Friday, May 30, 2008

Happiness is...

...a wave sailing session at Hookipa without back pain!

Waves were mostly belly high with some occasion shoulder high sets... a lot of fun.
I put my GoPro on Diony's mast and gave him a two minute lesson on how to use it.
He said he landed a goiter... we'll see what comes out. No time to check it out tonight, bbq with friends is calling.
In the meantime, enjoy the Venezuelan sailor in a still photo.
Nice helmet, by the way!

...I wonder if the suction cup mount would work on it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

three are the reasons...

...because I've not been posting much and with much enthusiasm lately.

1) I'm mildly unhappy for a back problem that I've had for a long time and in these days got a bit worse... sciatica, I believe.
I'm afraid I won't be able to go out as often as I used to, since I should rather select only the good conditions.
As a result, I stopped logging my sessions, since the QUOLI can't be applied anymore.
So, maybe now my life it's not going to be as good as it used to be... but it will still a pretty damn good one! And if Jean-Do was still alive, he would laugh at my back pain problems... an internal laugh, that'll be. So I better stop whining and appreciate the fact that I still live in paradise.

2) Other than a fun south swell last weekend, not much to report about. North shore is pretty much flat (waist high at Hoo today). A serious SE swell hit most of the Hawaiian islands last week, but Maui was completely shaded by the Big Island. The photo above is from there, Oahu got some big waves too just like the east shore of Kauai.

3) Thanks to my faithful VCR, that I bought used for 9.99 at Savers, I am recording and watching all the games of the NBA playoffs semi-finals... I love basketball!
Just a thought for you guys: have you ever wondered how it was possible that a technology like the DVD players completely wiped out an older technology like the VCRs, without providing for many years the possibility to record programs?
I can't watch an NBA game live on tv. It's ridiculously long and annoyingly filled with commercials. With a VCR, I can easily skip them. Mmm...

Last but not least, I'd like to thank Pat Caldwell for sending me the photo above and for his unmatchable Oahu wave forecast.
Making a wave forecast three times a week can be a very repetitive task. He always tries to make it interesting even with little tricks like these:

APR 23 - Long range estimates are subject to massive manipulation
APR 25 - Long range estimates are subject to abrupt detours
APR 28 - Long range estimates are subject to adjustments
APR 30 - Long range estimates are subject to high uncertainty
MAY 2 - Long range estimates are subject to sharp u-turns
MAY 5 - Long range estimates are subject to walks back to the chalk board
MAY 7 - Long range estimates are subject to low confidence
MAY 9 - Long range estimates are sketchy
MAY 12 - Long range estimates are subject to reeling in and re-tossing
MAY 14 - Long range estimates are sketchy
MAY 16 - Long range estimates are subject to recall
MAY 19 - Long range estimates are subject to generous juggling
MAY 21 - Long range estimates are subject to about facing
MAY 23 - Long range estimates are subject to re-shuffling

Massive manipulation, walks back to the chalk board, generous juggling... good job Pat!

Friday, May 23, 2008

new websites + race announcements

First a couple of new websites:

1) Kanaha Kai has a new website where the store manager Juan has set up a blog.

2) A couple of young Maui sailors (Craig and Griffin) have launched their wave sailing only website.

And now a couple of race announcements:

2008 Maui GPS V-Max Speed Challenge Series Announcement

First, I received this.

The 2008 Maui Vmax competition is a GPS speed-sailing competition that will have two concurrent events. Their will be a Speed Ladder running all year and a Speed Series consisting of six Speed Meetings. The Speed Meetings will score points to count towards an overall series champion. The Speed ladder is an open event which will score only the single highest speed.

Dates for Speed Meetings (subject to change).
Sunday May 25
Sunday June 29
Sunday July 13
Sunday August 31
Sunday Sept 21
Sunday Oct. 19

The Speed meetings may be cancelled 24hours in advance if the conditions look unfavourable. Please check the website or call on the day if in doubt.

Minimum winds - 15 knots on the course or at the discretion of the Race Director.

Make-up days - in the event a Speed meeting is cancelled there may be a make-up date. This date will be announced at least five days in advance and will be a Sunday before October 19th.

Sanctioned devices- ONLY data collected by a GT-11 GPS unit will be used to score results. ONLY GPS Results software shall be used to record results. We have these available for purchase.

