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Red Alert During the filming of The Windsurfing Movie I and II, the Poor Boyz crew was fortunate enough to be on Kai Katchadourian’s Red Alert call list. Kai helped us score a lot of the last-minute forecast calls that made the movies successful. But for this January swell—captured here by Ian Strickland—he was on Maui, while we were in Micronesia shooting for Oxbow. As the years go by, and more and more people ride Peahi (aka Jaws), we get desensitized to the images; the wave needs to become truly giant just to get our attention. It’s a completely different animal in person, however. On a windsurfer, without all the jet-skis and support, you see moments like this. Here, Kai Katchadourian makes his way upwind and into the impact zone. He’s making a committed choice to enter the arena and ride a monster. —Jace Panebianco

Katchadourian at Peahi. Strickland photo





Features 44 Andre Paskowski

Meet this amazing pro freestyler and videographer, who’s been following life’s crooked path over the past year.

50 I


Elena Pompei trades acting stardom for killer waves.

56 The Bonaire Kids

A behind-the-scenes look at a much-anticipated documentary film, Children of the Wind.

64 Expedition Indonesia

An unprecedented adventure combining the action of Windsport with the anthropology of National Geographic.

74 Exposure

A few cool photos to make you pause.

84 Highwind Board and Sail Test

We’ll help you find the perfect board and sail for your next windy day.

On the Cover Rider: Manu Bouvet Photographer: Benjamin Thouard

Manu is a throwback sort of guy who's always searching for the next frontier. When he gets there, often with his family, he takes the time to interact with the locals to find the real experiences that most travelers miss. —Jace Panebianco

contents one

Volume 30, Issue 2, Number 128



A Wave 360 by Antoine Albeau. J. Houyvet photo



contents two Volume 30, Issue 2, Number 128

Upfront 08 Forecast

Kai Katchadourian's red alert

14 Launch

Look who’s getting older...

16 mahalo

To those behind the lens

18 Balance Point

Love letters and hate mail

21 In the Wind

How to windsurf through life

Departments 36 Radar

PWA Rookie of the Year: Jamie Hancock

38 In the Lab

Working with Poor Boyz’ Johnny DeCesare

40 SUP Yoga

Why you should strengthen your core

42 Ride Guide

Margaret River, Australia Call Scott McKercher if you’re going to Margie’s

96 Getting Real

With Dave Troup of

98 Close Out

Surfing, windsurfing or kiting?

Scott McKercher at this Ride Guide spot (see p. 42). Carter photo




Jace Panebianco, guest editor. photo

JACE REMEMBERS Maybe it’s the determined grey hairs that have begun appearing in my beard, or perhaps the indelible timeline that comes with being a new dad, but lately I’ve been more and more aware of the passage of time. For me, the unsightly whiskers are easily ignored or plucked eagerly by the wife, but each day our boy exists I’m acutely aware that the time has gone and is not coming back. It’s not to the point where I’m composing a “cats in the cradle” cover, but work and life do get in the way. My mom used to tell us stories about watching tv for the first time: for children of the ‘50s, it was either watching the Apollo moon landing or elvis. I think, for her, it was elvis, but that generation’s fascination with space flight is easily understood—it was like going from science fiction to fact. In their lifetimes, they had seen the birth of television, too. You just don’t get that sort of perspective every day. As a child



born in the ‘70s, I witnessed the dawn of the Internet age. the Internet broke the horizon while my friends and I were just pubescent boys. we were undoubtedly the obnoxious chat-room kids enjoying the freedom of total anonymity. For us, the torture of watching an image appear one pixel line at a time over dial-up connections was outweighed by the promise of what was to come. not to say that we recognized the scope of how our world was changing; if we had, we would have snatched up those blue chip domain names. But change it did. Do you remember a time before caller ID? Remember getting busted for calling that girl you liked 30 times, and the awkward silence when she asked if you had called? How about cellphones? I’ve got early memories of seeing my rich friend’s dad wearing his Members Only jacket accessorized with a Motorola “Brick” phone. How about that

first roaming bill? I doubt my parents will ever forget that one. Fast forward to when you finally broke down and got one of the first mobile phones with access to the Internet—a Razr or Black Berry—and the know-it-all satisfaction of being able to search the Internet for answers anytime and anywhere. Oh, how the times have changed. But do I really want the video conference calling that’s available on the new iPhone? I’m not sure. It would take a lot more primping than I usually do to be ready for that sort of exposure (back to the grey whiskers again). As a filmmaker, I follow a special group of watermen on their search for wind and waves. In my business, there’s a lot of sprinting followed by short periods of respite. Making movies, we are constantly putting out fires, whether it’s a panic to get to the next swell or to change some edit in the 23rd hour. It seems to me that each trip we have to go a

bit further to get away from the crowds. I find myself relishing the moment when you get past the security line in the airport, like you’ve made it into some safe house. then, landing in each new place is one step further from home until you’ve made it into the clearing. I follow these guys further and further until the phones don’t work and power is hard to come by. And, finally, there are the short times where you become truly present in the moment. During my short family vacation this year, I realized that these moments are not unique to far-off lands. these moments can happen anywhere, and, for me, it’s often in nature: swimming underwater in the ocean for a few seconds, or in the woods behind my parents house in the Hamptons on long Island, nY. the most amazing thing is I still get this feeling windsurfing, too… anytime and anywhere. —JACe PANebIANCo, GuesT eDITor


Amazing People Behind the Lens My cinematography career started in front of the camera as a professional windsurfer. It seems only natural that I eventually made the transition to working behind the camera. I’ve always liked making the images nearly as much as the windsurfing itself; pictures and video are indelible. I can open an old Windsport and relive great memories of trips, friends and windsurfing. This issue focuses on the explosion of moviemaking in our industry, and it’s fitting because I might not have moved to Maui if I had not seen Robert Masters’ movie, Rigamorale. It changed my life. Once I finally made it to Maui, individually, many of the photographers and videographers influenced me directly. What I want to do with this little piece is let them know I appreciate all the help they’ve given me, first as a rider, and now as a cinematographer.—JACE PANEBIANCO

Peter Sterling: Where in the world is Pete Sterling? Maybe Amsterdam, I’m told. He left Maui right around the time I named my move after him: The Crazy Pete. I hope he got to see that sequence. For those who don’t know the story... Pete once told me that if I invented a new move, he would help to make me famous. I can still hear him doing his trademark “Whooohoo!” in the water. Levi often says I do the same thing these days. Jerome Houyvet: Trade secrets are jealously guarded for a reason in an industry as small as windsurfing. It would be pretty easy to squeeze yourself out of a job. When I first started shooting in the water, Jerome told me about the magic substance he puts on the lens. He didn’t have to let me into the club, but I’m really thankful he did. In the years since, it has made a huge difference for the welfare of my family. Jono Knight: He shot many of my first travel stories. I have fond memories of Jono’s office: a small, smoky, dark room on Jason Prior’s property. He was always so open to us young kids coming by to look at our shots, and he always got the goods. We don’t see him around the beach very much these days. I miss you, Jono. Elliot Leboe: There are very few guys who are as on it as Elliot. Johnny and I call him a “hired gun.” He’s the sort of cinematographer who is the first one on the cliff, the last one off— whether conditions are good or not. Elliot really helped us out with footage for The Windsurfing Movie II, as he filled in the gaps and captured 16


Elliot Leboe. Kraft photo

Jerome Houyvet

some of the most dynamic shots of the film; Mark Angulo’s last Mutant and Kai Lenny’s final wave at Jaws come to mind. Erik Aeder: When Johnny DeCesare and I got to the final stages of making The Windsurfing Movie, we realized how important archival footage would be. If we really wanted to make a definitive film about windsurfing, we had to have images to support the story. Erik gave us access to his library of 16mm film from his Wind Lines (1982) movie, and I still think it made all the difference. Benjamin Thouard: Nearly every trip I’ve been paid to go on, as a cinematographer, has been with Benjamin Thouard doing the stills. Micronesia, Carib, Indo, Tahiti, Marshalls—to

name a few. It’s pretty cool to think about how much we’ve grown up together. We push each other in the water to go deeper into the pit, and to stay out longer to get the shot. It’s nice to have someone to talk to in the time between sets, to laugh with after the crashes, and to grow with as a filmmaker. Johnny DeCesare: To explain how much Johnny has influenced me would take way more than a paragraph. In our private life, I often tell him that we are truly lucky to be partners. He has taught me more than I can remember. I hope that, for my own part, I have been a steadfast Benjamin Thouard friend who can give him the perspective and advice he sometimes needs. I think everyone who loves watching windsurfing movies should thank Johnny for going all-in and making TWM and TWMII. It was a big risk for his company, Poor Boyz Productions, and he made sacrifices that very few people will ever know the depth of.

balance point Winning Letter

I’m an 18 year-old student at SUNY Plattsburgh and have been windsurfing for seven years. During the summer I work as a windsurfing instructor on Long Island up on the north shore. It truly is a dream job; I windsurf all day, help out people and get paid. Now if only they would offer windsurfing as a major, then life would be pretty perfect. Over my windsurfing career I have been frustrated more than once with my skills. There have been times when I would tell myself that I couldn’t accomplish anything further. But then I come to my senses, and right now I am confident that a future still exists for me in windsurfing. However, I would have never come to this realization if it hadn’t been pushed by constant exposure to the sport. After reading endless articles and seeing numerous photos in Windsport of the guys like Robby Naish, Jason Polakow, the Angulos, Kai Lenny, and everyone else, it makes me want it. It motivates me to keep trying and to push myself past the limits to accomplish my dream. My windsurfing life is still young and I have so much to learn, but slowly I’m finding my way with just a little guidance from some friends and from the best magazine around! Max Marsh, Plattsburg, PA Teaching windsurfing is a great way to live the dream. Hopefully the nice new Aeron MCT 26X boom you’ve now won will help you land your next big move. —ed.

Sailing harder at 52

Windsurfing for me is just getting better (if that’s possible), even at age 52. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like a Viagra commercial. My main frustration over the years has been that you just can’t sail often enough. Lots of worthy priorities like work and family would bump sailing from the picture. Not to mention the times you are free and then the wind doesn’t show up. Well, I have an empty nest now and a loving wife who understands my passion. I get multiple weeks in Hatteras (including going to the Hatteras Wave Jam, which was awesome) and every weekend session this fall is fueling my resurgence.

Write and win

Volume 30 | Issue 2 | number 128

It is amazing what time on the water does for your technique and confidence. My gear is getting dialed in from the multiple sessions and I am pushing myself harder. Just call me content in PA. Andrew F. Pierce, Gilbertsville, PA The best thing about windsurfing is that you can keep doing it forever without the need for a little blue pill (but maybe some vitamin “I”). —ed.

Wind or women

I haven’t windsurfed in over eight years and it isn’t because I took up kiteboarding, got old and lazy or fell victim to one too many ear infections. It was because I moved overseas for a woman… stupid! My admittedly slightly older gear remained behind in my parents’ garage to gather dust and for my younger brother to pillage. Now I’m back and everything has changed but I’m not sure what to make of it all. Is my ‘97 F2 Xantos 285 so outdated that I couldn’t show my face for some flat-water blasting? I’m afraid my sails have rotted away so I picked up a used ‘08 North Ram and Platinum mast, which I’m excited to try. A little more hunting turned up a Simmer boom and a $5 used harness. My wetsuit is as skin-tight as ever with my paunch covering more of my toes than before, but I’m ready to be addicted all over again. I’ve contemplated various freeride boards to accommodate my creaking 210-pound frame but the physical size (width) deters me. I like the old sleek teardrop shape. It seems that some of the modern boards are progressing back that way too? Am I just seeing things or what am I missing? Any advice for someone such as myself at a high-intermediate standard resurrecting a lost past-time? Marcus via e-mail My advice is to keep ripping on the Xantos until you can find a way to try a modern-shaped board for a few sessions (one is not enough). Demo from a shop, go to a rental centre or try one at an ABK Boardsports Camp. —ed.

Since this is the Movie Issue we are giving away a DVD of The Windsurfing Movie II for each letter we run next issue! Send your e-mails to and maybe you’ll win this awesome flick from Poor Boyz Productions.






Copy Editor

Steve Jarrett Pete DeKay // Jace Panebianco John Bryja Dan Parsons Kate Rutledge

Contributing Writers Mitch Gingrich, Jem Hall, Robert McCormick, Scott McKercher, Jake Miller, Emma-Rose Rossoff, Levi Siver, Phil Soltysiak, Benjamin Thouard, Dave Troup Contributing Photogs Franck Berthuot, Jock Bradley, Richard Hallman, Jerome Houyvet, Tracy Kraft Leboe, Clark Merritt, Richard Schmon, Mariah Sievers, Ian Strickland, Richard Strom, Michael Sumereder, Benjamin Thouard, Dave White, Darrell Wong

Maui Correspondent

Patrick Bergeron

PWA Correspondent

John Carter

instructional editor

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Test Editor

Director of production and design

Derek Rijff Evan Sue-Ping

production manager Michael Moore x243

Advertising traffic coordinator

Production DESIGN Stevie Visser, Mike Fraser

Circulation and PROMOTIONS Manager

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web administrator

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Advertising Sales Rick Bruner AND PROMOTIONS 509.493.4930

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On occasion, our subscription list is made available to organizations whose product or service might interest you. If you would prefer not to receive such information, please write to us at the address below. Windsport magazine is an independent publication published four times a year —Buyers’ Guide, Spring , Summer and Fall—by SBC Media Inc., 2255B Queen St. E., Suite 3266, Toronto, ON, M4E 1G3 Phone: (416) 406-2400 • Fax: (416) 406-0656 E-mail: • Website:

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Printed in Canada




gear, advice & entertainment


Peer Pressure Tough questions for Philip Köster


Meet multi-talented Ridge Lenny


We Survey

The crowd at last year’s Toucan Open


How To

Mount your camera for better shots


Win This...

