For many windsurfers craving ballistic winds and the biggest waves it’s winter that offers up these kinds of conditions. Summer may be sea breeze central, where everyman sailors can get a fix, but the off season is when those possessing the skills love to test their mettle – and not just pros either.
For full power winter weather specific kit will be needed. Smaller boards and rigs utilised with control in mind, as much as anything else, may have been lying dormant the past few months. Now’s the time to dust it down and prep everything so you’re ready.
The first port of call is check your smaller board(s) for any soft spots. The heel areas, the gybing area between front pads and mast track, around the mast track itself and the bottom. If it moves more than 0.5 to 1 mm there may be an internal problem. If you want your board to last a while longer this may need a proper repair. With most brands usually it is either the sandwich that came loose from the inner laminate or the inner laminate has broken. The second is worse than the first but both need skilled hands and the proper tools, including a vacuum pump to make it water tight. As these are usually the spots that are under constant strain, the longer you wait to get repaired the worse it will get. Boards are not self healing, unfortunately.
When your board is still hard, the next step is to check for full on dings. Even hairline cracks should be addressed. Make sure everything’s water tight and fit for purpose. If it’s not then as above fix or get fixed by a professional repairer. Dings on spots that are likely to be hit again should be repaired and ideally reinforced properly. You can´t use Dyneema or Kevlar for repairs as these fibres are very hard to sand. You will have to go with carbon or glass where carbon is more compression resistant and glass more impact resistant.
For smaller nicks it could be a simple case of minor surgery whereas bigger dents and knocks will require more attention. Address the issue now then you won’t have the situation of your pride and joy off the water just as you need it.
The thing, or things, that drive and give grip/control to your board are often overlooked. Fins need as much care and attention as the rest of your kit. Check that yours have a snug and secure fit in their box(es). If there’s any wobble then this will need to be addressed.
Fins also pick up nicks and scuffs so worth sanding these down (carefully) to make sure you’re getting optimum performance. If you need a new set then stumping up will see you reap the benefits when it’s time for action.
Another often overlooked part of your set up are footstraps. There’s a tendency to let them tatty up until falling apart before replacing. Yet a fresh set every so often will be welcomed by your tootsies at the very least. Over time they can lose stiffness and therefore not perform as well as they should.
We’ve talked about footstraps in a previous Witchcraft article – check it out here. Suffice to say they definitely need due care and attention.
Giving your deckpad an inspection to make sure there aren’t signs of it coming unstuck is worth five minutes of your time. Modern windsurfing boards shouldn’t have this problem but every so often wear and tear does set in.
We appreciate a brand spanking new board may seem frivolous if your old faithful is alive, kicking and well. Yet modern windsurfing boards are super high performing bits of equipment, we’re sure you’ll agree. What was a good tool for the job 10 years ago may now be outdated and have been overtaken by newer models.
Parting hard earned cash for a high price item like a board isn’t always easy. Yet a new stick can rejuvenate, reinvigorate and in some case elevate your sailing to the next level. If all your checks have been done and the work horse is looking too long in the tooth maybe it’s time to retire it for something shinier? You only live once and also any windy day only comes past once.
However your winter of full power windsurfing goes down we’re sure you’ll have some awesome fun on the brine. Keep your windsurfing gear in good working order and we’re confident it’ll be more so.