Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wave priorities + links

I'm gonna talk priorities on a wave, because it seems that there's still a bunch of sailors that have no clue about them.

Often you hear:"the guy most upwind has priority". WRONG!

The guy who catches the wave first has priority! And by that I mean the guy who is planing on the wave and with the wave first.
That's the main priority rule. Let's examine a bunch of situations now.

If two sailors tack/jibe on a wave roughly at the same moment, then it's the one upwind who has priority.

If everybody is slogging and a wave picks up two sailors roughly at the same time, it's the one upwind who has priority.

If everybody is slogging and a wave picks up a downwind sailor first, makes him plane and immediately after that it picks up another sailor upwind, it's the downwind sailor who has priority (because he caught the wave first).

Jibing or picking up a wave off slogging upwind of a sailor that is already planing on a wave can still ok, as long as the upwind sailor won't claim priority for that wave, but he will wait until the downwind sailor chooses to go for his line and then he can have the close out scrap of that wave (or ride the wave backside going upwind).

Instead, if you jibe or pick up a wave off slogging on top of a downwind sailor that is already planing on a wave and you push him downwind or you start your bottom turn like if it was your wave, that's a priority violation and if there was a referee like in football, you would get a yellow card and if you do it again, you would get kicked out of the water and would have to skip next session.

At Hookipa there's mostly two waves or wave sections to ride: (very rarely you can ride both): middles and the point.
If a sailor has caught the wave first and is upwind at middles, in theory, he has the right to choose to scream down the line and go hit the bowl at the point.
I personally think that, in order to maximize the share, when a sailor is at middles with priority, unless that wave is really small or weak and the one at the point looks a lot better, he should just stay and ride the wave at middles.
A perfect example of this kind of behavior is Mark Angulo.
He does most of his crazy moves at Middles, even though the point is steeper and I've never seen him screaming down the line unnecessarily towards the point just to claim his priority. I've seen many other sailors do that instead.

One other example of sailor that rarely I see involved in priority disputes is Levi.
Levi's upwind reaches are often extremely long. He goes and picks up his wave way out there. How can he consistently pick the best wave of the set so far out it's a mystery, but once he's on a plane on a wave from such a far distance, it's absolutely clear that it's his wave. Probably his easy recognizable sail (big sponsor sticker) helps: "oh, that's Levi... don't want to drop on him" most sailors must think.

Sailors going out have priority of choosing their line over sailors on the wave. Said this, WHENEVER POSSIBLE (i.e. unless he's going to face a clear rejection), it would be nice if the sailor going out would aim to the already closed part of the wave and leave the clean one to the sailor on the wave. That's totally personal and depends highly on the sailor skill. The most important thing is to take a line and follow it, instead of hesitating and changing it.

One more etiquette recommendation. If you're riding a medium wave at the point, please check the wave behind you. If it's bigger than yours, it's very likely that if you kick out off your wave when it's done, you'll be in the way of the sailor on the next wave.
So, whenever it's possible, unless you risk to get too close to the rocks of course, don't kick out off your wave as soon as it's done, but keep bearing off the wind and jibe in the channel so that you won't be in the way of the next sailors.

Last and probably most important reminder. We're all out there to have fun. Please leave your shitty energy at home if you are full of it. Hearing people yelling at each other in the water bugs me as much as smelling the stink of a jet-sky.
Of course, yelling a little "UI" just to make sure that the sailor downwind without priority understands that he has to get out of the way it's ok. It's like calling a wave in surfing when it's crowded. It's like a safety measure.
But any kind of fighting or cursing in the water should result in an immediate red card and ejection.

That's pretty much it. It's not that difficult. Please leave comments if that's not clear, or if you think I got something wrong or if you have something to add.

Okey, I don't like posts without photos or videos, so here's two videos.
I care very little for the fashion photoshoot Robby Naish is involved in this first one (no offense, just my opinion), but I like what Robby says in the interview bits.

More Windsurfing Videos

This other one has nothing to do with water sports, but shows some unreal balance skills. Watch it, it's really amazing.

Like many other Mauians, yesterday I went to the MACC to watch these two movies:
Playgravity 1
Who is J.O.B.

One was full of soul, the other soul-less. I'll let you guess which...

Windsurfer International has a new look.

PS. The more I think about the football referee analogy, the more I'm tempted to start giving virtual yellow cards on this blog. Anyone who drops in on me will be yellow carded on this blog, how is that?
Hey, I may not fix the problem of all priority violations at Hookipa, but I might well end up fixing the ones I get! :)
Where's my whistle?


Weasel's wake said...

I agree 100% with your take on wave priority, and there is nothing worse than when you're on a wave and some guy, on his way out, jibes onto your wave, but upwind of you.
That's what I call a "reverse snake", but a snake is still a snake.

Unknown said...

Exellent post, like it a lot since most of the time i sail alone and this is a good reading before i sail more crowded places!

wally said...

