1. What would you say have been the biggest noticeable improvements to wave boards over the past 5 years?
Seb W - I think on one hand boards have become more user friendly, and on the other hand we have boards that can be sailed in the most radical conditions you can imagine. Overall, I think we have seen an increase in range of use of the shapes. This is a huge advantage, as you might only need one board now to cover all the conditions that you sail in. Mostly, boards have gone a little wider, without losing any performance.
Keith T - I think the most obvious is the reintroduction of the Multi fin options, allowing boards to have more volume and still have a lively and turny feel.
Dany B - Wave boards have progressed massively in the past five years. When Kauli Seadi rocked up in Cape Verde (in 2007) with his new twin fin boards – which worked particularly well in those amazing waves of Punta Preta – everyone started to think about changing the directions of where to go in terms of board design.
We all started to try out some of the twin fins; which were not new at all, but forgotten or dismissed in the past. We figured out that with the actual shapes we got, those multiple fin set-ups worked pretty well and adapted better to particular conditions, where some boards were just much better than a regular, single fin board.
Yes, a single fin does still work, and actually now with the thrusters we are getting closer again to the single fin sensation when riding a wave, just improved with a little extra here and there that we were missing with single fins.
In my opinion, a board has to have grip, speed, drive and turnability, something we always had with a single fin, but now with other options, we can get even more out of it.
Scotty M - I would say the biggest improvement would be highly debated. Fin number has been transient, with quad and twin still being the most common arrangement gone back to in competition in real world conditions (‘a la: the Canaries’). If you go back through the years (beyond five years) you would see that it’s all just a case of history repeating. But the refinement of each design concept has definitely evolved.
Cisco G - Making big boards ride like small boards (and better). That just opened up so many more days of fun. With our new 118 litre quad we have seen people bridging that gap between windsurfing and surfing/SUP more than ever. You can basically uphaul these boards without getting your feet wet. Also, with this new range we see people going for extreme gaps in their quiver, where in the past they would get ten litres apart at the most. Now, they are going for more than double that. For example: 78 & 104 litres or 84 & 118 litres, which allows them to keep on riding with the same sail, but just getting a lot more out of the conditions.
Werner G - I would say definitely the different multi fin concepts.
Ola H - I think it is the quicker reaction in turns and that we can now build boards that turn extremely well but that are also lively, fast and early planing – and all of it also accessible also for sailors with non perfect technique.
2. What influences you to think of new wave shapes and designs?
Seb W - There are various factors… sometimes I just have an idea and we try it. Feedback from my team riders and our customers is the most important source of feedback. Also market tendencies have an influence. And last but not least, we always want to make a better board… so it never stops.
Keith T - My biggest influences are time on the water and surfboard shapes. I shape a lot of surfboards and crossover ideas from my surfboard shapes. Concepts that can be brought into windsurf boards from originally the multi fin options, to bottom shapes, to outlines, to foam flow. Obviously there are different elements in a windsurf board, but the general concepts hold true.
Dany B - My main influence is always the master of all wave-riding sports: surfing. There are so many things that they have tried and we have never even thought about. We know what works, but maybe there are things that can work better in some types of conditions that we still don’t know about.
Scotty M - It would have to be the performance level achieved by what is seen in surfing, trying to be emulated in windsurfing, but then having to be able to plane as well.
Cisco G - Combining a surfboard with a fast freeride board, that is what our new 2014 Wave line is about. The goal is to go anywhere in the wave just like a surfboard would do, but at the same time with the fast rocker that allows you to fly all around your spot.
Werner G - Spending time on the water, talking to our team riders and other wave sailors, and trying to find out what kind of feeling and performance they are looking for. The shapes also have to follow with their idea of style and manoeuvres they want to achieve on the water. Obviously always keeping performance issues in mind.
Ola H - I watch a lot of sailors, both pros and intermediates and try to spot what their boards help them do and where the board hinders them. I also speak a lot to sailors about boards, trying to understand more about what sort of shape that would make them sail better and have more fun. The verbalisation actually sharpen the senses, so you feel better what is going on when you ride. Then I also look a lot on surfing and try to think of what changes in our boards that would enable wave sailors use the waves even better, like the best surfers. Wraparound cutbacks, pocket surfing and such things. Obviously, I get a lot of ideas from my own sailing too.