The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing a little bit and it was a great day to get to Marsh Creek Lake the day before Memorial day. Anything outdoors is a great opportunity to get away from work and try to leave it behind at the office. I went windsurfing at Marsh Creek Lake once last year on a rental Mistral Prodigy and had a blast so decided to buy a setup from www.Windsurfing-Direct.com. I got the Bic Nova 180 with a 7.0 sail in January with free shipping for around $1,500 with shipping included. As a relative newbie, I didn’t have much idea about what to get but Glenn Morton up there seems to have provided excellent advice! Had I found this guy to rigging a windsurfer prior to heading out to the lake, it may have made the lesson not necessary but regardless, Jaque at Marsh Creek Lake provided excelent instruction on how to get everything put together and get out on the lake.
I’m about 6 feet, 180 lbs and this was my second time windsurfing. The Bic Nova 180 is a pretty cool board. You can put in a centerboard, it has a fin on the back of it that screws in. The 180 means 180 liters which is a measure of the volume or buoyancy of the board. For me, the Nova 180 was pretty stable but not anywhere near as stable as the Mistral Prodigy. When you first start out windsurfing, you tend to stand with one foot slightly in front of the mast and the other one behind the mast. The Bic Nova 180 is a fairly thin board in the front. When starting out with a more forward stance to get your berings, this aspect of the board proves to be a bit challenging. The front of the board tends to go under water and can throw your balance way off if you put much weight on your front foot. A little more buoyancy in the front of the board would be nice at this point in the learnig curve.
The combination of the Bic Nova 180 and a 7.0 sail makes for a setup that will be a rocket in medium to heavy winds. Today (May 25, 2008) the wind at Marsh Creek lake wasn’t very strong but every once in a while it would pick up and the board would start to leave a wake and that thing would start to haul! It was just enough to get a taste of how powerful this thing will be in strong winds and how challenging (and how much fun) it is going to be to get used to this board and learn to fly.
Today was about a 45 minute rigging overview, 45 minutes of instruction on the lake and then about another 2 hours of cruising around (mostly slowly) on the lake. I probably fell off the board about 10 times into the (very) chilly water and only once ended up under the sail as it smacked me on the head as I went down with the sail. Between the unseasonably cool tempertures and heavy rains lately, the lake water was really cold. Had the sun not been out, it would have been a bit to cold to be out without a wetsuit.
I’m also a big fan of sailing but haven’t had a chance to do to much of it lately. There is a Zuma sailboat that has yet to see water since it was acquired from a guy on Ebay and an old Snark sailboat also from Ebay that has been out a few times. The Snark is a blast and easy to sail. It looks like the same would be true for the Zuma and hopefully there will be an opportunity to find out this summer. It is however, much, MUCH easier to handle a small sailboat like those than windsurfing, at least after the first few windsurfing experiences.
All in all it was a great day to break out the board for the first time. Glenn definitely provided a windsuring setup with room to grow. The Mistral Prodigy with a 5.5 or 6.0 sail was definitely an easier board to learn on that felt a lot more stable. As the summer goes on, there should be a lot more windsurfing days ahead. If it goes really well, it may be time to invest in a wetsuit and continue the adventure into the fall when the weather starts to cool off.
If the weather holds out tomorrow, the wind is supposed to be a little bit stronger and another trip to Marsh Creek lake may be in order. If you’re into windsurfing or small boat sailing and live around here and go to Marsh Creek or are interested, leave a comment or send a note to adam at this domain name. Time to go check on the sail and see if it is dry and can be rolled up and put back in the sail bag.bic nova 180 marsh creek lake windsurfing philadephia windsurfing windsurfing windsurfing for beginnersbic nova 180 marsh creek lake windsurfing philadephia windsurfing windsurfing windsurfing for beginners