The next rider up in the Pro Quiver series, is second placed John Skye. Skye has a great range of equipment, a variety of boards and few prototypes in his bag. We find out all about why he has what he does, and how the RRD range is shaping up for 2013.
Name: John Skye
Current BWA Ranking: 2nd
2011 PWA Ranking: 12th
Sail Number: K57
Sponsors: RRD boards, RRD sails, Mystic, MFC.
Favourite conditions: Fun playful conditions. I don’t care whether it’s port or starboard tack, onshore or sideshore. But I like to be able to try stuff without too many consequences.
When your equipment works best: My equipment right now is probably the best it’s ever been, working in everything from down the line 5.7 weather, through to 3.4 onshore.
Describe your sailing style: Tricky one to answer. I pride myself on being pretty good whatever the conditions, probably never the best, but up there no matter what. I like to sail with more sail power than most as well.
3.7 4.2 4.5 4.7 5.0 production. RRD Fours.
5.3 5.7 prototypes for next year. RRD Fours.
I flew in from the Canaries, so to save weight I didn’t bring my 4.0, which annoyingly was what I needed in Rhosneigr.
For next year we are trying to put a little bit more power into the Four, which is why I used prototypes in my two bigger sizes. The extra power in the prototype 5.7 was definitely useful on the first day of Rhosneigr!
I use the Four because 4 battens seem to give a bit more feedback and response in the hands, which I like. I like to feel when I have power in my hands. I’ve been using these for two years now, I don’t use any five batten sails anymore.
There was a bit of a cross over last year, when sometimes I would still use the Superstyle (our five batten sail) when it was a bit more onshore. But we’ve worked a lot on stabilising the Four now and giving it a bit more drive, so they seem to work well in a bigger wind range.
Again because I flew over I couldn’t bring as much as I would have liked. Mainly I have the carbon 75masts for the smaller sails, and the carbon 100 for the bigger sails. The carbon 100s are a bit stiffer, which works really nicely with the big sails, whereas I prefer a bit more flex with the smaller sizes.
I have 3 standard 145-195 booms so I can rig whatever sail I’m using, plus one above and one below just incase the wind drops or picks up. I also have a bigger boom for the 5.7 too.
RRD 91 Hardcore Wave Contest edition Production Quad – incase we had some classic Gary Williams! It’s super turny for a big board, but this is more built for a Ho’okipa style wave, which isn’t generally what we get at the UK and Ireland competitions, although I think I’ll be out on it in Gwithian.
RRD 90 Wave Twin Contest edition Production – I only use this really with 5.7 in really light conditions, I’ve had different versions of it for four or five years now and I know I can rely on it when its really light winds. This is the contest version, which is a bit lighter.
83 and 75 – RRD Wave Cult Custom Quads – I don’t use too many customs, but these were prototypes for next year’s Wave Cults and worked so well I had to keep hold of them. In South Africa over the winter we worked a lot on the development of these, so what I have now is basically what the 2013 shape will be, aside from some minor changes to the tail. It sounds like a cliché, but the new shapes quite honestly plane earlier, go faster and turn even better.
90WT with 5.7
83WC with 5.3 5.0 (and 4.7 if it’s onshore.)
75WC 4.7 and below.
As I am a bit heavier than some of the other guys on the tour I probably find light wind, 5.7 weather, the hardest! When we get small waves, around waist high, with light winds my gear works well but I definitely find it harder to get good turns. I think the smaller guys on smaller equipment seem to adapt better to these conditions, but it’s always more of a struggle for me to really turn well until I at least get some power in the sail.
I use all the MFC QS series. Generally, I put slightly smaller fins than normal, on both the front and back. Mainly because with takas etc using smaller fins makes the board a little looser and easier for these. If you go too small you can suffer with the jumping being a little less directional so it’s a tough balance. I’m playing around a bit still, sometimes I use a smaller front fin and a bigger back fin, for example if I was using a 90 quad, to give it more of a twin fin feel and make it a bit more skatey.
On the 91 Hardcore I’ve some big 10cm wider based front fins, if it’s really good riding I then put bigger fronts and smaller back fins in to give it a more equal feel, this gives it a bit more drive and grip through the turns.
8’11 super SUP, plus a 5’8 surf board. I always take them both on tour with me, it’s great to get out on the water when the conditions are good and when’s the competition’s not on.
Wetsuits wise, I use Mystic suits. For these contests I had the Voltage 4/3 and High Voltage 4/3. Both were perfect. They are really warm so I can get away with a much thinner suit than normal. In general for contests I don’t like thick suits! I’m always boiling in the heats so I wear a thin suit, but always try to have a couple of spares so I can keep warm by getting changed and then putting on a fresh dry suit when we’ve had a bit of a break.
Also pretty essential are all the hoodies, jackets and hats that Mystic make. Have multiple layers is the number one essential for contests. If you are cold before you even hit the water it’s a nightmare!