Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Little Carnage on the Coast

This is a little embarrassing to admit. It took me almost 2 years here to sail the coast of Northern California. There are a couple reasons for this.

1. Most windy coast days are windy in the bay, which is right in my backyard. The drive to the coastal spots are an hour and a half away.

2. I was a little scared, and that made the first argument in my mind more valid.

Granted, my first season here was great for getting tuned up. I got my jibe solidified and started learning how to jump. The swell on big days in the channel was plenty challenging and helped me get my confidence up. My second season I just wimped out. I was a little injured, working on new moves and just always found an excuse not to go. Finally, last Saturday I made it down to Davenport.

When we got there, I gotta admit, it was intimidating. Some sets came through that looked just huge to me. It didn't matter, I was here, so I sailed. 4.7 was pretty overpowered, which was fine since staying upwind is pretty critical at this spot. The swell in the channel in between the sets even seemed big to me, so I spent the first hour or so just getting adjusted to the ocean sailing. Toward the end of my session I started eeking over to the upwind break and playing on some of the shoulders and ends of waves. It's amazing how different wave sailing looks from how it feels. It looks really smooth and mellow when you watch people who know what they are doing make turns. On the wave, it feels like you're going mach 10, with the forces of wind and wave accelerating you to whole new speeds. Very, very exhilirating.

I didn't end up getting creamed or beat up at all which in retrospect I'm a little disappointed about. I'm sure those lessons will come some day, I just want them to come on a day with slightly smaller waves. Overall I had a great time and I can't wait to get back this year. Next time I'll try to have a better "getting worked story" for the blog.

The overlook
Somone who seems to have a clue

There's really no better place to watch windsurfing than on a coast, overlooking waves that break at a beach.
It is said that the upwind break apparently doesn't beat you up as bad, but those head-high walls of whitewater made me wonder just how bad it is on the downwind break.

An unusually rainy winter and spring has really made the sunny days beautiful in NorCal.
Kevin broke his boom on a bad landing catapult. It didn't break all the way at first, which was lucky so he could sail in. He probably has a few hundred sessions on the boom which is pretty good value, in my humble opinion.
Matt buckled his board on an endo-loop he did right in front of me. This is going to be a tough repair, lots of understrap mushiness.


David said...

Excellent! Stoked to see you've "found" the coast! Next time I'm in town lets hit it! ;-)

George Markopoulos said...

I’ll be the first to admit that although you sail quite frequently, I’ve not been that envious as most, if not all of your sailing out there has been in the bay.

That being said, if you start frequenting the coast on a regular basis, that’s gonna get my attention! Those waves look fun!

Keep at it

Catapulting Aaron said...


Bay sailing is badass.

I wouldn't knock it until you've tried it.


George Markopoulos said...

aaron, perhaps the tone of my commment came across wrong? i agree with you pal, bay sailing is awesome. my point was only i'd love to read more about sailing the coast as apposed to the bay. that would seriously grab my attention.

Catapulting Aaron said...

hehe-- too bad there's not a blog for NorCal Coast sailors out there. Those guys have it pretty good and they are pretty protective of their spots. They don't really talk a lot about great days because they don't want to invite a lot of crowds. Truth is, it takes time to figure out when and where to go. If it's windy in your backyard, are you going to take a chance and drive an hour and a half to find it huge and closed out all along the coast?

I'm still pretty intermediate, so most of the time, my answer is no.

George Markopoulos said...

aaron, i think that once you get hooked on wavesailing, there is nothing that can replace the feeling, and the subsequent high, that i find only happens after being in the ocean.

Este said...

Hmmm, badass isn't the word I would use to describe bay sailing because coast sailing is just so much better when it's on. Bay sailing is fun,social, and can be challenging but never gets my stoke going like waves. Just yesterday drove to Doran beach at Bodega Bay and got it good...side off wind blowing 26-30 with wave faces in the 3-5 foot range. Two surfers out getting blown out of the back of the waves other than that just me going down the line over a sandy beach on smooth waves-it's a much more user friendly spot than Dport only caveat is that it needs a good W, SW, or S swell to get waves...come on out !