View Full Version : Starboard Appollo/Formula Windsurfing

keith Atkinson
8th September 2006, 03:39 PM
The next generation in Formula Windsurfing equipment. I have seen the Appollo at the Formula Windsurfing World Championships here in Korea, i have to say i am very excited to try this board. as i think this concept, with the 75cm fin will enable windsurfers to plane earlier, and maintain speed through the lightest of lulls. as soon as i saw it, i said i want one!

I, as do many other windsurfers, live inland. This means that you can maximise time sailing at your local lake by having a board like the Appollo. Congratulations Starboard, we are one step closer for a formula board being an olympic class board. For the good of our sport, this is what we need to push for.

why? because Formula windsurfing is a class for which the equipment is at it's peak in performance, and continually developing every year. This makes Formula the most exciting lightwind racing discipline in the world. Also, If you havent tried it, you really should, your missing out bigtime.

I hear people saying "but i dont want to use something so big". you don't realise how easy formula boards are to sail. With a big formula-style board, you have awesome lightwind performance, effotless acceleration, and you will maximise the time on the water when you get to the beach. when you make the effort to go to the beach, you put a formula style board in your quiver, i guarantee you'll get more hours on the water. why sit on the beach in 9 knots or less, when you can have fun out there on a big board. all freeride sailors out there, go for the Isonic range 145 or 155. They are a less technical, friendlier, easy to sail version of the Formula 160/161.

Good sailing.
Keith AtkinsonB)

8th September 2006, 03:50 PM
Hi Keith,thanks for your opinion.Like many people out here I'd like to know which is the choice to do this next season.I've guessed to go for 161 as it's a more versatile board that should cover strong wind too but I'm curious about what is the dead line compared to Apollo.I mean,how many wind needs to make 161 overtaken the Apollo (using same sail,same fin,same sailor) ?
Thank you

keith Atkinson
8th September 2006, 04:03 PM
Hi G,
So I am told, the Appollo is a great board for lighter winds, up to 12-13 knots. then the Formula 161 is overtaking with better speed only. I am desperate to try the Appollo myself, i will try it with a 70cm fin whilst i am here in Korea. This is a lightwind venue also, so its a perfect opportunity to give some feedback on performance. to look at, the appollo is longer, and thinner in the nose. whilst the tail is wider and thicker. perfect for lake sailing, and also light wind formula races (under 12-13 knots) which, thinking about it, is a good percentage of all formula races that we race in, nationally and internationally.

all the best

8th September 2006, 04:27 PM
Still thank you Keith.
I'll wait for your Korean Apollo and 161 report.I live where wind is usually stronger than 12 kns so....
I wonder hoe new F2 with such wide tail will work too.

keith Atkinson
8th September 2006, 04:44 PM
no problem. Lucky you! :)
the F2 is a technical board and takes longer to make the board go fast. if your looking for ultimate performance with minimum effort, i'd go for the Starboard everytime...that is my unbiased opinion.

keep your eyes open for my feedback.

8th September 2006, 05:39 PM
Yes,I know.After 3 seasons with Starboard this year I switched for another brand and I passed too much time on trimming and still I don't understand how make the board perform like 159!!!!!
Hey Keith,don't you're backing home from Korea?
When you'll be able to test the boards?

keith Atkinson
8th September 2006, 08:18 PM
Hi G

thats right, you can jump on the starboard and go fast with ease. i will be home in 5 days. i will test the board here, and i will test the board and give a full report when i know more...

best wishes

13th September 2006, 04:49 PM
Hey Keith,any 161 or Apollo feedback?
Thank you

14th September 2006, 03:43 AM

There is a down side to the Apollo and Formula racing.

If you want to be as competitive as possible, you will have to travel with two formula boards, selecting the one the will work best when you arrive at the race.

Anyone racing an Apollo in Korea would have kicked butt. The playing field will never be level when people are on different boards. This assumes that all of today's formula boards are relatively equal.

Why not design a high wind formula board for those 25 knot+ days, then we can carry three boards to the formula events. Or you can change the rules and go to 3 boards and 3 sails. Of course, this goes in the opposite direction for which formula racing was conceived.

