Wednesday, April 30, 2008

south shore firing

As a second update to this post, I insterted a slide show after the photos. Scroll down for it. ------end of second update-----

This is Diony in one of the two photos that made me go: oh my god... Look at that wave! How beautiful is that?!

OMG two: Francisco Goya.

This one shows how difficult the conditions were. A super strong offshore gust won't allow Diony to drop in this one and he's checking what's behind it... which is a very important thing to know every time you wave sail in such big waves.

Maybe this one wasn't an OMG, but sure was a WOW! Look at the amount of wind on the face of that wave... looks like snake skin. Francisco.

Diony aerial.

Heavy, mean looking lip.

All photos were shot at the best resolution that my camera allows: 2592x1944.

And here's the slide show.

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

As correctly forecasted on this blog 10 days ago (excuse me if I brag when I get it right), Maui's south shore went off today.

I caught four of the best waves of my life, before getting a cut on the heel in a major wipeout. Not too bad, could have been a lot worse. Maybe a couple of days out of the water... or maybe not!

Well, you guys lucked out 'cause that forced me to stay put and take plenty photos of the wave sailing action that happened in the afternoon somewhere else...
Tonight I'm too tired to sort them out, but I did find the time to edit a short video, though. Enjoy it and come back for the photos.

PS. The surfer in the video is a brazilian guy called Marcio. He's a super nice, non sponsored, absolutely stoked about surfing guy who has no shortage of guts.
At the end of this video he paddles into a major monster left at Jaws... hats off.

Monday, April 28, 2008

sweet week(s)

Last week was pretty sweet.

Let's see it backwards starting from the weekend that saw some killer wavesailing conditions. Saturday lowers was logo to mast high all day, with slightly onshore light winds.
My 5.0 superfreak ultralight is such a good sail in these conditions, that I now prefer it to my 5.5... no matter how light the wind is! I loved it and gave the day 5 stars.
Here's Chico enjoying the sunset session.

Between my sessions I sat and chilled out (i.e. took photos) on the beach.
I believe this kid was sent to the beach by his lazy dad (who was sitting in the shade under the trees) so that he could have an idea of the wind strength...

Mmm... strapped longboard...

Ops! We have a swimmer...

Mrs. Haselback proudly watches her son ripping. Nice reflection in her sunglasses.

Sunday was smaller and a tad windier. Still fun, but not even remotely as good as saturday. When it's up to riding a wave, the less wind I have the more I like it.
Talking about which, let's now move to the middle of the week that saw three days of fantastic glassy surf on the north shore.
I surfed so much that I didn't even have the time to take photos. These are from the past week somewhere on the south shore.

There's a high chance that this week will be sweet too. The south swell is on its way. With the Christmas island buoy out of service, there's no really way of telling how big it will be.
Well, actually judging from the first photos from Teahupoo it shouldn't be too small. How about that wipeout at number 13?
Here's more regular surfing action.

What can I say? Let's hope we won't get blocked too much, even though I'm afraid we will...

Life is good, despite Kahoolave.


PS. Just received this email that I'm happy to publish.



San Francisco Intl Airport almost killed windsurfing
and kiting in south San Francisco Bay. We were
windsurfers at heart, but we spoke out as scientists,
lawyers, airline pilots, government regulators, real
estate developers, frequent flyers, and commuters to
fight SFO's colossal 10 billion dollar project.

Big news on SFO airport's attempt to construct
unnecessary new runways into SF Bay -- which would
have wiped out Coyote Point and most likely 3rd Avenue

A decade of blood, sweat, and tears.

*The popular Third Avenue launch would most likely
have been wiped out as well due to massive silting of
the shoreline, and a likely 20 year ban on watersports
due to constantly moving construction barges
throughout the entire area and the massive dredging up
of toxic elements from deep in the Bay mud.

Board Member, SFBA

Friday, April 25, 2008

point of views

No wait... Maybe it should have been points of view, actually...

