Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bart made it!


I just want to congratulate with Bart with his great performance and make sure that you guys don't miss the post he made to announce the end of his tour of Maui on a standup board.

PS. French Wind magazine published two photos of mine (that'll be taken by me). Stoked!

Friday, May 29, 2009

SUP board for Oahu + Bart's adventure + new blog sponsor

Here's my latest take (off) on standup surfing.


As I already stated, I prefer regular surfing (unless it's one to two feet, in which case, the SUP surfing is more fun).
BUT, SUP surfing is a great alternative when I surf too much and my lower back needs some rest. While standing up and paddling with a paddle, in fact, I use different muscles and that makes other parts of my body sore, but no so much the lower back... so that's good.

The thing is that the majority of the SUP boards on the market are shaped like over inflated longboards and in fact the feel is very similar to a regular longboard. With the difference that in order to support the weight of a standing up surfer even when not moving through the water, SUP boards clearly need to be bigger (more buoyant). More volume is a good (and necessary) thing in order to be able to paddle standing up, but it's not once you catch a wave.
At the end of every standup session, mo matter how good it was, I always have this unconscious feeling inside me like:"mmm, I wonder how much harder I could have snapped that turn if I was on my regular 8.6..."
No complains, super fun, thank god for SUP, but still always a bit disappointing because the feeling is the same of riding a regular longboard...
Nonetheless, I decided to take an SUP with me to Oahu, because my back won't allow me to only surf.


So I tried a few boards to see if I could find a magic one. Ran into an 8.0 that was pretty remarkable, but couldn't get my hands on it. For all the other ones I tried I had the same verdict: too much board once you catch the wave. I can't dig that rail the way I would like to. Again, even though I know it's SUP surfing, once on the wave it feels just like regular longboarding and my body would like to dig that rail like it's used to!
SO... my choice is not to buy a new board (thank god, I really don't need another one!), but to take with me the Sea Lion.


For the ones who don't know it, the Sea Lion is a very peculiar SUP board. Designed by Bruno Andre of AHD, it's a 7.6 SUP sailing fish.
Here's the subtle reason why I preferred it to all the other SUPs I tried.
It doesn't feel like a regular surfboard. It's a completely different animal.
I'm not saying it's better or worse. It's just completely different.
And so, when I am on it, my body doesn't expect to dig that rail the way it does when riding my 8.6. My body actually doesn't know what to expect! It's a hell lot of fun to try to find out different ways of making that thing work. And I know that thing works. I saw Bruno ripping on it. So it's a whole new experience and it's more fun - for me - than the other SUP boards.
And I can put a sail on it. And it's only 7.6: easy to ship it on the barge. And it's super stable on the white water so that I can try floaters and stuff.
Sold.


But SUP boards can be used not only for surfing, but also for other things... like exploring. Kanaha Kai co-owner Bart, for example, is up to a big adventure: standup paddle around the island of Maui! Check his blog for updates.
I wish he asked me for advice since I have a limited but significant experience of "long distance" paddling in Maui. About four years ago, when the number of standup boards were on Maui were still less than 10, with a bunch of friends (they all were on kayaks) I paddled from Hanamanou to Maliko.


There was a no wind forecast and only a couple of feet of N swell, so I figured I could do it... mistake!
The coast from Hanamanou to Jaws doesn't have any reef, so those two-three feet of swell were bouncing against the high cliffs and it was just too hard to to stay up. Being on my 26 inches wide 12.6 Timpone didn't help...
So I had to do Hanamanou - Jaws, alternating between sitting down and kneeling down paddling... make that five hours. Once at Jaws, finally the water became a little more stable and I could standup for the final part to Maliko. Still, my back was not happy. Hey, maybe it's when I fucked it up! Whatever, all I know is that that night I slept from 6pm to 6am...
Anyway, back to Bart: paddle hard brah, there's a N swell coming on Saturday and I hope you'll be back before that, otherwise it's going to get wobbly...

