Category Archives: Windsurf Boards

New in The Gorge – LP Foil Boards

LP-Foils-Spring2015 from LP Foils on Vimeo.

Big Winds is in its second year getting involved with kite hydrofoils, and is happy to announce a retail partnership with local manufacturer LP Composites! LP has come up with a product that has tested extremely well for durability, handling, stiffness and speed. They have just released a very light weight product called the FRS Series Kite Foil, available in two mounting systems (Deep Tuttle, and 4 Hole Plate), and two different strut lengths, 39” and 35”. I’ve had the opportunity to now test the 4 hole plate on my Lift board, with a 39” strut, and first impression was that this was a high performance product…fast, maneuverable, and light! The LP is so stiff, there is absolutely no vibration. I hit my first ever roll tack, as it pivots effortlessly! The Gorge can serve up some pretty harsh conditions, and this foil can handle it! I look forward to testing this foil more, with the 3 different shims that come with it to allow for more or less angle on the rear wing. We are stoked support the first manufactured foil here in the Gorge, and can’t wait to see the products to come (including the windsurf foil!).

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Review: 2015 Windsurf Boards

2015 BW High-Wind Board Test

In the Gorge, 70-80-liter boards aren’t a pipe dream. They’re a staple. So we tested some over lunch … A long lunch. One not-so-happy boss later, here’s our take on the latest quad, thruster and single-fin shapes available here at Big Winds.

Lunch Test Crew:

Matt Morrow

Matt Morrow. Click to enlarge.

Matt Morrow: 180 lbs, 19 years windsurfing, loves swell slashing upwind of Doug’s.

Mark Ames

Mark Ames. Click to enlarge.

Mark Ames: 170 lbs, 32 years of sailing, loves all windsurfing!

Eddy Patricelli

Eddy Patricelli. Click to enlarge.

Eddy Patricelli: 185 lbs, 22 years on the water, former WindSurfing mag board test editor.

Lunch Test SessionFirst impressions matter. That’s what’s at play below: results assembled from three Big Winds staffers rifling through the shop’s demo fleet of 70-80 liter boards over a lunch break that lasted (ahem) 2.5 hours. Of course, one session in 20-30 mph winds off the Hood River Waterfront Park is not a conclusive test. It’s a starting point to help you find your perfect board. More lunch test sessions are to come. Shorter ones. Till then, try these rides for yourself. Two days of board demos ($80) can be applied to a board’s purchase.

GOYA CUSTOM QUAD 78

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78 liters, 223 X 56 cm, 15.5 lbs. (w/ straps + four fins): MSRP: $2,295

Matt – Planing: It surprised me. It’s the only quad in this test and its planing performance hung in there with the fleet. Riding: Its bottom shape has so much vee I expected a radical ride. Instead, it was easy to sail. It tracked well and was exceptionally behaved. Not the fastest of the bunch, but fast enough. Turning: This board shined in the turns, begged to be spun around and to be put on a true wave. Best Suits: Advanced riders under 190 lbs. who want an amazing wave board that’s also suitable for freestyle in high winds.

Eddy – Planing: Not the earliest to plane. Not far off the others, but my 185 pounds felt wind lulls a bit more on this board. Riding: It’s friendly and controlled over chop. Fast too, thanks to its forgiving ride, which inspired me to keep the pedal down. If anything, I’m anxious to try the Goya Custom Quad’s larger sibling, the 84-liter model. My hunch is this quad can be ridden a size up when matched with heavier sailors. Turning: On edge, it had no rivals. Hands-down winner for swell riding and carving fun. Best Suits: Intermediate to experts looking for a fun ride that prioritizes maneuverability; anyone headed for Punta San Carlos.

