Monday, December 6, 2010

An Unusual Session at Linda Mar

Yesterday was forecast to be a solid winter storm heading toward the bay area. This time of year, there are only a handful of sailable days every month. About half of the good-wind-forecast days end up panning out to be planing conditions. Usually the storm winds last about a half hour, and are strongest at sites that are an hour drive from San Francisco in Half Moon Bay. That's why people pack their gear up for the winter around here. Not because they are wind snobs, but because chasing fickle storm winds can end up being very frustrating.

By 11 AM we had gotten a "spike" on the meter. Half Moon Bay's wind meter hit 20, then immediately backed off. For all we knew, that was going to be "our storm". A couple hours went by and the meter hits 20 again, then drops 20 minutes later. We were being toyed with, it was certain. I catch up with Jacob and decide maybe we should go surfing at our favorite kiddie-pool, Linda Mar. Linda Mar is located in Pacifica, California. It has a reputation as "bozo beach" for surfing because it's one of the few places around where the waves aren't always completely and systematically humiliating to an inexperienced surfer. The downside is that it's always really crowded and catching a great wave is difficult because everyone paddles for every wave. Party wave city, forget about going down the line.

Jacob and I got there and it actually looked kinda windy. Hardly any whitecaps, but tons of spray coming off of the tops of the 3-4 foot waves. We always joke about windsurfing this spot. A couple times I've seen it be windy there after storm sailing in Half Moon Bay, but was already too cold and tired to give it a go. This time, we had arrived with the intentions of surfing but ended up rigging 5.0's and 100L boards. There were a few dozen surfers out along the half-mile long beach, much less than usual. They were working pretty hard to stay in the line up because the offshore winds were pushing them out to sea.

I heard the surfers cheering on my way out. I guess seeing someone blasting along on a windsurfer added to their self-validation of lunacy for surfing on such a stormy, ugly day. We got some strange looks, but no one seemed to be too bothered with us. The wind was super gusty. Lots of waiting for waterstarts as well as getting the back hand ripped off the boom.

The wind itself was borderline scary-off-shore. The water outside the break was butter flat. It would have been perfect for freestyle had I had any mind to not be worried about losing ground upwind.

The waves were sometimes 4 feet, maybe a little more. The stronger ones were closing out and throwing pretty hard with all the offshore wind. I didn't endure any terrible over-the-falls experiences, but when I did I was underneath my gear in very shallow water.

The following photo is either the Loch Ness Monster, or me riding a wave port tack. Odds are with the former.

The following photo was a pretty common site. Once you took a wave to the inside you were pretty much at the mercy of the wind shadow and shore break. Also, lining up a beach start is difficult when your gear is being pushed upwind. Hard to explain, but we kept getting back-winded in the impact zone.

There was a walk-of-shame to be done. The only place we could make it in was near the north end of the beach.

My girlfriend took these photos with an iPhone (some through the eyepiece of binoculars). Not too shabby! I'll definitely come back to this spot again to check out the off-shore winds. This session might have been pure luck, or maybe just nobody TRIES to sail here. It was challenging, but at this point I think sailing gusty storm wind on flat water is mainly frustrating. Sailing gusty wind with the odd chance ad a full powered wave turn, now that's fun.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This is what happens when I leave town...

I'm in an office in the middle of windless Florida. You're welcome to my bay-area comrades.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Corrections and Updates - Cabo Verde predictions

So I found out that I didn't have my bracket set up right. Although they do 4 person heats, they are scored on a 1v1 basis (if I understand properly), so my bracket is all wrong. Oh well, at least the spirit was there. Maybe next year I'll get it right.

In other news, the PWA released exactly how the world title race plays out.

For Kauli to win the title, he would need to win and
- Victor Fernandez would have to place 6th or below
- Campello needs to end up 5th or below

For Ricardo to win he'd need to win outright and
- Victor places 5th or below

For Victor to win, he just needs to place 4th or above.

There are a lot of other scenarios that involve all three of these guys not doing well. Imagine if Robby Swift won currently in 6th place. I think we would need Ricardo, Victor and Kauli to all place outside of the top 10 in order for him to win it all. Given that, my internal computer model tells me that Victor Fernandez has a 73.22001% chance of winning the title.

