The truth about the weight vest

Cutting chops at Devils Bay
The human tennis ball... I use some extra floating.
When you have tried everything else to get speed, you eventually end up with yourself. How could you change yourself as a rider? The weight vest might be the answer. Weights have been in use since the late eighties at the PWA-slalomevents. When I shared house in Maui with Svein Rasmussen (he sailed for F2/Thommen/Guy/Wild Winds) he was using weights. Svein was (and still is) about 15 cm shorter than Anders Bringdal, Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Phil McGain but he was competitive in the slalom-discipline.
Today most guys in slalom are tall and heavy, and I must say that both of them help also in speed. I would say that a ”perfect speed body” is around 100 kg and around 190 cm. (220 Lbs and 6´3´´). We can’t do anything about our length but we could work with the weight. A normal vest is carrying about 6-10 kg. Most top sailors, even if they are tall and heavy are using about that amount. But I heard of some fast speeders that have used up to 18 kilos... For myself, I found weights good when sailing in high wind (+40 knots). The heavier I am, the easier it is to cut the chops with the narrow speedboards. Also it prevents tailwalks. It gives confidence and might you able to take another 10 knots wind. For a few runs I used it in Luderitz. But using a vest a full day is not to recommend, the back and the arms will tell you when it is enough!

Slide in the weights into the pockets
What vest are the best? Well I use a Pro Limit that I think Martin van Meurs have developed. It looks like a copy of the Liberty but is not so solid and well manufactured. Still it is OK and for sure better quality than the one I have seen from F2. Anyone that can recomend a premium vest? 
What weights should you use? Well, I use lead plates that I have bought in a metal-shop and then have sealed with duct-tape (lead is a poision). But the best weights are the ones that you get by exercise, windsurfing and protein!

PS I have to raise a warning finger before everyone is buying a vest. Anders Bringdal got a serious whiplash when he hit a sandbank some years ago; he got the weight package in his back head. He was really bad for almost a year. And sailing with more than 2-3 kg´s is extremely tiring ;-)

The secret speedstrip at Soma Bay

Even if we walked back, they called the military
Very many things have to interact perfectly together to give the right conditions for high speed runs over 40-45 knots. At almost all known spots in the world the right conditions only occurs a handful of days every year. The wind force, wind angle, current and tides, seaweed, humidity, water depth, moving sandbanks etc. There are so many buts and if´s.

800 meter flatwater along the strip
Soma Bay about 10 km north of Safaga in Egypt, hosts one of the worlds best speedstrips. 
Almost all of the obstacles I just mentioned above do not exist. A perfect 800-meter strip in about 135 degrees, you can sail 1 meter from the beach, 5-8 Beaufort five days a week, most wind in the summer. No weed, no currents, never choppy water, only super nice.
 - Well, what are we waiting for, you might wonder? 

Markus Emanuelsson, speeding in 37 knots with 20 knots of wind, a few minutes before the army arrived...

Well the answer is 7 Beaufort or 7bft-kitehouse. It is a kitecenter situated where the strip starts. For some reason the german people that runs that centre has decided that windsurfing is banned in a area of 1,5 kilometres. If you sail anyway, they will call the military and in about 15 minutes later, armed men in trucks are coming. For real. Not a nice laid back atmosphere at all. My opinion is that this would be the perfect place for a Speed World Cup event. Lots of hotels, near the airport, very safe speedstrip and very consistent and reliable winds.  I would love to go there again.
Anybody who can help us get access to this perfect beach? We only need an area of 10 x 800 meters...
Maybe Mohamed El Baradei can help us!!

Fins, fins, fins, fins and some more fins...

Some of my Tuttle-fins...
I ordered some new fins from New Zealand yesterday. I really need them. This time nobody talked me in to buy them. Well nobody really are trying to sell fins to me by hard selling, but if someone is saying something like "I love this fin", I probably will order some different sizes a few days later. I newer get any discount and the prices are around 150-250 dollars per fin. Plus shipping, toll and VAT... Still I am very pleased every time I get a package. Why? Well for some reason the fin-makers always are short of stock, and I almost have to beg to get them. C3, Deboichet, Black Diamond and Hurricane are harder to get than for example Tectonics, Lessacher and Choco. If I really like one fin very much I sometimes buy an spare in case of hitting a stone. I wonder how many fins more I will buy this year, and what make.
Sold some before Christmas, room for new!

If you don´t speedsurf you might wonder why I have hundreds of windsurfing fins? Well, we use different fins for different conditions. Depending on water depth, weed, chops (small waves), boards and sails, we use different fins. Later this winter I might blog about windsurfing in icy water (I can tell you already that you should not have a straight fin when you hitting an iceblock...)

PS If Larry Tuttle got one dollar for every fin with Tuttle-base he would have been very rich...
PS 2 (Be cool, I have more fins than on the pictures, the US-box and powerbox fins are quite a few...)

A quick visit to Sandy Point

In November we did some "speed tourism" in France and visited ”The Canal”, a holy place for every speedsurfer. Now when I am in Australia I just felt I had to go to Sandy Point. SP is the place where they frequently are posting + 45 knots sessions. So the last week down under, we did a 2300 km detour down south and back. First we went home to Tom Chalko. Everyone that have a GPS from Locosys have probably visited his website when setting up the unit.
But the meeting with him and his fantastic farm is probably better to read about on my wife’s blog… 

Tom guiding me to the secrets of SP, click on pics to enlarge.

Anyway Tom asked us if we would like to go for a jungle hike or go windsurfing. Go windsurfing, today? I replied. The forecast was 5-10 knots from east. (The wrong direction and I knew that Tom’s biggest sails are 6,3). Well we went. And I must say that I was amazed when we came down to SP. The wind was around 10-15 knots and many guys were out on the water. Tom help me rigging the KA 6,3 for no low wind and I mounted my biggest fin, a C3 28 Venom. 

Starboard Futura 101 and KA 6.3

We had a great day with speeds around 25-28 knots. The speedstrip of the day was on the opposite side. The tide was going out and we sailed against the tide, so I think every run was about 2 knots slower. Also the tide made it very choppy. And as the day went by, the wind became weaker and weaker. Still extremely fun to sail. The Starboard Futura 101 had no excellent top speed, but easy to get going.
I was thinking about Per Andersson, the late Starboard legend when I was sailing. The small KA sail was working surprisingly well but it felt a little bit like sailing in jam. After about 5 hours, I asked Tom if we could switch boards so I used his Carbon Art SP50 the last run. Suddenly I was doing 32 knots instead of 27 knots. The board is important. But I also have to admit that in the end the tide was not so strong. Thanks Tom for letting me use our stuff, it was a very memorable session!