Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Croatian GPS Speed Record

photo by Branko Aničić
For the end of the year, congratulations to Pierre Milutin, who broke his own previous unoffical GPS speed record in Croatian waters!

Day after Christmas, on strong jugo wind (SE), in Jadrtovac (middle Dalmatia, near Šibenik) with Mistral Speed 55, Loft Blade 5,6 and Raven 28/CLweed 26, Pierre did the following:

photo by Urška Kavčič Desnica
38,536 kt average 5/10; 35,578 kt 500 met run; 42,133 2sec; 39,592 10sec; 41,128 100met; 23,511 nautical mile; 22,420 @500

Congratulations to Pierre on two Croatian records - 2 sec 5/10 average, and we expect from him even more in new year!


Great session on jugo (SE) wind also in the northen part of Adriatic: Vladan Desnica, Soline (Slovenian and Croatian border).

39,052 KTs max peak, 35,761 KTs average 5/10, 34,038 KTs 500 met run - not easy to acheive on chop! Congrats to Vladan!

Monday, November 11, 2013

High Intensity Interval Training 2

by Domagoj Primužak

previous article from the same series: High Intensity Interval Training 1

Another set of three exercises is ready for one more windsurfing dry training that can be performed in gym or at home. The main intention is still high intensity interval training, however, the training also improves body balance and coordination.

Body balance is crucial in windsurfing and can be defined as a body capability to maintain correct stance while exposed to various forces (impacts). Coordination would be capability to control body movements.

No matter how much we might think our balance and body coordination is good enough, towards the end of windsurfing day we can feel very disappointed as both balance and body coordination tend to decline as body gets tired. It is more noticeable during the winter time, particularly in Croatia, when winds are stronger and long lasting so windsurfing can be performed all day along.

The following set of exercises is designed to postpone body fatigue, improve body coordination and balance and thus prolong windsurfing session.

High Intensity Interval Training 2 consists of 3 different exercises. Each exercises we perform 30 sec with no break in between them. Than we take 30 sec break and do it all over again. We do it 3 times. After 3rd round, there is 2 minutes break, and then we repeat everything 2x more.

In numbers: (3x30sec - 30 sec break - 3x30 sec - 30 sec break - 3x30 sec - 2 min break) x 3


1. This exercise simulates sail pull-up; we stand on the gym ball inserted into the tire, we connect rubber band to anchor point low in the wall. We pull the rubber band the same as sail pull-up. It is very important however, to keep back straight and push with the legs.

2. Battle ropes: this exercise activates whole body. First 10 repetition is pulling the rope with one hand and then another. Next 10 repetitions are pulling both ropes at the same time.

3. This exercise simulates sail pumping. The exercise is again with the gym ball inserted into the tire. This time rubber band anchor point is at the chest height. Do squat with the straight arms then go up by pulling the rubber band towards the chest, at the same time push hips forward and upper body back. Again it is very important to keep your back straight.

Next article from the same series: High Intensity Interval Training 3

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Srima, Croatia, 23.09.2013.

It was the first day after equinox - the first day of autumn. The air temperature was around 25 degrees C, and the see temperature just few degrees less. Maestral is usually summer wind, but this time it came like a gift for the beginning of somewhat colder season.

The channel between the mainland and island Prvić was free from see traffic - just here and there some motor boat would spoil the harmony of nature .

Such days are really enjoyable! On the video you can see some two minutes of this joy. Wind was 15 to 20 knots, just enough for RRD X-Fire 114 and Loft Blade 7,8.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Heat and Cold

by Domagoj Primužak

previous article from the same series: High Intensity Interval Training 1

Very useful windsurfing backpack
with plastic container for 1,5 liter of fluid.
It's easy to carry, doesn't interfere
with your movement and you can drink
easily without going out (even
By observing weather conditions during windsurfing sessions, it is easy to realize they are very unpredictable. If you are windsurfer and you have just arrived to the spot, the only thing you are up to is whether is windy or not. If it is, quickly rig up the gear and strait in the water.

The last thing you would realize would be ambient temperature, no matter is it 40 deg C in a summer afternoon, or 12 deg C and water with 10 dec C that feels more like -10 in strong winter wind.

Here we get in to potential risk that can affect health, concentration and increase possibility for injuries

The influence of the heat

Body temperature is very constant - 37C; skin temperature however is a 4C lower. This temperature difference ensures very good heat transfer between body and the environment.

In higher outside temperature, the heat release from body is restricted and thus more difficult. The blood vessels increase in diameter to allow blood to get close to the skin quicker and cool down. As a result, blood pressure drops and less blood gets into the muscles and as such, muscles lack oxygen and food. In addition, body releases significant amount of fluid through sweating. So if we do not drink enough water, body gets into the stress that slows muscle activity, causes head ache, muscle spasm and decrease concentration.

As prevention, drinking lots of water is a best option

According to my experience the adequate hydration rate would be one liter of fluid per hour in summer time if windsurfing with moderate to high intensity.

Half a liter would be pure water as body absorbs water the quickest way; another half a liter would be isotonic drink contains electrolytes, glutamine and glucose.

Instead of expensive isotonic drinks (which are well balanced with necessery ingredients) you can make something domestic. For example, the chepaest is: one liter of water, 6 spoons of sugar and 6 spoons of salt. Or: half a liter of some good fruit juice, half a liter of water and couple of spoons of salt.

Body UV protection is of great importance as well. Licra is prefect (so, no naked muscule showing off!) to protect the body from UV. Some hat would be welcome, too.

The influence of the cold

If exposed to cold, body reacts by squeezing blood vessels close to the skin in order to decrease the blood flow and thus prevent body from cooling down. This causes drop in skin temperature. However, body temperature is then more constant and easier to maintain.

The most difficult weather condition is strong wind and cold in the same time.

The prevention would be proper winter ware before, during and particularly after the windsurfing session.