Point-of-view Contour HD video camera

Swag Scan This Inspiration

Filming a Marcilio Browne Back Loop. photo



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Peer Pressure Philip Köster Gets Grilled by 14 of His Fellow Pros

Philip Köster, the 16-year-old jumping machine from Gran Canaria, won the notoriously windy PWA Pozo Wave event in 2009 and finished the 2010 tour ranked third overall. Let’s see how he handles these tough questions from some other pros. Philip Köster in the air.

words by Phil Soltysiak | photos by John Carter/PWA Patrick Bergeron: If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now? I would be watching some sport videos, like Red Bull Crashed Ice or a surf film. Or maybe I’d go bike or just do nothing. Sarah Quita Offringa: Now that you’re a superstar you must be getting a lot of attention from the ladies. How are you coping? That’s typically funny, Sarah—I’m not in show business where the girls are crazy about you. Sometimes I get some nice e-mails, but that’s all. Whether that’s a lot of attention or not, I don’t know. Tine Slabe: How does it feel to see the world from the top of your highest jumps? It’s the best feeling ever. It’s silent; I feel free and full of adrenalin. Andre Paskowski: Do you prepare mentally or physically to jump so high? I don’t prepare myself… I am the jump. I am the feeling, the speed and the risk. I don’t think, “Now I want to jump high”—it just

happens. There’s no limit. During a heat, my goal is to win, so I look at what the other rider is doing and try to beat them. I just use my feel for windsurfing, and use the wave and the wind as efficiently as I can. When I’m a bit older, maybe I’ll do some physical or mental training, but at the moment I feel good about the way I do it. Laure Treboux: How does your body cope to avoid injuries when jumping huge? I don’t really think about how I am going to land my jump, I just try to enjoy it. Before I try a new move I’m very conscious about the risk, and only when I feel OK about the move will I try it. It’s impossible to avoid all injuries, but I think the most important thing is to be very flexible. I had a bad injury in Australia when I broke my wrist on the first day of the Starboard photo shoot; the first wave hit me and I went into the sail. So, I guess it can happen when you are doing something easy or when you least expect it.

Boujmaa Guilloul: Before becoming a pro windsurfer, what was your dream job? I don’t think I had one. I was in school, and I liked subjects like biology and chemistry. Maybe I would be studying to become a pharmacist, like my sister is doing now. I hated math and physics. My life as an athlete started early with swimming competitions when I was eight, but I got bored of that and that’s when I started to windsurf. My heart knew from the beginning that windsurfing was what I wanted to do. Matt Pritchard: Who was your windsurfing hero growing up? I had posters of Ricardo Campello because of how crazy he was, and Scott McKercher because of his style on the wave. Nayra Alonso: Who is the person you like to sail with the most? John Skye. We have a lot of fun when he’s in Vargas, and we both try to do better than the other. A lot of the time we are laughing with each other on the water because of our crashes.

Kauli Seadi: How much does your father help you with your training schedule? My father is not a trainer, but he worked with my mom at their windsurfing school for 20 years so he’s really good at observing and explaining things. He can’t do the moves but he knows how they work. He never tells me more than what I want to know. Most of the time I prepare by myself, but it is nice to have somebody to ask which sail or board to take during a competition. Iballa Moreno: How long do you sail when conditions are good? I may spend five to six hours on the water and try different boards, fins and sails. It’s a lot of fun and sometimes a bit of work. Kevin Pritchard: Do big waves scare you? Are you ready for Jaws? Last year in Maui, I saw Jaws—John Skye and Diony Guadagnino were riding it without a jet-ski. If I’m in Maui again and I get more accustomed and confident with bigger waves, I would really like to have somebody help me

Top 7 Career Highlights of Philip KÖster 1. Getting the

2. Being named

3. Becoming

4. Winning the

5. Being named

6. Winning

wild card for the 2004 PWA Grand Slam Wave event, at the age of 12.

the PWA Rookie of the Year in 2008. The trophy is enormous.

the Red Bull Big Days 2008 champion—my first win in Germany.

2009 PWA Pozo Wave Grand Slam. Beating the best was a dream come true.

Surfer of the Year 2009 by the readers of Surf Magazine (Germany).

Windsurfer of the Year at the 2010 Extreme Sports Awards in Germany



7. Placing third overall for 2010 on the PWA World Wave Tour in waves, at 16 years old.

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learn about Jaws: what to do, where to start, and anything else I need to know. I would like to have a rescue jet-ski with me when I go, too. So let’s talk about it in Maui, Kevin.

ten do freestyle for fun in Gran Canaria. I was happy to beat the other German guy, Adrian Beholz, in Fuerteventura. I’ll try to do it again next year.

Yegor Propretinskiy: You competed in a freestyle event last year. What did you think of it? The level is very high and is changing quickly. Every year, there are so many new moves, and there’s a lot of pressure to do the new moves. I was curious about competing because I of-

Chris Pressler: Will you do any slalom in 2011? It depends a bit on my sponsors and the schedule I have. I’ll try to compete in the Canarian Slalom Championships [four competitions on different Canary Islands], but I’m not sure if I’ll have time because of photo shoots.

Bryan Metcalf-Perez: Would you rather be world champ, or star in your own feature film? I’d like both! Kevin Pritchard made a short film about me in Pozo last year. A film is something very special, and I really like to watch films about other riders. (Scan this box with the free Scanlife QR Code reader app on your smartphone to view the video courtesy of

Philip Koster

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riDGe lenny


No doubt you know the name Kai Lenny by now, but have you heard of his brother, Ridge? I’ve known them both since 2004, and for as gregarious and outgoing as Kai is, Ridge is reserved. Don’t think for a minute he’s checked out—he’s listening and thinking, he just keeps it to himself. However, he shares a similar passion for the water as his brother, which can be seen in his windsurfing, surfing, boogie boarding and tow-in surfing. plus, he just won the Juniors event at the SUp World Championships in Hawaii.


MUSIC “It’s a fun thing to do when I’m not in the water. I started with ukulele but it was easy so I got a guitar. Next, a drum set, and now I’m going to guitar lessons every week.” THE FUTURE “I don’t see myself as being a pro musician. It’s a great hobby, but I want to excel in windsurfing.” LOOPING “Once jumping gets boring I’m going to try and Loop.” COMPETITIONS “I like competing, it’s fun. It’s not like I have to do it or anything.” KAI “I’ve learned not to mess with him when he’s working on a project. He gets really mad and chases me around the house.”

Ridge and Kai. J Houyvet photo



Ridge will soon Loop. Wong photo





Last Sept. 10-12 marked the days for the always amazing Toucan Open, hosted by Larson’s Ski & Sport ( of Denver and held on Nebraska’s Lake McConaughy. Windsport was there to find out the lifestyle habits of 50 of the windsurfers camping on the beach for three days.

Caren Craig

Melissa Doremus

Steve Hicks

Rodolfo Acevedo

Selbino Calip

Greg Anderson

WHAT SIZE GEAR DO YOU ACTUALLY USE MOST AT HOME? (AND WHAT SIZE IS YOUR FAVOURITE?) BOARDS: Longboard 10 (5) Formula 4 (1) 140-165 litres 15 (7) 120-139 litres 8 (12) 100-119 litres 5 (8) Below 100 litres 4 (14) SAILS: 8.0-11.0 18 (5) 7.0-7.9 9 (8) 6.0-6.9 13 (12) 5.0-5.9 3 (12) Below 5.0 1 (8) Beginner sail 2 (2) Write-in answers for boards and sails: Four people “don’t sail at home,” and three couldn’t pick a favourite board or sail. The most popular are the Bic Techno 283 and Ezzy Infinity.

HOW DO YOU HAUL YOUR WINDSURFING GEAR? Towed in a trailer 22 Inside the vehicle 15 On the roof 12 Write-in answer: My gear is at the beach (1)

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Colorado (29 answers), Nebraska (13), Iowa (3), Florida, Michigan, Texas, Oregon, Minnesota WHERE DO YOU WINDSURF THE MOST? South Padre Island, TX 9 Aurora Reservoir, CO 9 Lake McConaughy, NE 6 Soda Lakes, CO 6 Write-in answers: The Gorge (3), Big Creek, IA (3), Merritt Reservoir, NE (2), Calamus Lake, NE (2), Corpus Christi, TX (2), Hawaii (1), other locations around the U.S. (7) HOW MANY TOUCAN OPENS HAVE YOU ATTENDED PRIOR TO THIS ONE? 0 7 1 5 2-5 7 6-10 11 11+ 20 WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT COMING TO THE TOUCAN OPEN? Racing 6 Social scene 24 Bonfire 5 Camping on the beach 9 Don’t know 4 Write-in answers: Freesailing (2)



WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLE DO YOU DRIVE TO THE BEACH? Pickup truck 18 Cargo van 10 SUV 9 Minivan 7 Car 5 Write-in answer: Walk to beach (1)

WHERE DO YOU GO ON WINDSURFING VACATIONS? South Padre Island, TX (19 answers), The Gorge (12), Corpus Christi, TX (11), Aruba (4), Hawaii (3), Nebraska (2), Bonaire (2), Dominican Republic (2), San Francisco, the Midwest, Cape Hatteras, Florida, the Great Lakes, La Ventana, Baja DO YOU OWN A GUN? (IF YES, IS IT IN YOUR VEHICLE?) Yes 27 (10) No 23 Best write-in comments with a “yes” answer: “Lots!”, “Armed windsurfers are friendly windsurfers!”, “Why do you want to know?” —and they still answered “yes.” WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMBER OF THE MARRIOTT/LARSON’S SKI & SPORT “FAMILY”? Karen (16 votes), Joanne (11), Ryan (5), John (4), Brenda (3), Angela (3), Angie (3), Marshall (2), Jack (2) and Billy (1)... but we think they're all really great!

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Chinook Pro 1 carbon boom Dakine Mission photo backpack

sAVed by the dAKiNe MissioN Photo bACKPACK


get a call that there’s a spot for me to go to the Marshall Islands as the sole videographer to document the trip. I pack all of my camera gear into my Dakine Mission photo backpack and hop on a plane with Levi Siver, Keith Teboul and a group of friends. We charter a 60-foot boat to explore never-beforeridden waves. At one point during our trip, I need to film a different perspective from land, so I take a smaller tin boat to shore. The boat can’t land on shore because of the shallow reef popping up and waves rolling in, so we back in as close as possible. As I



peer down into the water, it looks to be about waist deep. I spot my landing and, with my backpack and tripod held in my hands above my head, I carefully jump overboard. Next thing I know, I find myself past waist depth and still sinking deeper into the water. I’ve somehow landed in the only hole in the reef. As I sink deeper into the hole, I desperately hold my gear as high as I can, hoping it won’t get a salt-water bath—but I know I’ve sunk too far. I scramble to get out of the hole and, without hesitation, I scurry to the beach with my water-soaked backpack and

tripod. I’m angry, wet, and frustrated knowing I had just ruined all of my new camera gear and all of the footage I took earlier that day. I quickly unzip my bag to inspect my camera gear, expecting everything to be waterlogged. As I pulled back the flap, I’m shocked to see not one drop of water is inside. In fact, it’s barely even moist. I can’t believe it. I’m so stoked and thankful that, despite not being waterproof, the Dakine Mission photo backpack still saved my gear, and I’ll be able to finish documenting the epic trip without a hitch. —Jake Miller, videographer

There’s a new monocoque carbon boom on the market; Chinook used 2010 to perfect the Pro 1 boom head on their alloy booms, and to develop molds for one-piece carbon boom bodies. The result is a complete range of performance Pro 1 carbon booms, from narrow highwind models to wider lightwind models (ready for in-fight outhaul systems). Monocoque construction has lead to lighter and stiffer booms, and manufacturing in the Gorge, u.s. provides consistent strength, quality and value for today’s demanding sailors. learn more at or your favourite windsurfing shop.

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How To shoot yoUrself

WORDS By JAKe MILLer pHOTOS By JerOMe HOuyveT One easy way to get video of yourself, if you don’t have a friend on the beach to film you, is with an onboard camera. The best thing to remember is to experiment by mixing in different angles and different mounts. Here are some ideas for rig mounts to help you get some cool footage of yourself (scan the QR Code at the bottom of this page to see video of these mounts in action).

. BOOM MOUNTS: Use a bike seat post or handlebar mount to get unique footage from both the front and tail of your boom. It’s important to check the angle of the camera before sailing to make sure you are getting the shot you want. Make sure the clamp is secure so it doesn’t move if it gets bumped. . MAST MOUNT: Order a Super Clamp, which is a simple screw-on mounting device allowing the camera to be attached anywhere on the mast. you may also need to get a tripod accessory mount for your camera. pick the side for the action you want to shoot, and be sure to check the angle before hitting the water. Jake shoots for Snake Bite Films, and Poor Boyz Productions, and rides for Goya, Quatro, Dakine, MFC, Chinook, Blue Planet, Smith Optics, Pro-Motion and Team +H2O.


Since this is The Movie Issue, we want you to be able to watch cool videos that tie into what you’re reading. Grab your smartphone and download the free Scanlife QR code reader app, then use it to scan the pixilated boxes found all over the mag to enjoy a short video clip.



