Monday, February 26, 2007

A little bit of everything

Fat post filled with links. (right click on them to open in a new window, so you don't have to go back and forth)

Let's start with a tough one.
Watch this video and see how brutally these dolphins are slaughtered.
If it sickened you enough, sign the petition here.
And next time you go grocery shopping think that cows and chickens are killed pretty much the same way.
By the way, nice chicken yesterday Ulli! (I love to contraddict myself).

Signed? Ok, you just deserved something special.
Ladies and gentleman, Pipeline at its very best.

Liked the video? The photos are even better!
The view from the channel in the second photo is mesmerizing. I hope you guys can see these photos even without being a member... let me know in the comments.

Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I would end up in a wheelchair. I think I'd be a bit bummed. Actually, I think I'd be pissed off for the rest of my life. But today I read this and I changed my mind.

In the island of Sal (Cabo verde) the first wave contest of the 2007 Professional Windsurfing Association tour just finished. "Local" Josh Angulo won in a double final against Kauli Seadi. Kevin Pritchard took third and Jason Polakow fourth.
The conditions were insane. Prolly the best wavesailing conditions in a PWA event ever. Check the videos. Watch them all... I can't believe how clean those waves are.
Forward and back loops off the lip... huge aerials... man, that must have been fun to judge...

Meanwhile... here in a pro-less Maui the normal sailors have been having a lot of fun at Hookipa in the past four days. Yesterday I had a blast and today it was even more fun with frequent head high sets, at times bigger.
I can't believe how much fun I can have, despite the awareness of being still pretty much a kook after 6 years in Maui. I love that.
I almost wish I won't get any better. Allright, that's a stretch.
Here's a few friends (that are a lot better) in yesterday's sesh.

Let's start with a couple of photos of Jazz.

Here's a couple of Andres.

Juan in a scrouto loop. :-)

And lastly, a nice trio of sails.

More wind in the next four days of so... it has been quite a windy winter so far. Even though the big NW swells seem to be already gone, Hookipa is still often head high... no complains on my side.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tropical energy games day 5

With the big price already assigned, today they ran a tandem surfing contest that wasn't really part of the best waterman trophy.

It was the first stop of the world tandem surfing tour, though. And I got to judge it...
It was easy, because we only had to score the surfing part and then an expert guy told us the range to choose from for the figures. Like:"that was between 3 and 5". Piece of cake.
Here's an example of the figures you can do on a tandem surfboard... after a little practice.
Don't try that at home!

My favorite in number 3.
The spinning version of number 42 is actually called "the helicopter". Just kidding...

Trust me. Even being alone on a surfboard today would have tough. Shifty peaks of a short period windswell. Steep take offs at the point. Windy enough for Kai Lenny and his dad Martin to be blasting around on their windsurfers at 9am, before the contest started.
I was literally blown away by what those guys did in those conditions.
I was even able to take some photos while judging (I could still see the ride in the screen of the camera). Here are the best ones.
Let's start with a couple that had a stunningly beautiful female part.

This one, instead, is the couple that won. She is over 50!

Look at this. The body of the guy was prolly the best male body I've ever seen. No shit. Even better than mine!!!!!

And now, the same two couples from a different perspective.
Click on them and try to get lost in them. It's quite trippy.

Allright, thanks a lot to Tristan Boxford for putting together such a killer event. It made my healing days exciting instead of boring.
And with an incredible timing, my cuts are now healed enough to allow me to go back in the water tomorrow.

And that, you guys, is bloody good news!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tropical energy games day 4

The day started with the Stand Up Paddle surfing contest.

The conditions were almost a joke with a strong wind with gusts up to 30 knots on the peak at Pavillions (more shaded on the inside). Nonetheless, the display of skill by a few competitors was quite impressive.
Bonga Perkins dominated. I don't know how, but he landed this one.

More action from the SUP surfing final.

After that, they ran a keiki surf contest and after that a kamahaina windsurf expression session. Skyler Haywood won it and Jeff Sutherland took second. He was bummed about his performance and he left saying:"whatever place other than last, it would be a steal."
Well brah, since you're not a thief, I'll have to keep the shorts I got in your place at the reward ceremony...
Here's his effective way of carrying all the gear with one hand (click on the photo and look at Glenn focused face while he's about to give Jeff an unexpected surprise... this photo cracks me up!).

