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Help understanding Slalom
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rgomez



Joined: 13 Dec 2012
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:15 am    Post subject: Help understanding Slalom Reply with quote

Im having trouble understanding slalom boards....I thought they were only high wind racing boards which provided a more challenging ride compared to freeride.

However, I've noticed many 120L slalom boards that are being used in low winds of 10-15knots....How do these compare to freeride boards or crossover like kona?

Thanks
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1347

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rgomez,

In a nut shell - slalom boards are typically:

Wider in the tail = quicker planing, faster acceleration.
Flat bottom (not V), faster, but a little rougher ride.
More carbon = stiffer & lighter, but less durable.
Hard rails = better water release and faster, but a little harder to gybe & control.
Foot straps are closer to the rails = more leverage at speed, but bad for chop hopping.

For the masses, freeride boards are probably more user friendly & more fun. Maybe a little slower, but with a smoother ride.

Volumes on slalom board run a pretty wide range from under 100 liters up to 140+ liters. This accommodates racing or sailing in winds from over 30 knots to 8 knots (the PWA minimum for slalom racing with large sails).

I wouldn't buy a slalom board unless you are an advanced level sailor. While a slalom board is probably a little faster, it takes an advanced or expert level sailor to make it go faster.
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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 483

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slalom boards in the 110-120 l range are often used as light wind planing machines. With the right fin, they easily take a 8.5 m sail and plane up at least as early as freeride boards with 20 l more volume. Once they get going, the ride is a lot more fun than on a bigger freeride board. Going 5 mph faster may feel like twice as fast. My GPS speeds are higher on a 117 l slalom board in 18 mph winds than on anything I'd use in 30 mph (unless it's a smaller slalom board on flat water). But as techno900 said, you should be an advanced sailor for slalom boards.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2144

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a few slalom boards I seldom ride....Slabs, LeeBrittains, Gneglers.
Slalom boards plane up earlier and go faster than anything within 20 liters of it's size, even with the same sails. IF you know how to pump and ride windswells.
More fragile.
Lighter in weight.
More responsive.
Can take advantage of more expensive fins, Tetonics, Selects, Kinetics.
Plane thru jibes faster and easier, if the skill level is there.
Bounce out and dig rails, if the skill level isn't there.
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sergio_k



Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
I have a few slalom boards I seldom ride....Slabs, LeeBrittains, Gneglers.
Slalom boards plane up earlier and go faster than anything within 20 liters of it's size, even with the same sails. IF you know how to pump and ride windswells.
More fragile.
Lighter in weight.
More responsive.
Can take advantage of more expensive fins, Tetonics, Selects, Kinetics.
Plane thru jibes faster and easier, if the skill level is there.
Bounce out and dig rails, if the skill level isn't there.

Actually new gen. of slaloms are lot less techical to ride, something like
isonics or mikes labs made in the last 2 years, I think anyone with intermidiate level would benefit, why go slower when you can go faster,
why shlog, when you can plain? you do have to pump, be more aggresive .
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2144

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You sound like a newbie to high performance windsurf gear, or possibly you are promoting sales to keep the industry going.
I often sail with guys on '10 and newer slalom boards. They always need more sail sizing to go fast. I can use up to a meter smaller with older slalom boards, and go just as fast as long as I'm not just "barely planing". Barely planing can happen when I misjudge the windspeeds, rig a 5.5 instead of a 7.8, and the winds are really 14-22 mph, and my slalom boards are closer to 80-95 liters than bigger..
You can' tell me a wider board with a bigger sail is "easier to jibe".
Nor is it any more fun.
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KevinDo



Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 340
Location: Cabrillo Inside

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sergio_k wrote:
zirtaeb wrote:
I have a few slalom boards I seldom ride....Slabs, LeeBrittains, Gneglers.
Slalom boards plane up earlier and go faster than anything within 20 liters of it's size, even with the same sails. IF you know how to pump and ride windswells.
More fragile.
Lighter in weight.
More responsive.
Can take advantage of more expensive fins, Tetonics, Selects, Kinetics.
Plane thru jibes faster and easier, if the skill level is there.
Bounce out and dig rails, if the skill level isn't there.

Actually new gen. of slaloms are lot less techical to ride, something like
isonics or mikes labs made in the last 2 years, I think anyone with intermidiate level would benefit, why go slower when you can go faster,
why shlog, when you can plain? you do have to pump, be more aggresive .


While they are definitely a lot less technical than the older models, I wouldn't recommend a slalom board to an intermediate who is trying to perfect his carve gybe!
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2144

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not convinced it makes all that difference.
For one thing, riding a light fast slalom board, you can use smaller sails, that flip easier. You can use hi end fins, less drag and less chance of rails dragging in chop.
They plane at lower speeds, because they're lighter in weight and have more bottom surface to width of board.
Why don't I ride my slalom boards? Because they're more fragile, and put much more pressure on my mental state of imbalance. If I'm out on one of my slalom boards, I'm prime target for all the guys using newer boards and bigger sails..... Very Happy
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KevinDo



Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 340
Location: Cabrillo Inside

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always found that slalom boards really require you to commit to the gybe which most intermediates aren't willing to early on in the learning curve. Even with commitment, I still found that my freeride board was easier to keep it going thru the carve but that's just me! On my slalom board I found that I have to be a bit careful to keep the board going.

I definitely agree though that they are fragile for sure! Very Happy

-Kevin
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sergio_k



Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
You sound like a newbie to high performance windsurf gear, or possibly you are promoting sales to keep the industry going.
I often sail with guys on '10 and newer slalom boards. They always need more sail sizing to go fast. I can use up to a meter smaller with older slalom boards, and go just as fast as long as I'm not just "barely planing". Barely planing can happen when I misjudge the windspeeds, rig a 5.5 instead of a 7.8, and the winds are really 14-22 mph, and my slalom boards are closer to 80-95 liters than bigger..
You can' tell me a wider board with a bigger sail is "easier to jibe".
Nor is it any more fun.

Nope, not a newbie (18 years in sport), all my boards are high end customs, high performance, have been for a while now. I do test accessional production slalom/fw. And I base my comments because most of our windsurfing fleet (Miami) on slalom/formula boards, and most are intermediates and they love them... And no, I have no commercial links to windsurfing industry..
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