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UNleAsh yoUr iNNer filMMAKer


ne of the hottest products on the market these days is the point of View (pOV) camera. Ask any retailer and they would agree: cameras like the Contour and Gopro are flying off the shelves in an otherwise slow economy. When I got my first pOV camera a few years back, I was convinced stardom and fame were soon to follow. After all, I was already a pro windsurfer and cinematographer, so getting good shots would be easy…. Not quite. The first thing I learned from looking at the pOV footage is that it’s really easy to make some really crap images. Stick the camera on your boom, point it at your face, press record and voila—you’ve got two gigs worth of a tight face-shot with you pumping your sail like a monkey. Not exactly the dynamic personal perspective I was looking for. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’ve come up with a few points that will help you on your way to shooting good pOV images. Don’t have a pOV camera? No worries, just e-mail letters@ about your future movie and you may be chosen to win an awesome Contour HD camera! Let’s get on with the tips.


uSe IT: This may sound simple, but one thing I definitely find is that you need to “try, try again” if you want to make good pOV footage. The more often you take the time required to mount up the camera, the more likely you'll get a good shot. Don’t forget the safety strap as some cameras sink (the Contour HD with housing floats). ACTuALLy SHOW yOur POv: So many people point the cameras at themselves but, in reality, one of the best angles is to show what windsurfing looks like from your own perspective. Try pointing the camera forward so the viewer can see what you’re seeing. If you’re really vain and need to be in the shot, try having a friend mount the camera and follow you around—killing two birds with one stone: you get the pOV of blasting over the water and the money shot of yourself. MOuNT THe CAMerA FArTHer AWAy: The pumping-monkeytype footage I got in my first pOV camera attempts made me realize that a few feet makes a big difference. Mounting the camera on the nose of a longboard or SUp versus a shortboard makes a huge difference in perspective. Mounting the camera farther away instantly changes a tight face-shot with no

Looking to shoot beautiful high-definition video footage of your next session? Then you’ll want to win this Contour HD camera and waterproof case by telling us at why you deserve to win! The Contour HD captures beautiful high-definition video with its 135-degree wide-angle lens. Choose between the three resolution settings (1080p, 960p and 720p) and two frame rates (30 fps in any resolution of 60 fps in 720p) to perfectly match the camera to the action you’re shooting. It comes ready-to-go out of the box with a standard surface and a goggle mount, plus more accessories are available at



background into a wider shot that shows more action. For windsurfers, mounting the camera on the mast does the trick; way out on the boom works, too, but it may be even better if you MacGyver an extension arm for the camera. GeT CLOSe TO yOur FrIeNDS: you’ve got to remember that the purpose of the pOV camera is to get close to the action— something a regular camera can’t do. you can be blasting at 30 knots on your own, but in the shot you won’t get that sensation of speed. Having other sailors in your shot is a great way of showing the speed of windsurfing, so try and get your friends to sail close by. Having them in the shot will go a long way to making things look dynamic and fast. LOOK AT yOur FOOTAGe: Going over my footage daily has been the single best learning tool for my filmmaking. If you wait a few days, it might be too late, as you’ll have forgotten what settings you used or how exactly the camera was mounted. While you are charging your camera, take the time to download and inspect your footage. It’ll give you all sorts of good ideas, and if you are making an edit, it will show you what shots you still need to capture.

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words by Jem Hall | photos by Dave White

Jumping Part Three: The Tail-first Landing

How are your jumps going now? In the past two issues we’ve covered taking off and flying, so now let’s examine how to land smoothly and come out of your jumps moving… instead of stopping dead. Landing tips: Just as your rig is there for propulsion on the way up, it also serves as a parachute on the way down. Ensure you have the rig leaning back and arms bent to pull the rig over your head, like you could almost kiss the boom. This will keep the wind in the sail as you hang off it and float down. Your in-flight stance—with bent back leg and straight front leg—will give you float on the way down, as the wind is under the board, and it will also position the tail properly to avoid spin-out. Aim to keep your compact stance for as long as possible and, on landing, direct your back leg straight down and not away. Tucking your heel into your butt for as long as possible and landing with a slightly bent back leg will ensure you don’t push the tail away and spin out on landing. Upon landing, resist the temptation to pull on the rig. Instead, push it away, like a bench-press, and open it up to get the wind back in it. That boom is damn smelly so keep it away on landing. Landing technique: As in the first

photo, hold your tuck and look forward to spot your landing. Big footstraps will allow you to get your toes down and, therefore, the wind under the hull, as will your straight front leg and bent back leg. You can see how my tail is upwind of my

nose, and you must keep this compact scissor-stance as you drop out of the air. In the bottom photo, I open the sail to drop the tail, and come out of my flying stance by starting to extend the back leg for a tail-first landing. Land with your back leg flexed and front leg straight but soft. This means you will land slightly off the wind on touchdown, gaining some momentum and avoiding the dreaded spin-out. Get the rig open, forward and upright (with extended arms) to bring the wind back into the sail so you have power for a swift getaway. After landing, drop your body weight down and get into a smooth, early planing position. Push through your toes to flatten the board, and scissor with your legs (push the front and pull the back) to position the board downwind from where you will pick up speed. A simple way of getting your legs more used to scissoring while jumping is to sit in a chair and practise your in-flight stance of scissoring with your front leg straight, pulling in your back leg bent towards you. Just remember, ordinary actions done consistently well will produce extraordinary results. Enjoy your airtime. Go to for info on Jem’s clinics and instructional DVDs: Beginner to Winner and Winner to Wavesailor.

Video Review: Scan to watch Jem Jump Scan this pixilated box with a QR Code reader app on your smartphone (see p. 30 for more info) and watch a quick video of Jem jumping. Take-off tips: Get low, bringing weight over the board while facing forward. Pull up on the front foot and boom at



the ramp. Pull up on the tail to fly. In-flight tips Scissor your legs by pulling in on the back foot and pushing away on the front. Keep the windward rail up and sail through the air. Landing tips: Extend back leg on landing. Push the rig away to keep

power, and drop weight low, pointing toes to help acceleration.

Spot landing and hold your tuck.

Open the sail and land off the wind.



Jamie Hancock is one of Britain’s most talented wave sailors and has stormed onto the PWA circuit winning Rookie of the Year honours and placing 18th overall for the 2010 season. Jamie lives in Portsmouth on the south coast of England and his real strength is starboard tack jumping and wave riding. Last year, Jamie took the gamble of missing some events on the U.K. tour so he could follow his dream and aspire to the very top of the ranking on the PWA. Look for him to climb in the rankings this year on the wave tour. Sail Number: K-218 • Age: 26 • Sponsors: Tabou, Gaastra, Body Glove, Finisterre Best ’10 Result: 9th in Denmark • Nickname: George!

Hello George!



in the lab

Poor Boyz’ Johnny DeCesare PHOTO BY JEROME HOUYVET

What better way to get to know award-winning ski and windsurfing moviemaker Johnny DeCesare than by getting some of the biggest names in our sport to tell us about him? JASON POLAKOW: Windsurfing was suffering badly until a person from outside came along and took windsurfing cinematography to a whole new level. At first, I was skeptical as to whether a ski cinematographer would have the patience and passion to make a truly great windsurf movie. He proved me wrong by not only making the sickest movie around, but he also fell in love with the water himself. Now that’s what makes a movie truly great— passion. And Johnny’s full of it. LEVI SIVER: Traveling the world filming with Johnny has been the ride of my life. The confidence I have going into these films is due to the team we have at Poor Boyz. Johnny DeCesare has a real gift for seeing potential in people and sports. His Poor Boyz production company was highly instrumental in bringing skiing back from the dead to where it is today. His influence is doing the same in windsurfing. There’s a film movement going down in windsurfing, and Johnny’s a big part of it. These films needed a film company outside the sphere of our sport that didn’t weigh windsurfing on dollar signs, but saw it for its true beauty. Beyond all Johnny’s talents as a filmmaker, he’s a real, genuine person who cares about the people around him. He brought the best out in me as an athlete and as a person, and I will never forget it.



Here’s Johnny.

KAI LENNY: When I first met Johnny, I was greeted with a grin the size of Florida, and he’s one of my favourite people to be around. With Poor Boyz, he’s showing the world that windsurfing is motocross on water. It’s a sport that’s still evolving and becoming more dynamic and technical than ever. We all have those magic moments in our lives that are so incredible they can’t be told properly in words; Johnny DeCesare is a guy who captures moments like these and gives them a second life. It is something special to come in from a session and relive that epic turn or wave.

JACE PANEBIANCO: Let me tell you a little something about Johnny DeCesare: he could keep the camera rolling and bust his wife out of immigration at the same time. Like the song says, “Hey man, nice shot.” He’s the guy you want to have next to you when the helicopter is going down. After all, he’s got experience. Need someone to teach your kid not to get tattoos? Let Johnny show the lil’ fella what happens when the tattoo guy can’t spell. Thanks “Johnny Box.”

sup yoga


Building Your Core

Abdominal warm-up.



ave you ever expected yourself to perform a seemingly easy physical exercise, but fell surprisingly short? We are all humbled by our body’s limitations from time to time. Certain muscle groups may be overdeveloped while others remain unused, which is not uncommon in sports like skiing, snowboarding and windsurfing. I often see an athletic student come to yoga class with strong muscle development, and by the end of a challenging core sequence I notice signs of weakness or back pain in them—the two often come handin-hand. If you have found yourself in this position, you need to improve your overall balance by practicing core-stabilizing exercises. The term balance in yoga can mean more than how stable you look while standing on your toes or one leg. One of the key ways to improve the overall balance of your body, and increase tone in your unused muscles, is to build your core through isometric exercises. Here, I show how some yoga poses, when done with intention and focus, can strengthen and tone the core. But always remember that every body is different; do not continue these poses if they cause shortness of breath or physical discomfort.

Full Navasana.




Full Plank.


ABDOMINAL WARM-UP (EASY): Begin in an all-fours position with hands shoulder-width apart and knees at hip width. Inhale and extend one leg behind you. Pull the toes in towards the face to keep the leg engaged. Lift the opposite arm until there is a straight line from extended hand to foot. Stay engaged by pulling the belly in towards the spine, and keep a gentle bend in the supporting elbow. Hold for 30 seconds, lower, and then switch sides.



FULL NAVASANA (INTERMEDIATE): From a seated position, inhale and lean back until you feel your core muscles engage. Lift and straighten the legs, keeping the feet flexed towards the body. Hold for 30 seconds and lower, slowly returning back to a seat.


FULL PLANK (INTERMEDIATE): From Downward-facing Dog, inhale and lower the torso until the arms become perpendicular to the board, hands directly below the shoulders. Maintain a gentle bend in the elbows and pull the belly in toward the spine (as always). Deepen this pose by pressing all fingers into the board and spreading the collarbone wide. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly return to Downward-facing Dog.



Leg reach to outside elbow.


LEG REACH TO OUTSIDE ELBOW (ADVANCED): From Full Plank, pull the belly in and lift one knee up towards the shoulder. Hold for five seconds, or pulse the knee even further for five reps. Switch sides. Emma-Rose Rossoff owns Anahata Yoga in Hood River, Oregon.







Margaret River (a.k.a Margies) is definitely not an easy wave to sail. But, get it right and it’ll be one of the most satisfying lips in the world to hit—first, because it’s not easy, and second, because it’s fairly slabby and thick. The thing is, apart from the main peak, it’ll bowl and wall a little bit after it’s thrown. Quite often it goes a bit fat, hence the saying,



“If you’re not hitting the peak, you look kinda weak.” Getting out to the wave is quite user-friendly because, when you launch through the limestone reef at the “keyhole,” you can sail around the reef and the waves without having to punch through any whitewater like you do at Ho’okipa. But as you sail past it for the first time it’s a pretty daunt-

ing looking wave. It commands respect every time you sail it, and I feel I have to relearn how to sail it at the beginning of each season. One thing to know before sailing here is the fairly strict rule: first guy onto the wave has possession. So, if there’s a crowd, you have to sail way out to sea to pick up a swell and claim it as your own. This means there are some bumpy,

full-on speed runs from out the back in order to get a wave. It’s a big playing field, and it’s easy to lose where the wave is going to break. So, on your average logo to mast-high day (which is quite often), a good lineup point is the stairs on the cliff. However, this is just a rough indication, as there’s still a fair range of movement to the right/left and in/out, where it might throw.







How deep you’ll set-up will also depend on what wind is blowing, as well. Being on a cape, it gets two sea breezes: the west coast sea breeze that’s sideshore, and the south coast sea breeze that comes in later and is cross offshore. Quite often it can blow both directions in one day, with the sideshore breeze dying and the south coast one filling in 45

minutes or so later. If you feel the early sideshore breeze start to die, it’s usually a good idea to come in before you have to swim. But, regardless of the wind direction, you’ll want to set yourself up behind the peak (upwind) in order to place yourself in a good spot. Whether or not you want to hit the lip, if you want to do a cutback you’ll want to do it in the main

bowl of the wave, so you should still set-up deep. If you end up too deep you’re generally OK to straighten out and sail around the whitewater, and it’ll be fine. If things do go pear-shaped and you end up breaking gear, you have two options: if there’s not much current, as the waves are small, you can swim back to the beach where you launched;

if it’s big and you get sucked out towards the Box, just start swimming for the river mouth and get washed in there. It’ll cost you a carton of beer, as that’s just how things are over here, but you’ll be alive and save whatever gear isn’t broken. So, keep these things in mind with some common sense, and you’ll have a great time.



Andre sailing in Brazil last year. Strom photo










first met Andre Paskowski at the 2004 PWA Bonaire World Cup. It was an interesting year for freestyle that marked a Victor, Gollito, Andre and Marcilio. 4D photo

Changing of the Guard from old to new. In just one event, I went from being one of the youngest guys on tour to one of the oldest. On the water, tricks like the Spock became passé, and the Flaka was the new “it” move. Perennial favourites like Matt Pritchard and Nik Baker were fading away, and new names, mostly from the Caribbean and South America, were popping up. But there was also a young German kid, named Andre Paskowski, who was making a name for himself. That was my last event on tour, but our paths have been linked ever since. We both had cheap video cameras in our hands, using them for fun and also to learn the endless array of new tricks. For both of us, video has become part of the job, to please sponsors and, ultimately, to promote the sport we love—windsurfing. At least, in a small way, the making of The Windsurfing Movie pushed Andre to make Four Dimensions, and the quality of his film challenged us at Poor Boyz to make The Windsurfing Movie II. But life doesn’t follow a straight line; the path always goes through peaks and valleys. I caught up with Andre on Facebook Chat (another example of how our lives have changed over the years) and I asked him about his current battle with cancer, and how the work on his new film project is going.



Andre shoots his own premiere. 4D photo

Paskowski. Otaegui photo

Let’s get the awkward part over with: are you in the hospital right now? I just returned home from the hospital. I got

my results of the last operation, which are all positive. For now, I’m completely healed from cancer, in clinical measures. But I’ve had to pay for this success with my body. Three months of chemotherapy and four major operations have damaged my body a lot. It will take time to recover fully but, for now, what counts is to be alive, as it was not 100 per cent clear that I could win the battle.

There must have been some really tough times during the chemo and recovery from operations. How did you deal with it? Oh, yes, it was a tough time, but I would say that I’m

lucky. My body was already in good shape, and I handled each treatment quite well. I always had pictures running through my head, like, the first time sitting in an airplane, first time back in the sun, first time sailing; that always helped me to focus and just let the doctors do what they need to do. I spent around 100 days in the hospital, and it was hard to see all those people battling to stay alive—and to also see people stop battling and just wait for the day to come... that was maybe even harder than the pain after a chemo treatment or operation.

