Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back on Track

For most windsurfers on Long Island, we haven't set foot on our boards since Hurricane Sandy 4 weeks ago!! The raw power of the storm destroyed many beaches and communities all along the south shore. Roads were destroyed, beaches swept away and, many homes sunk into the sea with the rising waters. The weeks following the storm had gas shortages leaving us literally high and dry. With no gas to fuel our cars to even make it to work, our windsurf mobiles had to take a back seat. 4 weeks later things are starting to get back to normal. No more waiting 4 hours on line for gas that might not even be there by the time it's your turn at the pump. Beaches are slowly starting to open back up, and the majority of the debris from the storm has found a place to rest. So all we need is some wind! I had another dilemma of my own. No Sails!!! At least none below 5.0. And guess what, in the fall on Long Island the 5.0 might as well be a 7.0. It's blowing 25-40mph or nothing!! Then as if sent by Aeolus himself, my brand new set of 2013 Northsails idols arrived just in time for the first winds after Sandy hit the East Coast. The forecast was west winds of 25-30 knots, gusts to 35 knots! Looks like a 4.0 day to me. West Meadow was the call, not only because it's my favorite place to sail, but it also happened to be one of the few beaches that were accessible that would be good on the westerly wind. Pulling into the parking lot at West meadow I could see it was packed with cars. When I took my first look out at the water, it was covered in windsurfers. There had to be about 30 of them!! People came from the Hudson, the entire ocean crew showed up, and of course the West Meadow regulars were all there to score their first session in weeks! I pulled in next to Chachi who already had his 4.5 laying in the parking lot. I got out of the car, struggling to push the door open into the wind. "4.5 Chachi? I'm thinking 4.0 or 3.7." "yeah, I know, I think I'll be back in after the first run!" He also got his new 2013 North idols, so we were admiring his laying there in the parking lot guessing as to how the newest 4 batten northsail would handle so much wind. As I was rigging, Chachi hit the water. Strangely, he didn't look all that overpowered. Total control? On a 4.5 four batten in well over 30 mph winds? I rigged my 4.0 anyway. I made it out fully powered on the 4.0 idol. On the way back in, I saw Chachi come really close to landing a backloop. The day went on and the wind kept cranking. After a short while Chachi decided the 4.0 was a better call and rigged it up and joined me on his new skate. We were twins! Two 4.0 green idols and 2 yellow skates going shaka for shaka and funnel for funnel. That day will always be a day I'll remember on the water. Great wind, great conditions and great friends! I'll have a full review of the new 2013 Northsails idol after I get to try the bigger sizes. (5.0 and 5.6) So far from what I can tell with the 4.0 and 4.5 is that they have more power, a lighter and softer feel, and are much, much better than the ice/IDs for freestyle! In a straight line I think it will be a personal choice of feel of the sail. For me, even if I wasn't doing freestyle, I would take the idol over the ice. If the larger models are anything like the smaller ones, I'm never going back to 5 batten!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

East Coast Windsurifng Festival Goes Off!!

With no wind you say? How can an event go off with so little wind. Well, the ECWF is about more than just the wind. It's about the sailors and getting everyone on the water to have fun. So with the maximum sustained wind of about 7 knots for the entire weekend, we knew we had our work cut out for us. But between the board toss sponsored by the New England Windsurfing Journal, SUP races, and of course all the light wind sailing a person can handle in a single weekend, there were smiles from ear to ear up and down Joe's Beach at Heckscher State Park on Long Island. Despite the very, very light forecast over 40 competitors showed up rigged and ready to sail. Day 1 saw light and variable conditions with the board toss and SUP races being the most action of the day. We did manage to have one race and one round of freestyle. before the wind totally died. Day 2 had the perfect wind if you were into light wind sailing. We got off another 3 races and plenty of rounds of freestyle to declare the victors. I'd like to thank all those that came out despite the less than desirable forecast to show their support for growing the sport. And the sponsors of the ECWF for showing their support. Every year, we have the event there are always passers by asking how they can get a lesson or where they can get some gear to learn. And last but not least, here are the winners from the 5th annual, East Cost Windsurfing Festival 2012. King of the East: Alex Hering Queen of the East: Jeanne Baummann Mens Freestyle 1) Alex Herring 2) George Pav 3) Peter Richterich 4) Jake Agoos 5) Pete Roesch Women's Freestyle 1) Nina Schweikardt 2) Jeanne Baummann 3) Deniz Kalaycioglu Men's Open Racing: 1) Bill Degeorge 2) Dean Oleksiak 3) Dan Cresci 4) Alex Hering 5) Florian Feuser Men's 7.5 limited racing 1) Pete Roesch 2) Joe Natalie 3) Dennis Grunbeck 4) Peter Richterich 5) Joe Giordano Women's Racing 1) Jeanne Baumann 2) Thandi Bradix 3) Deniz Kalaycioglu

