With windsurfing equipment becoming lighter and more refined over the years you would be excused in believing there is no need for specific junior sails anymore – but you couldn’t be more wrong!
Whilst many wave sails, despite durable materials, are super light and some are available in sizes under 3.0 metres this doesn’t mean they are the best sails for kids to learn and windsurf on.
Weight isn’t the key factor for a youth sail and whilst it is important there are many other areas that are you need to think about.
So, let’s have a look at the biggest selling junior rig in the UK, the Tushingham Dino, and see what key features make it such a good learning, progression and performance sail for the champions of the future.
Who uses it?
Young sailors is the simplest answer… but how are they different?
Shorter is the immediate thing that comes to mind but also slighter builds. The Dino has a much lower boom cutout than an adult rig so that juniors have maximum flexibility in their height range. Also, the mast is softer which will make the rig much more forgiving in gusts and give young sailors more time to adjust stance.
When will it get used?
Unlike wavesails junior sailors are much more likely to use the same rig in all conditions, whether it is 3 or 30 knots. Whilst a small wave sail might be great at performing in 30 knots the flat profiles of small adult gear restrict their low wind capabilities. So, the Dino sets with more shape but less battens. The soft mast again lets it form shape in less wind so that it can be great light wind bit of kit. The short squat nature of the sail, however, means that the centre of effort always stays low, and then when applying downhaul the leech will fall away dramatically making it highly controllable in the windier conditions. You’ll see many junior sailors just using one size rather than a quiver no matter what the conditions.
What will it get used on?
It’s less likely to get used on a wave board (to begin with) and much more likely to get used on a small dagger boarded beginner board – a Techno or freeride board. So, the foot is lower and the boom a fraction longer than wave sails of a similar size. This is going to help turning, especially as many junior sailors are often over finned, and whilst on the right size sail tend to be a little over boarded.
Bigger wind ranges, planing and non-planing, and designed to be used on a much wider range of boards than a wave sail. A great junior rig will give a young sailor not only the best chance of getting better but also having the most fun!
Find out more about the Dino from Tushingham here. Many of the top windsurfing brands produce a kids specific windsurfing sail, so if you’re looking for equipment for a junior rider we highly recommend you check these out – don’t just give them your old cast offs!