Spending time in a hospital bed gets monotonous. What did you do to keep yourself entertained? The hospital was

always a nightmare but, with time, you can get used to everything, like pain, bad moments, bad news and also even hospitals. It’s funny how your mind and body can adjust to extreme situations. I always had my computer around and did start working on a new movie from the hospital, just to do something different and to have something to dream about.

What are you doing now to heal and strengthen your body? I am so happy right now. You know, I was a class-III patient, which

means that I was very late—almost too late. That’s why treatment was so heavy and took so long. To now do sports again and feel the use of my muscles and a good sweat is such good feeling. I think it’s really a privilege that we are able to do sports in general, and a total natural sport like windsurfing, in particular. For now, I go to the gym every day for three hours on top of doing physiotherapy regularly. I would like to do more but I still can’t force my body too much.


Paskowski at work. 4D photo



Andre filming Gollito. 4D photo

“IT WAS PRETTY BAD WHEN WE LOST A CAMERA, INCLUDING THE TAPE, IN THE WATER AT POZO.” You’ve got a new film coming out featuring Victor Fernandez, Kauli Seadi, Ricardo Campello, Philip Köster, Marcilio Browne and Gollito. Tell us about the film. We

are keeping the style from Four Dimensions, which tries to capture moments, emotions and destinations in a photographic way. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am super happy to do this project, and that is what’s most important.

You started to promote the name of the movie as Second Life, but now have changed it to Minds Wide Open. Why the change? We had to change the name because there’s a little online

game that’s also called Second Life. But, anyway, I’m happy with our new name. Actually, the name really is only a small factor. More important is that we deliver a good movie, which makes people dream. And here we are, sticking to our original game plan.

When was the last time you sailed? Was it a good session?

My last session was in Podersdorf, Austria. It was pretty light wind at the Freestyle World Cup; I came in fifth place and was on a 5.9-metre—it was not the best. During chemotherapy, I did sail one time at the German Championships. The last really good session was on Maui. It’s funny… Maui is such a nice place to be, and just two weeks later, I was in the hospital. Life changes so fast. You always hear that quote and never think of it, really, until you experience it yourself. It was a great last session on Maui. There are a lot of great moments that never get captured on film. Do you have some memories of making Four Dimensions or this new film that you wish you had captured? Yes, when I watched Four Dimensions for the first time all alone

with nobody else watching. Going in, I was so unsure (and I later found out that so was our director, Peter Svensson)... it would have been great to see my face. After 35 minutes of watching the film, I was completely released of all the pressure. Sure, sometimes you miss great moves, but you just can’t film everything. Riders sometimes think it’s so easy and that you’re just pressing a button. Also, it was pretty bad when we lost a full camera, including the tape, in the water at Pozo. Some locals found it and started selling the parts in another town. We really wanted to buy at least the tape because we didn’t get enough footage. But even with the help of the local windsurfers, we couldn’t get the tape back.

Did you have someone filming when Victor Fernandez won the PWA Wave title? Yes, we had three guys there. But it was

more of a big party than shooting for the movie. We had no wind and no waves for four weeks, but Victor was so happy. It was really a lifetime achievement for him, and he should be very proud. For us, we didn’t get much footage, but that’s the interesting part also. We don’t film by a strictly set time; we have to film nature, which can be flat and quiet for four straight weeks. We’ll have better luck next time, for sure.




Paskowski had quite a nice video career going on before going to DVD with Four Dimensions. Go to to view all of his biggest online hits. Also check out for his latest work! Stacked (2008) – 216,636 views

This video of crazy freestyle and wave action from Fuerteventura and Pozo is Paskowski’s biggest viral hit.

Gollito and Paskowski in Egypt (2008) – 84,962 views

The title is boring, but it’s cool to look back at these boys landing tricks in an amazing place.

2forTen (2008) – 81,612 views A stylish video shot in El Yaque, Margarita, starring Gollito and Paskowski. Extreme Windsurfing

(2010) – 60,730 views A clip of the Gollito freestyle section pulled from the Four Dimensions DVD. Samba (2009) – 50,402 views

A cool flick capturing the scene in Jericoacoara, Brazil, starring Marcilio Browne and Gollito.

Road Trip (2009) – 33,638 views

A trip to Sardinia, with some crazy editing and cool moves.

Can you tell us a good story from filming the movie? So far, we’ve just filmed at two

locations. The real work is starting now, with several trips planned. We just wait for the right conditions and then go. One pretty cool thing happened when I drove with my mom and dad to Denmark in a big motorhome.... I heard that the windsurfing conditions were going to be good, so we got the full crew to come along in the motorhome, plus Kai Lenny. We arrived and parked at the spot, and there were two local windsurfers already there. So I opened the door and, one by one, all of us came out: Kauli, Ricardo, Marcilio, Victor, Kai, Köster and myself. To see the look in those two windsurfers’ eyes, you could tell that they could not believe who was exiting this motorhome in front of them. It’s funny because I completely understand how they felt—because, in the end, I’m also a really big fan.

What’s the toughest or most frustrating part of making a windsurfing film? It’s pretty frustrating when you are depending on

something and you lose control. One example is the weather. We were on Cape Verde for 30 days and got zero conditions, so we have to go again later. Also, contests can be tough. All our riders are fighting for the title, so they focus and do what it takes to win. Of course, they are professionals. But, for me, seeing perfect, long unridden waves all day and having my rider just sail one seven-minute heat at the end of the double elimination… that can make you scream! What is your favourite part? The best part is capturing a good

picture. I mean, when filming, you’ll shoot many cool things and they may go to the movie or maybe not. But, sometimes you have this special moment where you see, in a split-second, that what you are filming will be ending up in the movie for sure. I had that happen on Four Dimensions a few times. Now, when I see the movie, I remember those exact moments and how it felt to be so sure that the shots were perfect. That’s cool… kind of like landing a cool move when windsurfing.

Looking down on Andre. Carter photo





t r a e h I ipa k o ' o H g n i r r a St Pompei Elena

e n u t r o F d n a Fame nd Waves. .? a . d y n i n i t s W or oose your Deerome Houyvet Chace Panebianco Photos by J

Written by


Elena charges out at Ho’okipa.



o many pages

in windsurfing magazines across the world are dedicated to Ho’okipa Beach Park on Maui. Things have changed a lot in the 30-plus years of Ho’okipa’s fame, like, you can no longer park on the bluff and now there’s a giant yellow lifeguard tower. But Ho’okipa is still windsurfing’s centre stage, full of a rich cast of characters and plenty of history. Things haven’t just changed on land, when you look around the lineup, these days, there are only about a half-dozen of the second-generation guys still actively windsurfing; Kai Katchadourian, Dave Ezzy, Robby Naish and Mark Angulo come to mind. But the one person you are most likely to see, any windy day at Ho’okipa, is Mark’s wife, Elena Pompei. She’s out nearly every day, no matter the size. On the wave, she takes a beautiful line with her turns flowing from end to end—fluid. Elena and Mark got married in 2007, a happy ending to a star-crossed courtship. Elena first met Mark in 1988 at a windsurfing event in her summer home of Lake Garda in Torbole, Italy. He was the rock-star windsurfer while she was a young model/actress addicted to windsurfing. She was star-struck and still has a harness that he autographed for her to prove it. “Mark was like my myth,” she tells me. “I had all these pictures of him, and it was love at first sight—at least for me. I knew who he was, obviously. We were two people from two different sides of the world, but both with a great passion in common.” Their week-long fling created a fork in the road for Elena: a choice between continuing her acting career or following love. She chose her love for windsurfing and a blossoming love for Mark. She recalls, “When you are 20, being famous has its appeal, but I never regretted that I left.” How famous could Elena have been in the Italian movie scene? Photographer Jerome Houyvet likes to tell a story about how he recently went to the Haiku video store and found an Italian Indiana Jones-type film with Elena on the box cover. With six feature films to her credit, Elena was poised to get a big gig. “Movie life…,” Elena says, “I wasn’t cut for it. It’s full of compromises. I almost got a big movie deal but, eventually, it went to a girl who was the lover of the producer. The movie world is such a façade… especially when compared to riding a wave. I’m 100 per cent behind my choices. I came to Maui and it changed my life completely. I’ve sacrificed. I don’t see my family very often and I miss them, but you can’t have everything. I have windsurfing and Mark.”

Not afraid of a little hard work.

Elena bottom-turning.



Jerome Houyvet recently went to the Haiku video store and found an Italian Indiana Jones-type film with Elena on the box cover.



She’s talking now, while being happily married and with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, though, Elena gambled her career on an encouraging call from Mark inviting her to Maui. Elena and two of her girlfriends traveled halfway around the world to live in Paia, on the North Shore of Maui. Elena speaks about that time fondly, with an obvious hint of nostalgia. She worked at Casanova Restaurant in Makawao washing dishes, as Mark was moonlighting from windsurfing as one of the pioneers of the strap-surfing movement, with Laird Hamilton and his crew. Elena would eventually move to Florida and then New York, building her ‘Pompei Bikini’ brand, but Maui and Mark always brought her back. At Ho’okipa, all these years later, it shouldn’t surprise you to see Elena as one of the beach leaders debating the lifeguards over the 10-Man Rule, or to see her be the first windsurfer on the water—both happen a lot. When it comes to defending the castle, as Levi Siver says, “Elena is our windsurfing Joan of Arc.” There is a lot of competition in the water, these days, not just between windsurfers jockeying for waves but between the different sports as well. The 10-Man Rule is a gentleman’s agreement created out of necessity. It dictates that windsurfers will not go on the water before 11:00 a.m. and have to wait longer if more than 10 surfers are out. Couple that rule with the annual windsurfing tourists and kitesurfers trying to poach Ho’okipa (which is illegal), and the random stand-up paddleboarder trying to get waves, and you’ve got a busy, hectic beach. There is an interesting dichotomy here because Elena is a feminine creature (think bikini designer), but she’s also a ruthless wave hunter. Imagine all that you know about a strong, empowered woman, place her into the 50-man gladiator pit that is Ho’okipa and see what you get. “I’ve mellowed out, in a way,” she admits. “All the lifeguards are my friends now, and I know what the rules are. But, two or three years ago, I used to be feistier about it. I love big days and light winds, so it’s frustrating to give up a good day because of the 10-Man Rule. Nobody is going to stand up for windsurfing but us! I guess I’m getting more mature.” She may be getting more mature, but Elena still has a child-like enthusiasm for waves. She doesn’t ever want to kitesurf or stand-up paddleboard, though. Other than windsurfing, what Elena really likes is a good tow-in surfing session with Mark driving. Elena says, “The big argument has been what to do on Christmas morning: a tow-in session or presents with the family? I’m voting for the session!” So, is Elena happy with the way things have worked out? Would she have done anything differently? Her answer, “In the end, fame and money doesn’t make you happy—that’s proven every day. It’s amazing that I had gotten Mark’s autograph back then... if I had a crystal ball, would I have seen this? Sometimes Mark reminds me of things, like Levi Siver telling him how much I was ripping, and how, after sailing, we go to Robby and Katie Naish’s for dinner.” Life, for Elena Pompei, sounds pretty good to me!

Elena and Mark.



Elena, up close.

“Elena is our windsurfing Joan of Arc.” -Levi Siver



Stepherd Gustowski.

Jurgen Saragoza.


Mak i n g the C hildre n o f t h e Win d D o c u menta ry WORDS BY ROBERT MCCORMICK | PHOTOS BY RICHARD SCHMON

Children of the Wind is unique in the filmography of windsurfing. A departure from the action/lifestyle/travelogue-driven windsurfing films of the past, Children of the Wind will be character-driven; it points its cameras on a group of young people from the island of Bonaire who travel from poor, humble beginnings to international fame in the sport of windsurfing, along the way transforming not only their island and their own lives, but the face of the sport worldwide. The film is expected to be released mid-2011, and the following is a piece by producer Robert McCormick describing how the documentary came about and the “making of.�

Amber Jasperse.



Kiri Thode.

Bjorn Saragoza.

Maxime van Gent.

Amado Vrieswijk.

Taty Frans.

Tonky Frans.

Daniela Simal.




onky Frans and I make eye contact and the most charismatic grin in professional sports proceeds to light up an otherwise dreary morning on the island of Sylt, Germany. It’s the day before the opening ceremonies of the PWA Colgate World Cup, and I haven’t seen Tonky since our month of principal photography back in May on his home island of Bonaire. Then, we were in boardshorts and t-shirts, and now we’re bundled in down jackets and hoodies. Our filming team had only been able to confirm the trip to Sylt at the last minute, and Tonky has been competing in Europe so he is surprised we are in Sylt shooting. After a bear-hug greeting and a bit of catch-up talk, we find ourselves walking on the beach in front of the colourful vendor tents that extend about half a mile down the beach. Suddenly, Tonky turns to me. The twinkle in his eye and affection in his smile can’t belie the serious curiosities that underscore the question I can feel coming on. He asks, “Bob, why are you doing this, man?” I know he’s not questioning my sanity for taking on the most boring two-day drive in Europe— London to Sylt—he’s asking why we are making this movie. I guess he’s playfully testing me for some esoteric answer other than the one he already knows: “We have a core team made up of film-industry professionals who have a love of windsurfing, Bonaire and its people, and feel the story of windsurfing on that island needs to be told.” But his question—we are interrupted so it ends there—reminds me of how the answer is both as simple as I’ve stated above and also much more complex. While no sane person should launch into the extraordinary and wondrous abyss that is the world of documentary filmmaking without having carefully pondered what they are getting into first, occasionally stars align, personalities mesh, and fate allows disparate characters and their destinies to intersect at the right time and place to set something in motion that blissfully overrides any number of obstacles because it’s fueled by something more powerful: passion. Ironically, as it turns out, our insights are laden with experience, as the parallels between the story of windsurfing on the island of Bonaire and the story of the making of Children of the Wind itself are strikingly similar. Both have been, and are, driven by the leading players’ love for windsurfing while they crusade to gain respect, raise awareness and, most importantly, money, to create something that has the power to change lives and make a difference. And both have a spark plug by the name of Elvis Martinus, who has been instrumental in the formative stages.