There is nothing in the current rules against having two boards at an event, you just have to choose one to use for the entire regatta. For us one board racers, It's going to cost us bunch of money to keep up with the guys with two boards.

I think you get my point.

14th September 2006, 10:23 AM

I hear what you are saying, but shouldn't Starboard be applauded for attempting to lowering the planing threshold? Realistically TOW is the biggest factor in FW racing, gear is important but sailing 3 times a week will take you farther than that new fin.


14th September 2006, 10:05 PM
George USA39,

I agree, it's a good thing to be designing boards that perform well in lighter winds, but there is a cost.

I only race 6 or so times a year, so I will not likely have a quiver of formula boards. But be sure that at some race, if I am still on my F160, and a fellow competitor shows up on an apollo, I may get my butt kicked by a less skilled sailor. I can live with that, but won't be real happy about it.

On the other hand, I may choose to go the way of the Apollo to maximize my TOW. But if I get into a windy regatta, I may have to sit on the beach.

Life is sooooo hard.

15th September 2006, 12:10 AM
Hi Ken,

Having more than one board offers significant versatility, and its hard to see the downside in that. The one thing that has become apparent to me is that so many folks are replacing their boards yearly. Unless you're sponsered, that's a mighty expensive luxury in my mind. Personally, I doubt that there is that much innovation yearly to warrant buying a new board each year, but the drive to have the latest and greatest runs strong in some folks blood.

I guess the point I wanted to make would be to pick up that new Apollo and not replace your F160 this year or the next. Getting into replacing a board every two to four years allows you to develop a strong quiver of boards to make the most of the conditions. Of course, that strategy wouldn't simplify the transportation issues of hauling a ton of stuff around. Really though, the problem only becomes more daunting and costly if one travels to races via the airlines.

Still, George makes a very strong point above. Time on the water is the true benefit, especially if you have a competitive edge. Given the idea that a 75cm fin is part of the Apollo's core strength, it is very likely that FW rules could be changed a bit to allow the larger fin. With that change, I think it makes real sense to modify the rules to allow a sailor to change boards on a race by race basis so that one is not fated with enduring a poor choice in a regatta.

15th September 2006, 01:55 AM
The Apollo may be targeted at the minimal low wind conditions. Most of us know that it will mean that you need a longer straight in the scoop rocker line. That will have its backside in the stronger wind and wave circumstances where the shorter straight boards (if there is sufficient windstrenght) will be vafourable.

So for allround formula conditions the Apollo may be just a bit too specialised to the windminimum and I don't think that formula sailors will bring two boards to a competition and then pick one for that specific scene. But we wait and see.

One thing is again applaudable, and that is sticking out ones neck again (that is starboard off course and not me :D ) to think out of the box and deliver something exciting new. We will wait and see. If only one could test these boards for a while before picking ones favorite, that would be great. Just give me a 161, a Apollo and a Serenity and I will tell after three months which I will buy ;)

Just hope formula will no throw the great concept away with the bathwater when changes ar to slow or too quick. It is a balance to keep most exciting and trille about it enhough.

15th September 2006, 10:51 PM
Steve C,

Personally, I can manage my board quiver without many problems. I turn over my formual boards every three years, but if I add an Apollo at some point, that will be an extra $1,800 US.

The concept behind formula was one board three sails, which has worked well for the serious racers. Adding another board just makes it that much more hassel to manage all the gear. For the sponsored sailors, cost isn't the issue, but transportation will be.

Most top formula racers get by with three sails, with 9.0 being there smallest. Amauteur racers like me have to go down to smaller sails when it hits 20 to 30 knots, so three sails won't cut it for me.

It will be interesting to see where the Formula rules will go, now that there is a board that can drop the wind minimums a bit.

16th September 2006, 12:16 AM
Hi Ken,

I'm encouraged that you're one of those sailors that keeps boards for a number of years. It's a good thing to get your money's worth. I'm one that likes to get 5-7 years out a board if they can hold up. I've got a 7 year old slalom board that I will be replacing for 2007. It's still very fast and viable (at 11.5 lbs.), but its getting soft in a couple places on the deck.

