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directional boards are not the light wind answer.

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not annonymous
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directional boards are not the light wind answer.

Postby not annonymous » Fri May 23, 2003 5:00 pm

I went down to the beach yesterday with the intention of trying out some of my new plywood kiteboards with concaved bottoms. I had not put any fins on yet since the ones I ordered had not arrived.

When I got to the beach, The winds were marginal, even for my 16.5 Flysurfer. I took out the new 152x43, walked up the beach a ways, launched and rode out.

As I suspected, there was not enough wind to stay upwind or even hold my ground but I was suprised at how easy it was to sort of pump the board up onto a plane and get some extra power from apparent wind. The concaved boards without fins feel like a flat-bottomed board with one or two fins on each end.

No problem, I thought, I'll just ride down the beach to my car, grab my buddie's Airush 6'4" directional board (which he had thoughtfully lent me) and have no problem riding upwind.

When I tried it out it did not work at all the way I expected. The directional felt slow and draggy compared to my plywood board. I could barely stay up on the board, let alone get up enough speed to park the kite in the apparent wind.

I went back for my ply board and sure enough, It was much faster than the directional and worked better in underpowered conditions. I'm not sure what it is, the lack of fins (drag), the thinness of the board (it is only 9mm or 3/8"), or the fact that the ply board is about 1cm wider, but for sure it is a better light wind board than the 6'4" airush.

Late in the afternoon the wind picked up to around 16-18 knots max. and I stayed on my finless plywood board with my 16.5 flysurfer. The board works just as well in fully-powered conditions as it does underpowered. The thinness of the rails lets me hold an edge really well, even though the board is wide, though the lack of fins did seem to make it a little harder to load up for jumps. The flexibility of the plywood board lets you increase the rocker of the board by edging hard, which slows the board down better and makes it easier to maintain control in a gust, even on a board with a relatively flat rocker shape.

I don't think the fins on a directional really help in lighter winds. For sure the extra volume gave no benefit, as my ply board has almost no volume at all. The concave bottom seems to generate lift and some extra grip as well, but the Airush has some concave too so that wasn't the difference.

Unless you are good at jibing and really enjoy it, there is really no point in having a directional board any more.

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ed257
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Postby ed257 » Fri May 23, 2003 5:21 pm

Very cool!!! I have made some ply boards, but none with concaves. How did you make the concanves? How deep are they? Seems like applying foam to the plywood and then shaping the foam is one possibility. Any pix available of your board, especially the bottom?

Ed

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Mr Jo Macdonald
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Postby Mr Jo Macdonald » Fri May 23, 2003 5:39 pm

The fact that it's 1 cm wider in the middle will make some difference but try putting the ply board on top of the directional with the straps in the same place, then see what sort of difference there is in the tail, you'd be surprised.

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widestyle

Postby garyeastes » Fri May 23, 2003 7:28 pm

short and wide, you would have a much larger planing area than the directional.
My lightwind board is 140 including kick tips x 44 no concave just a nice large flat spot,very straight sides for upwind performance and is the easiest board in the world to sail,(just like the wide style developments in windsurfing a few years back, i remember being laughed at when turning up with your 77 cm wide boards, but they where the ones sitting on the beach waiting for a few more knots, and now even the wave boards are wide)
Time on the water thats what its all about!

1 Piece of 3/8 ply offcut
Some spare fins
Some old sandles (Just bias more to heelside,because of width )
Plastic handle
2 coats filler primer
2 coats top coat

Cost **** all

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Protos
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Postby Protos » Fri May 23, 2003 8:16 pm

Part of the problem with the directional may be that you were not used to riding it.

Remember waaay back when, when everyone rode a directional? When switching to a TT, it took some getting used to. Now, if you load up your rear leg on a directional, like you do on a TT, it'll work like cr@p.

I went out tuesday on my old 6'6" directional (also an Airush), and it was planing along pretty well in very marginal conditions. I switched to my 148x42cm TT, and there wasn't enough juice for it, sort of up, but not really driving. Back to the 6'6", and I was up& going again. I also then swapped to my 152 Mutant (Naish 2001) and that went pretty well also. In the case of the Mutant, those fins seemed to really help.
I saw a couple of other guys try the 6'6", and I could see it trying to pull a "wheelie", they were loading up their back leg too much. Different board take a little adjustment, especially from one type of board to another.