Hey, talking about my 12.6 Timpone, look what I just found: a vintage footage (June 2005) of a wave at Launiupoko. I took off on that one with the paddle stuck on the front of the board with some velcro. You can see at the end how I pick up the paddle to paddle out again. Nowadays SUP boards are way wider and a bit hard to paddle when laying down...
video

Last, but not least, I'm happy to introduce a new blog sponsor. A standup website called standuplife.com. You can see their banner in the banners' section on the right. They bought a year of advertising in advance: thanks a lot!
Current banner prices are $50/month, or $45/month if you order 3 to 5 months upfront, or $40/month if you order 6 months or more upfront. Buy it now, they may go up anytime...

PS. I chose the sequence of the first three photos to illustrate a paddle side switch while riding. I took off with the paddle on the wrong side (first photo), but it's still possible to switch it on the correct side mid-way in the bottom turn (second photo) and give a strong stroke in the top of the wave that will help the board snap the top turn (third photo). I'm writing this because I often receive questions on how to use the paddle while surfing. Well, next time I receive that question I will tell them to look for the SUP label on my blog, where this post is going to be classified...
PPS. I'm now testing paddles, so be ready for another SUP related post soon...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

lil interview with Pascal

Pascal Bronniman (Quatro sales manager) sold me yet another board (the 81l twin fin is too good not to own one) and I asked him a few questions about the Oahu sailing conditions.

video

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Intense vacation start forecast

The lack of wind is the talk of the island these days. I personally love it, as long as there's waves to ride. So unusual to see glassy waves in the morning that stay clean all day in Maui...
Cookie had his GoPro out yesterday afternoon and took a few pics. Here's the blog author paddling for a fun looking one.


And here he is going left.


More pics on Cookie's site.

This morning unfortunately the waves are pretty much gone on the north shore and there's very little stuff on the south shore. BUT, the good news is this South Pacific weather map modeled to happen on Friday May 29th:


That means that Friday June 5th Oahu will be hit by a MAJOR south swell. And I will be there...
Well, actually seen the size of that swell that day is not one of those that will make a huge difference. Meaning, at that size there's plenty spots in Maui that work just as good... (for surfing, not for windsurfing).
The real difference will be in those days, like today, when it's two feet at the buoy and Maui is knee high and Oahu shoulder high (just saw a nice set rolling in on the Surfline Ala Moana webcam).
But anyway, it will be an intense start of a surfing/sailing vacation that sees me more and more excited as the departure date (very likely June 4that this point) gets closer.

So long.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

what did I do lately?

Well, I did a lot of this to select the SUP board to take with me to Oahu (results to be revealed in an upcoming post)...


...very little of this (I actually did sail today -- kind of)...


...plenty of this (looking good, that'll be)...




...and some of this (connecting with nature).


Oh, and right now I just did a remarkably weak post too!

PS. Just in case this post wasn't enough about me, check the team riders page of the Hot Sails Maui website and click on my name. There's a little interview and a few action photos among which I love those two with the orange sail with the flower and the good old 12.6 Timpone. I remember that session at Lanes very well, since a couple of times I literally had the clew in the barrel...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SUP race + some good surfing + rooms for rent!

Been busy lately, time to catch up.

Here's a few photos from the Olukai SUP race that was held on Sunday. It was supposed to be a downwinder, but it ended up being a nowinder.
The usual Dave Kalama receives the first place trophy together with the other top five guys. The usual Andrea Moeller won the girls category.


Done with that, let's admire some nice things. Let's randomly start with a nice competitor's butt.


Nice shorts.


Nice board.


Nice sailing canoe.


Despite the fact that I claim to have invented SUP downwinders and have won the first SUP downwind race in the history of humanity (am I ever going to write that article about it?), I didn't compete in this one. I'm too cheap and not competitive enough...
So what did I do that morning instead?
I scored a lot of super fun waves at Hookipa. I was sitting in the uncrowded lineup while the competitors passed by sweating their asses off. Different ways to enjoy the ocean... with 5 people at Middles and glassy waves all morning I was very happy about my choice!
Here's a shot of a small bowly one taken at sunset.


