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Rent vs Buy - "intermediates" - in what order and why?

Created by TK6 Two weeks ago, 7 May 2019
1 posts
7 May 2019 2:45PM
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I'm wondering whether I should continue renting or I should consider buying windsurfing equipment. I'm looking for people's opinions and experiences.

I consider myself an aspiring intermediate. Harness yes, footstraps - just getting into. I can waterstart in deep water with some chop & 15 knot+ winds but takes a lot of effort getting the rig out of the water (once rig is out, it's easy.. but rig recovery takes about a minute of good struggle with chop). Not quite planing all the time, but mostly due to fear of going too much downwind (and using somewhat of a small sail for my size 70kg... 5.0 sail). My turns are non-planing, but I can ("fast") tack about 75% of the time on a 120 - 130 liter board that has about 70-75cm width. I can helitack in 5-10 knot winds (ok, that's not saying much )

I live in California - in SF Bay Area where I sail do have equipment for rent / available - Boardsports @ Coyote, CalSailing @ Berkeley, or (kinda far) Delta Windsurfing @ Sherman Islands. It costs about $50-$100 per session (CalSailing is an exception)

Coming to the crux of the question - why did you buy your own equipment? Was it to save money, or simply the joy of having your own thing - the exact board, sail, etc? In hindsight, did you regret buying too late or too soon?

If the recommendation is to buy, in what order should I buy things, assuming an intermediate like myself who hope to continue to move towards smaller boards?

I bought the harness first - this was a no-brainer. But not sure whether I should buy the rest. As far as the board is concerned, should I wait until I get comfortable with sub-100 liter board, or should I just get something like a Tabou Rocket Wide 100 or Starboard CarveIQ 104. Or forget the board for now - just get a rig or two (mast, sail, boom)?

Any suggestions? I don't quite sail that often... maybe 10 times per year (15 if I can get myself to take a windsurfing camp like ABKCamp), all focused during the few summer months.

Thoughts, criticism, opinions welcome!

NSW, 2604 posts
7 May 2019 4:55PM
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Second hand gear will pay for itself in less than a year, and as long as you get it for the right price, you won't lose much if you want to change your gear later.

NSW, 2825 posts
7 May 2019 6:27PM
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If you bought yourself some gear it means you can go straight to the water and save the hassles of organising & picking up the rental stuff.
Plus I reckon the biggest plus factor is that if you have the right gear it will encourage you get out more often which leads to more fun and happiness which in turn snowballs into more gear and hey presto, you are totally addicted like the rest of us!!!!

WA, 9114 posts
7 May 2019 4:37PM
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Once I started I was well and truly hooked. Bought my own gear well before I could water start or plane, only rented a few times.

My advice is usually to buy a board that will be a good low wind board no matter the skill level.
Then get a higher wind board as the need arises.

With your own gear you'll probably get out more often.

14 posts
7 May 2019 5:45PM
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Select to expand quote
decrepit said..

My advice is usually to buy a board that will be a good low wind board no matter the skill level.
Then get a higher wind board as the need arises.

With your own gear you'll probably get out more often.

Totally agree....
Beginning intermediates usually feel comfortable sailing in winds at, or below 20 knts.
A 120 liter / 75 cm wide would seem like good lightwind board for your weight.

Good job on the waterstarts! Quicker rig recovery & positioning will come with a little practice.

You should have a chat with Rebecca @Boardsports. She's extremely knowledgeable & helpful with gear recommendations and sailing instruction.

VIC, 658 posts
7 May 2019 9:21PM
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657 posts
7 May 2019 10:14PM
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If you purchase , get a board that will work as a light or lighter wind board.
Your schedule , for the nicer period in the Bay Area is about twice a month. Your rental for 10sessions is 500-$1000 then. I assume you have only a harness, no other boom..mast ..sail etc.
You live in an area where lots of gear is around.
Suggest , a bit of soul searching , if you will expand your sailing , and or continue.
suggest irregardless, join the Berkeley club, sounds like you are already .
the shops you mention are good, esp Delta , and Derik there is one of the best for options on gear.

the distance to Sherman Island is probably a day trip, esp considering the traffic.

kinda far for me is SFO to Kansas City!

you may consider the IWindsurf forum as a resource , for gear.