JP FREESTYLE WAVE 77 (PRO EDITION)

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77 liters (93 pictured) 228 X 56 cm, 14.25 lbs. (w/ straps + thrusters) MSRP: $2,455

Matt – I’ll break form and cut to the chase: This was my favorite board. It planed quickly, was fast and lively, yet it stuck to the water when I wanted it to. In short, the board made me feel like a hero. I planed out of my turns, jumped higher than I thought I would, and was lightning fast on a reach. I did notice the carbon construction’s stiffness in the chop, but the board was just so much fun to sail otherwise that I could not wipe the smile off my face. I would recommend this board to anyone that wants to put it in my car and get me on it again.

Eddy – Planing: It would’ve taken the top spot in planing performance if not for the Starboard Kode Freewave 81, which has a slight size advantage. Regardless, this JP had me hustling for the foot straps for the right reasons. Riding: The thruster fin setup offered what felt like all-wheel drive underfoot. On this board (and the Naish Global S) I never spun out, nor topped out — great for jumping. Turning: Good in the corners, but not quite as agile as the Goya Custom Quad or Quatro Mono, perhaps because it felt like I was entering turns with exception speed. Best Suits: Virtually everyone, with the exception of novice high-wind sailors. This model’s Pro Edition carbon construction favors experience.

NAISH GLOBAL SMALL

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78 liters, 222 cm X 57 cm, 15 lbs. (w/ straps + 3 fins) MSRP: $2,399

Matt – Planing: Super quick to plane. It’s a board that will get you on the water when most are stuck on the beach. Riding: Through the chop I noticed the extra tail width — it wasn’t the smoothest ride — but it would be a dream board for the light-medium size sailor on a wave at the coast. Turning: The unique tail shape allowed tight snappy turns. Best Suits: Beginner to advanced wave sailors tackling onshore conditions.

Eddy – Planing: This Naish rivaled the JP Freestyle Wave 78 and the Starboard Kode Freewave 81 in early planing, but it bettered them in its ability to hold a plane in the turns and through the lulls — an ideal attribute for back-foot-heavy sailors and real-world wave conditions. Riding: Tame, controlled for me, and plenty fast. Turning: It didn’t turn as tightly as the Goya Custom Quad or Quatro Mono Single, but it did carry speed on edge better than any board I can recall … ever. Best Suits: Those seeking one board for both bump-and-jump and wave sailing. East Coasters who want a powerful board for the imperfect conditions they face.

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78 liters, 240 X 55.8 cm, 15 lbs. (w/ straps & fin), MSRP: $1,995

QUATRO MONO SINGLE 78

MattPlaning: This single-fin model shot onto a plane (and shot upwind with speed ) like no other in the test. Riding: I felt dialed in instantly, and its straight-line performance was so good I began to worry it wouldn’t turn well. Turning: As soon as I put it on its rail the Mono responded. Not with a skatey type of turn. The Mono required me to commit, and get forward to utilize the whole rail. So much fun in swells. Best suits: Gorge sailors looking for a classic single-fin shape to blast around on, tear swells apart and fly past their friends.

Mark – Planing: It’s longer and narrower than others, but it planes just as quickly. Riding: Step on and go. This “modern classic” felt settled motoring through the rough stuff. Comfortable footstraps and pads soaked up the bumps. It has great straight line tracking stability, and feels engaged — eager for rider input. Did I mention it also jumps like a rocket? Turning: It’s a blast! Drawn out jibes are a dream, and snappy, rail-to-rail quickness is there as well. After riding multi-fin wave boards for the last 2 years, the Mono felt like reuniting with an old best friend. Best Suits: Experienced sailors who want a lively, fast, more traditional feeling wave/bump board.

Eddy – Planing: I expected this single-fin board to plane earlier than the fleet. And while it was near the top, I still gave a slight planing edge to its JP and Starboard rivals. Riding: There’s comfort in things you know. This old-school shape (longer, narrower) had that favorite-pair-of-jeans quality. Easiest of the fleet to sheet in and go. Turning: Against modern shapes, it surpassed all but the Goya Custom in carving prowess on my scorecard. Not bad for a “classic”. Best Suits: Sailors looking to keep it simple. A proven shape, a single fin — why complicate what works?

