Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Secret Spot Found and Lost

Tuesday November 23rd marks a sad day in windsurfing. Our newly discovered secret spot is secret no longer. George Pav and I were super stoked to go sailing and work on all the latest tricks in the perfect freestyle spot we've dubbed "The Training Grounds". We rigged our 5.9s and were powered perfectly. George managed to hit 6 vulcans (3 of them being back to back) before "The Man" discovered our spot.

As we made our last run across our short and perfect stretch of water the officer from hell pulled in. And I'm not calling him the officer from hell because of the way he conducted himself, nor because of what he did. We were in the wrong and knew it. I'm calling him the officer from hell because to ruin such a good thing that came straight from heaven, Satan himself must have sent out one of his demons to ruin it for us. The officer was polite and didn't give us a ticket, but he informed us that since we were not residents of the village, we couldn't launch there. This was a very big disappointment especially since the other 4 officers I spoke to before this one came along had no problem with us sailing there as long as we kept things to a minimum, hence the need for secrecy.

So in the past few weeks, I went from saying "enough is enough with this NE wind crap", to "George, I can't believe it's going to be NE so we can get to sail the training grounds again" , to "Mother Fu*(&$^(* &(*&&*^#$$@%^& &#^#%$@$%, God DA&*#(!^^#((&#&@^** North East wind again!!!???? F##############*&!!!!!!"

Maybe I'll figure something out to sail there some time in the future. I literally wrote the mayor of the Village in question begging our case. Her response should be interesting to say the least.

Now it's off to Hatteras for some cheering up. Woohoo!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ida hits Hatteras

A picture says 1,000 words.......The Storm surge in Hatteras

For more info check Bill's Beach Life

And some some more shots of storm damage

I hope the road is open for thanksgiving when we head down.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Ida day 3: The Training Grounds

This is at dead low tide. As the tide comes in, you can sail in clean wind right in between these grassy islands for some butter smooth water for some perfect freestyle training.

I personally couldn't get out today. I had my hands full with my 2 and 3 year olds. If you think a forward is hard, try running around after 2 screaming kids having epic battles over a Sponge Bob sticker. Anyway, we all needed to get out of the house. George Pav gave me a buzz in the morning and told me he didn't even come close to having enough of our secret spot dubbed The Training Grounds and that he was heading back again today. So I decided if I couldn't sail, I might as well take the kids for a ride to the beach. When I pulled in, the wind was cranking. Way stronger than yesterday. I would have rigged my 3.7, but George was holding down his 4.2. And sailing really good. I decided to break out the camera. I wish I had my good camera with me with the longer lens, but these shots came out nice anyway. Today was much choppier than the nice 4.7 conditions we had yesterday, but hey, when it's blowing 30 knots, you can't expect much in the way of flat water.

George Pav nails a picture perfect vulcan.

Why buy a carbon boom?

Simply because an aluminum boom feels broken right out of the box. I found a great little video that demonstrates what I mean. It's no wonder why those things don't last like a carbon one. Thanks to Brian S. for putting it up on Vimeo.

Windsurfing with an Aluminum Boom from Brian S on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Serious Freestyle Training with the former storm, formerly known as the former Hurricane Ida

So the entire East Coast of the U.S. has been drooling over the predictions for up to 4 days of solid wind in a row from former hurricane Ida. Wednesday was the first day of good wind being predicted here on LI. Out east was looking like the best bet for good winds all day. I haven't had nearly enough flat water sessions to keep on top of my freestyle this year, so keeping up with my latest bag of tricks was my plan for Ida. Napeague would obviously be the call for Wed. As I pulled away form the house in my windsurf mobile I realized that almost everyone else that would normally make the 2 hour trip to Napeague to get some flat water action decided to make a 10 hour trip to get some flat water action in Hatteras. Kurt was still around and he loves Napeague, so he was my first call. He was in, and so was Steve with the "Caboose" from Shirley. There was barely any traffic on the way out and the truck kept swaying in the strong breeze on the highway. When I arrived at Napeague Kurt and Steve were already there and rigging. It looked like 4.7 was the call. I was powered to overpowered most of the time with the occasional lull but never fell of a plane.

Not having any flat water sessions in the past month or so was really showing with my switch stance tricks, or rather lack of switch stance tricks. But as the day went on, I pushed on and started making progress towards the end. I sailed until I couldn't sail any more. In the end I sailed about 5 hours straight in perfect 4.7 conditions doing at least 2 or 3 tricks on every run. Man I was shot while I was driving home but it was soooooo worth it.

