POLYPROPYLENE - read my words!

Polypro also shape up the body...!
I live in Sweden. It is a country where one third of the land area is above the Artic Circle. That means that it is pretty cold most of the time. Still I windsurf everyday when it is no ice on the sea. (And there is enough wind off course). We never sail without a wetsuit, even in the summer. For me the most important part of the windsurfing equipment is the wetsuit (or wetsuits to be correct). Until now. By a coincidence I passed Quiksilver´s outlet in Melbourne in January, and I happened to pick a black rash guard. What I did not know was that the material wasn’t Lycra. It was Polypropylene. Probably not a blockbuster in Australia because it is extremely hot. And when I tried it at home under my Neil Pryde Elite I almost was boiling even when I was surfing in water with ice blocks. A week ago I also bought a pair of Polypro shorts from Billabong. They where not is thick as the Quik-rash but still quite warm. Yesterday I sailed for 3 hours and when I went in it was snowing a lot. I guess most people would consider it a cold day. But with polopro, nothing is cold anymore. My advice; Polypro are very very very good products! 
Extremely much better than a neoprene rash vest and another universe compared with a Lycra vest.

The trimming season has begun

I have no intention to write boring blog posts of every surf session I do. I found all these blogs about "today I sailed with xxx and yyy, very conform. Who bothers? But I note that my trail and error season started yesterday. The new Lofts Sails has the same basic construction as I am used to with the Stealth´s. Although the downhaul and twist are a little more controllable on the Loft´s. Yesterday I tried some different downhaul settings for RDM-masts. A good thing with the Loft is that every sail has a tool for adjusting the battens, integrated at the foot of the sail.

Twist: The Loft Racing Blade vs Neil Pryde Evo II
I was lucky to have a photographer on site. That’s very helpful for documenting the trim and twist of the sail (thanks Henrick). Also tested some new Black Project slalom fins on the speed boards. Unfortunately the wind was not consistent when I tried their speed fins. 
I am grateful that I used Prydes vario harness lines yesterday. (They break easy). I had a very bad catapult fall and the boom head, harness line and a rib was damaged. If the first two not had broken, it would probably ached more in the chest. Today it hurts some when I breathe, but that’s what speed sailing is about, “not guts no glory”. Season has started!

Where is the f:cking harness?

It was not the first time, and probably not the last either...I went for some cruising today, the forecast said the wind would die in the afternoon, but if I was quick out, I might get an hour of decant sailing. We also expected guests this afternoon, so I had to hurry. At my beach at home we still have ice, so I had to drive for about 45 minutes. When everything was ready and I just had the harness left, I could not find it. F:ck! I have a trailer and I have everything in places. I usually have one extra harness. But obviously not today...

The first time a forgot some windsurfing equipment was when I went to my first big national event in the mid eighties. But my dad went to the railway station and two hours later I could pick up my wetsuit from the locomotive almost 300 km from home, at no cost. Almost like a time machine! But today I went swimming instead to writ of some energy…

PS, now I have two harnesses in the trailer again.

Surf-mobiles of the future

Surfspeed in Hyundai centerstack
When I started to windsurf, I was 15 years old and I did not have a car (nor a driving-licence). And my parents minded their own interests, so I had to sail to the best spots with a much bigger board than I really wanted. Sometimes I took our dingy to transport the "sinker"-equipment. But when I turned 18 the world of nice spots opened up. So for me the car is very important tool to execute our sport. Last week I visited 81st Geneva International Motor Show. I want to share my favourite cars from the exhibition. In general the Geneva Auto Show consists of sporty luxury cars, crossovers and a lot of mainstream cars. But I found some "surfish" highlights.

Click to enlarge
One concept surf-car that I like is the VW Bulli. (By the way, I wonder if they picked the name "Bulli" from the town in NSW Australia?). All seats can be folded flat, big enough for two to sleep in. The VW Bulli is a clean concept car in two ways, the design is very retro and modest. And it is electrical powered. I like!

Another nice concept surf  car is Renault Capture. It is more a cross-over but it is quite big and looks like a car to ride to the beach and back. And the seats will work well for dripping wetsuits too. Renault showed also family bus called R-space. Nice, but not so much ”want to buy-feeling”.

But my favourite concept surf-mobile of all times, is still the Volvo XC70 Surf Rescue that was revealed at the SEMA-show in Las Vegas 2007. A kitesurfer named Joel Alexandersson has designed it. Guess somewhere inside me it lives a  fireman, policeman ambulance-driver or a lifeguard…
What´s your surf-dream-car?
(PS A definition of a Surf Car: here)

Iceblock sailing

My daughter told me the other day that it will be windy on Saturday, "20 knots. Is that much?" "It´s not much but it is OK", I replied. I also looked in that paper and noted that the forecast not only promised wind, but sun and "high" temperature (+5 C, 41 F).  But the tricky part was, where could I find open water? Thanks to Facebook, a friend helped me to some spot-checking. And on Saturday off I went. 
But sailing in cold water (0 C or 32 F) requires more preparations than usual. Here is my checklist. A very good wetsuit. But inside I wear a heater rash ( NOT neoprene) and two heating pads in a belt that I can activate in emergency by pushing through the suit. On my feet I wear very warm boots and on my hands gloves with modified open palms. But apart from that I have also packed my weight vest with warm energy drink in a camelback, extra energy bars, and in my aquapac I also have a mobile phone (no SIM-card only for emergency-calls) except of my GPS. And not forget a big helmet that fits on top of the hood.

On the water I use more slalom setup (if the water is deep). With slalom I mean a bigger board and a smaller sail than I use in the same wind for speed. The idea with that combo is to avoid swimming as much as possible. With open palms, it helps to have a carbon boom.

OK, how did the premiere turn out then? Well it was warm, almost too warm (the rash did the job very well). An unexpected obstacle where that there ice blocks floating everywhere, much more than I thought. So the sailing was more ice block slalom than pushing high speed. But it was fun, and a guy from the local newspaper turned up by a coincidence and did an interview and took some pics. And one more thing, the new fin gave the Naish SP135 new life! Made the big board feel a lot smaller.

Karpathos calling

I would like to announce that there will be a speed-event 2011 at one of the best speed-spots in the world. Afiarti, Karpathos, Greece. Also known as Devils- or Paradise bay. The event will take place in early August 6-10:th, between the two PWA-events at Fuerteventura and Alicate. The outline is to host a European Speed Championship Tour-event. But since the prize-money from 2009 not have been paid yet, the ISWC will not give any speedevent in Karpathos that status at the moment. I hope we will have positive news about that before May. But an event will take place no matter of that, and we will race during 5 days for a Trophy. The format will be heats on a fixed 250-meter course along the beach and we will use GT11 or GT31 GPS for the timing. Officially I, with my club are the organizer. But if we manage to solve the 2009-debt, I will bring experienced staff from Sweden to manage the event.

For me Karpathos is just no any beach, it is a very emotional place. Thats where I made my international speed-debute and it is also a special place because of the unique atmosphere. The island is in a very much way unexploited and therefore also welcome us, the windsurfers, to come and compete. And at no other place you have a fixed speedstrip with a public gallery with shadows and chairs, storage for 250 rigs and 150 boards at the shoreline and 99 % wind exceeding 6 beaufort every day!

You can follow information about this on Facebook at this event side. By joining the Facebook-event we also can show the Municipal of Karpathos that if they solve the economics we will come.
The official event site is KARPATHOSSPEED.COM