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!

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

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

 

Let’s Go Paddling!

An Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboard Technique

Stand Up Paddleboarding is taking off in all corners of the world for several reasons: it is relatively easy for just about everybody, it is pretty unintimidating, you don’t need waves, you don’t need wind and it is great for fitness! It’s the perfect complement to windsurfing, kiteboarding and surfing, which is why so many people are adding it to their list of water sports.

Even though it’s easy to get on a board and go, good technique allows you to paddle longer, faster and have way more fun! Here are some tips for getting started.

SUP boards are surprisingly light and easy to carry with a convenient handle. Keep the board on the downwind side of you, and also help stabilize it with the hand that’s holding your paddle.

 

Getting Underway

1) Wade out into knee-deep water and ease your way onto the board on your knees. Place your paddle across the board well in front of the carrying handle.

 

2) Stand up and place your feet on each side of the carrying handle, which is generally the balance point of most boards.

 

3) Bend your knees slightly and hold your paddle so that the angle of the blade is pointing forward.

 

Proper Forward Stroke Technique

The Reach: A good long reach is the foundation for an efficient and powerful forward stroke. The lower arm is straight and the lower shoulder and hip are rotated forward, knees and back are slightly bent, and the upper arm is also slightly bent with the upper hand over your forehead. This position allows you to achieve a nice long reach, setting up a great stroke.

 

The Catch: The catch is the act of plunging the blade into the water and is the beginning of the power phase. At the catch, try to plunge the entire blade into the water, creating maximum power right from the start. The upper body “collapses onto the blade”, with the upper arm straightening to push the handle forward, adding power to the blade. The lower arm stays straight. Engage your core as you exhale, protecting your lower back.

 

The Power Phase: The power phase should be short and smooth, with relatively little effort from any single muscle group. The key is to get your whole body working in sync with a compact, efficient motion. Here’s what’s happening in this image: the hips and shoulder that were rotated forward are now rotating back, adding power and allowing the lower arm to stay straight. The lower arm is drawing the blade backwards, allowing the board to glide by it (the blade travels only a few inches in each stroke, but the board moves 10’+). The upper arm continues to drive the paddle handle forward, also adding power.

 

The Release: When the blade reaches your feet, lift it out of the water with your lower hand, while you lower the top hand and move it away from the paddling side. The Power phase is over.

 

The Recovery: This phase is key to an efficient stroke. As the blade is pulled from the water, twist the paddle as if you are opening a door handle by turning your thumb forward, “feathering” the blade so it can move forward through the air with little resistance. The body has becomes more upright, as the hips and shoulders once again begin to rotate towards the blade and follow it as it moves forward. Both arms stay straight, and the upper arm stays high and swings slightly outward to allow the blade to be drawn forward again.

Those are the keys to an efficient and powerful stroke: A nice long reach, a deep and powerful catch, a smooth and short power phase using your entire body, a quick release and a fluid recovery with minimal motion.

 

Turning the Board

Now you have a nice forward stroke, but at some point you’ll need to turn around. Here are some basic turns.

Bow Sweep: With your legs bent low, point the blade at the bow of the board and draw it backwards, scribing a nice wide arc with the blade from tip to tail.

IMG_8200

 

Cross Bow Sweep: From the same preparation position as the Bow Sweep, rotate your upper body across the board and begin to sweep towards the bow, then lift the blade over the bow and continue to sweep back to the stern.

IMG_8207

 

Pivot Turn: From a surf stance (with one foot behind the other) and both feet well back towards the tail of the board, use the sweep stroke to turn the board towards your backside. With your weight back, the front of the board is lifted out of the water and is free to turn quickly. As you complete the turn, move quickly back to your forward stroke position.

IMG_8208

 

Upwind Paddling Technique

Here in the Columbia River Gorge, many of us paddle in all conditions from calm and glassy to windy and bumpy. We’ve developed techniques, which allow us to be able to paddle successfully into strong headwinds and crosswinds, and are great for a killer workout!

The key is to choke down on the shaft and STAY LOW! A short, compact stroke is what many of us have found to be the most efficient when to working our way into a stiff 20+ mph headwind. Here are the images that demonstrate our Upwind Reach, Catch, Power, and Recovery.

Now that you have the basics to paddle efficiently in a range of conditions, get out there, get fit and have fun!

See you on the water!
– Steve

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

Fiona Wylde: First Woman to Qualify for Men’s Sunset Beach Pro

Big Winds favorite waterwoman, Fiona Wylde, checks in from Turtle Bay:

fiona1Hi All,
The Men’s Stand Up World Tour Sunset Beach Pro holding period started directly after the completion of the Women’s Turtle Bay Pro. Myself and one other girl, Izzi Gomez, last year’s World Champion, received the opportunity to enter the Trails to see if we could make it into the main event. When I was put in the brackets, I wasn’t concerned about making it to the main event, I was concerned about making it out of the shore break. On Thursday, Sunset was stormy and surging between 10-15ft Hawaiian, so I put on an impact vest and paddled out. Once I got out there, I caught the best, most exhilarating waves of my life! I placed second in my first heat of the trials and advanced to the Quarter Finals. If I made it out of the Quarters, I would have a place in the main event. I didn’t think of it like that, I concentrated on staying safe and not getting caught inside, but also to catch good waves. I got second in the Quarter Final heat and qualified for the Men’s main event! Unfortunately Izzi did not qualify. This makes me the first woman to ever make it to the Men’s Main event!!! They did not continue the trials to get a winner, but stopped after the Quarter Finals so they could begin round one of the main event and save some time. fiona3