Anyway, this is some old footage that I finally found the time to edit. A little surprise appearance in the middle for the Hot Sails Maui fans. Enjoy.

Two words on the soundtrack.
My favorite band Porcupine Tree's leader/founder/soul Steve Wilson is one of the most prolific musicians alive. He has hundreds of parallel projects going on and has collaborated with literally thousands of other bands/musicians. Blackfield is just one of his side projects: a collaboration with israeli musician Aviv Geffen. So far they've published two cds, the first one (where the song of the video belongs) is imo the best and it's a masterpiece.
Lately, in fact, I had it in my car stereo and I was lazy enough to leave it there for like... a month! Every time I went surfing or sailing I had the last song that was playing in the car in my head and that felt really good.
Then one day I said: ok that's too much, I need to change.
I randomly picked two cds from the big collection at home.
First one was a Social Distortion one (how the hell did I get one?). Put it in... lasted three minutes.
Second one was a classic: U2's Joshua Tree. That one lasted 40 minutes (i.e. one complete listen) and then had to go.
I put Blackfield I back in and it's still happily spinning since...
It's one of those rare cds with not a single bad song.

No wind these days in Maui, but beautiful, glassy, epic waves out of 330 on the north shore. Epic surfing, loving it.
The wind is supposed to come back in the weekend. Then, next week, the forecasted solid south swell is totally confirmed: it's going to last all week with a peak on Wednesday.
Life is good.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hana bike ride + uncle Pat + links

This is not a post, this is a whole magazine. If you watch/read all the stuff I posted it'll take you one hour, so take your time and maybe do it in several steps.

Hana bike ride
Couple of weeks ago I filmed a bike ride in Hana with the helmet mount that the guys at GoPro sent me.

The mount is extremely sturdy. Unfortunately the helmet was a couple of sizes too small and it just didn't fit good on my big head. In other words, the whole helmet was wobbly...

Here's the little movie.

Bored to death?
How about this one instead?

Cool, uh? You should check the motocross one on their website (didn't manage to embed it here...).


Uncle Pat
Here's a couple of questions I asked Pat Caldwell and his answers.

Q1. As long as I remember, last week's one was of the earliest big south swells of the last 7 years. And there's another big one just around the corner. Can this somehow mean that this is going to be a good summer for our south shores?

uncle Pat: We had a 4-5 Hawaii scale S swell in February this year, so this year started off goofy-foot (right foot forward). Not out of the ordinary to have a big S for mid/late April. 24/26/2004 we had a similar size from a similar direction (170-190 deg). Back to back big ones in 2002 4/25 and 4/29 also from straight south. So 3 out of 10 years we've had big ones in the last part of April.

Seasonal south swell forecasting is mega sketchy. On a positive note, after two years below average in counts of big days, seems reasonable to at least go back to average this year. And we're off to a good start!

Q2. Winter, on the other hand, wasn't particularly good wave wise because of those La Nina conditions. Is there any information already that can lead you to predict what kind of winter we can expect next? I know, long range estimates are subject to abrupt rebundling (and all those other pictoresque ways you say that... love them!), but still...

uncle Pat: Most climate models suggesting neutral or weak La Nina for next November-January. Such conditions should give average winter conditions, and average in Hawaii means an abundance of surf!

Read Pat Caldwell wave forecast for Oahu. Thanks Pat, we love you.



Here's a few interesting links/videos.

This first one in particular really hits the spot. It's almost 20 minutes... come back if you don't have time now, but do a favor to yourself: watch it!
I really love this woman and what she says. Too bad that most humans instead let their left hemispheres rule/ruin their lives by things like money, power, being cool, looking good, etc...

My friend Nico's huge backloop

All these photos on surfline are really beautiful. But number 13 is unbelievable... that must have been a really cold gust!

This video is a little masterpiece. Can't believe it has been seen only 1,381 times... so far.

