As the dawn broke it soon became apparent that the reliable trades of the Canaries weren’t always 100% reliable. Despite the forecast there was not a breath of wind and I resigned myself to a day off – but as I set about figuring what to do a lone gust of wind showed itself, ghost like, as it sped across the waters of El Medano bay. The countless other visiting windsurfers and kiters, they themselves also resigned to a day of inactivity stirred like some sort of slumbering ant colony disturbed, in the heat of the day, by an unwelcome intruder. But in our case the disturbance was very welcome and within 10 mins that lone gust had been followed by an armada of similar aqueous disturbances all beginning to blend as one, joined soon by a smattering of white caps like a scouting party looking to lead the way for the big guns. And as the slumbering colony of wind obsessors rose to its feet and prepared for the onslaught, a cavalry of white horses started to push in from the horizon, urged on by the building ground swell and relentless push of the never ceasing Canary Island wind machine.
Anyway enough of that bollacks – I sorted myself out with some kit, This time a 5.3 Goya and a 89l twinzer (ok it wasn’t that windy but it was continuing to build) and headed up to the wall. The swell was ok with the odd little over head set and some clean walls lining up. The board was nice in the bottom turn and as with all twinzers pretty loose off the top. I did find getting up wind a real bind as I have found with all twinser, but that I’m told that this is to do with the way you drive off the fins and is really a technique thing. After a brief pause for some sugar I swapped over to the starboard quad and it has to be said my deep cynicism of the whole multi fin thing and my conviction that it’s all marketing bullsh*t was swept away before I’d even carved my first gybe, and by the time I was heading back to the beach I’d become a quad convert!!!!! Now whether it’s a fin thing or if that particular board is just a good shape anyway and would work with as single fin I don’t know, but the grip and the drive upwind was something that I’ve only ever really experienced with a thruster set up. I quickly sailed the ¼ mile up to the wall and was soon dropping down some nice waves with absolute confidence with the grip in the bottom turn. The drops were nice but I was having difficultly carving it off the top as tightly as I’d have liked; almost as if it were over finned. This stiffness off the top was something that I mentioned to Chris Murry one of the Starboard team riders and he said that he used slightly smaller fins. Interestingly the 2010 Starboard is different from the JP quad in that it has larger fins up front and smaller fins behind – this has all changed for 2011 and Starboard like all the other brands (except Naish) have gone for larger fins at the back and smaller ones up front. In effect this means that the boards are really nothing more than twinzers with stabilisers; perhaps the twinser thing was too radical for the market?? Of course it also interesting to see that JP, Taboo and more importantly Naish are bringing out thrusters set ups. Why more importly Naish; well they avoided the twinzer revolution and it seems the quad, but the thrusters thing is of course nothing new and seeing as Harold Iggy their shaper has seen it all before I suspect that the thruster thing may be where most brands end up focusing their efforts over the next season or two. If I were a betting man I’d say that that market will evolve to dedicated shorter fuller nose quad/twin fin/tri fin boards as one camp and single fin more drawn out boards with thrusters options as a second camp. Then the sail type will be more relevant.