Anyway, regarding the Apollo, there's always the opportunity to leverage off the used market when the 2008 models come out next August and cut your entry cost greatly. By then, there's a good chance that the value of the design will be proven enough to warrant serious consideration, if not for racing, maybe just for fun and more time on water planing.

16th September 2006, 07:15 PM
to make it more interesting, let's perpose a change to the rule.
not register your board for the event, butregister the board for the season,no,?.

18th September 2006, 02:59 AM
Hey windstock, great pic , tell us more!

milk laser
19th September 2006, 03:34 AM
I'm posting this text here , because earlier posted in wrong place.

I'm absolutely against Apollo. I'm against what it brings to FW comunity, to small local communities. It doubles costs for racers. It's cocial, not financial side. It eliminates weekend club racing from scene, because again you must have a lot of equipment. It starts equipment wars again.
Formula was fantastic class before Apollo arived. Only one board was enough to race every weekend all year long. So STARBOARD guys, don't register it to be legal IFWC board. Let it be as it is, but don't touch FW!!! If you'll register Apollo for IFWC, I'll made it not valid for local and national competitions for a year or two. I have an experience with an old style slalom which required more than one board. It died. Every racing discipline will die very quickly if it requires more than 1 board and 1-2 sails. Also more than one board killed and is killing children sport.
Let it be experimental board until all the industry will agree on its place. If it is Apollo class then it is Apollo. Not formula. Leave windsurfers in silence. Don't f*ck their brains with early planing progress. I see progress in marketing only:)

Best regards:)

19th September 2006, 09:01 AM
Hi Milk Laser,

Their is no marketing plan here, just a new board to open your mind of what Apollo can give to the Formula Class. Particulary help to valid races in light wind condition. If you look to what happen in Portugal, Leba and Korea, you can see easily that the Formula equipment that we have right now need to be improve in this light winds (sails, boards and fins). The Apollo open a screen with his wider tail and 75cm fin.
The plan is definitely to make only one board next year who cover both F 161 and Apollo, but with a 75cm fin.
All the best

19th September 2006, 09:22 AM
Hi milk laser,

While I can see your point about wanting to race on a fixed design to limit the cost to be competitive, I often wonder whether the industry and the racing commumity needs to be anchored in design concepts from a fixed period in time. It's like saying, hey I can't handle tomorrow because it doesn't meet my pocketbook, or my limited vision. Doesn't Formula Experience meet the budget class quite effectively already?

Well, frankly, I glad that designers are focused on the visions and concepts to keep new ideas alive. What do you think that the top board, sail and fin designers want to do year after year? Why frustrate the folks with the ideas? If change in the numbers of windsurfers occurs because of the direction of the sport, then that's fate. I've been windsurfing over 20 years now, and was I ever disappointed with the potent flow of ideas and innovation? No. Really, I think the industry has stepped up to a broadly varied marketplace at all interest levels in the sport. Many folks have actually complained that leading brands have too many models available.

If you want to stick to a certain design concept, that's a respectable option. When you enter a race, and you do your best and finish, you will be recognized for your performance in the class you're competing in. Yacht club folks race all the time integrating different classes in events all the time. Everyone must decide the limits and boundardies of their game, and that's respectable and fair.

Even though I've never been a racer, I've still had to define my commitment, and its associative cost, in my participation of the sport. I've got true wealth. Yearly upgrades across your quiver aren't necessarily required. I make it a point to be conservative, so I can make the best of my budget and opportunities.

Hey, I ordered a brand new slalom board today. I don't even know what it will exactly look like, but I know that I'm going to be happy with the outcome. It's like rolling the dice, and knowing that I will win every time. Then, I'll ride the crest of performance for years, even though tomorrow might be a bit different than today. Ferrari comes out with exciting new designs all the time, but I see no reason not to invest at a point in time. The top of the line product stands out over the test of time. No worries.

milk laser
19th September 2006, 02:14 PM
Hi steveC,

I'm calling not to repeat modernization processes that has negative influence on racing communities (1998-2001). Modernization could be aranged in a way it will only strenghtens comunities. At Apollo case I see nothing new in social field. Starboard creates products that creates communities. It's strange for me to concentrate only on technological side and ignore social.