Speed Ladder
Single fastest 100m speed as recorded by GT-11 GPS and results verified by the Race Director using GPS results software (interpolation on). Tracks must be saved and sent to the Race Director Tom Hammerton via e-mail ( or the GPS delivered in person at the Hot Sails Maui loft (96 Amala Place, Kahului) when available.

Speed Meeting (Series)
The top three 100m speeds as recorded by GT-11 GPS averaged and results verified by the Race Director using GPS results software (interpolation on) will be used for the day's result. The competitors will be ranked in order from fastest to slowest using the average of their three fastest 100m speeds. If the course is open for less than three hours the average of two highest speeds will be used, unless the course is open for less than two hours in which case only the single highest speed will be used, unless the course is open less than one hour in which case the Speed meeting will be abandoned with no results scoring for the series. In the case of abandonment results will still be accepted for the Speed Ladder. The highest speed will automatically be entered into the Speed Ladder. Points will be awarded for each Speed meeting to count towards an overall series champion. The series winner will have the most points after discards are taken into consideration. There will be two discards unless only four or less speed meetings are held in which case there will be only one discard.

The first 10 places of each division will score points.

Series sponsor Hot Sails Maui (

For more details or to reserve/purchase a GPS unit please contact the race director at:
Erik Beale/Tom Hammerton/Marc Lefebvre

This morning I received this:

Maui Vmax Speed Meeting this Sunday May 25th

Aloha all,

The gods of speed appear to be smiling on us. Despite light winds all week the forecast is bumping up the winds for Sunday. There is a good chance we will see racing conditions.

The minimum windspeed for an official speed meeting is 15 knots or 17mph. If the wind on Sunday is consistently less than this but sailable we will have fun races instead which will not score points for the series.

The course will be open from 12:00 to 4:00pm if conditions permit.

I will do a skippers meeting and presentation on the GT-11 GPS unit at 11:00am followed by registration.

There is no charge for participation in the Maui Vmax. However a GT-11 GPS unit is required. If you do not own one you can purchase one from us with an modified Aquapac ready to go for $199. There will also be a limited number of GPS units available for rent. $20 for 1 hour of water time or $35 for 2 hours of water time. Units may be shared.

Please e-mail Tom at to reserve GPS units for purchase. The rental units will be available on a first come first served basis.

WARNING: The tide is low in the morning and the lower reef should not be sailed.

See you sunday!

Tom Hammerton - Race director and timekeeper.


Another race announcement I received:

Molokai Challenge Announcemement - Aug 16, 2008

A Celebration of Youth Opportunities
Na 'Opio Hana Pa'a And the Molokai Challenge
Saturday 16th August 2008
Press Release for the Molokai Challenge
Want to call it a challenge? Then please let us define challenge.
A call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.
Something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.: Space exploration offers a challenge to humankind.
-verb (used with object) To summon to a contest of skill, strength, etc.
-adjective Donated or given by a private, corporate, or government benefactor on condition that the recipient raise an additional specified amount from the public: a
challenge grant.
A race for charity is how we will run the Molokai Challenge for 2008. The date:
Saturday 16th August 2008. The location is to be determined. At this point, somewhere along the Ka'anapali Shoreline to Napili on Maui, Hawaii to finish up on Molokai, Hawaii. OPEN TO ALL NON MOTORIZED CRAFT, a challenge of endurance, strength and stamina. Why do we call it a challenge? A name that has been adopted over the years but ultimately the event is to challenge each of us on how we create the awareness to our Youth of the wonderful opportunities that are presented to our next generation.
Are you up for the challenge to bring awareness to the next level?
Are you up for the challenge to show our future generation, the leaders of our
society the possibilities of directions to take?
Are you up for the challenge to not only have some fun on this day but to test
your stamina, patience to the highest limits?
Are you up for the challenge to raise as much as you can for the youth or
organization that you want to inspire?
Are you up for the challenge to challenge yourself to see how far you can go in mind, body and spirit?
Are you up for the challenge to raise the bar?
If so then read on...