The Frans brothers. Carter/PWA photo

PWA event in Sylt. Carter/PWA photo

Team Bonaire. Carter/PWA photo



Taty in Sylt at night. Carter/PWA photo

WELL-KNOWN WINDSURFING INSTRUCTOR AND VIDEOGRAPHER CHARLES DASHER CALLS WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING ON LAC BAY “THE MIRACLE OF BONAIRE.” The origin of Children of the Wind is a tale of four people: Peter Robertson, Daphne Schmon, Elvis Martinus and myself. I am Robert McCormick, a long-time actor, indie-film producer, adventurist, and sports addict with a particularly potent form of the illness when it comes to windsurfing. I’m also father of Daphne Schmon, a recent graduate of Wesleyan University’s film school and multiple award-winner for her short films. Daphne has inherited her father’s addiction gene for flying over the sea on a board with a sail attached. Peter Robertson is a long-time friend who also dutifully attends Windsurfers Anonymous meetings whenever possible. But when it comes to work, Pete is one of the most in-demand camera operators in the major motion-picture business, with a resume that reads like a “favourite films” list. Elvis Martinus lives in, and is a native of, Bonaire and is one of three co-owners of Bonaire Windsurf Place. Elvis is a man who values action over words, and if something needs to be done on Bonaire,

Elvis has the gravitas, respect, energy and follow-through to get it done. The story of windsurfing on Bonaire has several leading players, but for what has been accomplished on the shore, like his namesake, Elvis is the King. Fueled by the encouragement and support of Elvis, Part One of the “making of” occurred after a year of e-mails, conference calls and visits to Bonaire, when Daphne put together a promotional trailer in January of 2010 based on footage she and I had taken earlier that month. The trailer generated over 10,000 hits on YouTube in the first week and received supporting e-mails from around the world, confirming there was an audience as curious and hungry to see the Bonaire windsurfing story told as we were to tell it. So, our team assembled in New York at the beginning of May for several days of camera tests, and then, with 18 hard cases packed with film equipment and half a dozen more with clothes, we arrived in Bonaire in early May for principal photography.



Gear for filming.

Cruising on Lac Bay.



Patun Saragoza.

The tower.

Daphne and Elvis.

Of course, in classic indie-film tradition—and may the bigfunding genie-in-the-lamp be reading this carefully—though we had received heartfelt grassroots donations through our non-profit fiscal sponsor, we still had not come close to raising enough money to pay for production costs. However, May was the only possible window when everyone was available, so we decided to plunge over the cliff, work for free and self-finance. After all, it was a project of passion, and the decision was made far easier by the remarkable sponsorship and support we were receiving from the Bonaire community, led by Elvis and his partner Roger Jurriens, who arranged accommodation, food and transportation. With the constant help of Elvis as our liaison, and the support of all the windsurfers and their families, we plot out a shooting schedule that utilizes every minute of every day and go right to the heart of the themes we want to explore. As with most windsurfers who visit Lac Bay, we are fascinated with what we see the tribe of youngsters accomplishing on the water—from the two-year-olds, up to Tonky and Taty Frans who are in their lower twenties. Well-known windsurfing instructor and videographer Charles Dasher calls what has been happening on Lac Bay “the miracle of Bonaire.” It’s as if there’s a Lac Bay Academy churning out world champions at every age category, topped off by the


collective dominance of Tonky, Taty and Kiri Thode at the pro level. And these kids aren’t just good; they aren’t just beating kids from the next island, they’re beating the best competitors in the world, despite the fact their little island has very little money, utterly no sports infrastructure, and most of the kids come from poor fishing families. How is it possible? Further, as we dig deeper we discover that these kids have actually been influencing the face of the sport worldwide. How? Well, kids love tricks. They love tricks on skateboards, snowboards, BMX and, yes, windsurfing boards. Freestyle, therefore, draws the young to the sport. Manufacturers were quick to take notice and started designing boards specifically for freestyle. In fact, these same manufacturers started asking Tonky, Taty and Kiri to help them design freestyle boards. To illustrate this, we shoot a sequence with Taty describing a board by Starboard with his name on it, which was designed specifically around testing and feedback he had given the shapers. On the water, the Bonaire kids and pros are all pushing themselves to completely new levels of achievement that, in turn, is setting the bar higher for their competitors worldwide. The first several days, we set up a tower in the middle of the shallow Lac Bay and keep the cameras rolling—the Panasonic VariCam on top, and the Canon 5D with underwater housing down below—while the gang does tricks all around us. The huge cooler we float out to the tower each day is soon known as “Bob’s Floating Deli.” On shore, and guided by input from Elvis, we make a comprehensive list of individuals who have unique insights into the story we are telling, and who graciously and enthusiastically meet us wherever we want to shoot them. Amazingly, the island itself emerged as an important character in the story. We are all products of our past, our heritage, our culture and our physical environment, and nowhere is this truer than Bonaire. The local population, including the Frans family, is derived from a mixture of African slaves, South American indigenous tribes, the nomadic Carib tribe and European settlers. To examine this history, we fly with Elvis to the neighbouring island of Curacao and spend half a day filming inside a slave ship that had been reproduced in the Curacao Museum, and that poignantly reminds us of the wretchedly inhumane circumstances in which the ancestors of our principals had traveled to Bonaire. We spend the afternoon interviewing Olympic



track star Roy Bottse, now a prominent lawyer. Roy has a unique knowledge of Bonaire’s windsurfing legacy, as he had organized the island’s first windsurfing regattas. His gripping narrative of the social atmosphere on the island in the ‘70s underscored the blatant Dutch elitism that windsurfing pioneers, like Elvis and Patun Saragoza, had to continually overcome to be taken seriously and be given responsibility. Perhaps most profound is documenting the Bonairians life before it became a tourist economy—which has only happened recently. We do this several ways because it reveals so much about the early lives of all our protagonists and the roots of their drive to succeed. For example, we spend a day on the interior farm of Patun Saragoza, and it replicates exactly how many Bonairians have been living for hundreds of years. With cameras rolling, we spend the morning in the bush hunting iguanas with Patun and his young son, Bjorn, who is an emerging PWA star. After watching Patun skillfully lasso what can only be described as “a big one,” we film his mother cutting away the edible skin of a cactus bush. As we eat our dinner of cactus soup and iguana—both delicious, I might add—Patun describes how that very meal was the only means of subsistence for him-


Tonky Frans.



self, his family and many Bonairians when he was growing up. He says, “We were poor and we had nothing. It was very difficult to survive.” Later, we dance by a fire as our young, world-class athletes do forward flips over it. Framed in the foreground of the rustic island farmhouse are scores of silver trophies that have been won by Patun and his sons over the years. The gleaming trophies form a wall of achievement in the dusty yard and serve well as a reminder of just how much Patun and the windsurfers of Bonaire have achieved from such impoverished beginnings. It is all caught on film. We spend a lot of time with Tonky, Taty and Kiri on the beach, in the water, riding quad ATVs in the mountains, in town, and in their grandparents’ home where they have grown up. We also follow them for two weeks in Sylt, Germany. Interestingly, we all know them through their windsurfing skills and radiant personalities, but we know nothing of their personal background or upbringing. In fact, we are surprised to learn that even their closest mates on the PWA tour have no idea. It just doesn’t come up. And, yet, they have a past that is as stirring and inspirational as it is unexpected, complicated and, yes, painful. And how can we adequately describe Tonky Frans’ influence on the story of

windsurfing on Bonaire? If Elvis was the mover-and-shaker on land, and Patun, in effect, carried the competitive torch on the water during the formative years in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and Ernst Van Vliet pioneered the scene on Lac Bay, then it was Tonky who led the charge in the completely new direction of extreme freestyle in the 2000s. Imagine, for a second, if Tonky had not impulsively asked to borrow Elvis’ windsurfing kit when he was a little kid fishing on a wharf in town back in the ‘90s (a scene we recreate in the film using a kid-double cast by Tonky himself)? Or if Elvis had refused? Without Tonky first, would Taty have ever taken up the sport? Or Kiri? There is no reason to think so. Perhaps even more pivotal is Tonky’s rebellious spirit on the water. It’s a non-issue now; in fact, we expect the kids to go out and work on freestyle for countless hours because the discipline has gained respect. But when Tonky was a kid, everyone thought he was just wasting his time fooling around with silly stuff when he should have been concentrating on racing skills. He refused and kept doing his thing. He was the classic teen rebel. He dyed his hair red, he wore earrings, and no one took him seriously until he started doing manoeuvres few in the world had seen before. Looking back today, the ripples of what he started have spread through to his remarkable brothers and cousin, his island and his sport. I haven’t even touched on our segments on “flowstyle” and the remarkable Ceasar Finies, or the extended sequence that stars the island’s windsurfing governor Glen Thode (no relation to Kiri), or important interviews with Richard Visser, Minister of Sport in Aruba, and freestyle superstar Sarah-Quite Offringa, both of whom flew to Bonaire at our invitation; or, of course, the current tribe of windsurfing kids themselves, who we follow on the water, at their homes, in their school classrooms and doing other, shall we say, ‘rad’ sports on land; nor the memorable two weeks in Sylt, Germany, where we follow the pros and hear from many of their famous peers... but more on this for the next article! We are now in post-production with our L.A.-based editor, Alex Jablonski, who is hard at work on the rough cut—perhaps two months away—then finishing with pickup shots, music rights, final cut, grading, sound, and then, dear readers, with the hope that the funding genie really did read this article and will magically appear, by mid-2011 to you.


The straight road.



Filming from the boat.



Cooking at sea.



Gathering seaweed.




Local sport.



AND EXPERIENCING NEW CULTURES Waves behind the seaweed farm.



Manu looks for the lip.


y only knowledge of Indonesia came from a surf video filmed there, in which Gerry Lopez got his first barrels at G-Land and Rob Machado rode the seemingly endless waves of beautiful blue-green water. But now I get to join some of the Oxbow Team, composed of Manu Bouvet, Carine Camboulives and their daughter, Lou, to explore the Indonesian islands and satisfy my thirst for this famous surfing spot. We arrive in Western Timor, the starting point for our epic two-month trip, situated at the extreme east of Indonesia. After the first few days, during which we could inspect the surroundings and learn a few Indonesian words that will save us, the swell takes its course and my dreams become reality. Adjusted to perfection, the machine begins its work drawing lines of endless breaking waves. The end-of-day lighting from behind the waves turns the water a turquoise colour, and the wind is perfect—side-off and non-stop. We have found a hidden paradise. With the reef located about a half-mile from shore, finding a boat stands as the best way to approach these green lines that the ocean has formed. As with every trip I go on with Manu, he finds the best boat and driver around. Anus is the captain of a large fishing boat propelled from below by a roaring car engine in the hold. Every time it sounds like a helicopter is about to pass over our heads, we know Anus is arriving to pick us up. The only thing lacking was a reverse gear, meaning the ship has to remain anchored away on the break’s shoulder, making my work as photographer a little difficult since my only way to take dry shots is by free-handing my 600mm lens (there’s

Evening fun.



Anus’ boat.

no possible way of using a tripod from the boat). It’s like taking a 20pound weight, holding it at arm’s length and trying not to tremble in any way. Even though the pictures of the first waves are promising, I quickly have the desire to jump in the water and shoot from up close. There is nothing like partaking in the local Bintang beer while enjoying the sunset at day’s end. During these moments of solace, the tide is low; small pools of water form amongst the exposed coral in which strange shapes loom. The shapes are men and women carrying baskets attached to each end of a plank propped on their shoulders—the seaweed farmers are out taking care of their marine farms. They hang algae from lines to help it grow, and, once mature, it’s gathered, brought back to the beach and sorted, depending, whether it’s green or brown. The still-green algae are spread over large sheets placed on the beach to dry. In the end, it will all be exported to Japan or China in order to extract a vital gelatin used in the food and cosmetics industries. During this tidal cycle, we soon find ourselves unable to the boat, forcing us to walk. The half-mile hike carrying windsurfing and photo gear seems incredibly long, but compared to the weight of the farmer’s algae baskets filled with water, I don’t dare complain. Plus, these long walks give us a good look at their work and an understanding of the technique and operation involved. But even in this paradise, we can’t remain content. The call of adventure forces us, once again, to move on to find the best wave of Indo that’s never, ever been surfed! This is why Manu has organized a trip aboard a boat, in order to continue our voyage through Indonesia.

Carine freeriding.

Our evening view.





ith its 60-foot planks of Indonesian wood, a ship that looks like a worthy pirate vessel anchors in our little bay, waiting for us to begin the next leg of our journey. I can’t help but think of the recent real-life pirate stories that currently haunt the region... just last September, a Japanese vessel carrying chemicals was attacked and robbed. We board the boat with all our gear, and are excited by the arrangement of our new living quarters. Our captain, Xavier, gives us the grand tour, and soon we find ourselves with sails raised for the first night’s open-water crossing. The excitement of this new adventure keeps me from sleeping, so I take the opportunity to get acquainted with the ship’s crew members, Yann and Michael. We cruise straight west under a sparkling sky and slow-rising moon. I get lost in my thoughts, leaving Yann to his job. Passing a series of deserted islands with wild coastlines, further study of our map reveals the semblance of a wave that appears on the horizon. Is it just a mirage wave, or the spot we’ve been searching for? Everything on the map indicates the possibility of a perfect setup. The closer we get, the better it looks. Suddenly, as we finally arrive, at least a dozen fins surface before us, right at the peak of where the wave is breaking. Silence brought on by fear and


Manu bottom-turning.



curiosity settles over us all, as the reality sets in of possibly surfing this shark-infested reef break. It’s still early, so we anchor the boat on the shoulder and wait for the wind to pick up, just watching the waves. The sets roll in one after another, with a glassy perfection in the morning’s still air. It’s like the wave is taunting us with its riderless tubes. But what can we do? Screw it, let’s go! Manu is the most impatient and jumps into the water first on his stand-up paddleboard. I look over at Jace Panebianco—our cameraman who joined us for this part of the trip—and without too much thought, we jumped into the water with the camera. I can’t believe we have this magical place with perfect waves all to ourselves. As I get close to the peak, Manu yells, “There are dozens of fins just behind the peak—it’s freaking scary!” I feel pretty tense as easy prey, kicking around with my swim fins taking photos. Just before we decide to return to the boat, Manu shouts to us that they are actually huge manta rays, with some measuring over 15 feet across. Swimming in for a closer look, we end up in the middle of a bunch of these huge rays playing in the swell. Carried by the emotion of sharing the water with such amazing creatures, we enjoy a good windsurfing session before tackling a new night of crossing. Like most mornings, the wind begins to develop after a dozen hours of navigation and a few hours of sleep. It’s the ideal opportunity to test the capabilities of our boat. Captain Xavier admits to us that he had just put this boat in the water for the first time a few hours before our departure, and was actually finishing the final painting while en route. Honoured to be its first guests, we are more than happy to share in the baptism. The wood creaks under the pressure as we accelerate to nine… 10… and, finally, 10.9 knots. Proud of this, his fourth helm, Captain Xavier takes us to our next spot. The swell finally drops, allowing us to anchor in a large bay. It looks like we’ll be able to get a good, calm night’s sleep. We’ll also be able to get on land for the first time since setting sail. After a short tour of a small town and meeting the nice locals, Manu, Carine and Lou decide to sleep at the house of a gracious family. Lou immediately becomes very popular with the other kids by sharing her trip stories in English and French, and all the time bursting with laughter. All the kids have big smiles on their faces, whether they understand what she is saying or not.

