TurfDog – An Interview
On the Northern Hemisphere the winter is on its way and some regions are already covered with snow. To kill the cold wintertime, maybe you want to get a TurfDog to train in your back yard. Since 3,5 years Mike Archer, UK wave and freestyle competitor, has been working for Turfdog Land Windsurfing. We caught up with him to ask a few questions about the company and the range of use of the TurfDogs.
C7: Hi Mike, so what is Turfdog?
Mike Archer: Turfdog produces land boards that are realistic simulators for windsurfing. They can be used for anything from jibes and tacks to more advanced freestyle and wave riding. They are good for both beginners and experts. The boards provide you with the opportunity to learn key movements and rig control for tricks and manoeuvres. This means you can practice repeatedly and develop technique quickly when you might otherwise be stuck with no wind or no water.
C7: What conditions can you use these boards in?
Mike: You can use it in any wind speeds form 2- 20 knots provided you are competent and have a small enough sail. The range of sails you can use starts at 1m and goes up to 6.5m . Our boards can also be used on a wide variety of surfaces – on tarmac, hard sand or on cut grass.
C7: Does it work on snow also?
Mike: It works in compact snow, but it is much better on the compact sand.
C7: What are the most advanced manoeuvres you have seen performed on these boards?
Mike: Forward Loops, Ponches, Shakas and Spock 900s but you can perform basic jibes and tacks on the boards equally well.
Q: Why buy a Turfdog, why not use a standard mountain board?
Mike: We use large numbers of specially designed custom components. These aid in the emulation of windsurfing movements. An example of this is the uniquely destined caster system which lets the board responding to mast foot pressure as a windsurfer would. A mountain board is still good but does not respond in the same way and will not be so useful for your windsurfing development. The specific design features allow the boards to be used in lighter winds and they also perform at a very high level in manoeuvres such as sliding freestyle tricks.
Q: How did you get interested in Turfdog?
Mike: Adam Cropper, the founder of Turfdog, got me interested in the concept a few years ago. I had little time to sail because I was completing my university degree, in a year when there never seemed to be any wind. The boards meant that I could go to the local park and practice every few days to keep my skills up and teach myself some freestyle manoeuvres at the same time. This was particularly good because I wanted to learn a bit of freestyle without having to go away for months and months to practice.
After I finished university I wanted to keep windsurfing. Adam gave me the opportunity to run Turfdog which fits in perfectly with sailing and uses the skills developed in my engineering degree.
C7: Where can you get a Turfdog from?
Mike: We provide board delivery from the UK worldwide and have sent boards all over the world from Japan to Australia and from the USA to Europe. We also sell in shops worldwide and are in the process of setting up a world wide net of distributors.
C7: How have the boards benefited people significantly?
Mike: The boards have really helped me to learn Flakas and the ducks for Funnells and Bobs and Ponches very quickly. We have a large British and international team. Two of the outstanding sailors, who have used them to developed their skills are Max Rowe and Adam Sims. Even some of the older UK wave sailors such as Steve and Andy King have been getting involved now that the weather is cold and they can no longer get away as often. They have even been used in events when there was too little wind to compete as well.
C7: Do you have any advice in using Turfdogs?
Mike: Yes, people think they will get on a Turfdog and instantly be able to learn freestyle maneuvers. It is relatively quick compared to windsurfing but it takes a little time to get used to the boards and the conditions to use them in. My top tip is to use a very small sail in very light winds until you get use to the boards and to remember that you barely have to be moving to start basic manoeuvres.
- To find out more about the boards visit: www.turfdog.co.uk
- To find out more about Mike visit www.mikewindsurf.blogspot.com/
TurfDog in action