For 2008 the Molokai Challenge will be in this format:
Each contestant will form a team whether it is in pairs or how many are in the vessel that is to do the crossing.
Contestants who do not have teams will be given a list of names of other people
without a team so that they can contact to buddy up with and coordinate a team.
Each team will raise money above the entry fees and nominate a charity, youth group or individual that is in school for the money to be donated to.
50 % of the funds raised above the entry fee will go to a community fund on Molokai and to be distributed to the Molokai Youth groups.
50 % of the remaining funds to be given to the team's charity of choice.
The winning teams will also then collect an additional percentage of entry fee and or sponsorship money to be determined by the amount of entrants and/or sponsors to contribute to the Molokai fund and their team organization/individual of choice.

At this point we need funds for rescue, so we are asking teams to provide their own rescue unless we can secure a sponsor to step in and sponsor the rescue portion.
Each team will receive a small fuel budget to apply to their rescue. Small teams i.e. 2- 6 can buddy up with other teams for rescue. Each team will submit the name of their team rescue coordinator to work with the organizers to secure not just safety with in the event but to follow rescue guidelines and procedures that will apply to all teams.
The determination of the winning team will be calculated in the order of arrival and time on a point scoring system and the team with the lowest score and time wins their division.
There will be the grand prize of the fastest overall team time to make it across to Molokai out of all the divisions.
There will be several classes within the divisions:
All adults
Adults with at least one youth-under 18yrs
Youth category - under 18 years
Cruising Class
This is the class, that has no intentions to race for the grand prize but the
same format of fundraising will apply.
Sailboats with or without kites
Canoes with kites
Outrigger canoes
One Man Canoes
Paddle Boards
Stand up Paddle boards
All others
Start times
Start times will stagger by division from 6 am up until noon depending on the
categories and weather conditions.
Registration is open.
Help is needed to secure sponsors, coverage and as much publicity as possible.
Help is needed to organize on both Maui and Molokai
Help is needed for volunteers to chair the individual divisions
Accommodations are limited since the closing of Molokai Ranch so I suggest making reservations now, otherwise camping is available and shuttle transfers.

What is included in the entry fee?
Cost from now until May $135, after May the entry will increase up to the
maximum of $150
Ferry back to Maui, value $42.40
Transfers and shuttles on Molokai , value $15
Barge shipment to Molokai with spare clothes and camping gear , value $25
Barge shipment back to Maui, value $25 minimum depending on the size of the
Event jersey, value $20
Awards Banquet, value $25
Now do the math, cannot get much cheaper than this if you were to do this on
your own.
All inquiries: Please contact Clare Seeger Mawae at 808-553-4227 or 808-336-0946 or please email Clare at:

Monday, May 19, 2008

another sweet gopro surf session

That's the title of my last little video. Enjoy it.

The mount is a small flat plastic plate (it comes with the accessories you can buy on their website) with a superstrong 3M tape. On the plate, you can insert a quick release little arm on which the case is mounted. I put two plates on my 9.0 because I wanted to see the difference between the one all the way on the front and the one 10cm closer.
Result: the one of the very front does give a slightly bigger view of the surfing action, but turning the camera on and off requires me to slide those 10cm front and back on the board and that's something you don't want to do when you see a good wave coming your way...
So my suggestion is to put it in the farthest spot you can reach with your hand from the position you normally have when you paddle.

Well, since I now had two plates on my 9.0 I thought about using the front one to secure a safety line that would keep the camera attached in case the main plate would detach in the wipeouts. So far so good, that tape seems to be incredibly strong.
As usual, the video doesn't really show the height of the waves. Some of the waves I caught were well overhead (at least at the peak).
The thing is that (at least in that particular spot) I like to be in the upper third of the wave (where the wave is steeper and there's the most energy), so the camera will only show two-three feet of wave, even if there's plenty more under the board...
This to say that the mount survived big overhead sets on the head beautifully.
Now that I know how reliable they are, I grabbed a couple of more plates and put them on my other two main boards: an 8.6 and a 7.2 (stay tuned for clips of those ones). The cool thing is that if you don't feel like filming your session, the little plate on your board will not bother you at all.

In the meantime, here's another one from Thursday that I kept separate because it's a really long right. Not many places in Maui offer 38 seconds rides...
By the way, on the top right of this blog I added a link to my page on youtube with all my latest videos. Check it out, you might have missed some...
One of my favorites (and in my opinion quite underseen) is the tandem sailing one.

