In this article I want to talk about how effective the use of lead as additional weight is in Speedwindsurfing. It is no secret that heavier guys usually have the upper hand when it comes to high-wind speedsurfing, so does it make sense to use more lead if you are on the lighter side?
Well, first of all I believe that bodyweight and height do not play as an important role nowadays with the advanced equipment as it was the case 30,20 and even 10 years ago, even though it still doesn’t hurt to be tall and heavy 🙂 In certain situations though I’ve found that adding a bit of extra weight helps a lot.
First of all we have to understand what makes a board and the windsurfer fast. I believe that the board is faster the steadier it is. Lots of movement will cause additional drag and a loss of forward momentum, so you have to try to achieve two things: Firstly you do not want the nose of the board to lift to much by putting as much force as possible onto your footstraps. The force apply to the board is a result of the lever and your bodyweight (including your neo, harness, etc…) So basically if you have the feeling that you cannot keep the board steady enough or that you cannot fully close your sail, adding a bit extra weight can help a lot to get maximum efficiency.
The aforementioned is also true when sailing in strong, square winds. The more square the angle is the more power you feel in your sail, so the harder it is to close the sail! I’ve found that lead helps me a lot when trying to sail fast in halfwind-conditions.
The second aspect where adding extra weight can help is sailing in chop! Heavier riders are faster in chop, because the board doesn’t spin around as much in the chop. More weight will give you the advantage of a smoother ride through the chop and therefore make you faster!
Most of the speedsurfers add lead by wearing a weight/impact vest with pockets where you can add some lead. Of course you can also put some sand in for trying if more weight works for you. I recommend to start off with adding only a little bit weight (~2-4kg). If you have back problems you maybe shouldn’t add more weight while surfing. Also remember to not add more weight than your vest gives you as boyancy, so that you will still float if you crash.
I hope this article made it a bit clearer how additional weight can help to improve in speedsurfing. To conclude I’d like to say that in the end the choice if you should add extra weight or not really is up to preference again. There are some really fast light surfers out there, that do not add extra weight. The most important thing is to develop a good technique and stance on the board. Wearing a weight vest might just give you the little extra bit of control you need in the end.