So how can you beat a perfect 4.7 flat water session at Napeague? Well, I found a secret spot close to my house last winter. The only problem is that there are 3 no parking signs, 1 no trespassing sign, and one sign with all the town rules and regulations clearly stating that this secret spot is not only secret, but should it be found, it should only be used by those permanently residing within about 5 feet from the launch. It makes sense because there's only room for 2 or 3 cars to park. So I called George Pav, told him about the spot and we both decided it was worth the risk.

I arrived first. It was low tide and I was worried that it wouldn't be deep enough, but as soon as I took my third step into the water, I went right in over my head. "Wow, that's a drop!", I thought to myself. Then as I sailed across the small canal I thought, "That's great because I won't have to worry about running aground." With that thought I went splat! I nailed a sand/muck bar about 4 inches deep. I made a mental note on how far I could come to the other side and sailed back to where I launched. I was fully powered coming in for my first trick on starboard. I was flying! Just as I start to switch my feet to set up for a funnel the water smooths out to the point where the board starts making a hissing sound. I nailed a perfect air funnel on my first run! It happened to be the only one I hit all day, but man that water on the inside is soooo smooth it's not even fair. Then I spotted a sand bar upwind for port tack. It ended up being the identical setup that you have in Bonaire, where you come in on port tack, and then have all the time in the world to set up for anything you want to throw with the wind blowing right into the little bowl downwind of the sandbar.

When George pulled in I saw the smile on his face. He knew what was to come. Then I pointed out the sandbar upwind and his eyes lit up like he hadn't sen the water in 6 months. "4.7?, 4.7 is good? you're on 4.7 right?" "Yes George, I'm on 4.7 and it's perfect." After George's first run and his first vulcan, we decided to dub our secret spot "The Training Grounds" we continued sailing and exploring different secret runs in "The Training Grounds." As the tide came in, our super flat spots, weren't super flat anymore, and that was ok. We found some more super smooth flat spots to practice in. We sailed 4.7 all afternoon, slipping, sliding and spinning all over the place. George said that "The Training Grounds is to Freestyle, what the Canal in France is to Speed sailing." I had to agree. It was like our little secret spot was designed for freestyle windsurfing. I used to hate hearing the forecast for NE winds. It meant either traveling 2 hours for a good session, or giving in and sailing some typical mushy sound conditions. Now I can't wait for the next Nor' Easter at The Training Grounds!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

2010 Northsails Ice Review

To put it short, it's hands down the best sail I've ever used. I weigh 170 lbs (77 kilos) and use the 2010 Ices for 5.3 and smaller. The 2010 Ice carries over the power and then some from last years sails. The major change is the double clew grommet. The Ices have always been extremely sensitive to outhaul adjustments. By pulling the outhaul another 3cm you would go from full power to no power. For 2010 they took it even further. The outer clew grommet gives the sail a similar feel to the 2009 sails with lots of power and direct handling. The inner grommet setting is a very new feeling. The sail just twists off so far making it very soft and have a huge top end. I've had a chance now to sail 3.7, 4.2, 4.7, and 5.3 Ices along with my 5.9 Duke and across the board the double clew grommet works just as well with all the sizes. When I was getting too overpowered to try tricks, I simply changed the outhaul to the inner grommet and I've got total control again. It really is amazing! It's not like going from a 5.3 to a 4.7 but it's like changing the 5.3 to a 5.0 with a quick adjustment.

Another great thing about all these different settings is that you can really get any sail you want in just one sail. If you like the soft feel, use the inner setting, if you like a very reactive sail, use the outer setting. On top of all these adjustments, north now offers an "HD" Full X-Ply version for maximum durability. Can't ask for more than that! I took the HD Ice in the 3.7 and it was really nice too.

The Ice works just as well for freestyle as it does for waves. When the sail has wind in it, it gets a very deep pocket in it giving it all the power. What is unique is that when you try to make the sail go neutral, it goes perfectly flat. So whether you're trying an air funnel, or just a regular tack, the Ice will help you out with it's amazing handling. Going into a jibe or going down the line on a wave the Ice also goes totally neutral. It just feels so light.

If there ever was a time to buy a new sail, the 2010 Northsails Ice would be it. I really can't say enough good things about the 2010 Ice.

Pictures really don't do the new colors justice, but here are a few of my 2010 4.7 Ice.

Double clew grommets

Oversized pulleys make down-hauling simple

Boom length settings on the mast sleeve. As the boom goes up, the distance gets longer so check here for your outhaul setting. I find it best to leave it at the minimum outhaul settings. I actually use mine at 161cm or 162cm where I have the boom mounted here.

Always thinking about durability North puts plastic coating on wearable spots like on the mast tip, batten ends, and here on the foot stitching to prevent abrasion from the nonskid on the boards.

Admiring my 2010 4.7 Ice. Oh when can I use you again......