Hey, you boardhead newbies – and those of you low on
the cool gauge – there is no surfin’ without the
slang. It would be like trying to survive on the Serenghetti
Plain without some basic Swahili – you need the respect
and support of the natives. Wind and wave surfing are interrelated
and the unique language of both continues to evolve. So, here’s
a wind-bent surf slang primer divided into 3 categories: basic,
advanced, and, since surfers spend long uninterrupted hours
on the water in wet suits, there is an entire lexicon just
related to bodily functions. Study; understand, communicate:
epic – a day of high-end sailing when everything
is unexpectedly perfect and unforgettable
nukin’ – wind blowing so hard, for so
long that spray is coming off the whitecaps
wind snob – someone who only windsurfs in high
rigger – someone with the most, latest gear
and rigs allday but is never actually seen sailing
launched – getting thrown so far and high off
your board you thought you saw the space shuttle
skunked -- a great forecast of wind that doesn’t
happen, similar to…
sucker wind – when the trees are swaying at
home, but at the lake, there’s nothing…
shred betty – female windsurfer
dawn patrol – sneaking a session in before
work; any session beginning before 7:30 qualifies
jibe buoy – when you fall in and other windsurfers
use you as a turn marker (Ex. That hotdog spent so much time
in the water, I thought he was a permanent jibe buoy.)
maytag (spin cycle) – section of surf breaking
in various directions that feels like a washing machine if
you fall in. (Ex. Hey, dude, avoid that sand bar on the incoming
tide, it’s a regular maytag spin cycle.)
harsh my mellow – when someone or something
destroys your joyful attitude with some needless b.s. (Ex.
What a bummer, bro; I was just crusin’ in the sun until
that jetski harshed my mellow.)
deck-check – when you go for an aggressive
move but chicken out at the last second. (Ex. Sure, that shred
betty can rip, but she deck-checks every time on the big air.)
new school – when you’re getting tested
in challenging conditions but getting off great moves anyway.
(Ex. Man, did you see Josh push looping in that nukin’
nor’easter yestrerday? That was new school all the way!)
– when you really get beat up out in the water (Ex.
I was down when that huge gust hit and I got tooled trying
to waterstart that seven five.)
So, just what exactly is "monofilm"?
some answers to the most FA sail Q's I've heard this year.)
Monofilm is an extruded polyester resin. That's right, melt
down that old leisure suit, spread it out in a real thin,
consistent layer and, there you go, you got "monofilm".
(That's not far from the truth --- I was told this week
that some sails are produced from recycled polyester.)
This sail is all crinkly -- what's up with that? Is it old?
That happens to monfilm through abrasion, creasing, and
especailly UV radiation. It is a sign of weakness. ("You
are the Weakest Link...Goodbye.") It can't be avoided, but
some manufacturers use what's called "X-ply" in almost all
their sails over the whole sail -- not just in their hardcore
wave sails and not just along the luff and foot -- to counteract
that. SO, what is X-ply, exactly? X-ply is two sheets of
polyester film bonded together with a glue containing UV
inhibitors and stiched into a "mesh" with reinforcing thread.
It's more pliable, less prone to cresing and tears don't
I store a sail rigged for months at a time without harming
it in any way? ANSWER: Sure, just don't forget where you
buried it. Yes, you can. No, they don't stretch out or loose
shape as long as nothing is put on top of them. Hang 'em
up completely off the ground if possible.
this from the December Windsurfing Magazine issue (p. 37).
So sue me.
Myth -- More draft in your sail is faster in light air.
( Actually, more draft and a tight leeech will plane you
earlier, but in general, pull does not equal speed. Tune
to the texture of the water; in flat water, trim flatter.
Myth -- Wrinkles in the sail are slow. (Not true. Can
be the oposite. Horizontal wrinkles from too little downhaul
are bad, but today's properly tuned sails often have vertical
wrinkles when lying on the ground and diagonal wrinkles
indicate speed while sailing. )
Myth -- Swept-back fins are better for jibing. ( No.
Upright fins turn as well. The board tends to bob up and
down more with an upright fin, so a raked fin can forgive
some, but it doesn't cure-all in turning.)
Myth -- Grid sails are heavier than monofilm sails.
