Thursday, 31 March 2011

Wind at last - 31st March

Finally Cornwall has been blessed with solid breeze after almost a 3 week wind drought!
An enjoyable sail down at Marazion, Station Car park on the trusty Ezzy 5.8m Wave Panther 3 and RRD Wave Twin Ltd 90.  Typical cross onshore conditions and a waist high wave allowed a fun cruise with some chop hopping and the occasional slash when any swell peaked.  Around a dozen windsurfers were out with mild temperatures and a slightly overcast day. 
It was my first opportunity to try out the Shock XTR extension system from North Sails.  Basically it is like a suspension unit built into the extension which combined with a specific north deckplate - Certanly it is not a cheap piece of kit but does it work? - The idea behind it
First impressions......
Rigging - The north ratchet XT system has been around for a while and I think it is simply a joy to use. It is efficient and allows you to tune your downhaul to perfection on the beach and is not at all fiddly once you are accustomed to it.  The extension is alloy and means it is robust and the adjustment collar is operational with the minimum of fuss.
On the Water:
In all respects it behaves like a typical tendon style deckplate (a little stiffer than the tradional boge UJ)  Sailing in a straight line on flat water between the waves I do not think you would notice the difference but where it comes into play is on choppy conditions and in landing from jumps.  The jury may still be out on the choppy water but it certainly felt very comfortable with less rig vibration once I was fully on the plane - Considering it was Starboard tack jumping (my worst side) and I typically have more than my fair share of 'slappy' landings I felt it really came into its own when landing from jumps. 

More testing with it is required  to build more concise feedback on this piece of windsurfing engineering, but first impressions are definitely positive - If you want to try one Let me know!
 For a boards  Video review of the extension - click here

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Bear kicks off outside Westcountry Watersports! - Or how to raise £9000 from 2nd hand wetsuit sale for Charity

Local Truro man Dan Brown and his pal 'Bear' must have created a bit of E-bay history for the sale of a second hand wetsuit and as the saying goes - All good things must come to an end one day.

Last night saw the end of the auction of the  wetsuit on ebay.

It got 665,633 hits and the sum reached was £8999. 

Dan and the Bear discussing the Wetsuit on eBay
How you may well ask  does this e-bay item generate such a response? - and its not just because Dan generously donated 95% of the money to charity.  Read on.....

This was the fairly innoculous post... 

 Possibly it was down to his description?

 I bought this wetsuit brand-new last year and have worn it a fair bit. When I say 'fair' I reckon about 20 times, but then probably more like 30. A fair few times anyway.

HOWEVER you will like this, If it was not being worn, it was hung on a hangar or rolled to prevent creasing AND I rinsed it in fresh water after EVERY session so it's in VERY good condition as I look after my gear, I always do, similarly I take care of my body and shower at least once a day and always moisturise. Yes you're probably getting a feel for the kind of man I am. You can see from the pictures it has no creases and looks lovely. My friend Gaz has got a wetsuit that he doesn't look after and it looks like an Elephant's arse, all wrinkled, a bit like an old man's testicle.

You're probably thinking "People p*ss in wetsuits, I'm not sure about a second hand wetsuit", but believe it or not I have NEVER urinated in this suit, seriously, these suits are too good to be doing such a vulgar act in, the wee just ends up staying in the suit and then when you're sat having a post-surf pint in the pub you smell awful and girls don't like boys that smell of p*ss  so you just sit there, alone all night, sobbing into your pint of Betty Stoggs like a lonely desperate p*ss smelling man.

I've included a picture of a bear using a urinal, this is how I normally use the toilet, notice that the animal is not wearing a wetsuit. Although I am not a bear, I, like a bear, do not p*ss in wetsuits.

 It's a size medium or "m", it was the top of the range suit when I bought it, I think I paid around £300 for it, still a great warm suit that will make you surf at least 200% better. It won't really but it will keep you warm and it's flexible so you'll be able to throw your arms around like Beyonce whilst you're bouncing along a wave. People will look at you and say "f*ckin hell check that dude out, he knows what he's doing wearing one of those Xcel suits and he's got some fresh dance moves". They probably won't say this.

Now as it's been worn, there's some signs of wear around the neck, which I've taken pictures of, so you don't say "oi you c*nt, there's area of wear around the neck I'm giving you bad feedback". The pictures make it look worse than it is (because they're close-ups), and I've taken the pictures with the suit turned inside out, when it's the right way round you don't see the wear and it has no effect on the performance of the suit. That was a bit boring wasn't it, but it had to be done so you can't take me to eBay court for not being honest with you.

