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TOPIC: Could use some beginner advice

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #1

  • Brian
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I moved to the Midwest years ago from San Diego California and have missed the ocean and surfing especially. For the past few years I have been dreaming about picking up wind surfing, but I don't know where to begin. I'm a bigger person at 6'3'' 240lbs I am built more like a college linebacker than a surfer, so I know I am going to need a bigger board with some significant volume. I am also in my early 40's now and no spring chicken so I'm really trying to pick up the best equipment for my size and age as possible. I think one of the charts I was reading had the board litres somewhere around 230, the board width at 105 and length at 326. For starters and to narrow the field on equipment down to a handful of some of the better setups for big people can anyone help me with say their top 3-5 recommendations for gear -

1. Board mfr & model
2. Board size - Volume, Length, Width
3. Sail types and size
4. Other

I would greatly appreciate any help with this. Their are probably hundreds of good options for someone starting out at my size and age, but I want to reduce my focus down to a handful or less of very good boards and sail options and then pursue obtaining the equipment at the best possible price. I'd prefer to buy used and will try to do so, but I'm learning to sail this year regardless and if push comes to shove I will bight the bullet and buy new. I heard about the Evanston Swap Meet and may go check that out. Basically any advice on the equipment questions above and good places around the Midwest (I am currently living East of Des Moines, IA) to obtain the equipment I would owe whoever helps me out plentiful beverages of their choice. Thanks for any help!

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #2

Hey Brian- Where can you windsurf in your area (have you identified any lakes where it is doable, and maybe were you've seen others windsurf)? Have you seen or met any windsurfers where you live? Do you know how windy it gets?

Buying used gear limits your options to whats available, but there are always beginner rigs for sale. The swapmeet here in may would be ideal for you as there is a lot of gear for sale (you should plan to arrive early, and bring cash). I'm guessing you just need a the biggest board you can find (liter wise), and large sails (7.0 ,8.5).

Also, be sure to peruse craigslist as that's where most gear is bought and sold.

The board size needs to have enough volume to float your weight, and the sail size really depends on how much wind you get (more wind means smaller sail, less wind requires bigger sail).

If the wind cooperates, you may be able to get a sailing session in later that day (day of swapmeet) on a local lake (not lake michigan). Maybe someone here can give you a lesson on the water (if i'm around I will be happy to do so).

I learned to windsurf in las vegas (lake mead) so it is possible to learn anywhere. Here in chicago there was a windsurfer (chuck) who weighed 250-300 lbs. who sailed regularly here ( I even sailed with him in maui one year), so you're weight is doable.

BTW- we do get surfable waves in chicago- I've been SUPsurfing for two seasons now here. Actually one of the best local breaks is at greenwood beach (the swapmeet location)- I probably caught 100 waves there last year. Do you still have a longboard surfboard?

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #3

  • Ady
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Good advice from Alan. I just want to add that you may consider starting with a Windsup. Something around 10'-12' feet lenght and 30"or more width should work for you. Why Windsup?! Because this is a great light wind AND NO wind board that you can sail or paddle on, the flat, padded deck is a treat compared to the coarse , domed and cluttered deck of a regular windsurf board and unlike a beginner board the Windsup is something you may never get tired of.
I'll recommend you taking a look at the Starboard line of Windsups and choose one that has a daggerboard /for easier upwind pointing/ and combine it with one of the Windsup rigs that are offered with it. For more advice get in touch with the dealer:

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #4

  • Brian
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Thanks Alan and Ady. Its good to hear from someone out there that is actively surfing, SUP, windsurfing in the mid-west. To answer a few of your questions I will start with the research I've done on the lakes, etc. in my local area. One thing that Iowa has a plenty is wind. Lakes we are not well known for, but we have some good ones for windsurfing where I have seen sailors the past few years - Red Rocks, Saylorville, Rathbun are some of the bigger better lake options near me, but there are others. I also work out of a home office and home sometimes is where my camper takes me and I do plan on spending time at other lakes in the midwest eventually. I have met two active windsurfers in the area, but only briefly. I would like to get to know more people in the area that windsurf though.

