Chris Bond, a recent convert to Formula windsurfing shares and explains why the often hidden side of our sport can be a lot more fun than you may think.
Everyone has heard of Slalom Racing, Wave sailing and Freestyle; we’ve seen the photos, watched the video footage and know the stars. But who knows much about the Formula windsurfing scene? The aim of this article is to explain what Formula windsurfing is all about (including the race scene), to banish some of the myths and explain the benefits to promote this little spoken about part of our sport.
For those of you who have absolutely no idea about what I’m talking about, Formula windsurfing involves HUGE kit. Boards are around 230cm in length and roughly 1m wide with 70cm fins. Rigs go up 12.5m and often only as small as 9m – at this moment in time you may already be put off but read on and find out why it’s not a barmy option.
At this stage I’m going to introduce myself – They call me Bond…….Chris Bond and I’ve been windsurfing for 26 years. Up until six years ago I had spent much of my time as an instructor abroad. I only used small kit and was convinced that you’d never catch me on a sail bigger than a 6m, let alone on a board that resembles a barn door! However, on my return to this country I seemed to spend a lot of my time sat on the beach praying for more wind.
So the options were: remain sat on the beach and get fat, take up kite surfing or get bigger windsurfing kit. I took the latter, have not looked back since and finished 3rd in the UK series last year.
So what’s the big deal?
First of all let’s banish the myths about Formula and also racing Formula, which I’ll come to later on:
- It’s slow and boring and involves lots of pumping – WRONG. Boards can get close to 30knots and racing only takes place in planing winds, so no real need to pump.
- It’s ridiculously expensive – WRONG. Whilst brand new equipment is pretty pricey (isn’t it all??) there is a large second hand market that can get you on the water without breaking the bank. You will only need one board and some people only have the one sail.
- You have to have an amazing high ability in order to do it, especially compete – WRONG AGAIN. To sail Formula is pretty straight forward and falling off a 1m wide board is pretty tough. Racing just takes a little practice and there is an entry level course laid out at all events for newcomers.
OK, so that’s banished the myths so let me now set out my stall to convince you that sailing Formula is overwhelmed with huge benefits…