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!!


  1. Yeah, I'm missing my surfboard the same way.

    Do you know of anyone who gives windsurfing lessons? (The closer to Queens the better, but I'll travel the length of the island if they're good.

  2. Hampton Watersports in South Hampton gives windsurf lessons. I think you need to make an appointment with them so they have an instructor available. Also check out the the most popular spot on Long Island for windsurfing. Heckscher State Park! It's an easy trip from Queens, and although you won't find any official lessons, just about anyone that windsurfs there will be more than happy to help you along. I'm there too almost every windy day during the spring and summer.

    Windsurfing is way easier to learn with the proper beginner equipment and instruction, so getting a professional lesson is definitely your best bet. It's also silly to buy beginner gear because you'll only use it a few times, so even though the lessons may be expensive, it's worth it just to not have to buy the beginner gear that they use to learn on and then end up with it sitting in the garage. After the first couple lessons, you'll know the basics and then decide if you want to buy some gear. There's a ton of used stuff around you can buy for really cheap that would be perfect for your first board and sail, so check with people at the beach to see if they have anything used. I ride for a few different companies, so I end up selling all my gear at the end of each year in very good condition, so when you're ready for some high-end gear, you can always let me know if you want me to hold something for you.

    Also, there's a great group online for Long Island Windsurfers. Everyone on there is very friendly and will always go out of their way to help people that are new to the sport. It's also another great place to ask for some really cheap gear. Sometimes people will even donate it to you so that you can pass it along to another beginner one day.

    If there are any other questions you have, just let me know.

    See you at the beach,