Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trestles very partial report

Finally time for a first very partial Trestles report.

Those of you who saw the live webcast, should know already what kind of perfect conditions the contest was blessed by. Those of you who did not see the webcast, can always check the heats on the demand here.

I had a blast watching the best surfers on the planet rip the hell out of those perfect waves.
I selected 49 photos to post, but with the prehistoric dialup internet connection that I have here in Naples there's no way I can upload them.
So you guys will have to wait until I run into a higher bandwith for that.
In the meantime, enjoy this single shot of the best surfer on Earth, whose surfing was flawless.

Right now I'm buried deep into family connections, but of course I'm keeping an eye on what's going on around the world in the surfing and windsurfing arena.

ASP first. Thanks to the Trestles victory, Kelly Slater is back on top of the rankings.
As the schedule shows, the next event is due in France this coming week. The live webcast can be seen here and there's a quite good forecast for the start and for later in the week.

PWA is going to have a wave sailing event in Sylt. In a typical PWA fashion, they announce that there will be a live webcast, but they don't say where...

Other things I feel like mentioning is that, as a result of my fear for a shitty winter, Maui's forecast is all of a sudden looking incredibly good. Both north and south shore have and will have waves, as Uncle Pat beautifully explains here.
By the way, in a very short period of time in which my wireless adapter picked up a bar of signal from an unprotected network (thank you, Mr. Linksys), I just checked on the Hookipa webcam that there's a bunch of sailors out in what seemed to be head to overhead high waves. I think I saw Mark Angulo smashing one pretty nicely. Oh yeah, it's 3.30 am here. Can't sleep at all. Bloody jet lag...

Just in case some of you wonders, let me explain why I'm actually missing that.
Every year, I plan an Italy trip at the very beginning of September. That's when business and waves are slow and I usually don' miss much other than the occasional south swell (if you leave Maui for two weeks, you will end up missing something no matter what, so the deal is to try to minimize the loss...).
And I usually make sure that to stop at Trestles on my way back to Maui, so that I can watch the contest and surf with Gianfranco.

This year, there was the novelty of the week in Ireland with some friends, but that week was already booked: Oct 2nd to Oct 9th. I said, "whatever, I know I'm going to miss something, because that's already a good period for Maui, but for the sake of doing something different and visiting a new place, I'll do it anyway".
I didn't even get to that week and I'm already bummed for all those good waves I'm missing at home! Aaarghh!!!

Next year I'll make sure to go back to the routine of Italy first and then Trestles on the way back! I actually would like to squeeze in a Baja trip too, we'll see how that goes...

Stay tuned for a more extended Trestle reports. It's going to be a good one...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

there's some plane rides in my future...

Sept 15, Maui - Los Angeles
Sept 20, Los Angeles - London (arr. 21)
Sept 21, London - Naples (via Milan)
Oct 2, Rome - London
Oct 2, London - Kerry
Oct 9, Kerry - London (via Dublin)
Oct 12, London - Los Angeles
Oct 13, Los Angeles - Maui

I'm actually writing this post on board of the first flight... as usual, the movie sucks.

The PWA contest in Denmark (congrats Kauli) had a camera following the sailors and a commentator, i.e. a live webcast.
Now, there's two ways you can look at that:

A) half full glass. Finally this has happened. No matter how the quality was, it's a huge milestone and hopefully all other windsurfing contests will have it too and they're going to get better and better.
B) half empty glass. Spoiled as I am from tons of near perfect surf contest webcasts, I have to say that it was a bit pathetic. Only one camera following one sailor while the commentator (when he's not talking on the radio or telling someone to move) goes:"WOW! Massive backloop on the outside" which clearly wasn't shown. No replays, no live scores, only one commentator (and always the same), lots of silent moments, etc.

I always see it half full, so I toast to it: thanks guys to make it happen and now let's do them better!

Here are the single and double elimination ladders.

