Sunday, December 18, 2011

2012 Fanatic Skate: Better than Sex!

And if you disagree then clearly you haven't ridden one. A technical review for this board is not necessary, it's the best freestyle board on the market.
Oh yea, the new Norths are pretty rad too.
Carry on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

That Escalated Quickly!

My phrase of the week: "that escalated quickly." Every time I set foot on the water I had to come back in for a sail two sizes smaller than what I started with, which is a good problem to have. The 4.2 was used 4 out of the 5 days I sailed last week and that includes two wave sessions! Things have been very interesting on Long Island lately, but the session at Gilgo last Wednesday was  by far the stand out.
Usually Wednesday is a work day, but a switch with a co-worker landed me one dark and soggy, but windy day off. Right off the bat, the Long Island sound was exceeding predictions, with Bayville, thanks to it's unique geographical features that funnel the easterly winds through the sound, reporting upper twenties early in the morning and predicted to build. Waiting for closer sites to pick up, I quickly caved and began my pilgrimage to CIB, a launch in Bayville famous for it's "Mysto Wave" that some times forms during strong easterlies much like the one we were experiencing.
After an hour drive I arrived, no Mysto, just some waist high peaks that looked fun for jumping. While deciding on what to rig, I double checked the meters to see that the ocean had picked up. There were still no waves, though a swell was due to arrive that afternoon. I reasoned that since the tide in the sound was incoming, the chances of the mysto wave forming were next to zero, so I packed it up drove another 45 minutes from Bayville to Gilgo.
At Gilgo, waves were knee to waist high and breaking no more than 30 yards from the shore with slightly side off winds blowing about 5.0. The game plan was to rig, play around in the tiny surf for a bit, and if the waves didn't pick up, I would head into the back bay behind the parking lot for some glassy flat freestyle.
So I rigged and sailed for about twenty mintues before I started to get over powered on my 5.0. No sooner did I unravel the 4.7 than winds began to howl. The street sign next to my van began twisting and shaking violently while tightly packed white caps with spray wisking off their tops formed instantly on the protected, shallow bay behind me. For ten minutes this gale went, easily breaking the 40 knot barrier before leveling off, and with a 4.2 rigged I began walking towards to dunes to cross back to the ocean, which I could now hear from the edge of the parking lot, and as I came over the top of the dune it was no longer knee to waist, but  over head.
It's hard to remember the last time I witnessed a change so dramatic in such a short period of time. No more than fifteen minutes could have been spent at the van, yet the ocean some how completely transformed. I can't imagine the power it must take to accomplish such a feat, to stir up the seas in the blink of an eye, but with a sail and a board, I was able to harness it to my advantage and enjoyed a wet and soggy Wednesday, Windsurfing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who Killed the Wind?!

Here on Long Island, August is not a very windy time of year. If windsurfing was a traditional sport, I'd say that our August off season is followed up directly with the Playoffs of the Fall windy season. It's a feast after famine transition how we go from weeks of 9.0 wouldn't go to "where'd I leave my 3.7, is that going to be too big?" From an athlete's perspective, it's like showing up to the rink after weeks of golfing and being told that you'll be playing for the Stanley Cup tomorrow night.
This August was started out quite typical and actually ended a with a bit more windy days than usual. Then September hit and BAM! It was windy almost everyday for the first two weeks and things were great! So what happened? It's been over ten days since I've rigged a sail. I even made binding plans last saturday, my day off, in advance, and even that didn't stir up a tempting gust.
So here we are, starving through the middle of September. Hopefully the feast of frontal sailing is on it's way, because I need a fix and soon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Windy Week!

Seven sailers in one small frame, just a sample of the population

 We finally had a good thermal pattern last week, catching four windy days over a seven day span, with three of them being solid 4.2 conditions. Sunday, which was one of the best, blew over 25 for most of the afternoon. Pulling up to the beach the water looked more like The Hatchery than Heckscher State Park. There had to be at least 40 people on the water all on 4.5 sails or smaller and waveboards. Guys were flying, trying all kinds of moves like shuv its, vulcans, and willy skippers, all of which were made to look heroic in the strong winds and the ensuing crashes were often spectacular as the victim would be ejected from the rig then disappear into a ball of white water!

