Welcome to the site!
Aswell as regular features and news updates from Fuerte, I am going to be using this site to promote my windsurfing clinics.
After 15 years on the island,having competed in the PWA freestyle world cup and now representing Fanatic Boards and North Sails, I have decided to give something back to the sport which has given me so much over the years.
My aim is to provide clinics "tailor-made"for each individual, with a strong emphasis on practical in-the-water instruction, backed up by on-the-beach tuition and video analysis. The consistent conditions here in Fuerte make learning so much easier and, perhaps equally important, more fun than the typically inconsistent, cold UK - why not come over for a week and improve your windsurfing by a year!!!

I can help with any manoeuvres from carve-gybe through to advanced jumping and freestyle, just email me with your wish list and we'll take it from there! Over the next few months, I am going to be video-chronicling manoeuvres which you can check out on the right in my tricktionary sections. This will give you some idea of the things we can work on, or, if you can't make it over here, you may find them useful to help understand and break down a manoeuvre you would like to learn (hopefully, the slow-mo will help in this respect!).Just click on the trick and scroll down..........
Anyway, keep checking it out as I have loads more in my bag of tricks and will be updating as and when I get the footage.
If you're interested, e-mail me on gibboinfuerte@yahoo.co.uk
See ya in Fuerte?
Stephen.............

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Quad fin set-up.

    I frequently have people picking my brains at the beach about many technical aspects but a recurring theme is definitely fin set-ups so I thought it might be helpful to explain how I set up my quad for different conditions. I spoke at length a while back to windsurfing legend and pioneering board shaper Jurgen Honscheid about quads and he is absolutely convinced that quads are not merely a fashion statement and that they will remain a major, if not the major, design in the future of many different types of windsurf board (interestingly he believes that they are not restricted to only wave use!). He is in the envious position of being able to make two identical boards and test different fin set-ups in them and he told me the results of these tests proved to him that the quad is surely the most versatile fin system on today's market, although he also stated that there is still a great deal to learn about different fin combinations and how they affect the performance of the board.

     Anyway, in an effort to keep things simple I will now show you the way I set up my Fanatic Quad 89 for onshore and cross-off wavesailing. Firstly, for cross-on wavesailing I move my front fins back and my centre fins forward, pushing the fins closer together under the back strap. This makes my board turn in a tighter arc, particularly at slightly lower speeds, so I can ride a wave without outrunning it which is important in cross-on. It also has the effect of making the board more slidey, which is also great for onshore cutbacks and takas etc. The drawback of having the fins set up in this way is that the board might be harder to control in a turn at very high speed, not really an issue though in these conditions. Check out the pics below of my cross-on set-up...

     Next, my set-up for cross to cross-off down-the-line waveriding. Here I move my centre fins almost to the back of the slot and my side fins almost to the front, creating a much bigger gap between the fins. This has the effect of making the board carve in a slightly longer arc but with far greater control and grip than with the above set-up. The board will be much more controllable during a high speed bottom turn and also have much better grip in the cutback, with less tendency to slide out although you will still be able to create a tail slide using more back foot pressure. Here are some pics of my cross shore set-up...

   These small changes will definitely make a very noticeable difference to your board's handling in different conditions and I recommend you try them out and see what you think, but remember that every board is different so you may have to play around a little (or get a Fanatic ;) ) and also that, according to one of the best shapers in the world 'we still only understand a tiny fraction of what this fin set-up is capable of'...

Monday, 1 September 2014

My Great Northumbrian Windsurf Adventure.

          After the disappointment of Tenerife it was off to the UK to visit my family and also to pick up my new 2015 Fanatic /North kit! As I was picking up two boards and two sails I thought I may as well take a wetsuit and harness back with me on the off-chance that there was some wind during my 10 day stay. How glad was I that I did as the forecast for the first weekend showed strong NW winds for the NE of England! I hadn't sailed 'back home for over 15 years and couldn't wait to see all the boys again and sail the places I used to back in the day. In the end we sailed at Bamburgh, a place I actually had never sailed before, although I had sailed the estuary (mouth of Budle) a few times just before I left for Fuerte in 1995. What a place! The WNW wind was cross-off port tack on the first day with fun little waves rolling in and it was a joy to get some down-the-line against the impressive backdrops of Bamburgh Castle on one side and Lindisfarne at the other, although I must admit I struggled a tad with the cold!
         On Sunday the wind increased but the waves dropped and I was overpowered all day on 4.5 but still had a great session mainly because more people turned up and I caught up with a lot of old friends and made some new ones too. There's a great bunch of guys sailing up there with a real community spirit and it really was fantastic to be a part of it- took me right back...when I sail here I mostly turn up, sail then shoot off (late) to work so the craic on the beach there was most enjoyable with all the lads 'giving me tips' and generally taking the p**s (you know who you are).
          On the Monday the wind swung cross-on and the waves increased to mast-high making it very challenging to get through the break but I had another amazing session with Fuerte regular Alan Pickersgill and a seal!
          All in all an unexpectedly cracking windsurf adventure, which I hope to repeat next year! I'd like to thank all the boys up there for their help and for making me feel so welcome, Fanatic /North/ Maui Ultra Fins for my amazing new gear and an extra big thank you to Ben Oliver for sitting on cold, windswept beaches for three whole days with his broken leg in a cage and taking some amazing photos of the sailing!