Talking of reward ceremony, the food at the Luau was good (or we were was just hungry... as somebody suggested), the hawaiian music was excellent, but the bad news is that there will be one more car contributing to the traffic in the Kuau neighborhood. Kiva Rivers, in fact, thanks to his 1st place in the shortboard, 2nd in the longboard (Perkins was 1st and Pat Fukuda 3rd), and 2nd in SUP surfing won a brand new Jeep Wrangler and the title of best waterman of the games. Perkins was second and Robby Naish third.

In the freesailing session, Glenn threw a few of his backloops. He was on Fire...

More photos of the day here.
Here, instead a peculiar beach attire.

The sunset left me speechless.

And it's not over yet! Tomorrow there will be the tandem surfing and canoe surfing contests. I'll give my foot one more day of rest (the rest is paying back: the cut is clean and healing pretty fast) and I may be back in the water on Tuesday.
Boy, without this contest it would have been a lot harder...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tropical energy games day 3

Two posts tonight (yesterday I played with my friends Corinne and Tony and I didn't have time). If you haven't read it yet, day 2 is just below this.

At this point, I would go down and read that first, because I like things in chronological order... it makes me feel safe.
But for your extreme luck you're not me, so you do what you want...

Another great day at the beach. Today they started with the longboard surfing contest.
Great performances in shitty windy conditions. We call this "Maui glass", the announcer said...
Bonga Perkins and Paia firefighter Pat Fukuda impressed me the most.
They surfed till 11.30 when it got really too windy and the windsurfing contest was run.
Not many photo, because there were only two semifinals and then I had to judge the final (they needed an extra judge).
This is the only main page worthy one. Robby Naish in the late phase of a push loop in the warmup. A bit dark, prolly wrong settings.

The other main page worthy photo is Kalama with a wig.
He looks like the napolitan singer Pino Daniele (a few years ago... when he had long hair).

Here you find the other photos.

Keith Taboul won the windsurfing category with Sean Ordonez second and Robby Naish third.
I don't know who won the longboard contest because most of the final was run under the rain and I was stuck at the lookout where I went to check out a band playing live reggae music...
I'll post it tomorrow.

Ah, tomorrow: SUP surfing at 7.30 and then maybe tandem surfing, canoe surfing, open Kamahaina windsurf expression session... who knows.

AND, photos of Laird standing up at Jaws on Thursday on Bill's blog. No comment.

Tropical energy games day 2

Today the shortboard surfing and kitesurfing contest took place.

Kuau neighbor Kiva Rivers won the surfing contest with waves like this. He's gonna get barreled on this one and come out if it. You can see it happening...

Robby Naish won the kitesurfing contest smiling.

Plenty more photos here.

That's a special board for disabled people. There's an optical illusion in this photo...

A nice guy called Mark showed me their program. They already organized a few beach event in Oahu and helped people that normally sit on a wheel chair to catch the first waves of their lives. They want to do that in Maui too. I told him that I can help them out as a volunteer instructor and I gave him my number. I really hope they'll call me. I think the smiles I will see that day will blow me away.

In this right moment what is blowing me away, instead, is an extreeemely tight version of Rock'n'roll of Led Zeppelin. Live from Radio Rock in my studio in Kuau. Brava Cecilia, the dj. And it's 7am Sunday morning in Rome! Got to love these guys...

Back to the post, GP!
What, now you guys want more? Da hell... and I gave you the surfing... and I gave you the kitesurfing...

Allright, allright, let me give you some windsurfing too...
Around 3.30 the water was open for freesailing. Nat Gill, a Paia electrician just as good as a pro, was one of the few lucky (and smart) sailor that scored a very uncrowded Hookipa.
He showed me and everybody else that didn't leave the cliff that windsurfing is a lot more fun to watch than kitesurfing when it's down to wave riding.

I ve'had the same theory for 6 years and I still believe it. Here it is.
For a remarkable percentage of time, the kite has a component of the pull that is towards up. And that makes you lighter. And you can't dig that rail in the water as much as you can on windsurfer, that has even the additional weight of the sail. The sail pulls forward, not up.
And when you jump or hit the lip and fly (like in this photo), you don't have a parachute to slow you down. All the impacts are harder.

