Raceboard

The International Raceboard Class, which has been in a gradual decline for many years because of the manufacturers’ reluctance to produce any longboards and because of their concentration on Formula and Hybrid boards, has now received a major shot in the arm with the appearance of the Starboard Phantom 380.

At last the industry has realised that the concept of the longboard, which probably reached a peak of technical development in the 1990’s, can provide more racing for a wider spectrum of ages, sizes and abilities in a wider range of conditions, both on the sea and inland, than anything else yet invented. A totally new board, the Starboard Phantom has been embraced by longboarders who have been patching up their old Megacats, F2s and Mistral Equipe IIs for more years than they care to remember. The first Phantoms appeared in the UK in the late summer of 2008 and their owners have started to learn how best to sail them and take advantage of their early planing characteristics and upwind capability. They have compared well with the old boards which are still around but no doubt after the owners of the Phantoms have tweaked their technique they will go even faster.

Admittedly there have been a few teething troubles - Starboard have never produced a classic raceboard design so they had a lot of learning to do - but the bugs have been ironed out and the debugged boards will explode onto the scene at the first raceboard events in 2009. However, Starboard will not have the field to themselves as Mistral have at last come out of the shadows and produced an Equipe III which is expected early in the new season and in view of Mistral’s experience with longboard design, looks certain to provide a stern challenge.

Even the sailmakers have not been idle, Tushingham, whose 9.5 Lightning has been one of the favourite sails for Raceboard use have developed a new sail which is intended to compete at the bottom end of the wind range with the hard to catch Demons, whilst retaining the incredible flexibility and “get up and go” characteristics of the Lightning range.

The new boards and sails have received some stern testing at the hands of Raceboard heroes such as Rob Kent and Chris Gibson, and even Nik Baker has been involved, displaying some fantastic longboard skills in his role in the development of the Equipe III.

This new interest from manufacturers has received a very favourable reaction from the UK longboard fraternity, and with promises of assistance and co-operation from Tushingham who also import Starboard, and Mistral themselves, a UK Raceboard Class Association has been formed under the chairmanship of Rob Kent, with LWA Chairman Paul Robinson as Secretary. The aim of the Association is of course to breathe new life into the Raceboard scene in the UK especially by encouraging and promoting the Class within the framework of the UKWA’s national and regional events. Particular targets for the new Association are youngsters who are graduating from the Techno fleet and need a board which they can sail both inland and on the sea, and former raceboarders whose kit is in the garage, but is still competitive.

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Alex Mussolini 

Following a short stint riding for Italian brand RRD, Alex Mussolini has made the move over to French brand, Tabou for the start of the 2009 PWA season. He joins a star studded selection of stable mates that includes the likes of Thomas Traversa, Ross Williams, Anthony Reunes and Valarie Ghibaudo.

On teaming up with crazy Frenchman Thomas Traversa, Alex commented:

“Thomas is a great friend and we do a lot of trips and travel on the tour together. He has some great board shapes and really understands boards. It will be excellent to work with him and be on the same team with him.”

When asked about his ambitions, the laid back Spaniard didn’t divulge too much information, “My main goal for 2009 is to do well on the tour!” We wish him the best of luck.

At present, almost without exception the entire PWA wave fraternity is stationed out in Cabo Verde, training hard ahead of the fast approaching Cabo Verde PWA World Cup.

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Mistral 

The event will be held July 6-11, 2009 in Warnemunde Germany on the Baltic Sea. Just prior to the world championships July 4-6, 2009 Open International German Championships for the Classes RS:X and Raceboard will be held at the same location.  For all events there will be age groups for -20, -35, 35+, 45+, 55+ and the first time also 65+.

While these are World Championships events, they are open to all sailors and we are encouraging as many people to attend as possible even if your skills are not at a high level. We would like to have a longboard festival atmosphere with no one intimidated about attending.

This will be hopefully the biggest longboard festival for many years, and all should attend.

There will be special prizes for the nations with the most sailors (besides GER), sailor who made the longest trip, sailor with the oldest equipment, the youngest and oldest sailors. Many product prizes will be raffled, so that everyone will have the same chance to win a valuable raffle-prize.

Warnemunde is about a two hour drive from Berlin and Hamburg with Poland and Denmark also not that far away. So if you have some spare time it is an ideal base for seeing some of the other parts of Europe.

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