Interview with Andy Bubble Chambers
How did you get involved with Tushingham in the first place?
It was in Dahab last November. There was a dealer meeting and I met Dave Hackford [Tushingham Sails honcho]. I spoke to him and Tiesda You (Starboard designer) about the design of the Flares initially and then we got onto a conversation about fins and sail design for freestyle. It was really interesting for me as it’s something that I would like to move on to when I stop competing. I wasn’t happy with my deal at the time as I wasn’t involved in any of the R & D. Dave said that if I wanted to sign with Tushingham I would be involved 100% on the design of the Wedge with Ken Black. It was such a good opportunity so I jumped at the chance!
When did you first try the Tushingham freestyle sail and what did you think of it?
I tried the Wedge the next day. It was pretty windy and I was on a 5.8 (the smallest Wedge at the time) so I already thought a smaller size in the range was needed. The sail felt light but the power was pulling from very low down and I couldn’t sail in my normal upright stance for freestyle. I had to sail it more like a freeride sail. During some manoeuvres the sail would overpower me, which meant that it wasn’t de-powering and going neutral.
What had to change, i.e. what does a freestyle sail have to do?
The most important thing for a freestyle sail is that it has to go neutral. (When a sail goes neutral it means that it de-powers when you want it to). This changes for different manoeuvres. For example, when you do a spock, as the board spins around you want to be able to de-power the sail so that it doesn’t push you onto your back foot. To make the sail go neutral we had to change the two battens above the boom to tube/rod battens. These battens are much stiffer so when the sail has no power in it it’s profile is very flat or neutral and as soon as you get some power the profile deepens. This was the first major improvement to the sail.
The second was having a shorter boom. This made the sail rotate much easier and made it better for ducking /diablos. The overall shape of the sail is much more compact or box like, therefore the centre of effort has moved slightly further up allowing you to sail more upright and over the board in more of a freestyle stance. Finally, more monofilm and x-ply was added for extra skin tension to make the sail a bit stiffer and more responsive.
How was it working with Ken Black as you are very different people! How is he at freestyle?
Ha ha! In the beginning it was a bit hard because he didn’t really know what new school freestyle involved. He was quite surprised when I told him what I wanted the sail to do. But the man is a total genius when it comes to sail design. He could change the way the sail felt just by changing small things. If I asked for the sail to be stiffer and more responsive he would change a few things and it was done. He trusted everything I said and I was always confident that it would be how I asked. Not too sure on his freestyle skills though!!!
How does the 5.7 Wedge differ from the 5.7 Rock?
The Wedge is lighter, stiffer and more responsive. The Rock has a softer and forgiving feel and it doesn’t have the tube/rod battens. The boom is longer on the Rock and it has much more x-ply and crash panels.
Talk me through the design process of the Wedge. What did you tell Ken?
I told Ken exactly what I wanted the sail to do; how I wanted it to feel during which manoeuvres. Then the sizes that wanted, the boom length etc. I tried to give him as much info as possible throughout the development of the Wedge so he always had new angles to work with.
Where did you test it?
Initially the first tests were done in Dahab which is perfect because I know the conditions so well and there is a varied range of water states and wind strengths. After that I took the sails to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura for the PWA World Tour where I could test them in competition and again in a wide variety of conditions.
How many prototypes did it have?
Actually the very first one wasn’t far off. I was so happy with the second prototype I took this one to the Canaries in the summer for the competitions. After that one the sail went into production so not many prototypes at all!
Who choose the graphics/colours?
The graphics and the colours were chosen collectively amongst everyone at Tushingham.
What’s it like to get your very own sail built for you?
It’s pretty amazing really! It’s everything I could want in a sail. Tushingham are trying to appeal to the younger generation a bit more with the Wedge. Primarily its younger kids that are getting into freestyle and with the new sizes and the new look of the Wedge I feel that Tushingham have hit the nail on the head!
|| Ideal IMCS
|| 433 (adj)
|| 19 or 21
400 or 430
|| 24 or 25
|| As above in The Stats chart
|| November 2007
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