Thursday, 28 August 2014

PWA Tenerife.

   A bit delayed but I've been away on travels for the last month or so and haven't been able to sit down in front of the laptop. First stop on my travels was Tenerife as Lucy was due to compete in the PWA Ladies' fleet there. Having never been to El Cabezo before I was looking forward to this trip -2 full weeks of strong winds and port tack jumping, something I am pretty unfamiliar with but was very keen to practise. In the end I was very disappointed with what we got. I believe we were a little unlucky with the wind (we got 4 days underpowered on 5.6 and 3 days powered up on 5.0 out of 14), but the spot itself was nothing like I had imagined. Maybe I'm just spoilt having spent the last 20 years on Fuerte! Despite that, it was very interesting to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of my first PWA event in 15 years or so - the level is really high in those very average cross-on conditions, great to watch the guys busting out the moves, and it was also great to catch up with old friends and make lots of new ones. It was also interesting to certain competitors hotly disputing the judges' final decisions after heats, I'm sure that never happened back in the day ;) .

     Anyway, all in all a very poor windsurf trip for me, and Lucy's competition didn't go that great either, losing in the first round in what I would say were totally uncompetable conditions then drawing the rising star of women's wavesailing Sara-Quita in the double elimination, where she sailed very well but was still beaten fair and square by the freestyle world champ, who coincidentally was one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

    Oh well. Here are a few crappy photos of mine and Lucy's last ever windsurf trip to Tenerife (mine definitely)...






Sunday, 27 July 2014

En route to Tenerife.

Just a quick one as we are packing the van for PWA Tenerife! Two whole weeks of port tack waves - can't wait! It's been years since I did any real port tack jumping so I'm expecting to be totally rubbish but after two weeks maybe I'll get the hang of it...

Lucy will be competing in the event so she'll be stressed while I just cruise around on my jollies, hahaha. Anyway, got to go, here's a couple of pics from our last Punta session together at the weekend, next post will be from El Cabezo...


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Tenerife Training.

   We're off to Tenerife this weekend for two weeks as Lucy is competing in the PWA event there so in between my clinics I've been trying to help her as much as possible with her preparations, although I've been so busy it's not been easy to squeeze her in (as I've been reminded on various occasions ;)). Lucy's waveriding is already right up there with the best but on the last day of waves at Glass this week we talked through the technique and timing behind aerials, a move which will make her waveriding stand out more in competition. Obviously it will be far more tricky in the onshore conditions in Tenerife but just the fact that she will be going for the sections is going to put her right up there as after watching the PWA Pozo event it was evident that only the top 4 girls were really 'on it' in the waveriding department. Anyway, the session went great and her riding was very fluid and aggressive, smacking all the decent sections and also boosting some great aerials back onto the wave - big smiles!!! Check out the pics below, impressive!

We have 8 days in Tenerife before the comp kicks off to get her in tune with conditions so I'm hopeful she'll get to grips with the spot and could do very well. Fingers crossed. We're going to spend those 8 days working on riding and back loops as it was also very clear that only the twins can do a proper back loop. That's the plan...











Friday, 18 July 2014

Back loop clinic.

My German pal Basti has been wanting to book in for a back loop clinic for quite some time now but it's been hard to find a space this summer as I've been pretty much fully booked but we managed to put a day aside between other clinics and headed to Punta early(ish) morning to work on his backies. Unfortunately, when we arrived the swell was almost non-existent, maybe waist-high in the sets with the tide fully out. Grrrrr. However, I've been slowly grinding him down over his last few visits about learning forwards and he's been stubbornly reluctant. I sensed my chance here. "We might not get another day for training together for ages". "You could learn forwards in one day, back loops can take a long time to master". "It's only water". You get the gist. Anyway, he succumbed to peer pressure and we did the beach theory then the water practice of the forward loop and got ready for that first, all-important attempt when BOOM the waves suddenly picked up, effectively rescuing Basti from his predicament and, with a big grin on his face, we spent the next few hours working on his back loops. Oh well. Actually, he made great progress with his forwards in the first hour and I think he got rid of most of the fear he had and will be ready next time I get him in my clutches, hehe. Back loop-wise he made great progress indeed and sorted out his take-off and rotation with a couple of tips, and eventually came quite close to landing a couple, just under rotating, which is much better than over rotating and means he's well on his way to back loop success! He got the last laugh anyway when his team lifted the World Cup last week. Again.

Anyway, check out the photos below of our session together...