He landed on the face of the wave the following two rotations off the lip. Impressive.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tropical energy games day 1

I'm injured, so I get to watch this contest at Hookipa... at least good timing!

A few words on this event. Organized by Tristan Boxford, the program is open to all water sports.
Surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP surfing, tow surfing, tandem surfing, hawaiian outrigger canoe surfing. Whatever the conditions will be good for. Mostly invitations only, but this morning they were accepting subscriptions at the beach. For the surfing contest, at least.
This morning they started at 10.30 with surfing.
A solid 12 feet hawaiian NW swell hit the island just in time. Many waves were in the triple overhead range, like this one.

I got there late, so that's the only good photo of the quarter finals I got.
Here's the board.

The surf contest will continue tomorrow at 7.30.
Around noon the wind picked up a notch (how was it down at Kanaha? you bastards...) and the kite competition started.
It took them a while before they were ready, so they could only do one heat. The wind got really light and most of the kitesurfers of this heat ended up being rescued by the jet ski.
Here's Pet Cabrinha hitting a lip.

And here's a kite on the rocks.

I always hated to deal with the lines on the beach... imagine in this situation. Good luck with those tangles...

After the contest, a few surfers challenged the tough conditions (Lanes looked pretty good, actually). Here's my favorite surfer of the day.

Tonight there's a concert of the guitarist David Nelson. He played in a few Grateful Dead records, so I assume it's that kind of music.
I've never really been into that kind of music...
It's 25 bucks...
Tomorrow I don't want to miss the start of the surfing contest...

mmm... not too sure about this concert... I'll go for an icecream in Paia and then I'll see...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

pissed off

I'm rarely pissed off.
But these days I am. For a bunch of reasons.

I'm going to just describe my last masterpiece.

I went out at 4pm at Hookipa with the slalom board (it was windy on the outside and there were no waves at all).
The tide was superlow and I knew there was a high risk of hitting the reef right at the shore break. Instead of walking out a bit in deeper water, I launched anyway.
Sure enough the fin got stucked, I dinged my board in the fin box (good luck with the repair...) and I landed pretty hard on the reef plugging a deep hole in my foot.
And tomorrow there's a big swell coming.
I'm such a kook... and I'm so pissed off...

Fortunately somebody else is quite happy these days. Read what my friend Bill has to say about longboard sailing.

As for myself, I think I need a carpet session...
That's what I do when I'm pissed off or I think I have a problem.
I lay down on the carpet and pretend I can't move my legs. Then I say:"ok, let's go to the bathroom!"
It only takes me few feet of crawling on my elbows and I realize how lucky I am that I can move my legs. And I have no right to complain for anything!
You guys should try... it works!

Big respect and love to all the people on a wheelchair that will eventually read this.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More people, more often, more places.

That's what the longboard de-revolution will bring to the windsurfing world.

That's what Svein Rasmussen, founder of Starboard, says in this little interview he gave me last December. If you can't see it here, try here.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Thanks to Svein for all those compliments (he's a really nice guy) and for sharing with us a vision that I completely agree with.
Because for three years I've sailed a longboard surfboard on the waves in light wind. And I know how much fun it is.
And there's many others that actually never stopped having fun with longboards.
Check this old clip that Wardog did a few years ago. At 51 seconds you'll see a guy riding waves on a Hifly Revo. Well, I tried that too. It's nearly impossible, because of the lack of rocker (those are beginner boards)... but that guy didn't have anything better. Now he will.

As you can see from the main page of their website (click on Do it standing up!), Starboard is going to make two models of longboards, both good for SUP surfing, regular surfing, tandem surfing, AND sailing in light wind with or without waves.

A 12'2" X 26 5/8" by Mark Raaphorst (top Maui based SUP rider and shaper).
and a 12'6" x 30" by Svein Rasmussen/Jim Drake.

Both are great boards, available around April.
The first one is prolly a bit easier to turn, but with the last prototype of the second one (to which design Jeff Henderson has heavily contributed), the other day I was able to hang ten for like 4 seconds... Hang ten means riding a wave with both feet on the nose of the board. Unreal.

