Friday, August 31, 2007

one of my top 5 favorite waves

Man, I'm surfing my ass off these days!

Out of the first five days of this week, I got 4 four stars days and a 3 stars one, including two full moon SUP surfing sessions. Not too shabby.

Here's a little video of... the 3 stars day (definitely a bit crowded...).
Bloddy hell, I forgot the music again! That is Makana...

But it was still worth to surf there because... here's an interesting board story.

A few years ago (at least three) I bought a sweet T&C 8.6 surfboard at a garage sale from Ed Angulo: 200 bucks.
I loved the board right away, but unfortunately it was built very light and I started to bump it all around the stringer with my weight (it was probably built for a very light person, like a kid or a girl). So I sold it to a girl for 350.
Heck, 150 net gain... not too bad!
I thought I would have looked for a similar more robust board, now that I knew the shape... but none of the ones I tried could even barely match the incredible performance of that one.

I learned a lesson: never ever sell a magic board.

After almost one year I met again the girl and she had just bought a new smaller board.
"Can I buy my board back?", I asked her.
"Sure, 350 plus a surf lesson to me and a water start lesson to my husband", she replied...
"OK, deal!"... that's the karma you get when you're too greedy, I thought...

Anyway, I was super stoked to have my baby back. I put a stripe of fiberglass on the top of the stringer and the board seemed to resist much better to the pressure of my feet...

Then one sad day in I had to send this email to all the surfers I knew in Maui:

Dear island surfer,

first of all, I apologize if I eventually sneaked your email address from the internet or somewhere else. You're a surfer too, you can imagine how much it hurts to have your best boards stolen. Please help me out on this...
You probably figured this already, but it's good to be reminded... Hawaii is not anymore the safety paradise it used to be!
My car got stolen in Kahului last Friday, Feb 10th 2006. It was found two days later. My three surfboards were gone along with my car stereo components.
Here's a brief description of the boards:

a) 9.3 Bill Foote. Bright yellow deck with the footprint logo right on the front, round pin tail. The bottom is white and there's a fix with the footprint logo on one side. No measures written.

b) 8.6 Town & Country. Shaped by K. Rapoza (it says that on the deck), blue color, round pin tail. It has a reinforcement of fiberglass 4 inches wide on the stringer from the pad to the shaper's name. I'm attaching a photo of it (I'll put it on my blog too).

c) 6.10 Illusion surf. White (don't remember the shaper).

If you see them, call me, write down the license plate, call the police (I got a police report with their description), start screaming, do something... If they try to sell them to you for cheap cash (less than $100 for a) and b) and less than $50 for c)), please buy them, take the license plate number and call me. I will buy them back from you! If you are the thief, call me I'll buy them back (just kidding...).
The most important thing would be to forward this email to all you surfer friends and spread the word. PLEASE!

One and a half year later, I was about to leave the above (not) mentioned spot, when a guy gets out of the water with my board...
I almost had a heart attack...

I went to him, introduced myself, explained what happened and found an agreement to buy it back from him for $140. He clearly wasn't the thief (and even if he was, I don't care) and he had bought it for $200 last week, but he confessed me that he didn't really like it... "I knew that was something wrong with it... it was the karma of a stolen board!"
"yes brah, it was because she was in the water together with me she and wanted to go back to me!!!"...

I got my board back. Probably nobody surfed it for all this time, because the board only had a little new ding, but it was pretty much like it was back then.

I was wondering if I still would have thought it was that great, since in the last 1.5 years I have definitely become a better surfer...
I surfed it at Breakwall the day after and at the end of the very first wave I screamed "YES!" so loud that all the people on the boats in the Lahaina harbor turned their heads and thought:"wow, that guy must have just had a killer ride!"...

I did have a killer ride. Just like all the other rides I had and I will have with that board... the bloody best board I've ever had!
K. Rapoza, I don't know you, but I love you!

PS. This morning I got in the water in another one of my top 5 favorite spots at 7.30. No wind, head high, super sunny, nobody out. Not much of a ride, pretty much just the drops. But 10 drops in that spot with nobody out and with the possibility of picking the wave I wanted in the set and the take off spot I wanted... what a delight!!
Getting out of the water I was greeted by a horde of wild goats. "Beeehhh" said one before running away.
It seems that in goat's language, that means "nice stick, brah!"

Allright, let's change subject.

Here's the sad, but hopefully happy ending story of Federico.
Buena suerte, hermano!

And here's the petition to speak up against the Maui county's decision to enforce the existing laws regulating the vacation rentals.
And, since a medal always has two faces, as the first comment to this post clearly reminds us, here's the petition to instead support the Maui county's decision to enforce the existing laws regulating the vacation rentals!