GP, what would you think in this situation?

Logo size waves in light wind, local sailor sees it all the time and takes a couple of lazy turns and suddenly straightens out w/o looking, visiting sailor charging down the line having a blast unexpectedly ends up a little close to the local (but still safe distance) and gets yelled at ...

I wasn't sure what to think, I kinda felt like a really nice wave was being wasted and pumped around them to take 4 more nice turns.

Just curious.

Nord_Roi said...

Last, year a kitesurfer (older man with long air) was in Kanaha...and was taking waves downwind, over the back and was riding it backside. That day I wished he was sailing à Hookipa to get a correction... ;-)

Guido said...

Excellent post, not only to make sure we can all have fun and enjoy together but also to avoid the risk of injury, which is real but easily forgotten about. Print off and make everyone read&sign before they hit the water. Not only on Maui but even more so on crowded all-level sailor places like Jeri - and an Italian translation would be extremely helpful for that spot ;-)

Taavi said...

Excellent reading. Just noticed that you used "planing on a wave" as a key.

Please let me add a point, which I don't think that makes sense at Hookipa, but with slower waves in marginal wind conditions the sailor who is definitely in the best place to pick a set wave is not necessarily planing. It can be a bit irritating if somebody with a bigger kit blast suddenly from nowhere, either from outside or inside, spoils the wave and hardly uses it. Would you see a way how to refine the planing bit in your definition?

Luckily I haven't seen any real arguing over the priorities in our wave spot. But the traffic is steadily getting denser.

cammar said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Wally, not sure I understood your scenario correctly. Let's see, if the local sailor was riding the wave downwind of the visiting sailor and decided to be done with his ride and straighten up towards the beach and by doing so he got in the way of the line of the visiting sailor, it would seem that it was not a respectful decision... unless he had to return to the beach and go to work!
But most cases are hard to judge, without watching a video.
In general, every move that is made not for safety and that damages other sailors' rides, should be avoided.

sail sizes don't matter (otherwise Albeau would always violate the etiquette!). If one chooses to sail with a 6+ meter sail in the waves, that's his right. He'll catch more waves, hardly do anything on it (unless it's Albeau), others might be irritated, but that's the way it is... as long as he respects the priority rules, of course.
Now, if he's planing out the back of the wave and drops in in front of the wave, BEFORE anyone else has caught it (which means no other sailors are travelling at the same speed of the wave, hence planing on it or surfing it if you like), then it's still his wave.
If instead, a sailor (doesn't matter if downwind or upwind) has already caught the wave and the big sail guy drops in from the back, that's a blatant priority violation.
I'm not sure what you mean with somebody blasting from the INSIDE spoils the wave instead.
You're right: fortunately we don't have that problem at Hookipa. The level of the sailors is so good that no one uses big sails. But trust me, catching a wave in photoshoot time with all the pros on the island is no easy task anyway...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the videos. I'm sharing the Robby Naish interview video with my windsurfing friends on Facebook. Thanks!

Jo :)

Chris said...

Nice post. I've been riding the waves at Kanaha for 20 years, one week at a time. I do my best to be respectful and abide by the "first on" rule, and personally when in doubt, I usually give it away. It is nice to see a more detailed right of way explanation though.

I once jibed onto an already occupied wave and got yelled at big time. I immediately sheeted in and booked it out of there, and yelled sorry.

Here's the thing, I thought I was going to be downwind of the guy far enough that I wouldn't interfere with his ride. I guess that's still considered poor form and I've never done it since.

cammar said...

One more comment for Taavi.
The guy with a bigger sail should understand that he has an advantage on the other sailors and as such should not ne too greedy.
The same concept applies to SUP surfers compared to prone surfers or to longboarders compared to shortboarders. Unfortunately, our society sucks because of the greediness of people, so you can expect a lot of that in the water too...

it is bad form, but:
1) Kanaha is a long wave and it's usually crowded enough that each wave HAS to be shared.
2) the guy upwind was not particularly tolerant.
It all depends on how much downwind you were.
If someone jibes within 20 yards of me, I might yell too, because it's just too close. But if it's more than that, it can be ok. It also depends on the shape of the particular wave. If it's a screamer, don't jibe because you'll be in the way of the guy screaming down the line.
If it's a slowly closing one, it can be ok.
I personally try to make the most of having someone downwind of me by trying to squeeze as many turns as possible between me and him, hence working on making my turning radius shorter.

Jeff said...

Thanks for posting this GP. How about this scenario. You've picked up a wave pretty far out, you're upwind of anyone else. It's starting to build and crest, you're in position and somebody coming out, downwind of you jibes in front of the wave to catch it. If he's way downwind that's fine, but if often they've just taken away your line on that wave. I see this scenario a lot at Uppers.

cammar said...

