Tuning For Flat Water FunThe concept of a convertible windsurfing board is nothing new, but the latest crop of freewave and freestyle wave boards, are exceptional. The ability to change their ride characteristics with different foot strap positions and fin set ups means that one board in your quiver can cover waves, bump & jump and flat water windsurfing. In this first part of our mini-series we look at how to enhance the flat water freeride performance of your freewave board. Our test board is the popular RRD Freestyle Wave 104. This board comes equipped as standard with a 30cm plastic freewave fin and three inboard foot straps.
With a little adjustment and a few minutes of your time, you can unlock flat water freeride performance with 6.5 – 7.5m sails, something which would not be possible upon unboxing.
While we are using windsurfing coach Jem Hall’s boards for this article, the same rules apply to any similar board from a range of board manufactures.
Other suitable boards include:
Step one: Change the foot strap positions.When blasting around on flat water with bigger sails, you will be leaning out more. Riding with inboard foot straps is not going to be very comfortable nor allow you to get the leverage over the fin you need for a faster and more fun experience.
To make life easy, it is worth investing in a power tool and the correct screwdriver bits together with a few extra screws. You will of course need an extra foot strap and screws unless your board came with four. With the right tools, it’s about a 5-minute job to change the straps from an inboard 3 strap set, which is ideal for wave use to a 4 strap outboard set up needed for freeride sailing.
Time to change: About 5-10 minutes.
Cost to change: $32 for Dakine foot strap and $10 in spare screws.
Step two: Upsize and straighten your fin.To balance the power of a bigger sail and give you a boost in lighter winds, choose a bigger, more upright fin. The Dragon 35, 37.5, or 40cm freeride fin will be ideal depending on your board, sail and weight.
The Dragon Freeride fin sits seamlessly into the collection between the racing and freewave fins. The powerful base combined with our FlexTIP technology, eliminates pitch and roll so that you can concentrate on other aspects of your windsurfing.
The extra lift and performance of these fins will enable you to get planing and upwind faster, while giving you the downwind speed and fun off the wind. The curved tip and slight overall rake helps to make gybing easy and smooth while the thicker foil at the base helps you to maintain speed.
Need help choosing?
Time to change: About 2 minutes.
Cost to change: $185 – $190 for Dragon fin
Step three: Invest in a freeride sail.To complete the transformation of your freewave board for flat water fun it is worth investing in a suitable freeride or crossover sail. This will enable to you get the most out of light winds and flat water. Depending on your weight and the size of your board you will want to choose a sail between 6.5 – 7.5m.
There is no need to go for the latest, most expensive rig, there are plenty of great used or past model year deals around which would be ideal for this set up. Remember this is all about having fun and maximizing your opportunities on the water with minimal ease.
Ideal sails for this new set up would include:
Time to change: No extra time.
Cost to change: $300 – $800 depending on choice.
Jem’s Top Tip
“Experiment with your mast foot position to find the best setup for this bigger sail and bigger fin combo, 1 or 2 cm either way can make a huge difference to speed and control.”
ConclusionIn less than 15 minutes and minimal cost you can transform your freestyle wave board into a flat-water blaster for lighter winds and bigger sails. Put simply, with these adjustments, you can have more fun in a wider range of conditions, you will be getting more water time and learning new skills, which will help you when its windier.
Thanks to Second Wind Maui for the loan of the board for testing and pictures.