Monday, August 30, 2010

never trust my forecasts

Despite the buoy readings, the waves were smaller on Sunday.

Here's a couple of shots I took after another quite disappointing wave sailing performance.
Mark was in pushloop mode.


And now, even though I know you couldn't care less, here's the three main reasons why I'm sailing like I'm sailing:
a) five months without wave sailing did effect my timing
b) I'm scared to hit the lip
c) in the bottom turn, when I push against the strap with the top of my back foot occasionally I feel a bit of discomfort. To avoid that, I don't push as hard as I ca. As a consequence of that, I don't turn as hard as I can!

Even though I have good reasons to suck, sucking sucks no matter what.
And even though I know that I'm privileged to live in Maui and sail Hookipa in a beautiful sunny day, sailing badly is not much fun you guys.

Allright, Francky is away but Jimmie is not: the following three shots are taken from this gallery of his.

I'm not a huge fan of these photoshopped sequences. Yes they're kinda cool, but they give a false impression of movement. In the real sequence, I bet Mark did not land as far to the left as it looks.
So why did I post this? Oh yeah, I wanted to point out the asymmetrical tail of Mark's board. Are the good old days back? Well, that board is only 7 days old...

I'm going to ask Anatol if that was an intentional one foot back loop or he's about to bail. I think it's a proper one.

Tif is looking good! Beautiful yellows.

Let's move on to Pavillions. These two photos were taken by blog reader Walter.
Young ripper.

Butt crack!

And now, even though I know you couldn't care less, here's why I wrongly forecasted bigger waves.

I mean, the graphic is so clear that even a 5 year old could read it.
Sunday morning (when I read it), the windswell was two feet higher than Saturday afternoon. That's the Makapuu buoy, just offshore of Oahu, no travel time to compute.
My only explanation is that Sunday it was less windy than Saturday. Unlike a full grown-up long period swell, the windswell is very sensitive to the wind that is actually generating it. It's like a little baby. If you feed him, he grows fast, but if you don't, he doesn't last long.
Yes, there was also a very slight change in the direction (more easterly), that might have done it too.


PS. ASP Teahupoo surf contest started. After this, the number of surfers taking part of the ASP world tour will go from 46 to 32. That'll make for some dramatic heats.
Last heat of round two tomorrow, for example, is between Dusty Payne and Brett Simpson. They both sit at place 24 right now. My bet is that whoever will lose will be out.
Go Dusty!

This is Dane Reynolds. Photo ASP/Kirstin.

PPS. The windswell remains the only waves to be ridden at the moment and it's even going down.
August went by without the usual first NW swell of the season and there's none to be seen on the horizon for at least one more week. This is a consequence of the la Nina conditions that favors the establishment of a strong high pressure all over the north Pacific.
Not much happening on the south shore either, even though the following map forecasted to happen on Sept 3 shows a nice fetch over New Zealand. If that fetch will stay like that, once it moves to the east of New Zealand it will generate a good swell from a nice straight south direction about a week later. Cross your fingers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nothing much??!!!

Never trust surfline forecaster emails...

Well, I guess they meant that there's no ground swells. But the windswell is pumping!
Hookipa yesterday was head high, with occasional overhead sets.
Today it's going to be even bigger, since overnight the Makapu buoy went up to 8 feet, 8 seconds from 60 degrees.
I predict head to logo with occasional mast high sets and possibility for rocks and shore break victims. I'll be there after work around 2.30 for a little sail and photoshoot, just like yesterday.

There we go, here are the best three shots from yesterday, peculiarly taken one right after the other.
Dean's goiter.

Laurent uses his body to pivot a wave 360.

Laurent's goiter.

Lovely bikini.

This is Josh Stone with (I'm assuming) his son. Not sure how old he is, but he looks not older than 10 to me. A little help to launch through the gnarly shore break (I got worked pretty well) is needed.

As soon as he launched, he did a little jump on the first wave. There we go: another young ripper is about to impact the scene soon.

My sailing sucked, but this time I used a smaller board (less pressure to put on the rail with the back foot) and at least my foot did ok. Also because I quit as soon as a little discomfort appeared. We'll see how it goes today.

In the meantime, in case you missed the last post, here's another shot of our bike dog. Notice the tongue.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nothing much due for the Islands

The Surfline forecaster email's subject is usually quite an optimistic one.
So when you receive one with a sentence like the title of this post, you know it's pretty bad...

Not many waves to ride here in Maui, let's get on board and ride a bike instead!

Monday, August 23, 2010

south shore report

This not so impressive south swell season continues and I continue to make the most of it.

Thursday finally the buoy went up to 4 feet and that means that the spots on the Wailea side were working. I surfed my favorite wave on Maui and that's always an awesome thing to do!

Then I stopped by to take photos of the massive shore break at Makena, but that's always a difficult thing to do. These are my best efforts.

Friday instead it was small enough already to suggest a return to the Lahaina side.
I put my gopro on the 6.6 and these are a few decent shots that show the glassiness of the waves, the shining sun and the beauty of the surrounding.
I love surfing the south shore.

I wish I really had arms that long.