The new ASP format is currently been applied in the Trestle contest. The number of surfers that take place to the world tour has been reduced to 32, and those ones will have to surf more heats to win a contest. It's very well explained by Pat O'Connel is this funny clip (top right of the page). The contest will be webcasted here and that's one that I will not watch, since I will be there watching from the beach (when not surfing myself).
The forecast looks great. Gianfranco's plan is to hit the water at sunset of Thursday... always trust the local knowledge.

So my journey has just started and I'm looking forward to seeing and surfing different places and waves than the very familiar Maui ones. Cold water it will be. The more I'll hate it, the more stoked I'll be to be back in the warm Hawaii waters. I'll try to report as much as I can, internet connections permitting.

The captain just announced that we are now starting our descent towards Los Angeles. Our gate will be #76.
I think that's a good piece of information with which to end a post written on the plane.

Friday, September 10, 2010

FB clips

Quite unusually, the following two things happened this morning:
1) I went on facebook
2) on it, there were some worthy videos.

I thought about sharing them in a more permanent way by posting them here. Same order as on my page.
The first one may make you dizzy.

This one I can only link it. Good, 'cause I liked it, but not quite as much as the other ones. Still a bit too much hype about this standup thing. But for sure it's good for the industry and takes people to the water.

This one instead, I would have loved to embed, but I still can't (or don't know how).

Just like this one.

Fortunately I can embed this one. Let it load and watch in HD, it's really worth it.

Not much to report on my side other than the fact that that little NW swell I forecasted a few days ago did manifest (one foot, 12 seconds from 320 at the Waimea buoy) and together with a 5 feet, 9 seconds from 62 degrees windswell provided some fun waves to ride yesterday afternoon.
The really good news is that I finally sailed almost normal, had some pretty good hits and got out of the water quite happy about my performance! :)

Everybody knows already that there's a new webcam that shoots Hookipa. But just to brag a bit, let me inform you that, back in 2002, I did house keeping for a couple of months of the ocean front house where the webcam is installed. Those really were the good old days... I named all the bedrooms with different female names. ;)
For the lucky owners of my book, that's the one described in the chapter "la Maison".

The surf on the south shore is still very small, but about to increase. The Kilo Naly buoy had a couple of readings of 1 foot, 16 sec around 5am, so expect the waves to increase during the day and stay up pretty much for a week or so, before going back to flat.

As soon as I said that the north Pacific wasn't looking good, of course, here's what's going to happen 6 and a half days from today.

That's a relatively small storm/fetch, but what's refreshing is that the freaking high that has been sitting there for the whole summer will finally take a rest and allow storms to get a little closer to the islands. There will be a decent NW swell in 10 days or so.
I'm gonna miss it, but I won't care. I'm just happy to see a fetch up there again...

Sunday, September 05, 2010

canoe bliss + lil forecast

A few days ago I took my one man canoe to the south shore and caught some little waves.

This one decided to take me all the way to the beach.

Here's another wave to give you a different perspective.
To the right of the screen there's a beautiful one and a half footer peeling right... too bad you can't see it. I caught it on the shoulder at an angle towards the breaking section and at one point some serious steering was needed to keep the boat going straight.

Pat Caldwell is not available these days so the burden of wave forecast for Hawaii falls entirely on my shoulders :)
It's been flat (allright, extremely small) for a week now. Not even that windy and slightly onshore. It would have been perfect for trying kitesurfing actually, but I managed again to avoid that.
There's a very mild improvement ahead though.

Here's the North Pacific weather map of today Sept 5.
As you can see there's a tiny little fetch all the way up there, but the high pressure is too strong and that storm is going to move north of the Aleutians very quickly. Eventually we'll get some small waves out of the NW around Wednesday/Thursday, but I would not count on that too much.

Things can change, but judging from these preliminary signs, this winter is NOT looking good my friends...
Oh well, a shitty winter in Maui is still way better than a shitty winter anywhere else.

This is the South Pacific weather map of Sept 3 instead. A couple of days before, the fetch that you see right over and east of New Zealand was in the Tasman sea (west of New Zealand) and I have the feeling that that part of the swell will actually be better. Anyway, some small waves starting around Thursday Sept 9.
Again, nothing to be really excited about, but better than what we have now.

