Saturday, April 24, 2010

Got one!

Well, three actually.

Yesterday set up as the ideal Candlestick day. I stopped by the beverage store to grab some beers for the friends I would sail with on the way over, then on a whim decided to get myself the "congratulatory beer". This is the beer that I was going to set aside for when I actually complete my first Vulcan. I found the perfect bottle: a $10 bottle of "vintage" fuller's beer. The shelf sign said something about how drinkers are encouraged to store the beer to see how it matures over time. I was amused at the thought of how much better the beer will end up tasting once I made one, how ever long that would take.

I arrived to find powered up 5.3, potentially 4.7 conditions. Reliable rippled ramps separated by a patches of silky smooth surface set up splendidly across the whole sailing area. I understand why so many pass up the swell and waves and splendor of some of the other launches. This place is freestyle heaven.

My first 5 attempts were decent, but a bit rusty and under committed. A few more attempts and I could feel things coming together. I was sailing relaxed and confidently, and I wasn't worried at all about making one. It will come. Then I went for one right in front of my friend Juan. Juan is a fluent Spocker, so I'm always looking to see if I can get another Vulcan tip by showing him an attempt or two. I popped the board out of the water, got the nose down, spun around and started sliding. Surprisingly, the new side of the boom was staring back at me invitingly. I grabbed hold of the boom, careful to keep my weight over my feet, but ready to lean forward to counterbalance the sail in this awkward position. Next thing I knew, I was still dry, and going the other direction. I wriggled my feet out and switched them to normal position and hooted like a wild man. It was one of my top moments as a windsurfer, for sure.

I looked around and remembered that Juan was right behind me. He was beaming with enthusiastic smile. He had seen me personally go for a hundred attempts over the last couple months, and he knew well the struggle involved with becoming a freestyle windsurfer. As the session progressed, the water got more messy and I was forced to rig down a size. I sailed away from a couple more over the rest of the session.

My estimation is that it took me something like 350 attempts to sail away from one of these buggers. It sounds like a lot, but realistically it took me way more attempts to plane out of jibes. If you're reading this and you've got some interest in getting into freestyle windsurfing, just think. You are some hundreds of attempts away from making a Vulcan. The sooner you start trying number one, two, three, twenty, fourty... the sooner you WILL sail away from one.

So what now for me? It's another fun, long road to get one on port.


Mr Lonely said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
boardsurfr said...

Congrats! 350 attempts does not sound too bad - I've heard numbers from 1000-2000, which is a bit discouraging. What board did you use?

I like your comparison to planing out of jibes - I think there's plenty of surfers who have to try more than 1000 times to plane through the first time, myself included. Unlike Vulcan attempts, though, a lot of the planing jibe attempts were dry..

windsurfinggypsy said...

wow going for port right away!!!!! congrats at getting your vulcan!!! see you soon man hopefully spocking by then.

CdnGuy said...

Awesome! Congratulations, you are an inspiration.

Cheers, and enjoy your beer.


chachi said...

way to go! time to Spock!

maverick said...

Wow! I'm very happy for you! Remember I'm roughly at 350 attempts myself and having trouble getting the nose down and my chin up i think.

I just started the season here in Finland yesterday. Didn't get any attempts though since it was so cold and didn't feel my fingers after 5 minutes but your story for sure gives me a feeling I'll get it one day. Great job!

rathokan said...

a wise man once said, "here's a little of the '47, do not drink it all at once, and if possible, try not to drink it alone."

looking forward to sharing a congratulatory Fullers

PeconicPuffin said...

Congratulations! I'm not even close to hitting my first.

Catapulting Aaron said...

Thanks for all the kind words everyone!

boardsurfr - It could take 1000-2000 attempts to get one depending on the person. I know people that took a week to learn it. Just depends. I think the 1000-2000 number is an excellent one to keep in your head so that you don't feel discouraged as you feel like you've been trying them forever. It's babysteps (for most people).

maverick -- Don't be discouraged. Everyone is different. Tricks that take more time for some people take less time for others, so maybe it will take a bit longer to get the Vulcan, but you could get the Spock relatively quickly (which is to say, the Spock actually takes longer to learn than the Vulcan for most).

Puffin -- hope you guys get some good wind soon!

Brafougne said...

What about the beer? can we have a taste report?

Catapulting Aaron said...

Brafougne, the beer was absolutely delicious. I drank it at room temperature and it was totally outstanding. A really, balanced malty flavor. It's "little brother" beer is Fuller's ESB, which is the best beer I've found, in the world, ever.

Jay said...

Congrats! I just put in my first 5 today. I don't know by what luck I had my brain wired right, but I got the board around about 160o (no clue how) on my first try.... maybe I'll hit it in ~350 attempts also.

Let the summer begin!

Catapulting Aaron said...

Jay that's awesome. I have a handful of friends who have learned the trick in much less time. They mostly have prior skateboarding/snowboarding freestyle experience. A couple weeks or less for some.

Hope you're one of the lucky (talented?) ones!