The windsurfing mast and its base is crucial for the stability of the sail while riding. More than any other component of a windsurfer’s rig, the mast is most responsible for dictating the weight. Therefore, you want to purchase a lightweight mast that allows for a proper bend and does not weigh you down. Purchasing the wrong mast can ruin the performance of any sail, even the best ones.
The Construction of the Mast
Almost all masts are made of carbon, but the ratio of carbon to other material can vary. Most fall between 30% to 60% while some higher-end masts can be virtually completely made from carbon. The general rule is that the more carbon content the mast have, the easier it will bend. It will feel a whole lot nicer too.
A mast with less carbon content might seem enticing price-wise, but they are also heavier and feel worse to hold. They will not be as responsive to your grip as a mast with higher carbon content. However, be warned: a mast with higher carbon content will undoubtably also be more fragile.
The windsurfing mast is connected to the mast’s base, allowing it to stay upright. The base of the mast is generally priced at around $75 – $100. Masts themselves are generally priced at a couple of hundred dollars.
Curvature, Stiffness, and Thickness
In order for the mast to properly fit with the sail, it needs to bend to some degree. The smaller diameter on one end of the mast means that the bend will differ on the first-half of the mast compared to the second-half.
It goes without saying but, if you are riding in heavier waters, then you would want a stiffer and heavier mast. Masts with less stiffness, on the other hand, allow for faster speeds and more control.
The thickness of masts were not standardized until recently. In the past decade, a new standard has been introduced for windsurfing masts which reduces their diameter. These new masts require a corresponding mast base and an adaptor for your boom, but they also offer a lighter weight and more durability (making it harder to break).
Maintaining your windsurfing mast is easy. For starters, be sure to put your mast away after using it because it can be damaged by UV rays. And always be wary of any cracks or bended parts before use.
Because of its high carbon content, make sure to avoid falls of any sort which could damage your mast. Sometimes a wave can fall right on the mast and break it. This can happen if your mast is facing away from the wave when being hit which can propel it to hit the seabed. Therefore, always windsurf with your mast facing the wave.