My forecast for the final top 10 ranking is:

1. Victor
2. Kauli
3. Ricardo
4. Swift
5. Mussolini
6. Pritchard
7. Voget
8. Koster
9. Bruch
10. Skye

Would you change anything about that list?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Lo and behold, a bracket for the single elimination for the final PWA contest in Cabo Verde. I put this together with my rudimentary excel skills because something deep inside compelled me. I'm a fan of sports and speculation in the normal world of football, soccer (for my euro readers) basketball, and sometimes baseball. I've always felt like there is no reason that my obsession and over analysis shouldn't reach into the pro windsurfing world. In this post, I'll be revealing my picks for the Cabo Verde event based upon what I've seen from countless hours of watching windsurfing video and my intuition about the sailors involved and the site of Punta Preta in Cabo Verde. I will probably play favorites based upon sailors I've met, and give them the benefit of the doubt over those I haven't. My American homerism will likely be quickly sniffed out.

So let's first discuss how the spot of Punta Preta Cabo Verde affects the potential outcome of this event. Here's what we know about Punta Preta. This is a point break with Large to Extra Large waves. The wind can be strong, but also not super strong. The wind is very offshore which makes it a little better for wave riding rather than jumping. If someone wants to correct me on these facts, please do! Punta Preta favors starboard tack sailors who are especially good ON the wave. This is an interesting fold because many of the top ten wavesailors on the PWA rankings are there because of their skill on port tack side-on to onshore wave contests, essentially JUMPING contests, not wave riding contests.

What we typically have at Punta Preta is a wave-riding contest. Wave-riding is a very subjective thing to judge. Why? Because a lot of the scoring doesn't circle around the number of turns, or the amplitude of air on an aerial. The judging is mostly about the style. Sure, being around the critical section of the wave is very important. All of these guys can be in the right place, but still a huge question is would the judges rather see a very fast, drivey wave where the sailor covers a ton of ground, lays down big bottom turns and airs out across big lips, or will they be more interested in those slashy top turns, slowly progressing down the wave , but staying very vertical? In my mind, I'm seeing yet another final heat between Josh Angulo and Kauli Seadi that will be pinning those two exact styles against one-another. For first place, yet again.

A bracket is more than a list of names. It's a chance to imagine some of these heats going on. Let's take a look at a couple very interesting first round heats.

Here are two heats in a particular that strike me as very interesting. The top heat with Ojeda, Albeau, Swift and Porcela has some interesting things going on. I'm going to put Ojeda in the "happy to be here" category, because just getting to the event and getting to sail that wave on the sponsor's dime is enough to make anyone happy. He's a Pozo guy. A port tack jumping guy. I don't see him doing much compared to the guys who sail Ho'okipa. He's ranked in the top 10 right now, but that's because most of the tour so far has been jumping contests. Swifty on the other hand is a shoe-in to advance. He's got some of the best stuff for down the line wave sailing of anyone on the tour. The interesting part of this heat is Albeau vs. Porcella. Porcella has tons of experience on starboard tack wave sailing from living on Maui for all these years. He's a fearless, amazing jumper. That said I think of him more of a "soul surfer" type. I can't think of an contest where he's sailed an incredible heat. On the other hand, you have Antoine Albeau, who LIVES for competition in all kinds of sailing. Although he isn't as focused on waves, he can nail backloops with a lot of consistency and he definitely knows how to ride a wave. My brain tells me to pick Albeau for his competitive pedigree, but my heart is going with Porcella on this one.

The next heat is Skye, Lenny, Koster, and Polakow. Wow. Skye is ranked 11, and I think deservedly so, so I'll give the top spot of the heat to the Brit. He spends a good amount of time on Maui, so I think he's a no brainer to advance. What we have otherwise is Lenny and Koster, current wonderkids, and Polakow, former extreme wonderkid. You have the think that Kai and Phillip have got to be thinking of each other as rivals. Kai was the main kid we've been seeing via the Windsurfing Movies, then last year, out of nowhere Koster busts onto the scene landing double forwards seemingly while yawning in the Canary Islands. Koster has won first place in Pozo! Kai hasn't had any competition results that come close to that, so I'm sure he'll have a chip on his shoulder to beat Philip in conditions that perfectly suit his Maui experience. That said, I think they will be competing for 3rd place given Polakow's hefty experience advantage. Neither of the young guns will advance this year. It will be interesting to see how the double elimination bracket will sort itself out to see which one of the two will end up on top for the final standings of the year.

