Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Treasure Island

A northern California sailor will tell you that between April and September you can sail every single day somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area if you are willing to drive. Since the 4th of July weekend, it's blown everyday at the Delta so I've had no need to travel for wind, until now.
Watching Iwindsurf on Sunday, it was apparent that a few other spots were going off while the Sherman Markers 12 and 14 danced around, well, 12 and 14mph. The out look was the same on Monday, and with the day off I called a friend and headed toward the Bay in search of wind.
Treasure Island sits under the Bay Bridge, smack in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. As you exit off the freeway onto the island you descend down a hill, looking at an almost unobstructed view of the world famous skyline. The road then levels out and rides along the clear green water and a side walk paralleled with white sand and lined with palm trees. The island appears tropical with all the lush green vegetation, and then you get out of your car only to go running back for a sweat shirt as the words of Mark Twain "The coldest winter I ever spent..." echo in your head.
With very detailed instructions, Lisa and I navigate our way through the restored, now civilian, military barracks until we see another sailor parked in front of a set of boarded up apartments, rigging on the brown, unmaintained front lawn. He escorts us behind the building and through an opening in a chain link fence toward the launch, on which hangs a sign that says "Sailboarding Prohibited." He kindly gives us the low down on the spot, then we head back to our cars to rig.
 Catapulting Aaron pulled in next to my van just as we finished setting up, so I waited briefly then followed him into the water, around the Jetti that enclosed the launch and immediately out to the middle of the bay. Winds in the solid mid twenties were sweeping the water outside the launch into knee to waist high chop,we were both well powered on 4.2's and began a bit of a freestyle session.
Spinning through a Shaka I could see everything in one glance, Alcatraz, Crissy Field, the Skyline, the Bridge, Treasure, Oakland, Berkly and then Alcatraz again. The feeling of sailing in the middle of the San Francisco bay is so surreal in the sense that one can find solitude smack in the middle of one of the largest, busiest metropolitan areas in the world. 
We sailed for maybe two hours then headed back in. I was stoked. There was no wind in the Delta, yet here I was, an hour away, just getting off the water from a 4.2 session at one of the most astounding windsurfing locations I'd ever been. Tuesday isn't looking good for Sherman, but I'm a believer that if I'm willing to fill my gas tank, I'll be sailing some where not too far away.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zero to Spock in 10 days: An interview with Jan Nilsen

Jan showed up to Rio earlier this month with the goal of landing a Vulcan in 7 days or less.
If you don't windsurf, this is a very ambitious and lofty goal for sailors at any level of the sport and is usually not met. The Vulcan is one of the most difficult moves in the sport to learn and can take people years before they make one.
So when this Colorado native showed up, his smallest sail being a 5.2 (that's most guys big sail here) and no prior attempts, we thought it would be a long shot. However Jan was committed to his goal, he had the right board and fin for the task and once on the water I don't think I saw the guy jibe once. Every single run he went for it, over and over again.
Not only did Jan meet his goal, but he exceeded it taking things one step further my landing a Spock.
I had the chance to ask Jan a few questions, and here is what he said:

Chachi: How long have you been windsurfing?
Jan: Maybe 10 years but very sporadic.

Chachi: Did you have your freestyle board before you decided to learn the Vulcan or did you buy it after you set your goal?
Jan: I got my freestyle board in the fall of last year, wanted it because of the planing capabilities and i figured it would help me do slide moves one day.

Chachi:Tell me a bit about your background as a skier?
Jan: I skied since I was little, gates first then mogul/aerials professionally on/off for 10 years.

Chachi: How many Days did it take you to land it? How did this all go down?
Jan: I had just taken a 9 day personal training class in San Diego and I was ready to have some fun. I was on a mission to land or at least get close to landing a Vulcan and I had a week to do it, all I needed was some place windy. So i drove north to Rio Vista; cool place but where's the flat water? Conditions looked a bit intimidating. Anyway, i rigged and reminded my self to "cowboy up cream puff"

Day 1 was spent looking and feeling like a cat out the window. I kept chucking airs ( probably got about 30 tries in the first day) and at the end of the day 1 i actually started to get around past 1/4 turn digging my rails in, to sliding a little. That was enough information and attempts for one day.

Day 2 the first thing I wanted to work on was the timing on the takeoff. I remember from my mogul skiing days it's all in the takeoff if you wanna fly straight and land straight. I got super cognitive in my takeoff attempts, to make sure i would not program in a faulty motor engram. This took all day, and at the end of day 2 I felt the timing was getting there. The difference this made was huge, it meant that almost every time I jumped, I now made it past the point of digging the rail in, whip lashing, ankle twisting, to a very nice slide and soft fall. Probably had another 30 tries total day 2.