Interesting article on how the government uses the media to control the vast majority of population that watch tv news.

Last, but sure enough not least, this is a new technology that allows 360 degrees videos. Check the tow-in one at Teahupoo. Click on the screen and move the mouse around to change the point of view. Unreal.

AND, I just found the photos taked with the same camera on surfline.

PS. If you enjoy this blog, please show your appreciation by sharing its address with your friends. Thanks.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hookipa 4 16 08

Here are the photos of a really good day at Hookipa.

Let's start with this beautiful bottom turn by Taka. The more I see the new Smack the more I want to try it. The yellow panel on the leech is dacron (hence, way lighter than monofilm or x-ply). The next dark one is a super light x-ply. The core is heavy duty x-ply. Having less weight on the outside of the sail makes it really light every time you move the sail around, especially in the jibe, but also in the bottom and top turns.

Diony's goiter (the two Hot Sails riders where shooting for Mistral).

John Skye rips.

I remember that Taka closed a sick move while I was taking a photo of him. Now, when I take a photo (at least with my cheap camera), I don't really see what happens next... so I'm not 100% sure this is the one I'm talking about. But, closed or not closed... what the hell of move is it?!? Forward off the lip? Graham, anyone... any guess?

Jason Diffin bails out in a very composed way.

Plenty more shots in this slide.

My sessions.
This day at Hoo was magic for me. I went out pretty early and for at least one hour we were like six. The wind was really light on the inside and the waves were glassy and smooth... not much power in the sail in the bottom turn, but... who cares when the water is so smooth and you can feel every single inch of the rail!
For the second time in my life, I felt the tip of my fin twist in a bottom turn.
Just to let you know what kind of feeling the absolute lack of chop allows you to experience.
It's official: glassy waves... I like them better than women!
Talking about which, sorry for this boring windsurfing post after the piggy one...

The day after, the first big south swell of the summer season hit. Everyone was on the south shore and I scored a really fun session at Hookipa instead, unusually uncrowded and head high (and glassy!).

And the day after (that'll be yesterday) I scored another beautiful sesh in one of my top 5 favorite surfing spots, this time on the south shore. Once again, glassy, shoulder high perfectly peeling waves. 12 people for an hour before unfortunately the crowd doubled.

Today, new N swell and Hookipa was a hell lot of fun with plenty logo high sets in the late afternoon. I went on the rocks, but no big deal... a few new holes in the board, already being repaired.
Tomorrow the waves should be slightly bigger... could be a Kanaha day.

AND, check this southern pacific weather map modeled for tuesday evening... geez, that fetch is huge and it's aimed straight towards Hawaii!
That means that, if this forecast will be confirmed we'll have another (bigger) south swell right in the middle of next week (can't wait to see the photos of the Teahupoo tow-in sesh).
Wednesday is going to be big. Really big. Epic Maalaea kind of big. I'm telling you with 10 days advance. Start planning calling in sick...

And now, time to go sip a well deserved beer at Jaques. What a life.
Rest of the world, excuse me if I'm loving it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

pig photoshoot

Well, there have been so many photoshoots these days (and more are still to come) that I felt like I should do one too (as a photographer, I mean).

So I hired argentinian top model Maggie and asked her to pose with a baby pig that randomly showed up at lowers.
This first one is one of the best and luckiest shots I have ever taken...

This one is not too shabby either...

No wonder he was all drooling!

Took a bunch of pics yesterday at Hoo... oh, what a sweet sesh that was... stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, check the photos of the first big south swell of the season hitting Teahupoo... unreal as usual.
The same swell is hitting Hawaii so guess what I'm gonna do right now...

Oh, thanks to Sam who did a post about me on his blog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

To kite or not to kite...

Well, despite the fact that it's windy as shit, I had a hell lot of fun the last few days.