Windsurfing in cold weather condition, if not properly protected from cold is followed by lack of body power and particularly in extremities, body shaking, significant decrease in endurance as well as body coordination. Injuries are more probable, and of course, in the case of breaking the mast or some other part of the equipment during cold weather, our life can be in danger. Proper winter suit, gloves, hat and floating jacket can save our life.

So when we get to windsurfing spot, we should also pay attention to weather conditions like cold in the winter or heat in the summer and prepare accordingly to fully enjoy windsurfing for all day rather then got a cold or something more dangerous, and thus spoiling the joy we have been waiting for so long time.

Next article from the same series: High Intensity Interval Training 1

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Šimuni, island Pag, Croatia

Although I am all the time wandering around Croatia, it is always amazing how some places can take your breath away! One of this places is the island Pag in the middle part of Croatian Adriatic see. The Island extends from the Pag Bridge to the southeast to Lun community to the northwest. Spreading over the 60 km is a real nature’s treasure with an abundance of spectacular landscapes. I must admit, in earlier days, Pag was somehow strange to me, but with time I get to love and adore his moon-like looks! From south side, Pag is connected to the Mainland with impressive bridge. But if you come from northern parts of Adriatic, you can take a ferry all way down from Rijeka; or much shorter line from Prizna.

Regarding windsurfing, the best place (at least for me) is Košljun bay. However, there is one place worth seeing, windsurfing and maybe stay there for some time as a base for exploring the island and more. That place is Camping Village Šimuni.

The best wind is bora, blowing over the rocky shore. The downside is that it is always quite gusty. The upside is that you have at least 5 miles long stripe to enjoy. The lounching spot is from the Camping place. If you are not staying there, during high season you will have to ask politely on the entrance to let you in (they probably will), but during low season, in spring and autumn, there will be no problem at all.

Well, Camping Šimuni is also well know for yearly organizing one hour slalom race. This is an excellent opportunity for all racers, speeders and free riders to gather and wait for the wind in joyous atmosphere! :-) Of course, the wind comes eventually, but it is not sure that it will be there during the two weekend days organizers choose for the regatta. But, actually, it does not matter. There is always some fun on the beach and unavoidable party in the evening!

I am not participating in races, but I always come, just to admire the spirit of windsurfing and to say hello to dear friends. That is what I have done also this year. During Saturday there was no wind - but the one hour slalom race was done in Sunday morning. You can see a lot of pictures HERE.

All in all, island Pag is definitely the excellent choice to combine exploring Croatia islands and to do some nice windsurfing!

Friday, September 20, 2013

High Intensity Interval Training 1

by Domagoj Primužak

previous article from the same series: Prepare Your Body For Windsurfing

Interval training can be performed in 1,000 ways. In the next few articles, I will present to you some variations of high intensity interval training suitable like a preparation for the efforts of advanced windsurfing practice.

Here is one of my favorite interval endurance training related to windsurfing as it attempts to simulate classic slalom ride.

For this exercise we need: a rope, truck tires, two 0,5kg dumbbells and stopwatch.

One round consists of 4 different exercises lasting a total of 7 minutes without interruption.
  • we take a skipping rope and start to hop. First minute we jump in the easiest way (to slowly lift intensity). During second minute we jump at least 3x with left and then 3x with right leg in a row. In the last minute, we jump again the easy way.
  • as soon as the clock marks 3 minutes we leave a rope and start working 12 Marines (push-up, squat, jump, squat, push-up). 12 Marines will last about 30 seconds and your heart will certainly jump into the red zone (simulation of jibe).
  • after 12 Marines immediately we take weights of 0.5 kg and jump on the tire. For the next 3 minutes we do jumps on the truck tire while holding dumbbells.
  • after 3 minutes again without the rest we start doing 12 Marines.
When first round is finished, we rest for 30 or 45 seconds (simulation of constant wind easy riding) and we begin a new round (si,mulation of gust, soeed run, or gybe).

The plan is to make 9-10 rounds. It is about 30 minutes in total.

With our fitness improvement, we will be able to make more and more rounds without any rest in between.

Next article from the same series: Heat and Cold

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Prepare Your Body For Windsurfing

by Domagoj Primužak

When I decided to try to learn windsurfing in all the articles that I have managed to get, windsurfing was presented as a sport where you do not need too much power and it is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

This thesis is not that inaccurate, given the fact that most people see windsurfing as a sport that we do during the summer, on the not so strong breeze, by using large board and small sail.

From that perspective there is almost no effort, no unpredictable surprises and the only thing that will show afterwards are the blisters on my hands from the rope I used to pull the sail and lower back pain.

But if we talk about windsurfing as a sport that we do the most of the year, using technique that we mastered quite well and surfing in harsh conditions that are all but not pleasant and predictable, than we come to the stage where it is very important to be well prepared in order to windsurf safer and easier as long as possible.

If we analyze, in previous articles presented heart rate during windsurfing session, we can conclude that in the windsurfing sport we are often changing back and forth from aerobic conditions to anaerobic conditions.

Aerobic energy processes are those processes that are of longer duration, but with lower intensity and in that mode transport systems (respiratory and cardiovascular) manage to satisfy the need for oxygen, which is equal to its consumption. Aerobic zone, if we look from the point of heart rate, is approximately from 40 % to 70 % of maximum heart rate.

Anaerobic mode occurs when the demand for energy is greater than the one which can be provided by oxidation process, so the energy is provided from anaerobic sources of our body. For recreation this zone starts in rate around 80% of the max heart rate and upward.

Lactates, as a byproduct of anaerobic energy process, is a salt of lactic acid and are always present in our body. They are measured in mmol/l. During aerobic activities lactate concentration is from 2 mmol/l to 4 mmol/l. 4 mmol/l indicates the aerobic - anaerobic threshold and after that an athlete enters the zone of intense anaerobic activity.