(Not always. There are different weight of film and often
a grid sail uses a lighter-weight monofilm than all-monofilm
Myth -- You should dry your sails before putting them
away. (Don't bother. If you sail in salt water, just rollit
up: it won't mildew. Fresh water will but it takes a while.
Roll it up and store it verticlly with the rolled-up luff
sleeve down and it will drain through the mesh end of the
Myth -- Carbon booms are lighter than aluminum. (They're
stiffer, but not lighter in most cases. Buy one for stiffness-to-weight
ratio, not for weight alone.)
Benjamin of the Charleston Boardsailing Group sent out this
e-mail recently: "After sailing the harbor today I couldn't
get my mast to come apart. I tried using two boooms to get
leverage and twist them apart, but the booms kept slipping.
I also tried hot water to see if the top piece would expand.
Didn't work either. Any ideas?" Yes, there were some ideas.
Each claimed success at least once from the given method,
but it ain't my fault if you bust something. 1. Put mast
in a swimming pool and let soak for several hours, then
it twisted free easily. (Bart Liebman) 2. Support the two
ends of mast on padded surfaces and slowly push downin the
center about the amount the mast usualy bends, then roll
the mast 15 degrees and repeat, and so on till you go around
a few times. You should hear some crunching sounds and eventually
sparate. (Don M.) 3. Get WD40 and a rubber mallet. Soak
the joint with the WD40. Then, with the mallet give the
mast a good whack down on top of the mast tip like you're
trying to drive the top half thru the bottom. The joint
should open about 1/8". Put in more WD40, then whack it
again. The gap closes on every other whack, but will become
wider and wider, slowly breaking up the grit. You may want
to cover the mast tip with something to prevent possiible
damage. (Willis Keefe) 4. At last Hatteras trip we got seven
people, can of WD40, and something metallic to tap the mast
joint with. Three people twist one half one way and 3 the
other, while the 7th person sprays and taps the joint. The
vibrations theoretically allow the WD40 to seep in. It worked.
This is the Tip Of The Month for all levels. Four words: Get
an instructional video. Accurate, simple, VISUALIZATION is
the proven key to fast improvement. For about $25 (available
from Whitecap), its a no-brainer -- not only will your on-the-water
ability be greatly enhanced, but you will learn stuff about
wind, your equipment, and the sport in general that most people
take years to pick up. Click
here to get my opinions of the best (for what that's worth)
up. Always. When sailing, look up and out. I was reminded
of this anew while learning to ride my 10 year old's unicycle.
After countless butt-bustin falls and utter failure, it
hit me: Lift your chin and look up and out. Voila! Nature's
ultimate engineering marvel, the inner ear canal balancing
mechanism, took over. Now I go about 15 feet before busting
my face. When sailing, don't study the nose of your board,
your mast, or chop two feet ahead -- look up and out. Always.
(Yes, especially as you get ready to go into a tack.)
is the question I am hearing most often this season: How
do I learn to use the harness without getting launched,
or, at least, launched less? Here's a tip (not a lesson)
that WILL help: hook in while going upwind as opposed to
going off the wind. The board is moving slower while going
upwind and, although you need to keep your weight forward,
you need less pressure on your front foot to get in position
to hook in. Going upwind will help in this. You may round
up and fall to windward sometimes, but that is oh-so-much
more pleasant than getting catapulted over the handlebars.
and, LOOK UP to stay on course.
your mast.* The best way to increase your performance and
the efficiency of your rig and thus, a more effortless good
time on the water, is to chunk that old epoxy or aluminum
mast and use the manufacturer's recommended mast for a given
sail. You've bought better sails so don't wait for that
old mast to break before upgrading. Think about it. Modern
sails now have such a huge range. The stiffness, curve,
and reflex response are more important than ever for that
ranging ability to work. It may not even cost more overall.
I now use only three sails from "4.0" wind to near "8.0"
wind: 4.5, 5.8, and 7.5, but with good carbon masts — some
used —and close attention to rigging, I use less gear overall
and have more success. *This tip credited to Renee Jenkins;
adapted from a past newsletter.
not going to listen to me anyway and I don't blame you,
so I'm not going to bother.