I still have some killer tandem and longboard sailing videos to edit, but no time... hang in there... this south swell will end (sigh!) sooner or later...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

If I only had the time... edit all the shit I film!

I think I film less then 10% of the stuff I do. And I don't have the time to edit it.
Why? Because I do a lot of stuff...

Take the last 24 hours:
- Yesterday afternoon I got in the water SUP surfing at 1000 peaks around 6pm and I got out around 9pm. The full moon rose at 7pm and it was just bloddy gorgeous. The first forerunners of the new south swell were hitting. We're talking 2 footers of 20 seconds period... soooo clean!
Going right, I was going straight into the moonlight... one of those things that either you've done it or there's no way I can describe it.
- allright, this morning I had some errands/work to do
- this afternoon I sailed Hookipa on the longboard. I was testing the new camera mount and it worked just great for sailing too... oh, wait! I better check the clips first...

Well, that's the point!
I can't, because I'm leaving in 5 minutes to go standup surf with the full moon again, this time with a bunch of friends.

Honestly, I don't know anybody who has a better life than me. You guys can try to suggest me someone, but trust me... it's going to be hard one!

See ya later!!!

PS. Thanks to Nelisblog for the first comment. Here's a reply/clarification.

Good one!

Travelling is great, but life is a limited amount of time. It's a matter of trying not to waste it and use it the way that makes you happy.
In my world my highest priority is riding waves. If I wanted to travel more, guess what I would do?...
I would travel more!

So, if Matt likes travelling, looks like he's doing pretty good.

In the end, mine was a provocative question for all the blog readers:
Are you guys having the lives you would like to have?
Can you guys say too: "I don't know anybody who has a better life than me"?

Yes? Good job!
No? Time to start doing something about it!

PPS. Here's another reply to a comment, that I thought about posting here.

thanks for the sentence "Where can I study, learn, and practice, to be more like you?"... it makes me feel very Dalai Lama...

Anyway, my tip is: question everything.
Question the messages that this society gives you. Question the "values" that the people around you have. Even question what your parents tell you!
We live in an world where the perception of what is good for us has been incredibly distorted by more than 2000 years of what we call "civilization".

Dogs are not civilized. Dogs don't worry about tomorrow. Dogs don't commit suicide. Dogs are waaaay happier than humans.
Why? 'Cause when they feel like barking at the moon, you know what they do? The bark at the moon.

Just act like a dog and do what you feel like doing...

Well, at this point I'm going to open a thread about this kind-of-philosophical topic on my forum, so that the discussion can go on indefinitely. You'll find it here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

new SUP camera mount

I tested it yesterday and it works great!

Here's what I did.
I put two stripes of industrial strength adhesive velcro on the front of the board (you can find it at ACE harware). I shaped a piece of clarkfoam like an H, so that I could wrap the camera around it. I glued (epoxy) the velcro counterpart on the bottom of the H.
Et voila'!

The velcro is incredibly strong and it didn't come off in some waiste high shorebreak. I actually think that in a big wipeout, the epoxy resin and/or the foam may give up before the velcro... so I don't think I'll take it out in big surf. UNLESS... I put a leash plug on the front of the board, so that I can secure a safety line to the camera. Crazy as I am, it's actually quite possible that I will do that... and that means that you guys will sooner or later score some epic stuff on my blog. I could even put it on my 9.0... Here's another detail.

I'm also thinking about shaping an extra piece of foam and sticking it (still with velcro) on top of the mount, so to protect the camera from the mast when sailing... but I first want to check if it's worth it. I mean, if the sailing videos from the front of the board will be worth it. In the meantime, here's a little video of those three waves that I caugth during the test.

In case you enjoyed the fall, here it is again...

Ah, one more thing.
Do you think my Jimmy Lewis will ever be in the water again?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

8 18-19 07 Maui Speed Challenge

I finally found some time to edit the video of the speed challenge that took place last weekend.

The results are on their web page, speed session 8.
I think a special award for the best spirit should go to Ian and Kristin, who are learning how to windsurf (still uphauling, but ready for a water start lesson!) and did it on a beginner board: 18.4 and 12.8 respectively.

Sunday I was able to first enjoy a 2.5h wave sesh at Hoo and then move to Sprecks and log a second personal best: 29.3 (versus 29.6). Still under those damn 30 knots...
Looks like I won't be able to do it for a while, because:
1) I seriously damaged my Jimmy Lewis (not the wooden one you see in the video that was kindly lended by Erik)
2) there's a stretch of light wind days in front of us.
There's also a decent south swell arriving this Tuesday and that's good news.
Here's the video... enjoy it!