Depending on the athlete and the physical activity the level of lactate can reach 30 mmol/l.

In windsurfing we see that the majority of time is spent in the area around the anaerobic threshold and that is between 75 % and 80%.

The anaerobic threshold is the last point when transport systems manage to deliver enough oxygen required to ensure aerobic energy processes. But very often we find ourselves in the zone of anaerobic regime (gybes, gusts, speed runs) or similar stresses.

Through focus training we can train our body to come back to aerobic zone in shortest possible time after each peak. In that way we avoid accumulation of lactic acid in our body which very soon can result in increased risk of potential injuries.

If we analyze the standard speed or slalom run (in this case Adrian’s heart rate) we can conclude that it consists of driving to one direction (heart rate between 60-80 %, depending on external conditions ), then turn (gybe) which ends over standard 100 % (obviously, his heart can beat more than standard formula for his age) and return to given direction or possible turn.

This leads us to the classic interval training.

Interval training can be performed in 1,000 ways. In the next articles, I will present to you some variations of high intensity interval training suitable like a preparation for the efforts of advanced windsurfing practice.

Next article from the same series: High Intensity Interval Training 1

Monday, September 2, 2013

Karin, Croatia, 02.09.2013.

You want to be there, doing just that, don't you? :-)

Peceful after windsurfing party on the beach...

Earlier, it was like this:

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 5

by Pierre Milutin

Previous article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 4

11. Fin trim

There are a lot of fins on the market. The best thing to do is do your reaserch on the net. Check up web sites and other gps sailers to see what's goin on.

You need a fin that you can trust and off course you have to go through the hard yards to test these fins. So, be prepared.

In speedsailng there is no law in what fin size you have to use to make the board effective. This is something you have to try out, to see what works in what conditions.

For example, on my Mistral speed 55 wide I will use a 28 cm from sail sizes 6.3 to 7.0 and maybe even a 7.8 which i still have to try out. But on a 5.6, I would go down to 23 to 26 cm fin.

Always remember: the lighter the wind gets the bigger the fin you have to take. Alos, the choppyer the water, the bigger the fin you have to go to. Speeding in choppy waters with a very small fin and very well powered up, is a death wish.

In lighter winds you have to go bigger due to board lift. If you are on a small fin in light winds you dont get board lift, so your board sticks to the water too much and that causes drag. You have to go bigger to get the board out of the water and get it smoking on the tail.

The next thing is fin stiffness. A good fin has some decent flex in the tip, while the mid section is stiffer. Why? When you drive the fin with your back foot it will bend the fin tip to give you lift. The mid section holds that constant lift.

A too soft fin will break down and you will loose the power and create drag on you board, so it can't hold on to the power.

A too stiff fin will create a lot of lift and then you loose controll of your power and equipment especially in chop.

So, if you are a heavy rider, then a stiffer fin will work better for you in flat water and also choppy water. However, it all depends how stiff it is, so if you can't gain controll your equipment then your fin is too stiff. Of course, that is valid only if you got the right setup for the right conditions.

So, this ends up doing the hard yards in testing and buying fins. It can get costly if you want the top preformance.

Wide based fins are only good in flat water, but I dont think they are faster, due to too much profile area. And they are dangerous in choppy waters. They only work to a certain degree in choppy waters. For me, up to 38 kts, maybe 40 kts, they work. Above that… I wish you luck.

12. Body postion

The most common body position and the most effective is to sit in your harness. Meaning, you use your weigth to sit in the harness and keep the upper body straigth, not leaned out. Front leg locked, in and the back leg with a little bit of a bend or more "personal choice".

With this kind of stance, your lower body from waste down holds the rig. It is not your arms holding it, and at the same time you produce the power through your legs onto the board giving perfect trim and explosive consistant power.

Why have the upper body straight? Because you put more weight onto holding the rig with your body and putting more weight onto the board means giving it control in choppy waters and producing more speed and power. This comes down to more drag racing and slalom technique.

As for speed, it's the same principle, but once your nearly off the wind, then you have to be light on the feet. The more pressure you put on the board the more drag you create. In speedsailing, your weigth is only there to be able to hold the sail down and have total controll over it. That makes you go faster. That's why you see big guys wearing weight jackets and the weight sits all on "top of the shoulders". On that way you can hold the sail in mega gusts with your body, and not with your arms, but still light as possible on your legs.

If the sail is ripping out of your arms, the couse of that is not enough weight on your shoulders, or the sail is to big for the conditions you are out in!

Speedsailing is a special discipline, so you have to take into account some important info and tunning to get the top speed.


The end of the series Speedsurfing Tuning Tips by Pierre Milutin

Friday, August 30, 2013

Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 4

by Pierre Milutin

Previous article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 3

9. Board trim

Dont get fooled by what are the best riders riding. A ot of people will see Antoine Albeau or Dunkerbeck winning non-stop, and people think those are the quickest boards on the market. No true!

It goes like this. The biggest names on the PWA tour have the same length and width like the production boards, but the catch is the bottom shape. They have different bottom shapes then what we get on the market, so they are still custom made boards. The bottom shape of your board can determine your preformance on the water to be faster or slower in chop! All boards nowadays go fast on flat water.

So the first thing to look for is a good V in the middle of the board. We call that a chop eater! Second thing is a good double concave. This can absorb the chop way better than a single concave or no concave! And last, the first 30 cm of the tail to be flat, but with a V in it.

Another thing to look at is the rail at the back "the tail". If the rail is way to sharp then you could have some good crashes due to spinouts or chop problems. Thats why you have to pay a lot of attention to what speedboard to buy. Most of the production speedboards are built for flat water. So you ride them in choppy waters, it can be very dangerous. But, mind you, all the speedboards go allright in choppy waters to a certain speed! Once beyond 40 kts in chop on these kind of boards… it can be very dangerous to your health!

Again, all the pros have completely custom made speedboards and have the logo of the sponsors on there board.

