Tuesday, October 31, 2006

good energy

No pictures today, only words. Words of happiness though, so maybe worth to read.

I just had a great day in the ocean. I surfed from 9 to 11 and I sailed pretty much continously from 12 to 4. I had an incredible energy and I did some really good stuff. Part of it is for sure thanks to the good sleep and to the healthy food I eat.
But part of it is also thanks to the smiles that I gave and received today.
And the appreciation for this blog really gets me going.
This morning I met a guy called Bob at the coffee shop.
"Are you the blog guy?", he said. "I really like your blog!"
Then a girl called Kristen shouted while sailing at Kanaha:"are you the blogger? I love those pictures!"
And then the Mass windsurfer left a comment on the previous blog.

Thank you guys, I'm glad you like it. I do too...

Here, check this video out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4
It's contagiuos. Tell me if you were able to see it without a little tear. It has been seen more than 4 million times on youtube. If it gets to 4 billion, there'll be no more wars in this world.
Thanks to Lela for spreading the word. You may wonna check her blog too: http://galacticwhitewizard.zaadz.com/

Love and peace is better than hate and war. Way better.
Come on you guys, we can make this world better. Let's start smiling to each other. Trust me, at least your world will get better...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Things that legends do

One more beautiful winter day in Maui.
Same as yesterday (slightly stronger wind in the afternoon), I caught my usual hundred sailing on the longboard at Kanaha.
Here's Juan that must have put some effort in choosing equipment and attire that would match...

Allright, allright, I like the previous photo better (that's why I left it there), but I have to publish this one too to please the female audience...

Nice smile! He must have had a good session, despite the warning signs...
I love the high surf one. That's the perfect description of "over the falls".

Now, imagine the little dude going down that thing. Look at that! Looks like shark jaws... Remarkable performance of my camera, considering that this photo has been taken at Kanaha with 12x optical zoom and 4xdigital zoom.

Later on, at Hookipa and Lanes a few brave kitesurfers were entertaining the usual cliff crowd.
Where's the kite?

These guys must have been stoked to have Hookipa all for themselves (usually Hookipa is for the windsurfers and the kitesurfers are confined to Lanes)

A windsurfer was sailing upper kuau. There must have been a sign of that pole. Gone with the wind, probably...

The grass was more interesting for this fellow...

I don't know what to say on this one...

Here's a video of what happened at that point. You thought the kitersurfers were brave? Check it out... sit down and relax and enjoy the music of the Porcupine Tree. The song is: The start of something beautiful... and rare, I would add.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

What do I say at the end? Look at that and dream...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

big swells

As forecasted, a big messy north swell hit the north shore. With the longboard and the sail I must have caught a hundred waves at Lowers.
I heard that Hookipa was quite a show. Kauli (just arrived on the island, Robin) destroyed his favorite board on the rocks (I'm sure Taboul is already shaping another good one for him) and Laird surfed standing up with the paddle. He's just not normal. He's another living legend. I'm not gonna comment his personality 'cause I don't know him well enough, but what he does is absolutely legendary.

Time for a photo. Hookipa at sunset. If the wave this guy is riding is almost double overhead, how big is the one behind?

Today an Italian chap asked me why the waves were messy. Check my blog, I said, I just wrote something about it last week. Time to post it.

What makes the waves in the ocean is the wind. The area over which the wind blows is called the fetch.
When the wind first starts blowing over a hipothetycal flat fetch, it creats small ripples because of the friction of the the air molecules sliding over the water molecules. The longer and the stronger the wind blows, the bigger the ripples get and the more they spread apart. In order for the waves to get even bigger, the fetch should be extremely long, and/or the wind should follow the waves as they are generated. This last condition is possible (at least temporarely) and it's called captured fetch. A captured fetch happens when the storm moves in the same direction of a fetch, so that the wind keeps pushing the same waves following them.
Other things you want to know:
- the stronger the wind, the bigger the waves
- the longer, wider and long lasting the fetch, the bigger the waves.

What if there were 120 knots of wind over a huge fetch for a whole month? Would that generate a 100 foot swell? No, because once the waves are big enough, the wind can't make them grow anymore, because the waves themselves act as a shade for the wind that can only hit the crest. That's when the power of the wind only vaporizes the crest of the big waves without making them grow more. But that doesn't happen too often...

Once a swell has been generated and the wind died or the waves travelled outside the fetch, here's what happens.

