Former Olympic windsurfer and head of sales and marketing for Adventure Sports (distributor of Cabrinha in US), Kent Marinkovic, is really into racing. Kent has been experimenting with different race boards for the last few years and offers some great board racing tips on Rick Iossi’s forum, www.fksa.org
You don’t have to buy a “race” board, just get a good directional. I would suggest a quad fin that you can also use in the waves.
Length: 5’3-6’0, stay between these lengths. The longer boards will tend to surf a bit better and give you great range upwind and down. The 5’3’s are super fast and “flippy”. If you are interested in a “surf skate” type of board, disregard my comments on length as the noses are chopped off and work quite well.
Width: nothing less than 16.25 inches. Better to go with 17 – 18 inches.
Rocker: if you want to go fast, nothing more than 1.70 inches at the tail and a bit less if you want to really crank up wind. If you want to really excel in waves too hint up to 1.75 – 2 inches and you will have a good cross over board.
Nose: nothing narrower than 11.5 inches 1 foot off the nose. Stick to something less than 4.25 inches of rocker on the nose.
Thickness: anything around 2 inches will do.
Tail: stay away from freaky stuff like batwings; swallow tails, etc. if you want to race. I’d suggest a broad squash tail. For something that leans toward racing go for at least 10 inches across the tail and more than 15 inches wide 1 ft. off.
Outline: the straighter the rails, the better upwind. You will suffer off the wind though. Wide point aft of center would be best.
Rails: Just make sure that the tail quarter is harder than normal surf. you need a hard edge.
Foot straps: I usually run with only 2, but if you need help jibing you can go with 3 (2 upfront). Yes, you can still ride toe side off the wind.
If you want to just buy a production board that works great look at any of the following:
Kafka Prisoner of wind: 5’8 – 6’0
Placebo surf skate: 4’10 or 5’0
Cabrinha quad 5’9
call Dereck at DC boards, he has done a great job for me and is a pleasure to work with.