Oh there we go. This is the Surfline version for Oahu's south shore:
a large complex storm system has recently been developing under and SE of New Zealand. However, this fetch was split in half by New Zealand; half on the Tasman Sea side and half on the Pacific side. Nonetheless, we're looking for a SW (215-205 deg) shifting SSW (200-190 deg) groundswell to start creeping in on Thursday the 9th and top out Fri-Sat the 10th-11th with mainly knee-waist high surf on the South Shore. Standout spots are occasionally up to chest high on the larger sets.

But the real good news (at least for me) is this. This is the weather map forecasted to happen Sept 8. A beautiful long fetch aimed at central america.

The angular spreading of the related swell should reach Trestles just in time for when I'll be there on the 16th for three full days, surfing with my friend Gianfranco and watching the ASP contest.
The contest's waiting period actually starts on the 12, but hopefully the event organizers will wait for the better waves before running it.

As a confirmation of my forecast, the Surfline 14 days forecast table for North Orange County shows 3-4 feet, 19 seconds out of 205 for Thursday and 4-5 feet, 17 seconds out of 205 on Friday. Contest or not, it's going to be fun!!!

That'll be the start of an exciting one month trip that will take me to California, Italy, Ireland and London. More details on that to come.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


A transformed Andy Irons (who doesn't sound like an asshole anymore, but like a nice, relaxed and happy guy) won the ASP contest in Tahiti.

The coverage was awesome as usual.
Here's all the heats on demand where you can watch how he eliminated Fanning, Gudauskas, Slater and CJ Hobgood.
The heat I feel like linking is this one in which Kelly got a 10 for a super late and critical take off and and deep barrel.

Almost as late and critical as this other Slater "Classic moment" at Teahupoo.

In this other video below instead, another classic moment, this time a windsurfing one: at the end you can admire Josh Stone's aerial in Namotu about 10 years ago.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

webcasts, webcasts...

Let's talk webcasts (or lack of thereof), one of my favorite subjects!

The Reunion Wave Classic is underway as I type and, guess what, you can't see a live webcast on the internet.
Here's a video that shows what we're missing.

Reunion Wave Classic 2010_Teaser from Open Ocean Media on Vimeo.

Good news seem to arrive from a "mysterious" (there's no sign of it on the official website) PWA newsletter that was forwarded to me by a reader.

It says that all the next three wave events (Denmark, Sylt and Cabo Verde) will be webcasted live.
Until I see it, I don't believe it.

In the meantime, also thanks to the complete lack of waves in Maui, I've been thoroughly enjoying the fantastic live coverage of the Tahiti ASP surf contest.
The reduction from of the number of surfers participating to the world tour from 46 to 32, made for some intense heats.
Yesterday's last heat, for example, saw Pat Gudauskas pulling off a desperation rodeo flip that allowed him win the heat and stay on tour.

This one instead, is the round 2 heat in which Dusty Payne defeated Brett Simpson securing himself a place in the world tour. Only later Brett found out that he managed to keep his spot too.
Dusty was later kicked out of the contest by the usual Adam Melling (who did the same at J-bay, I think), who will now face Kelly Slater in round 4.
Another hot heat will be Mick Fanning vs Andy Irons. The three times world champion from Kauai is back to surfing pretty good and relaxed, but Fanning's surfing is so freaking sharp that it will take a really special performance to beat him.

Two more days in the waiting period and this morning, the waves are pretty small, so next call is at 12pm. First heat: Dane Raynolds vs CJ Hobgood... let's hope that they have some decent waves to express their incredible skills.
I better get in the ocean now, 'cause I sure don't want to miss that. But what to do without waves?
Mmm... maybe it's time to dust off my one man canoe...


Lil 1.30pm post update. The Tahiti contest is off today and they will run all the remaining heats tomorrow starting 6.30am.
A hundred spiders will have to find a new home, since I did take my canoe in the water. So much fun... got some gopro clips, stay tuned.