Now I will reveal my final single elimination bracket:

A couple other things to note:

I like Pritchard to have a good outing, that might be me being a homer. He's ridden 10 bajillion starboard tack waves, so you have to like his chances. Marcilio Browne could be out early, and for sure by the 2nd round. I think his recent foot injury is going to be too much to overcome. Bad luck for him, considering what a pleasure he is to watch. The title race is for sure very interesting. Campello in 2nd in wave? Am I seeing things? Victor in first, due to all the port tack jumping. I think Kauli will high-step to the endzone for the victory, but will he get enough points to hold off the kings of jumping and win the championship? Kauli needs to hope these two guys do bad in addition to winning the event!

I believe there will be video broadcast here:

Also, if you'd like an excel version of the bracket, email me at

If you pick more brackets correctly than me, I will mail you something San Francisco or windsurfing related.

And to make the post at least somewhat visually interesting, here's a picture of Punta Preta that I did not get permission to use.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I want to go to there.

Mauro2010 part II from Lorzelek on Vimeo.

Looks like Maui but port tack with much longer rides.

Can you name the spot without googling? I couldn't.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Top Ten Twenty-Ten Maui Memories

I just got back from my 3rd trip to Maui to test boards for Windsurfing Magazine. It, as per usual, was awesome.

10. Luggage tag on boom. My flight arrived at 5pm Maui time. I was given a ride to Kanaha, set up on a MauiSails legend 5.0 and a board they just knew I would like. A 30 minute session after a 5 hour flight is definitely a mood enhancer. All I did was switch to my boom, which still had the luggage tag attached to it.

9. Getting body slammed by Jake Miller in a parking lot.
I won't say I didn't deserve it, but Jake got the best of me, and both of our elbows were oozing nicely for a few days following.

8. Wine straight from the box.
It pours much faster than you'd imagine.

7. Criss-crossing wave ride at Lowers with Josh Sampiero. You might have been able to squint and mistake us for Polakow and Naish crossing at Jaws. Or not, but it was just as fun.

6. Best wave. Being a sub-mediocre surfer means that getting a head high drop and a 10 second ride right along the peeling section pretty much one of the best things that could happen to you.

5. The long paddle to Lowers. The break at Lower Kanaha seems pretty close when you're riding a windsurfer. It's not. But to surf overhead, peeling waves without a crowd, some sort of payment must be made.

4. Dreamy conversations with beginner-hood heroes.
When I was a wee-waterstarter in this sport, Kevin Pritchard and Ricardo Campbello were two guys that I aspired to sail like. In one night, I got to chat with both of them for a few minutes. It was awesome.

3. Surprisingly awesome 2011 boards.
This year there were a handful of boards that blew my mind. You'll have to get the magazine to find out which ones they were.

2. Levi pretending to recognize me.
I helped out with a beach clean up on the North Shore in a program that was help run by the +H2O team. I have maybe briefly met Levi Siver once a couple years ago. In any case I said "what's up", shook his hand and he said, "It's been a while since you've been here." It had been a year, and realistically we hadn't really met. It's ok, he has better things to worry about. Ya know, like being the rockstar of windsurfing.

1. Geordie reunion. My friend Chris from Tynemouth England came back this year, along with his friend Laurence. About a year and a half ago I was swilling ale at a local pub in North England with these two, telling dirty jokes and making fun of each-other's accents. It was awesome to hang out with them and lots of laughs came along with it. It reminded me that windsurfing, for me, isn't about personal achievment. It's about sharing stoke and laughs with good friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Last Month of the Season"

It's the last "official" month of the season, so anything from here on out is the bonus round. I figure if my blog was going to be anemic this year, I'd at least put my session logs up.

