BOARDS (UK) interviews Tiesda on freerace design
In their May 2011 issue, BOARDS (UK) featured an extensive article on freeracing including a broad product review. The shapers of leading brands were interviewed about their design philosophy when the developed their freeracer for 2011 and their views on the freeracing segment within their product range. In the text below you will find Tiesda You's answers to the different questions. To read the extensive product review of the Futura first, click here.
BOARDS: Who are Freerace boards designed for?
Tiesda: They are designed for the sporty freerider. Unlike plug-and-play type freeriders, our freerace boards are designed to unlock huge levels of performance and cover a very wide wind range through tuning and sailor skill. The plug-and-play freeride board may have less outright performance but it’s all available right away to anyone who jumps on.
BOARDS: Do you consider them to be more a Freeride board with extra speed or a race board with extra handling?
Tiesda: Neither really. Freeriders want as much speed as they can get and racers want as much handling as the can get so why hold back there? No, our Futuras are here to offer their own unique mix of characteristics: lots of fun and performance on a challenging platform that has lots of hidden potential. This potential is untapped as the rider gains experience with it. A freerace board needs to challenge the freerider to achieve not only higher top end speeds but also higher average speeds, a wider wind range and earlier planing. It’s not just a faster freerider.
BOARDS: If someone wants to go faster than a Freeride can offer, why wouldn’t they just go straight to a race board?
Tiesda: It’s possible if the rider feels confident with outboard strap positions and a more powerful tail design. The Futuras, as freeracers, offer intermediate strap positions and a less powerful tail outline that will help a rider through some intermediary steps if he or she wants to. In this sense, it’s valid to see freeracers as a board that sits between freeriding and pure racing. On the other hand, some freeriders don’t need to go as far as pure-bred slalom boards. A very high top end speed packed into a chassis that jibes easily and handles more comfortably is often an excellent formula for many riders.
BOARDS: How do you design more control into a board – what do you actually do to the shape?
Tiesda: That’s a pretty complicated question. Each parameter affects another like a domino so changing the control level will affect top end speed, acceleration, wind range, planing threshold, well, pretty much every characteristic to a certain extent. Given this context, the shape of the Futura is designed to achieve a certain blend that sets itself a part. So there is no one thing that is done to achieve another specific thing. To give somewhat an answer, the Futura has a narrower tail outline and less powerful rail shapes than the iSonics, but please don’t regard that as an absolute answer.
BOARDS: How important is the fin to the performance and how do you choose it?
Tiesda: It’s extremely important. But put aside the fin model, shape, construction and flex for now. Not only is that important, it’s also a question of how many fins that is also extremely important. You need at least two fin sizes for one freerace board. If you’re counting the stock fin supplied with the board, then you’ll need at least three: one smaller and one larger. As conditions change, changing fin is as critical as changing sail size. Every windsurfer has at least two sails and often three but often just one fin. It’s crazy to see sailors struggling with one fin in all conditions. It’s like watching a car driver going down the M29 at 60 mph in third gear, with the engine revving its head off. It makes you want to shout out, ‘Change gears!’ You guys at Boards and Boardseeker should be doing technique and equipment articles to demonstrate just how much more top end control and bottom end power you can get by changing fin size.
BOARDS: Where and in what conditions did you mainly test your board?
Tiesda: The Futuras were tested in Vietnam (high wind, tough chop), Thailand (light wind, normal chop), Maui (high wind, normal to tough chop) and Australia (medium wind, normal chop).
BOARDS: Half the boards in this test have tail cut-outs – please justify why yours does or doesn’t?
Tiesda: Theoretically speaking, it increases the efficiency of the wet area by making the surface wider and shorter (i.e. higher aspect ratio). Experimentally speaking, we’ve plugged the cut-outs and taken them off again a million times: the cut-outs do increase top speed and give extra sharpness to the acceleration. When plugged in, a board becomes more sticky and draggy. The acceleration just isn’t there anymore.
BOARDS: Tuttle or power? And why?
Tiesda: Tuttle. Because the best racing fins are only available in Tuttle.
Follow this link to read the extensive Futura test by BOARDS (UK).