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Mike LaFranchie

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Local spot

Waitara, otherwise known as spot X. Its not the most radical but its consistent and fun for learning new moves.
Its got a few sections, basically a nice sucky bowl out the back, then a long slow section through the middle,before a fast peeling section into a closeout on the inside. Can straighten up from the close out, sail right over the reef into a lagoon, and safely gybe before heading back out. Pop a jump or too on the way out before turning onto the next set. Too easy!
The only downside is the inside section rarely gets bigger than head high.
The bowl can get to mast high on a big day however.

Favourite Carbon Art board

the THC 56.
I ride it in everything, 3.7m2 sail right up to 5.0. For my 72 kg it had plenty of float when I’m grovelling in sub planing premium wave riding conditions, and is easy to control when maxing out on a 3.7 in a hail storm. With a board like this there is no need to have more than 1, this one does it all.
I don’t even think about the board, it’s so effortless to ride. I only need to think about the move and the board is already on its way. There is no’ dialing it in’, or ‘finding the sweet spot’. This one just works right out of the box.

Best Results

My best results have been victory in the Taranaki Wave Classic 2012 and 2007.
My best result to date in the New Zealand Wave Nationals is second, my little brother (Chris) beat me, bastard!.

The event I’m most wanting to win though is the Kawhia Slalom championships. Its an invitation only, one design completion. You know you’ve made it when the invite comes. Current champion is Chris La Franchie. Conditions haven’t been up to competition standard since the early 2000s. I’m looking forward to competing again, maybe this year…

Favourite conditions

My favorite conditions are just planing on a 5.0 in clean mast high waves peeling for hundred of meters down the point. Bottom turn, cut back, bottom turn, cut back, bottom turn cut back. It never gets boring!  Because I’m greedy I like the odd aerial section thrown in there as well just for kicks.I guess this sums up my style. I try to be smooth, ride every wave to its potential, maximizing the power that wave has to offer me. There is no other feeling quite like redirection from a thick lip. Feeling all the poser flow through the board, sail and my body.

Best or favourite move

Vertical bottom turn into late pitching lip, ‘throw those fin up in the air, tweak em like you just don’t care’ (say it like a rapper). The aerial that is more like a top turn a couple feet above the lip, straight up and straight back down again. Windsurfing is all about the adrenaline rush for me. That why I wave sail. Unless there are lips that scare me at least a little bit, it’s not a satisfying session.

When did you start

I started windsurfing at about 12, some time in the early 90s. It never gets old, the wind and waves are different every day. I expect to carry on until my body can take no more.

Best tips

My best tip is to fall off often. Every crash is a teacher. The person falling off the most is the person getting better the fastest!

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