Thursday, May 31, 2012

East Coast Windsurfing Festival Warmup

As the forecast for some long-awaited southwest wind grew near, I had to check back to see how long it's been since we had a real, full power day of sailing in a nice warm, southwest breeze at Heckscher. It's the most dominant wind direction for the summer months and the most likely direction the wind will be for the East Coast Windsurfing Festival next weekend on June 9th and 10th. Usually May is one of the best months of the year here on Long Island, but I didn't get a single SW day the entire month! In fact, the last time I sailed powered on a sw day at Heckscher was all the way back on March 8th! Another incredible SW day at Heckscher that I just had to write about. And wouldn't you know it, only a week before the ECWF, we had a nearly duplicate day of sailing. I was powered on my 4.5 nearly the entire day with a short session on the 5.0 while the wind backed a bit. And another big thanks to John Dunn (editor and photographer for the NY Times) for stopping by and getting some more great shots. I hope to see everyone June 9th and 10th at the event!

Monday, May 14, 2012

East Coast Windsurfing Festival

The countdown is on for the 2012 East Coast Windsurfing Festival. So get yourself in racing shape, go polish up that latest trick and get ready to show your stuff!!! The East Coast Windsurfing Festival now in it's 5th year will be held at Heckscher State park on Long Island on June 9th and 10th 2012. For more info on the event visit the website at www.ecwindfest.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OBX Challenge 2012

Any trip to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina is always a good one. When you get a bunch of pro freestylers together, it gets even better. Thanks to Makani Fins and Ocean Air Sports for getting this together. The event was April 19th to the 21st and the video focuses on the Makani Team Riders Mike Burns, Jon Sassone, and Tyson Poor.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pics from Thursday

This was the 89 ltr Skate TE and 3.7 Ice. Gusts up around 40. I'm loving this setup!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Kickoff

What a day! Temps were touching 70 degrees inland and pushing upper 50s at the shore. Today was the first day of the year that I was ok in my wetsuit without gloves or hood. AND WINDY!!! Spring is definitely here. I made it a full day event. The call was to go to Heckscher, and there was a great turnout considering it was a weekday in March. There were about a dozen of us at the beach. I got on the water a little before 10am on the 5.0. It was perfect. Soon enough it was time to switch down to the 4.5, then after about an hour of flipping, sliding and spinning the 4.5 and 89 ltr, the wind really kicked in. From then on it was full power 3.7!! The perfect day!

What the windgraph for a perfect day looks like:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So long Winter, It's about to Spring

Well, it's just about that time of year when the cold days are passing on for armer weather. The days are growing longer and the winter gloves, boots and headgear goes away until next year. Nows the time to start dusting off your old trusty stick and make sure all those downhaul lines are still downhaul lines. Get ready because Spring is here!!!

Lets not get ahead of ourselves though. This winter wasn't all that bad and some might say that it never arrived at all. I had 10 days in January on Long Island and that even beats out the # of days I sailed in Bonaire while we were there in Feb. In fact I had many more sessions in January that I made progression on than the entire rest of the year put together. How's that for winter sailing? But now it's March and the temps are climbing, the wind is starting up and even mistake won't mean crashing into a full on brain freeze! The next 2 days promise wind into the mid 20 and temps around 60 degrees. So I'm hoping to keep this incredible winter rolling right into spring.

Spring means it's also just about time for Cape Hatteras. This will be our 15th spring trip to the cape. We've never been skunked on a spring trip to Hatteras. (well, there was that one year where it blew in excess of 45 knots straight through the week that we were there) One thing I am looking forward to besides the warm weather, warm water and strong winds is the addition of a windsurfing event right in Avon! Makani Fins, and Ocean Air Sports are joining forces to bring the first real freestyle/racing event to the island in years. The event is all about fun and you've attended any of the East Coast Windsurfing Festivals here on Long Island, you'll know exactly what I mean. There will be a Freestyle jam with some of the nations top freestyle talents including Tyson Poor, Wyat Miller, Jon Sassone, Chris Eldridge and of course yours truly. The dates are April 19th, 20th and 21st and definitely worth checking out.

For more info and tentative schedule the event go: http://blog.makanifins.com/

On a side note, it's not easy running a business and planning for an event at the same time (trust me, I know first hand), so I would like to send out a big thank you to Makani and Ocean Air for putting this together not only for the joy I'll have while I'm there but for helping spread the windsurfing love. It's the grass roots events like this and the East Coast Windsurfing Festival that are keeping windsurfing strong.

So I've got a lot to look forward to this spring and you should too. So grab that board out of the garage, put the sails in your car and lets go sail!!!!

See you at the beach,