Day 3 I was starting to feel the abuse from previous days carnage. I decided to sail around less to conserve energy, and only go far enough out to have enough speed to do the next vulcan attempt. The timing was there, but I knew I needed more speed. What do you know? you go twice as fast, you only have to pop half as hard. It now started to feel really good in my takeoffs but planing backwards in landing was not. Had a total of 25-30 reps day 3.

Day 4 started with my mind wanting to do more vulcan attempts, but my body thought otherwise, mind over matter right? I'm back in the water stiff as hell, forcing out some reps. Took half a day just to get warmed up. Started thinking about, for the first time, what the sail and hands were doing? This messed with the timing of the takeoff, but at the end of the day I was getting very close to landing my first vulcan.

Day 5 second attempt, I did it, I landed the vulcan, celebrated for ONE minute, ( this is how my mind works, go figure) got greedy and down on my self for not landing another one until the next day. Totally ignoring the fact of the accomplishment I came for was now in the bag!

Day 6 a much needed rest day for lack of wind. wanted more, shuffled my schedule around so I could stay another 3-5 days.

Day 7-9 I was trying to get some consistency with my vulcan and also started to try them going on port. This was almost like starting completely over again. Cognitive motor programing, but also couldn't help my self for trying spocks on my good side.

Day 10 I landed my first spock, tried the rest of the day to repeat, I couldn't.

Day 11 I was overpowered on my 5.2, tried a few tricks but realized just sailing around enjoying my self was good enough today as I only had the morning session before I had to pack up and leave to go back to Colorado. What an adventure it had been!

Chachi: Anything else you want to add?
Jan: I'll be the first one to admit it's easy to get caught up in making that vulcan or next move yesterday, at 46 feeding a pathological ego is still fun, but I also realize every day is Sunday and the wind and the waves are my church!

Thanks Jan! We're looking forward to seeing you out there again, maybe another two weeks and you'll go pro!

Photos By Brendon Baird Quinn aka "The Wind Gypsy"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Delta from the eyes of a Sick Chick

Great post Emily,
you really hit the nail on the head, it's great to read about the Delta from another point of view. How about the Gorge next year?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sick Sessions for All

This past week at the Delta was an epic one. Not because the conditions were so epic ( they were) and not because I got new gear (it comes next week), and not even because there were hot chicks windsurfing(no specific numbers but it was higher than usual). No, it's because people were out there getting shit done! First Vulcans, first spocks, first loops and first toads. Maybe something was in the air, no pun intended, but people were going for it and sticking it!
There's nothing more exciting than sucess, it breeds energy, fosters creativity and inspires others to push their limits.  With that in mind, Chachis World will be coordinating with the Wind Gypsy to bring you stories, insights, photos, and video of this past week at the Delta, because one post is not enough. Prepare yourself for awesomeness.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Team East Coast

"Wow, another guy from the east coast who rips?!" declared Lisa St. Clair after watching a totally lit up spock across the play pen.
"Yup" was all I replied,"and it's not even Mike Burns"
It can be difficult for most west coasters to imagine that anyone from the east coast can do more than jibe, let alone spock! So when Chris Eldridge of Connecticut showed up throwing Shakas, Funnels, and so on all day long last friday it was not without notice.(Although he's gotten no where near the attention as his girlfriend with her clam digger)
Though choppy, we've had wind every day this month, which Chris and Emily have been taking full advantage of for the first half of their trip. "It's not as good as Kalmus at low tide" they both agreed "but it's windy way more often."
We have been filming much of the trip and will have a video out soon, mean while Emily has taken note of all the women who windsurf out here, and is working on a post about it for her blog, Sick Chick.
The wind continues to blow over the brown waters of the Delta, and I have broken 20 days in a row 5.0 and below and no signs of stopping. See you out there!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Putting your Hero on Hold

It's no overstatement to call Francisco Goya a hero of mine, especially after watching him sail at Pistol River this past June. The guy goes huge! So when he called the shop the other day to see how business was doing, it broke my heart to have to put the World Champion wave sailor on hold, three times! I was the only guy in the shop, so I had to be available to the customers as they approached the register with questions.
I felt so bad, it would be like working at a Foot Locker and taking a phone call from Michael Jordan. "Hold on MJ, some one needs a size 12." How ridiculous? Well after speaking to Francisco for a bit, I'd have to say he's one of the nicest and most humble guys I've ever met, sorry for putting you on hold, hope to see you on the water!