QUATRO SPHERE 75

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75 liters, 227 X 55.2 cm, 15 lbs. (w/ straps & three fins), MSRP: $2,335

Matt – Planing: It popped up onto a plane, and somehow felt like the whole board was up out of the water — almost like a hydrofoil. Riding: Control on the Sphere was unsurpassed. Its unique planing sensation translated into an extremely smooth ride. I was challenging mother nature to bring on the gusts. Turning: Turns were easy. The thruster fin setup handled tremendous amounts of pressure with no spinouts. Best Suits: This is a great board for intermediate sailors looking for fun and control, or advanced sailors looking to transition to a thruster from a single-fin background. I felt like this board was made for Gorge riding.

Mark – Planing: It’s a high-energy ride that’s quick to plane. Riding: This board really balances the characteristics of a single fin and multi-fin boards alike. Early planing and fast, but super quick rail to rail, with loads of grip in the turns. Best Suits: It’s a great choice for those who sail both coastal and inland locations, and seek a powerful, ultra-responsive wave board. 75-115 liter models offer a size for every sailor and condition.

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81 liters, 231 X 57.5 cm, 16 lbs. (w/ straps + 3 fins) MSRP: $1,999

STARBOARD KODE FREEWAVE 81 (TECHNORA)

Matt – Planing: It offers a lively, engaging ride, and it was easy to get planing. Riding: I was impressed by it’s smooth and controlled ride, probably due to the comfiest foot straps and pads that I’ve ever slipped my feet into. I did, however, have a few spinouts, but I sail with a lot of back foot pressure. Turning: For me, this was the easiest board to jibe of the test. It also carried speed through turns like no other. Best Suits: It’s a perfect high-wind board for an intermediate sailor to master their jibes or advanced sailors looking for a smooth riding bump and jump board.

Mark – Planing: The Kode Freewaves have a reputation for early planing. No exception here. This board jumped up to speed. Riding: The combination of a nicely domed deck, and the most most comfortable foot straps and deck pads I’ve ever used provided a very connected feel. The board was incredibly stable through chop. Very confidence inspiring. Turning: One of the easiest jibing boards I’ve sailed in a while. Carries speed through carves as if on autopilot, while the thruster fin setup offers a loose, playful feel. Best Suits: It’s such a comfortable, rewarding board to sail, it’ll deliver for a wide range of sailors.

Eddy – Planing: This board planed the earliest of all of ‘em for me. So early, I had to check that it was the Technora (read: not carbon) model. Riding: The low-profile nose provided a controlled, nose-down ride that kept me on the gas in the gusts. Also, the word “range” haunted my session on this board. It planed early, was the biggest board in this fleet, and somehow felt the most well-behaved when I was overpowered. That’s a big claim. Turning: Solid performance here too. Best Suits: Anyone who wants a board with an unrivaled wind range and an exceptionally smooth ride; one-board quiver seekers.

Goya Boards
Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

New FCS II Fins

FCS Fins are now utilizing a tool-less click-in system…FCS II. Big Winds is stocking FCS II for kite, SUP, and windsurf boards. T.J. runs through the thruster, quad rear, and new center fin Connect click in system. No more need for tools, set screws, tabs nor screws!

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Naish Global

Next season Naish will be reintroducing the Global to its board offerings. Much like previous iterations, and the Naish Koncept that followed, the 2015 Global is designed as a do-it-all wave board, effective in conditions all over the world. However, in terms of design, the 2015 Global is a significant departure from its predecessors. While the name and the pitch are familiar, it is important to note that this is not the continued evolution of the boards that came before it, but a completely new shape, and a big step up in terms of performance. The 2015 Global is available in Small (78 liters), Medium (88L) and Large (98L).

Naish Global at Big WindsI am 175 pounds and I have been riding the Small Global as a high-wind board here in the Gorge in mostly 4.2 conditions. I have tried the board on good days and in some pretty funky up and down conditions. The board performed well in both powered up and more marginal conditions.

