As part of my work for Windsurfing UK magazine I test a lot of gear. Over the years I’ve seen my fair share of kiddy windsurf gear, and my own children have used quite a bit. It goes without saying that a light and easy to up haul windsurf rig is important. And whilst many rigid sail, mast and boom combos do an admirable job it’s the McConks Go Sail XS inflatable version that’s been perfect for my three year old son.
He’s quite a diddy lad, yet plenty gung ho, following in big sister’s footsteps without fear. Her rigid 1.5m rig just isn’t suitable though. It’s too heavy with the boom sitting too high. Being inflatable the McConks Go Sail XS is, in contrast, perfect. There’s barely any weight meaning my son can lift it no probs (and my daughter as it happens, although she’s bigger, stronger and has been windsurfing since age two). It also doesn’t sink, ensuring there’s no additional pressure of water sitting on top of the cloth. This is what makes up hauling a windsurf sail even harder for many – at least during the learning process.
Go Sail inflatable windsurf sail – in stock now
Have you tried windsurfing with a traditional high performance, heavy rig and totally failed? Did that put you off for life?
That’s the story of so many people. Trying to learn with high performance or old heavy kit must have put millions of people off windsurfing for life.
But not any more. This inflatable sail is light weight – even the largest…
Another nifty design feature are the handles and their positioning. You can attach an up haul but actually the mast located handles encourage a hand over hand technique to raise the Go Sail into position. This is important muscle memory development for later down the line when my son migrates to a rigid rig with up haul. Once in sailing position the two boom located handles are also ideally placed for riders to hold onto at the optimum point. As there’s no boom there’s no temptation to go ‘hand surfing’ towards the clew and run the risk of dropping the sail. The Go Sail stays in position allowing wind to fill it and propel the sailor forwards with sheeting angles being more intuitive.
Should the Go Sail be downed, or the windsurfer stack it, then being inflatable means no injury to person or dings to board occur. This is a nice safety feature. Add an inflatable board and the whole package is very user friendly.
Set up of the Go Sail is incredibly fast with only a few pumps of air needed – you will need a Boston valve adapter though if using your standard iSUP pump. You have the option of locking off the boom and mast separately if needs be. This means should part of the Go Sail get a puncture then it retains some integrity. Personally, I don’t feel the need for this, but each to their own…
In terms of moving parts the only section which has them is the mast foot the Go Sail sits on (which comes supplied with the GS). Pretty much affixed, however, it doesn’t get in the way. As windsurfers we have to have a hard UJ and mast foot as it’s the only product that works to keep sails attached to boards properly.
The sailcloth is pretty hard wearing although as with all methods of catching the wind there’s likelihood it could snag and rip if mishandled. But repair is easy. You can use spinnaker tape for a quick on beach sort out. Unlike a more exotically manufactured windsurf sail, with high end materials like X-Ply and monofilm, the Go Sail doesn’t require specialist attention to fix rips. There’s a small PVC window for vision when sailing but this can also be sorted quickly and efficiently should it become holed.
All in the McConks Go Sail XS inflatable windsurf sail is a nifty bit of kit that allows my young son to windsurf without issue. In years gone by this wouldn’t have been the case so it’s nice to now have the option. The bigger versions will work great for adults looking to learn or have a bit of additional fun when it’s blowy. Oh, and it packs down to compact size for easy transport and storage – what more could you ask for?
If you’re thinking of getting your kids into windsurfing the following article might be of use –