Up the coast saturday afternoon, lowers sunday early morning and late afternoon and lowers again today from 6.15 to 7.15 (still fully powered on 4.5) are the sessions logged on my file. Btw, my 08 QUOLI up to date is 90 out of 98 for a "mere" 92%...

In the break between sessions on sunday I drove to Hookipa where there were all possible photoshoots going off. Lots of people on the bluff, parking in overflow, helicopters hovering over the sailors, all the gotha of the windsurfing world was there.
Unfortunately the light was pretty bad, I'm sure it was a lot better today (monday).
Here are some pics I took and a little story in between them.
This is Diony bottom turning on a bomb.

Here's the story. During my morning session, I admired a kitesurfer doing turns on a wave that I:
1) have never seen any kitesurfers do before
2) have never seen any windsurfers do before
3) will never see any windsurfers do in the future.

Here's Browsinho.

That guy was shredding the waves apart. He was riding down the line regular stance (front side). Every bottom turn he had his body almost parallel to the water with his right hand deep in the water and the left one on the bar.
Every top turn he destroyed the lip still with one hand in the wave and one on the bar.
He looked like Kelly Slater.

Tiffany training a dog to do table tops.

I was so impressed by that kitesurfer that I got out of the water determined to try to get back into kitesurfing (maybe on the first day of light steady wind...).


IMO, kitesurfers have a couple of significant advantages compared to windsurfers:
1) the "engine" is way lighter
2) they are not as "tightly" connected to their sails.


Advantage 1 allows them to ride smaller, thinner boards.
Advantage 2 allows them to move their bodies way more freely. Even though the really good windsurfers can sometimes pull out top turns with their front hand in the water, they can't take a hand off the boom during the bottom turn.
Having the possibility to put one hand in the water during a turn is a huge, huge factor.
Having a sail (with a longer boom) connected directly to their boards greatly limits the range of movements of windsurfers compared to kitesufers.

The life guards rescued a windsurfer with a broken mast.

An injured sailor. Mystery Bob took this photo. I donwloaded it from its collection that you can admire in its entirety on this Hot Sails Maui forum thread.
Don't know yet who the sailor is, but I'm sure someone will soon post a comment. Good luck to him!

These feelings (about kitesurfing) were reinforced by seeing Robert Theriteahu ripping on his kite during the evening sesh. He was all smiles until he dropped the kite in the wave zone in a lull... and that was the start of his kitemare... I saw him swimming for 15 minutes and then I lost track of him...


So in terms of pure wave riding, thanks to the new completely de-powerable kites, I believe kitesurfers can rip harder than windsurfers. If you guys don't believe it, come check that guy out...
But they still have some disadvantages. Here are the usual ones:
1) it is recommended to have somebody launch and land your kite
2) if the lines get tangled out there, that's the end of the session
3) even though way safer than a few years ago, it's still more dangerous than windsurfing
4) when in trouble, a windsurfers just lets go off everything and then eventually swims back to its gear and waterstarts again into his session. Instead for a kitesurfer it's harder to do so, because if he does so then it's really easy to get tangles in the lines... specially in the waves. That's why you see kitesurfers still hanging on their bars even in the gnarliest wipeouts...
5) they need more space. That means that it's harder to share waves with others.

Jesse Brown going for a no feet goiter...

Mmm... what to do? Give kitesurfing another try or not?

Hey, there were some sets! I told you... a significant bump from the north...

Let's see if somebody adds some constructive contribution here. Please don't send any "kitesurfing sucks" or "windsurfing has been canceled" kind of comment, because as I stated already, stupidity is not welcome on this blog.

The wind was more than 30... so clearly Laird was out standup surfing...

That's it for tonight. Sorry for the quality of the photos. Unfortunately I accidentally had the camera set on the poorest quality...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MFC K-One fin review

Testing a fin is no easy task.