Mr Love
19th September 2006, 05:24 PM
I agree with Mr milk laser . I reckon it,s great that starboard are trying ideas that lower the planning threashold ,it should only be encouraged , but by registering 2 different boards for FW racing it is feeding the "gear wars"mentality . The sponsored sailors and those that are cashed up will bring 2 boards to an event and chose the one to register based on the weather forecast . Normal sailors can not compete with this , again widening the gap .
Don,t forget the whole essence of Formula when it was devised in the late nineties was to be a lower cost alternative to the madness that PWA course racing had become . A one board philosophy was at the core of the ideal .
Every racing class in history that has taken the "gear wars " approach has failed . Sanity must prevail .

20th September 2006, 01:29 AM
Hi milk laser,

Thanks for responding to my post above. In addition to your comments above, I had the opportunity to review your parallel posts on a similar thread here. You've brought up a number of thoughtful points about the social side of competition, but I think you have also missed a few that I thought I would comment further on.

First, about folks leaving windsurfing for kiting. Really, I don't think that had anything to do with the "gear wars". I live in an area where there is absolutely no racing, but still the majority of windsurfers all abandoned the sport for kiting. I'm one of a few windsurfers still left. In my area, so many folks painted themselves in the corner focusing on being wave sailors and exhausting all other forms of sailing. By limiting their interest to such a narrow base, there was little opportunity to maximize and realize their interest. When kiting came along, it gave these folks a new outlet where seemingly radical aerials and maneuvers were possible in very light wind. it was fate that kiting would lure and drain participants from windsurfing. In my opinion, the windsurfing industry couldn't have affected the exodus to kiting in any way.

Earlier, I mentioned Formula Experience (FE) racing, but maybe that was missed. It is my understanding that the FE class gives budget minded folks the opportunity to race in a community of like minded folks that don't want to invest in the yearly "gear war" mentality. Of course, the FE class isn't the fastest formula stuff out there, but the social aspect and cost focus are truly in line with your thoughts here. I wonder why folks like yourself aren't finding an attraction and commitment to FE racing? I think I know the answer to that question, because the really competitive heart of the racing scene wants the best technology and any possible edge to dominate and win. So, it's this tug of war between those in your local racing scene. Instead of establishing reasonable equipment ground rules and abiding by them through local group agreement, the problem is conveniently viewed as an outgrowth of the industry's design and development efforts. When the root problem is at home, I wonder why the industry is so often blamed. Maybe it is because the brands are competition with each other to win over the marketplace to their corner. But that is the nature of business overall, so it's kind of fruitless to expect everyone to put the brakes on.

I've noticed that folks look back on the old World Cup circuit and complain that the gear rat race nearly ruined the sport. With the introduction of Formula, that was suppose to change. Putting boards aside for a moment, I look at the cost of huge rigs these days. I think that it fair to say that most committed local racers are going to have 2 to 3 sails, to include the masts to service them. Look at the price of NP X9 masts, at probably $1100 USD a pop, and the durability is so questionable that its hard to have just the minimum number of masts. When one adds up the cost of sails, masts and boom, the price of a board is dwarfed by comparison, especially if one replaces everything on a yearly basis. Personally, I'm amazed with the stratospheric costs.

Windsurfing can be a very expensive sport, and there are so many that can't refuse to throw money at it. It doesn't surprise me that industry leaders are so focused on improving products. Yet, instead of talking about binding up the industry's innovation and development cycle of racing products, you need to work at the grassroots level with your fellow competitors and decide collectively where your limits are. In my opinion, the problem is at home in defining your community. I know that seems harsh, but there is truth in that. You are simply working with human nature and will.

milk laser
20th September 2006, 03:04 AM
Hi steveC,
now I see that different ideas are developed from narrow local points of view. You've said that in your area there is no competitions at all. That is very significant difference. "Unattached" people has no requirement to be in community because they don't need the structures that works for them (judges, racing courses, boats, international relations among other racing communities, etc) and are created mostly by themselves. Speaking about me I can't imagine "unattached" man owning formula board. Formula charm is in racing, recreation sailing just creates questions "why do I need so big and heavy sail"?

