Side note (My windsurfing background)
As a teenager growing up addicted to windsurfing I know the challenge of getting to the beach with your board and rig. Begging my parents every weekend to take me to the nearest beach. Then making them wait hours while I rigged up and went sailing. It’s a sport which is equally a logistical challenge as a technical challenge but I still love it!!!!
I am lucky now to work along side the largest windsurfing brand in the world. Starboard. I concentrate more on the SUP side but I am still as keen as ever to rig up some windsurfing gear. Starboards reputation for Innovation and Quality in windsurfing is something they do very well. 2016 is probably the biggest year for innovation because of one product which has pushed the limits of inflatable technology to the limit.
The product is the Airplane. The first fully planning inflatable windsurfer. A board which you can put into a backpack, pumped up and blast around like a free ride board. After using the Airplane 225 in Costa Brava in September 2015 at the Starboard world dealer conference I wasn’t completely sold on the idea. I had only used the board for 15mins but the board behaved extremely sluggish and slow responsive but it did get me thinking. It got me windsurfing!!!
Fast forward to January 2016 and I am in Auckland, New Zealand working with NZ Boardstore and a Airplane 225 shows up on a container fresh from Thailand. Lucky enough it was a demo board. So, once the first windy day hit. I decided to pump the Airplane up and rig a 7.8 overdrive. Firstly I knew I would be fully powered or even overpowered. I wanted to try it fully powered up something I didn’t get in Costa Brava. The board felt completely different then before more responsive and remarkably stiff. After my 2 hr session I kept having to remind myself of the board I was using was an inflatable. The same technology that only years previous was so under – developed most people overlooked.
Key points on how the board performed.
- The board sails like a large free ride board. It’s a unique feeling when you are fully blasting along. Pushing into a inflatable rail.
- Gybing the board actually lets you really feel the rail edge technology come into effect. (It’s a hard bit of mellable plastic which goes around the bottom tail of the board. Creating a hard edge.)
- The board has good constant speed. It sails through gust and lulls with good control and keeps on the plane. The board does need to be sailed slightly overpowered. I found between 1 – 1.5 m sail size bigger then normal made the board fully blast along.
It’s only the beginening of this technology and innovation cycle. It’s version 1.0. As with any technology it will develop and get a lot better. It is still a remarkably good board. Unlike it’s inflatable wind sup cousins this board is a legitimate modern windsurfing board.
Thanks to Georgia Schofield and Dominic Stuart.
Georgia Schofield Photography
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/georgiasphoto/
Thanks to NZ Boardstore for the use of the board.
Demo the Airplane at any good Starboard Windsurfing retailer or distributor.
More info @ Starboard windsurfing.com