Nice wall.

Stunning beautiful (that'll be the background).

Stunning beautiful (that'll be my body).

Underwater balls scratching while waiting for the set.

Didn't get too many video clips. I think this is a funny one that shows how some waves are just not meant to be caught.

Allright, I'll add one more just because I start seeing a tiny little bit of improvement in my short board technique. As a confirmation of that, at the end of this session, for the very first time, the most sore muscles I had were the legs'. That felt promising.

To give my surfing muscles a rest (and also because the swell pretty much faded), yesterday I went windsurfing at Hookipa. There were some fun windswell waves and I did one hour of wave riding (or whatever you can call my rather poor performance). Result: this morning my foot is sore.
Fortunately there's a new small south swell on the rise (1 foot, 16 sec this am at the Lanai buoy), so screw windsurfing and hopefully there will be some waves to surf this evening.


Chris Freeman and Jimmie Hepp organized a cool jumping contest at Hookipa.
Here you can vote for your favorite photo.

Blog reader Jonas published the first issue of an online Swiss windsurfing magazine.

Fabrice Beaux's last video effort.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

the Meola's

My neighbor Nancy has two kids with a lot of talent.

Here you can have a glance of Matt's.

Matt Meola - Planet Air from franck berthuot on Vimeo.

To find out what his lovely sister Lily can do with her voice instead, you'll have to go see her Sunday evening at Moana Cafe in Paia.

While the north shore has seen a couple of days of waves and the windsurfers went in heavy jumping mode, I continued to surf my ass off on the south shore. I have some evidence of the beautiful waves that we were blessed with, but no time to post them, since there's still some energy out there and I got to go get it.
Next post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the 2010 Launiupoko Ole longboard classic

Organized by Hi-Tech surf shop, this is an annual event held in Maui's most family friendly surf spot: the lovely Launiupoko beach park.

Since I work for those guys, I was able to trade the entry fee of $25 with some work (I had to be there at 5.30am to set up the tent and everything) and that, as you are about to learn, was a really good thing.

The Open Men division saw some really good surfing, but I'm going to focus more on the fun/family aspect of the event.

Let's start with the Menehune, shall we? How's this kid's focus?

Wrong way!

The tandem division was pretty fun to watch.

Got to practice that a bit more.

Definitely my favorite pose.

Are these guys having fun or what?


My favorite division: the junior wahine. Oh my...

Oh my...

Oh my again... (she deserves two)

How did I do, I hear someone saying?
Well, let me first assure you that everyone caught plenty waves.
Even 80 years old legendary shaper Bob "Ole" Olson (to whom the contest is named after).

Even his wife!

Everyone caught waves and had fun... except me.

The heats were of six men and 15 minutes long and mine happened to have only one set in it. I let the first wave go and went for the second one. The Lahaina side peak is mainly a right and I was too deep and had two more people on my right, so I thought to let those two guys fight for the right and go left. But the guy next to me decided to go left too and I had to kick out.
After that, nothing, absolutely nothing came through.
I was sitting there, looking at the ocean and thinking: "thank god I didn't have to drop any cash, otherwise this would really suck..."

Anyway, mine was just an unlucky heat, the other ones had plenty waves.
I'll take that as a sign. I just don't think I'm cut for competitions. I'm the world champion at having fun, who cares who surfs better...
But I do enjoy watching them! That's why I had a great day anyway.

Well, that was Saturday.
The day before I lucked into some great waves on a 10.0.
Sunday and Monday I had two great sessions on a 5.10 fish.
Today (Tuesday) I had a blast on my Starboard 7.4 standup.

Without being epic by any means, this summer is treating me much better than I would have expected.
And there's one main thing I have to thank for that: the fact that I broke my foot at the end of March.
If that didn't happen I would have spent my summer lazily sailing at Hookipa in my least favorite conditions (strong wind and messy/small windswell). Instead, since I could surf way earlier than I could windsurf, I've been driving pretty much every day to the south shore and scoring some unexpected super fun sessions.

There's always something positive out of everything.
God bless broken feet.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Quick post update with a few links:

New issue of the Windsurfer International.

New website from positive-h2o.

This Saturday there's the Ole longboard contest at Launiupoko. I was able to trade some work for the entry fee, so I'll be in it. My only ambition is to have some fun (which is pretty much guaranteed) and learn something.


Three days ago, a month and a half after my foot injury I went :
- windsurfing (strapped)
- to yoga.

Both activities were extremely successful (even though yoga without my favorite instructor is not quite the same...).
There were some small waves and I could even do a bit of wave riding. In the bottom turn, the strong pressure of the footstrap against the top of the foot was still reminding me of the injury, but not too bad at all.

The main issue was cerebral. I was sooo scared to hit the lip (even if only two feet high). It will be another while before I can overcome that. I need to train my brain.

That's why I went out again yesterday.
There were no waves to ride, but with the presence of the two photographers that took over my job of documenting the Hookipa action, it was kinda crowded and everyone was pushing it on the jumps.

The first three are Francky's shots. Click on them and you'll see some pure happiness.