Shakas are challenging when the wind speed hits 30. Photo: John Dunn

Personally, I finally got up the guts to try a one handed Ponch. This is a move that I have wired with both hands on the boom, but the occasional screw up has been known to end numerous session prematurely and painfully, which is in part an explanation for my hesitation to progress the trick. The conditions were ripe for ponches, which I was already getting bored with and the wind was a bit strong to attempt some of the other, more technical tricks, so I decided it was time to go for it. Four attempts later I made one, and went on to hit another 5 that day. Immediately, I was disappointed that I hadn't gone for it sooner. It's amazing how mental freestyle can be, to think that I could have make this move a long time ago if I just had the guts to go for it.
Looks like some sea breeze potential later on this week, can't wait to see everyone at the beach!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Road Trip!!!

Checking the forecast for Tuesday, I confirmed that the wind outlook for Long Island sucked. This was terrible as it was Monday afternoon and Heckscher was firing while I, of all places, was stuck at work. You see, Monday is the only day of the week I work late and on this particular Monday, a co worker of mine had already called in sick, reducing my chances of making it to the beach to zero.
However, I am a wind addict, and I do not give up so easily. Because while I sat at work watching the meters boost out of control, plans were being made for a road trip in search of wind. A facebook conversation between Graham F and I had tipped me off that there would be wind in the region, about 5 1/2 hours away.
Yes, the forecast for Long Island sucked, but Cape Cod was still showing signs of hope. And even though winds were only predicted to last through noon, at best, desperation had a hold of me and an offer from Chris Eldridge to crash at his place sealed the deal.
Leaving from work at 9pm, I proceeded straight to the Cape, arriving to Chris' place at 2:30am, and making it to sleep at 3am.
6:45am, my alarm goes off. I check the wind, it's dropping. Disappointed, I go back to sleep.
7:00am, Chris walks into the room, and tells me to get up, it's windy.
Kalmus is a fantastic place to windsurf. I'd been there once, about four years ago, which was the last time I sailed Cape Cod. The spot offers everything from glass flat water to knee high chop, perfect for all types of freestyle mahem. On this particular morning, the wind was moderate to strong, so I rigged a 4.7 and threw in my 16cm koi, expecting that it would be my only chance at the smaller gear before the wind dropped off.
Once on the water, I was surprised at how powered I was and took a few runs in front of the launch before heading into the back bay for the flattest water I've ever sailed. It seemed like every time I did a trick, it was the cleanest I ever landed... until the next one. Once that got old, we headed into the channel, where there was some small, but playful rolling chop. The wind began to fill in even more, changing the trick menu from flat water sliders to ariel antics.
We sailed until the wind finally died, around noon, breaking only for breakfast, 4.7 the whole time. In my head, I debated over which should be the highlight of the trip: seeing a ferry named "Gay Head" (which I'd post a picture of but I'm afraid to google) or watching a windsurfing almost kill himself going for a no handed carve jibe dangerously close to a jetti trying to impress two young women in bikinis.
Hmm, bikinis or Gay Head, perhaps another trip Cape Cod is in order.

Thank You Makani!!!

Check out what I just found in my email!!!!


Company name :MAKANI FINS

Marketing director : Jean-Robert Wilhelmy,

MAKANI FINS – Fall wave CLINICS HATTERAS ’11 with Casey Hauser, Ingrid Larouche and Andy McKinney and AMERICAN WINDSURFING TOUR – Hatteras wave Jam From sept 11th til until sept 17th in AVON, NC.

Make sure not to miss the MAKANI fins free wave clinics and the AMERICAN WINDSURFING TOUR Hatteras Wave Jam. You always dreamed of going in the ocean and rip the waves well this is the perfect occasion. Ingrid, Casey and Andy will teach you all the tricks you need to get out there and enjoy the surf. Plus you will have a chance to ride with the best in the World and see them competing at the HATTERAS WAVE JAM AWT event!!! Everyone can also get a chance to win a TABOU DA CURVE 85 with 3 MAKANI wave fins. Raffle tickets go for $10 and available online at and at Wind NC in Avon.

Wow! If you aren't familiar with these names, I had the chance to sail with Casey down in San Carlos last fall, he absolutely knows how to tear up waves and he's a really chill guy to hang out on the beach with. Ingrid won the womens division at just about every constest last year, including waves, freestyle, and slalom. (I heard she entered in the mens division this year and smoked lots of dudes). And Andy is one of the local hard core rippers down in NC and is super cool for not kicking me out of his shop after hours of loitering. I can't wait for this event!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No, Women.