The following day, Friday, conditions calmed down and we had fun 6-8ft Sunset to enjoy, but not without tricky Kona winds for round one and two of the Main event! In round one, I got fourth in my heat, but still got some fun waves and started to figure out Sunset more. In round two, I placed second in the heat and scored a 5.67 backed up by a 2.93! I only caught two waves because I broke one of my boards and it took me a while to get back out to my caddy who had my second board. However, only the first place in the repechage heats move on along with the two highest second place heat scores out of the round. I had the third highest heat score out of the repechage and missed out on round three by only 1 point!
fiona2
This has been such an amazing experience and I have learned so much about my surfing and my personal levels. I was not necessarily competing against the guys, but against myself and seeing how much I would push myself. What I am most excited about is that I didn’t back down when it was big and gnarly, but I went out and actually had fun.
fiona4
My good friend and amazing cinematographer, Forrest Ladkin, is making an edit of the event for me and I will send it out once it’s complete. In the mean time, here are a couple photos from Brian Bielmann, some screen shots and the video recaps of Day one and two where you can see me surfing and doing some interviews. Thank you all so much for your support!

Talk to you soon,

~Fiona Wylde

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

About Us: Milena Johnson

Milena JohnsonI windsurf because it gives me the best feeling, whether its speed, freedom or adventure; it’s the only sport that never stops challenging me mentally and physically or rewarding me with new friends and memories.

Name: Milena Johnson

Favorite Gorge Beach: 
The Hatch

Where do you get your post-session grub: 

Grounds Coffee

Favorite no-wind Gorge activity: Cycling or SUPing

Who is inspiring to you? I am inspired by the people who share the same passion and addiction for windsurfing as I do. I love to meet people who inspire me to get better and challenge myself every day on the water!

Milena JohnsonWhen did you start windsurfing/suping and what has kept you going since? I started windsurfing when I was 7 years old at Big Winds Kids Camp. I have stayed passionate about the sport because of the amazing, fun-loving friends and family whom I share sessions with, along with teaching at Big Winds Kids Camp. My passion for windsurfing has only grown since I started teaching at Big Winds, because I was able to share my love for the sport with younger generations.

Where did you grow up, and what brought you to the Gorge? I have grown up in Grand Junction, Colorado and each year my family spends the month of July in the Gorge. During the past five years, I have been fortunate enough to spend my summers working and living in Hood River!

What do you do for activities in the winter? Skiing & Ice Hockey

Milena Johnson

About Us: T.J. Gulizia

I kite & sup because it feels like the moment you’re in is where you’re supposed to be.
Name:

 T.J. Gulizia
Favorite Gorge Beach: The Spit
tj1Where do you get your post-session grub….& beer: Pfriem Family Brewing!
tj7Favorite no-wind Gorge activity: Whitewater SUP / Mountain Biking
tj4Who is inspiring to you? Anyone on the water sharing the stoke.
When did you start windsurfing/kiting/suping and what has kept you going since? Kiting since ’03, SUPing since ’09, and Windsurfing since ’13.
tj3Where did you grow up, and what brought you to the Gorge? Grew up in NE. and CO. Whitewater kayaking brought me to the Gorge in ’01, wind kept me here!
What do you do for activities in the winter? Ski, Snowkite, Surf, Whitewater SUP, Mountain Bike
Anything else you want to share? Stoked to be working with a talented and committed crew here at Big Winds!tj6

About Us: Jason Watts

“Going out on the water sets you free.”

Name:

  Jason Watts

Favorite Gorge Beach: 

 Rufus and White Salmon Sandbar

Where do you get your post-session grub: 

Lampoei’s Thai Kitchen
jason4
Favorite no-wind Gorge activity: Snowboarding and mountain biking (leaving for the coast when I can as well)

Who is inspiring to you?: Ben Wilson, Reo Stevens, Josh Mulcoy and pretty much all the kiters from Cabo Verde.
jason2
When did you start windsurfing/kiting/suping and what has kept you going since?: I started kiting in 2007.  Coming from a surfing background, I started kitting strapless my second season. I instantly fell in love with the freedom of foot movement and challenge strapless freestyle.  Traveling to wave spots, whether on the Oregon coast, Maui or farther away to New Zealand and Chile, keeps me really amped.
jason1
Where did you grow up, and what brought you to the Gorge?: I grew up in Beaverton Oregon, went to university in Santa Barbara and traveled a lot in my early to mid 20s for surfing.  I moved to Hood River while teaching snowboarding at Mt. Hood for several seasons.  As the saying goes here, I came for the winter, but stayed for the summer.
jason5
What do you do for activities in the winter?: I started snowboarding when I was 9 years old in 1989.  I still get excited when it gets colder around here.

Anything else you want to share?: Do what you love, love what you do is a pretty nice saying.

jason3