Tips from the Pro’s – Freestyle Rig Set Ups
With some sailors being fanatical about technical figures and settings, and others operating purely by feel, here we continue our series asking elite performers their advice on tuning-up. This time we quizzed Victor Fernandez, Douglas Diaz and World Freestyle Champion Jose Estredo how they rig their gear for competitive freestyle.
Spanish wave and freestyle ace Victor Fernandez (E-42 Fanatic / Simmer), a key part of his both his board and sail sponsors’ development programmes starts off. ‘Both my sponsors are committed to developing equipment in windows throughout the year, but for us to use the production equipment for a lot of our sailing time, and all competition. This suits us as riders too as you’re getting tried and tested products and don’t have to worry during competition if it will work or not. So, for freestyle I like to use the Simmer XD in lighter winds with sizes 5.4 – 6.0 and in stronger winds revert to using the Icon for both wavesailing and freestyle’
‘I use 34 inch harness lines which is pretty long for my size I guess, and in both waves and freestyle I like to have the boom between chest and chin height – the stronger the wind the higher I move the boom position. I also feel it is important to use a sail through its natural wind range and not change sizes too often – modern sails like the XD and Icon really allow this wide wind range and that range should be used fully as its not just that they handle the wind, they are actually designed to perform differently as the wind strength goes up and down’
Victors Fanatic teammates, Venezuelans Douglas ‘Cheo’ Diaz (V-34 Fanatic / North) and Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (V-1 Fanatic /North) are a little lighter and shorter and so have some slightly different preferences. Cheo, at only 68kg told us, ‘My biggest freestyle sail is a 5.9 North Duke, and in fact I only use the Dukes in 5.9 and 5.4, because I prefer to use the ICE when its windier in waves and for freestyle too. Being a little shorter than Victor I use shorter harness lines at 26 inches and position them quite wide on the boom as I like the extra stability of the rig. My top tip for freestyle performance is to set the boom high to help to pop the board out and to help balance during sliding tricks’
Gollito, also just under 70 kg has the same sails and also follows the trend of only really using dedicated freestyle sails for the lighter conditions by using the Duke in 5.4m wind and less. ‘I’m taller than Cheo so I use 30 inch harness lines but am different as I like them real close together as it makes the rig a lot more responsive, and I like the boom lower – about chin high. So apart from some rig settings Cheo and I use the same boards, rigs and corresponding sizes to each other - which is usually the Freewave 86 for 5.4 and windier, but the Skate 99 for when its lighter and if we’re on the Dukes’
What ever you take from the preferences of the world top innovators it’s clear that in addition to thoroughly tested and polished production products there’s still a sizeable margin for personal preference, and that windsurfing is as much about experimentation as it is fun! Happy sailing and Aloha!
© PWA / Brian McDowell