If you have not yet seen the above photo, it ran in this months issue of Windsurfing Magazine under the title "Should Windsurfing Be Sexy" and has sparked quite a bit of controversy (although it would make a great beach clean up ad for surf rider.)
First and foremost, it's masterminds were offended that it was taken out of context, that the picture was ran without the corresponding article, found here. And secondly, that why should we have to debate if attractive women in bikinis should be acceptable in our sport?
I found the original article interesting, and yes I read all of it despite my short attention span and all those awesome, blissfully distracting photos of women ripping it up. Certainly there are plenty of articles about why we love windsurfing and how Maui is paradise, but I think that fact that the article was cut attests to a larger issue than people seem to be grasping. "Should Windsurfing Be Sexy" is not asking sailors if there should be more pictures of women published, (that's a yes) but should they be objectified the way they have in other action sports publications?
Let's face it, there are only two major sources of print for windsurfing in North America, Windsport and Windsurfing Magazine, and they both do a fine job of including women in a meaningful manner. It's been a long time since I picked up a surf, snow, ski, or wake magazine and seen a picture of a women doing anything else but standing in a bikini on the beach to sell some kind peripheral product. Mean while, the author of "Maui Maids", Shawna Cropas is featured in a full page ad in June's Issue for Vela Resort doing a nice aerial and Anne-Marie Reichman's (also featured in Maui Maids) has full page ad sailing for Starboard in July's learn to windsurf feature (which had one of the Moreno sisters on the cover), crediting not just the magazines but the Industry as a whole for their use of women to promote the sport and products in a meaningful way. Not to mention that there was great coverage of a trip to Tahiti  only a few pages back from the photo, featuring: you guessed it, a women windsurfing!
"Is it such a man’s sport (and mag) that an article about windsurfing women couldn’t find space between gear testing and Jon Sassone throwing a f*#k you flaka at a kiter?" as blogger Rebecca wrote on the magazines website, but did she not notice that page 45 of that same gear test has a picture of a young women, gear testing? As for the flaka, well that's just two pages of straight up sex appeal. Sorry ladies.
So, should windsurfing be sexy? No!
Sexy is the Reef model selling sandals to surfers. The only time she's ever touched a board is on the beach during her photo shoot. Sexy is the girl in the bikini advertising the wake boat, she probably doesn't even know the term "clearing the wake." Than Lange girls strutting around in ski boots and bikinis?(Pam Anderson was once a Lange girl, FYI) Only recently did Lange start using actual athletes, but wouldn't you rather see them in action? I'm not opposed to it in other sports, but women who windsurf are not subjected to any of that because Windsurfing is as it should be, real, and if it turns some heads in the process who gives a flying F*#k, which is exactly the point Shawna intended to make with that picture in the first place, isn't it?

As a disclaimer, I invite all women who disagree with me to discuss their point of view over a beer in the hot tub...after a sailing session of course. If you're a man just post in the comment section.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Heckscher Blow Out

The forecast for last Wednesday of "upper teens" did not seem to sit right with some of us here on the island, above all for Mike Burns. An approaching cold front coupled with the warm temperatures is a classic set up for an easy low 20's blow, which is what Mike believed the forecast should have read.
So the day before I got a phone call "I emailed 'them' to let them know how they keep under forecasting the Great South Bay" said Mike, in some sort of angst. Then, reading through the yahoo group, a post by Mike guaranteed 4.7 the next day. "I can already hear my 4.7 is calling my name."
Mike has become Long Islands version of a Temira Wagonfeld when it comes to forecasting summer thermals, but this charade had to risk being a wind Jinx. You can't just run around saying things like that, even if we all agree, it just doesn't sit well with the wind gods. Even so, the small boards were loaded in the van as a precaution and I double checked for the 3.7 which has not seen daylight since Hatteras last April.
Was Mike right? By Price is Right rules perhaps, he guessed closer to the number than our premium forecast service, but still by the time I got to the beach at 4:30 Mike was lit on 3.7 as we had sustained winds in the upper 20's, gusting to 30.
So if you're thinking about coming to this years East Coast Wind Fest, look to only one forecast, and don't forget your small gear, because anything can happen at Heckscher and if you aren't ready for it, you could miss and epic session.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unforecasted Double Session??