After two amazing days of surfing (that'll be Thursday and Friday), the trades kicked back on Saturday and Hookipa was really fun with sets up to head high.
I shot some clips with a new mount on the clew, stay tuned for those.
Sunday the wind was light and onshore and I gave my abused back a break.

The modelled weather maps show an unusual pattern for spring time. The high pressure is not as strong as it usually is in this time of the year and that will keep the trades on the light side. But that in Maui may well mean 5.2 instead of 4.7... Also, there's low pressures modelled to form north of us that could send some small swells out of NNW, but unfortunately nothing like last week's awesome one.

Beautiful clear skies here in Maui, perfect temperatures and ideal conditions for a full moon beach barbeque last night. Big thanks to (brazilian) Mario for cooking a delicious ahi in banana leaves and to Oly and Renata for the call.

Oh, almost forgot... I just got the last issue of Windsurfing mag. There's a nice article on longboard sailing by Josh Sampiero where they run again that magic helicopter shot that was published on double page a couple of years ago... this time a tad smaller :-)... stoked again! Get a copy at your book store or windsurf shop. In the meantime, here's that shot again. Thanks again to photographer David Blyth for taking it.

Here's a small quote from the article:
At the same time, Jeff Henderson’s longboard sailing on Maui had attracted some new followers – like the Italian Maui transplant Giampaolo Cammarota, whose voluminous blogging proclaimed to the world the pleasures of light-air wave sailing – even when he was living in high-wind heaven...

Last but not least, a few words of widsom from a fellow called Lee.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Save the Kuau Mart

The Kuau Mart is a little shop on the Hana Highway that is an institution for Maui's north shore surfing/windsurfing community.

Its location makes it perfect for a quick lunch break between Hookipa sessions. Lasagna, meat balls, fried fish and the legendary teriyaki chicken... everything at the Kuau Mart costs $4.17... and the leftovers are free when they close at 7pm!
Everybody loves the family that has operated it for years. The legendary Liona (one of the funniest ladies I have ever met) and her daughters have always made all the north shore residents feel at home when walking in the shop.
Quite easy to end up in line behind legends like Laird Hamilton or Robby Naish in there.

Unfortunately, the galloping Lahaina-ization process of Paia is about to hit it too.
The owner of the building, in fact, just asked for a rent increase of $5,000.
Here's the letter (click on it to read it).

Here's a few info on the number of tourists that every year visit Maui (2.5 million in 2006... and it's not going down!) that will help understand why the rents of shops in Paia are skyrocketing.
Most of the tourists that come to Maui will include a trip to Hana in their stay and Paia is on the way. It actually is the last town before getting into 52 miles of narrow and winding (and beautiful) road. Most of the tourists that go to Hana, hence decide to stop in Paia and... what do most tourists do in vacation? But of course, they shop!
Did you read that list of shops in the letter? None of them is, im my opinion, aimed to serve the local community (even though I confess I do splurge on a cup of gelato once in a while). They are all making business with the roaming tourists.

Can you blame them?
Can you blame the Kuau Mart building's owner for wanting to make more money, knowing that he can (a fashion shop will make enough money to afford that rent)?
But who is going to take care of the needs of the local community?

Exactly the same thing happened a few years ago with the Paia General Store, another piece of history that had to leave room to a new complex of tourist shops. Thank god Mana food is still there, otherwise Paia residents would have to go to Kahului for grocery shopping!

I don't know what to say. We live in a world that is ruled by money and there's not much we can do to change this on a global scale.
If you don't like this particular case though, you can stop by the shop and sign the petition below... will it help? I don't think so... but at least you will express your solidarity to the Nomura family!


On a more positive note, the forecasted epic surfing conditions did happen and I am incredibly surfed out. My cut is fully healed, but two weeks out of the water didn't help keeping the muscles' tone up. Looks like even my skin got softer, since I have rashes on every single point of contact between body and board... time for a standup session, I guess. Been taking a bunch of little videos, stay tuned for that.

In the meantime here's a few photos I took from the lookout this morning, before heading towards my session.

Beautiful and glassy and with the usual drop ins.

Lastly, because of the very light (or complete lack of) wind, the Freak meeting scheduled for tomorrow at upper Kanaha has been postponed to Saturday June 7th.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saturday 17th: first annual Freak and Meat at Kanaha!