FE is not a board if you have sailed FW. Carbon boom makes a lot of difference. Also if fleet is less than 20-15 boards then separating that fleet into smaller fleets of FE, FW makes competition not so interesting. In my area half of FW racers have one sail, others 2 sails. About half of them changes equipment once in two year period. They are competitive enough for 2 years. You dont need 3 sails if wind range is 7-25kts and chop not higher than 1m.

I'm not asking to bind industry's innovation. I'm asking for more responsibility from industry, for more understanding about "racing communities". Speaking in marketing terms I'm asking for changes in "target group" description. Mostly racers are not the guys "seeking for top performance", but racing comunities "seeking for fair racing on top equipment, not gear wars". Communities are able to decide not only their limits, but also producers limits and promote that much more agressively and wide than producers.

20th September 2006, 12:33 PM
This is a strange discussion.

Starboard gets flamed for trying to stretch the lightwind envelope of FW, while not wanting/daring to abandon teh style of FW boards that have been quite successful the last few yars.
On the other hand, if some other manufacturer, like Tabou, would have launched the Apollo and admitted that it was optimized for the low wind racing in FW then I assume that everyone would have been just thrilled (and applauded their courage).

The end result would still have been the same, the lightwind optimized boards would excel in low wind, and more allround boards would excel in high wind.

Formula Windsurfing is a development class. Thinks will not stay the same forever :-)

20th September 2006, 07:32 PM
Hi Milk Laser,

For the FE Class, have you ever try the new F 160 Tufskin with a Formula Experience rig?
In the last Youth Worlds in Belgium, the FW and FE compete together and big surprise, 4 times is a racer who was on a FE board who win the race and the wind was never over 15 knots. So not soo bad for a very cheap equipment who is in my mind absolute perfect for youth but also for " social " as you said. For example in Peru their is no more FW, all senior race on FE and seems that they are really happy.

But yes also the plan for 2008, that will be only 1 Formula board who cover both that we have right now.

All the best

21st September 2006, 12:54 AM
Hi milk laser,

I think I'll give it one more go here.

In many respects, you are right about "unattached" sailors like me. It is highly unlikely that I would sail formula equipment, but much of that has to do with the locales that I windsurf at. Lots of rocky bottoms with surf, and to make matters more difficult, kelp and weeds are at most spots. If I lived in the SF Bay area, my view and interests would very likely be different. Still, one would have to rationalize the expense and balance it with the fun involved. Currently I'm using a 5 board quiver, and that's more than most are willing to invest in and maintain.

Regarding the FE class, you touched directly on their weakest link. Why would anyone want to buy a funky aluminum boom? Junk in my mind. Actually, if you check past history, I have been very critical of aluminum booms, especially for use in a formal racing class like FE. It's my thought that the restriction was probably an inside deal heavily influenced by aluminum boom manufacturers. If the change to a carbon boom was allowed, FE would be a fantasic way to go for so many folks. Like Remi points out above, an FE kit can be competitive, and I would say much more robust than a FW kit for the right price.

I still think you are missing the mark about the industry's role and responsibilities here. I get this feeling that your view of the industry is along the lines of "you can sell dope in our neighborhood, but not too much at a time". Really, like I pointed out earlier, your community needs to establish reasonable limits that local folks will abide by. Local agreement and control is truly the best formula for a fair playing field. The industry is creating and marketing on an international level, and they are offering a range of products designed to suit a broad variety of potential customers. From a practical standpoint, it doesn't make any sense for the industry to manipulate and control local racing scenes, as that's best accomplished at the grassroots level by the local community.