Why am I selling it? Well I've just bought a new one, as I'm a flash tw*t like that, I tend to get a new suit every season, I just like the feel of fresh neoprene on my soft skin, and well to be honest I could do with some cash to pay for prostitutes. No, that was a joke, now you're going to think the suit is riddled with disease but it's not as I was joking I do NOT engage with ladies of the night.

I'll post it out the next working day following cleared payment, or if you're around the Truro area you can come and collect it thus avoiding postage charges. Having said that, if you're a maniac, maybe you should just let me post it to you as I don't want to be murdered to death, especially as the summer is just beginning! WOO HOO.

Any questions just ask, I'll answer them very quickly as I'm sat at a computer all f*cking day, unless there's waves.

Thanks for looking and reading all of that ridiculous text, I hope you have a wonderful day.

And then came the Updates...

On 14-Mar-11 at 23:43:11 GMT, seller added the following information: UPDATE.

This listing for my urine-free wetsuit is getting a lot of unexpected attention which is nice but I'm feeling I should do something positive with all the 'f*cking energy man', so I've decided to give 90% of the money it makes to the Red Cross to aid their efforts in Japan. That sounds all 'oh look at me I'm so nice I'm giving to charity' doesn't it... yeah well p*ss off.

On 15-Mar-11 at 00:42:42 GMT, seller added the following information:Okay so people are now saying "only 90%", and I agree that sounds a bit sh*t, you see I was worried that if it only made it up to £20 or something I'd be unable to afford the postage! So let's say as the value goes up so does the percentage!

On 15-Mar-11 at 22:38:01 GMT, seller added the following information:  VERY IMPORTANT NEWS.
Just got off the phone to XCEL wetsuits in Hawaii, who are very kindly donating a BRAND NEW 2011 Drylock wetsuit to the auction, it will remain a 3/2 (summer) but will be available in a range of sizes to suit the winning bidder. So now, in addition to the original p*ss free suit, you'll also get a brand spanker, but still no bears or doors, just TWO wetsuits free of urine, one old and knackered (m) and one lovely and new (any size).
Big love to XCEL for their kind donation.

On 15-Mar-11 at 22:48:23 GMT, seller added the following information: I should also add, that the new 2011 Drylock Summer suit retails at well over £300.00 and isn't available over here in the UK yet. So dig deep or you may get bummed by the bear.

On 16-Mar-11 at 14:29:07 GMT, seller added the following information:More Stuff!
So the lovely lot over at DryRap are now donating one of their special change towels to the auction. This towel stops you exposing yourself whilst changing. It's one of those ideas you wish you'd thought of yourself. Jeff at the Miners Arms reckons he invented 'the horse' when he was a lad, we explained it was an animal and that evolution created it, he was having none of it, reckons he crossed a deer with a cow after a bottle of scotch.

On 16-Mar-11 at 22:21:51 GMT, seller added the following information:  And now the generous crew over at Carve magazine are also donating a year's subscription to their publication. This is great news to all us humans capable of reading but somewhat disappointing for bears.

On 16-Mar-11 at 23:36:41 GMT, seller added the following information: So eBay called me at 17:30 GMT (16th) telling me the listing did not comply with their rules and would probably be removed, it is apparently 'unprofessional' and 'contains profanity', I did my best to explain that it was all in good spirit and for a good cause and asked if some discretion could be exercised in the name of charity, perhaps it could be considered an exceptional listing and could be allowed to run its course? They seemed unwilling to budge but it's now 6 hours since the call and it remains live, I'm hoping they've reconsidered and recognised no good can come from the removal, not only will it make them look incredibly bad, but it will also mean a charity will miss out on a $1,000+ donation.

On 18-Mar-11 at 21:32:00 GMT, seller added the following information:IT GROWS.
This auction is now more packed out than the legion on a Wednesday when you can get a pint of Stoggs for £1.50. I had 4 once and was sick on the bath mat.

So first of all XCEL, my favourite wetsuit company, are now throwing in Men’s Drylock Boots AND Gloves (3 or 5mm)  and are saying the winning bidder gets to choose their Infiniti Drylock Suit in 3mm,4mm, 4mm Hooded, or 5mm Hooded.

NIXON Watches are also contributing to the package by adding an Outsider Tide Watch! are throwing in a 6ft Fourth Speed Fish surfboard, hand shaped in Cornwall!

Nicole Morgan, pro surfer and all round legend, is kindly donating one of her Quiver boards to the cause which is 5'10 by 17'7/8 by 2.

Devon based company are throwing in some custom made ear plugs.