A sheltered bay.

On board.

Life in paradise.

Giant manta ray.

The swell remains small for a while, but the offshore wind is blowing, and the bay offers a perfect playground for freeride windsurfing. Carine blasts around the boat for a while in a picturesque setting of white sand and coconut trees. The backdrop is definitely paradise, with the sun shining and no one else around to disturb us. In the morning, we awake to the boat pulling on its mooring: a wind swell has arrived, dragging behind it a line of white caps. We hurry up the coast to a spot Xavier suggests, and arrive to swell wrapping around a reef. Despite the wind being gusty and an inconsistent wind swell, we score a money session. But it ended, suddenly, as Manu is washed over a shallow reef by the wave-of-the-day, tearing his sail. Back on board, our departure time comes and we embark on our final Indonesian run, but in a more raging sea than usual. With a big wind-

swell hitting us from the side and wind gusting to 35 knots, the boat is pitching and making creaking sounds like we’ve never heard before. The hull stabilizers (small rudders on the side) help us keep our course, despite the mountains of water through which we are sailing. Leaving the coastline, the groaning of the wood under the strain of rough seas grows louder until, suddenly, a stabilizer breaks. With Xavier at the helm, Yann grabs the tool box to reattach the stabilizer with a hammer and nails. Next time you’re on a boat, try to imagine hitting a nail with a hammer, let alone doing it in 12-foot seas. A few hammer shots later, the problem is fixed and we finish our journey safely. It’s time to move on to the final stage of our adventure. Luckily, we get to enjoy a hotel room with hot water for the first time since we embarked on the trip—likely our last before returning home again.




raveling in Indo, especially to a place as removed as our next stop, Papua New Guinea, it’s critical to learn to stay cool and calm. Just getting there, we had to deal with cancelled flights, chartering planes and countless unexpected travel problems, all on next-to-no sleep. Upon arrival, we join our guide, Mr. Kelly, and climb aboard a boat that will allow us to trek upriver to our hosts: a local tribe discovered only last October. We stop at the last available village for a night, before we disappear into the thick jungle. It’s an interesting stopover, in which we have to give money to the local police controlling the area. The next morning, we get back on the narrowing river, concentrating on avoiding the numerous partially submerged logs. The sights and sounds of the wildlife around us, including gigantic bats, crocodiles and rare birds, creates an atmosphere of true exploration. The first step onto the muddy bank immediately cakes our legs in grey up to the knee, while one of our guides excitedly shows us a bright green snake he has just killed with a stick… a snake that, if it bites you, can cause death within minutes. Welcome to the jungle! Warned of the presence of leeches, snakes, spiders, mosquitoes and other insects, pants and long sleeves are seriously recommended. Within minutes of reaching shore, our guides start clearing trees, and a camp is suddenly built before our very eyes. As we settle in, we begin to notice some of the native tribe’s people peering at us through the foliage.

After embedding ourselves in their territory, it’s time to go and pay our respects to the host tribe. We proceed hesitantly, knowing only two words of their language, filled with feelings of curiosity, fear, and joy to be having the rare experience of meeting people of such an untouched culture. The tribe’s people are dressed wearing simple fabric and palm-tree branches around their waists, and all have headdresses of bird feathers and noses pierced with bone. We shake their hands, while a strange and sort of embarrassing atmosphere floats between them and our team. No words are exchanged, even amongst the tribe’s people themselves. While admiring their dress, complete with bows and arrows slung to their backs, our outfits in this setting must make us look like aliens. The differences are so large that the curiosity from both parties is obvious. After being welcomed, Mr. Kelly tries to share our names with the tribe’s chief, but the sound and pronunciation makes it difficult for him. Gradually, after several minutes of observation, a more settled feeling spreads through the camp. Watching them engage in the construction of an additional hut helps us begin to understand their relationship with nature. They use all the jungle provides for clothing, shelter and food. Wanting to learn more about their culture, we ask them to show us how they prepare and cook one of their staple foods known as sago. A sago palm-tree is cut down and fitted with spikes in order to break and remove the bark to reach the centre. A stick tool is used to shred the entire interior of the tree into small chips, which are transported to the






Lou gives a gift.

Making cloth.

What are you doing with your hand?

Happy kids.

Manu drops in.



Home sweet home.



The tribe.

Local tribesman.

Can I take your photo?

edge of the river where women mix them with water for hours to get a reddish juice. This juice is recovered using large containers made from the bark of a tree, and allowed to sit until a paste-like deposit forms at the bottom. Once removed, this dough is then cooked on the fire and served to eat. It doesn’t really have much taste; it’s rather sticky and not very appetizing, but it is a very important part of the local diet. After a night of pouring rain, our second and final day with the tribe will have them showing us their technique for making cloth from tree bark. With care, they cut the bark off a fallen tree without breaking it. It’s brought back to camp where the women bend the bark in every direction and hammer it to make it softer. After hours of this labour, the bark becomes flexible and as soft as chamois skin—this is what they wear around their waist. Wanting Carine and Lou to enjoy the fruits of their labor, they encourage them to don the local garb. The smiles on everyone’s faces show the joy of the women in sharing their culture. It’s now our turn to tell them a little bit about our passion. Manu brings out his board and paddle and demonstrates, on the river, his way of his paddling, though I’m not sure they really understand what standup paddling is until we show them pictures from a magazine. They stand gaping at the pictures in amazement. Next, it’s my turn to explain what these objects are that I keep pointing at their faces. I photograph the face of one of them and show it to him on the camera’s small LCD display. To my surprise, he has no reaction. I take a picture of his friend and show him again, and he suddenly breaks out in laughter. They simply have no idea of their own faces. Mr. Kelly later explains to me that the only idea they have of themselves is from the reflection in the puddles after a rainstorm. The time has come for our departure. Lou is still playing with the local kids, and despite spending only 48 hours here, it’s hard to think of leaving. We say goodbye to the whole tribe, and they launch into a dance with a hypnotic chant. We board our little boat and wave while returning back downriver from where we came. After several more travel horrors, we finally arrive safely home from a two-month adventure we will never forget. The question is: how do you return to a normal, modern lifestyle after such an authentic and exotic experience?



expos wHit Poor, PUnta San carloS, BaJa, MeXico. merritt photo



osure windsport




Marcilio Browne, PUSH FORWARD Hanstholm, Denmark. Carter photo



Jesse Brown, Ho’okipa, Maui. photo





Ben Severne, Lancelin, Australia. Carter photo





Levi Siver, Ho’okipa, Maui. Thouard photo




Looking at these boards head-to-head is a great way to narrow it down to a few choices that are perfect for you. The eight boards tested can be divided into four groups to make things easy: wave, wave-oriented freestyle wave, all-around freestyle wave, and freeride. Solosports Adventure Holidays (, at San Carlos, Baja, hosted the wave portion of the test, while Worldwinds Windsurfing (, at Bird Island near Corpus Christi, Texas, provided a base for testing on flatwater.


Of the three wave designs tested, the Naish Wave 87 is, by far, the most dedicated wave board lending itself to competent wavesailors looking for the ideal tool to push themselves in the most demanding conditions. The Exocet U-Surf 84 and Starboard Evo IQ 86 have a bit more all-round appeal, with planing performance allowing them to rip in onshore waves as well as the occasional bump-and-jump day.


The Goya One 86 and Quatro Freestylewave 85 are equally as at home in the waves as they are in bump-and-jump conditions. They will be a great choice for anyone who’s progressing in the waves but still needs a board for back-and-forth blasting. While these two boards match up well performance-wise, there is a distinct difference in their feel on the water: the Goya prefers to be carved off the tail, and offers a ride that inspires confidence with its voluminous nose riding high above chop and white water; the Quatro has a livelier ride that’s easier to find speed from, and it carves and rides with a more front-foot-weighted stance.


Coming in the form of what we expect from a freestyle wave (FSW) are the Fanatic FreeWave 85 and RRD FreeStyle Wave 85. Both of these boards put bump-and-jump performance at a higher level than the wavier shapes. That’s not to say they can’t be fun in the waves, though, and for those new to wavesailing, their consistent performance may make them boards you’ll progress faster on. We find their individual performance closely matched but, if forced to split them up, we would comment that the RRD’s playfulness was loved by everyone, regardless of style or ability, while the Fanatic is the choice for sailors with the skill to find a board’s top speed and use that ability to rail through full-speed jibes.


The JP All Ride 96 stuck out from the crowd with its extra volume and flatwater design. It was, by far, the easiest board to ride in the test, and impressed with its performance potential. In the same conditions the 85’s were at their best, the All Ride was nearly at its limit—the larger the chop became, the more out of place it felt. But on the days the 85’s were barely going, we were cruising on the All Ride, ripping through fully powered jibes.




EXOCET U-SURF TRI FIN 84 We took special interest in the Exocet U-Surf, as it now sports thrusters on a shape we’ve previously tested. We found the former single-fin version to be a progressive shape that worked great on smaller waves but lacked grip on aggressive higher-speed turns. This year, we found the addition of two small thruster fins provides the increased traction we’re looking for, allowing the U-Surf to reach its true potential. The centre fin has shrunk considerably with the added side fins, letting the board ride a little lower in the water. This takes away

V: 84 L: 235 W: 60

some of its speed potential but, more importantly, improves the turnability and provides a more comfortable ride. As this is a true waveboard we didn’t expect much from its flatwater performance, yet, like the original U-Surf, this year’s has enough speed for the occasional bump-and-jump day and becomes more at home the bigger the swell. The only criticism testers had for the board’s comfort is that all the footstrap insert options could be spaced closer together so that each strap could be set tighter to the sides of the feet for a more secure connection.

The U-Surf shines on a wave. It takes little effort to engage the rail, and with plenty of width underfoot you have the option to drive the rail in a traditional bottom turn or crank a tight turn off the tail. This makes it a well-rounded board that can fit into smaller onshore waves just as well as bigger down-the-line lips. The U-Surf’s pointy nose lacks a bit of power to be redirected, but with the traction from the fins it rides through white water better than most. The U-Surf is recommended for wavesailors needing a board to ride any wind-and-water combination, at a price that is more than reasonable.

FANATIC FREEWAVE 85 The FreeWave is a well-established model for Fanatic, yet, this is a board we’ve somehow never gotten our hands on to test. As the name implies, this is Fanatic’s entry into the highly competitive freestyle wave market. It did not take us long to realize we had been missing out by never getting a chance to sail the FreeWave before. It is a perfect blend of speed, carving and comfort. Even in the regular construction, the FreeWave jumped up onto a plane and quickly accelerated to an impressive top speed. Less experienced riders will find it not quite as smooth as

GOYA ONE PRO 86 The One lineup is designed to cover three different categories: wave, crossover and highwind freeride. Each size is somewhat tailored for the conditions it will most likely see. In the case of the One 86, we find a wavy outline with a good amount of concave for a smooth ride, and a bit of flat in the rocker line to make sure it has some speed. There’s a slightly unique feel from the wide and thick nose that packs a lot of volume. This makes the One incredibly easy to schlog on and tack, which is great for

V: 85 L: 238 W: 58.5

some of the other FSW’s; however, advanced sailors will find a lively ride that responds well to trim work, and a perfectly balanced rider position so you’ll always be prepared to deal with any chop that could be problematic. Of course, should you want to view the chop as a ramp instead of a problem, then this FreeWave will gladly take to the air. Where the FreeWave sets itself apart from the other FSW’s is in its ability to turn off either the nose or tail and keep up an impressive amount of speed. Turning off the nose with an aggressive over-sheet, you can feel the board accelerate

into the turn as it mows over chop. Turning off the tail, the board comes around with a radius that only the waveboards can outdo. So, what’s the downside? To find all this performance, it takes an advanced rider who knows how to trim a board and is not afraid to drive the rail with aggression in the corners. That’s not to say an intermediate can’t ride the FreeWave, it just may not respond to their techniques as well as a board that’s easier to ride. The FreeWave is best in the hands of a more advanced rider who can tap into its ample speed to amp up its jumping and jibing performance.

V: 86 L: 234.5 W: 58.7 anyone but more so for the aspiring wavesailor. On days when we were a little underpowered, there wasn’t an easier board to catch a wave on. Once on the wave, the One’s ease continues. It takes little effort to set the rail, and of all the boards in the test it works with a less aggressive back foot carve that most sailors start out with—both on a wave and when learning to jibe. Even though the ride is smooth enough to mow down chop with ease, you can also use the wide nose to catch decent air off chop if desired. With all the volume up

front, it pops up onto a plane, so long as the rider uses a light touch on the tail. This can be achieved by riding with a shoulder-high boom that lets you use your mast base as a third foot to help drive the board. Some acquired trim skills are also needed to get the One to really break free and unlock its hidden top speed. If you have the skill, you can get the performance of a true FSW from a board that doubles as a wave board as well. If you’re learning to wavesail but still like to rip turns in bump-and-jump conditions, then this One is for you.