So, to get your speedboard running fast it always has to sit on the tail in total controll. If your are not in controll then you have to set your mast track position and boom height to gain control. When I say control, that means when a good to a mega gusts hits you, the nose of the board does not rise and go out of controll. it produces power and keeps the trim of your board down while smoking of the tail.

Before you bare off the wind, always try get to top speed crosswind and slowly start going downwind. Create a big arc - this will generate more speed and power.

Once your are off the wind your front leg always has to be locked in and straight, and your back leg a little bent. It is extremely important NOT to put pressure on your back foot! Ease it off a good 80%!

If you put a lot of back foot pressure you will overload the fin and create drag which will make you go slower big time. And if in chop, you will most likley spinout and loose controll.

The next thing is through the transaction of goin fast across the wind to baring off slowly downwind is to keep your sail as still as possible. If you move the sail too much with your hands, you will loose a good percentage of your power and speed. Your sail has to be very well trimmed for this to happen.

10. Harness lines

Harness lines should always be long 28 to 30 inch. I sit at 34 inches for speedsailing when windy! Why long harness lines? Because you want to keep the sail more upright so you can produce the more power. If your harness lines are short, then the sail will be much closer to your body, so you cant really lean out properly. When you do lean out, you will drag the sail with you causing the sail to tilt too much, causing control problems and depowering your sail. In that situation it comes very easy to spinouts, because you got so much power in the sail theat it is forcing you to stand up straight over the fin, making a lot of back foot pressure which will cause the fin to spinout - especially in chop.

This is in strong winds. As the wind gets light to medium, then you want to shorten your lines because you want to kepp the power on. If you have long lines in light to medium stuff, you will be leaning out a lot which will cause your body weight on the board to be lighter so there is no pressure to drive the board to get it to go faster.

I play with harness lines from 28 inches to 36 inches, depending on the wind strength and this is also valid for slalom or drag racing with your mates.


Next, the final article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 5

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Karin, Croatia, 29.08.2013.

Early morning bora wind (NE) in Karin bay (06:00 - 08:00). Couple of years ago that kind of wind was almost everyday event in Karin, but this year I catch it for the first time. Well, it is true that I was not around during first part of the summer, but still, it seems that weather is changing. And the winds with it, unfortunately. Bora was very light, barely enough for planning (some 10-13 kt). But, I was enjoying morning peace: the place was empty - no tourists around. It was a good session to fine tune light wind equipment.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 3

by Pierre Milutin

Previous article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 2

7. Board-sail-fin combination

To know if your gear is sailing properly, you have always look how your board is sitting on the water. It is best if you can get it riding on the tail. If your board is riding up to the front footstraps, that means your board is dragging and killing the speed. Next time when you will be on the water keep your eye on that.

A lot of people ask about mast track position and boom height. Here is the basic, but after you have to work on it to get it right.

Always start your base track in the middle of the board and your boom height at your middle of shoulders. See what your board is doing. If the board is dragging in the water, then move the mast track only 1/2 cm to 1 cm back, and move your boom height up the same. Do this untill your board is flying on the tail. When you have it setup right, even when you get hit by a gust the board trimm is always the same. The nose shouldn't flying wild into the air.

If your board is too flighty, then move the base track forward and drop the boom by small increments until you find the balance.

To gain controll in choppy waters, you have to move the base forward in small increnments and lower the boom untill you find the balance and controll in the rough stuff!

Problems may come from the fin, aslo. Let's say, you have 68 cm wide board, 7,8 m2 sail and 40 cm fin, which is great in medium conditions. As soon as the gust get higher to a certain degree, you get over finned. Of course, you will have to drop fin size to gain contoll and balance again on the same board and sail size. Or drop down to a smaller sail and if needed so, the smaller board.

Always remeber to write down all your setting, once you get everything right, so you will be prepared for your next session…

Never be too scared to try smaller fins on medium to large size boards when speedsailing. You will be surprised how things can work differently. Of course, you will loose your top end speed going upwind and sometimes crosswind due to a smaller fin on these kind of boards, but then again you are speedsiling not dragg racing mates or racing on slalom!

Always remember to practice to go fast across the wind and upwind. If you can do that, you will be tunned in properly and go even faster off the wind.

When you start now dialing in and tunning, do not go out and drag race other sailers untill you have got it right. I used to a lot of time sail away from these guys on my own, no pressure and get tunned in.

Use your GPS to analyse what's happening on the water and to see if you are getting quicker across the wind. Try to forged about off the wind runs untill you get it right. I know its hard, when you are thinking about speedsailing, but in the long run you will see that it is better; you will get faster quicker.

8. Sail trim

Different sails look different, meaning different profiles, different shapes and especially different leech twists !

When you have a sail with a deep profile "belly of the sail" (fer example, Neil Pryde) you dont have to let off the OH to gain extra horsepower, because the belly is deep enough to have it ba itself.

If you were to let off the OH then you create a bigger belly and you also start tightening the leech which will create too much power. The resulk is "hitting the wall"; you can't go faster and a lot of drag craetiong due to loosing shape of your sail!

Other sail brands have way less profile "belly" and then you are required to let off your OH, so you can bag your sail and create bigger belly to gain that extra horsepower.

I'am at the moment on Loft Sails and if it is a well powered up day, I will bag my sail so that the profile or monofilm is leaning against the boom up to my first harness line connection.

The best thing to do, once you have set up your sail properly, is to test and try it out on the water with various OH settings until you find the right sweet spot for speedsailing.

Downhaul is also crucial to the sea state you are sailing in. When it's choppy waters, then it's best to have the DH full on. Why? When you let of the DH you will gain a lot of power which will be hard to control in choppy waters unless you find a trim that suits your weigh. Heavy guys can get away with this to a certain degree.

