Baja Winds Welcome The New Year – January 17, 2009
(this post is late due to problems with our satellite internet service)
This is why we come to Baja in the winter; with great wind 11 of the past 12 days, the only complaints are about sore muscles and a few blisters. Most days have been 4.2 to 4.7 with lighter sailors on 3.5 to 3.7. The new Panthers have been getting a workout from sailors eager to try David’s newest creation. Over 25 sailors attended our clinic and we had a great time answering questions ranging from rigging various Ezzy sails to the new Technora cloth in the Panther.
La Ventana sailors are eager to check out the new Panther.
Two weeks ago I read a post on the iwindsurf forum asking “what year Ezzy wave sail is your favorite”. It was an interesting mix of ideas and opinions from sailors who have owned various years of the SE. I thought it would be informative to have Ezzy sailors here on the beach try the new Panther and then share their thoughts. In an effort to keep the sail as the only variable in the test, I had the sailor take out their sail for several runs and then switch to the same size Panther…same board, boom, harness lines, wind, and water conditions. Here are some thoughts from my real hardcore Baja sailors.
The first sailor out on the Panther 4.7 was Wendy from Penticton, BC, Canada. She and her husband are on the water for nearly 200 days a year; summer in the Gorge and winters in Baja, they are dedicated hardcore windsurfers. They’ve been Ezzy sailors for years, so Wendy was comparing her 2003 SE to the new Panther. Her are her thoughts. “I’ve never really liked sailing our 4.7, I usually just wait until I can get out the 4.2. The 4.7 seemed to feel over-powered pretty easily. But from the first reach the 4.7 Panther felt unreal…it was perfect! I never felt over powered, and it was easy to waterstart when I missed a jibe. The ’03 always seemed heavy when waterstarting, and that’s probably the reason I avoided using it. The Panther’s power was so balanced and smooth in the turns, I loved it, and it’s time to upgrade our quiver.”
Wendy discouvers that a 4.7 can be FUN!
My second test rider comes to Baja each winter from Shuswap Lake, BC, Canada and is a La Ventana regular. He chose a perfect 5.2 day to compare his ’06 Ezzy SE with the new Panther. The first thing he noticed was… ” the harness lines and boom height was exactly the same on both sails. Both sails have the smooth power I love in my Ezzys. The one thing that immediately felt different was that the Panther has a lighter feel and not as much snap after making a jibe. There is no doubt that its an Ezzy, just lighter and even smoother on the water.” As much as I talk with sailors about the new Panther, I always tell them “the truth is on the water”…so stop by the south end of the Park on a windy afternoon and try one yourself.
La Ventana is one of the few places that kiters and windsurfers share a mostly peaceful coexistence on the water. This weekend was the annual Kitefest here in La Ventana; and one of the highlights of the event is the channel crossing from Cerralvo Island to Baja Joe’s in La Ventana and windsurfers are invited to participate. It’s a nine mile open water race for kiters and windsurfers who are looking for a true Baja adventure. This year saw 85 kiters and 15 windsurfers, both men and women from teens to 60+ in age. Choose your kite or sail size, and when the gun goes off, first one back to La Ventana wins. Last years race was marred by controversy as the windsurfer who won was disqualified because he had sailed to the island for the start rather than ride in a boat. So this year everyone went to the island in boats and the windsurfers proved they had the speed and stamina by finishing 1-2-3. The first kiter was hot on their heals, but the windsurfers came through in conditions ranging from 15 to 25 knots.