Windsurfing can be a chore to learn, we’ll not lie. The biggest hurdle when you’re beginning your journey is hauling a heavy rig (sail, mast, boom) out of the water. Whilst much has been done by the windsurfing industry to make these components, and therefore the overall ‘engine’, as light as possible the issue remains – even more so if you’re a child.
A few years back some bright spark decided to invent inflatable windsurfing sails. It was about the same time wingsurfing wings were being redeveloped. McConks did put out their own version but for various reasons we had to hold fire. Now, however, we’re back in the game and able to offer the Go Sail inflatable windsurfing sail just in time for autumn blows (in fact, blows at any time of year!).
One of the biggest benefits of an inflatable windsurfing sail is that it doesn’t sink. Instead, floating on top of the water, there’s little resistance when you’re trying to lift it. Combine that with the lightweight nature of an air-filled product and you have something that’ll get you vrooming back and forth quick smart.
The Go Sail isn’t critical to sheeting angles either (i.e. how you hold the sail in relation to the wind direction). Where a hard rig needs to be positioned correctly for the wind to power it up and drive your forwards the Go Sail can be slightly off axis yet not buck riders into the drink. This is great during the learning process with quick progression guaranteed.
For those with existing windsurf experience the Go Sail is a bit of fun for light/medium strong airs. Quicker to set up than a standard windsurfing rig it inflates in a matter of minutes and attaches to any inflatable SUP or hard board with rig attachment option. Then it’s a case of messing about on the brine.
As another form of propulsion, that’ll get you out on breezy days, McConks’s Go Sail can’t be beat. Coming in three sizes (2.2m, 3.2 and 4.2m) it’s another way to help maximise your time afloat. Get in touch for more info about all things windsurf, windSUP, wing surfing and wing foiling and be sure to check out the rest of our guide to all things wind here.
For most of you summer’s only just begun. That said, we’ve already passed the summer solstice and we’re now on a slide down into autumn – albeit a slow slide. Don’t worry! There’s plenty of time for stand up paddling in sunny, summer weather though. Dawn sessions and sunset paddles are still the go for a while yet. But from a McConks brand point of view things don’t stop. They can’t stop. We need to grow, evolve and push on which is why we’re already prototyping new products and looking ahead to 2021.
We’ve been asked many times, as have other inflatable SUP brands, are we going to go down the hard SUP route? We’ve in fact already tested the water (so to speak) a while back with a race board and now we’re back at it with a windSUPs. Yep! You heard that right. Currently, we’re putting the finishing touches to a hard shell windSUP design that we’ll be testing as soon as it lands on UK shores.
For those not aware McConks owners, Andy and Jen, have a long and fruitful relationship with windsurfing. Back in the day, before SUP, it’s what we did (we still do from time to time); chasing forecasts for a blast on the brine. The synergy between windsurfing and stand up paddling has long been discussed and it still stands. These days you can also add wing surfing/wing foiling and that whole end of the spectrum as well. All these sports are now ever closer together, with blurred lines. It’s why we already sell relevant gear that straddles disciplines. We’ve even put together the ultimate windsurfing/windSUP/wing surfing/wing foiling guide that’s being constantly added to.
So what of our hard windSUP prototype? Well, with McConks being a brand that appeals to adventure/outdoor centres (as well as everyday SUPers) – as far as stand up paddle boarding goes – we thought we’d open up our range further to RYA recognised clubs and schools who run windsurfing courses – especially for kids. It’s a perfect match. Windsurf/windSUP when there’s breeze and if the gusts should drop simply switch to paddling mode to keep those juices flowing. It’s a years old concept so nothing new except for McConks potentially making this leap.
If you’re reading and you have an interest in windsurfing and are affiliated to a club then why not pass this info on. McConks would be happy to discuss how our gear would fit into your windsurf club/school environment so you’ll be ready for 2021’s season.
We should add that inflatable windsurf sails and child friendly boards are also linked to the above. McConks has the Go Inspire initiative that aims to give children (particularly those who wouldn’t normally get the chance) experience of being on the water. Give us a shout to chat all stuff wind.
On top of the windSUP thing we’re also looking at inflatable foil board options. This is an even newer area for us but one we’re also keen to explore. Foiling, as you may be aware, is the current on trend watersport discipline. You can SUP foil in waves, explore coastlines in downwind SUP foil mode and, of course, add a wing to make use of breezy days. The idea we’re looking at is having a foil track box and Tuttle box (so riders can accommodate all makes of hydrofoil) that sits flush with the board’s hull. This should make the foil have minimal movement when in use. Stay tuned on this one as it’s an exciting and innovative area.
We’re always tinkering, messing and tweaking with new ideas popping into our heads. Some we run with, some we don’t. Stay tuned for more developments moving forwards. And if you have any feedback related to our products then let us know.
There’s a lot of gear out there in the big wide world of stand up paddling: pretty much, there’s a board, paddle, accessory bundle and combo for all forms of getting wet. As many will already be aware SUP is super diverse – it isn’t JUST about paddling these days.
You can split SUP into many different categories, based on the wants/needs of ‘paddlers’, weather conditions and where riders put in.
McConks has a long heritage with wind driven sports. Our illustrious leaders (more commonly known as Andy and Jen!) both come from a windsurfing watersports background, so the connection’s there . It should come as no surprise, therefore, that we embrace windSUP and did so from the off. In recent times, with the evolution of inflatable technologies, it’s now possible to have proper performance in an air board – particularly with planing windsurfing in mind. And we’re always striving to improve upon this. Our next improvement will be with inset fin boards to remove the last bit of drag stopping boards from planing.
The beady-eyed will have also noticed McConk’s Go Fly wing range. Wings, for those not initiated, have been around for almost as long as windsurfing but only really last year (2019) did they explode onto the scene properly – driven in large by implementing inflatable technology for the production of easier to use wings.
Responding to the ever-growing interest in wind-driven SUP products McConks has developed the 9’8 Go Free board. This is our answer to windSUP, performance inflatable windsurfing and wingsurfing. We appreciate, however, that many SUPers mightn’t be aware of what these products can do. With this in mind, we roped in our good friend Tez Plavenieks, from SUP Mag UK and Windsurfing UK magazines, to give you the lowdown on the McConks 9’8 Go Free. He’ll also be covering the McConks Go Fly wing in part two and we’re hoping that there’ll be some water footage for a third instalment – stay tuned on that one! For now check out the vid below to find out about the McConks 9’8 Go Free windSUP/windsurf/wingsurf inflatable board.
So here, in the words of a rather knowledgeable brummie, is the review.