Well most of you will know I have been off the water for 6 months recovering from a bad fall windsurfing injuring my shoulder. Speaking to a few members around the Club who have suffered long term injuries it was interesting to gain their perspective on things and how they handled their return to the water.
Doubts where creeping in – would the shoulder repair sufficiently for me to continue my favourite sport, would I re injure it, would it hold up. I could see that I needed a distraction to take my mind off these negative things constantly circling my thoughts and that is when I came up with the concept of a “Motivator”
On the main, the crash happened because my board was too big for the conditions and I did not have the skill to control it. Soooo…. I started thinking about a smaller board, something that will handle 25 – 30 kts. The recommendations I was getting from friends was to consider a small slalom board but I really did not want to head in that direction I was thinking that the ride would be hard and these aging hips and knees of mine would suffer.
It was Dazza who spiked my imagination by suggesting that I look at a large speed board – something I would have never considered. Again my thinking of hard ride was throwing up the negative. However the Mistral Speed had always grabbed my attention and the fact that it was designed by an Australian – Chris Lockwood added another dimension. Never one to be shy I rang Chris and talked with him about my issues with hard riding designs and what ideas he had put into the Mistral Speed 95. The more we talked the more I warmed to the idea and what won the day was that Chris’s father complete with hip replacements sails the Mistral slalom board without issue. As Chris explains the ride is soft with the hull design being double concave. As it just happens Chris was looking at moving on his Mistral Speed 95 so I encouraged him to move it on my way!
Well back to the board being the Motivator. I needed it somewhere where I would be constantly looking at it to take away all these negatives thoughts about my injury. So for the last 4 months it has been sitting in my office telling me to do my shoulder strengthening exercises and stop these negative thoughts and just get out and do it. Months went by without wind or when there was I had other commitments on – extremely frustrating. The time came when the forecast looked good and Sunday- Father’s Day was its first official launch with Old Salty as the skipper. Swan Bay beckoned; wind was northerly forecasted at 20 – 25 kts. When I arrived wind was building and by the time I hit the water it had dropped to 15kts with a few 20 kts bullets. What the heck, I was here and I was definitely going out on this board. I expected to be floundering, flipping and flopping all over the bay “What tha” The man just jumped on the board and sailed off into the sunset!!! This board was so easy, almost too easy to sail. Perhaps it was my skill level – nah it was the board.
Sadly I did not achieve Chris’s peak speed of 45kts on this board and never will either but I came away with a number of thoughts.
This is not a plug for Mistral as every person who windsurfs is different and has different needs and certain brands will meet some people’s needs and not others. So let us put brand names aside and consider all board brands. Most newer boards are built to make it easy for us to ride
Match your equipment to your skill level and conditions you want to go out in
Save your pennies to get newer equipment as it developed to make it easier to use and will help develop your skill levels and make your windsurfing more enjoyable.
Do not be frightened to talk with the equipment designers (most have their email addresses on the website) as well as the retailers. Tell them your issues and ask them what they would recommend.
Weigh up all the pros and cons and discuss them with other windsurfers.
Red is a good bloke after you have sailed with him a few times…..