Sunday, 14 September 2014

Quad fin set-up.

    I frequently have people picking my brains at the beach about many technical aspects but a recurring theme is definitely fin set-ups so I thought it might be helpful to explain how I set up my quad for different conditions. I spoke at length a while back to windsurfing legend and pioneering board shaper Jurgen Honscheid about quads and he is absolutely convinced that quads are not merely a fashion statement and that they will remain a major, if not the major, design in the future of many different types of windsurf board (interestingly he believes that they are not restricted to only wave use!). He is in the envious position of being able to make two identical boards and test different fin set-ups in them and he told me the results of these tests proved to him that the quad is surely the most versatile fin system on today's market, although he also stated that there is still a great deal to learn about different fin combinations and how they affect the performance of the board.

     Anyway, in an effort to keep things simple I will now show you the way I set up my Fanatic Quad 89 for onshore and cross-off wavesailing. Firstly, for cross-on wavesailing I move my front fins back and my centre fins forward, pushing the fins closer together under the back strap. This makes my board turn in a tighter arc, particularly at slightly lower speeds, so I can ride a wave without outrunning it which is important in cross-on. It also has the effect of making the board more slidey, which is also great for onshore cutbacks and takas etc. The drawback of having the fins set up in this way is that the board might be harder to control in a turn at very high speed, not really an issue though in these conditions. Check out the pics below of my cross-on set-up...

     Next, my set-up for cross to cross-off down-the-line waveriding. Here I move my centre fins almost to the back of the slot and my side fins almost to the front, creating a much bigger gap between the fins. This has the effect of making the board carve in a slightly longer arc but with far greater control and grip than with the above set-up. The board will be much more controllable during a high speed bottom turn and also have much better grip in the cutback, with less tendency to slide out although you will still be able to create a tail slide using more back foot pressure. Here are some pics of my cross shore set-up...

   These small changes will definitely make a very noticeable difference to your board's handling in different conditions and I recommend you try them out and see what you think, but remember that every board is different so you may have to play around a little (or get a Fanatic ;) ) and also that, according to one of the best shapers in the world 'we still only understand a tiny fraction of what this fin set-up is capable of'...

Monday, 1 September 2014

My Great Northumbrian Windsurf Adventure.

          After the disappointment of Tenerife it was off to the UK to visit my family and also to pick up my new 2015 Fanatic /North kit! As I was picking up two boards and two sails I thought I may as well take a wetsuit and harness back with me on the off-chance that there was some wind during my 10 day stay. How glad was I that I did as the forecast for the first weekend showed strong NW winds for the NE of England! I hadn't sailed 'back home for over 15 years and couldn't wait to see all the boys again and sail the places I used to back in the day. In the end we sailed at Bamburgh, a place I actually had never sailed before, although I had sailed the estuary (mouth of Budle) a few times just before I left for Fuerte in 1995. What a place! The WNW wind was cross-off port tack on the first day with fun little waves rolling in and it was a joy to get some down-the-line against the impressive backdrops of Bamburgh Castle on one side and Lindisfarne at the other, although I must admit I struggled a tad with the cold!
         On Sunday the wind increased but the waves dropped and I was overpowered all day on 4.5 but still had a great session mainly because more people turned up and I caught up with a lot of old friends and made some new ones too. There's a great bunch of guys sailing up there with a real community spirit and it really was fantastic to be a part of it- took me right back...when I sail here I mostly turn up, sail then shoot off (late) to work so the craic on the beach there was most enjoyable with all the lads 'giving me tips' and generally taking the p**s (you know who you are).
          On the Monday the wind swung cross-on and the waves increased to mast-high making it very challenging to get through the break but I had another amazing session with Fuerte regular Alan Pickersgill and a seal!
          All in all an unexpectedly cracking windsurf adventure, which I hope to repeat next year! I'd like to thank all the boys up there for their help and for making me feel so welcome, Fanatic /North/ Maui Ultra Fins for my amazing new gear and an extra big thank you to Ben Oliver for sitting on cold, windswept beaches for three whole days with his broken leg in a cage and taking some amazing photos of the sailing!

Welcome to the site!
Aswell as regular features and news updates from Fuerte, I am going to be using this site to promote my windsurfing clinics.
After 15 years on the island,having competed in the PWA freestyle world cup and now representing Fanatic Boards and North Sails, I have decided to give something back to the sport which has given me so much over the years.
My aim is to provide clinics "tailor-made"for each individual, with a strong emphasis on practical in-the-water instruction, backed up by on-the-beach tuition and video analysis. The consistent conditions here in Fuerte make learning so much easier and, perhaps equally important, more fun than the typically inconsistent, cold UK - why not come over for a week and improve your windsurfing by a year!!!

I can help with any manoeuvres from carve-gybe through to advanced jumping and freestyle, just email me with your wish list and we'll take it from there! Over the next few months, I am going to be video-chronicling manoeuvres which you can check out on the right in my tricktionary sections. This will give you some idea of the things we can work on, or, if you can't make it over here, you may find them useful to help understand and break down a manoeuvre you would like to learn (hopefully, the slow-mo will help in this respect!).Just click on the trick and scroll down..........
Anyway, keep checking it out as I have loads more in my bag of tricks and will be updating as and when I get the footage.
If you're interested, e-mail me on
See ya in Fuerte?