Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the best watching session ever

That's what everybody sitting on the hill between Hookipa and Lanes said today.

It was blowing like crazy for the third day in a row. Windy, very windy someone will say later in this post.
The windsurfers were killing it. Still, many long swims and a few rockstars (good job, Dave).
It was the... can we call it "usual"?... show of a day of super strong Kona at Lanes with big waves.
Then a few surfers showed up at Hookipa and that made the show even better.

And then we saw him.

He went out at Kuau. Now, have you seen those waves at Kuau in my yesterday's post? Today, they were just like yesterday.
In the mist of the huge spray we could see a human figure standing up on a board and paddling through those waves.
No one even wondered for a second who he was... there's only a man that can do that. He made it out and came downwind to Lanes and Hookipa to catch a few.
I've seen him already in strong wind catching waves here and there during a downwind run, but this time he stopped there and kept surfing for more than an hour. Standing up on his 14 feet x 25 inches standup gun. In gusts up to 50 knots.

That Laird is a freak...

That's why we're gonna start today's photo show with him.
Here, get this!

Look at that stance!

Wardog's favorite.

Can you see how windy it is? You got to be kidding me!!!

43 more photos (Laird, windsurfers and surfers) here.

Here's a little action video. If you can't see it here, try here.

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And here's a little interview to the most famous windsurfer in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Robby Naish.
If you can't see it here, try here.

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If you guys liked the post and feel like sharing it with some of your friends, please do so. The more people read this blog, the more motivated I am to keep investing so much time and energy into it. Thanks.

Crazy Kona day 2

Yet another day of strong and gusty Kona wind with even bigger waves.

I sailed Kanaha, but I'll talk about that later in this post.
First, let me start with some text and photos that Pietro Porcella kindly sent me.

As last year Jaws Feb.6th, this time the Maui winter windsurfing
scoop was served on Jan.30th in Lanes, with the Kona wind blowing for
size 4.5/4.7 .
It was super difficult on the inside, but once they were in position,
Robby Naish, Jason Polakow, Kevin Pritchard (after going on the rocks
the first time), Robby Swift, Tristan Boxford (2 on the rocks) offered
a special 'expression session' for the huge audience that gathered
in Hookipa. It was a free show.... on different tack!
Robby (Alii) Naish & Jason (Kupuna) Polakow offered the best show of
the all package.

Naish and Polakow got in the water from the rocks at Lanes instead of the beach of Hookipa. Mo' bettah.



Thanks Pietro for the contribution. In April Pietro will run the Chia Classic contest in Sardinia (Italy). Check for info.

I got on the hill a little late, just in time to see the last sailors getting out of the water.
Here's Kevin Pritchard in his very last turn.

Everybody left, but I had a bucket full of ice and a few beers in it, so I kept taking photos of the waves. The ones at Kuau offered the best perspective. Here's a couple.

More photos of yesterday's action on Ulli & Michelle's blog.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Crazy Kona

First report of a Kona wind episode.

It started blowing gently yesterday. The first sets of a new big NW swell showed up in the late afternoon and I went sailing on the longboard at Kanaha.
The Kona wind blows side offshore (very offshore) from the left on the north shore of Maui and that changes the waves a lot, because it holds them up a lot longer.
I shared some fun down the line rides with Glenn and canadian Jeff that were out too. Then the wind got too light for their shortboards, but not for my 12.6.
I sailed one more hour. At the end, the wind got very light and I could only go right, upwind. And that's when I realized how perfect the rights were.

On the last one I caught, I took a couple of steps towards the nose, holding the mast in my left hand. From that unique perspective I could admire one of the most beautiful waves I have ever seen.
I felt like I was in one of those surf movies in Indonesia.
Standing almost on the nose of the board, a few feet upwind of the barrel,in front of me the face of the wave was walling up without doing all those sections that it normally does. Just perfectly peeling like a slow match of a bomb (not sure about the translation, miccia in italian).
I was struck by its beauty... and stoked!

Today, instead, it was blowing like crazy.
Here's the wind chart of the airport sensor (notice how south it was too!).

Here's how Lanes looked around 10am, just before the wind started nuking. Beautiful.

I went out around 11 at Kanaha on my smallest board and a 4.2.
In the first half hour, I didn't have any fun. It was pure survival.

So I went back on the beach, chilled out for a while, looked at the waves and figured out the trick. The most difficult part for me, believe it or not, was to go out through the downwind channel. Even though the waves weren't that big (thank god!), it wasn't easy to go over even just a couple of feet of water with the weak leg (the left) on the front and the supergusty wind about 45-60 degrees offshore.
But in the second session I was doing the inside jibe far downwind of the channel, so that I could hit the channel in the smallest spot, just upwind of the weird wave. I still had to time it, avoiding the big sets, but it was a lot easier.

