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 www.makanifins.com

Marketing director : Jean-Robert Wilhelmy, sales@makanifins.com

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 makanifins.com 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.