In a swell there are waves of different period. The period is the distance in seconds between two crests. The more the waves are exposed to the wind, the more they get spread apart and the period increases. But at the same time, newly generated waves of short period keep adding on top of the long period one. The waves with longer period travel faster and last longer. That's why if the fetch was too close to the shore, the waves will be disorganized. In other words, the more a swell has to travel to get to the shore, the cleaner it will be. But the travelling not only will filter out the short period waves, but it will also diminuish the energy of the longer period ones.
The hawaiian islands sit around 20 degrees latitude north. That means that if there were two identical storms spinning at 60 degrees north and 60 degrees south, both with identical fetches aimed towards Hawaii, the resulting north swell would be bigger than the south one, but the south ones would be cleaner. That's because the south one would have had to travel 40 degress more (the ones across the equator) and would have lost some global energy, but would have had the chance to get rid of most of the short period energy.
Since the longest period waves travel faster, they are going to be the first ones to get to the shores. In other words, the start of a swell is usually the cleanest part of it (unless there's onshore wind, of course), even though the biggest part could be still to come. The forerunners of a big swell here in Hawaii can have 20-24 seconds period, but the main energy is usually focused 24 hours later in the 14-17 seconds period.
Waves of longer period also have the ability to amplify their size when they hit a shallow bottom that will make them break.
Let me clarify this. I read somewhere that a wave start feeling the bottom (and hence eventually break) when the bottom is 1.3 times the size of the wave. In other words, a wave that is registered by a buoy to be 2 feet in deep water, will start growing and ready to break when it hits a bottom that is 2.6 feet deep. Or a 10 feet baby will start sensing the bottom as soon as it hits a 13 feet deep reef.
Said this, let's go back to the waves with longer period. A very nice analogy I read somewhere else, is the following: think about the action of the wind on the ocean surface like when you want to make a pizza out of a ball of dough. The more you push, the thinner the pizza gets. You can get a very large and thin pizza if you keep pushing for a long time. Same thing happens with the wind (your hand) and the water (the dough). When a long period wave start sensing a shallow bottom, it's like all that dough will get compressed back together again, and even if the wave was small (thin dish) in open ocean it may grow a lot when it's time to break.

Other factors that might change the course of a swell are:
- other fetches of wind that would blow in the same direction (clearly amplifying the energy of the swell), opposite direction (clearly dimishing the energy) or cross direction (not sure doing what).
- other swells (the effects are as above)
- land (a chain of island will filter some energy out of the swell for example). Point breaks, for example, are surf spot in which a swell hits a point of land and then wraps around the point. Honolua Bay is the best example in Maui (probably the only one too, since all the other waves are mostly reef breaks with a few beach breaks). The cool thing about point breaks is that if the swell is not a clean one (again, that means waves of different period overlapping), the point break will clean it up. Only the longer period waves, in fact, will have enough energy to wrap around the point and the waves are going to be much cleaner.

This is the end of this little effort. I want to underline that the mechanisms that rule the way waves are generated and travel are extremely more complicated than what I tried to simplify and some of them have not even been understood yet. But hopefully this little knowledge will help some of you understand waves a little better.

It's quarter past eight and I'm going to sleep because tomorrow I want to go surf one of my favorite waves in Maui very early. If it's big enough, it might be going off...
In bed at 8.20 pm to go surf at dawn. What an awesome thing!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tuesday 10 24 Hookipa windsurfing report

The main feature of this post is the long (10' 16") video at the end.
Ulli, seen Michelle's final comment to the post below this, do you think you can keep it that long?
Anyway, I just found out that you can talk over the movies and I did my first video with the director comment. I try to explain a few things to whoever is not too much into windsurfing and surfing.
I noticed I did quite a few English mistakes (Michelle, I hope that doesn't turn you off). For example at the beginning I say "there WAS a lot of pros" and at the end I use the word overestimated, but what I really mean is overated... But I like it enough not to do it again.

First, let's have a look at a few pics from the day.
This is our "neighborhood" spot of Kuau, where I sailed in the early afternoon. I can walk down the street with my sail already rigged (I have a set of sails always rigged at home) and launch from the rocks. As you can see, the conditions aren't too bad... Look at the color of the ocean under the noon sun.

This is Hookipa later in the afternoon. Jason Polakow continues to impress me with his splendid form. Here he is doing a one hand aerial and he's just about to stick his front hand in the lip of the wave. It reminds me of an incredible picture I say on Windsurfing magazine a few months ago. It was Luke Siver doing a radical top turn with the back hand on the boom and the front hand dragging behind in the water, looking like Kelly Slater. Josh, remember that?
Hey, look at that guy swimming in front of the wave. What the hell is he doing there? Kind of sketchy, I'd say... he's probably a windsurfer that fell and temporarely lost his board.