And, at that point, helped by a confidence boost, I even managed to have fun. Not that I did much on the waves... the timing was completely different and the wind on the face of the wave was often a bit too strong.
Once I kicked out on the back of a wave, because it was closing out in front of me. I was slammed in the water by a waterfall of spray.
But those few times that I managed to stay on the face of the wave, I was just screaming down the line.
Once, I was on the last wave of a big set and the water was incredibly smooth, because the previous waves had erased the chop. Blasting full speed fully powered on a 4.2 on the face of a beautiful wave... boy, THAT was fun!

At around 2 o'clock I went to Lanes to check the action. Just in time to see a windsurfer coming out of the rocks. Too much wind.
Here's two crazy individuals on a jet ski.

The firefighters were superbusy because of trees falling down on the highways and a fire in Haiku. Prolly not so much fun to drive a chopper in 50 knots gusts...

I went home to rest my beat up body and then back to Lanes at around 5 pm (yep, that was a fat nap!).
You can check some of the action I missed on Makani's blog.
Check also a few pics on Sharon's blog.

Tristan Boxford was still out, though! Here's a big one.

This is a smaller one, but nonetheless quite a radical turn.

Just like the exit: aerial 360 perfectly landed on the back of the wave.

Last wave: aerial in the dark.

Here's an interview with the English windsurfer.
If you can't see it here, try here.

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You can find details on his upcoming event here.

Eye in the sky.

Tomorrow's forecast calls for even bigger waves and slightly lighter wind (thank god).
The 8pm reading of the NW buoy is an impressive 22 feet at 17 seconds. And it's still going up.

We'll see...

Oh, I almost forgot.
Sharon's surprise birthday party's theme was "the British invasion". I partially shaved my gotie to look like one of the beatles. I didn't succeed, but I made some people laugh anyway... Let's see if it works over the internet too...

Friday, January 26, 2007

beach life style

Just a quick update here... didn't want to use a new post.
Just sailed Hookipa for three hours. Head to overhead high, perfect 5.0. Me and Jeff Sutherland dominated for a while, until Levi showed up... ;-)
And tonight, Jake Shimabukuro concert.

But the reason of this update is that I just checked Pat Caldwell's last forecast. If you don't want to read the whole thing, just read the summary table. Next week the surf is going to be extra-large and rough. The wind is going to be strong Kona. The pros will be sailing Lanes. I'll be sailing Kanaha.
If all of a sudden next week this blog is not going to be updated anymore, I want you to know that I died having fun... :-O

For a change, I spent the whole day at the beach yesterday and for a change I took a bunch of pics.

Check the rocker line of this standup board... sweet! I'd like to put a mast track in it... it must be so much fun on the waves!

This is a radical top turn by another standupper. Didn't land it, but it doesn't matter...

Lastly, a photo that shows some beach life style... these guys got their priorities right. Time is the most important thing we have. From my (and theirs) point of view, they are not wasting it.

A few more shots here.
Lano, don't miss to check them out!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

spaghetti coi gamberoni

Yet another tough day, you guys...

In the morning there was no wind at all. The waves at Kanaha looked like they were closing out a little too often. Alex told me later that he actually got some of the best waves of his life, but he's a damn good surfer and he's regular and that helped him connecting all the sections of the beautiful right. I don't think I would have been able to do the same. Plus, I was still a bit tired from yesterday so I wisely chose a more mellow session at the harbor (with the shortboard, though).
The waves were knee to shoulder high, these last ones having the right push to be enjoyed with a 7.0.
Me and Karl were the only ones on the peak at the buoy. A little chat, a little wave, another little chat, another little wave... good time.

Later the wind picked up and I went out again at Kanaha on the longboard with the sail. The swell was dropping, but the waves were still pretty damn fun. The I saw canadian Jeff ripping a couple at the outer reef of uppers and I immediately sailed over there. Again, the swell was dropping and not many sets were breaking all the way out there. You had to wait 10-15 minutes. But the last one I caught was a beauty. Jeff told me later on the beach that I was at the half of the wave and the mast was in line with the lip. It didn't really feel that big, but if he says so...
I said:"but I couldn't really do any turn... I could only go down the line..."
"It doesn't matter, he said."
Actually, he was quite right. I was on a potentially double mast high wave, on a 12.6 and I wanted to do turns?!? My confidence must have improved a lot lately...

Photos from both sessions here.
By the way, I also found yesterday's ones.