As to your question about owning a surf board I do still have the last board I surfed with when I lived in So. Cal. I am too large and old for this board now however. I've kept it mainly because of psychological reasons - meaning I can't bear to part with it. If Nirvana or Enlightment or any similar spiritual stuff actually exists the closest I have ever come to achieving it was on this board riding the waves in So. Cal, and in the baja. To say I miss those days is a huge understatement, but I'm in the midwest for much better reasons - my wife and four sons. Iowa and the midwest is actually in my heart and mostly I love the quiet relaxed life style where we live. I will admit that I hate winter with a passion, but I find ways to escape as much of the winter as possible and have learned to deal with it. The rest of the year even when hot as blazes in the dog days of summer is spectacular here in my opinion. Yet surfing has left a hole in my heart and when I've watched sailors out at some of the local lakes I know that wind surfing is the right fit for me. I believe it will be a very special part of my life one day and help fill the void from surfing.

I am really looking forward to coming over for the Swap meet. Thanks so much for the advice - it really means a lot especially coming from an active windsurfer and paddle border, surfer. I've seen videos and been on some sites of surfing on the great lakes and I have been amazed at the people who do this. I just think the frigid temperatures when the waves are usually good on the lakes would rule that out for me. Like I said I am not a winter person and the thought of paddling out into arctic waters really just blows the idea up mentally for me. But it is damn cool and the people surfing the lakes are studs. I am admittedly too big of a whimp to surf those frigid waters! Ha ha. Thanks again for the replies!

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #5

Welcome, Brian! You might want to check out Saylorville Dam Jam at Des Moines, IA and Worthington Windsurfing Regatta in MN when they come around again this summer.

Saylorville Dam Jam - Des Moines, IA
www.mowind.org/wp/?page_id=741


Postcards: Worthington Windsurfing Regatta



Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival
worthingtonwindsurfing.com/home/

Free Windsurfing Lessons

"So you’re thinking of coming to the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta & Music Festival and you might be thinking, “What’s Windsurfing? Can I try it out?” We’re excited to say that one of the best windsurfing instructors in the USA has attended our festival every year. Roger Jackson provides beginning instruction to all that wish to learn! He provides equipment for you to learn on, and instruction on land before getting in the water. If you’re looking to try out windsurfing for the first time, Worthington is the place to be!"

Interactive Map
Unable to display Google Map.

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #6

  • Brian
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Thanks Reid! I am really looking forward to attending both Regalla events. I've passed through Worthington, MN a number of times and live about 10 minutes from the Saylorville event. Really appreciate you passing along this information.

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #7

Brian,

The windsup idea from Ady is a very good choice too, as allows so much versatility.

I've been windsurfing almost 20 years and it is my #1 hobby, but I must say the SUP is a close #2 hobby now. I usually bring the SUP along when I go sailing so I can surf when the wind dies off. Also, when there is no wind or not enough wind for my sail's, (happens a lot here), I can still get on the water with the SUP and enjoy nature.

When it is not windy (I windsurf when it's windy), my SUP lets me get out and enjoy the lakes. My SUP is probably the best piece of equipment I own as it allows me to get on the water in many different conditions.

Anyways, sounds like there are some sailing events in your area (that is more than we have here!). That will help you connect with local sailors and get back on the water.

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #8

Brian wrote:
... I've seen videos and been on some sites of surfing on the great lakes and I have been amazed at the people who do this. I just think the frigid temperatures when the waves are usually good on the lakes would rule that out for me. Like I said I am not a winter person and the thought of paddling out into arctic waters really just blows the idea up mentally for me. But it is damn cool and the people surfing the lakes are studs. I am admittedly too big of a whimp to surf those frigid waters! Ha ha. ...


A buddy sent me this photo. A guy in just board-shorts on the south end of Lake Michigan after the wind died off. Lake Michigan can hit around 70 degrees in spots in late summer early fall.

