Tuesday, April 07, 2009

(@#$%ing) look where you going!

I was filming a client at Lowers and I cut this little 9 sec video to show how dangerous crowded waves can be.

The guy was so focused on the sailors downwind of him that he didn't check the inside at all. Afterward he apologized greatly (and I was a lot nicer with him...) and confirmed that he didn't see me at all and that if I didn't yell he would have run over me.
Message (in the waves) is: sail safe you guys.
99% of the times you're going to have someone downwind of you at Lowers. So:
1) don't forget to check the inside for people in the water and sailing out. The sailors going out have priority over the ones on the wave
2) don't try to sail towards the next sailor downwind of you just because it's your wave (if it is your wave!). Try to see if there's room for everybody (most of the times there is) and if you have to give up one turn, it's not the end of the world! Next wave it could be you downwind of someone else...

Anyway, super fun waves at Lowers yesterday. Missed completely the action at Hookipa. Can't do everything.
Big waves also today. Life is good.


Anonymous said...

Any reason you didn't @#$%ing cut upwind instead of @#%ing up his wave?

Anonymous said...

favor those coming on the waves...
you have sailing right of way, but youre on waves, you re not sailing open water. look where you re sailing!

signs everywhere, telling this... haiku cannery to name one place, on a door

dont be so arrogant, you dont know everything. didnt you learn with the cutback situation? windsurfers DO make roundhouse cutbacks
did you learned this time? you shouldnt scream to the guy riding the wave, you should try not disturbing his line, thats being polite, thats how the surf works.

Anonymous said...

instead of messing with the waverider, i would have gone a bit upwind, solving the problem. the guy of the wave would have kept his line, and you would have kept planning and jump the wave at its peak, already breaking... i guess thats better, huh?

Anonymous said...

That's interesting.
Who has the right of way.
The guy on the wave.
Or the guy sailing Starboard.

mystery bob said...

I love that Keith Teboul video clip. In defense of your English, you may not be perfect but neither are some of the American blogs and they grew up here. They may only speak one language. The thing is, you try constantly to improve and some of those guys don't even want their constant misspellings pointed out. Keep doing your open-minded thing Giampaolo. The more I know you the more I realize you speak your mind but you do accept other opinions and think about what the others say.

Anonymous said...

I love the "fucking look where you're going..." awesome. Lots of people do that, especially with the glare it is often hard to see the people swimming/waterstarting in the water. That guy should have definitely seen you though!

Anonymous said...

As one with totally no knowledge, I found this post interesting.
I'm so surprised that those going out have right of way over those coming in. I would have thought that if you were on a wave then you had much less control over where you were going. So, to my tiny mind, the courtesies should be reversed!

Mind you, what do I know, I can't even swim!!!!


Anonymous said...




Dave said...

Wow GP! Looks like you touched a nerve with some folks. Didn't really seem like you had anywhere else to go to avoid him but some of these anon guys must have been there.

cammar said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. Let me attempt a group reply.

First, let's talk about rules. On flat water, the sailor on the starboard side of the board has right of way on the sailor on the port side.
This rule is OVERRIDDEN in the waves. Despite the tack, the sailor going out has always the priority over the sailor riding the wave. I think the reason behind that is the sailor on the wave has a way easier task: being on a wave way is easier than trying to sail over the wave.

Surfing is different. If a surfer paddling out figures that paddling towards the shoulder would interfere with the ideal line of a surfer riding the wave, he's supposed to paddle towards the breaking section of the wave and "take it on the head", so to speak. I can see two reasons for that:
1) surfers lines are way more critical than windsurfers ones: they don't have the sail to help them recover the lost ground. So a surfer paddling right in front of surfer riding might quite easily screw up the wave for the surfer riding.
2) it's a lot easier for surfers to take waves on the head. Surfers can duck dive or turtle roll (depending on the size of the board/wave) and even if those manouvers don't succeed, the consequences are minimal: as long as the leash doesn't snap in fact, it's only a matter of ground loss. A windsurfer getting worked by a wave because he wanted to give way to another riding the wave, may end up breaking his mast, sail, etc, going on the rocks, all kind of stuff.

That's exactly the case of my particular situation. I was clearly downwind of the guy on the wave and changing my course towards the upwind, already breaking section of the wave would have slowed me down. Even if I eventually made it over that one (don't forget that the video doesn't really show the real size of the waves), I might have been in a bad position if there was another big wave behind.