Easy quiz. Check this little video. Let's see who's the first one that spots what there is to spot and posts a comment... (can't see it? Try here)

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After two hours surfing and two hours sailing, around 5pm I was debating if to go out again standing up on the 12.6...
The wind, in fact, had died and the conditions were kind of epic out there. 5 people out (Michelle, clearly, amongst them).
Fortunately, Monica called. She had locked her keys in her van and needed a ride home to get the spare. Thank god, I had an excuse not to go out... my body would have not liked it.

Instead, I was rewarded with a spectacular pasta with shrimps that she cooked for me. I hope she'll lock the keys in her car more often...
Check this out.

Tasty, uh? ... specially that slice of belly!

This one, instead, is my latest addiction. Two pistachios sitting on a pillow of Nutella...

I didn't even check the buoys tonight... I almost hope that it's gonna suck...

I need a massage!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

a hundred waves

Today I made a new rule.

If the conditions are good enough to keep me five hours in the water, it's automatically a five stars session.

This was my answer to Jeff, when he asked me why I wear a harness when I sail on the longboard: "'Cause I need it to rest my arms so that I can sail longer... You're either tougher than me, or I got more spare time than you, brah"... eheh...

A new NNW swell arrived and kept building all day long. At sunset it was often mast high at lower Kanaha.
I had a hell lot of fun and I was trying to take as many videos as possible with my helmet cam, but unfortunately I ended up taking a bunch of photos instead. Most of them are bad, because taken thinking it was the start of a video... Still practicing with the sequence of keys to push. Can't blame the camera ... it's a simple, cheap and fun toy.

When I got out of the water, the display showed 101. That means 101 between videos and photos. Even though I'm mildly disappointed by the result, I just realized a fact.
OK, a little number of shots were not shot on the wave. Like this one showing the beauty of the new Hot Sails Fire (team rider Jeff Sutherland is backwind slogging on the outside).

But I rode a way bigger number of waves without taking any shots (no time to shoot).
That means that I caught at least a hundred waves today.
Not that it changes the stoke level... I'm so stoked that you guys can't even imagine!
It just gives me a measure... don't forget I'm engineer and as such I got to measure everything (QUOLI, stars, etc...).
A hundred waves... wow, that's something!
I might well be the person that rode more waves in Maui today... I might well be the person that rode more waves in the whole freaking world today!
Hey, I don't care if I was or not. I just feel like I was...

What else can I say after such a gorgeous day?
That tomorrow could be even better...
Even though the NW buoy has dropped from 16 to 12 feet (16 sec. period), the wind is supposed to be a little stronger, so maybe good for the 87l. And even if it's light like today, I'll go longboard sailing again. And if it's no wind, I'll go surfing instead.
Do you understand now why every single day I wake up stoked that I woke up?

Here, let me leave you with what it looked like today. The waves in these photos look a lot smaller than they really were. The West Maui Mountain looks a lot less green that it really was. The ocean and the sky are pretty close, though.

Not enough? I have a few more, but the dropshots site doesn't seem to work right now... Come back later, maybe I'll update this post tomorrow morning.

Just got to add that the last five songs that Radio Rock just played were:
The river - Bruce Springsteen
Watcher of the skies - Genesis
Pinball wizard - The who.
a song from an interesting new italian rock band called PFH.
Live from Rome into my studio in Kuau. Got to love the internet...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Longboard sailing at Lanes

A lot of stuff to post, mostly pictures.

FIRST, some photos that Noa kindly took today while I was sailing with the longboard at Lanes.
A lot of fun.
Way more difficult than Kanaha: steeper and faster. Going left backside a few times I turned back and saw my clue in the barrell... and that was quite a satisfying vision... eheh...

Let's start with what has become my signature backwind move... jesus, I'm so vain and full of myself!

Trust me, that little bowl is pretty steep. The sail is almost touching the lip, I don't think I could have been any deeper than that. The lack of a shoulder makes the wave appear not that impressive. Nonetheless, I think this is a killer shot. Good job, Noa.

In the next one, it almost seems that I jumped. I didn't. Those boards are not made for jumping! I saw photos of some of the first production longboards with footstraps... even looping!
That's marketing crap.
What is the point of going out on a twelve footer and trying to loop? I mean, you need so much wind to even try to do that that it's a nonsense to use a longboard. Better get your floaty wave board!

Setting up a backside bottom turn on a nice looking one.

The board made it, but I got caught by the lip... serious over the fall action would follow shortly.

The wake of the board is in the barrel.

And after all this proud selfish show off (where did my humbleness go?), a little space to some art.
Out of dust... brilliant.

Francisco and Lalo Goya paddled out all the way smiling, as happy as they could be.