Pavillion longboarder.


This one is Kazuma team rider Matt Meola at the point.
This photo should deserve a whole post by itself, I absolutely love it. Because it shows the essence of high performance shortboard surfing and it's like a backside top turn manual. Let me draw your attention to:
- how low he is
- how far back the back foot is
- how centered on the board center line his body is
- how beautifully he's using his arms to achieve the twist of the upper body that will lead into the top turn... they look like bat wings! And even his hands are fully open and contribute to generate that twisting momentum. Very important detail... I should try to remember that, since I always have my hands pending like if they were dead.


So that Sunday was the first day of a super fun N swell that got bigger Monday and Tuesday, went down a bit Wednesday and still has to offer a few small fun waves Thursday morning.

The wind in Maui is like a remote memory. I feel sorry for all the windsurfer tourists that came from all over the world and got mercilessly skunked, but I feel even more sorry for the kids that die for malnutrition in Africa... if you know what I mean.
Rent a surfboard or an SUP and go learn how to surf on the south shore you guys... you're still in Maui and it's sunny and gorgeous every day!
Plus, if the weather is super weird and there's a whole month with no wind in spring it's probably our fault and we can't really complain, can we?

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Thanks a lot to the Premium drink dispenser that renewed their 6 months of banner space and helped support this blog.

I immediately invested the money in a videocamera (still thinking about the Oahu movie project). A cheap Samsung with a hell of a zoom, but it only takes videos in MPEG4 format, which is not good for Windows Movie Maker. Before I waste my precious time, anyone out there that knows of a free MPEG4 to AVI converter with no (or at least little) quality loss?
This is a first short clip I took from inside my car. Didn't need to edit it since blogger accepts MPEG4. Random soundtrack playing in my stereo is the marvelous 17 minutes long Anesthetize, needless to say by Porcupine Tree.

video

PS. My studio is still available for rent in June. And the room in front of it is still available for long term.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

lil environmental post

I received this presentation and I thought it's well done.
Water Disaster

The reason I think it's well done is because at the end it stresses the fact that drinking bottled water can cause YOU harm. If it was only focused on the harm to the environment, in fact, most people would just not care...

As humans, we should be ashamed by the amount of plastic bottles we pollute the environment with. And plastic bags too.
Is all this plastic really necessary?

Not really. It's quite a few years, for example, that I refill my two metal water bottles every morning (I have a commonly available reverse osmosis tap water filtering system at home) and use a reusable bag when grocery shopping.
It doesn't take much... you lazy bastards!


This is a burning sugar can field. Maui (and also Florida, I think) is one of the few places where they still harvest it this way. I'm not expert of sugar cane harvesting, but that looks freaking polluting to me. And if you happen to be downwind of one of those monsters, you'll sure agree with me.


That must be why wonderful creatures like the sugar cane spiders have to find recovery elsewhere...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fire test

Windnews, the italian windsurfing magazine I work for, published the test of the Hot Sails Maui Fire and Jeff asked me to translate it for him.

That made me think that somewhere I had some nice photos/videos of Hot sailors that I didn't publish yet. Here are both.
Ola Helenius riding a Smack (all his photos by Gisela Helenius).


Eyal riding a Fire (photo Martin Ritzenhoff).


Ola.


Glenn just finished editing his third gopro wide clip. I like it because most videos you see from Maui are either from Hookipa or Kanaha. This one instead, shows Sprecks pretty much as good as it gets. Enjoy.

THE WINDSURFER - Maui Sessions - Vol. 3 from Glenn Haslbeck on Vimeo.



This instead is Bart flying down the line at Hookipa.

Hookipa, Maui from Bart de Zwart on Vimeo.



