Sunday, March 04, 2012

Today it was a pretty big day.

Not only because of the size of the waves, but also for the amount of hours I spent in the water: five.
I started with a surfing session, but I struggled to sit in the right spot and that turned into a lot of paddling around.

The wind was already up, so I chose to save my energies for the 11 o'clock sailing session. Good idea, since that was the best part of the day.

The wind was extremely light, but I like that. And I have the right gear. My board is everything but radical, but in those conditions is such an awesome board. And the 2.7kg of my 4.7 Firelight felt like almost nothing in my hands.

I had a couple of waves in which it was pure surfing. The turns were achieved entirely by the feet putting the right pressure on the rails. As long as the wave allows you (and only a few of them did, since most of them tended to close out), that is a really cool way of sailing.

Despite my decent performance, I couldn't help noticing that two kiters were probably having about 10 times more fun: my friend Steve Sadler and my first windsurfing hero Alex Aguera.
They probably caught 5 more times the waves I caught and were carving twice as hard as I could carve (hence the factor 10 in the fun... sorry, can't help it... once engineer, forever enginner...).
I might really have to give kitesurfing another try this summer... I always say that, don't I?

Anyway, after a lunch and a fat nap, I went back to Kanaha and sailed on my SUP. There were some over mast high sets and just the fact to be out there together with a very few others, was a bless.

I didn't take a single photo though, so I'm gonna tell you about another sweet session it happened a couple of days ago (Friday March 2nd) at Hookipa. It was a pretty shitty day (for the Hookipa standards) with a lot of gusty wind and only windswell waves, but after a rain squall calmed the wind, only a few of us stayed out and we got blessed by some mysterious long period set waves.

Photos taken from this gallery.
First one is me on a 69 Simmer board and the other three is Ola Helenius on a 69 custom board. Ola is the designer of those boards and both of them were extremely turny... well, at least for one that is used to a big non radical board like me.
The waves were small, that's why I could do it on such a small board. I pick the board size depending on the wave size, not the wind.

That night I wanted to find out where were those waves coming from. I was pretty sure I didn't see any fetch in the previous days weather maps.

First I checked the Maui buoys and here's what it was reading.

0.8ft @18s from NE (44 degrees).
Add a 7ft windswell on top of that, and that's what those sets were... but, where the hell did they come from?
Pretty easy to find out.

Every morning, I open 15 websites (thank god for the one click multi-tabs opening!!) to make my own forecast for the day.
The very first of them, of course, is the current weather map. Not only I look at it, but I also save it.
And here's what the maps of February 27 and 28 looked like.

See that fetch in the gulf of Alaska?
Despite not being directly aimed at Hawaii (that's why I overlooked it), evidently the angular spreading of the swell spread the waves enough to hit Maui with a little bit of energy. Amazing.

I consider myself pretty good at forecasting waves and selecting the right spot, but sometimes it's just a matter of pure luck. That was a really fun session!

Allright, I'm very tired and a little beat up (sent over the falls of a logo high one this morning... still the footstraps!), so I wish everybody goodnight. The swell is supposed to turn N/NE in the following days and that opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Life is good.

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