And, in case there was need for a confirmation that a change is really happening, I officially announce that my kingdom at lower Kanaha has come to an end. Today, in fact, there were three more longboarders together with me... one was Peter Thommen with his own prototype.
I'm not alone out there anymore.
I reigned unchallenged for three wonderful years. So many times I've been the only one out in complete solitude. Some other times with the company of a few surfers or kitesurfers or slogging windsurfers.
Again, I feel like that guy that surfed Mavericks alone for many years, before he shared it with some friends and the spot became known. I feel like a very privileged windsurfer. And I want to thank Jeff - again - for sharing the knowledge of such an incredible source of fun.

This is a nice picture of Svein and Jeff going out for a test session. You can't see the boards (eheh..), but you can admire the beauty of those sails (Jeff's one is an early prototype of the new upcoming Fire).

Let me change subject, but let me keep thanking Jeff.
Yesterday I broke my mast in the waves. I was being sucked out by the channel and pushed back in by the waves and I did this loop for four times. The equipment got a lot of serious poundings. When I finally was able to swim away from that circling current, I managed to sail back to the beach (clearly, I was on the longboard). With the mast broken in three pieces. It looked like I was sailing a tent, Chantal said on the beach.
Guess what happened to the mast sleeve?
Pretty much nothing.
What the hell is that material made of?!? All the other sails I used in the past would have had at least the mast sleeve lacerated. More prolly they would have been completely destroyed by the waves. Instead, I was able to sail back, change the mast and go sail again... my Superfreak was intact. Unbelievable.
Here's one of the spots where the mast broke. Can barely tell.

Allright, enough windsurfing for today.

Yesterday, after sailing, I went to Cash&Carry and I bought some frozen Mahi Mahi ($1.69 a piece... I cook it in a fresh tomato soupy sauce... delicious) and some beers. Unfortunately, they didn't have cold beers. But I was thirsty.
Now, not only I am happy that my mind was able to come up with such an idea... but what really pleases me is that I actually did it!
This is my patented frozen Mahi Mahi beer holder. You put it on in Kahului and by the time you get in Makawao, the beer is chilled.
Notice the need of a vacuum cleaner on the left and the two standup paddles and the signs of the Hookipa rocks on my board on the right...

That cold beer feels good... of course, you better eat the fish after that, but that was the plan already...

After beer amusement.

So long.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Let me throw a post at almost 10pm... real quick (maybe, we'll see...).

These photos I took this morning in a 15 minutes stop on the hill at Lanes are just too good. Got to share them for your pleasure.
I picked this one as the best. Unfortunately, I don't know the guy, but maybe he'll get to see it on this blog... I would die to have a photo like this...

The wind was still light Kona and the, as you can see here, the waves were pretty clean. I surfed Kanaha and had a blast in perfect head high peelers. Extremely fun.

One more photo on the main page: lines at Lanes.
Wait a moment. Is it called Lanes because they look like lanes? Why not call it Lines then? I got to find out where the name is from...

Two (maybe three) words about yesterday's sesh.
As forecasted the conditions were perfect for longboard sailing. Unfortunately, they were perfect for surfing too, so there were just too many surfers at lowers. I had to sail uppers and I caught a bunch walk to the nose kind of rights.

At the end of my second session, I noticed that the weird wave was going off. The weird wave is called like this because when it's trade winds it pretty much breaks traveling upwind. It's a gnarly wave (pretty shallow) with some strong currents. You don't want to get stuck there when it's big and windy.

Yesterday, instead, it was light Kona and, conseguentely, pretty clean. I caught a first head high one and it was good. So I decided to catch another one.
I got on the spot and the wind died completely. I saw this one coming. It was a little overhead high at about 30 yards (a yard is just like a meter... just a bit shorter) from me. It looked like I was in the right spot and I thought I could catch it anyway, despite the lack of wind. But that thing jacked up like a little Teahupoo. It sucked the water in front of it and I started moving backwards with it.
That thing got almost mast high by the time it got to me. I thought I was going to wipe out so bad... The drop looked impossible.
I was still going backwards being sucked on the face of the wave, when it felt like my board was at a 70 degrees angle and the free fall started. I don't know how I made it. Sure, I must have done something right, like pushing down on the mast foot and shifting my weight on the front foot for the drop and then shifting it on the back foot just before getting to the bottom, but for sure there's at least two other factors that saved my ass:
1) the shape of the board MUST be good to handle such a steep drop... thanks Jeff Timpone. That board rocks.
2) the ocean just decided not to punish me. I prolly was in the only spot where I could have done the drop. The luck (or karma) factor was enormous.
I'm sure somebody in the near lineup at lowers saw it and I really hope that one day somebody I know will go:"hey, I saw that drop on the weird wave the other day..."
I wonna know how it looked from the side. I need to know how vertical my board was. Not that it would change the exhilarating experience, but it would be nice to know if the feeling I had was true.