129 posts
7 May 2019 11:46PM
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I purchased gear from the very beginning and never regretted it. Just the basics, don't go crazy with it, keep the costs down. There is something about when you own gear, you take more pride in it and you become very in tune to how it handles, becoming one with your equipment.

When I travel and rent gear, I always have to get used to different gear, and adjust everything to my sailing style, which eats away from my sessions. When you have your own, the adjustments are limited. All I have to adjust is the boom length, harness line spacing fin size and mast extension setting depending on sail size. Often times, I'm on the same sail for days in a row, so no adjusting is needed. My foot straps always stay the same.

NSW, 124 posts
12 May 2019 10:31PM
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Buy Buy Buy! Anyone will take a stupid amount of time to set up for a deep water start. You can tack etc your well and truly on the way. Get your own gear so you get tuned in to it. a 130L will let you up haul easly. ( I up haul rather than water state 70% of the time when im using a 7.5 as it just boring flipping rigs swimming board round to get pointing the right way etc etc) BUT do try out plenty of boards before forking out your hard earned. IMHO the correct board for you is super important but a less than perfect rig combo will still hav eye having fun. Try a fanatic blast 130L.
We built our own boards when I was learning in Ireland in about 1985 because we could not get any. Built all the wrong gear for learning (260 long wave boards as opposed to easter to ride slalom or race gear) because they were cool! Graphics were the most important thing for me shape second and practicality was wayyyyyyy down the list!!! If I had my time over probably do the same thing all over again!

WA, 769 posts
13 May 2019 2:39AM
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You're definitely sailing well enough to buy your own stuff. Only problem - you may find that you end up sailing more once you have your own gear .
Consider starting with used gear. Besides being cheaper, the big advantage is that you can sell it again at close to cost when your skills improve or you discover you don't like it. Over time, you'll end up adding more gear, and getting newer and higher quality stuff. If money is no issue, get the used gear and add an ABK camp in Bonaire. Otherwise, try to squeeze in another ABK camp closer to home. Don't think you can always take the camp next year - that may not be the case!

VIC, 17 posts
15 May 2019 2:31PM
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Here are my two cents:

Pretty much exactly 5 years ago I was in a similar situation to you. (but 80kg )

Here is the order I bought things in:

1) I bought a used 155L Tabou Guru (same shape as Rocket, different construction) with 50cm fin.
Sailed it with a 6.0 Gaastra Pilot.

Big fin means early planning even with smallish sail. Makes people on shortboards jealous.
Smaller sail means easier uphauling and better for learning everything.
Lots of volume means you can have fun and learn in non-planning conditions.

2) Bought a 7.6m sail (15 + knots) (RRD Fire Mk 3?)
This will depend on the conditions of your local spot and how confident you feel going out in stronger wind. I just wanted to get on the water more often in less chop.

------------------------------- WATERSTARTING BEGINS -----------------------------------

3) Shortboard. Kept using the 6.0 Gaastra.

- This was an F2 Ride 277 I picked up for ?5 / A$9.5. It was great in the chop but the oldschool shapes aren't good for learning.
- Got a free Bic Tribal 84L which obviously I was hopeless with due to the volume and my skill level.
- Finally bought a 113L Starboard Kode which I still have today. The modern shape is great.

4) Smaller sails.

As confidence grew and waterstarting improved, I was able to go out in stronger wind.

5) Got a 9.8m sail (Spacedog Speedster) to use with the Tabou Guru - worked great in 10-15 knots.

Wanted to go out in very light wind during the UK summer.

6) Sold the Tabou in search of more speeeeeeed and got a 145L slalom board (Exocet Warp 80).

7) Bought and sold lots of cheap boards as I like trying different ones. (JP FSW 84, JP FSW 98, Naish Hybrid Slalom...)

Now, I have become sensible:

Boards: 94L Kode, 113L Kode, 125L F2 XS
Sails: 4.2m, 4.7, 5.7, 6.7, 8.6m (The spacing still isn't perfect)

Will potentially become more minimalist and replace the 113L and 125L with a foil and sell the bigger sails.

Basically, get a lightwind big board and you'll be able to keep it forever unless you're like most of us who end up buying and (occasionally) selling kit Oh and 1 good sail to start off with.


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"Rent vs Buy - "intermediates" - in what order and why?" started by TK6