If you can't see it here, try here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

5 good reasons for choosing Denmark as windsurf destination

I received this email from my friend Beatrice Wuthrich and I'm happy to share, also because I got so many videos to edit that I won't be able to post anything too soon...
Thanks Bea for the report!

1. Surf of all kinds
Denmark’s coastline is so varied that all windsurfers can find somewhere to suit their skills and moods. Whether you’re a windsurf freak, or just looking for a playground where you can hang out with other windsurfers, or looking for a calm bay without too many spectators. You can even find some waves for surfing but don't expect too many days of glassy conditions.

2. Lots of room
There’s plenty of space and great places where you won’t get too close to swimmers or flocks of other windsurfers. There is also normally room on the beach for your equipment and you won’t need to lock your board up when you go to lunch.

3. Lots of scope in the same area
People travelling in a group often want different things from a windsurfing holiday. In Denmark, distance is not a problem and you can often find places with towering waves and shallow fjords or lakes in the same area. For example, at Klitmøller, wave fanatics windsurf along the coast of Klitmøller or Hamburg Bay and less experienced windsurfers have fun at Vandet Sø.

At Hvide Sande and all the way along Holmsland Klit, experienced windsurfers can surf from the coast in the North Sea, and speed windsurfers or less experienced windsurfers can enjoy themselves in the shallows of Ringkøbing Fjord.

4. More time on the water and less in the car
In Denmark, you can always find a stretch of coast with optimal wind conditions and can switch from one coast to another without spending hours in a car. Nowhere in Denmark is more than 45 minutes from the water.

5. You need wind…
The westerlies are what really count when calculating wind statistics – especially in the spring and summer, when the wind from the west creates really challenging, demanding conditions.

A few more photos.

This post has also a topic on my forum.

Oh, and Sharon just posted quite a good post you guys should check out too.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Matt Pritchard's forward loop clinic

A week ago Matt Pritchard gave a free forward loop clinic in Kanaha.
Here's a few tips (if you can hear them...) from one of the best sailors in the world.

If you can't see it here, try here.

I had never tried a forward loop (and at this point, never will...) and had very little interest in learning... pretty much I just happened to be there with nothing better to do.
But it was interesting and I actually did pretty good in the beach break simulation so I went out sailing determined to try at least one.
Unfortunately (?) the wind got too light to attempt even a little jump.
Back on the beach a friend gave me a new wave board to try and that was the end of my forward loop carrier...

Here's my take on forwards and jumps in general.
The fun I have jumping is 1 compared to a 10 when I ride waves. So... why risk injuries that would keep me out of the water... not really worth it for me.
Matt says in the video that he broke his ankles three times trying backloops.
The other day I met an italian tourist who broke his wrist doing a forward on the first day of his three weeks windsurfing vacation in Maui.

Getting worked by a mast high wave while trying to hit the lip... that's how I'd rather get hurt!
Or dropping on a double overhead bomb at La Perouse!!!

PS. Do you guys like Youtube better than Dropshots? Did it make your browser crash at all? It did once with mine, but I'm not sure what's the problem...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

that wavy monday

Hey you, Maui photographer! Wonna get some exposure? Come take photos of me when I'm sailing at Hookipa and send them to me... ;-)

That's what Harry Wiewel did Monday and that's his website where you can find more photos of that day and of many other days, like this sick one of Dioni Guadagnino at Kanaha a few days ago.

Here, instead, a few photos of me at Hoo... thanks Harry!

When I said that I went very close to the rocks, I really meant it...

Monday, August 13, 2007


---- start of second and last update ----

Well, Tuesday Hookipa was too squally to offer any good wavesailing (the wind died too often), so I went for plan B: the speed challenge in Sprecks. Not many people, but all pretty good: Erik Beale, Alex Aguera, Tom Hammerton, Patrick Bergeron and a few others. I think Erik and Alex logged something around 35ish, check the event site for updates. You will have to look for results=> speed session 8.
I hit 28.7 on my slalom gear and even though it's a hell lot of fun to just try to beat your best run of the day, learning that Patrick did 31 knots on wave gear didn't make me feel exactly proud of my performance...

Anyway, Flossie is dissipating very quickly. Here's the Wednesday morning photo.

I should have some photos from the Monday wave session coming, so stay tuned.

---- end of second and last update ----

---- start of first update ----

Here's a closeup satellite photo of Tuesday morning.

And here's the surfline readings of buoy 51004, which has just been passed by the hurricane center. It went up to 16 feet, 10 seconds.