If the guy on the wave would have seen me, it would have been no problem for him to delay the start of his action, wait for me to pass and start his bottom turn. That's what every sailor would have done. Again, even he admitted his mistake and apologized greatly (and that was greatly appreciated). The problem was that he didn't see me. Hence the dangerous situation quite close to a collision. I'm sorry about the F-word, but it came out seconds after a big scare.
You know, I don't particularly like getting hurt because of someone else.

Anyway, looks like someone is not getting the big picture here.
The post of the cutbacks wanted to point out how most windsurfers erroneously call cutback all their top turns.
This post wanted to point out how a lack of attention can creat danger for others. I also wanted to give the message of trying to be tolerant and nice out there.
Anon who wrote the first three comments: thanks for providing instead a perfect example of aggressive and confrontational attitude that's exactly the opposite of that.


Jeffrey, Glenn and Tom said...

GP you are absolutely right. It is a real shame that so many people do not know the rules or think that they do not apply to them.

There is a fundamental rule of the sea that says that the craft with less manouverability has right of way. Overall the person riding the wave has more manouverability and thus should give way to the sailor going out. The person with the right of way should hold their course (which may not be ideal for them)unless collision is imminent. This prevents the "s" turns that meet in the middle. If the person going out is changing course then the person on the wave cannot predict where they will be which makes them harder to avoid.

carter said...


i am sorry to say, but i am not fully agreeing with you here. although the wide angle lens distorts the information, from what i can see, you could have turned up wind to give the sailor on the wave the room to make his turn.
although there are rules, the actual application of them is often flexible. the basic rule is that the sailor going out has right of way. yes. right. but, the unspoken rules are that the sailor on the wave is given as much space as possible to ride the wave. ESPECIALLY when the sailor going out is actually planing, which gives them a ton of control over there location, and gives them the ability to easily pop over white water.
and then the final part is that if there is a confrontation possible, you should be working to give enough space that if the other person doesn't see you it won't even be close.
take the starboard/port thing. it is mainly for racing rules, not for general sailing. although the starboard boat has right away, if they don't make an attempt to avoid a collision they will ultimately be at fault, because the overriding rule in all maritime cases is that all boats must always being trying to avoid collision...

wally said...

Sailor going out has the right of way because he's in the more vulnerable position. GP didn't swerve at the last second, his line was set and obvious to the sailor coming in so the guy on the wave has nothing to complain about. It actually looked like he was starting his turn to soon anyways based on the wave shape and how close he was to the other sailor. GP just gave him a nice opportunity for a cut back and a little delay to let the wave peak a little more for his top turn.

I would have just stalled a little to let him pass by and then went for my bottom turn.

Anonymous said...

It appears from the short video as though you were on a full plane, were reasonably maneuverable and could have avoided the wave rider. It did not appear to be a case of a vulnerable outgoing sailor slogging to get through the break. It is true that the outgoing sailor has right of way, and needs to always be on the look out for outgoing sailors, but it is good manners to give way to him and not interfere with his ride if possible. Would it have been possible for you to sail upwind of the rider without you having to take one on the head yourself?

gary boates said...

From my knowledge (and I may have been wrong these past 25 years) those going out only have a right of way over those coming in if they HOLD THEIR COURSE! In other words you can't decide to trun into me and take a jump at the last minute (or seconds) and yell at me to get the hell out of the way... one can easily lay the rig down 'joust' for fun!

cammar said...

Thanks for the additional comments, specially the ones describing the rules. Again, that wasn't the focus of this post, but I'm glad it came up. Hopefully someone learned something.

But my particular situation is extremely uninteresting from this point of view, since it's not a priority rule "dispute".


If he saw me, there would be no f-word, no video, no post, no discussion in the comments. Because he would have stalled for a second, and started his bottom turn right after I passed by... NO PROBLEM FOR HIM, NO PROBLEM FOR ME. I would have not screwed his line, he would have not missed a turn, I would have not had shit in my wetsuit.
It would have been an extremely common situation that happens pretty much every time one goes wavesailing.

The problem instead (yeah, let me say it one more time) was that he was so focused on the sailor downwind of him that HE DIDN'T SEE ME.

Ok, I'm going to self interview myself. Let's see if this works.
GP: did he see you?
GP: no.
GP: was it a priority rule problem?
GP: no.
GP: what was the problem than?
GP: he didn't see me.
GP: but who violated the priority rule?
GP: none of us did.
GP: well, why did you do this post then?
GP: to show how dangerous it can be if you don't have a 360 degrees of awareness of what's going on around you when wavesailing
GP: you think the readers got it?
GP: mmm...
GP: thanks for the interview.
GP: you're welcome.

Windwiner said...

That's the best interview ever! HAhA Do you think the readers got it? Hummmm

cammar said...

what a cute daugther you have!

cammar said...

