Words, pics & vid: Daniel Winterbottom
Daniel Winterbottom is a keen windsurfing bean. So keen in fact that he’s just as happy to be out on modern wi dsurfing kit as he is old gold classics. Enter his still going string Tiga 275 (he also owns and sails and a Tiga 285). For any long in the tooth windsurfers the Tiga 275 will be remembered fondly (or not?).
A recent windy sesh of Daniel’s caught our eye so we got in touch to see what’s what. Over to Daniel for another installment of Windsurfing UK’s semi-regular Windsurfing Club Classics articles.
‘I grew up in Kenya which is where I first sailed a Tiga 275 in warm 17-25 knot trade winds. I left Kenya in 1995, unfortunately I couldn’t take my gear with me. Getting boards into Kenya was one thing, with “customs charges”, getting them out was another and likely to be more expensive than buying a new one in the UK. So, I reluctantly parted ways with my Tiga 275 on the promise of replacing it in the UK.
Wind forward (no pun intended) 26 years and mid-lockdown April 2021 my occasional trawl of Facebook posts for second-hand gear I saw the familiar purple deck pads. I clicked into the post and yes, it was a Tiga 275 ACR. Expecting the usual battered wreck of years gone by I was delighted to see it looked immaculate. I messaged the seller with curiosity….. “Is it still available and do you have the fin?”. “Yes and yes” came the replies an hour or so later.
It turned out it had barely been sailed, if at all, since it was bought, which was confirmed when I picked it up. Not an ounce of rust on the footstrap screws and all logos and non-slip fully intact. It was being sold as a clear out to raise money for Scouts.
The first windy day I forgot to take it with me. It was my first sail post-winter lockdown and it was a foiling day that turned out to be a little windier than forecast. Oh well, it was fun. The next windy day, May Bank Holiday, I was determined to get a run in, even though it was on a lake.
At 110 litres, in freshwater, it needs a good force 3-4 to get going. The board is far narrower than I remember, my closest equivalents being a pair of freestyle waves 120 and 94 litres from a popular Italian brand. Both are significantly wider and shorter than it. I sailed on the 120 first to gauge the gusts and see whether it was worth the slog on the Tiga and it was. A quick board swap and I launched…
I felt like I was on a speed board! The tail sunk like a stone on my first beach start, so I had to rapidly shift my weight forward. After that it was a happy trip down memory lane. The gusts, which were between 10 and 25knots (joys of lake sailing), just accelerated the board, no lifting or tail walking, which must be down to the extra board weight? Tacking was another story. I was all set and zipped around no issue but then noticed the entire board was a foot underwater. There was me worried about sinking the nose, I sunk the entire board! Nothing to do with lockdown weight gain, honest!
The board is heavy to carry, weighing I am sure a bit over the quoted 9.6kgs in the old brochures. It was real effort to manhandle the rig and board in and out of the water. They are made of polyethylene, so fairly indestructible. I used a 2018 Ezzy Legacy 5.8m for the test and didn’t feel any issues in new sail design versus the board (manufactured in 92/93?). In fact, probably similar to the twin cam sail I used back in the 90’s. It was a course racing board so whilst fast and boxy railed it’s not quite the dedicated slalom board so gybing is reasonable.
As Mr (Peter) Hart once described me in an article, I am one of those ‘Dave fave waveboard’ owners…and he’s right (still got the one he referred to). But some boards are worth keeping and this is one board I wished I had kept, and now it’s back!
Old boards can be worth the low cost for a little something different or a trip down memory lane, rather than letting them go on a trip down the tip. There’s a lot of old school windsurfers out there still sailing classic kit – and why not? What worked back then is likely to still work now. If you get chance to use classic kit the I thoroughly recommend it!’
Don’t forget to check out WSUK’s other Windsurfing Club Classic and old school windsurfing flavour articles via the links below –