The reasons hurricanes don't generate as big swells as deep winter storms is that even though they have stronger winds, they are way more compact and don't have big fetches of wind were the seas can completely develop. Still, 16 feet... the Big Islands south east shore will get some pounding. Not a problem... it's all lava there...
They will get some heavy rain too.

---- end of first update ----

Fourth serious windswell episode from the beginning of July (...and June was pretty damn good too).

Without any doubt, the best wavesailing summer I can remember in the last six years.
Today Hookipa was often overhead. Pounding shore break, people of the rocks (I've been very close myself). Not the same cleaness of a 16 seconds winter NW swell of course, but... BLOODY HELL, THERE'S WAVES!!!!

Here's the puppy that made a bunch of Hookipa windsurfers happy today.

Tomorrow the waves should be bigger and the wind stronger (today it was 4.7, gusty as usual). Here's the projected path.

Just received the email that announces the speed challenge for tomorrow.
I'm gonna go wave sailing first and if the rain will shut down the wind at Hoo (like it happened today), I may move down the coast and try to break my 30 knots barrier.

What a life.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Busy times

Boy, I'm pretty busy these days!

Let me start with a photo of myself doing a little backwind ride on a small windswell one at Hoo.
I can't believe that, kook as I am, I'm starting to do that on a 7.10. I can only thank the practice I did on the longboard. If you want to learn something, try it first in the easiest possible conditions (and equipment). You'll learn it a lot faster.

Once in a while, I kind of like to do my bottom turns very deep. This one is way too deep though, and I'll be late for the hit...

... unlike Francisco Goya instead.

This was one of those windswell days at the beginning of the week (kind of gone now...).
Here's an email that Chico sent me yesterday:

I got some decent shots of you and others on Monday. Some are a big out of focus -- damn manual focus lens.

Check em out here

I love n.11 (Pascal in an aerial almost as high as the wave), n.17 & 34 (don't know the name, but that french guy rips) and n.27 showing Griffin sailing with his Superfreak at Lanes in a really beautiful light.

I just finished watching the DVD's of the BBC series Planet Earth (they are available on Amazon and plenty more places online).
Absolutely fantastic. The photography is unbelievable! And I love the strong environmental message too. I wish everybody would watch it (just like Hawaii a message in the waves).
It's going to be my Christmas present for my parents and my brother and sister families, for sure!

And last, BUT NOT LEAST, here's a link to a post on an interesting blog.
The post is about the greatest swell forecaster of all times. The one and only. The myth. The most respected and charismatic person in the Hawaii surfing world. A living legend, more than Laird Hamilton...
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Pat Caldwell.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The waviest summer of the last six years...

I mean windswell on the north shore (the south shore season instead has been below the average so far...).

I just can't believe it! There have been at least three windswell episodes in july and the first week of august that reached the head high mark or more. I can't remember anything like that since I'm here.
I guess it's the eastern flank of the high pressure that is just lining up right these days.
Here are a few pics from yesterday, a day that I would definitely rank 4 stars. I personally had a blast, with two very inspired sessions.
Jason Prior got out of the water saying:"hey, this is better than winter!"

Here's the main page deserver of the day: Nico's backloops are always a pleasure to watch... he bloody sticks them all!

Here's a slide show (please let me know if you like it better than dropshots that lately is pissing me off). I was fooling around with the bracketing of my camera and there are a few sequence experiments. When it's taking sequences, I can't see anymore what I'm shooting, so it pretty much sucks. But I got a few decent ones...
Put the cursor on a photo to stop it and read the caption.

Wonna see the photos bigger?

Here's another main page deserver. My friend Sergio from Uruguay was windfishing (fishing on a big windsurf board...) one mile outside Kanaha last Sunday. He caught something big and started a battle to bring it in. When the fish was at 30 yards the handle of the reel broke. He could only tow it all the way in and so he did. He still didn't know what it was. When he got onshore, here's the big Ulua he found on the hook.

Good job. I got to ask him how it was...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

SUP surfing at thousand peaks

Bloody hell, it's a lot of work to edit these movies!

Still, one of the most creative things I can do (at least at home when it's dark). In other words: a lot of fun.
This time I'll take you SUP surfing at Thousand peaks.
Small waves of rather poor quality... that's when SUP surfing is unbeatable.

The camera setup with the tie-down strep duct-taped on the bottom showed its limits: it slows down the board too much and it takes too long to set up. I'm done with it. I'll come up with something different.
I'm pretty much done with the camera on the ankle too. You'll see how boring it is compared to the other clips. Maybe with bigger waves...

The selection of the soundtrack took me forever. So many good songs around 5 min 30 secs! I finally chose an italian band called Litfiba, with a rather groovy and going tune called Luisiana.


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If you can't see it here, try here.