This was an El Nino year, which are supposed to be wetter and less windy. The early season was relatively not great, but our summer delivered pretty well and September was also good. I was out of town for work and dealing with real life stuff, so I missed quite a few sessions this month. Also, the trip to PSC cost me a few windsurfing sessions, but it was still fun.

In terms of bay-area sessions it goes like this:

4.7 3
5.0 3
5.6 3

In PSC I got three days on 5.6 and one on 5.0.

September total: 13 sessions

YTD total: 128 sessions.

Early October seems to be set up for wind, let's see how long the bonus round lasts.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Punta San Candlestick

A couple weeks ago I made my first pilgrimage to a place called Punta San Carlos. All windsurfers have heard stories. Wave rides lasting over a minute on both a surf board or a windsurf board. Easy access to a friendly wave that won't crush you if you slip up. Living in a tent for a small part of your life, when nothing matters but the waves that are rolling in at that moment. The wind steadily blows from the perfect direction. The water stays smooth and flat between perfectly spaced sets. It's all true -- well, most of the time.

I made the journey with my buddy Rob, who is the president of windsurfing for the Cal Sailing Club. It's a really long drive. Probably over 20 hours total, including a crazy dirt road at the end of the drive. We camped on the bluff, along with some other folks who've made their temporary homes in this beautiful, yet desolate place. I can see why people go with SoloSports. If you don't have sturdy vehicle, it can be tough to get there. Even my cargo van is making some funny squeaking noises that it didn't used to after the trip.

The week we went was described by the local squatters as "the worst week of the season". We had several days without wind in a row and the waves, at the very biggest, were chest high. The bigger ones were very infrequent. Even though it was flat, I caught waves every day on my 8' surf board when the tide was right. A bigger longboard or a stand up board would have been the weapon of choice. When we showed up, the wind was cranking. I was overpowered on 5.0 and 75l. It was the evening we got there, so we sailed for 45 minutes and decided to set up camp before the sunset, ya know, since we'd be sailing 5.0 or smaller for the whole trip. That was a mistake. The rest of the time there, I was mostly underpowered on 5.6 and my 97L freestyle board. Only 4/8 days we were there had planing wind.

I'm not bitter, but I was on a the verge of insanity after a few days with not much to do in the desert. It's hard living down there. Hot and dry during the day. Cold and wet at night. Beautiful scenery, but it doesn't change very much. Fortunately the people around us were great, we made great friends and ate like kings. It felt like we were part of the 20 or so people who were living on the edge of the world somewhere.

The sailing wasn't all bad. On the last couple of days, I went out slogging for waves on my big board and a 5.6 and caught some memorable down the line rides. I had never had that feeling of being powered up on the wave face quite like this. I can say that "I get it" now when it comes to wave sailing. Instead of being a normal flat water or jumping session in the bay where I'm pushing myself the whole time to make a new maneuver, I was getting out there... waiting for a wave, then screaming down the line with a gigantic smile on my face. No frustration, no high self- expectations about my performance of a specific move, just pure pleasure of combining the things I've learned in surfing and windsurfing the last couple years.

Wave sailing in Punta San Carlos is joyous. I can only imagine what it's like when the conditions are good. I will be back to find out.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lots of Ink on August

August was good to me. I learned to spock, and started getting them in consecutive sessions. No serious injuries and consistent wind at the spots that are located conveniently for me.

4.2 - 5 days
4.7 - 8 days
5.0 - 5 days
5.6 - 4 days

22 total days of sailing.

I leave today for Punta San Carlos, Baja, Mexico. I'm terrible at wave sailing. Just terrible. I hope to come back with some ability to go down the line. At the beginning of the year I declared one of my goals to get an aerial-off-the-lip. This was probably an unrealistic; I'll be happy if I figure out how to ride a wave properly.

Hope everyone gets some great wind, and my friends on the east coast stay safe from the hurricane, but also get to have some fun with it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Unusual Catapult Blog Guest Appearance

My nipples.

Pardon the strange attire, it was a rare scorcher in the bay (especially for this year) and all I had was some neoprene short layers, and one booty to cover a cut on my right foot. Perfect 5.6 butter flat, table smooth water. Happy to not be making spocks to get a chance to cool off. Well, sorta happy about that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


(photo by Asma A, freestyle badass)

Yesterday was my 100th day of sailing this year.

