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Significant Surf Slang

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 wind

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!)

tooled – 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.)

Previous Posting:

So, just what exactly is "monofilm"?

(Here's 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 spread easily.

>> Can 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.

Previous Posting:

Myths about Gear

I plagerized this from the December Windsurfing Magazine issue (p. 37). So sue me.

-- 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. )

-- 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. )

-- 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.)

-- 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 sails.)

-- 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 bag.)

-- 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.)



Brad 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.

Previous Posting:

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)

Previous Posting:

For Beginners:

Look 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.)

For Intermediates:

This 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.

Upgrade 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.

For Experts:

You're not going to listen to me anyway and I don't blame you, so I'm not going to bother.

Chuck Hardin
(706) 860-0639

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