This is Kai Lenny ripping at age 13. Thanks to Jeff Henderson of Hot Sails Maui, who came up with a superlight specialized kid rig, kids can now start windsurfing as young as 4 to 6 (depending on the body type). That's why you see a lot of young kids already ripping in big waves. Thanks Jeff for a remarkable innovation that gave windsurfing a new gust of freshness.
By the way, the guys at Hot Sails decided that my blog was good enough to deserve a link on their 2007 website. Check it out! http://www.hotsailsmaui.com/2007 .

This is Glenn showing off the beauty of his Superfreak. The Superfreak is the best sail I have ever used and when I say that, I mean it.

Check out how Robby Naish lays down the sail on his bottom turns. It's a way of achieving a tighter radius of turn.

Robby casually (only one hand on the boom) checks out the wave 360 that Polakow is doing.

Look at this cuite patutie chilling out on the hill at Hoo.

And here's the video.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Ops! Looks like the end got cut out. I'm not going to upload it again. It was almost done. The thing I was saying at the end is:"I want to thank the country of Brazil for sending it over"...

Comments are welcome. Help me to entertain you better.

PS Let me throw a forecast while I'm at. Sunday a big and messy north swell will pick up. It's been generated by a wide almost stationary fetch quite close to the islands. The short travel distance will allow the shorter period waves (around 8 seconds) to arrive the our shores (usually, the fetch is more far away and the die on their way) together to longer period waves (around 13 seconds) and that will make for confused breakers. The good news is that Sunday is going to be windy. Messy waves are horrible for surfing, but still ok for sailing...
At the beginning of next week, the wind should disappear and the waves should get really big, still from the north. Pat Caldwell says up to 28 feet faces. Conditions should stay about the same for the whole week.
With that size and direction, you can only find me in one surf spot in Maui. Which one? Top secret...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday 10 22 windsurf report

Ah, what another tough day!

I sailed Kanaha with the shortboard and a 5.0. The little camera was mounted on the boom and I took a bunch of photos/videos. Not nearly as good as the ones in the previous post. It's official: this camera is more better (Hawaiian slang) for surfing.
See what I mean?

Here's a little water start. Not too exciting, but at least you don't have to turn the screen like in the post below...

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

In this other one, I do a couple of bottom and top turns. I know, you can barely see them...

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

After that, I moved to Hookipa to take a few photos. The waves were big, the wind was gusty and a few pros were having a blast.
Here's Jason Polakow studying an attack strategy.

Looks like it worked...

And just to finish that wave in glory, a 360. This would have been a high score in the upcoming Aloha Classic. By the way, I'm going to judge. Send me an email if you are going to compete and would like to corrupt me.

Here's another wave 360 by the Australian.

Still him, hitting da lip. He was on fire.

Keith Teboul was carving hard...

...and catching some air here and there.

Kevin Pritchard demolishing a lip.

Not sure who this one is, but for sure he got the bottom turn technique down.

Looks like he can top turn too!

Here's a little video that is called "lucky escape". Why lucky? Because there was a lull in the waves and he got a rare inside gust to water start. Boy, that was close! At the very end, a nice girl (Anna Marie) walks and says "Hey!". I politely answer "how you doin'?", stop the video and start to chat.
I got my priorities...

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Here's another little video to give you a better idea of the conditions. The guy on the blue sail had a bad timing and he will be eaten alive on his way out. It wasn't easy neither for the other guy. Sorry about the lost of focus. Not my fault.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

One guy paddled out and sat at the point. Here he goes...

Wow, what a drop! He actually made that section...

Don't believe it? Here he is, same wave.

End of the post. You guys from around the world should feel almost like you were there too to watch. Like this guy. Well, not quite... You don't have a bike with one shock absorber like him... do you?!

PS. These photos are considerably larger than what I usually post (1.2 MB versus around 300KB). Do they take longer to load? Do the whole blog page take longer to load? Please post a comment to let me know (let me know you connection speed too). Thanks.

No, wait! I almost forgot to tell you about today (Monday 10 23) !
I sailed Kanaha in the morning and Kuau in the late afternoon. The waves at Kuau were much bigger and I had a couple of reeeally nice ride. I was just thinking:"oh well, looks like I'm finally starting to like Kuau", when the wind dropped.
I was on the outside sinking with the water at my knees and it took me forever to slog all the way to the waves. My arms were sore (can't use the harness in that light wind). On the inside there was no wind at all. I started swimming pulling the board with one hand. I was slow, but I was hoping that the wind would pick up again (it usually does that). Then I checked the time: 5.45pm. Damn, I got to de-rig if I want to make it to the shore with the light!
So I did. I packed everything (this time I didn't lose anything in the process) and paddled towards the coast. Of course, at the end, the wind picked up again. But hey, what if it didn't? I did the right thing anyway and I was happy about the whole coolness with which I went thru the whole thing. Very zen. I even managed to enjoy a remarkable sunset!
I made it back thru the little beach of the Paia buddist temple/cemetery around 6.30.
New Zealand's Tracy had sailed in at Tavares and came to check that I was allright. She has a friend that lives right there and he took us back home, so we didn't have to walk back bare foot on the Hana Highway...
The hot shower at home felt particularly good.
One thing for sure. I'm gonna sleep good tonight...

