You just can’t beat a trip to the islands – it is mecca. This year, however, we weren’t blessed with the same wind and waves as previous years but it still delivered in a big way.
Our good friend Frank McKirgan, who decided to celebrate his 50th birthday in style in Maui was surrounded by a list of 80s windsurfing throwbacks including myself, Nick, DOC, Mikey, Julian, Grant, Andy, Patrick and all the families.
It was good to see old-school action: even Eric Beale (40 knot world speed sailing record holder) turned up to pay homage.
All the ladies got on the water too – Sandra, Therese, Rhonda, Jane (it must be warm!), Rachel and all the kids were ripping (Oscar, Holly, James, Dan, Ellie, Samuel, Isobel, Georgia, Daisy, Jess and Jake). This year, Alex was tanking out in the waves – he made some big progress in Hawaiian waters.
2012 seems to be a year for fine-tuning windsurfing gear rather than lots of new ideas. Four batten wave sails are the latest craze. The idea of reducing weight is good and wave-riding performance in constant winds works well in Maui. In the past in the UK, they haven’t really been accepted due to our frontal winds with big fluctuations in wind speed. Previous four batten sails tend to go very back-handed in overpowered conditions. Time will only tell how well these new sails will work.
Maybe four battens and four fins is a matching thing…. Not sure if I sign up to that myself! On the quad fin front, Simmer with Kai
I watched Levi Silver testing a 5 fin board in single fin mode and he was ripping the guts out of every wave he rode. Is this the signal that we are heading back into single fin territory again? Matt Pritchard was on a Tabou 2012 prototype that had 5 fin boxes which he rode mainly as a single fin.
John Skye had just left with the new RRD contests. Mark Angulo seemed to be riding tri-fin boards as were plenty of Naish riders. I spoke to Francisco Goya at his HQ and he was telling me that his line of quads had been very popular. I tried the 79 Goya Quad while I was there and it worked really well in all conditions for me.
I met up with Dave Ezzy while I was in Maui at his loft in Haiku and on the beach at Camp one. He has been working on the 2012 Ezzy Panther Ltd, which I had heard about and was eager to test while I was there.
Having had such poor winds in the UK over the winter I had hardly used my Ezzy Panther 3s so it seemed a bit weird to test both sails in the same trip. The Ezzy wave panther 3 is very light – a tip Dave gave was not to over-downhaul the rig. I now ignore the high wind setting mark on the sail – I have to say it feels real good when you under-downhaul the sail.
Dave dropped down to the beach with a 4.5m and 5m Ezzy Panther Ltd Prototype – I came off the water with Ezzy Panther 3s and tried them back-to-back. I had one of the sails in the new bling colours – the new colours are awesome – each sail will be different with a type of tie-dye on the mid sail panel.
As you would expect from Ezzy, nothing has been compromised for the colour in strength performance or durability. The real performance improvement is weight. They are lighter than the Ezzy Panther 3, not by much, but they weigh the same as most brands’ 4 batten wave sails. Dave has reduced the material on each batten pocket and he has added some extra shape on batten 2.
It doesn’t seem much but boy does that sail tank up wind and still feel super-light in your hands. Uber controllable in the gusts and has that great Ezzy feel. It is not a massive update from the Panther 3 feel but if you know, you know why you will order the new 2012 Ezzy Panther Ltd.
Kevin Pritchard came with Dave on one trip to the beach. He is Ezzy’s new team rider – a top guy and a man of few words (with a lot to say on the water!) He was off to compete on the American Windsurf Tour and PWA events using the new Ezzy sails – should see some good stuff from this guy!
Dan Macaulay called me to do a downwind run from Ho’okipa to (in my case) camp one and them to Spreks .We had decent, windy day and it sseemed that a 5.2 was the right choice.
When I actually got to the water, I ended up over-powered on a 4.7. My self, Dan, Timo and 6 others all charged downwind on what seemed a full on windsurf from Lanes past Mamas, Pi’ia bay and down to Sprecks. It was a tiny day for Ho’okipa but as I launched to head downwind, I managed to get a beating in the shorebreak!
SUP is a big thing on Maui. Downwinders from Maliko Gulch (the take-off point for jet-skis to Jaws) are really popular. I went with Frank Frobes from SUPsonic who took me downwind on a custom 7Kg F16 SIC bullet (on loan from Mark Rapahorst and costing $4000!)
The idea of the downwinder is to use the wind and swell to drive you downwind. Once you learn the paddle technique, you can ride swells and get super long rides (500m+). Mind you, I am not sure that I would attempt this run on a big day – we hit some pretty decent size waves in Pai’ia bay.
I had some great early morning sessions at Kanaha, on the South of the Island and on the reef at Camp One. I used the new Al Merrick 9’1 and had an epic session on it at Kanaha. I also tried the new Laird 10’6 Pearson Arrow.
Frank invited me to a SUP session (which I couldn’t make) at la Perouse Bay. Check out the photos on SUPGlobal.
OTHER MAUI PHOTOS