Yo Jeff,
I think there's a NOT missing in your last statement.
I think you meant:
"If he's way downwind that's fine, but if NOT often they've just taken away your line on that wave."
Assuming that's what you meant, you pretty much said it yourself: it all depends on how much downwind he is.
So, how much downwind is enough downwind?
It's hard to put figures. It's hard to say that 30-50 yards is a safe distance, because it all depends on the wave. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.
In other words, there's plenty grey areas.
Ideally it would be nice to have one man on each wave, but you know how crowded our waves are and that's nearly impossible...
Common sense and not being too greedy should help.

Jeff said...

Yep. Missed the NOT there. Yea, it depends on the situation, but sadly it happens a lot on head high + days and guys jibe on waves only 10 - 20 yards downwind of the upwind guy who is on the wave. Pure snake behavior in my opinion.

Weasel's wake said...

And then you can throw kites into the mix with their 90' of line aiming down the face of the wave, with them in tow.
Never mind, don't even want to get started on that.
I don't know how they can even put up with each other.

Anonymous said...

I always heard that the guy who is nearest to the break have priority. This stuff about planning is all new to me and I think it is a little bit difficult cause quite often planing on kanaha will make me speed away from the wave. I guess these rules works better on hookipa where you have to be planing to keep up with the wave.

cammar said...

yes, jibing within 20 yards downwind of guy riding a wave is a yellow card for sure. Start booking the bad sailors on your blog too... maybe they'll stop! :)

kiters take a lot of room and when it's crowded at Lowers they kinda automatically figure that they have to stay downwind of everyone.
When it's not crowded (like 11am or 5.30 pm), some of them migrate upwind and I personally don't have any problem with that. I treat them as windsurfers. If they catch the wave first, I'll leave it to them. They're just trying to enjoy the waves their way and I am actually a bit jelous of their ability of surfing a wave on a 6 feet shortboard while I'm on a huge (in comparison) 80l board...
In other words, if they are respectful, I respect them. That applies to all kind of vessels people might use to ride a wave.

cammar said...

the guy who is nearest to the break????
Never heard of that rule. Sorry, you are absolutely wrong.
No difference between Hookipa and Kanaha and the rest of the world.
Notice I said planing on and WITH the wave. I meant that the guy is on the wave, moving at the same speed of it.
If it's windy (or you have a big sail) you just sheet out a bit or aim upwind and you'll be able to stay with your wave. If you're the first one to do that on the wave, then it's your wave.
This rule (trust me, I did not come up with it...), rewards making long reaches out and picking your wave all the way out.
The rule you mention would reward the opposite. If it was true, everybody would just wait outside the break for the set to come... can you imagine the traffic jam just outside the break?!
Unless you meant something different with "nearest to the break"...

Chris said...

I too have often read that "closest to the breaking section has priority" It is a bit confusing but it's really the same thing as what we're talking about, it just takes the wind out of the equation, ie furthest up wave, rather than furthest up wind. If you're going down the line, then you are trying to stay as close to the critical section as possible, so anyone else on the wave will have to be down wind/down wave to you. Does this not make sense?

cammar said...

That's probably what anon meant too...
That's a surfing rule. It doesn't apply to windsurfing.

Anonymous said...

yes, that is what I meant.. english is not my native language.. where I am from I don't think we ever heard about this rule about planing with the wave first, but on the other hand we don't really have waves to be planing on :)

It is good to get these rules so we know how to take the waves in the correct way..

cammar said...

The rules I posted are the ones I learned in 10 years of sailing Hookipa and are also the ones applied by PWA in their contests (I judged a few of them).

It might be possible that other spots have different rules.

For examle, I sailed lower Kanaha the other day and the waves are way longer than Hookipa and there's way more people and it's virtually impossible to judge who caught it first.
So over there there's kind of an agreement to keep some distance between sailors on a wave and when the most upwind starts bottom turning (unless he just jibed on the wave, hence it's clear that he has no priority), everybody else start too trying to keep that distance.

Este said...

I think what you meant is nearest to the PEAK not break and I do think That rule should apply whether surfing, stand up surfing, or windsurfing...pretty easy to figure out as well!

cammar said...

Absolutely not.
If the closest to the peak rule would apply to windsurfing too, a sailor who caught the wave way out but is not super close to the peak could be "legally" dropped in by a sailor who is slogging on the inside and happens to be picked up by the wave closer to the peak.
It doesn't make any sense in windsurfing (a sport in which you are pretty much always moving... fast or slow but always moving) and it wouldn't reward sailing out to pick and catch your wave before the others.
If that rule was valid for windsurfing too, you would see a lot of sailors just sitting on the inside (like in a surfing lineup) slogging as slow as they can in the proximity of the peak area or eventually just sitting in the water ready to water start when the set comes.
It would be complete chaos.
Well, sometimes that's what Hookipa looks like and I'm now starting to understand why...

Anonymous said...

If it is a problem with priority at hookipa perhaps you could put a sign at the beach with these rules. Probably 90% of the sailors are turist like myself that stay just for a short time and then it is difficult to figure out the rules..