This is a collaborative article I moved over from Ponohouse, please either put your insight into the comments for inclusion or email them to me. Pictures can be either links for photos that are already on the web or email me the actual pictures at billb@xxxbnj.com (leave off the xxx, Iíve added that for our sleazy friends with the email scraping bots).I think windsurfing on surfing longboards is going to be a big deal. Hereís an article on that topic, but in a nutshell, the reasons are that:

  • You can do it anywhere
  • Itís great for geezers like me and/or and surfers/windsurfers returning from injuries
  • Itís versatile and cheapĖone board covers standup paddling, windsurfing and surfing
  • Itís a great workout, as standup, surfing and windsurfing
  • Itís really funĖnot as serious as windsurfing or short board surfing. AND
  • You can do it when nothing else works, so you get good fast. Light wind, no wind, big waves, small waves, no waves. itís all good.

The components of this article are:

Introduction: Cautions, precautions and why you should do this if youíre eighty.

Gear: What board, what sails, what paddle, what other stuff.

Getting started: weíll assume you know NOTHING

Sailing waves: The small and the big.

Iíll add more sections as we go.

Introduction: Cautions, precautions and why you should do this if youíre eighty.

Yup, you can die doing this. If you canít swim then learn to do that well first. You WILL get hurt, it comes with the territory. There are harnesses that include floatation and impact protectionĖgetting stabbed in the chest by an out of control windsurfer is one of the hazards. Iíve got one of those harnesses and I use it when itís crowded or Iím feeling a little uncomfortable about the prospect of a two mile swim.

From my perspective the best thing about longboard surfboard sailing is the geezer aspect. I sail regular windsurfers as well, but itís a much more frantic and demanding sport. In good winds I can windsurf about four hours. In any wind at all I can longboard windsurf all day long. I really think this is something I can do as long as Iím sucking air and getting around without a walker.

Gear: What board, what sails, what paddle, what other stuff.

Boards: Thereís an infinite array of choice here, but all of them require some customization right now. There are several manufacturers that are readying combination Stand Up Paddle/longboard surfing boards for this spring (Starboard for sure, and I hear Mistral is too), but right now you have to either order a custom board with a mast track or take a board you already own and get a track put in it. When I ordered my Ku Nalu board from the Ding King I had him put a mast track in it. I donít know what Ku Nalu means, itís probably similar to Ka Nalu, Hawaiian for ďthe waveĒ. the Hawaiian word for surfing with a paddle standing up is Ku Hoe Heíe Nalu, so you can see where Mark is heading with this name.

Tomorrow Iím going to bring in my treasured Jimmy Lewis 11? 7? longboard and have Mark (the Ding King) stick a track in it. Iím really nervous about thisĖitís an epoxy sandwich board and that might be bad because they rely on skin integrity for strength, but if anyone can make it work itís Mark. Heís going to put a block below the track so it contacts the bottom of the board evenly, and reinforce the deck in the track area with carbon fibre. Iíd ask Jimmy Lewis to do it but I think heíd bonk me on the head with a blank for being such a wanker. But I really want to sail this boardĖI think it will be a tremendous board for me. I love the way it surfsĖit makes me look GOOD. (I got congratulated by some of the permanent crew at Puamana for a really spectacular ride a few weeks ago. Me! Wow!)

So that brings us to the question of what size is right for you, and the answer is kind of up to you. Itís a lot easier to uphaul a sail if the board youíre on has enough displacement to float when you stand on it. If youíre sailing in light winds you may have to uphaul. Thereís a light wind version of waterstarting that works in light steady wind, Iíll explain how to do it later, but itís not easy. Assuming you want a board this big, the size you need depends on your weight. I think beginners will want a wide, thick board thatís not too long. If you choose a shape thatís fun to surf on, this ďbeginner boardĒ will still be a favorite when you get good. For example, my Ku Nalu board is fine for me though itís a little narrow for beginner Stand Up for guys my size (sorry if thatís sounds sexist, and I directly apologize to all the 6?3? 240 pound women reading this). I learned on it, so it can be done, and now that Iíve found my sea legs itís my favorite board for going long distances.

But a few weeks ago Giampaolo Cammarota was standing around while I was getting ready to carry my gear back to the car and I asked him if heíd like to try the Ka Nalu board with a big Superfreak sail (I think it was my 8.0 but it might have been the 7.0). Giampaolo is better than Iím likely to ever get. He took it out for a little while and really loved it. He told me heíd sailed one of these boards recently in a board test heíd participated in (probably for a magazine) and it was everyoneís favorite all around board. Iím not surprised.

So that should reassure you that a big floaty Stand Up Paddle Longboard is not something youíre going to grow out of. In fact, itís where all this verstility comes from.

Once the new Stardboard and Mistral boards come out Iíll review them for you. but until then, the plan is to find a standup paddle board you like to surf with, and have a mast track put into it. When you do that, make sure you have a couple of fingerholes routed in the back of the track. It will make it much easier to carry the board. Unless youíre an Orang Utan you probably canít wrap your arm around a super thick 30? board.

A deck pad is a good idea. Youíre not going to have straps. Lots of wax, especially soft stuff like Quick Humps will do, but itís even better to have a deck pad and then wax up the deck pad. I know that sounds stupid, and people will think youíre nuts, but youíll stick to it like a gecko.

SailsĖReally, you can use almost anything for a sail with this kind of sailing. After all, youíre not looking for ultimate sailing performance, you want to get out to the waves and play. Still, there are some characteristics of modern sails that make them particularly enjoyable. For example, I really like Hot Sails Maui Superfreak sailsĖin fact I donít use anything else. They use kevlar reinforced dacron for the sail fabric, which means they are extremely light and they can give without losing their shape. The push is like a caddy with a big motorĖno banging about, just a steady, powerful shove. For geezers like me that means you can handle a larger sail in gusty wind without turning your arms & shoulders to mush. As Iíve said elsewhere in this blog, before I started using superfreaks Iíd sail for an hour and my shoulders would hurt so bad Iíd have to quit. Now I can sail all day and I hurt everywhere.

Youíll want some big sails. Youíll be sailing in light air, when the strapped boards are sitting on the beach. Thatís a wonderful thing for a heavy guy like meĖI used to envy those flyweight ďzen planersĒ as we call them who could go out in the weakest wind. Now Iím out sailing while theyíre waiting for more wind. My biggest sail is eight meters, and it sees a lot of use partly because it makes ten knots feel like fifteen, and partly because I can waterstart it with virtually no wind.

Other gearĖI wear a harness when the wind gets sprightly, but in really low wind when Iím likely to be uphauling itís not worth bothering withĖit gets in the way when youíre crawling back onto the board. Mast and booms can be anything that fits your sail. I use all carbon fibre but itís expensive right now. You dont need the ultimate in sail performance, you just need big. But if youíre buying the stuff new and your budget allows, carbon fibre booms are mighty nice.

Getting started: weíll assume you know NOTHING

Iím not going to teach you basic sailing technique, thereís good sources for that. The best free one Iíve found is Royn Barthodiís site. If you find something you like better, please let me know. If youíre new to windsurfing itís a really good idea to take basic lessons. I also like Alan Cadizís DVDs. If youíre in Maui or coming here, Alanís HST windsurfing school is a fine choice for basics. If youíre here and want ot learn how to do lonboard sail/surfing then do what I doĖget in touch with Giampaolo. I donít think he claims to have invented this new/old sport, but heís the first person I saw doing it, and heís the master.

So, once you have the basics, hereís the specifics. Youíre going to be sailing a board in some

Sailing waves: The small and the big.