Friday, October 9, 2009

Bill Weir- fare thee well

We lost an icon in the sport of windsurfing this week. Bill Weir of San Francisco succumbed to a year long battle with brain cancer. Like everything in life, he gave it everything he had up until the last minute.
We knew Bill as a great waterman. His passion for windsurfing went beyond racing as he was an ambassador for the sport- always bringing new people in with his zeal and enthusiasm for the sport and life. He even went on to document the sport of windsurfing with an amazing film on the beginnings of the sport.
His van and music were icons in the StFYC parking lot for as long as I can remember.

I spent countless sessions with him at Fort Point and on the Friday night course at StFYC but they all seam like a distant memory now.
In my first years in SF, he pushed me more than anyone else, owning the Friday night course but always available for a "debreifing" in his van after the racing.
That was his course and we all knew it. When I was finally able to beat him in a Friday nite series, I was so damn happy. I had so much respect for the guy.

He was larger than life and always fist to the mark.

We'll miss you dear friend.
Godspeed on the journey ahead.

A memorial service will be held @ 3:30 pm Monday October 12th @ the Saint Francis Yacht Club (adjacent to Crissy Field). More info @

There will be a brief service to honor Bill, followed by a reception at the yacht club.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Surf Rider Foundation and Save the Bay
Before the service you are still encouraged to walk along the beach at Crissy Field and enjoy the beautiful place that Bill called his second home.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2010 formula boards...another 2 year cyle

With a September 30st deadline for the 2010 ISAF Formula board registration, we're beginning to get an idea of the boards for next season. Looks like at least 7 or 8 new models to choose from for the upcoming season which really highlights the strength of the class! Healthy competition always brings the best forward.
The development lately over the past few years has really evened out with most of the shapes either leaning toward light wind performance or control as it gets windier.
But can 1 board still do it all?
In 2008, the class rules were changed so that boards needed to be registered at the beginning of a 2 year cycle. Weve just completed the 08/09 season and the new boards for 2010-11 will be class legal to race starting Jan 1. Board manufactures needed to register their boards by Sept 30 or face missing out on the next years.
Picking a board largely depends on where you'll be racing but remember you can always change rigs and fins to accomodate the conditions.
Industry leader, Starboard took the idea of that releasing 2 boards is better than 1, but unlike F2 last year, they are making both available at once: A heavy rider board and a light rider board. Its a bit of slap in the face at the formula rules (which limited new designs to a 2 year cycle) but kudos to them for making the best available to both heavy weight and light weight riders. The difficult decision will be which one to choose!
Early information suggest the LWR is based of the 160 shape that worked so well in the breeze and the HWR is based off the 162.
Gaastra will also have a new board and should be excellent as usual with the developmental input of Ross Williams and Arnon Dagon. Their 2008/9 board was one of the easiest to tune from the beginning and did not seem to be so fin sensitive like the other boards.
There's not much known about the status of the F2 program with their lead designer Patrik Diethelm bailing ship after last years financial insolvency in the F2 group. The word is little change and new graphics for the 2010 board. Look for the continued legacy of light-wind performance form F2 and maybe another Diethelm board from Patricks own label!
The all new 2010 Black Machine by Exocet will really benefit from the input of one of the best testers and forces in the industry- Gonzalo Costal Hovel. He has been living and breathing formula and slalom for the last few years and really knows his stuff. Expect the best!
With ARG-3 graphics on the hull, Im not to sure this will be popular with the Brazilians!

Legendary Bay area shaper, Mike Zajicek has also been busy making not 1 but 2 boards for the upcoming season. His signature line will have a an improved version of the L8 with longer rails and a broader nose and no doubt, almost all of the SF fleet will be one!
One official run downwind in the bridge to bridge race and the thing was flying. Expect a comfortable ride with standard double chicken for the SF voodoo chop. The lightest weight and best constructed formula board on the market!
He's also been commissioned to shape the new JP Formula board. All indications suggest something very similar to the ML10 but maybe a bit bigger in the tail for the likes of Buzianis or Albeau. The "race deck" is a new feature with raised padding under the front footstrap for better control. See more PR here.Finally there's 2 new boards from Carbon Art....780 and 820. They've made some sweet slalom board and even cleaned up at the US Nationals this summer in the Gorge! With a radically different tail and NO CUT OUTS, these 2 designs should be interesting!
Additional info on the Carbon Art boards at their forums

Sean put together a nice collection of photos of the new starboard and exocet boards shown at the Worlds in Santa Pola. Check out the photos at