HIGHWIND BOARD TEST JP ALL RIDE PRO 96 The All Ride is JP’s new line that takes over where the resized X-Cite Ride line ends, and is designed to make sailing smaller boards easier. Not only is the All Ride 96 at least nine litres bigger than any other test board, it’s also the only board designed for flatwater. With its incredibly light Pro construction, it’s no surprise that the All Ride was, by far, the quickest to plane. In a straight line, we were pleasantly surprised by the speed. It could easily give a slalom board a run for its money when set up with outboard straps. The rider position is perfectly balanced, regardless of strap position—though, it does deal with

V: 96 L: 237 W: 60.5 chop differently. With the inboard setting, the board seems to settle in the water for a smooth ride with the concave and channel bottom cutting through the chop. The board becomes much more lively in the outboard setting, requiring the rider to drive off the fin while keeping the sail sheeted-in, allowing it to skip across the top of the chop. JP has done an amazing job of making this board easy to sail in the inboard position, while offering the progressing sailor plenty to grow into. It’s not really fair to compare this bigger flatwater board’s turning ability directly to the others in the test, but that doesn’t mean the All

NAISH WAVE 87 Naish claims the Wave is “the only dedicated production waveboard range in the world.” To back this up, every photo you see of a Naish team rider—like Kai Lenny, Julien Taboulet, and even Robby Naish himself—they are sailing the same production board you can buy off the shelf. In this test, we only have a few dedicated waveboards, and the Naish Wave is, by far, the most dedicated. Despite being the second largest board in the test, its short length and thin, narrow tail make it feel like one of the smallest. It takes some power from the sail to get planing without the help of a wave; once up and going

QUATRO FREESTYLEWAVE 85 Sitting alongside four dedicated waveboards in the Quatro lineup, their Freestylewave is the choice for those who need a board that will still perform when there is not a wave in sight. Coming from Keith Teboul, the designer of some of the most innovative waveboards in the world, Quatro’s FSW 85 still has a strong wave bias. Its outline, rail and bottom shape look every bit the part of a waveboard, but the thickness and rocker have been refined to get it planing quicker, track well in chop, and reach speeds a dedicated waveboard can only dream of.



Ride isn’t still fun to jibe: what it lacks in responsiveness and turning radius it gains in planing ability and speed through the turn. In an aggressive slalom-style jibe, this board planes deep into the turn and does a great job of holding the rail while going in at full speed. For those learning to jibe, the All Ride’s planing ability will get you far enough through a jibe for the stability to take over and let you finagle an exit that keeps the hair dry. The All Ride is a fun, flatwater freeride board that is perfect for the progressing sailor, yet, provides plenty of performance to grow into.

V: 87 L: 229 W: 59 it can break free and reach a decent top speed but it needs constant power to keep it going. In the single-fin mode, it tracks fairly well and feels solid across chop. In thruster mode, it settles into the water a bit more and displays a looser, less directional ride, better suited for waves than flatwater. As a highwind board, it feels more at home the more hectic the conditions. None of this flatwater performance is what the Wave claims to be its strong suit, though. It’s the Wave’s performance on a wave that sets it apart. In the thruster setup, it makes, by far, the tightest turns in the test and ranks

V: 85 L: 233.9 W: 57.5

Being one of the narrowest boards in the test, it takes a little more wind to get the Quatro planing on flatwater but remains more controllable in higher winds. Once in the footstraps, it prefers to be ridden with a modern hips- in stance, and with a little trim work, easily reaches speeds that match the other FSW’s. The waveboard influence and lightweight construction makes it less direct feeling in voodoo chop. Of course, the trade-off is that, in jibes, it allows you to navigate through chop with ease and rip some impressively tight arcs.

With so much wave influence, Quatro’s FSW is truly a board that works in the waves. In fact, with the swap of a fin, we never once had the feeling we were asking it to do something it didn’t want to do. It’s not as radical as some of the latest multi-fin wave designs, but for someone who isn’t pushing the limits of wavesailing, its reliable and consistent turns give a rider plenty of confidence to push their own limit. The Quatro perfectly bridges the gap between waveboard and FSW with the change of a fin. This makes it the perfect board for anyone needing one board for two jobs.

highly as one of the tightest-turning boards we have ever ridden. Plus, turning the Wave feels intuitive, as it takes little effort to set the rail in a bottom turn and there is no hesitation from the board as you transition to your heels. As you gain confidence on the Wave, it will take you as deep into the lip as you want to go and never balk at the thought of it. The Naish Wave is for the dedicated wavesailor who’s lucky enough to regularly ride clean waves or, at least, have plenty of wind to go with some mushy waves.

RRD FREESTYLE WAVE LTD 85 RRD helped create the freestyle wave category, and with this well-rounded version, it continues to be the epitome of what the term stands for. We took this RRD out in everything from logo-high San Carlos, Baja waves to Texas flatwater, and it was never out of place. This is the one board that anylevel rider, from those experiencing their first highwind shortboard to pros, can take out in any condition and have fun. It gets planing nicely, as well—for its 85 litres—and has the speed to make even the flattest water exciting. In bump-and-jump conditions it will jump to the

V: 85 L: 235 W: 57.5

moon when asked, but it can also mow down steep chop if staying grounded is what you prefer. It begs to carve turns and will carve a tight enough arc to fit in between chop or get you where you want on a wave. It has a slightly less wave bias than some of the other FSW’s tested, but still performed well enough for plenty of lip-smacking excitement. Its rider position is spot-on and makes it just as comfortable for intermediates as it does for advanced riders. It responds well to trim work so there is plenty to grow into, but even without it the board has plenty to offer. The big,

thick heel pads feel odd at first, but after a couple runs you seem to forget about them. If you already own an RRD with these pads then you’ll likely want to stick with them, as most other brands won’t feel nearly as cushy. Like all RRD’s, this FSW comes ready-to-ride out of the box, with Dakine-built straps and a Maui Fin Company fin so you don’t have to spend any extra money on accessories. Riders looking to find a board that can do everything well will be hard-pressed to find a better board than this Freestyle Wave 85.

STARBOARD EVO IQ 86 In 2003, Starboard introduced the innovative-looking Evo and set off a revolution that redefined how a waveboard is designed. Last year, Starboard put aside the Evo to focus attention on their Quad. While the Quad set new standards for grip in the steepest sections of a wave, some of the new-school riders, like Phil Köster, have been looking for something looser for a skatier style. The new Evo comes standard with a single fin that provides the predictable ride Evo enthusiasts have come to love, and included with the board are two slot boxes for a twin-fin option. In the single-fin mode, the Evo is a waveboard that

V: 85 L: 238 W: 58.5

offers performance any highwind sailor will appreciate. Its ample width gets you up onto a plane very quickly and keeps you well-balanced in any type of transition, whether it’s a jibe or tack. This Evo also uses its balanced volume distribution to plane through jibes on flat water better than any other waveboard. For bump-and-jump conditions, the ride is smooth with just enough speed to keep things interesting. On a wave, it carves clean, powerful arcs that only a pro-level quaddesign waveboard would outdo. In twin-fin mode, it’s best to err towards slightly bigger fins (16 cm should be good), placing them as far

back in the slot box as possible. Even when set up this way, the ride is less direct and has the confidence to set the rail on a bottom turn. The reward is that the tail can be broken free at will, opening up new possibilities like Takas in onshore conditions. On down-the-line waves we stuck with the single-fin, but in everything from Gorge swell rides to mushy sideshore, the twin-fin setup let us tighten turns by sliding the tail when needed. The Evo is a great choice for any-level wavesailor looking for a one-board-wonder to tackle any wind direction, and even make the most of the days when there are no waves to be found.

TEST SITES: TWO MUST-SAIL DESTINATIONS Most highwind gear is designed to handle a variety of conditions, so we like to test it in a couple different places to really get a handle on what it can do. Here’s where we go. SOLOSPORTS, BAJA → A world-class wavesailing spot, whether you’re a first-time waverider or a seasoned veteran. This year, we scored seven out of eight days on our highwind gear, and used the one lighter wind day to test a handful of windsurf-able SUPs. Book your next adventure at to enjoy awesome food, an open bar (try a Baja Fog), biking, surfing and much more. Plus, the hospitality is second to none.

Merritt photo

WORLDWINDS, TEXAS → Located just outside Corpus Christi, this full-service windsurfing centre will style you out like no other. The rental gear is amazing, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a destination that gets as much wind year-round. The flatwater makes it the perfect spot to learn anything from a beginner lesson to advanced freestyle, and they have the instructional staff to match. Check them out online at

Worldwinds photo




Sail design is becoming a refined art. You’re virtually guaranteed that any sail you choose will perform in a huge range of conditions—especially with smaller sails. In this test, we see everything from prolevel wavesails to less specialized back-and-forth blasters. While it’s easy to look at how a sail does in its intended conditions, it’s more amazing to see just how well it can do outside its comfort zone.


The Goya Eclipse, Sailworks Revolution (aka Revo) and Naish Force all feel very light in the hands and are perfect sails to cross over from wave to bump-and-jump conditions. The Eclipse and Revo go about making their weight reductions in different ways, but both do a great job of remaining stable when overpowered. Of the two, we give a slight edge to the Eclipse if waves are more of a priority, while the Revo has a bit lighter rotation that freestylers will like. If you want the sail to go neutral a little sooner, then the Naish Force is the call. It also has a slightly tighter leech that can help in certain freestyle moves, but make sure you keep the Force from getting too overpowered.


At the forefront of the lightweight revolution is the Severne S-1. It was the quickest sail in the test to go neutral, and a joy to sail in the perfect waves of Punta San Carlos. Plus, on flatwater, you can’t help but still be impressed by its light feel, so long as you stay within its wind range. The RRD SuperStyle and NeilPryde Fusion hold their own in the waves, but also work just as well on flatter water. The RRD’s higher draft takes a little more concentration to ride, so, of the two, it’s the one for more advanced riders. The payoff is that it adds greater pop to your jumps and will allow you to more aggressively set the rail in your jibes. The light feeling and incredible tuning of the Fusion makes it a true one-sail-wonder that everyone will be impressed with, and it has a little more stability

and speed potential than found in wavier designs. The North Curve, Aerotech Phantom and MauiSails Switch are all more flatwater oriented, but each has a different feel, making it easy to choose the right one for you. The North Curve is a great sail for the progressing rider, especially if you’ve still got plenty of skills to learn that do not require planing conditions. The deep-drafted six-batten Aerotech Phantom has a locked-in feel that will make any lightwind speedster feel immediately at home on smaller sails, and its short boom allows enough manoeuvrability to add some style to your sailing. The MauiSails Switch also has six battens, but seeks a more straight-line performance. It has a more typical boom length for a flatwater sail that makes finding power easy and helps provide an unrivaled straight-line ride.




AEROTECH PHANTOM 5.7 Aerotech’s Phantom is one of the few six-batten wavesails on the market, and is a top choice if you’re looking for a more stable, solid foil. Ample seam shaping gives it a deep locked-in draft that needs little sailor input to generate power in a hurry. To make sure the Phantom keeps a light feel at speed, the draft is positioned well forward so that no matter how big the gust, only a soft touch is needed to stay sheeted in. It has a nice slippery feel and is easily one of the fastest sails in the test. The relatively loose leech does the work to iron out fluctuations in the wind, so all you have to do is hold on

LUFF: 428 BOOM: 170

and watch out for the other riders you’ll be overtaking. All the tuning necessary for wind range can be accomplished through outhaul, as we found adding downhaul doesn’t change it dramatically. Plus, too much downhaul tension gives the leech excessive flutter that can take away from its efficiency. This lack of downhaul sensitivity makes the Phantom one of the easier sails to rig, as even an untrained eye will be able to recreate a similar feel from day to day. The deep draft allows you to take power deeper into a jibe or bottom turn than any other sail in the test,

GOYA ECLIPSE 5.0 For 2011, Goya has started using a new high-tech scrim material in key areas of all their sails, making them significantly lighter without any loss in strength. On the water, the Eclipse’s lighter weight feels fantastic, as this was the only fault we could find when we tested last year’s model. It still has more reinforcement than most other brands; a few others may be lighter, but none will take a pounding like the Eclipse. Also of note, this is the only sail in the test from which the exotic lightweight scrim doesn’t lead to its stability quickly deteriorating once it’s overpowered.

MAUISAILS SWITCH 5.6 Out of all the test sails, the Switch is the most geared towards speed and flatwater blasting. This freeride bias comes from it being only one of two sails with six battens, and it having the longest boom length in the test. The Switch is a perfect match for any smaller freeride board (like our only freeride test board, the JP All-Ride 96) , as it will allow the sail to make the most of its combination of power, speed and manoeuvrability. On the more bump-and-jump oriented FSW shapes, the higher draft and longer boom are a good match for larger-sized riders. For smaller riders, we recommend

and this takes some getting used to. If you’re a big guy learning to jibe or a wavesailor who rides a lot of onshore conditions then the Phantom will be perfect. All this power and the extra batten take away from some of the manoeuvrability, and its rotation is noticeable. However, a nice short boom length saves the day in transitions, allowing it to be thrown around and carved aggressively once you’re used to its powerful feel. The Phantom is a wavesail that any freerider or racer will love, with its locked-in shape providing plenty of power and speed.

LUFF: 417 BOOM: 170 With the downhaul set using the on-sail guide, the leech becomes noticeably loose. Seam shaping is used to lock in the draft to help handle winds that will easily let you drop down over half a metre when you need to rig down. The locked-in shape, along with a longish boom, helps provide plenty of low-end punch and gives it one of the largest wind ranges found in a dedicated wavesail. It feels best when used on waveand FSW-shaped boards, with the loose leech twisting off as needed to keep the lightweight rig from feeling heavy under load. In a bottom turn or

transition, it does not go neutral as quickly as the flatter sails, but it happens early enough to leave time to set up for your move. In flatter water, the power and lightweight feel make the Eclipse a great transition sail, and it will help you get plenty of air as well. These traits also make it work well for freestyle, with our only complaint being that its loose leech makes straight-line ducking and riding clew-first slightly more difficult. This new lightweight Eclipse is a true power wavesail that can rip waves one day and work equally well in bump-and-jump conditions the next.

