Well, Sunday there was very little to ride.
Still enough for Josh Stone to pull out aerials like this in his early morning sesh (this photo was taken at 11.30).
I would rank the conditions we had from Monday to Friday as the best 5 wavesailing days (in a row) of September in the last 7 years. In fact, it's not unusual to get this size swells in September, but they usually last 2-3 days, not 5!
Thinking of a couple of waves I rode on Friday, I still get goose bumps...
Different kind of goose bumps, I get when I think about the collision on Thursday.
As promised, here is a sketch of what happened. Click on it to see it better. The wind is coming from the left.
What I wrote summarizes what I was thinking at the moment. Other information you need to know:
- I have no idea who's wave it was. 95% of the times I do, but there are times in which you end up on a wave without knowing if the guy upwind or downwind of you caught it before you. In this cases, my personal rule (and I wish everybody else would do the same) is to assume that it's NOT my wave and behave accordingly (like I did also in this case).
- afterwards, when I asked him if he knew who's wave it was, the guy said:"what do you mean? I thought you were on the wave behind". In other words, he didn't even see me downwind of him on the same wave! That explains why he started so aggressively aiming to top turn right where I was. IMO, that's quite a bad mistake.
When on a wave approaching the impact zone, in fact, I need to know:
1) if there is somebody upwind and who he is.
I add the who because, in case it's his wave, the space you can anticipate that a pro sailor will need to enjoy his ride is quite different than the space a regular sailor will cover.
And if it's my wave instead, I need to know if it's a dangerous MotherF that won't respect the priority or a correct sailor that will...
2) if there is somebody downwind and who he is.
Same as above. If it's my wave and there's Levi, Keith or Kevin (for example) downwind of me, I know that I can just choose my line and my timing and start whenever I want because THEY KNOW it's my wave, they're watching me and they will manage to get out of my way. If it's a tourist (or a known MF), then I better put more attention and ride my wave more conservatively...
3) if there is somebody in the water in the impact zone.
In this case, there's no difference: running over a pro sailor is just as bad as running over a tourist...
Ideally, I'd like to know also what's going on on the next wave for two reasons:
a) maybe there's nobody on it (forget it at Hoo) and it's a better one so I can let go the one I'm on and get the better one!
b) the wave I'm on may end up in a close out and I may choose to kick out before the close out happens. Bad idea if the wave behind is bigger and the kick out will be right in front of the rocks... guess how I learned that one!
Back to the collision. It was an unfortunate accident. We had two kinds of bad lucks:
- he fell in the top turn. He said that he did it in great control (and what I saw from the back of the wave confirmed that... a really nice turn!), but somehow the nose of the board pearled after the turn... "first time something like that happens to me!", he said...
- I had no wind at all. It was the end of the day and the wind was lighter, but in between those two waves there was really not a breath. I could have chosen to ditch my gear (to save my ass) but it would have hit him for sure. Instead, I still had a very small chance of making the drop. If I managed to make the drop I would have sailed just upwind of him and avoided the collision. But that didn't happen...
What did I say, bad luck? I'll take that back... We were so lucky that nothing really bad happened. I already fixed my board and his hand is quickly getting better.
It could have been a lot worse...
Well, let's move on now: nice dog.
Now we're going to have a few days of flat conditions on both shores... great, I could really use a little rest! Then a small north swell on Thursday and Friday, and then uncle Pat says that models suggest a moderate episode from 330-360 next Tuesday. I checked the long term modelled weather maps and it's true: a very wintery pattern, with big waves (eventually a bit messy, since the head of the fecth will be very close to the islands) and light or no wind... cool!
Still, what to do in next couple of days?
To answer this horrible dilemma, this afternoon I went to Hookipa in search for inspiration. I ran into Cookie who gave me a nice present and I now finally own a Goya board. More precisely two halves of it.
Even though I'm in love with the 90, I did try the 81 too (though just one day) and it's another brilliant board. Worth the try to put it back together.
I got my strategy already: no carbon, no stringers. Just plenty fiberglass (specially on the rails). That's how I fixed my 12.2 with which I still happily ride big waves.
Little difference: this board will plane on choppy waters... mmm, better talk to Maxi first...
Here, read this very well explained example and learn how the sandwich board construction works.
PS. Live webcast of the ASP contest in France here.