Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Windswell session!

Well, the waves may not be epic, but they're still a hell lot of fun!



Yesterday Tuesday fortunately the lifeguards didn't close the parks (at least they didn't close Hookipa) and, despite the super strong and gusty wind (up to 35mph), sailing was unexpectedly fun. A few reasons for that:

1) my 4.0 Superfreak is the best sail on Earth for those conditions (and my skill/preference). I hate those conditions, but I love the fact that I have a sail that makes them sailable for me. With any other sail, I would have probably chosen not to go sail. Or at least I would have not lasted two bloody hours! Actually, one more wave and my arms would have fallen off...

2) the last hour or so it was: Keith, Lalo, Philippe, Julien, Anatol and me. There were so many waves to ride and despite the fact that I was clearly the kookest I had my fair share. All friends, hooting at each other when on a big one...
Just a different place and dimension of when instead there's three people on the same wave or when you have to pick the line not based on the wave but based on the five people going out at the same time.

3) the windswell may not be the cleanest and easiest to read, but when it lines up both the rights at Middles and The point open up beautifully. I connected my last one and managed to make four turns on it. That's a lot for Hookipa!
Abd four shitty turns count like one good one! That's a new rule I just invented ;)

4) the wind was so offshore that on the inside there were sections in which it wasn't blowing hard at all. It was actually possible to sheet it in the bottom turns.
That made going out through the waves with a 4.0 and a 72l board a bit of a challenge though...

5) the offshore wind offered many barreling lips to throw aerials on. I keep landing on the back, but I'm slowly getting better.

The photo on top is a classic Josh Stone shot taken by Francky earlier in the day. He's got plenty more on his website mauiwatershoot.com.

Alex took some photos from the bluff too, but I haven't got them yet and I will post them as soon as I get them. So make sure to come back to check those out too.

Aloha.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Indonesia + Tsunami warning

12.40 update.

So a tsunami did hit Samoa. Here's the sad >news.

At the same time the warning for Hawaii has been cancelled. But I heard that the lifeguards will close all the beach parks from 1 to 4. If that's true, that means no sailing at Hookipa this afternoon.
Oh well, time to finally get those clothes off the floor...

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A Tsunami warning is in effect for the south Pacific. This is why.

If you live in a place in the Pacific Ocean don't panic, but do check the NOAA link too see if the warning is confirmed. Scheduled time for the eventual tsunami to hit Honolulu is 23.15Z which I believe is 1.15pm Hawaii time today Tuesday 9 29.
I also believe that only the south shores would eventually be affected, but... I take no responsibility for that!!

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Argentinian windsurfer Felipe is in vacation in Indonesia (which this time doesn't have to worry about this tsunami) and sent me these photos (gracias!). Seen the lack of epic waves here in Maui this week, they are more than welcome...





Nice wipeout!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Hookipa

Second and last post update: at the end of the post I added a short clip of Robby's first wave and the links to a couple of other videos on the net. Enjoy.

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First post update: at the end of the post, I added a short gopro video of four waves at Kanaha. I'm not done yet, since I have more Hookipa clips to upload. Make sure to come back...

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This blog has a new sponsor (thanks!): OES Australia. You'll find the banner on the right.

As predicted, the waves were big at Hookipa yesterday, Friday September 25.

Photo of the day goes to Philippe, with a beautiful bottom turn right in front of a wall of water. Look how forward he's leaning. That way he's putting weight on the whole inside rail of his board and hence he's using it through its whole length. Well done.
I noticed that when the waves get big, I kind of like bottom turns shots more than top turns. Two reasons for that:
1) you see the big wave behind
2) most sailors, understandably, don't hit the lip just as hard when it's mast high or more...


And now the rest of the photos in strict chronological order.
Levi when the sun was still shining.


It's great to see old glories like Sierra Emory back in action. That board is AT LEAST eight years old.


Luke Siver, always stylish. This aerial was way bigger, but I caught it on the way down.


Michi Schweiger elegantly squeezed between the rocks without ending up on them. Sorry, no points for the Hookipa Rockstar Contest.


Keith Teboul.


Jason Diffin bottom turning on a monster.
Unfortunately from now on it got cloudy and the light is quite poor. That was a bummer for Jace Panebianco too, with whom I had the pleasure to share the spot on the bluff. He was filming for The Windsurfing Movie 2. On the movie website there's a lottery for some interesting prizes, like a trip to Maui. Check it out!


Interesting wipeout by Julien.


Another sweet lay down bottom turn by Jason Diffin.


Rush Randle. His board is probably even more than eight years old. Doesn't matter. Once you know how to rip, you rip no matter what you ride. Even though I have to admit that the new shorter multi-finned boards seemed to go more vertical.


Rush again.


And Rush again.


Robby.


This sailor escapes me in this moment.


The shorebreak bodyboard girls.




Robby.


Tormod sent me this shot. It might be the same aerial, but shot from a different angle and with a way better timing.


Levi.


And this is a short clip to show a bis set. I shot a few more of those, and I will add them whenever I got time together with some gopro footage of my Kanaha session. So come back to this post to check them out.
video

Quick forecast.
After this big swell that will stick around for the whole weekend, unfortunately the weather maps show a humongous high pressure dominating the north pacific for the next 8 days or more!
For Hawaii that means, strong trade winds, plenty windswell, but no ground swells whatsoever. Those are my least favorite conditions, but I am not going to complain at all because, no matter how shitty it will be for the Maui standards, it will still be a thousand times better than where I used to live in my previous life...
Plus the windswell at Hookipa or Uppers can be fun. Maybe I'll even score some points for the Rockstar Contest!