Even jumping wasn't an issue at all. I started small first and increased little by little. By the end of the session I did a fairly high donkey kick and landed it pretty flat. My foot didn't hurt a tiny bit. Solid.
It was hard to wait that long (not really, considering that I didn't miss much) before going back windsurfing, but I think the strategy paid back.

Nice sail twist, photo angle, background, framing, colors, everything.
Here's Francky's photo gallery .

Jeff did it again and the Maui Edition Superfreak is just the best sail I've ever sailed. Shorter mast, fuller head, smaller foot, I don't know what else he did, but that sail is such a pleasure to sail, so easy to throw around, so comfortable and so incredibly light (at least my custom version!!!).
Big thanks also to Jimmie, who took this shot. This is his gallery of the day, which sees a lot of action of Francky as a windsurfer too. I like shot #3...

BTW, windsurfing will have to wait again now.
One of the many positive things I learned out of not being able to go windsurfing is to appreciate surfing (or SUP surfing) on small waves on the south shore. The Lanai buoy shows 1.5 feet at 14 seconds this am and it will get considerably bigger Monday.
This is the weather map of last Monday that shows a beautiful fetch of wind aiming at us. Unfortunately, it moved pretty quickly, hence limiting the swell size and duration, but we'll take what we'll get.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

LDP: Lay Down Paddle Surfing

This is what I wrote lately in a thread on the standup zone forum:

IMO, what is great about SUP surfing is the paddle and what sucks is the board.

The paddle helps with:
- generating speed
- pivoting turns
- balancing

The boards suck (relatively to regular boards), because they have the extra volume needed to make you stand up on them when not moving. Once on the wave, that extra volume becomes unnecessary and you have to deal with thick rails, wide tails, etc...

So I thought I should try to use the paddle on a regular surfboard! First though, I had to figure out how to carry the paddle with me...
First idea wasn't too successful.

Then someone on that thread posted that a French guy tried to achieve the same goal by building a belt with a clip where the paddle would be hanging. After a $1.50 investment at ACE hardware and one hour of work, I had mine ready.

That's what I posted on the thread after I tried.

The test was a success and a failure at the same time.

The failure was the system. Sorry Patrice, I don't think it works.
- too much drag
- too hard to turn 180 degrees when there's a wave coming
- too dangerous (the leash can get tangled between you, the paddle, the board...)

The success was that those couple of waves with a workable face that I managed to catch on my 8.6 were an absolute blast. Just like Patrice said in that article, I could generate speed, pivot turns and go for moves way more radical than usual, thanks to the HUGE aid of the paddle.
What an incredible feeling it was to have a board that you've had so many times under your feet and take it to do things you never even tried before.
It's like improving your surfing tremendously from one day to another.

The good news is: I have a better idea. I even know it works. I did it already back in 2004 on the SUP board number 4 in Maui... mine!
Not sure it will work on a shortboard, but I think it will on my 8.6.

In fact, on my good old 12.6 Timpone, back in the days I put a strap of velcro (counterparted with some velcro on the paddle) where to put the paddle when:
- it got windy and standing up was too difficult
- my legs got tired and I wanted to do some regular surfing instead.

My Timpone, in fact, was only 26 inches wide and it was totally surfable as a regular board. I remember catching some decent size waves with the paddle stuck on the front. In particular, a beautiful overhead right at Lowers that went on forever...
I'll never forget the look of the other surfers paddling out of the way of that huge board with a paddle magically stuck on the front of it and looking like an harpoon gun on the front of a whale ship! :)

Anyway, a bit of velcro on my 8.6 and here's what I was able to do.

In this last clip, you can see how slow my paddle switch is. Kai Lenny does it so fast that you can barely see it.

Oh, by the way. Now that I don't have to use the paddle to catch the wave anymore, the lenght of the paddle can be considerably shorter... that paddle is way too long.

And here's the feedback I wrote on that thread:
The system worked (even though it needs better attachments) and I got plenty waves. Surprisingly, I'm not as excited anymore, because even though you gain a lot in all the points I listed in the previous posts of this thread, you also lose something by using a paddle on a regular board: the complete freedom of moving your arms/upper body.

So, I think LDP surfing has a place to be, specially for waves that tend to close out and/or have sections that close out, but it's not going to replace regular surfing in my world... thank god!

Next, I'll build stronger attachments to install on the board to hold the paddle in bigger surf, but I doubt that I will do a whole lot of LDP surfing.
It's fun though to experiment and to mix it up.

Check those couple of photos of the recently held US Open of surfing that I grabbed from this Harry Wievel's album, and imagine how impossible it would be to do those kind of things with a paddle in your hand.

By the way, Brett Simpson is my new idol. He works hard a week a year and that week earns him 100 grands... not too shabby!

PS. Today I did two things that I didn't do since March 28th (that's when I broke my foot). Both were awesome and I'm very stoked!
Guess what they were?

Monday, August 09, 2010

anybody knows this surfer girl?

Just received an email from a mainland photographer who took this photo in Maui and ended up winning a photography award with it.
He would like to contact the surfer to send her a print.
If anybody knows who she is, please post a comment or email me her contacts.