More photos of them surfing in a fat first block of 47 photos taken Saturday.
And 7 more from today.

E mo', m' vac' a cucca'... azz!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I was not going to give it to the fish...

I had quite a day today.

I should start with my morning adventure, but I'm afraid that too many words would scare some of the windsurfers that check this blog (windsurfers notoriously don't like reading...), so I'll start with the photos of Hookipa first.
It has been amazingly windy to be winter time, but it's at least a week that the wind blows really offshore and gusty. Tough times for everybody out there. Never seen so many pros missing their jibes...

Let's start from the picture of the day.
It's Francisco Porcella in his interpretation of one of the most famous italian songs.
Volare, oh oh...

The sailor of the day was this guy on a Naish. Since I don't know who he is I'm gonna call him 'guy on a Naish'. Here he's showing a remarkable table top.

18 more windsurfing photos here.

Allright, time for the story telling.
As mentioned earlier, the wind was super gusty. Just like yesterday, I chose to challenge Hookipa with the 4.5 and the 87l board that would give me enough flotation to make it over the waves. The difference with yesterday, was that once in a while a mast high set would come through.
With an impeccable timing (even Josh Stone congratulated with me about that later on the beach), in my first reach out of course I ended up in the middle of the impact zone when the 11.45am mast high set arrived. I should have checked the timetable first...
Anyway, the wind was almost nil and the only thing I could do was try to bury my sail as deep as I could and take the waves on the head. Common practice at Hookipa.
Too bad my mast foot broke and I was left boardless with the sail in my hands.
It was my brand new 4.5 Superfreak! I was not going to give it to the fish...
I swam towards the shore and eventually made it in through the rocks.
Now, just look at this photo of Graham Ezzy (taken later in the day) and try to imagine how fun that must have been ...

The board of course was completely gone with the wind.
It was my 87l board! I was not going to give it to the fish...
I dropped the sail on the beach, jumped in my car (still in the wetsuit), drove to Mama's fish house and looked over the cliff with my binoculars. And I saw it. The wind was pushing it offshore, but the waves were keeping it inside the reef. I jumped in the car again, quickly picked up a surfboard at home (good thing I live in Kuau) and drove to the Kuau launching point, represented in this photo taken yesterday at sunset.

The difference with the photo is that when I jumped in the water with my surfboard to paddle for my board it was blowing thirty knots...
I paddled downwind for 5 minutes. I couldn't see it. I paddled 5 more minutes. It was a mind game.
"There's no way I'm gonna find it... but miracles happen!"
I paddled more.

And then I saw it.

And that vision made me happy, very happy.
But nothing compared to what I felt, when I finally reached the board, sat on my surfboard and lifted my trophy in the air yelling with all I had in my lungs...
In the middle of the freaking ocean, what I moment I had!

I had to paddle twenty more minutes (holding the nose of my windsurf board with my downwind foot) to reach the beach of Paia bay. I dropped both boards on the beach, hitchiked back to my car in Kuau, grabbed my slippers from the beach, drove back to Paia to get the boards, drove back to Hookipa to get the sail.
Not a single scratch on my body, not even on my equipment.
The fact that I succeeded in what seemed to be a mission impossible gave me a high of adrenaline rush that lasted all day.

In fact, later in the afternoon I went back in the water at Kanaha for the sunset sesh. The waves were mostly waiste to chest high, with some occasional head high sets. I sailed quite inspired and I was full of energy... definitely still on that rush.
The last half hour of light, it was me and Andres and he put on a show of backloops, forwards and aerials.
Hermano, if you did that to be mentioned on this blog... it worked!

Now it's almost 10 pm, the rush is gone and I'm realizing that I'm a little beat up.
I'll go to sleep with a smile on my face...

Monday, January 15, 2007

100% up to date QUOLI in 07

To celebrate the 15th day in a row and a, let's start this post with some windsurfing photos... for a change!

Hookipa 1 12.
Lots of excellent sailors in the water. Mention deservers: Robby Swift back in action (in particular a sick aerial upwind 360 on the wave), Baptiste Gossein with some serious aerials off the lip, Kevin Pritchard with his usual clean wave riding style.
But my winner of the sailor of the day contest is (once again) Levi Siver. When it's down to free sailing, Levi rarely lose on my sheet.

Here's a little sequence of photos of this young, very capable man.
Let's start with a bottom turn that can only be defined perfect.

Let's continue with a goiter with the sail on the face of the wave.

And let's finish with a beautiful aerial. What I like about this photo, is the light (kind of dark) and the fact that you don't see the wake of the board and you can't tell where he hit the lip. It looks like he could have taken off just outside the picture, on the right. I don't think so, but he's just flying, no matter what!