DVS footwear will do a pair of Rico CT (god went surfing with the devil colab) and a pair of Jordy 2 Sandals  in whatever size the generous benefactor wants. are donating a Northcore Double soft roof rack system. are throwing in a Curve 2 in 1 Changebag

Mambo: are providing their rare, out of print arty book "Still Life With Franchise".

Hickorynines are throwing in two tickets for the awesome Leopallooza festival which takes place over the weekend of 30th & 31st July 2011 near Bude, North Cornwall.

Ben Hall from Live Music Connections is donating two tickets for the REEF gig at Lusty Glaze this summer, 29th May 2011. are donating their moon, tide and time combination clock. are throwing in the DVD "Surfing Techniques with Timmy Curran"

Martin Dorey  is contributing a copy of his book The Camper Van Cookbook.

Awesome Penzance based photographer Jacob Cockle is throwing in a free photography session (in or out of the water). See

AND are shipping all this out to the winning bidder!

On 18-Mar-11 at 23:47:54 GMT, seller added the following information: I was bound to make a mistake, inevitable after being forced to drink J├Ągermeister with the bear at 5pm. I listed SurfPlugs as SurfPlugs dot Com, and that was a fishing tackle company in America, they're actually and they make ear plugs that go in your ears not fishing lures. Sorry Rob. At least I didn't mistake Surf for Butt.

On 19-Mar-11 at 15:40:19 GMT, seller added the following information:THIS IS GETTING DAFT NOW.

Okay more from the XCEL crew, they're now throwing in a Drylock bag. Which lets you carry around wet stuff without getting wet.

VonZipper are giving us a pair of their limited addition Smokeout Elmore sunnies in Purple Erkel.

Gwithian Academy of Surfing are throwing in two lots of surfing lessons! are kindly donating a Mermaid 43" Pintail Long Skateboard. are throwing in a complete set of organic skincare products worth £195 as well as the very first pot of their After Surf Face Balm. I like the sound of that, can I have the second pot? are donating a Dakine Traction Pad. This provides traction.
And my pal Leon at is going to print a 120 x 90cm canvas of one of the shots Jacob Cockle gets during the photoshoot.

On 20-Mar-11 at 20:56:11 GMT, seller added the following information:NEW WEBSITE

I have received over 2,000 questions about the wetsuit, which I've not even made a small dent in (sorry!) so I'm setting up a website which will allow the Q&A's to continue long after the auction ends.

I'll be answering the questions I've missed as well as responding to new questions about other subjects such as garment care, manners and soup.

Visit the site to register your interest:

AND SO it ended. Dan and the bear came into Westcountry Watersports, Truro to be awarded with a Limited edition Pyrofreak from O'Neill Wetsuits courtesy of their fine prose, generousity & ingenuity.  We luckily manged to get them out of the shop before the bear kicked off  and most of the blood stains have since been washed off the pavement!
Dan and the Bear fight over the  Limited edition Pyrofreak

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A real kitesurfers review of F-One Bandit III v's Bandit IV

"Well I've now had my new Bandit 4's long enough to have had a few sessions on both the 7 and 11m.
The instant observation on both, is how stable they are. I thought the Bandit III's were great, stable freestyle or wave riding kites, but these are instantly noticeable as even more stable. Gusty conditions with the kite overhead when on the beach or if the kite is pretty depowered as you come down a wave, they just sit there, solid, no bounce, no flapping, no vibration down the lines, nothing. There is a downside to this though! Self landing is a little bit more tricky without pulling the kite onto the safety system.
The 4's seem to turn faster than the Bandit' III's, which with the faster and increased depower make them even better for wave riding (my preference). Speaking to Denzil he is loving how they kite loop to. I'll leave that to him.
I've heard a lot that each kite size will cope with more wind, than the same size Bandit III. So far, yes, I'd be comfy in more wind on the same size 4' than the III's, but I'm not yet convinced that also means the other end is less. The 4's seem to be that little bit more responsive and with the increased stability, I reckon you'd be able to get out on the same low end of the wind range. As ever, just work the kite to get your board speed up and off you go.
I like the rubber ends to the bar, the more obvious and easier to grab quick release safety and most of all the ball valve on the inflate valve. As a one pump kite there's a dump valve, but not having to rush seal off the inflate point is a niggle removed compared to the Bandit III's.
The Bandit III's were amazing, the Bandit IV's are even better.
"  Rory Jenkins

Feel free to make  your own mind up we will have them back in stock imminently and we will have a 9m on demo.  For Price details click here - or the F-one Website here
I will see if Denzil can add anything to this as he has been using them for quite a while now and although he is probably somewhat biased being one of the UK's longest sponsored F-One Riders his feedback would be invaluable as he uses them over freestyle, wave and course racing disciplines.