Category Archives: gear we like

Robby bring the “Chopper” back.

Casey’s Blog:

Ok, Robby Naish I will give you an out, you don’t have to do any more reading if you just bring the chopper back…………………………   No! you say? Now you’re going to get it!

  For some crazy unknown reason, 4 years ago now, Naish Sails stopped producing the greatest windsurfing sail ever made in the history of windsurfing known as the “Naish chopper”. Rumor had it, that it was the brainchild of Mark Angulo. This wouldn’t surprise me a bit since he seems very open minded and he pretty much invented 80% of what is cool and awesome in windsurfing today (moves,style,gear,ect). The chopper is a very innovative and simple concept which works so well in the real world conditions.  It’s a wave sail that is super compact(manuverable), very powerful, provides instant input and is Uber forgiving. Oh and the “Key” to the Chopper is the whole range (4-sails, 5.7-3.7) all rig on one size mast, A nice short 370 mast, and one 140-190 boom. Yes! How Insanely simple is that? You can go to the beach any day from 15 to 40kts with just 4-sails, 1-mast, 1-boom and you have everything covered! So freaking simple. Just that concept alone is worth gold. Now given the option, which quiver would you chose?

“Old windsurfing way”= 6-sails, 3-mast, 2-booms


“Chopper way”= 4-sails, 1-mast, 1-boom.

 No brainer right? Think about it, if you were new to the sport or you’re a parent of a Kid that just got the “Windsurfing Bug” and you were looking into to buying some new gear.  Which option is:  1) Way easier to sell. 2) Way easier to explain. 3) Total cost is way less. 4) Much Simpler and 5) More attractive!  Yup! The “Chopper way” (Did you understand that? Dumb windsurfing marketing people!).

      Another first on the chopper is they changed the sail sizing system. They changed it yet again to a simple system called: small, medium, large and extra-large. Just like your T-shirt size that’s how the different sizes of the Choppers are described. Now anybody “new” to the sport has no problems adapting to this simplified system, but most windsurfers have a complete melt down with this. They are so used to the number system they can’t envision it any other way.  They ask me what I am riding and I say “medium” and you almost can see the gears & cogs exploding out of there head. It’s really funny stuff! Look, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks, so probably Naish should have put some sail numbers on the sail along with the sizing system to keep the melt-downs to a minimum. The main reason for the sizing change is in the chopper design itself.  The choppers pack more power per square meter than any other sail ever made. For example, the Extra Large is really a 5.3m, but it sails and has the power of a 5.7-6.0. So is it really a traditional 5.3m!? No, not really. Thus the need for a new sizing system.  Once you get used to the system you can’t go back to numbers.  Say if a Large is too much then you go to a Medium, if it’s too light you go to a XL. Sooooo Simple! I don’t ever think about what size to be on anymore! It’s such a nice feeling and mind relief.

     Now as for the amazing performance of the chopper, I have written reviews, and other people and magazines have written reviews so I could go on and on but I am going to just sum it up.   The chopper is so different in every way that even the way you rig it up is completely backwards from normal sails. The “Trick” is just a hint of downhaul to make a guitar string leech and then lots of outhaul, and adjust the outhaul for desired power. That’s it! Done!  No more saying “is that enough downhaul?” or “Does that look right?”.  Again so simple!  This sail, in some magical way is both a “powerful” and “soft” wave sail at the same time. I think it defies the laws of physics…or it’s just really short! It can power up to 100 and then depower to zero in an instant. It feels so light and maneuverable that you will forget you even have a sail in your hands. It truly is a surfer’s sail by just disappearing and allowing you to focus on surfing the wave and being in the right spot to Hit the Lip!

  Look is the chopper the best sail for onshore wave? No. Is it the best for sideshore wave? No. Is it the best for down the line waves? No. Is it the best for bump and jump? No. Is it the fastest sail? Definitely not. Is it the most stable sail? Nope. Is it the best freestyle sail? No. Is it the lightest sail? No.  Look The Chopper would not win an award for best sail in any technical category, but yet it would be right up there near the top of every single one. There are things I can do on a chopper, that I can’t do on any other sail.  In real life it would win the category hands down for “having the most fun”. The category for making you “a better wave sailor”. The category for “keeping life simple and easy”. The category of “saving you money by not having so much gear”. Ect.

      The chopper has developed a cult-like following. I know about dozen people who have quivers of them and they all love and rave about them! Heck I know a couple of Naish Team riders that loved their Choppers and miss them so much. They said the Choppers were way better compared to what they are currently riding. I get monthly emails of people looking for quivers of them so there is still clearly a ton of interest there. I just can’t think of any good reason why Naish sails would just stop making them (other than listening to dumb marketing people?). I have tried many brands of 3-batten sails including Naish and they are all Floppy pieces of junk with little to no range. They probably work at Hookipa but that is the only place where they work. All brands 5 batten sails will always have there place on the water, as they are all locked down and super stable rigs that will pretty much sail themselves.  All the other 4-battens sails out there are just lightened up 5 battens (the same sail just a little lighter) and maybe in some cases a little less range. The end result is they are all the “same old” and none of them have a compact, 1 mast/boom concept.