Lano's wife, not enough of him? A couple more here, together with a bunch of other photos.

But on this main page, I feel like posting two more photos of that day (I only took pictures for one hour!!!).

This is Francisco Porcella in his signature push loop.

This last one is the best one. Watcha think?
Pure luck. I was following the guy with the backloop, I didn't even see the guy riding the wave...

Talking about backloops, I used to try them all the times (never closed one, though). Then I got my knee injured a first time and I wisely decided to quit. Lately, insipred by Glenn's perfect ones, I felt like I could try again and so I did today (love the new 4.5, Jeff).
I went pretty high and I dropped everything before landing. Still a bit too much out of control, hence scary. I decided that I will eventually try a few more, but only in perfect wind and wave conditions. No need to force it. Only if it feels right.

Allright, let's show something else.
Micio has been missing for more than a week. If you saw him around, give Monica a call.
I think he jumped on a truck to check a surfboard and got relocated to Lahaina...

That's how long I wait before I replace something (it looks like a duck with the shadow of my head). I finally bought a new one... but only because it was my birthday!

And finally the girl I just fell in love with...
Hehe, I left a few blanks to create a little suspense...
Margherita is the most smiling little girl in the world.

Isn't she adorable?

Friday, January 12, 2007

King Kameharota becomes FFF

For years I've been calling myself the king of Kanaha, because I rule the lower reef when it's light wind and I'm the only one out on the longboard and sail.
This picture taken on Jan 9th (07 5* #3, btw) shows that I wasn't lying...

King Kameharota, king of Kanaha.

King Kamehameha ruled at the beginning of 1800 instead

In this little video you can see the beauty and the glassiness of a couple of waves I go over with the longboard. On the first one, I step way back of the board just to show you the front of it...
If you can't see it here, try here instead.

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Jan 10th was my birthday.
Thanks to everybody that wished me happy birthday, but I actually think that celebrating a birthday, just like any other holiday, is something quite stupid.
Do animals celebrate holidays? Of course not. And in my life I try to act as similar to an animal as I can... (somebody may say the I'm pretty successful at that).
So, I didn't celebrate my birthday in any particular way, other than what I normally do.

Got the message? I don't celebrate birthdays because for me they are not special days... I celebrate EVERY day, because they are ALL special days, just for the fact that I woke up alive again!!!

Thanks to everybody that wished me happy birthday or gave me presents, though.
Sharon, of course, was one of them. Here's the most celebration I indulged in. Anything for a laugh...

Understand what FFF stands for now?... Forty Fucking Four!!!

Mother nature gave me the best present with the 07 5* #4... what an awesome start of the year!
Read this to have an idea of the fantastic longboard sailing sesh I had that day. Unreal backside rides on the left bowl at Kanaha. Head to logo high, one magic mast high peeling one.
Me and three surfers out. The ratio of the waves I caught to the waves they caught has prolly been something like 27 to 1...

What an incredible winter for windsurfing so far! Back to back swells and wind oscillating between light, moderate and fresh. Next week unfortunately it should be fresh to strong. You guys should know by now that I don't like strong wind... but I got a brand new 4.5 to try!

Well, while I'm at it, let me post a few pics of a home pizza making sesh we had.
Thanks to Flatbread in Paia (now open for lunch! ;-)) that provided the dough, we had a lot of fun making pizzas and eating it. Came out a bit hard, but still enjoyable...we ate it all. And it was another demonstration that what I've been saying for many years is true:
Sex is like pizza. When it's great, it's great. But if even if it's not great, it's still good enough...

I'll leave you with the Surfline reading of the NW buoy at 7am this morning: 9 feet, 18 seconds, 310 degrees. Unfortunately, that direction is a bit too west to hit Kanaha, that will be shaded by the west Maui Mountain. But I'm going there anyway... Why? Because on top of that big NW swell there's still a ENE swell (the green one: 6 feet, 10 seconds, 65 degrees) that will hit it just fine, providing the King with his daily dose of head high waves...

And tomorrow the NW one will come a few degrees more from the north and it's going to be overhead high (mast high at Hookipa for sure... good luck to all the people that will end up on the rocks, AKA rockstars!!).

WAIT! One more thing!!
Yesterday we saw the orchestra Pink Martini in concert. Absolutely brilliant! 10 incredible musicians and a lovely singer performed at the Maui Arts and Cultural center. Wonna buy a great cd? Look for "Hang on little tomato" on the internet... there's even a song called "Una notte a Napoli"!
Check their tour dates, because if they play in your town and you like music, you just can't afford to miss them.

Stoked on life in Maui.