ANYWAY... boy was I long? Yesterday was fun, today was fun and tomorrow's forecast calls for big waves and light NE wind. Could be a good day for longboard sailing at the outer reef of uppers. Better go to sleep... stoked as usual.
Also because I just checked the NW buoy: 14 feet, 15 seconds at 9pm... holy shmoly!

Monday, February 05, 2007

crazy Kona day 4

Another not too shabby post.

Let's start with two more photos from day 3.
The first one is the most incredible windsurfing shot I have ever taken. Prolly the most incredible I've ever seen too.
It's Tristan Boxford in a huge aerial off the lip. The lip of the first wave, not the one on the back...
I sent him an email to double check that the wave was the first. Here's what he replied:"I believe it was the same wave, but the wind was so strong that when I hit the lip, it propelled me up and way downwind, to the point that the section that I hit is not even in the picture any more...I hope that this makes sense. No lies!!"
If I was the managing editor of a windsurfing magazine, I would publish it... got the message, there? ;-)

And if you don't believe that the wind could "propell" him so high, just check Polakow's board in this other picture.

This is Robby Swift. I love the colors in this photo.

And this is Josh Stone. It takes balls to hit the lip of such a big wave...

Kevin Pritchard (on the wave behind) and Jesse Brown make good use of a set.

In the morning Laird went out again on his standup board (sorry, I missed him). A lifeguard told me he saw him getting completely barreled. Then, on another wave, he wiped out and the strong offshore wind blew his board on his face forcing him to seek medical help at the hospital. 14 stitches. One for each foot of his board.
This morning, four days later, he was surfing Hookipa again on his standup doing board 360s sticking the paddle in the wave and then passing it behind his back. Or catching waves fin first and then turning the board 180 degrees. Making it look like it was the easiest thing in the world.
He didn't look like he was whining neither on the lifeguard tower after his session.

Swallen detail.

44 more photos of another epic Kona day here. Check them out, there's some interesting stories...

The day after the wind was straight onshore but I sailed on a longboard prototype. I couldn't believe how much fun I had in those conditions. I was catching the waves going right, then jibing on the wave and continuing the ride to the left. So much fun.
When I got back in, Jeff showed me a prototype (not a 2008 sail, just a prototype) of a Superfreak with an extra panel in PVC to improve the visibility on the wave.
Prolly the best looking sail I have ever seen. Let's see who's the first one to open a topic on the Superfreak forum. Nah, I can't resist... I'll open it first.

BTW, the name of Jeff's dog is Patch... how funny is that?
Detail of the ancient Japanese graphic.

Today the surf was superfun and glassy at Hookipa. I surfed there in the morning and on the standup at Lanes in the afternoon. 5 photos here.

Unfortunately a few days ago a surfer girl in California didn't have fun. Read this.
I found this on another site:
The following was written by Michelle after the death of her first child:
Do not pursue the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. The past no longer is. The future has not yet come. Looking deeply at life as it is, in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom. We must be diligent today. Tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it? The sage calls a person who knows how to dwell in mindfulness night and day “one who knows the better way to live alone.”
Do not rely on individuals; rely on the teachings. Do not rely on words; rely on the meaning. Do not rely on the adapted meaning; rely on the ultimate meaning. Do not rely on intellectual knowledge; rely on wisdom.

I'm so sorry that such a person died.

Thanks Wardog for those links. And thanks also for your online juke box. I don't like everything in it (but it's easy to skip to the next song), but I'm listening to it right now and Bob Marley just came up after Miles Davis... not too bad. ;-)

Tomorrow's forecast is for big waves and light Kona. And I could be doing one of the things that I like most in life: sailing Kanaha with light Kona. And with this thought in my mind, I'll go to sleep with a big smile...

Ad maioram waves gloriam.