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!


  1. A secret spot, hmmm. I'd like to hear about it. Tell me about it. I INSIST you tell me about it!

    Actually I'm just's not going to be convenient for me (and we have our own secret spots, all of which I blab about on the Puffin.)


    If you've got a Napeague substitute that's close, that's great! In the Peconic area there are a few, depending on the wind direction (Cutchogue sandbar and "Jeff's secret spot" are peerless...also the north side of Mecox is good.) Today I may try the flats off of Towd Point.

    Meanwhile I'm beginning my blog post "Mike Burns' Secret Spot!

  2. It's more than just a substitute for Napeague, it blows Napeague away. It's, dare I say, flatter than bonaire. As for it's location, it must remain a secret, or the pleasure police will take it away.