Hey Carter, for some weird reason your comment didn't show till now.
Now it's right after J,T&G's one.
Sorry about that and thanks for it!

mystery bob said...

I am with those that felt you could have slowed or gone upwind to let the guy have his ride. It doesn't look like a difficult peak to navigate. A rule taken literally is one thing, courtesy and fair play is another. I am surprised the Hot Sails trio agreed? Who was that speaking for them?

Anonymous said...

GC is right all the way!!!

Rules of the road is that in the waves, the sailor going out has right of way ...PERIOD! This is a universal rule that does not make a difference between big or small waves ...the sailor heading out has a much more difficult task at hand and if he can keep his planning to go out the better as there could be a giant set coming on the outside and this might mean the difference between making it out or losing it with possibilities of injuries and/or broken gear... Then again, if he's nice, kind and courteous enough, he will try to pick a line early on, stick to it and pick one that will leave ample room to the incoming sailor vs pinching him against the peak to try to squeeze a jump on the section ...and any decently skilled sailor coming on the wave will be able to adjust his waveride around him and make the best of the situation.

Then again, ultimately, it's everyone's job to LOOK WHERE THEY ARE GOING! ...this is a classic case of a sailor being too caught up into the moment of "HIS WAVE" and not looking where he's going or he would have never initiated his turn!

On the glare argument, this clip was filmed at Kanaha, there is no glare when you're looking towards the inside. And "should" there be glare, the sailor should have used more caution, this is the same if you drive your car into the setting sun, you will slow down and be proceed with caution ...again, a classic case of the sailor just thinking about his wave and not paying enough attention(and in this case probably the sailor that appears to be "snaking" him downwind ...though we don't know who was on the wave first on the outside)

Also, this being at Kanaha, GC had probably picked the best line to be considerate as Kanaha is a slow breaking wave. He was already on a full plane and there would have been no reason for him to slow, or worse, to stop! Going upwind would have brought him towards the sailor and probably would have only created more condufusion, which could have led to one of those "you go righ, no I go right, where are you going? BAM!"

GC had picked his line early on, was fully planning and was leaving ample room and time for the incoming's sailor's ride. Again because Kanaha is a slow breaking wave, and looking at the video, the incoming sailor could have EASILY waited two or three seconds before heading down and there would still have been plenty of time before the wave would have broken!

Any which way you look at it though, no turn is worth getting too close to people. Also, in the end rule #1, look where you are going! ...rule #2, know the rules! If you're not sure, ask an experienced sailor that knows for sure!...

EdwinR said...

One thing: I think it's absolutely non-(wind)surfing to use the f-word on the water. To warn him you could have shouted anything. Anything else would have sounded a lot more friendly and would reflect the situation a lot more.
"Be hard on rule violation, but be forgiving on errors"
He simply didn't see you, smile you're surfing!
And I know, that gives an adrenaline rush that makes you more expressive.

cammar said...

Anon before EdwinR,
thanks for have summerized EXACTLY everything.

EdwinR, please watch the video again. To warn him I did not shout the f-word. I shouted loud whatever sound came out of my mouth to try to make him aware of me: "uououououoooo" and I started doing it as soon as I realized that he didn't see me at all.
As I wrote already, I'm sorry about the f-word. It came after a big scare (trust me we got pretty damn close), and noone else could hear it. One of those things you say to yourself...
Agree 100% with you. F-words and similar are horrible to hear in the water. I wished I recorded our conversation after the episode:
him: "I'm terribly sorry about that"
me: "hey, no worries at all brah" (with a big smile)
him: "it's my fault, I didn't see you at all"
me: "no problem, no one got hurt!"
I didn't even need to remind him to look at the inside the next time, because he had quite a scare too and he would remember for sure.
So that's one sailor that from now on will be more careful.
The reason I posted that video was to make sure that more sailors would pay more attention without getting involved in dangerous situations like that.
Looks like most readers instead are focused in debating who had the right of way... oh well.

I feel the need of repeating myself one more time. This is from my previous comment:

If he saw me, there would be no f-word, no video, no post, no discussion in the comments. Because he would have stalled for a second, and started his bottom turn right after I passed by... NO PROBLEM FOR HIM, NO PROBLEM FOR ME. I would have not screwed his line, he would have not missed a turn, I would have not had shit in my wetsuit.
It would have been an extremely common situation that happens pretty much every time one goes wavesailing.

Anonymous said...

Cool that the rules issue came up, but it´s still not clear!
What´s the conclusion? looks quite confusing, planning & not planning, small waves & big waves should rules bend given each condition?

cammar said...

Sailor going out has right of way on sailor(s) on the wave.