Is a speedboard always faster than a slalomboard in high wind?

Carbon Art SP53 vs SL55
Are you one of those who believe that a speedboard always is faster than a slalomboard in high wind? Well here are some words about how I look upon different boards at different occasions. As you see in the pictures I have a few boards. And when you watch my results the recent years you probably observed that I do not do any slalomracing at all. Still I have a bunch of them. The truth is that I use all of my speed-and slalomboards for only one purpose, GPS speedsurfing. For very light wind 2-3 Beaufort a formula board probably is the best alternative, but since I live on one of the most windy spots in Sweden I get at least 4-6 Bft every forth day (and sometimes a lot more). When it is less wind I have other things to occupy myself with. So I have the second biggest slalomboard in the CA-range to start with. It is not really any use to go for the maximum width, since I am not so interested in super early planning which will make the top-speed suffering. The wider tail, the slower is the top-speed. So the SL78 is my choice in marginal condition with even wind and when the gusts really don’t kick in.

My range of mixed slalom- and speedboards
If we look at the other end of my boardrange, I have small speedboards like the SP40, SP44 and SP53. But I also have an SL53 and a 55. The reason I bought these small slalomboards was from the beginning that I heard from the guys around Sandy Point (Australia) that when the conditions gets really ugly, they jump onto the small slalomboards instead of the speed boards. The last years I have sailed in ugly condition too, both in Karpathos and Port st Louis. And it must feel great to master the rough sea on the way back upwind.

Upwind on the SL55 at Karpathos
I can assure you that the different is huge. It is sooooo much easier to sail a slalom back upwind. But how is the small slalomboards downwind? Well because of the wider tail and the different rocker-curve it should be more busy over the chops, but it seems to work very well anyway, and in many spots you need to accelerate upwind, or in a square angle into the speedcourse and the you only have 15 seconds to perform topspeed (like Karpathos) and it seems like the small slalomboards are doing on par as a smaller speedboard. In 2011 I spent 20 days on the Devils/Paradise bay speedstrip and I tested a lot of different set-ups, and I did 10 second average runs over 40 knots on both the SP44 and the SL55 in similar conditions. I was surprised but that is truth. And that confirms also by Ben Van Der Steen performance at the Speed World Championships in 2009 when he was very competitive on his slalomboards.


  1. Hi Anders, Portland Harbour is another example of a place where the slalom board is faster. The gusty and trublant wind makes the speed board hard to get 10 seconds of speed. The falcon80(55w) holds the Porland record.
    Jim Crossley

  2. OK, I knew there was something strange with Weymouth/Portland, I have never scored a good run at that spot... I bring some slaloms in Oct!!

  3. Yep, every time I have used my iSonic W49 at Portland I have not got as fast as the iSonic 87.

    Duncan Adam