Today was unexpected; never was there a talk of wind or waves, but out of habit I woke up and checked the wind reports and wave cams anyway. The meters were all in the single digits and seemed hopeless, but there was a nice little bump on the ocean, so I grabbed some wax and a wetsuite and headed for democrats to find consistent waist to shoulder high, glassy, peeling waves. The surf was good for about out two hours where I was able link together 4 to 5 turns easily on the long, well formed lines until the incoming tide eventually smothered the sand bar.
Driving out of the parking lot I found myself to be in a great mood after the fun surf sesh, it must have been the thrill of actually scoring some waves on my day off, but as I came to the bridge I noticed there was an abundance of white caps on the Great South Bay coming from an easterly direction. A quick call to Mike Burns confirmed that the meter at near by Blue Point had just spiked to 19, so I stepped on the gas and headed to Heckscher.
On site, 5.4 was the call and with the freestyle board it was planeable for about 45 minutes on relatively flat chop. The water, which required a 4/3 suite just two weeks ago was warm enough to get away with board shorts and a rash guard.
Today was by no means the most epic, gnarly or awesome conditions I've ever had, but the stoke of getting something from nothing made it seem that way.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gear Review: 2011 F2 Rodeo and F2 Rave

Chachi goes "Ponchie"
F2 Rodeo 98: When I first saw the new rodeo sitting on display at Ocean Air Sports in Avon, NC, I immediately felt the need to examine every square inch of the board for noticeable changes. Since last year, the rumor has been that the only difference from the 2010 version was that F2 had moved the fin slightly further forward.
Being a huge fan of last years model this was alright with me.
Once on the water however I noticed a few things:
1. The board has better top end speed. I noticed a smoother release of water from the tail at speeds where I used to feel a bit of drag, allowing the board to hit a higher speed than it's predecessor.
2. A more balanced distribution of volume. The Rodeo finds most of it's volume under the tail, like alot of freestyle boards. This years seems to have an extra liter or two up by the mast base to help keep the nose free during spins, and spin smooth it does!
3. Cosmetics. The bottom graphic is painted on this year, which is a step up from the stickers that peeled off my 2010.
Overall: the 2011 Rodeo planes extremely fast, has tons of pop, and spins quick. A freestyler at any level should consider making the Rodeo their go to board as it is easy to sail and is highly capable of all maneuvers.

F2 Rave 84: I've only sailed the twin fin Rave in on shore and side shore bump and jump conditions, so I cannot yet comment on it's wave riding abilities (though I anticipate excellence). So far, it's been great. With the stock fins (Choco 16.5's)  set back on the track I've had no problems getting up wind or popping onto a plane. Through the chop it has a Cadillac smooth feel, which is a clear benefit of riding on a twin. As a wave board I expected great jibing at all radius but the real thrill is how easy it is to keep speed through the turn and come out planing on exit. If you've had a bad experience with twins in the past, consider that this is built as an all around twin fin and not a pure down the line twin like you may have sailed.
On the freestyle front, I had no problems going through my arsenal of switch stance moves, loops, Shaka's, flakas, ponches, spocks, etc. I would recommend smaller fins with less of a curve than what is provided stock as the 16.5s are a bit catchy. Certainly no one claimed this board to have any freestyle purpose, though I'm finding that the F2 wave boards are not shy to spins and grins.
Buyer be conscious: if you don't know the benefits of a twin verse a single fin (the F2 Rebel single fin is my favorite all  around wave board of all time) you may wish to try one out first. Twins generally have less lift compared to a single fin, which helps make a smooth ride in chop but can lack drive for situations like lining up jumps in onshore conditions, which would be a draw back to the Rave. However, I was able to adopt a more centered and upright stance to draw out some pretty nice straight airs from the onshore bumps.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Time

It was only a few weeks ago that I was rigging in my snowboard outfit, climbing plow mounds to get to the water and watching ice form on my Ice.
But spring is here and the temperatures are quickly rising, the water is almost 40 degrees and the has snow has all but disappeared. 
Gradually, people are making their way to their favorite launch sites,  coming out of the wood works to rejoin with those who never hung up their harness for the winter.
Saturday was warm enough to shed the hood and gloves for the first time since November, allowing for a heightened sense of sail and weather. Feeling the boom against the skin of my lightly callused palms and listening to the gusts of wind as air rushed over my now naked ears I quickly forgot about the months of numb, muted, conservative sailing. A more ferine approach awoke from it's hibernated state, attacking move after move until every muscle in my body was weak from exertion. My sudden spike in motivation seemed all but unprecedented as the confines of the cold were now lifted. If not for anything else brumal windsurfing instills an unrivaled passion into its sparse population, amplified by the appreciation for regained senses and a distinct feeling of readiness for the on coming season.
Spring is here and it's on, go get some!