19 days in a row of windsurfing. Planing in the straps, every day.
It could have been 20, but I just didn't have the heart to make the drive to the east bay yesterday. Too much windsurfing. My vulcan muscles are twisted out. My jumping muscles are grounded. My jibing muscles are over steered. My planing muscles are just plain done. My drive to loop is in reverse. I've got bay water on the brain and I just couldn't windsurf anymore.
My last session on Saturday at Treasure Island, I was riding a 4.2 and 86L board. The conditions were sloppy, but still pretty good and I was thinking to myself, "this really oughta be more fun than I'm having." I hadn't JUST hit the wall. I had beat myself against it with no mercy.
The laws of diminishing returns are real, at least in my non-athletic world. I wonder if those guys that live in Bonaire just take a few days off so their bodies can recoup? Brendon? Are you out there?
What's your longest streak ever?
For me, the last 19 days will be remembered, but I'll probably never repeat it.
Waddell was fun yesterday. While we were rigging up 5.3's we saw some logo high (+?) close-out sets come through and we both were a little concerned. Every 10 or 15 minutes a set like that would come through, but the usual waves weren't jacking up like that (maybe chest-head mostly?).
Jacob and I both made it past the shore break without issue, with a little bit of patience. 5.3 was the right call... we could power through with no issue. Jacob plays alpha male and goes out first and throws a huge back loop attempt. Impressive, although he claims that it wasn't his intention. We sailed upwind to try to catch some waves away from the kiters. We both had some success, although I doubt we'd be confused for Levi and Angulo on our respective sails. Getting worked a little was part of the deal, but there was nothing that felt like a nightmare.
I mistimed one set and ended up inside of it. I went to jibe but got hooked into the wrong side of the boom as I was exiting. I took a whole set of 6 waves and popped back up to head out. I realized there was one more wave coming, but I had some power and I thought I could make it before it broke. I didn't. I ended up pretty much in the armpit of the wave and it clamped down on me, sending my boom to give a rough greeting to my right cheek. In onomatopoeia that moment would have translated loosely as "ZONK!". I saw a couple stars but all was good. Sailed in to assess very little damage, other than my pride. I was feeling done for the day.
Ocean sailing lesson #1: Know when to fold 'em.
Jacob went back out but the wind was getting a little too light for comfort. It was a confidence building day because some of the locals were describing it as "crunchy", but I think we both had gotten rolled much worse over the winter while trying "lay on belly" surfing. Feels a little unfair having this big sail to help you blast through to the line-up compared to the ice-cream headaches and ocean-drinking associated with surfing. This was one of the waves we saw come through while we were rigging. Probably mast high and closing pretty dang fast.
Looks like there's tons of kites at Waddell. I counted 15 kites and 13 sails on the water. Not the exactly kite-topia people make it out to be... at least not on a Thursday.
Quick video of getting out (after the wind had gotten lighter)
This was not a great April by bay standards, at least not at first. It was a very slow start to the season. Usually by April 1st, we are in a full swing of very consistent wind. Instead we started out with some strange stormy weather and unusual wind flows. Normally I expect to mainly be riding 4.7, but April was more of a 5.3 month. Nevertheless, the weather soon straightened up and we ended up getting a pretty decent month. To be fair about these stats, I have a pretty flexible schedule and I'm willing to drive everyday for wind. Most people have a more time-sensitive life and good reasons for not driving across the bridges to catch good sessions.
--23 Days of Windsurfing on 5.3 or smaller --5 days that could be considered "bad days" where I was pretty underpowered, or planed only a few times. --8 different locations --10 session at Candlestick Park, where the tide doesn't matter and the wind is slightly stronger.
5.3 - 14 days 4.7 - 6 days 4.2 - 1 day 3.7 - 2 days
239 Starboard tack Vulcans attempted. 25 Port tack Vulcans attempted.
Last Friday something very tragic happened as I was preparing to leave Candlestick Park after a nice session. One of the spot locals was found floating in the water unconscious. Dr. Juan was windsurfing nearby and jumped in and immediately began swimming the windsurfer to shore, calling for help. I reached for my phone and dialed 911. Pedro jumped into the water and assisted in the rescue effort, Kevin alerted another windsurfer who is a doctor to assist. When I first dialed 911 it was unclear what was going on, all I could tell is that someone in the water was distressed, but after a couple minutes I realized that our dear friend Jacqui was in a lot of trouble. The 911 operator offered to give me instructions to perform CPR, but I told him that we had two doctors on the scene already working on it. It seemed like an eternity before the ambulance finally arrived.
The EMTs were able to restore a pulse and blood pressure before she was returned to the hospital. I believe when she arrived they ran further tests and a brain scan that delivered results that were not positive. She was removed from the ventilator Saturday night and passed away a few hours later. The doctors revealed that she had a massive stroke or an aneurysm on the water and was immediately stricken unconscious.
Jacqui was one of the first windsurfers I spoke to when I moved out here. She was very positive and easy-going. It seemed like every time I saw her at Candlestick, she always had a little joke to tell, she always could make you smile. She would carry a big stack of paper cups in her van which she would distribute filled with wine to everyone around.
I later found out that Jacqui was 66 years old. This blew my mind because of how much younger and full of life she seemed. It is very, very sad to see her go, but she has forever left a mark in my life and all the lives of the people around her. I hope that we can all carry her warm, sweet attitude and spirit around with us in our daily lives and in our sailing.
Sail on, Jacqui. We love you and miss you.
Photo by Kevin Kan
This photo says a lot about Jacqui. She got stuck down wind as the wind died and had a tough climb up the rip-rap ahead of her. Her response? Big smiles and thumbs-up.