In flat water, you can start letting off your DH to a certain degree again, because sometimes the wind can be gusty and you want to keep on the full power. Even if the wind is full on, you can still play with your DH to get some extra speed, but like I said, you have to try things out while you are on the water and pay close attension to your GPS and wind strength.

Once off the wind, do not over sheet because you will kill your power. Always keep in mind to have the sail sheeted in until the outer back footstrap, and hold it there, especially going deep off the wind.

In lighter winds do not bare off so much due to lack of wind power. Instead off baring off 150 drgree like you would in strong winds, you will bare off roughly 100 to 110 degrees. The best way is to get out in the water and try different angles in different conditions to see what is a better angle to do it.


Next article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 4

Monday, August 26, 2013

Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 2

by Pierre Milutin

Previous article in the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 1

5. Profile

Once you have rigged your sail, flip it over to the otherside. Do not press the cams or the battens to flip it around. The profile of your sail is how it looks, mainly on the the luff pocket, from the bottom batten to the 3rd batten, which is above the boom.

So, you have to look at the luff pocket and those 3 cams. How much are they pushing out? For example, a flat profile is when the luff pocket has very little shape, meaning the cams are pretty flat on the mast. A deep profile is when the cams are giving a lot of
shape, pushing outwards away from the mast.

The best profile to get is when the cams are roughly 45 degrees out from the mast. Note: this is only the bottom 3 cams, not the 4th!

This will give you good shape of the sail and nice belly. You dont want too much of a belly, that becomes too powerfull and creates alot of drag.

So when you put your spacers in, put only one spacer on each cam and then rig up. Mind you – and this is very important! - when putting in spacers always loosen the batten tension first completely, so the sail gets wrinkely and then start rigging the sail with the new spacers. Once rigged, tighten the batten tension so that the wrinkles are just gone. Do not over tighten - something might break!

The way to check if the profile is good: you have to stand at the tip of the sail, lift the tip and look down along the luff pocket and see how much are the cams are goin out.

Another important factor is, if the cams are still not goin out how you want them to go, then you have a stiff batten in the sail! The stiff part is the 2nd part that is connected towards the cam. The battens usualy have 3 stage. The back part is the thickest, then comes the 2nd part which is thinner and this fits into the thicker one. Then comes the fiberglass rod which fits into the cam. So, you need to make the 2nd part of the batten longer. The length is the width of you luff pocket where the battern sits, so each 3 battens will have a different length in the luff pocket area. The batten that you will shorten is the thick battern, the back one.

6. Draft

Once your sail is rigged, you will go to the tip of the mast. Lift it to eye level - you can be on your knees for this - and look at your draft. Where it is sitting? You will find your draft on the crossbattern - the 2nd batten from the bottom which crosses your boom.

When you look at this batten shape, there will be a minor half circle goin from the edge of the luff pocket to the clew of your sail. The middle of this half circle is where your draft sits!

For example, if the middle of this minor half circle is in the middle of the sail along the crossbattern, than you draft is sitting in the middle of the sail. This is bad, bacause every time a gust hits, the power will be in the middle of the sail. That will couse alot of backhand pressure. In this situation, you can adjust as much you want your harness lines, but it will still not work good.

The best place for the draft to be is very close to the luff pocket keeping the pressure forward and of. When the draft sits forward then the sail pulls forward not sideways, so you have a constant pressure of the sail pulling forward, and no backhand pressure. Connected to this: the first notch on the harness lines should always sit parallel of the back stitching of the luff pocket exactly where the draft sits.

If your draft is way back then your harness lines will sit back, and you will not have forward pressure!

Adjust your harness lines: get on the water, start sailing and slowly let go of the boom but not completely. See where the sail is pulling. If its pulling forward move the line forward but only on small increment (or, if the sail pulls backwards, move them back) You will be surprised that only 5 mm can make the differnce.

Next article from the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 3

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 1

by Pierre Milutin

These are the most important points to look for on the sail, and what to do…

1. Reccomended mast

First of all, it's best when you buy a race sail, to stick with the recomened mast for it, unless you really know what you are looking for!

2. Downhaul (DH)

Always look whats recomened and work way from there. DH adjustments only work well within 5 to 10mm not more than that, especially when underdownhauling.

Example - your extension is, say, up to 22 cm - which is written on the sail - so if it is light wind, the max you would underdownhaul is down to 10 mm. I would recommend 5 mm – that's all it takes. If you start goin more, you will kill the power in the sail making it heavier in your hands and putting a lot of down force on the board (meaning pushing the nose down to much). As the wind picks up you put it back to recommened.

The problem is, if you under DH your sail, you close the top leach which is your exhaust, and then your sail can't breath, which causes it to be heavier and underpowered. If a gust hits, you dont go faster and it becomes hard to sail. The sail has to feel very light in your hands and well balanced and when a gust hits it has to drive!

When the wind picks up more stronger, you can try to put over DH, let say, 5mm more than what's recommened, but only when totally fully powered to gain controll...

If you over DH too much, say up to 10mm, then your rig will be way flat causing it to be twitchy. The draft of the sail will go back and forth. On the boom you will have front hand pressure then back hand pressure etc., and also the top leach will be way too much open killing way too much power.

3. Outhaul (OH)

Always start of with neutral OH. That should be that the sail is just touching the boom. However, this also depends on the profile of the sail. For example, Neil Pryde have a deep profile, so you dont need negative OH. You just need it to touch the boom but not too much. On the North Sails and Maui Sails, the profile is more flatter so you need to give negative OH to put in the power again. You have to try it on the water and see what gives you the best results!

Dont forget: if you have a sail with a deep profile, you only need to let of the OH very little when doing speed runs. Otherwise, when you let of too much OH, you will kill the power in the sail and also creating too much drag because the sail starts loosing shape.

4. Leach Twist

The best way too find out your correct DH to get the right twist is to look up at the top of the sail while you pull on the DH. Count 3 battens down and in the middle of the 3rd and 4th batten on the monofilm look how far does the crease go in towards the luff pocket.