Your point about racing communities "seeking fair racing on top equipment, not gear wars" is a bit unrealistic. You can't use top equipment, and at the same time limit the release of "new" top equipment. You're in effect saying, I want the best stuff, but you (the industry) can't change or improve anything because we need "suspended animation" of your top of line products. Not too much sense in that from a business standpoint. You can have "suspended animation" at the FE level, but not across the board, especially with the industry's premier products. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

I think PG made an excellent point above concerning FW being a development class. History has shown that it's absolutely true in the literal sense. With the manufacturing processes and methods being used today, the industry is not encumbered by expensive molding costs as they were so many years ago. Ideas can flow very quickly, and there is little reason to limit development on premier racing products. In my opinion, the only way to artificially suspend this trend would be for the ISAF to refuse to recognize a new production design. I don't think that will happen, but who knows, maybe "racing communities" will have more influence like you say.

21st September 2006, 02:03 AM
Formula racing is cool, but I think that even without the Apollo it's an awfully tough class to be competitive in.

I've done local races on my F158, but it's always terrifying and exhausting and I'm usually miles behind the serious competitors. The other day I was riding my F158 and stock fin against Dave Kashy on a F160 with one of his Kashy custom fins ($700 USD!). Granted he's a better rider, but there was just no way I could come anywhere NEAR his speed and upwind / downwind angles with my setup.

I could train extra hard and spend $$ on fins to be competetive in formula this year... Or I could pick up that $200 F2 Lightning 380 longboard that I just found on CraigsList and race in the local longboard class with top-of-the-line everything!

21st September 2006, 08:23 AM
Hi James,

Their is another possibility with the FE Class, real cheap compare to FW and enough good to have really good fun and race. At the last Youth Worlds where the FW and FE racers race together, we was really surprise to see in 4 races that a FE board win the races, soo not so bad.

In the FW Class their is a very good change in 2008, all boards who will be register the 30 september 2007 will lock for 2 years. So the next change will be only 30 september 2009. That will give a chance to many racers to be competitive 2 years with the same board.

All the best

21st September 2006, 09:39 AM
Not too sure what all the fuss is about, because a racer could be carrying two board to a event RIGHT NOW, its just that the boards would be from different companies, to explain.....

Example: Lets say the board company "XXX-Boards" makes a fantastic formula board (named "Light Wind Machine") this formula board is the best light wind board on the market (up to 15knots), leaves everything for dead. Lets say Starboard makes a board name "161" is the best board on the market for winning races over 15knots.

A cashed up racer who has brought "Light Wind Machine" & "161" can go to a event, determine the overall conditions for an event and register the best board for what he thinks will win him the most races.


21st September 2006, 09:43 AM
Oops sorry wrong thread.....


milk laser
27th September 2006, 07:01 PM
Hi Steve C,
I want once more repeat that I'm not against progress in design and technology.
You are right on most points. I have understood that social side of racing has different forms in different countries. I see it as the most important thing, but somewhere it plays not so significant role.

Just checked FW Worlds in Korea results. There are no racers from US.
I'm not sure if I'm correct, but in Australia Worlds Micah Buzianis was the only man from US.

28th September 2006, 02:07 AM
Hi milk laser,

You're correct about the social side of windsurfing being different in places around the world. From my perspective, so much depends on the advantages of location. Although I live in a fantasic coastal community where one would think that windsurfing would thrive year round, there are very few windsurfers. Yet, the SF Bay area to the north has a very active racing scene that is one of the strongest in the US. There are other similar core spots that have active racing communities, but windsurfing still tends to be a fringe type sport in the US.

Regarding US competitors in Melborne, Australia last year, there actually a number of competitors from the US. In addition to Micah Buzianis, Kevin Pritchard, Jimmy Diaz, Devin Boulon, Seth Besse, Steve Bodner, and Michael Porter all attended the event. Three of these guys were in the top 10 places. I guess the fact that Diaz, Boulon and Porter are shown to be from the US Virgin Islands (ISV) tends to confuse things a bit.

In FW Worlds in Korea, Jimmy Diaz was the only entry from the US.

With the large population in the US, one would think that there would be far more windsurfers participating in the sport. This has always been a big mystery to me. I could surmise much about why this is true, but at the root of things, I think that very few folks actually see themselves as a part of the vision. Maybe with the strong focus the windsurfing industry is now putting on longboards will change things. Time will tell.