Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Get a grip!
In addition to new boards being tested, I've been sailing some prototype booms this trip. Now I'm kinda particular about my booms. Specifically in diameter, stiffness and overall user friendliness with the front end, rear pulley and cleat, and easy to use size markings.
And most of all, they need to be strong. I'm a big guy and I sail hard on my gear. One summer I taco'd so many aluminum booms the manufacturer stopped replacing them and strongly recommended to rider their carbon model. (I liked the aluminum one for its reduced diameter). I have to admit that I was a bit sceptic about the survivability of these booms when I was asked to test them. But hey, thats part of the deal, right?
That said, I like these booms. So much that I forget I'm sailing aluminum. But alas, they're stiff and crisp when sailing. What's so special about them? The grip. There's a pronounced "V" on the inside of the boom that makes it super easy to grip the boom, especially when wave sailing. Take a close look at the photos, but keep in mind that we used a wide angle lens to accentuate the view of the "V".
In normal sailing, the grip was less taxing on my forearms. When doing tricks, it was easier to snag the boom with a few fingers and on some near misses, I pulled it out because of the "V". I really noticed the "V when wavesailing - it was super comfy when working hard on the rig going down the line.
Items to note - the diameter was large for some of the women or people with smaller hands, but the production version of them will be about 15% smaller and with a less pronounced "V".
The locking pins for the adjustments were user friendly and beefy, but I wish they'd mark the extension with overall length cm and not just cm of adjustment. The head was nice, though I think there's a more refined version in the works.
The best thing about these booms - the price. I'm not going to disclose MSRP, but in today's economy, these booms are priced right, perhaps even below what I think the value is for them.
And if you've never heard of the brand, rest assured, while they may not be a household name in the North American windsurfing market, these guys have been around the block and then some in Europe. No worries there at all.
Check 'em out, give them a try and get a better grip on your sailing.