That's a lot of windsurfing.

It's also an easy number to run a quick percentage count of what sails/boards I was using this year. Keep in mind that I live and work in a situation right now that allows me to sail nearly every sailable day in the bay. I take days off to rest, injury or if I'm not feeling well, so by no means am I sailing EVERY sailable day. Probably a majority, though. Also, I didn't include the handful of 2 session days in my analysis. That would change things a bit, but not a huge amount.

3.7 - 3 days
4.2 - 9 days
4.7 - 32 days
5.0 - 15 days
5.3 - 26 days
5.6 - 15 days

97 L Fanatic Skate - 72 days
86 L Fanatic Freewave - 18 days

My weight most of this season has been about 170 American pounds (77kg).

I was a little surprised to see how much more I use my bigger freestyle board than my smaller freewave. I attribute this partly to it being a lighter wind year than normal (el neenyo) and partly to my complete obsession with freestyle windsurfing (something I just started this year).

**Disclaimer: I'm not writing this to brag, or put anyone else's sailing region down. I just think it's somewhat useful information for people who visit or are considering moving to this location. Yes, it's windy here, and if you have a flexible schedule you could sail a ton.

***Disclaimer numero dos: Here's the part where I brag. I made my first spock during my 100th session of the year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hamburger A or Hamburger B?

Here are a couple of vulcans that I attempted a couple of weeks ago. The question is, which one is a better attempt?

The second one was dry, but I contend that the first one is the better one for a couple of reasons.

A. I went boom to boom on the first one, and kept the mast vertical. I probably would have made it if that big piece of chop didn't come and eat the front of my board.

B. I do a huge arm sweeping motion on the second one before going to the mast with my hand. The mast fell far to leeward and I was lucky to recover from it...

The boom-to-boom vs. pole grabbing on a vulcan or spock is a pretty hotly debated topic. Many of the best freestyle windsurfers in the world grab the mast when they spock, but most instructors say going boom to boom will ultimately give you a more consistent spock, and a better shot at the spock 540.

I guess the question is, does it matter? Maybe it does. The only people that can tell the difference are the people who are into freestyle. To everyone else, it may as well be a grubby/puneta/other spinnyslidey move.

Or the even bigger philosphical question is: What's better a good miss or a bad make?

I think a good miss is better, a bad make is how you start forming bad habits (see, jibing).

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Symphony of Crashes

There has been a ton going on here I've been wanting to write about. I've got a bunch of nice photos from Pistol River. US Nationals happened 5 minutes from my house. There was a pro freestyle competition in the Delta. I've been wanting to share some thoughts on my progress windsurfing. But alas, I haven't had the gumption to get all of that out there.

In any case this morning I threw this video together real quick of a session at Haskins. We were mostly on 4.5/4.7, but probably should have been on 4.2's. I grabbed my camera after I was completely exhausted, and all of my friends were exhausted as well. Usually, we are all much better than this.

As always, excuse my crack-head shaky camera work.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The REAL Wave Bash Winners

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guess Who Won the Wave Bash?

(Wave Bash Coverage, part 2 of 50 skrillion.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Press Release for Pistol River Wave Bash

Just pitched in to help out with the event by writing this. The final day is upon us. Good luck to the competitors:


6-20-2010 10:00 AM

This summer marks the official return of the Pistol River Wave Bash, which was on a ten year hiatus. Under the management of Samantha Bittner, the event's first year back greatly exceeded expectations in attendance. Over 75 windsurfers hailing from as far as France and England traveled to compete in the legendary conditions wind and wave conditions offered by the Oregon Coast. The conditions for competition have not disappointed. Head judge Matt Pritchard described the conditions as "epic". He went on to say, "After having been around the world traveling with the Pro Windsurfing Association and searching for waves and wind for the last 25 years, this place goes in the top 5 in the whole world."

On Thursday, the wind ramped up into the high 30s which made the competitors choose their smallest sails and boards to deal with the extreme conditions. Huge aerial moves and wave rides were judged in Single Elimination heats. Veteran pro windsurfers Kevin Pritchard and Francisco Goya came out on top of the expert men's division, allowing them to skip competing in the Double Elimination heats on Friday.