You want the crease to be roughly around 10 cm from the luff pocket. It is something you have to play with, to find the right settings for the sail to work at its full capacity. Like I wrote, it's only a 5mm increments on the DH!

We have two different kind of twists on the sail: static twist and dynamic twist, which both have to work together.

Static twist is the top leach. You dont want you sail to twist too much. While you have the rig on the ground, you put your foot on the mast base and press down. The top of the sail rises and you look at your twist. If its bagging down alot then you have a mast problem - way too stiff mast. You need the sail to have a nice even twist - like a ice long half circle twist evenly!

Dynamic twist is the bottom half of the sail which is the part above the clew. Normally, on the beach once rigged, the first 2 batterns above the clew, the leach should be a little bit tight. If its way too tight then you have the same problem - way too stiff mast .

How does the dynamic twist work?

When sailing, you have to keep your eye on this to see how it works ! Say you hit a little lull after a gust. The bottom second battens above the clew: the leach should tighten up which gives you consistant power through the lull. If the leach was loose, you will still go through the lull, but slower, because the sail is not giving you the power that you need at the moment.

Next, when a good gust hits, then the leach should open up and you will see from the top of the sail to the bottom clew of the sails that leach will compleley open up, creating a nice even half circle. That means that the sails exhaust is work great and still giving you control and power.

Static and dynamic twist should work together. If one fails, you are automatically of the pace and the sail will feel wrong.


Next article in the same series: Speedsurfing Tuning Tips 2

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ždrijac, Croatia, 20.08.2013.

Bora wind, not as strong as expected, but tide on the right level. Flat conditions, and all in all, very nice day (maybe just too many people in the small area of Ždrijac bay). See the complete gallery - 25 photos on Soulwindsurf Facebook Page.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Warm up more!

Training session 14.08.2013., Karin, Croatia

This is an example of what I was writing about in What Is Your Heart Doing While You Are Windsurfing.

The picture of the training session with heart rate and speed you can see on the right, but also you can visit the shared training on PolarPersonalTrainer, with interactive map.

The first 13 minutes is warming up (something that I don't want to skip anymore). This is nice, in blue and green (60-80% of HRmax).

However, you can see that heart rate goes up immediately after starting. In short 3 minutes I am in red zone (90-100% of HRmax). Next 13 minutes, I stay there, more or less, with some minor lowering in upper yellow zone (80-90% of HR max). Well, I would say, this is too much, especially in the beginning of the session.

My conclusion is that initial warming up was not enough. However, I doubt that any amount of on-the-land warming up would cure this beginning red zone alert. Probably, the second phase of warming up has to be done with the board and sail, on the water. Something like this: short 1-2 minutes run out and back again, rest for a 1 minute; 2-3 minutes run out and back, rest again, and so on for at least 15 minutes. I suppose that would prepare me much better for actual session. All in all, this would be 30 minutes warming up (15 on the shore and 15 on the water), before starting the real windsurfing. It is not too much. The thing is that I am, like most windsurfers, always in a hurry to get in clinch with the wind. However natural this may be, it is not a good policy when it comes to the heart.

After that initial "wrongness" the session gets better, especially in the second part when I was able to sail comfortably in the green zone, around 75% of my Hr max, which is perfect.

If you play a little with the interactive map (going with the cursor over the heart rate and speed curves and looking where it is on the map), you can see that the heart rate increases with speed, but the highest peaks are in turns.

All in all, this was a good session, averaging cca 132 bpm (which is ok, but I would like it to be lower). The equipment  I used: RRD X-Fire 98 and Loft Blade 7,0. Bora (NE) wind, gusty, from 10 to 25 knots, flat to choppy conditions. Max speed was 35,3 kt, 5/10 average 31,9 and some good gybes @500 at 22,4 kt.

The main lesson of this session: prolong warming up to 30 minutes - 15 minutes on the shore and 15 minutes on the water.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Karin, Croatia, 14.08.2013.

Back to Croatia, hot weather, a lot of tourists and some good winds lately. After quite a while I visited my favorite spot: Karin bay in middle Dalmatia. Bora wind, north east direction, 10-25 kt, with lots of gusts, but mostly flat or some little chop.

It was a nice sunny day, relaxing and easy, with some friends from Croatia and Slovenia. Very enjoyable!

 More photos on Soulwindsurf Facebook page!

For those interested in background heart rate messurment done during the session, see Warm up more!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

West Crete windsurf spots

Beside the unique beauty, Crete offers a lot of places for windsurfing. After exploring east and south, I checked the west coast of Crete. With the little help from all-knowing Google, it was not hard to get basic information about where the wind could be found. I was surprised, but Chania area is quite windless during summer. Fortunately, from there some nice windsurfing spots could be reached in less than an hour drive.


Beautiful village on the south-west coast. Good road takes you from Chania right in the middle of it, crowded with tourists. There is a note on the internet that once Paleochora was better windsurfing spot, with some Centers there, but winds started to be irregular and people left. When I came, the wind was from northeast direction and quite gusty. Still, on the east side of Paleochora, in front of the harbor, it was quite strong, with amazingly choppy water.

On the west side, there is a long sandy beach, with flat condition but not so strong. I suppose it could be good for beginners, but I didn't see anyone windsurfing there.


Half an hour from Chania, to the west, there is an amazing long sandy beach in Falasarna. A lot of tourist, though, enjoying the crystal clear waters and white sand. Wind from north direction, good for bigger sails, but again nobody windsurfing. Well, it was anyway less windy day, but I could imagine this place is ideal when there is more wind. During tourists season it could be difficult to get in the water, but once in, there is enough space for long rides all around.

Breathtaking view on Falasarna beach is worth stopping by the road and enjoy for a while.