LUFF: 437 BOOM: 184

setting up a FSW board with double rear footstraps to maximize its speed. With the right board underneath, it shows a touch of softness that allows it to expand quickly and get the rider up to speed in the smallest gust. The Switch’s six battens help it remain stable well beyond any of the wavesails, and its smooth, slippery feel makes it easy to fly past all the other test sails. It has an impressive wind range that will likely have you going as fast as you ever want to go, long before you ever actually become overpowered. We suggest primarily using the outhaul for tuning. Backing off the downhaul tightens up the leech,

making the sail feel heavier and more sluggish, while too much tension results in leech flutter. The recommended settings are spot-on, so it’s easy to find the middle ground that gives peak performance. In transitions, the soft rotation encourages one to try accessible freestyle moves like Duck Jibes or Carving 360s. There’s a bit of a weight penalty with the extra batten and long boom, compared to the wavesails, but it still has a lighter feel than most freeride sails. The Switch is the truest freeride sail in the test, making it best for those who sail flatter water and want an easy riding sail with plenty of speed.



HIGHWIND SAIL TEST NAISH FORCE 5.3 For 2011, the Force continues where it left off last year, in pushing the limits of lightness without sacrificing durability. We rigged it on Naish’s 60 per cent carbon RDM—when most other brands sent 100 per cent—and still found it to be one of the lightest rigs. At Punta San Carlos, the Force was consistently one of the first sails on the water. Its combination of being lightweight, powerful and efficient means the rider can comfortably schlog around to catch waves, and then be the first one planing as the wind fills in. On the wave, a slightly higher draft gives it good drive in the bottom turn,

LUFF: 435 BOOM: 170 and it has the ability to go neutral early enough to make timing the lip something you can focus on without interruption. To keep the session going once the wind really fills in, a little yank on the outhaul was preferred, rather than messing with the downhaul tension. Like most sails that go neutral as easily as the Force, downhaul noticeably changes the feel of the sail, and some adjustment in technique is required to compensate, which can lead to frustration. Finding the downhaul’s sweet spot on initial tuning may require a bit of trial and error, depending on the rider’s style and size—smaller testers

preferred the Force with a little more downhaul tension. On flatwater, the Force balances perfectly on FSW boards and lets you work the chop for air just as well as it lets you rip any flat sections with an aggressive jibe or freestyle move. It has enough stability to take most FSW boards up to full speed but, like many other sails with new scrim materials, once it’s overpowered, things deteriorate quickly. The Force is a lightweight power wavesail; it will charge in perfect down-the-line conditions, find you power to ride onshore slop, and then rule your bump-and-jump playground when the coast shuts off.

NEILPRYDE FUSION 5.5 The Fusion is a new sail in the NeilPryde range that replaces the Zen and Excess. It's a lightweight freeride sail that combines flatwater blasting performance with wavesail-like manoeuverability. Like all sails in the 2011 NeilPryde lineup, the use of Dyneema yarns makes for a more durable and lighter-weight sail cloth, while the flashy graphics are actually printed inside the film and won’t wear with time. As a true do-everything sail, we find it balances well on both flatwater freeride boards and FSW shapes, with just a slight adjustment to the downhaul. With minimal downhaul tension, there is enough softness in

NORTH CURVE 5.4 The Curve is a new valuepriced crossover sail from North, which is designed sharing a shape similar to their popular Duke, but with a lighter and less heavily reinforced construction. One of the most loved features on any North sail is the on-sail downhaul guide that clearly shows you where you’re at, anywhere from the “Min” to “Max” tension settings for the sail. We used the “Min” setting for non-planing sessions with windsurf-able stand-up paddleboards, where the Curve’s tight leech and lightweight feel allowed it to find wind when there was little to be found. In planing conditions, we



LUFF: 431 BOOM: 179

the leech to keep the sail stable at speed on a fast freeride board. Adding more tension lowers the draft without making the leech flutter, for a more balanced ride on a FSW with only a single rear strap. Regardless of how much downhaul you decide to use, the wind range is impressive, putting many of the wavesails to shame as the wind increases. The longer boom allows most intermediates to find an increased wind range in lighter conditions, and with power that is easy to tap into. The sail’s manoeuvrability comes from three traits: a flat profile that goes neutral without too much fuss, a soft rotation,

LUFF: 439 BOOM: 179 recommend downhauling the Curve at least close to the “Max” setting, to lower the draft and keep the sail feeling light in the hands. With this feature, we found it a good match for progressing sailors on modern freeride boards. When pushed to its top speed in the biggest gusts, we found there was some leech flutter that disrupted its solid feel. Backing off the downhaul tension will tighten the leech to get rid of the flutter, but it also raises the draft, which may be a perfect option for larger riders. The Curve feels great in transitions, due to its light feel. Its ability to go neutral allows it to perform in

the waves, but the light build may not stand up to very many poundings. The Curve also makes for a fun freestyle sail with its power getting you going quickly, and the light weight makes it easy to find balance as you slide through contorted new-school moves. These traits also make it a great sail for progressing intermediates who will really like that the price doesn’t take as much commitment as more specialized gear. The Curve is the perfect sail for the progressing freerider or freestyler who will love the consistent power in a straight line and the lightweight feel for transitions.

and the fact that the sail itself is so light. It might not be our first choice as a wave or freestyle sail, but considering its stability and wind range, it’s impressive that the thought of using it for either purpose would even cross our minds. Who it would clearly be first choice for is a sailor who is still progressing quickly and wants to be able to experience every aspect of the sport before looking for more specialized gear. The Fusion lets you take advantage of whatever conditions come your way, as it can do everything most sailors will ever ask of it.

RRD SUPERSTYLE 5.3 RRD is quickly putting together a sail line to rival the popularity of their boards. The SuperStyle is a crossover design that's meant to cover all types of conditions, from waves to flatwater. It’s been updated with more X-ply in the top of the sail and refinements to the shape, which give it a larger tuning range. A bit of seam shaping gives the SuperStyle a big sweet spot that generates plenty of get-up-and-go, even if the rider is a somewhat heavy handed. The higher draft provides enough power to get a wider highwind freeride board up and planing, but, with the shortish

LUFF: 429 BOOM: 173 boom length, prefers to have a freestyle, FSW or waveboard underneath it. In Punta San Carlos, we found it worked well on the newest quad-fin waveboards now available, and the durable construction held up even after being washed by some pretty big waves. The higher draft makes the SuperStyle a great bump-and-jump sail, helping to add height to any jump and to drive the rail during aggressive jibes. On flatwater, it provides excellent pop for getting the board out of the water for new-school tricks, but doesn’t go neutral quite as quickly as some other sails, thus requiring a little more timing precision.

The SuperStyle is one of the easiest sails in the test to tune, as long as you don’t over-downhaul it. Getting the leech to twist off down to the third batten happens in a progressive manner that only subtly changes the lower part of the sail. If the leech gets any looser then the sail’s shape begins to change quickly, resulting in the draft moving back. You’ll know you’ve over-downhauled, for sure, if the sail becomes too flat for proper outhaul tension. The SuperStyle is very solid feeling with reliable pull that gives confidence to all riders, whether their goal is to get into the footstraps or throw their first Goiter.

SAILWORKS REVOLUTION 5.2 With year after year of only subtle changes to the look of the Revo, we were shocked to unroll the 2011 version and find its bold new graphics. Underneath these flashy looks, we still found a Revo at heart, with its easy-handling short-boom feel and Sailworks’ renowned attention to detail. This Revo has a good amount of seam shaping that locks in the draft, making for a sail that crosses over from the waves to become a great bump-and-jump sail as well. When downhauled properly to spec, there is a fair amount of leech twist but, under load, there is never any fluttering up top. As you push

SEVERNE S-1 5.3 Along with the S-1's polished-looking reinforcement panels and sail-care features, the colourful e5 scrim cloth used in the upper body is extremely light, yet incredibly durable. This lightness is immediately noticeable in the hands, as it feels about half a meter smaller than sails built with standard x-ply. Power-wise, there is the same pull that you expect from a 5.3-metre, but along with feeling lighter there is also a unique feel from this high-end scrim. It gives the sail a softness that makes it highly reactive to fluctuations in the wind, but without disrupting control until

LUFF: 427 BOOM: 166

yourself to top speed across the chop, it’s this loose leech doing all the work to account for changes in board trim, as well as changes in the wind. All you have to do is focus on finding your next ramp or area to rail into a jibe. The shorter boom does make the sail a little more reactive, so anyone who is used to hooking in and expecting a yank on your back hand when getting planing will have to learn to use a lighter touch. Fear not, though, as learning to have this lighter touch means you’ll actually use less effort to get planing. The Revo feels so light in your hands that it makes you realize the new moves you’ve being dreaming of

are attainable. Any time the rig is rotating, it stays upright with a minimal amount of effort, and it takes only the smallest yank to ever get it back under control. The locked-in shape does prevent it from going neutral as quick as some other sails, yet, with the rig being so light, you can manoeuvre it at will. So, there’s no need to take any aggression out of a bottom turn, or worry when setting up for a new-school freestyle move. The Revo is an easy-handling sail that works in all conditions to help anyone try their best impressions of Sailworks team rider Phil Soltysiak, while others on the water are getting flattened by those “little” gusts.

LUFF: 424 BOOM: 172 the sail becomes overpowered. For efficient sailors who are always looking for feedback from their sail, the S-1 gets you planing in the smallest gust and ensures that you always know exactly how much power you have while navigating chop, railing into jibes, or setting up for the lip. The downside to this reactivity is that once the sail becomes overpowered, things get unruly quite quickly. With more downhaul, you can compensate for this; in doing so, you will also noticeably lower the draft height in the sail—possibly leading to some frustration, as you will have to adjust

your timing in transitions and how you approach the wave. Within its wind range, the S-1 was a clear favourite, both in the waves and flatwater—its lightweight feel made it easy to correct whenever it got off-balance. This helps whether you’re learning to jibe or working on new-school aerial freestyle. In the waves, it goes neutral with just the slightest oversheet, allowing one to truly ride the wave without the sail getting in the way… until you need it. The S-1 is for the discriminating sailor who wants a cutting-edge sail that will leave them with no excuses for missing that next jibe, lip or Loop.



getting real

A livecast from Baja.


As a business owner, working in various fields like custom software, network security, iPhone/mobile apps, Internet marketing and sports media, I have the ultimate in flexibility to get sailing time. Living in Green Bay, WI, I sail on Lake Michigan but also, as a bonus, get to travel to killer windsurfing locations like Maui, San Francisco, the Gorge and Mexico. I started to showcase the best that boardsports have to offer live over the Internet. We’ll be doing more livecasts in 2011 and it’s about more than just windsurfing. I also live on the water, so it’s an integral part of my family’s daily life, no matter if we’re standup paddling, sailing, swimming or ice skating in the winter. —Dave Troup



Surfing, Windsurfing or Kitesailing? WORDS BY MITCH GINGRICH | PHOTO BY JEROME HOUYVET

Recently, I asked my Facebook friends to give me a topic for the article. The response was excellent, the ideas immaculate. But, there was only one topic that made things mind-numbingly simple. And, since my boss gave me a bunch to do, this is it. Which is best: surfing, windsurfing or kitesailing? If someone asked me where kitesailing fit in 10 years ago, I’d have said at the bottom without bothering to think about it. But now, and after much contemplation, I’m going to stick with that answer. You may argue with me or not like my answer, but chances are I won’t care and it won’t ever be published in a windsurfing rag. There are only two reasons I even mention kiting:

Keith Teboul Airs over a surfer.



Savannah and Vetea Boersma. When they kite, it’s the best. When it’s someone else, it’s last. That’s just the way it is, kitesailors. Now that we’ve so logically eliminated kitesailing from the mix, things get murky. Both surfing and windsurfing rock so much that it can be tough to figure out which bests the other. Fortunately, I happen to know. Surfing brings peace, solitude, smooth motion and a grip-load of time to hang out in the water with your friends. It’s not bad exercise, and there’s often some hot girls lying around on the beach. Barrels are tough to beat. The best surf comes when there’s no wind, the water’s completely calm (or slightly offshore) and the ocean’s empty. It’ll

also turn you into a morning person, making you never miss a sunrise. There’s just not a lot to dislike. But there are some things worth disliking. Lulls between sets suck. Sitting in the ocean while it resembles a lake, talking with some acquaintances, lacks lustre after the first 10 minutes. You get cold. You get bored. And, really, most of what you do, even on a good day, amounts to sitting around. Sure, flurries come through and you get action for a while, but even the longest wave amounts to about a reach windsurfing. And to get that wave, you’ll need to travel to the world’s edge, live on a boat, eat scorpions and sleep with them too. A surf session compiles a list

of fleeting moments: seconds here and there create a patchwork of memories for a day. There’s just so little happening. Windsurfing never stops. If you’re sailing, you’re up and moving the entire time. When the wind goes, you leave with it. From the second you put your foot on the board, you’re getting a mega-dose of surfer’s opiate. The non-stop nature of windsurfing addicts from the get-go. We can spend hours upon hours moving around on our boards. Sure, it’s usually the wind driving us instead of the wave, but it’s at greater speeds, heights and g-forces. A windsurfer goes both directions in the same manner on the board; surfers must lie down to get back out. Windsurfers get to jump instead of paddle. Sure, surfers get air if they’re incredibly good, but an amateur windsurfer jumps higher than the best surfers in the world. Adding the sail to the board makes windsurfing much tougher but provides power and manoeuvrability. The tricks windsurfers do blow surfers out of the water. Comparison is futile. A Goiter humbles an Air 360 instantly. Windsurfing gives great action, more often, and with much more spectacular results. Now, there are those who think surfing’s just cooler than windsurfing. That’s dumb. It’s not. I used to be this stupid, in fact. But, after studying the character of the average surfer, it’s become embarrassingly apparent that the average surfer is a total dillhole. Of course, the dillhole factor varies based on your location, but being in Southern California gives me ample study of the most populated surfing coast on the face of the watery planet. There are plenty of blonde, curly-haired windsurfers too. But, while surfers pretend to be cool and hip, the average windsurfer is a goofy guy, generally pretty smart and just out to have fun. They do what they love for love—it’s not a hipness contest. So, there you have it. Windsurfing is best. End of this discussion. Now, I need to go surf. Please, friends, keep posting ideas for me on Facebook. I love them. If you’re not a friend but have a good idea, please friendrequest me. (Make sure to send a note as to why.) There’s only one Mitch Gingrich living in Encinitas.

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Windsport Vol.30-2 No.128  

Windsport Windsurfing Magazine