For sure it's easier to test a sail or a board... so, I'm not even sure I'm good enough to write something about a fin, but... here we go.
First, a general consideration: in my opinion (and I know I'm not alone on this...) the main fin measure indicated by the manufacturer should be the area, not the length.
I mean, when you buy a sail do you ask for a sail that has a luff of 422cm or for a 5.0 squared meters?
Same should be for a fin: gimme the area, not the length!
Well, remember when the main measure for the boards was the length? Now it's the volume... things can change... let's see if we'll get someone in the industry to start introducing this little important detail...

This introduction will explain why I first struggled a bit to find the right setup for K-One 23cm that I was given.
Check this photo that compares it to another more traditional shape MFC 23cm fin.

See how smaller the area of the K-One is? In other words, if you get one, buy at least 1cm bigger then you think you need. Is that a bad thing? No, it's a great thing, because that 23cm I tested gave me the control and upwind sailing ability of a traditional 23 and the looseness of a traditional 21 or 22...

Fast planing and really loose in the turns, it was a perfect fin for the Goya 90l and 5.0 combo that I loved so much. It's the fin that I have in the video of the board's review post.

Forecast: ugly strong wind in the weekend with a significant bump from the north on sunday.
Small south swells starting this weekend lasting all next week with a peak around thursday (should be a decent one).
The last couple of days, seen the absolute lack of waves, I've been slalom sailing at sunset time (when the ugly strong wind finally gives up a little)... I can't believe it's slalom time again already!
This winter passed by in a nano second. It won't be remembered as a good one, seen the very few big NW swells. It didn't even feel like winter to me. Oh well, could be worse...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I guess the bike ride video will have to wait...

JUST received from photographer Benjamin Thouard four water shots of my beautiful self taken on March 30th... stoked!
Here's the first one. Click on it and appreciate the sky and the crispness of the colors.

Second one: I love the way the wave behind me looks... mean!

The third one was shot just after the second one.

This last one is on a different wave and was my least favorite one at first. But looking better at it, I could find some intensity in it...

Great thanks to Ben for achieving the impossible mission of making me look good while wave sailing.

PS. Never mind the title if you're not from Napoli...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

east side surfing

Went to Hana for the weekend and scored some really good waves on the way.

The friday afternoon session was a bit crowded and the level in the water was extremely high... a bit too high for me. In fact, I caught only a few waves on the shoulder and then decided to go in and take some photos... activity in which I did much better. I had a hard time selecting the main page and the slide deservers: so many good ones!

Even though not as spectacular as the other younger surfers, I'm going to start with a sequence of this big hawaiian guy, because he had a great energy, always smiling in and out of the water.
Here he drops in a bomb...

...he makes the section...

...and he smiles his way to a final cut back! After that wave he came out of the water and still had the same smile on his face... the power of a good ride!

And now the young guns. Nice top turn leaning back with the hand in the water.

Just as above.

The highlight of my session was to get stuck on the inside behind this girl...

And now a couple of powerful top turns. First a front side one...

..and then a back side one. Check how in both cases the board is facing the opposite side of where the surfers were going. That's the revolution that Kauli brought into windsurfing with his super short boards and the twin fins: finishing the top turns like surfers do. Hats off to him for having introduced a significantly different way of wave sailing.

I swear: I was only interested in what she was reading...

The last two photos are of a young surfer that was technically very talented, but didn't have much respect for the lineup turns. He paddled on every wave that came to him (catching most of them)... I hate that. Sure, I guess that's what made him so good too...
Here's a nice cut back. Focused on where he wants the board to go next, wide spread arms, leaning into the turn, but still with the body perpendicular to and well centered on the board. Very good indeed.

And an aerial grab.

Here's the slide show.

The sunday session at the same spot was way better for me. Smaller (still shoulder highish), but only three of us out. What a difference!
In Hana, I surfed Koki beach and that was a huge amount of paddling for something like three waves. But I had a great bike ride that I filmed with the helmet cam, so stay tuned for that.