The most difficult place to reach. It doesn't matter if you go around, down from Falasarna, following the steep west coast, or you take the road to Paleochora and than turn right in some small village (there are visible signposts around, it is unlikely that you will be lost), you are bound to get dizzy from the serpent like narrow road which follows the mountains slopes.

But, in the end, when you finally get there, it is all paid for! Elafonsi is a real pearl! This is an unique beach made from few connected natural basins. Inside them, the water is shallow, light blue, almost white on some places. And full of people, of course. So, you can forget windsurfing inside them during high season. There was some beginners, though, learning to windsurf in perfect condition for them.

On the left side of the basins, there is enough space for windsurfing, all the was east to the nearby much bigger bay. When I was there, the wind was northeast direction, which is, as I understand, not often so. More usual wind is northwest, it seems. But, anyhow, you get the flat water and a lot of space for fooling around. It could be good for speeding, too, when the wind is stronger.

All summed up, west coast of Crete is very windsurf friendly, especially if you are not too demanding about perfect conditions and everyday wind. If you add to that amazing Cretan cuisine, unbeatable scenes of mountains, gorges and the see, you get charming combination you don't want to miss!

Monday, July 22, 2013

What Is Your Heart Doing While You Are Windsurfing?

Previous article from the same series: High Maximum, Low Minimum

I admit, two previous articles were written rather technically. I hope they will be of some use to you. The main point was: keep your heart rate down, as low and as often as possible.

However, while I believe that this is valid for conditional training and general fitness, windsurfing is something else. Do you know what is your heart doing while you are windsurfing?

I would like to share with you my experience during the last couple of months. I am not sure I can explain what is happening and what the significance of this numbers is. See for yourself or, better, check it for yourself, and share with us.

It is not enough to say that I was surprised by the numbers – the right word was: shocked! Namely, it was enough for me just to approach my windsurfing equipment and HR was over 100 bpm! During rigging, it is around 120, peaking at 130 or even more. Just rigging!

I thought that I am in quite good shape. I am doing my exercises (biking and gym) averaging on 60% HRmax – 125 bpm. In windsurfing, it seems that I am there without even getting wet!

Now, while actually windsurfing, my heart averages (during 90 minutes of windsurfing) from the same 60% (125 bpm) up to 75% (142). That is more than I expected, because that includes periods of resting.

Once, during one hour of pure windsurfing in moderate to strong wind (25 knots), average was almost 80% (145 bpm).

When you look at the peaks – they go up to 103% of HRmax (172 once) and many times around 160. The peaks happen during jibes, speed runs and gusts (in that order: a power jibe and speed run will almost for sure get you over 90%, and gusts will increase HR for sure).

During windsurfing in straight line, I was sometimes able to keep HR around 60% (120-130 bpm), but mostly it was higher (135-145 bpm). I am not sure I noticed any connection with the strength of the wind by itself, but gusty wind, even moderate or light, will increase HR.

Also, I have noticed many oscillations in HR. It is all over the place, so to say – quite different from other excesses like biking or running. I suppose that is due to a lot of anaerobic activity which happens during static effort, short bursts of energy in gusts, jibes and speed runs.

And, what surprised me the most: when I am on the bike and getting 147 bpm, that is 80% of my HRmax, I am breathing heavily, gasping for oxygen and cannot endure such effort for longer than a minute or two. When windsurfing, and pumping with that HR, I am ok, easy, relaxed, breathing through nose and happily surfing around for as long as I wish!

Now, as I said, I have no sure explanation why this happens. There are no available data (at least I could not find them) about HR and windsurfing. One of my speed surfing friends once told me that he used a heart rate monitor for a while, but then he gave up, because "he could not stand to look at such high numbers". Also somebody told me (but I didn't see the paper) about comparison of heart rates in wave, freeride, freestyle and slalom. According to that word of mouth, slalom windsurfers had the highest heart rate, especially during turning around the mark.

I can try to explain some of it by attributing high heart rate to adrenalin rush which we all get from windsurfing. Because, it is obvious to me that beating 145 bpm while windsurfing is not at all the same as keeping that rhythm in other sport activities.

Of course we like excitement – that's why we are windsurfing. However, putting that aside, the fact is that our heart is working hard during windsurfing, and that opens some very important questions, especially as we get older.

First of all: are we ready for windsurfing? The effort of windsurfer’s heart is probably equal to the effort of some professional athlete. And we don't have the same preparation, the same level of fitness, etc. We should have it, though! If my HR readings are at least partially applicable to an average windsurfer, than preparation for such activity must be more serious, especially if you don't want just to go out couple of times per year, but rather to actively improve your skills, speed, etc.

And, second, what about lowering heart rate during windsurf? Is this idea applicable to that kind of sport with so much up's and down's, turns and twists? I believe it is. Peaks will probably not go away, but in general, lowering the average should be possible. Exactly how to do it, that is what I intend to find out during a time to come.

See the example windsurfing session with interactive map, heart rate and speed under title: Warm up more!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Some happy moments - Kouremenos, Crete

Some happy moments from Kouremenos, Crete.

Although, the wind is very gusty and there is always a dilemma what sail to use...


...there is enough beauty around to make a windsurfer smile!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

High Maximum, Low Minimum

Previous article from the same series: The Rhythm of the Heart

The goal of efficient athlete is to have a capability of high maximum heart rate, and as low resting heart rate. John Douillard says: "As we age the heart just cannot beat as fast as it used to. At the same time, the resting heart rate starts creeping up, bringing these two numbers closer together. One of the classic ways of measuring youth, overall health and cardiovascular status is to have a low resting heart rate and a high maximum heart rate."

