Witchcraft has been existence for a considerable amount of time with the brand’s helm – Bouke Becker – being a part of windsurfing for longer still. As such his knowledge and understanding of the industry, product manufacturing and all things windsurfing is unsurpassed. What follows are a bunch of key quotes from the man himself which sums up the sport and the Witchcraft brand (it also makes for interesting reading).
On manufacturing windsurf gear that lasts
Stuff does not break when there is no wind! Often it happens just when it is going off. I hate that, especially if it could have been avoided by a better construction. Making stuff that lasts a short a time as you can get away with is wrong!! Besides being bad for the environment and customer’s wallets, even from a selfish point of view, for us it would only be beneficial if everyone was riding our gear and we did not have full order books…
On why Fuerteventura is good for windsurfing product R&D
I think Fuerte is probably the best place for development since you get a lot of sailing days and a lot of variety in conditions. I can´t think of anywhere else that offers as much diversity in such a small area.
On using science & technology for development
With science and technology, mankind has been able to speed up technological progress considerably, much faster than evolutionary methods like the good old trial and error. Windsurfing is simply making use of physical laws. So wherever I can I like to use science and technology for research and a better understanding of what is happening, which is also good for the creative process.
On what windsurfing has given
I made a living out of my hobby and it still is my hobby really. I am my own boss, I work 50m from my house and family, I have a 15 mins drive to various world class breaks and the perfect excuse that I need to go “testing” :), business is going well and last but sure not least, I also met my wife because of windsurfing and she gave us 2 great daughters!
On the name/brand Witchcraft
When I was making my first boards as a hobby at home, I painted one, in typical 80s style, with a witch on a broom and later the name Witchcraft came along. Had I known it would turn out like this I might have thought of something more mainstream. At the time I had no idea just making boards in the garage, with maybe 10 windsurfers on our little island, would turn out to be a lifetime fulfilment.
On sail tuning
You often see people sail windy onshore conditions with a lot of loose leach. When they bottom turn, going clew first, the loose leach works against them, increasing power instead of reducing so they get pulled over the front or back winded. But they often don´t realise they are using a too big a sail with too much loose leach as, when sailing in a straight line, they are not overpowered.
On fin toe in angle
When your fins are set up with the right amount of toe-in angle, making the side fins bigger actually gives a forward boost when turning hard, also called “drive”. With correct toe-in there is a forward component in the lift the fin generates when you push hard and the outer fin leaves the water. Also the reason why our fins are swept back is that this not only adds control but also drive when the fin tips bend off in turn. This is the same effect fish, dolphins or scuba divers use to propel themselves through the water.
Some straps dig into your foot if you are riding hard and if you are sailing a few days in a row, your skin wears through and once this has started, it gets worse with every session. Our straps are wider and have a bit more padding to spread the load more. As twisting straps can also be annoying, we use 4 screws per strap but this requires asymmetrically cut front straps to be ergonomic. So the step in side is more open.