A pandemic getaway to Pro-Windsurf La Ventana in Cabo, run by pros Wyatt Miller and Tyson Poor. A good way to get acquainted with the new gear, in my case after more than a decade of downtime, including foilers that didn’t exist when I moved north and largely gave up windsurfing. Plus ATVs, kites and a 24-hour well-stocked bar. And the ring game.
Here I am exploring the beach and getting in some time on a 5.9 meter sail and 103-liter JP surf board. Nice to discover at 59 this sport is like riding a bicycle, the muscle memory doesn’t go away. The gear has changed a lot, though. In the 80s the sails were like tents, gradually improving until they had something approaching a modern wing shape. The boards were all over the place: skinny, fat, sinkers that needed 20 knots plus just to get moving, weird experimental designs like the Mistral Challenge Flex, which I rented for a memorable couple of days at the Gorge in 1989. In the 90s boards started sprouting huge high-aspect fins, which bred the bad habit of leaning heavily with the back foot against the fin instead of maintaining a balanced stance on the board.
The new boards are surfier, with smaller fins that will spin out easily unless you remember all sports are pretty much the same: Bend your knees, keep your weight balanced and lean forward. As Wyatt pointed out, a good sailor can track on a board with half an inch of fin. Mere mortals need a bit more.