Maximum heart rate (HRmax) is usually calculated by formula 220 – years of age. It can be measured, though, more precisely (the most accurate way of measuring HRmax is via a cardiac stress test: an exercise monitored by an ECG), but I doubt that average recreational windsurfer will go through that procedure. So, you are quite safe with the number you get with this formula. For me, that would be 169 bpm (beats per minute). Of course, chronological age is measured by calendar years, but this may not be a good reflection of fitness and health. We all know people who appear much younger—or older—than their chronological age. From Wikipedia: "…note that individuals of the same age, the same training, in the same sport, on the same team, can have actual HRmax 60 bpm apart (160-220): the range is extremely broad..."

Resting heart rate (HRrest) is heart rate measured after, let say, good sleep. You may stay a little longer in the bed in the morning, attach your heart rate monitor and measure the beats. Notice the lowest number – that is resting heart rate. Usually it will be around 60 to 80. If you are very fit, it can be less, even less than 50. Also, with exercising the number will go down.

I am not feeling safe to recommend (or to practice myself) any specific exercise aimed at increasing the capability of high heart rates. Of course, this will happen by itself with improved health and fitness. Since the efficiency usually demands lowering heart rate, let's focus on this.

As far as I can see, today’s recommendations also point to lower heart rates than we used to think. For example, exercising on 65-75% of your max heart rate is considered healthy. John Douillard and his zone training would put that even lower, actually so low that when you first time start to do it, you would probably think that you are doing nothing!

Douillard method is quite similar to old Karvonen formula based on resting heart rate (HRrest) in order to calculate target heart rate. However, while others aim at 85%, in zone training you will go for not more than 60% or 75%, while the best excersize will stay at targer heart rate (THR) of 50% (in the begining, it can be equal to stand up and walk!).

Here is Karvonen formula:

THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × % intensity) + HRrest

My resting heart rate during last couple of months is fluctuating between 54 and 62, let say averaging 61. HRmax according to simple formula mentioned earlier would be 169.

50% Intensity: ((169 − 61) × 0.50) + 61 = 115 bpm
75% Intensity: ((169 − 61) × 0.75) + 61 = 142 bpm

I have examined, at least by reading, many different training methods. You may do the same. But whatever you do, my recommendation is that you try and keep your heart rate as low as possible. Heart is a muscle and it can be trained to do many things. If you train it to beat very fast when you walk, it will do so. If you train it to go over 150 bpm every time you start running, it will do so. We may think it should be like that, or that it is given by nature, but it is not completely true! Many things, including heart efficiency, can be changed.

I don't want to go into details of some specific training (I might do that in some other articles, although you are free to use whatever you find suitable), but my recommendation (and that is what I do) is to use your ability to control the heart rate via biofeedback-awareness link and make it lower in any case!

For example, I used to do 45 minutes biking exercise with average 125 bpm. That was the constant average for more than six months. I believe my physical fitness was improving just by doing it regularly three times per week. But the average bpm were the same. After only ten days of paying attention to heart rate, I was able to lower it to 118 bpm average, and it seems that I can do even lower. I am not talking now about improved physical condition (training and exercising is the only way to do it), but about the power of attention! That is what makes the difference, and what will, in the end, tell your heart that it can do the job without straining so much.

That is why it is important to use heart rate monitor. Sometimes, just watching it and wanting it to be lower, can do the trick. Sometimes, stopping when you see it goes too high is enough so the next time it will not do it. Breathing techniques can be of great help. I will go into that in later articles.

Whatever your chosen method of training is, do it with at least couple of heart beats less. As I said, with the training it will happen by itself, but using the heart rate monitor as a biofeedback, will make it quicker. In time you will learn to do it even without an intermediate device (heart rate monitor). Of course, if you see that your chosen method of training demands from your heart very high numbers, and there are no signs of going down, it would be wise to reconsider what are you actually doing and why.

There is one useful thing you can do with the resting heart rate. It will change from time to time, even from day to day. To measure it, it’s not necessary time consuming. Although it would be ideal to measure resting heart rate at least 10 or 20 minutes to get real number, for everyday use, you will learn to estimate if the heart rate is average, lower or higher in a very short time (one to two minutes is enough to get an idea). If you notice that it is unusually high, skip the hard exercise that day. Do just warm up or something lighter. High resting rate in the morning may be the sign of stress and fatigue in your body that you might not be aware of. Hard exercise in that condition may do more damage than good, decrease your enjoyment significantly and thus hamper your path towards the zone.

Next article from the same series: What Is Your Heart Doing While You Are Windsurfing?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ierapetra and Koutsounari, Crete

I wanted to see the south cost of Crete and check how is the wind there. From Palecastro and famous Kouremenos beach, to Ierapetra, you have to drive about 80 kilometers through quite good pawed road and beautiful scenery of Cretan hills full of olive trees.

When we came to Makry Gialos, the first little village on south coast, the wind was blowing with amazing force (some 40 knots, at least). I don't know if that was a meltemi wind, or some local thermal wind prevailed. The direction was pure north. And some 5 km further down the road, there was no wind. Near Ierapetra, again quite strong (30 knots, at least).

In Ierapetra, the southernmost city in Europe, you can windsurf on the main beach near the old forest and the heart of the city. It is easy to come with the car and park it nearby. Assembling the equipment is another story, because the beach is full of people, and the is no windless place to find. The conditions on the see - bump and jump, perfect for freeriding and freestyling. For slalom and speed - only if you feel particularly masochistic that day.

My greatest discovery, however, was the Long Beach in Koutsounari, small village couple of kilometers east from Ierapetra. This is about 3 km long, strait, sandy beach. Half of it is reserved for swimmers, and the other half is free. The wind was wild: between 50 and 60 knots. It blows offshore, and the first 10 meters of see surface is laboratory flat! After that, chop and see dust: I imagine you can get in serious trouble if you forget where you are and let yourself too far out. I didn't have small enough equipment to try to catch some speed on it. It is a pity because this was the first time ever I saw live (not on photos or videos) such long speed stripe, with such strong wind and yet, flat water surface. If I will be lucky, maybe some of this days I will visit Koutsounari again.