Sunday, February 20, 2011

the AWT needs help + epic Hookipa + strict rules

Just received this email from Sam Bittner and I'm happy to publish it.

First though, a photo (from this Jimmie's gallery) of one of the most epic windsurfing sessions ever. I'll talk about it later in the post.

Aloha All Windsurfers and Windsurfing Lovers!We are getting ready for one of the greatest windsurfing seasons EVER! The American Windsurfing Tour (AWT) is expanding the amazing sport of wavesailing across America and beyond. It is difficult to organize something like this, but I love it and believe it is doing great things for Windsurfing! So far, there have been TONS of supporters and I want to thank you all for helping make this tour a reality.

We have run into a permit issue regarding the event at Waddell Creek. The California State Parks department is requiring an unbelievable amount of money for this event to happen. They are asking for $6400 for the 4 days of competition- WOW! The show must go on and it is going to take all of us working together to make ends meet. If you or anyone you know is in a position to sponsor, donate, or even register for the event it all helps out. Even if you have no intention of competing, just paying the entry fee can go a long way to help this contest happen! Windsurfing Needs YOU!!!

Thank you all for your help and I look forward to seeing you on the American Windsurfing Tour!! Any donations can be made by clicking the DONATE tab on the home page of

Please pass this on to your friends!


Sam Bittner

Tour Director

Here's a little video with Francisco Goya talking about the AWT.

Epic session.

Last Thursday a big NNE swell hit the islands. In the afternoon, a light very offshore breeze picked up and a few brave sailors ventured out at Hookipa, despite some double mast sets that were closing out the channel.
The photo above is Jason Polakow. The day after I had the pleasure to share a surf session with Robby Swift, who was still all stoked about it.
"Such long rides! Because of the direction the waves were peeling all the way from Pavils to the channel and because of the very light offshore wind they were unbelievably glassy!
Jason told me that in 20 years that he's been coming regularly to Maui, that was his best Hookipa session ever..."
Good for those who could make it out there!

That day I worked in the afternoon, but that would have not made any difference. Meaning: no way I'd go out in such difficult conditions, but I sure would have taken some photos!
But I did enjoy that swell though, despite some adverse facts.

Strict rules.

I got to Kanaha around 11 and even thought most waves were closing out, I did see some possible peelers on the lefts. I also saw a medium size shark in the shore break. I wasn't the only one to see that and shortly after the lifeguards were notified of the sighting.
To my eyes that was a 4-5 feet fish, even though someone else took a photo and said it was way bigger.
Whatever, I said. I'll take the standup instead of the regular surfboard then.

So I did and paddled out to the reef without being harassed by any marine creature.
I was absolutely alone (that doesn't happen often!) but by the time I caught my first wave a lifeguard showed up on the jet ski and kindly invited me get on the sled: he had to pull me out of the water.
It was a friend and I said:"you got to be kidding me!"
"Dude, try talk to the supervisor on the beach and see what he says. But now you have to come with me".
On the beach the supervisor explained me that "the rules" state that whenever there's a shark sighting, the lifeguards have to shut down the entire beach. No one can be in the water.
"can I sign a letter in which I say that you guys told me and it's my responsibility if I go out?"
"no, you can't"
"what if I paddle out anyway?"
"you'd be subject to arrest"...
Welcome to the country of liability!

The funny thing is that, since Kanaha was closed, I went surfing (regular kind this time) to a nearby spot that has notoriously a way higher shark density... so I was actually more in danger there! I was almost hoping to get bitten... "that got to change some rules!"
Anyway, that's the way it is. I don't like that rule (I don't like many rules), but I still love the fact that there are lifeguards looking after the ocean users. So, thanks guys anyway. Hey, at least I caught one wave...

Got to go surf now! What a bloody awesome winter!!!!


Ola H. said...

Polakows best Hookipa session in 20 years: and he does it without screws in the front fins:

Ola H.

Jamiegottagun said...

Shark attacks are bad for the tourist industry; when it comes down to your fun or someone else's money which do you think will win?

cammar said...

Jamie, that is exactly what I thought too.