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Postby not annonymous » Sat May 24, 2003 2:58 am

Jo, you make an interesting point, even though the directional is a bigger board and I had the straps set all the way forward, I see there is a fair amount more "tail" behind my back foot on the ply twintip. I have ridden directionals before and always try to keep more weight on my front foot when I use a directional board, but apparently it was not enough to make up the difference in this case.

I laminate the boards from 3mm birch plywood using a vacuum bag on a rocker table with the concave built in. The table has more rocker and more concave than the finished board because for some reason there is quite a bit more springback with the compound curves in the wood (wood sheets don't like to do that). Another benefit of the compound curvature in the board is that it makes it stiffer than a similar plywood board with a flat bottom so although it flexes for a smooth easy ride it does not have so much of that "wet rag" feeling that some people hate in plywood boards. The boards also have a glass skin which further increases stiffness and strength and adds a lot of durability.

I took some pics of one of the boards with a digital camera, but i don't have a server to store them on right now so I can't post them here.

These are the boards I was talking about when I made my post titled "a $200 kiteboard?" I will be building and selling these boards complete with straps, pads and fins, but it takes more in time and material than I had thought initally so the final price will be $250 USD for a brand new board complete.

I am going to build some that are even wider for "the ultimate lightwind board" I'd say the ones I have right now are good all-around boards with excellent lightwind ability, but because they are so thin they do not get overpowered easily at all so are probably not as good as they could be for lightwinds.

If you are interested in photos or maybe even buying one, you can e-mail me at hink_trent@yahoo.com

I will try to post some photos here soon.
Last edited by not annonymous on Sat May 24, 2003 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KiteGlider
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Postby KiteGlider » Sat May 24, 2003 4:51 am

I'm looking for a lightwind ply. Gotta see that concave , will drop you an email. thanks.........

When riding a 240 directional, I have to take my back foot out of the strap to center on the board and get on plane, makes a big difference.

I also stay centered for best upwind.

When up to speed, down winding, or for power control, the back foot goes into the strap or even behind the strap to stomp on the tail as needed.

KG

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Peter_Frank
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Postby Peter_Frank » Sat May 24, 2003 8:41 am

Protos wrote:Part of the problem with the directional may be that you were not used to riding it.

Remember waaay back when, when everyone rode a directional? When switching to a TT, it took some getting used to. Now, if you load up your rear leg on a directional, like you do on a TT, it'll work like cr@p.
...........
This is so true !

After having used TT's now for a really long time - I really can not utilise a Mutant or Directional the same way - and not even go higher to the wind on these, if I just switch over straight away.

It takes some time to adapt your body and style.

When we are out on TT's fully powered, and our buddy's are on Mutants - they definitely go a notch higher and faster upwind, no doubt.
And when the wind drops - we have to take a bigger/wider TT, while they can often still just stay upwind.

Its a fact.

But when you are powered on TT's - you can go so much upwind, that you dont want a board that goes even higher.
So it is not a thing we aim for, and thats why there are much more TT's around amongst the good kiters too.

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Postby Hernan » Sat May 24, 2003 9:56 am

A directional board has much more volume, flatter rockerline and more fin area. All this are advantages at marginal conditions. A standard surfboard has much better low end than a short and wide kiteboard in sub 9 knot conditions.
So if crusing and or waveriding with the help of the kite is what you are looking for, a good designed and light directional or mutant is the way to go.

Talking about cheap ply boards, I have to tell you that a good custom (vacum bagged epoxi + PVC core) complete with pads, wide straps and G10 fins are selling around 350 here in Buenos Aires. The designs are in sinc with the latest developments. The Fedex charge could increase the cost a little.

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Postby garyeastes » Sat May 24, 2003 11:01 am

Width makes up for volume , a h d use to say a 70 wide 125l board was equal to 140l of float , by going wide ur changing the size of the contact area a wide short board will always plan quicker than a long thin 1
i know a short wide mutant :rollgrin:


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