Friday brought winds that were slightly less strong but were described by pro windsurfer Russ Faurot as, "excellent for a competition.' The judging was based upon scoring one jump and two wave rides in 8 minute heats. Huge push loops and back loops were standard fare. Clean landings and jump height were the determining factors in jump scores. Wave selection and style would play into the scoring for the wave rides. Throughout the day, parking crowded the highway from passers-by enthralled by the action. Many walked long distances to reach the competition area as heats were run late into the evening.

The women's division ran heats on Thursday and Friday as well. Four of the best women in the world competed in the challenging conditions, scoring big forward loops and back loops along with silky smooth wave rides. Canadian Ingrid Larouche pulled out first place on the podium, followed by Tanya Saleh.

The future of windsurfing was on high display as well as competitors Zane Schweitzer and Bernd Roediger duked it out in back-to-back heats to determine the winner. The juniors, who are 16 and 14 respectively sailed well beyond their years, nailing push loops and back loops in rapid fire. Their wave rides were stylish and had huge aerials, as well as sliding through freestyle moves on the wave faces. The rest of the competitive field were blown away by the level of the junior's competition and many commented that they had the most entertaining heats of the day.

Going into the final day, one last heat is left to run between Kevin Pritchard and Francisco Goya to determine the overall expert Men's winner of the Pistol River Wave Bash. Reports of the final heat will be published later.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The best catapult ever in the history of the universe

I bow to thee, yellow clothed helmet guy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Tricktionary Guy

... said, "it's ok to be one-sided".

I met this guy at Candlestick the other day with sail numbers on his sail and a van emblazoned with Tricktionary logos. It's pretty rare that we sail with sail-number folks. Apparently he's visiting the US for a wedding in Santa Cruz and is checking out our windsurfing spots here in the Bay, the Gorge, and coast. His name is Michael Rossmeier, but he goes by "Rossi". He and his wife created these Tricktionary books and videos (of which I own a book, and need to get my hands on a DVD).

We had a short conversation after a crummy session at Candlestick Park. "Usually, it's much better", I explained. I think he believed me because there must have been 10-15 freestyle windsurfers splashing and spinning at the ends of reaches in the few-and-far-between puffs.

We talked a little about the windsurfing in his home country of Austria, and his main windsurfing spot of Lake Garda. I think he, like me, is from a place that isn't very windy. He seemed to think there weren't a lot of windsurfers in California. I think he might be right, considering how ideal the conditions are here.

The burning question I had, after having seen the book was... "Is it ok to be one-sided?" In the book you can see very detailed pictures of him doing tons of moves with perfect form and execution. But can he do them all on both sides? He said, "yes and no," in that order. He's primarily a starboard trickster. He can do certain moves better on port, but for the most part his bag of tricks starts with his right hand forward.

So as my weak port vulcan attempts come along, I wonder if it's an act of futility. I can feel real progress now, so I'll continue on. But now I know it's ok to be stronger on one side.

You know who told me? The guy who wrote the book on windsurfing.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

37 Days

(photo by Jacob L)

I made my first 3 Vulcans on April 23rd. I made my next one on May 29th.

Sure, I've been sailing a little less than usual due to a variety of reasons, but it's amazing how I could have something working a month ago and completely lose it. Ok, that's not entirely true. In the last month, I've probably had 50 near misses. Get to the other side of the boom get a good hold, then something goes wrong. Typically sinking the tail whilst landing.

It's a fickle move. And I'm an inconsistent windsurfer. We'll see if "dialed" becomes a reality some day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Flick: More of the NEW Perspective

Sergey built a new toy, and now it's in High Definition. Spocks, Flakas and Push Tacks, OH MY!


Monday, May 10, 2010

A Streak to Remember

(photo by Sofien Sehiri)

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.

Friday, May 7, 2010

After Session Report Waddell Creek

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)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bay Area Windsurfing is like Pizza

...even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.

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.

April Stats:

--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.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jacqui Kuni will Forever Live in our Hearts

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.

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.