Saturday 10 21 surf/windsurf report

In the morning we went to Thousand Peaks and I had my little waterproof camera with me. The waves were small, but it was a lot of fun.
When I started this first little video I was standing up on the 12.6 and then I dove to show you that there is some reef down there. Thank god for that...

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

There we go, some more reef in this one. And also a beautiful sea creature. What the hell is that? Sea urching? Star fish? I've never seen it before...

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Here, have another (blurred) look.

Then I put the camera around my back ankle (that would be my left one, Christofer) and I tried to take videos. Sometimes, by mistake, I ended up selecting the self portrait option, that takes photos 10 seconds after you push the shutter. Here's a pretty cool one... I'm on it, brah! You can see the leash and the wake of the board. Extremely cool.

Here's another one. Considering how much board you can see and the angle of the camera, I must have walked a little bit towards the nose.

To see the next video, you have to turn you screen 90 degrees clockwise, because I haven't find a sw to rotate videos yet. Do it, it's worth it. You can see the paddling action and then you can see the wave breaking on the tail of the board. Can't turn the screen? Well, a little neck stretch will make you feel better...

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Then, in the afternoon, I went sailing on the same board (what a board!) at Kanaha and I took more videos with the camera mounted on the mast. Light wind, nice waves, more fun.
To see next video, instead, you have to turn you screen 90 degrees counter clockwise. Or, in case you left it vertical from the previous post, 180 degrees... but, why would you do that?
Why did I mount the camera the other way? You don't want to stretch only one side of your neck!
At the end, I move the camera to try to shoot better the other sailors.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

One more. I always check my look when I sail... and at the end I show you the tower of the life guards.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

That's it for saturday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yet another NW swell

Another NW swell arrived today. Let's start with the sunset session at Ho'o.

Uff, that's big!

Lanes looked pretty good.

Good luck with that duck dive...

The sun came out of the clouds for a few minutes and it turned the white water into snow.

On the way back to Maliko.
A few teams were tow surfing at Noriega. They scored some epic, very long rights... but with the help of the jet ski... that's cheating! Cheat-surfing, that's how they should call it.

Nice light on this set.

Nice drop by Alan.

Lanes' line up in the sunset light.

I didn't see any girl out in the water. So, that's what you get...

In the morning, after 11 days of rest, I ventured out at Kanaha standing up on the 12.6. I had a very mellow session, without pushing too hard and it was allright. Still far away from full recovery, but... hey, back in da woda!
I had my little water proof camera with me and I took a few photos.
Even though it's not horizontal, I like this one because it shows the glassyness of the water, the cruise ship in the Kahului harbor, Wailuku and the Iao valley. Oh, and my friend Bill, of course.

I was sitting on the board when I took this one, and, as you can easily imagine, I got nicely worked by that friendly wave...

Here's Bill again. He was one of the first to surf G-Land in Indonesia quite a few years ago. I must have him tell me that story one of this days... I'm sure it will make an interesting post.
Anyway, I took this one while I was riding the same wave in front of him. Does he look like he's having fun or what?

I got out of the water without having taken any photos of girls, but Bella was on the beach getting ready to go out. I had my board on my head and I said:
"Bella, would you please hold the front of my board?"
"Sure", she said, "why?"
"'Cause I need my hands free to take a photo of you!"
She smiled.

Allright, time to go to sleep. Goodnight.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

9th day of rest...

...almost ready to get back in action, though!

Here is a video (4'08") of windsurfing at Hookipa on 10 14 06. Let me spend a few words again about the process of selecting the soundtrack. First, I stick all the little clips together (and eventually edit them), and then I check the lenght of the resulting video. Then I go on Windows Media Player and search for the songs of that lenght. I usually get around 10 titles or so (out of a total 3646) to choose from. This time, the winner was an italian band. Check it out.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Hereafter we have some photos of today (10 15) at Lanes. The wind was Kona (from the left) and those are quite tricky conditions. I heard that Graham Ezzy injured his foot in an aerial a little out of control.
Talking about aerials, here's a bunch! But let's start the show with a not particularly easy goiter.

Wow, those guys were flying! Here's a couple of shots of a big set.

Other people were doing other sports. Here's a surfer.

And here's a kitesurfer on a strapped surfboard.

That's all folks!