In terms of appearance, the most unique feature of the 2015 Global is the square tail. The increased tail volume helps the board plane up and coast through lulls. Combined with the board’s tri-fin setup, the square tail provides exceptional grip and drive as well as super stable feeling in carving turns and jibes.

Naish Global at Big WindsWith any new board I expect to have to make small adjustments to my sailing to get the most out of the board. The Global felt pretty good right off the bat. With its notably flat deck and wider tail, I had to loosen my back foot strap a little bit in order to make sure I could get over the centerline and apply pressure on the toe side rail to turn and trim the board. Once I got that dialed in, it was easy to adjust to the board and really put it through its paces.

At a diminutive 222 cm (under 7’4″!) the Small Global feels super compact and controllable. Like other stubby onshore and all-around wave boards, the Global carries speed on swells and through tight turns, planes early and is quick for a wave board. Where I think it sets itself apart the most is in the ride quality. While other boards have felt skittish, prone to spin outs or had an uncomfortable, pounding ride, the global manages to package all of the characteristics I liked in other similar boards with a ride that I’d be happy to live with full time. The new high density deck pads are super grippy and help with creating a super responsive feel.

Naish Global at Big WindsAll 2015 Naish boards come with high end G10 fins from Maui Fin Company. These fins are a significant upgrade from previous Naish stock fins and the fins that come with most other boards. With the stock fin set-up the board feels rock solid, and didn’t even hint at spinning out during the time I spent testing it. I’m looking forward to trying the board with a smaller center fin and seeing if I can slide it around a bit more. If you’re looking to try a multi fin board for the first time, or have had trouble with cavitation on other multi-fin set ups, this board is definitely one to try!

I think the 2015 Global is one of the best performing boards I’ve sailed in the past few years for the unique conditions we have here in the Gorge. I’m also looking forward to trying the larger sizes out on the Oregon coast as well.

— George

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Mark’s Sneak Preview of Naish Windsurf Gear

Fall in The Gorge continues to deliver a mix of west and east wind, in combination with some really beautiful, sunny weather. I have recently had a chance to sample the new 2014 Naish Starship 90 liter board with a 2014 Naish Vibe 5.0 sail on several occasions.

2014 Naish Starship

2014 Naish Starship

The Starship is Naish’s latest “Bump ‘n’ Jump / Onshore Wave” model that boldly picks up where the previous Koncept, Global, and Global Wave models left off. In west winds ranging from approximately 16-23 mph at the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, the Starship has proven to be an awesome ride, blending quick planing response, a fast, lively and smooth feel underfoot, with confidence inspiring jibing character. The deck pads and footstraps also stand out as being exceptionally comfortable.

2014 Naish Vibe

2014 Naish Vibe

The combination of the new Vibe 5.0 and a Naish RDM 90 400cm mast felt perfectly balanced and totally predictable in its handling and maneuvering. The sail has a very light, crisp feel, and is forgiving in both bumpy conditions and when exiting jibes and maneuvers.

My overall impression is that this board and sail combination deliver solid performance and value for anyone looking for high quality, beautifully finished gear that will handle a wide variety of wind and water conditions with ease and style.

Naish Chopper update From The Hatchery 7/1/2012

After a brief taste of summer back in March when we got to test some gear in Maui, it finally felt like summer in the Gorge last Sunday! Windy, warm, and a good crew of people sailing at the Hatchery. I couldn’t wait to take my new Naish Chopper for a spin. I rigged up the Small and headed out. For the next 90 minutes, I was pretty much smiling nonstop. My session was elevated even further when my dad joined me on the water (on a matching Chopper, of course). Despite the gusty conditions (with some pretty large lulls), we were planing nearly the entire time due to the Chopper’s wide range and stability. As I carried my rig up the rocks, I felt satisfied. Perhaps my satisfaction was due to the fact that I hadn’t sailed in over two weeks—but I have a sneaking suspicion it could be due to my new favorite sail: the Chopper.

Erin and Steve Gates take their new Naish Choppers to the Hatch. Thanks to Trudy Lary for the photo