Got a Super Freak, or want to try one?

Come to Kanaha Beach Park (Uppers) on Saturday the 17th of May and join the first annual Freak and Meat!
11:00am- 13:30pm Super Freak demos, and rigging clinics with designer Jeff Henderson.
2:00pm Freak helicopter shoot. Be one of dozens of Super Freaks on the water for beauty on the water! Images will be available to all participants!
3:00pm onwards- sailing, demos, Freestyle show with Diony and Friends.
6:00pm Freak Out party at Kanaha Kai shop.

Don't miss out!
In the meantime, enjoy the weather map of this morning (Tuesday May 13th). That is an unusual one for spring, as a matter of fact it looks a lot more like winter!
In fact starting today the trade winds will die till Friday (replaced by sea breeze or maybe even a puff of Konas) and Thursday it will be high surf advisory and epic surfing on the north shore...
The trade winds should be back just in time on Saturday. But bring you big sails... and your big wave board, since the swell will stick around till Sunday.

Friday, May 09, 2008

the GoPro camera on my longboard

Lately the folks at GoPro sent me a bunch of accessories and mounts for that magic little waterproof camera.

Among those, some little flat mounts with an incredibly adhesive 3M tape. I put it on the front of my 9.0 on a small day (the day before that epic one reported below) to check how tough it was. Unreal. The thing is stuck there and won't come off even if I try to pull it away as strong as I can. It can handle bigger surf for sure.

This day I sat on the shoulder for a few waves and then I took the camera off, put it in my pocket and went on the peak together with the pack of surfers... It was the first time I used the longboard after a while (and you can tell!).
In fact, after having started longboard surfing six years ago, I'm now trying to get into shortboarding (great idea at my age!) and I've been mostly riding a 7.2.

Almost ready for a 6.6. Almost... the lack of practice doesn't help. Fortunately, next week is lining up nicely. A typical winter situation is about to happen, with a front coming close enough to the islands to shut down the trade winds.
The model 8.5 days out shows a couple of winter caliber storms/fetches that should make next week an awesome one for surfing.
We'll see, because... as uncle Pat says, long term estimates are subject to a hell lot of things... low confidence is the latest one.

Ah, the video. Enjoy it... if you can. I promise next one I'll do better than that.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I hate being wise...

The cut is not sealed yet and it feels like if I bang it, it will open again and I will have to start the healing process all over again. So I'm wisely staying out of the water.

Fortunately, other than yesterday and today, the rest of the week won't offer much wave-wise, so that helps. Yes, believe it or not, even in Maui there will be a week without waves on either shores. It's spring time... summer is just around the corner and that's just the way it is.

Took some pics yesterday. None inspired me particularly for the main page, so I put them all in a slide. If the show stops, just click on the "x" on the top right and it'll start again.

Actually, now that I really think about it, there was one main page deserver...

PS. Very nice Laird photos in this article on Bill's e-mag Ke Nalu.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Surf and learn...

So that damn cut did keep me out of the water for four days... tomorrow there should be a nice bump from NNW and I hope I'll be able to wave sail.

Anyway, no complaints. It was totally worth it... because before it happened I caught four waves like these...

The toughest part was the drop: because of the offshore wind, you could only catch a wave when it was steep... really steep. But once caught, the same offshore wind kept the face pretty open.

This is a local guy that lives in my neighborhood. Great surfer and nice guy...

When I first saw this photo, I thought:"No way! This guy took off switched stance... no way! Who the hell is he, Jamie O'Brien?". Then I saw more photos of him, and he always has the leash on the front foot. So, my guess is that he had a bad cut or something on the back ankle and prefered to wear the leash on the front foot...
Smoked too much in the parking before getting in the water, is another guess... ;-)

And this is the last section where on some waves you could get barreled.

And that's how I got hurt. I saw that section walling up in front of me and I thought about going for it. But at the very last moment I figured that it would have not been big enough for me to squeeze in and I cut towards the beach (that'll be the rocks). Big mistake: I was caught by the heavy free falling lip (felt like a ton a water) and in the wipeout I cut my foot with a fin. Next time, I'll have to go for it, no matter if I make it or not. That's what all the more experienced surfers I asked told me. I can't wait to try next time on a wave like that again...

Surfing, simply the best thing on earth.