And here's the translation of the test of the Fire.
I remember the faces of the La Coudu’ windsurfers when we did this test. They were very impressed for two reasons.
Firstly because the sails were delivered directly on the spot by the Hot Sails Maui French distributor Eric. Six brand new sails: he looked like Santa Claus, but it came in a minivan.
Secondly because once out of the bags and rigged, the sails looked really beautiful thanks to the bright colors and the catchy design.
We rigged a couple of Fires right away: 4.2 for me (I like to be underpowered to wave ride in more control) and 4.7 for Max.
What a revelation the Fire was. Never too jerky, soft and reactive at the same time. That day I rigged the 4.2 kind of soft and it was never too bossy. When the wind increased, I gave it a bit more downhaul and it became even more precise, also thanks to the double clew ring that allows quick adjustments on the beach.
80% of the sail is X-Ply and that allows us, who are not pro-sailors, to push it a bit more without risking to damage the sail.
Apart from the mast protection pad that is a bit short, we didn’t find any other flaws and we strongly recommend to add one of these sails to your quiver.
And this is Max’s feedback about his 4.7.
Let me state beforehand that I’m quite excited to try everything that arrives from Hawaii. This sail was a great surprise. I loved it both in red and yellow. It is strong, yet light and it shows care for details. I noticed too the short mast protection pad, but it’s still acceptable and otherwise the sail is very well built.
But let’s get down to the water test. Coudu’, classic NW wind, waves around two meters. The sail is easy to handle, it becomes neutral while wave riding and it depowers very well under gust making for some comfortable sailing. It’s not a power wave sail, but trimming the outhaul will allow to keep enjoying your sailing even in underpowered conditions… without having to change size. It was the first Hot sails I tried and I was stoked about it: one of the most beautiful sails I ever tried, really easy and fun to sail.
A this point, my curiosity for the other sails of the brand is sky rocketing and I can’t wait to try the Superfreak that the good old Cammar has been bragging about forever. “Cammar, you’re too far ahead… we always knew that!”

BTW, Jeff told me the short pad issue is fixed already.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Oahu movie, scene one, take one

First unedited (long) clip of The Oahu movie.

video

Without expressing any commitment at all, would anyone care leaving a comment about the idea of making a movie out of the Oahu trip?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

sunday at the beach

There we go: the north shore has gone flat and while there's 3 to 4 feet in Waikiki, there's 1 to 2 feet on Maui's south shore. But this time, I kicked back, relaxed, took photos and didn't care too much since I'll be there in three weeks...

All kinds of paddling going on: one man canoe paddling with baby on board.


Double kayak paddling with sistah on big green tube in the middle and standup paddling in the background.


Even beach chair paddling!


Let's not forget regular surfing.


One for the ladies.


Post crab legs eating finger licking action.


Aaargh! I need a wave!!! Easy... relax... only three weeks... let me play The Windsurfing movie again...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

mast feet (or foots?) + that one turn

As everybody knows, the two main systems are: the euro-pin and the double clips.
Most of the disconnected board cases that I am aware of, happened because the euro pin disconnected in the wipeout. That is enough for me not to use that system (I know there's plenty people who love it instead...).
In the photos from the left the products of the only two brands I know: Chinook euro pin and double clips and Streamlined euro pin and double clips.


So let's talk about the double clip ones. Both Chinook and Streamlined have flaws.
The Streamlined has the advantage of having the two terminals where the tendon is attached made by metal (I assume aluminum). That is great. In fact, you just have to replace the "normal" safety line it comes with, with a spectra one and you'll have a mast foot that will always let you sail back when the tendon breaks.
Tendons do break. Sometimes for intense use (they spend long time in the sun and that damages the rubber they're made of).
Sometimes they break also if they're brand new. And that's a great thing! If the impact of a wave is strong enough to break something, in fact, it's great thing that the tendon breaks (12 dollars), instead of an expensive extension or mast or board!
As long as the safety line is spectra and the two terminals to which the tendon is connected are still intact, you can easily sail back.
Tendons should actually be less strong, in my opinion. They would break more often and that would save a lot of money in replacing broken extensions and a lot of swimming time...

What's wrong with the Streamlined is that after a while the two holes through which the double pins pop out, become ovalized. And that's not a good thing, because the pins can bend at "unnatural" angles under strong pressure in a wipeout and that'll break your extension.
In other words, I like everything in a Streamlined foot, but not the plastic cup that hosts the clips.
The cup on the right shows the "unnatural" angle I'm talking about. The clips of foot on the left have a nice perpendicular angle instead.


