"When I first heard about the Easy-Uphaul I thought that it was another unnecessary gimmick. After all, a lot of inventions have come and gone in this sport. I mean how hard is uphauling anyway? After playing with the Easy-Uphaul for a few weeks while training on my Olympic equipment, I soon came to realize that I had developed very refined technique and muscles to resist the uphauling of the sail. But the average windsurfer is more worried about nailing jibes than how to uphaul. In fact most of my pulled muscles and strained backs can be linked to uphauling. After all uphauling, especially in stronger winds requires a lot of strength and technique.
After training in twenty knots for a couple of hours and then resting
on my board, uphauling is usually the last thing I look forward to. With
the Easy-Uphaul you just hook in and lean back against the sail, resting
as the rig drains of it's inert water and weight with no stress
on the body.
At first the girls and senior windsurfers saw the ease and benefit, (showing their superior intelligence and lack of obstinate pride) but as I stuck to using the Easy-Uphaul in competitions, soon fellow competitors starting to ask if I would "sponsor" them with their own Easy-Uphaul.
After all, anything that makes the sport easier, conserves energy and is an asset on the race course.
Like the inventions of the adjustable boom, adjustable mast track, and the advent of the harness, the Easy-Uphaul is an innovation to stay.
From the perspective of learning to windsurf, uphauling the sail can wear you out pretty quickly. As it gets windier, this becomes more of an issue. Most beginners quit trying to learn because they get exhausted uphauling the sail. Their backs, arms and hands cannot stand up to the strain, of continuously pulling up the sail, sapping them of their energy and desire to continue on.
With the Easy-Uphaul this becomes a non issue as you use your body weight and your harness to take load off of the arms, back and hands.
As an Olympic and professional windsurfer, I have enjoyed turning people on to the Easy-Uphaul.
For BEGINNERS, the best thing about the Easy-Uphaul is it's ability to make the hardest part of the sport effortless, as it teaches you to start using a harness and how to trust levering against the forces of the sail. Because of this, I have been recommending people teach others to windsurf with the Easy-Uphaul from the very beginning. A lot of schools are switching over to this innovation.
My OLYMPIC competitors love using the Easy-Uphaul to save vital strength and energy while training and competing. When it's windy you can exert a lot of energy uphauling. This is a moot point when equipped with the Easy-Uphaul.
As a PROFESSIONAL SAILOR we use very large fully cambered sails. These 10.0's and 9.3's generate a lot of power and can be a bear to get out of the water. The Easy-Uphaul is so easy to use, that I even use it uphauling Sails on my shortboards. Once you try one, you will never go back to the old style uphaul.
I envision the Easy-Uphaul becoming standard issue uphaul of the future. In 10 years it will be hard to find old style uphauls being in the industry. Once you lean back.... there's no going back!"
Mike Gebhart is the winner
of silver and bronze