    I have 2 quivers of choppers so I should be good for a while especially with that Naish quality. I will never go back to a normal windsurfing sail ever again!   Oh, every year I try the latest and greatest sails, and just one session on the newest stuff, reminds me how freaken awesome the choppers truly are. The difference is like night and day! So, when that day comes and all my choppers are worn out and I need new ones, I am coming for you Robby Naish! I will hunt you down and you will make me a new set or “there is going to be trouble”!  We are Called REEF “WARRIORS” for a reason. Arrrrrrr!

   Anybody else who wants to pick up the Chopper torch you got my support. Goya, Simmer, Sailworks, Hotsails, anybody?  You would be an instant hero and legend, and probably your bank account would like it too!

  If anybody is looking for some leftover Naish choppers there might be some left at “BigWinds” so check them out!

A gift for all our readers!

As many of you know Casey & I  & our friends at Wetsuit Wearhouse were able to set up a discount code this spring for all of our readers and now with the Great Lakes cooling off and winter sailing and winter surfing approaching fast, not to mention that the holidays are coming up like a close out set, Wetsuit Wearhouse is offering up a special discount coupon code (20% off)  to all The Reef Warriors for their Black Friday sale.

Great selection, Great service, Custom made wetsuits,

you can’t go wrong shopping at wrong at Wetsuit Wearhouse.

( A quick personal note, I purchased these womens-billabong-sealegs-ind_321x800      

for Gidget as a gift this summer and she loves them, so guys DON’T forget the water-woman on your list, Trust me these will be a hit.)

Check out the links below for all the important info.


Wetsuit Warehouse is having their biggest holiday super sale and wanted to give Reef Warrior readers a coupon to use towards anything on the site with no minimums or restrictions. Use code REEF20 to get 20% off plus free shipping on your order! Check out the entire Black Friday sale selection here: Get a head start on your holiday shopping now, or buy yourself a little something!”

Buffalo Board Company

After the race, Gidget  and Jim got to demo a few locally made, hand shaped boards from Buffalo Board Company.13133257_965450123569511_4962415127812205227_n

The first one she tried was the 11 foot yoga board. But we all know a Reef Warrior when there are waves (knee-high shore break) you have to surf. So surf she did.  Despite the shape of the yoga board it actually caught a wave before even attempting to really paddle on to it. It had great glide and amazing stability. The flat rocker and larger nose made the board want to pearl but the fact a yoga board could surf  was impressive. Seeing what she did on the yoga board, owner Brian quickly put the fin on the 10 foot board for Gidget to see how that one performed.14047335_1038999099547946_8139411877262140425_o 13987379_1038999106214612_2029993055429481769_o

The shorter length made turning to get on a wave a breeze. It did want to turn and was a bit tough paddling through the shore break but with a 10 mph wind and after a 6 mile race any board would be difficult to paddle out. Again this board turned very quickly to set up for the wave without losing any stability. The board did not accelerate on the wave but did provide good control.14047141_1038999296214593_1851871793177292706_o


Both boards would be great for anyone looking for that one board that can take you from flat water to feeling comfortable when the waves kick up. The stability (yes I keep using that word but I almost could not fall off these boards) would help anyone progress quickly and get them their first taste of SUP surfing. This just in time for windy season when Lake Erie waves are more prominent.

The slight increase in weight as compared to some other boards with a similar length should not deter anyone since I feel that adds to the boards apparent durability.

Jim dandy, being a man of few words had this to add,

I liked the yellow board (10′) you and Gail tried. I thought it was very stable especially the way it cut through waves on the way out. Maybe because of the pointy front. On small waves coming in it glided nicely and easy to keep it from pearling . I was not able to go left and right or down the line maybe cause the waves were small.

Thanks Jim your input is much appreciated!

For more information contact Brian at or check out their Facebook page! If you wish to try these boards Brian will be at the Buffalo Maritime Festival at Canalside this coming weekend.

Thanks to Buffalo Board Company for rounding out our day at the Buffalo Paddle Festival!

Come visit us here at Da’ Reef sometime!



Custom made wetsuit review

As many of you know I have always been short for my weight and never really liked squeezing into a traditional back zip off the rack wetsuit.


I tried a chest zip suit and had a difficult time getting in and out of type of wetsuit as well.

For many years I have missed early season and fall days of sailing and SUP surfing due to the lack of a good wetsuit, then it was suggested to try a custom made suit from Wetsuit Wearhouse and I am happy I did!

Just click on the custom suit link at the top of the web page and boom ! I was ready to order a custom made wetsuit.


The order form is super easy to fill out with all the needed measurements  and details.

The next step is to simply email it in and let the minions and wizards in the custom suit assembly labyrinth some where in Maryland work their magic. About 6 weeks later a great fitting suit is  arriving at my door.  I ordered a front zip 4/3 suit with zippers at the wrists. Wetsuit Wearhouse even added the  Reef Warrior logo! As with anything a good made to order product can cost a bit more than off the rack, but the difference in cost is off set by the quality and attention to detail.

The suit is super soft and flexible for stand up paddling , sailing and windsurfing. It is plenty warm enough for the early  and late season 50 degree water of Lake Erie. My last wetsuit was a 3/2 that was way thicker and heavy and not very supple. What a difference!

The only downside was learning the trick to putting on the front load suit. It was a little tricky on the 1st couple wearings but as it became more broken in it certainly became easier. I will definitely suggest this option to anyone I speak with who may be a hard to fit size.

Thank you Wetsuit Wearhouse, you folks rock!

Don’t forget about the Reef Warrior discount, just use the code REEFWARRIORS15 at check out for a 15% savings.