Catching "the die-off"
lm.jpg




Here's some photos I shot at Silver Beach at St. Joe, MI. Water temp was in the upper 60s F but a wetsuit was needed in the early morning air temp.

Photos: windsurfillinois.com/index.php/photos/63...bumid=73&photoid=862


St. Joe, MI has a couple of shops

Third Coast Surf Shop - St. Joseph, MI and New Buffalo, MI
www.thirdcoastsurfshop.com/

Outpost Sports - St. Joseph, MI, New Buffalo, MI, and South Haven, MI
www.outpostsports.com/locations/stjoe.php

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #9

Brian, I'm going to just list some boards to get you started. If you want more information, feel free to reply and I can address your questions. Before I get to that, I want ot say that I'm happy to hear that you will be going to those regattas. I will be there too (my brother, Arden, is president of MOWIND). Regattas are a great place to learn and pickup gear - the MOWIND regattas have an A fleet, a sport fleet, and a workshop fleet specificall for beginners. The first race of the year is May 2, 3 in Fond du Lac, WI. There is a windsurf shop, Windpower Windsurfing, right at the race site. Kevin Gratton owns the shop and has been teaching windsurfing since the '80s - and he is still racing.
www.mowind.org/wp/
Onto the boards - I am 220 lbs and recommend a board 250L or more.
Mistral Equipe II or Mistral Superlight II 258L - I have an Equipe II that I am not using anymore if you are interested in it (these are no longer made)
Fanatic Megacat (most of the ones you will find are 250L but some versions are 270L or more. I forget if my brother has a 250L Megacat that he woudl sell) - these are also no longer made
Kona - only 220L but a wider style so the lower volume isn't as noticeable
Starboard Phantom (several versions) - most expensive of the bunch

Sails / Rig - too much to go into. I recommend buying used at a regatta/swap/well known local sailors. Shops are great too cause you can actually pick whatyou want instead of what other guys happen to have for sale.

Adam

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #10

Well I guess this is a good point to jump in here. I wanted to start windsurfing years ago and I'm no spring chicken either (50's and semi-retired at the moment). Finally decided to do it this year. My wife and I are on Maui as I type this, staying in Paia. Yep right down the road from Ho'okipa (some day, some day!!!!). We just had 2 lessons, one on Friday and one today. There's going to be a lot of crawling before walking or running! I'll also be looking for equipment when we return to Chicago. The thing that surprises me are the ages of these guys at Ho'okipa. There had to be a guy in his late 60's or early 70's and no physical specimen by any means. Dropped his board in the water, stepped up on it and like a bulllet was damn near skimming the water on his back! Without a doubt he was the fastest guy on the water. Just a huge array of ages and talents, awesome to watch, but would be better to participate! I'm a little bit at the other end of the spectrum, 6' - 170-175. We have another lesson next Wed and from there we might rent some equipment or get a few more lesson (. I'm thinking that's the better approach). I'm also going to have to check out the swap meet. From what I've heard the windsurf co's will be here shooting their new line of products with helicopters. Supposed to be pretty cool from what I hear, can't wait to see it and get some more board time in. Aloha!

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #11

  • Ady
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You guys are putting lots of hope on the Evanston swap meet, but you may get disappointed. This is a rather humble event-it's the Midwest after all-and it seems it gets less and less visited. So Garry if you like a board on Maui and you can buy it and ship it here-that may be the better move.

Could use some beginner advice 2 years 9 months ago #12

Thanks Ady, that was also one of my thoughts about the gear. I'm here for a couple of more weeks, I checked Craig's list Maui and there's an array of sails, booms, masts. The boards they have are not for beginners. I'll check with the instructor for his advice, I'll also check out Second Wind Maui to see what they have and say. I would like any advice on the sails for Chicago area sailing. Sounds like most of you have 2 sails anywhere from 4 something to to 5 something, but I'm not sure if there's something else that would make better sense for a noob. I'd still hit the swap meet just to check things out and try to meet a few of you who attend. Have fun today if you're heading out!
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