Chinook is a mystery. They have a great foot for the europin system, with both tendon terminals in metal, but unfortunately the double clips foot only comes with those terminals in plastic. The safety line goes through some little holes in those plastic terminals (second foot from the left in the first photo). Guess what. You break the tendon and if the next wave is strong enough, the line can tear those little holes open like a knife in butter... and the board is gone.
It happened to me a couple of times and that's when I stopped using them.
But it seems that the plastic cup hosting the double clip is better than the Streamlined one. So I've been using a Streamlined foot with a Chinook cup for a while and everything is working fine.

Anyone out there at Chinook that would care for a double pin foot with metal tendon terminals?
Anyone out there at Streamlined that would care for a better plastic double pin cup?

Change of topic, let's talk weather.
Very unusual conditions for spring time. The wind is none or light and the waves are up. Monday and Tuesday were in the epic category for surfing. From Hookipa to Kanaha, Maui surfers finally have seen those glassy conditions that have been missing all winter! AND in the afternoon a light trade breeze picked up. That meant, for me at least, glassy surfing in the morning and light wind wave sailing in the afternoon. Cannot ask for more. One of my best couple of days in a row in the ocean ever. Sorry, no time to take photos.

Tuesday afternoon, in particular, I was on this logo high wave, as clean as it gets, and while looking down the line all of a sudden the memory of one of those combination of bottom/top turns that Polakow does at Backyards in The Windsurfing movie came up in my mind.
Couple of pumps on the rail to get some speed and... I did it! I did a bottom/top turn combo that felt just like those. Of course I'm sure it didn't even remotely looked like those, but it felt like them. And that was an incredible feeling. One of those moment that makes you scream out loud your stoke.
Clearly I didn't manage to do it again, but I know now how it feels and I will surely try to make it happen again...
Quick gear mention:
- 4.7 Ultralight Superfreak: phenomenal light wind wave sail
- 81l Quatro twin fin: phenomenal light wind wave board.

So long.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

lil video + summer plan

Howzit everyone.

This is a lil video that shows some pristine wave sailing conditions: light and offshore wind, glassy waves.
When was this? April 23? Well, April wasn't that bad then...
Actually, if you just scroll down in this blog, you'll see that in the first half of April we had some good conditions with plenty wind and waves. The second half wasn't as good, just like this start of May.
No complains, as long as there's waves. And there have been waves. And there will be more waves. Sunday afternoon a winter size NW swell will start hitting and Monday it's going to be quite big. Double overhead kind of big...

4 23 09 light and offshore from giampaolo cammarota on Vimeo.



OK, time to reveal my summer plan.
Well, I don't need to tell you guys how much I like my life in Maui. Still, for me Maui in summer time is not as good as it is in the rest of the year.
Last June, I spent five days in Oahu. Check this post.
The day that I got back to Maui, I drove to the south shore (I was all pumped up after five days of awesome surfing). I pulled in the parking at Thousand Peaks around 10am and I didn't even get out of the car. It was one to two feet, crumbling, onshore, unsurfable. Gianfranco was still in Oahu and I rang him up:
"Gianfra', did the swell go down over there?"
"Not at all. It's still shoulder to head high and I got barreled twice this morning".

It was one of those moments. One of those moments in your life in which you take a decision and you know that you will do it, no matter what it takes.
I had a similar (actually way more intense and important) one 9 years ago when I decided to spend a sabbatical year in Maui... (yeah right! They're still waiting for me in Italy...).
That morning of last June, instead, I decided to spend the summer in Oahu. June and July, that's when I'm going.
The plan is simple: surf and sail as much as possible. And thanks to this blog, it's like you guys will come with me... aren't you excited? Oh well, I am...

As a side note: I already subrented my studio for July. Email me if you're interested in renting it in June.
Also, the room next to my studio is available now!