July is Downwind Month
Foiling heads to Hawaii, here are the details.
Downwind month is July, one could imagine this is because of the races in Hawaii. Downwind racing has been happening without foiling for generations, as a South African I have always been vaguely aware of downwind surfski races in Cape Town, and have had the odd taste in the back of a double ski, but never really knew much about it. As I’ve got more into it, it seems that the depth goes far deeper, with tradition of downwind going back much further, seemingly to the OC6, a 6 person canoe (and beyond that too)
The Va’a is the most ancient boat in the world, used by the Polynesians to explore the islands of the Pacific
These are pretty capable of sending it in serious conditions, and from what I understand a fair few of the big names in foiling have come from a background of paddling these traditional craft.
The Hawaiian trade winds are the reason for all of the attention at this time of year, seemingly less predictable in recent years:
Where for years they came specifically out of the North East they are now adjusting to coming from a more Easterly direction and instead of buffeting the islands for perhaps 300 days a year they are now only providing about 220 days of wind. The velocity of the winds when they arrive are not changing and they seem to stay steady at between 5 and 20 MPH throughout the year with the possible exception of September and October when they will generally decline somewhat in wind speeds. As these winds funnel through canyons and valleys on the islands they can also have increased wind speeds and these areas of the islands often have constant winds at much higher velocities.
In general, Maui is the centre of attention, and has been for as long as people have been racing downwind.
Maui is the King of DW for the Hawaiian islands. Maui has more consistent wind then any other island, it's downwind runs are world class, …it's easy to hook up with guys or groups going because there's always someone doing it, downwind shuttles, etc. Maui has two awesome runs, if one isn't running, another always will
Progression Project and James Casey both have new podcasts specifically about the upcoming races, check them out for more info. Exciting to hear that according to James, pace is now generally measured in min/km and speed in km/h.
Kane de Wilde (@kdmaui) took first in the Voyager X Wetfeet Hawaii Downwind Challenge. Hosted by @voyager_foiler on Oahu, it looked pretty wild conditions, and challenged some experienced riders. See below post from Kane for some behind the scenes.
Full results screenshot from instagram stories. The event looked like a great warmup for the season. It seems like Lift foils dominated the race. Full results on the Wetfeet website.
The downwind map is making a cautious but steady start, check it out at map.dwfoil.com
@gogfoiler in the Menai strait in Wales, UK contributed an interesting looking but technical looking bay run
If you’d like to contribute a run, checkout the google form and send the details. I’ll follow up soon with a post describing the full details.
I’ve created an instagram account for this page, primarily for me to see what is going on in the world of DW foiling. Ideally this newsletter will mean you don’t need instagram to keep up, and you can get a digest of content without the need to be bombarded by instagram reels (what is up with reels? 99% of them are just reposts of other’s reels. Can you “block” them once you’ve seen them?) I’ve got mixed feelings, IG is a pretty effective way to get people to share content from the moment, and allows true “crowdcasting” in that there was no media crew for the Voyager race, and yet it was covered effectively, and entirely by phone content. The downside is that unless you were on instagram that week, you will struggle to find many details as most of the reels have expired and it all is gated by Instagram. And nothing can embed IG clips so you need to watch them there.
Hopefully all of this is interesting, please leave feedback below if there is anything you’d like to suggest.
What did you think of this issue?
ps - if you’re feeling like you need a new DW challenge, why not try riding switch
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