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Fin v's Foil? Loyal to the foil or fin for the win?

As the dust settles on another legendary Weymouth Speed Week, one of the hottest topics for discussion is always 'which will be faster........Fin v's Foil' and who better to speak to about this hot topic than The Official Test Centre Pro-Rider Scotty Stallman, Scotty still holds the Portland Harbour Speed Record and is currently competing on the PWA circuit. During this years Speed Week Scotty was doing his own testing on Windsurfing Fin v's Foil, in this blog we get an insight into his findings and ask the question everybody wants to know does Scott prefer fin or foil. Which one do you prefer? Are you loyal to the foil? Or is it the fin that will always win?

By Emma Nicholson.

Scotty windsurfing with a fin
The Official Test Centre Pro-Rider Scotty Stallman at Weymouth Speed Week

When to choose fin or foil?

Scotty said: "It is a tricky one to differentiate between being on the fin or the foil, a lot of it is down to conditions, the wind strength, if it is flat water, or big choppy water. If you look at Weymouth Speed Week for example, we were very lucky, we had the prevailing wind which is a South Westerly here, which is dead flat, it kinda allows a little bit more advantage for the fin, because in a straight line on flat water the fin is a little bit quicker. Even the light stuff, the cut off point for being on the fin, speed wise for me and for the other guys you are probably looking at 13-14 knots and up you can be on the fin and below that you are definitely on the foil."

Scotty Stallman windsurfing
Scotty Stallman on the fin at Speed Week

Right place, right time!

Scotty said: "The thing with Speed Week it is all about luck, if you can find the right gust to light you up and go down the run full power you are going to get a good run, so that is something else to think about as well. But for me, we have had years before when it is Easterlys here so it is big chop and it is really slow on the fin, but then you can add 3 or 4 knots speed on the foil. However this year round it was flat water south-westerly so quite a big variation in winds, so we had some super light wind days so around 10 knots and then on the last day we 20 - 25 knots on the course which can be really quick but days like that when it is rainy and the fronts are coming through it is down to luck."

Scotty Stallman Windfoiling
Scotty Stallman on the foil at Weymouth Speed Week

Personal preference?

Scotty said: "Some brands have some really good foil kits and some brands have some really good fin kits. Sometimes it is really down to preference to knowing how you as a sailor are on the fin if you are 100% fin and your foiling isn't that good you can get on your 8"6 big board and you can light it up and get the board railing you will probably be quicker on that but it is down to the sailor and if they are really good they can go quicker on the foil, but for most guys I think as they can get fully powered on a 7"7 medium board something like a 71 wide that is where you are going to get your best speeds."

Scotty Stallman windsurfing
Scotty Stallman on the course at Weymouth Speed Week

Product advancement?

Scotty said: "I think for me this year it is tricky we are seeing the foils are getting quicker we are seeing that each year it is exciting if you look back three or four years the foil only had this really small window where it is quicker but now with the development and the technology, the sails are getting better the board are getting better and the foils getting more efficient that is where you are getting the most advancements."

Scotty windsurfing
Scotty on a 500 metre run at speed week this year

Choose your kit wisely!

Scotty said: "Foil wise I use F4 foils, because we are not going around a race course you can drop down on foil size, smaller foil more efficient, but then you will suffer in the gybe, speed sailing and weymouth speed week it is a 500 m run and there's no turning around, so on my biggest kit the 560 front wing so that is the area that I would normally go for a 620 because I found it added half a knot in speed so that was quite interesting."

Scotty foiling
Scotty on the foil on the speed course at Speed Week

Sailing into the future!

Scotty said: "Fin wise I haven't got any big kit this year I only had my 7"7 medium board with me it was my biggest then I would use a 37cm F-HOT Fin, we are testing a couple of prototypes at the moment which are actually really nice, they are a little bit more reliable and a bit more consistent especially if it is up and down and variable winds. Dropping down onto the last day I was on a 6.7 prototype Gaastra Vapor, so it was a bit of a testing day for me really on the last day to compare from last year to this year and what was quite nice is there was options and opportunities to try other kit as well to see where we really are in the ball park, we have certainly made a lot of improvements from last year to this year on the sails and for me it is quite exciting to see the development stage to be involved with it and be feeding back information that I have found out. Already we have got lots of ideas, chatting with Peter Munzlinger Head Sail Designer at Gaastra, it has been a very useful week for me, speed week."

Scotty windfoiling
Scotty windfoiling at speed week

The battle of Fin V's Foil!

Scotty said: "So last week the fin came out on top! When it is windy and dead flat, you just know the fin is going to win! However in my opinion if you had spun the wind direction around and we had had easterly's and it has been super choppy you would see the foil dominating and you can see it in the PWA races, there are a few guys that are still sticking it out on the fin when we are on the foil, such as Taty Frans, Jimmy Thieme and they are quick, but you just suffer in the gybes, so it shows for speed sailing the fin is still very much relevant, once you are past the 15 knot limit."

Scotty foiling
Scotty foiling with his F4 foil available from SurfDoctor

The million dollar question! Fin or Foil for Scotty?

Scotty said: "It is really tricky. Everyone loves this question! For me it is quite hard to answer, when foil first came about I was like this is amazing opportunity to get out on the light winds when we were normally on the beach. I dunno there's nothing better then going out on the foil when it is 30 knots and you are totally on the edge of control you still get that feel and experience, but I never still get the same feel such as when you go on the fin, the contact with the water, the noise, that is probably my favourite at the moment, but I would say foiling is close behind and it is really down to conditions and what is going on. If you get down to the beach and there is 10 guys out foiling for sure you will want to go out and foil with them. If there is 10 guys out on the fin you will go out on the fin with them and I know next year especially on the PWA side of things there is going to be some changes, so we could be looking at some more fin races coming back, so definitely don't focus on one, try and do both and for next year lets see what happens."

Scotty windsurfing
Scotty demonstrating the lay down gybe at speed week

If you are looking for foils or fins you have come to the right place, Check out SurfDoctor for F4 foils Windsurfing Foils and Windsurf Fins . If you would like to learn how to windsurf, there is no better place than The Official Test Centre (The OTC), book online; or if you would like to learn how to foil, The OTC has an awesome team of instructors who can take you through your first flights or start at the beginning. Call The OTC on 07817 717904.

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