Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 29th, 2009 - The Exclamation Point

There has been a sense I've been getting of the windsurfing season winding down this month. The common wisdom in the bay area is that if there was a date to pack your gear up for the winter, it's Oct 1st. Normally as that date approaches, sessions are fewer, further between, and a grade less windy than our normal sessions. Think 5.3 or 5.7 instead of the usual 4.2 to 5.0 days. Then mother nature giggles at our hopeless understanding of her and we got one of those fronts yesterday that felt EXACTLY like a really strong spring cold front.

The best place in the bay, from my experience, to catch a big NW is 3rd avenue. The shipping channel isn't too too far, and the water surface gets BIIIIG out there. Estimations for yesterdays' swell size have ranged from head high (from a local gorge snob) to mast high, or double box car high (from a 3rd channel first timer). Another 3rd avenue vet claimed it was the best he's seen in 18 years of windsurfing the spot.

I don't think there is a picture or video out there of really big swell in 3rd avenue. I think only the people who have been out there have any idea what it's like. I considered for a minute taking my waterproof camcorder out there, but there was no way I could sail out there one handed. Even if I strapped it to my arm, I would have been scared sitting in the middle of the chaos out there, just because people were flying all over the place and it's really really easy to lose track of where the other sailors are. It would have been begging to get landed on.

Bay sailors get a lot of grief for their love of "flat water", but let me tell you, the SF Bay can be anything but flat on some days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What to do while you're injured...

I've been only windsurfing once or twice a week for the last month or so due to a nagging shoulder injury. I've been going to physical therapy a couple times a week to strengthen my left shoulder in preparation for Maui, but my windsurfing days have been very laid back and short. It's a major bummer to be injured at the end of the season, right as I was getting a hold of the forward loop, but I'm finding other ways to distract myself.

When someone is injured, it's really easy to disappear into the abyss of Matlock marathons and competitive eating... but the best thing to do is get out and hold the camera for your friends. Here's a video I put together from a bunch of sessions at Candlestick this month. Late in the season the wind gets lighter and flukier and only a handful of spots work on a regular basis. Candlestick is one of the only spots that works on warm late-season days, so you'll find a healthy crowd there when everything else has more or less shut down. Like every good thing, seasons must come to an end, so it's best to look at each late-season session as a gift. October and November are usually the lowest wind months before our winter storms come through.

September Sessions from Aaron Vieira on Vimeo.

**In this video, I captured Sofy going for a move called the "Toad", which is akin to a clew-first forward, and Kevin grabbing his first on film shakas, and leche (aka switch stance kono). He's been doing those tricks for a year, but no one has been holding the camera. It's awesome to get to sail with skilled freestylers so much, and it's been a huge reason that I've been able to make so much progress this year.

ppps. For the record... "squishing" people is far from being my original concept... for a good laugh: I CRUSH YOUR HEAD

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Feels like losing your virginity... without the guilt and awkwardness...

There are a lot of highs in windsurfing, which is ultimately why we windsurf. We are substances abusers just like any crack head. The primary difference is that the source of our sensations isn't a dirty meth lab or the jungle of a 3rd world country. The source of our drug is within us. It probably looks like little drops of fluid being released from tiny glands hidden in different parts of our skulls that feeds a rush of feeling through the soluble contents of our bodies. It's a feeling we call "stoke" and it unites us as windsurfers.

Just like they say, there is nothing like your first high. Most people can distinctly remember their first day planing. If you've ever planed out of a jibe, you will completely remember that feeling, too. Two of my friends recently completed some very impressive firsts. Juan learned to do a spock 540 and Asma learned the grubby. I captured them doing so last Friday at Candlestick Park.

Jacob, aka "Lofty" lent me his camera to snap these photo sequences, then went the extra mile spending his time stitching the pictures together... outstanding work.

Also, he put together a goofy little clip from the same day of some true "buttsailing":

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Regarding that Windsurfing Magazine Stuff

Dearest Blog Readers (aka: the other bloggers and my mom),

Thanks for your courageous support during this trying time in the world of windsurfing. The printing press at a nationally syndicated magazine known as Windsurfing Magazine made a terrible error and mistakenly published a piece that I wrote. Kiteboarders everywhere rejoiced this aquatic apocalyptic event that would surely end our sport forever, opening up endless oceans and lakes of dangle-room across the world. The lawyers of the international shark coalition are looking for loopholes in order to assure my eventual consumption by chumming for what I've done to the supply of their food source. The American Red Cross has deployed Disaster Mental Health (DMH) Counselors across the country in local windsurfing stores, who are on hand with anti-depressants.


Yes, I'm the guy who wrote the "Confessions of the Human Catapult" article in WSing. It's been a year in the making, and editor Josh Sampiero had to threaten my family in order to get me to finally get something done on it. In addition, I have to give him a lot of credit for making it somewhat readable and qualifying as the "English Language". Thanks to everyone who enjoyed it to some extent. For me, reading it is like coming home to cat vomit on the floor and deciding to pick through it with a needle to look for a newspaper clipping you had set aside earlier. I guess that's what they say about reading your own writing. Actually, "they" probably don't use the cat vomit analogy because "they" probably have manners.

In any case, the positive reactions from my efforts make me feel encouraged to focus a bit more on the writing on my blog and the other outlets. Stay tuned for some slightly less sucky prose.

Yours in Robby,

Aaron, the catapult

ps. James Douglass, a far better windsurfer and writer also had a sweet article about jibing published in the same issue.

pps. The issue in the picture above is not the issue I'm in, but I used that picture instead because it had a cute girl in it.

ppps. Dude, nobody cares, shut up.

pppps. Hey, this is my post-script dammit! Who's typing on my blog?!

ppppps. This is your conscience.

pppppps. Oh, you again, yeah a lot of good you've done me so far.

ppppppps. Shut up and book your ticket to Maui.

pppppppps. FINALLY something we can agree upon!