And here's the gopro video I shot the same day at Kanaha. Not exactly over mast high, but still fun. Check the sky in the background. Later on those clouds would turn red for quite a dramatic sunset.



PS. Mick Fanning won the ASP contest in France (in quite poor conditions). He's now very close to Parko in the rankings. Thanks to the $105,000 of the Trestles contest, he's actually leading the year earnings with a total up to date of $188,700... and that's from the contests only!

Here's Robby's first wave.
video

And here's the links to Jeff's and Bernd's (age 12) videos.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trestles (day 3)

Third and last Trestles report. Let's start with a sequence of CJ Hobgood.

Again, this is a mushy wave. Look how much speed (spray) he was able to generate on it.


I think surfing is the sport in which one can more freely move the body.


CJ continues his dance.


Well, if CJ deserved a short sequence, this young blonde gal deserves a long one.






Mr 9 world titles is experimenting with stringers.
Talking about which, Gianfranco has invented a new way of building blanks. He patented it and he's now getting the attention of the first shapers and surf companies. Too early still to disclose details, I just hope that his intuition will be appreciated the way it deserves.


Slater vs Alves was a fun heat.
Kelly starts the exchange.


Heitor.


Heitor.


Kelly.


Heitor.


The crazy inventor.


The NW buoy reads 10 feet @ 18 seconds tonight. And the direction quickly turned to a less westerly direction around 320-325.
That means that tomorrow the waves at Hookipa will be massive and though a rather squally weather will make it ever trickier. Better recharge some batteries (both camera's and mine)...

Links:
1) Excellent second issue of the online Windsurfer International Magazine.

2) Norway blog reader Tormod is in Maui and took some photos of the surfers at Hookipa. Photos 13 to 16 are of a surfer with straps on the board. Rush Randle has been doing that for years so I assume it's him. First time I saw it from the bluff I didn't know he had straps and I went:"Wow, what kind of wax does that guy use?!?!!"
Here's Tormod's blog with his first impression of his custom quads.

3) The Quicksilver Pro France ASP surfing contest started. Here's the live webcast.

4) The PWA Sylt windsurfing contest started too, but the only live coverage you get on the PWA site is the usual lame text live ticker. No offense for the person who does it (it's actually brilliant!). What's lame is trying to cover a windsurfing contest with text updates!
I'd rather read the sailors' comments on their blogs. Here's KP's and Phil Horrocks' ones.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trestles (day 2)

Welcome to Trestles: very civilized sign. For sure better than the bumper sticker "Welcome to Hawaii. Now go home".
BTW, why is Middles not in the middle of Uppers and Lowers??


The waves at Trestles are kind of mushy, slopy and slow, yet extremely rippable. Most pros' top turns were cut backs as Bede Durbidge shows in the expression session held on Saturday.


Heitor Alves impressed me a lot with the speed he could generate on those mushy waves.


He made it to the quarter finals where he met Kelly and lost his concentration...


Let's take a break.


Kai Otton.


CJ Hobgood. He surfed pretty good but lost in round 4 to a very inspired Micheal Bourez. I wish I recorded CJ's frustration scream at the end of heat...


One of those things.


The very fun right at Uppers. The swell was from the NW and Uppers was actually working better than Lowers most of the times.


Stay tuned for day three, I got a hell lot of photos.
And stay tuned for the Maui reports too, since the big swell is around the corner. On Wednesday morning the NW buoy already shows 2 feet at 20 seconds from 300. The Waimea buoy shows 1 foot at 22 seconds from the same direction. Wow, you don't see 22 seconds very often!

Longer period forerunners travel faster hence they reach the buoys before the main body of the swell. Soon they will be replaced by shorter period waves (in this case, I guess 14-16 seconds), but way bigger in size.
This directions gets blocked a lot by the West Maui Mountain, but my guess is that the size will be big enough to allow some energy to wrap around. Plus, as usual, towards the end of the swell the waves will come from a less westerly direction, since the generating storm is slowly moving east.

Well, if I haven't confused you enough with this, check what an El Nino year is. Thanks to blog reader Paolo for the link.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trestles (day 1)

I'm back in Maui and that feels really, really good.

As you will see from this post (and the following ones), California is not a bad place for surfing. But even if the water temperature was, for a change, even trunkable, you just can't beat Hawaii's water. The color, the temperature, the cleanness.
I got in the water at Hookipa this morning at 6.30 and immediately got a big smile on my face.
Every Maui resident should make sure to go somewhere else at least once a year to come back and appreciate...

Anyway, here's a few pics of the first day at Trestles. The contest wasn't on, but that didn't stop me from snapping a few.


Beautiful sunset light.


Trestles is a wild place. Unless the train is passing by, you can't hear any noise other than the waves. I love that. As usual, there was not a single cloud in the sky and the sun was ferocious.
Gianfranco didn't seem to mind. He's probably conceiving one of this mesmerizing thoughts. What a mind.


A bit of surfing now. This guy was pretty good.




This kid surfed relentlessly (and well) for hours. I admit, I wished I was him.


Got even dropped in by the good guy.


Very good forecast ahead. Pat Caldwell does one of his memorable weather wrap-ups and explains us why we're soon going to have yet another big NW swell. Lots of west in it, but it should be big enough.
And with my new, fantastic, winter work schedule of 10 to 2, I'm looking forward to surfing it in the early morning and sailing it in the afternoon.

Life is a joy.