried the gloves would cause my forearms to fatigue. I happened to borrow a paddle for the trip that was freshly waxed up with Element Expeditions Grip Wax and I was blown away. The wax allowed me to use a MUCH gripwax-cold-ssofter grip, and I experienced less forearm fatigue in 3mm Gloves using Grip Wax than when I am paddling with bare hands and no wax. I think the Grip Wax works exceptionally well with gloves as the wax allows the gloves to almost stick to the paddle shaft like glue and therefor your hand can be relaxed on the shaft. There was no residue on the gloves after paddling, probably less wear and tear actually as I was not gripping so hard. I certainly was able to stay out longer, catch more waves and have more fun because of the grip wax, it was amazing. Furthermore, in 3 days of getting pounded by Oregon Coast surf, I never lost my paddle once and believe the Grip Wax played a big role in this. I will be recommending it highly.

T.J. Gulizia:

I’ve been using the Paddle Grip Wax for awhile now, and honestly, feel it a necessity for all types of paddling. During the summer months, I swear by the Anti-Sweat wax. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and lasts awhile before needing to reapply. It goes on as a very thin, clean layer, doesn’t sluff off or clump up, and doesn’t attract sand. If my hands are wet or get sweaty, the wax comes into play so I don’t have to apply the gorilla grip which means less fatigue and fewer blisters. For surf and whitewater, the Cold Water Wax is the ticket, especially when wearing gloves. A finger tip grip is so much more relaxing than a tight grip and the blood flow into my hands allows for better circulation and a warmer feel in frigid waters. Great product, all natural, and inexpensive.

Grip Wax on the Oregon Coast

And, straight from founder Seann Feldmann:

Our story is quite simple. Years ago, my co-founder, Frank Frankovitch and I were attending MooseFest Whitewater Festival near Old Forge, NY in the heart of the Adirondacks. As Frank and I were preparing our boats for launch, I noticed a fellow paddler applying a brand name surf wax onto his paddle shaft. As a surfer and a paddler I thought it was curious that he was applying a top coat surf wax directly onto the paddle shaft. I wondered if there were any alternatives on the market and when I returned home my search came up empty. So, I decided to make my own and started experimenting in my garage.

Knowing that most surf waxes require a base coat and are notoriously messy, I set out to solve two problems. The first being to create a non-petroleum based sport grip that could be directly applied to the paddle without the need of a base wax. The second, was to create a delivery system that reduced the mess involved when applying wax. Countless formulas and delivery systems later, I came up with a 100% organic formula that could be stored in a twist-up recyclable tube. Frank and I attended many paddling events and would hand it out to our friends for feedback. We listened to comments, then tweaked the packaging, made revisions to the formula, and finally expanded the line to include a grip for every season and paddle sport. The rest is, as they say, history.

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2014 Naish Mana 8’10

Reflecting back to Christmas Day, 2013, on the Oregon Coast, it was my introduction to what has become one of my favorite SUPs in the surf, the 2014 Naish Mana 8’10. In 2015 the Mana 8’10 will have only a graphics change so Big Winds nabbed some of the remaining 2014s to offer our customers at a screaming deal.

The 2014 Mana 8’10 GT (wood construction) is a beauty both on the water and off. With the exposed wood veneer on the top deck, it is arguably one of the cleanest looking boards on the showroom floor. This full wood sandwich deck offers more than a naturally pleasing look, it allows for the board to flex more naturally and freely too. A wood veneer laminate optimizes strength, and reduces weight to only 20.7 pounds, including the 3/4 deck pad.

2014 Naish Mana 8'10 at Big Winds

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

The 2014 Mana 8’10 is also available in the GS construction (standard glass matrix w/ wood standing area). This is a great option for the same shape at a price point value. The GS construction only weighs 2 pounds more, but is $200 less!

The 8’10 Mana is one of the most forgiving boards I’ve ridden, not too wide, and not too narrow. I really enjoy the 30.5″ width and at 133L, it’s super stable for riders up to 200 pounds. The compact design works really well for us here in Oregon where conditions can get challenging. When you’re on the wave, the exaggerated tail rocker and V bottom shape makes it easy to turn and carve down the line, too.

Now is the time to secure a great surf SUP for “real world conditions” at a discount of $400 off the retail price! Big Winds offers 10% discounts for any accessory with the purchase of a new 2014 Mana 8’10 GT, so if you need a board bag, an upgraded fin set, paddle, leash etc, now’s the time to grab one!

-TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Starboard Astro Inflatables

Of the many disciplines one can pursue in Stand Up Paddling, the Touring Inflatable category has become an increasingly popular one. Using an inflatable SUP for touring has many advantages: easy to travel with, light weight, very durable and stow-able. Starboard has been offering two different touring sizes in their Astro line up, a 14′ and 12’6. These boards are stable and fast, allowing one to show up at any flat body of water, pump up, and go for a casual paddle or more.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThe Astro Touring boards are a great choice for people who don’t have the space to store a long SUP or don’t have a rig to transport one. They’re for folks who are vacationing to far away places, where wave riding isn’t the primary goal. They’re for the adventurer who is hiking into a remote area for the solitude of paddling where people are few in numbers.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThese boards are stiff enough to paddle with little to no bounce, when inflated to the recommended pressure of 18 psi. They have enough volume to accommodate any paddler weight, including your favorite SUP buddy or gear for self-support overnighters. I keep a couple of boards on hand in the RV at all times and forget they are even there. We have a 12’6 for my wife and a 14′ for me. We’ll stumble upon places we hadn’t even thought about paddling at and be ready at the drop of the hat. The idea of packing away a 12’6 board and 14′ board and completely forgetting that they are with you is great! They travel by air easily, too! Taking the 12’6 to the Caribbean for touring and snorkeling was one of the best trips I can remember.Starboard Astro at Big Winds

The 2014 Starboard Inflatables are still in stock, and we are closing out the 14′ and 12’6 models. When considering size, don’t let the 14′ fool you, it packs down almost as light and as small as the 12’6 and paddles faster, too. Give us a call if you are in the market for a new Touring board, as the inflatable options are better than ever.

-TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Cabrinha Tronic and Ace Twin-Tips

Big Winds offers a number of really fun twin tips for 2015, a couple of stand out boards from Cabrinha are the updated Tronic and new Ace.

The 2015 Tronic is a really fun twin tip for boosting and riding in surf and swell. Its updated shape this year is quite noticeable from the years past with the new Parabolic Rail offering a stiffer feel under foot, allowing for a very responsive tip and tail. If choppy waters are an issue in your riding venue, the new Tronic provides one of the smoothest rides with the deep V and quad concave bottom contour. 2015 Cabrinha Tronic at Big WindsThe softer curved tips and rounded rail means no more tip spit in your eyes and allows you to turn on a dime! Available in 3 sizes, my preference is the mid size at 141/42cm (I’m 5’10” and 165 lbs).

Cabrinha offers a completely new design with the new Ace twin-tip. A combination of the ever popular Custom and X-Caliber, the new Ace implements the same Parabolic Rails as the Tronic, but has a quad concave to quad V bottom. 2015 Cabrinha Ace at Big WindsWith slightly less rocker than the Custom, but a bit more than the X-Caliber, the new Ace gets up on a plane quickly, and provides a very fast and smooth ride. This Freestyle/Freeride twin-tip is certainly going to be a big hit for people riding in a variety of water conditions and experimenting with a variety of riding styles.

Both the Tronic and Ace are built from a vertically laminated Paulownia wood core with a new volcanic basalt laminate offering both vibration resistance and added durability. The new Hex Flow fins are another unique addition to the 2015 line-up, with a dimpled pattern over the surface of the fin comparable to that of a golf ball. The hex pattern helps to create a boundary layer assisting in the laminar flow over the fin. New rails, new construction and new fins all add to a very new feel in the twin-tip category for 2015.

-TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Review: Imagine Connector SUP

When Hawaiian waterman Dave Kalama teamed up with Imagine Paddle Surf, we knew there was something in the works for the ultimate downwind SUP. Leave it to one of the guys who started it all to shape a fun, forgiving and fast downwind board. The 2014 Imagine Connector is a very worthy SUP and is a steal at only $1599.

Available in 2 sizes, the 14’x 27″ and 14’x 29.5″, the Imagine Connector looks different than any other downwind board we’ve carried here at Big Winds, with lots of volume up front and thinned out through the tail. This works so well in the swell and has been tested in some of the

Imagine Connector

Imagine Connector. Click to enlarge.

biggest swell the Gorge has to offer. No matter how deep the bow wants to penetrate, the high volume, sleek piercing nose prevents the board from pearling. It allows you to really want to punch into the bump ahead of the trough you are gliding in and keeps you committed with little to no worries of diving the nose deep. The thinned out tail makes sense, as there is nothing for the wind or side swell to push on laterally throwing you off balance from behind. Foot steering is also super responsive due to the low volume tail section. Once committed to the glide, the board really accelerates to the next bump and “connects” with ease.

The 2014 Imagine Connector is available in one construction, but is relatively light for a non-carbon board. The 27″ wide model weights 28 pounds and the 29.5″ wide model comes in at 29 pounds. When the 2015 Connector launches, it will only be available in a custom carbon/wood construction, and will retail for close to $1000 more! Now’s the time to grab a 2014 Connector at a steal of a deal!