Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The forecast was for yet another strong NE day. The Training Grounds would again be the call. This place is getting to be not only my favorite place on LI, but maybe my favorite place to sail anywhere. What made it better today was that I had a sweet, sweet new 2010, 98 ltr. F2 Rodeo Air with me, and it wasn't even mine. You have to ask yourself how many of the guys you sail with would not only let you borrow their brand spanking new board for a few runs, but how many of them would let you take it for a 2 week trip to Hatteras with you. Well my buddy Kurt is that generous. Some might say that I'm even more greedy than he is generous to take the offer. But you haven't sailed the Rodeo. I tried it a couple weeks ago only for a short time, and this thing is like crack and I was definitely a junkie looking to get another score. If you're reading this, KURT, YOU"RE THE MAN!!!! The board is just a gift from god. I was sailing with 2 other guys on 4.2s most of the day. Towards the end the wind started dying off, and that's where this board really began to shine above the others. Not only was I the only one planing, I still had plenty of speed and power to do some shakas, ponches and funnels. The F2 Rodeo only needs the slightest puff to get up and going and when it does, it's instantly up to speed for anything you want to throw. I was hitting moves bigger and faster than I ever have before and it's due to this amazing board. I would recommend this to any freestyle pro as much as I would recommend it to anyone just making their first vulcan attempts. Now who's got some wind so I can get another hit of Rodeo?!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Many of you guys have heard about "The Training Grounds", a flatwater freestyle paradise on the north shore of Long Island. The only problem was that it had to remain a secret spot because of the parking situation. The only parking at the launch site was illegal for anyone living outside the Village of Port Jefferson. Thanks to George Pav's inner need to continue sailing this spot he ended up finding a new secret spot that's better than the old one. And this one doesn't need to be a secret. It's a Brookhaven Town Park, and there's no booth at the entrance so all of you freestylers need to give this place a shot. There's plenty of parking, a nice grassy rigging area with some benches and more buttery smooth flat water than any place on Long Island.
As I was down hauling my 5.3 while I was sitting on a bench and the sail was laying on a nice soft lawn, I looked out at the little baby whitecaps blowing over the waist deep water. All I could think was,"this is the perfect spot." I stepped into the water and off I went. Perfect 5.3 conditions for freestyle. As I cruised in behind the first Island I headed off the wind the board rode so quiet in the glass flat water. I went switch stance at full speed for a perfect funnel. On the way back there were tiny little pieces of chop to hit some shakas off of. This place is by far my new favorite spot to sail. Shortly Eric pulled in. He's more of a wave guy so I could tell he was kinda bored just cruising back and forth, so he ended up packing up and heading to the outside to ride some decent swell. Right after Eric packed up, George Pav showed up. The only problem was the tide was VERY, VERY low. Much lower than I had ever seen it before, and the water was getting shallow even for our tiny little freestyle fins. After George's first run, he had the biggest smile I've ever seen on his face and he also proclaimed the spot to be "perfect." As the tide hit dead low, the water was about 3 inches too shallow to sail, so George had the grand idea to walk our gear over the now exposed mucky bottom to one of the channels that the boats moor in. Maybe 200 feet. Half way across we both started laughing thinking the same thing," That little channel better have some water in it." It took a bit of effort to make the walk straight upwind as we sank into the muck with every step. When we got to the channel, it reminded us of how we pictured the speed canal. And it turned into a perfect speed canal. It was plenty deep enough and plenty long enough. We sailed in and out of that channel to the other shore for a while. George was so close to landing some spocks and duck tacks. I was banging out all the flat water slidey stuff and came the closest I've ever came to making a double spock. Sailing one day here is like sailing 10 days anywhere else. It's incredible what a difference conditions can make.
So if you want to make a vulcan a few hundred attempts earlier, come on and sail "The Training Grounds."
Want to go, here are directions. Just turn left into the park where the marker is on the map:
I didn't bring the camera today, but here are some shots form the archive. That's George totally lit up on the 4.2. These pics are from the old launch. the new public launch has about 3 times the distance before you need to jibe.
Monday, March 15, 2010
First off, the board looks MUCH better in person. Well, as everyone that knows me will tell you, my current board of the 2009 Mistral Joker 99 has been my favorite board of all time. It impressed me more than any board in any category the first day I took it for a spin. That is, until today. The winds were extremely gusty, side offshore and choppy as hell. 4.2 was the call, and thanks to my buddy Kurt, a brand spankin new 2010 F2 Rodeo Air in the 98 ltr flavor was there for our enjoyment. Just to "test the waters" I took out the 4.2 with my Joker 99 first. I knew this board well and wanted to get a real idea of the conditions for a fair comparison. And conditions were crappy to say the least. about 40 knots in the gusts and 15 knots in the lulls. So on to my first impressions already.
As I schlogged off the beach in the wind shadow, I noticed it was very stable off a plane. As the first little puff came through, I popped right up onto a plane. It planed up just as early as the Joker, which is saying a lot. As I got up to speed the chop coming straight at me and the Rodeo was bouncing around a bit but considering what mother nature was throwing my way, it behaved very nicely. It definitely rode a little bigger than the Joker, and was very similar in feel to the Fanatic Skate. As I set up for a funnel, I noticed the board was a bit more stable than the Joker I was used to. After I was switch stance it also held it's speed up easier also. This thing is a really great board for the switch stance moves. It's got a nice flat deck, so you can really change up your stance easy. When it came time to pop, it was like the rodeo was pre-programmed to pop around all the moves. In this funnel, which was the first trick of the day on the board, it just popped right up. If I wanted the air funnel, I would have had it easy. You can just pop it and throw it around wherever you want it. It's so compact and well balanced in the air, rotating it is a no-brainer. just look where you want it to go and it's already there. On the way back in I was now heading straight off the backs of the chop. I really wanted to see how the Rodeo would handle a shaka, so I lined up the back of a 6 inch peice of chop and let loose. It popped higher than my Joker would with similar wind and chop. In the air, again, it just went where I wanted it. As he nose touched down there wasn't even a hint of stickiness that there used to be with the previous model, the Chilli. The Rodeo instead just spun around to complete the shaka just like I was used to with the Joker. I continued in and went for a flaka, which became an air flaka. the Rodeo handled it without a hitch. As I got closer to shore the wind was lightening up and I began to fall off a plane so I went for a spock 540 to head back out. Again the board popped with minimal effort and as the tail touched down it planed backwards sooooo easily and then slid into the spock needing very little input from me. Just pop and spin seemed to be what this board wants to do.
So all in all I spent about 1/2 hour on the board landing all sorts of tricks very easily in the very gusty conditions. This board would be great not only for the most advanced of freestylers out there, but also guys just getting into it. It's got everything you'd want in one board. Stability and a flat deck for the old school moves. Easy pop and sliding for when you want to learn your vulcans and spocks. Then when you're ready for Ponches, Shakas, Air Funnels and all the other New School radical tricks, the Rodeo will deliver on everything. If you're looking for a new freestyle board, the Rodeo should definitely be at the top of the list. Right now, it's on the top of mine.