Sunday, September 28, 2008

Backloops, shark sighting, bums, lost screws, glassy waters, pieces of art.

Not much to report about this week after that last epic one... well thank god, otherwise how much longer would this post be?!?

Still, there were some waves to be ridden. I remember in particular Thursday (head high and offshore wind). Too many surfers at Hookipa, I sailed at Lanes alone and had a lot of fun.

These photos, instead, are from Friday. They all show Glenn's backloops. I'm posting them all because I just realized that I'm not sure what's the best way of photographing a backloop (or a high jump in general). Let's talk about it.

Photo 1. Probably the best. It would be nice to see the wave though... that means less zoom and/or aim a little lower.

Photo 2. In this one you can see the wave, but it would be nice to see the sky too. Again, less zoom or sit lower on the cliff. Stylish knee overlapping, by the way...

Photo 3. Oh, finally you can see both the wave and the sky, but it's not a particularly high jump. We'll blame Glenn...

Photo 4. A bit too close, don't you think?

Photo 5. A bit too close and a bit too late. You can't see the sailor. The sail looks great though...

Photo 6. This one was pretty close already. I cropped the wave and now it's just the sailor mid air. Can't tell how high he is, the focus is only on the subject of the photo. Not sure...

Photographers and non-photographers, please feel free to express your opinion with a comment.

More photos, this time taken by a friend on Thursday.
All the surfers were ordered to get out of the water, because the lifeguards saw a shark from the tower. Later in the day (as soon as the lifeguards left, maybe?), they all got back out.
Thank god they didn't bother me at Lanes and I could happily keep sailing. I guess the reason is that I was windsurfing, not surfing. In fact, Kaleo did come to Lanes with the jet ski to grab a couple of surfers, but they looked like beginners getting blown downwind, so I thought it was another kind of rescue...

Well, my friend is a blog reader and I guess I must have inspired him... thank you so much for this one!

Now, how about this one? I must have lost the screw of the fin and I didn't even know that!!!
Actually I did notice that it took me forever to sail back from Lanes to Hoo (poor angle and slow speed), but I blamed that on the gusty wind.
I wonder if I even rode a few waves like that...

Today is Sunday and I had a really fun SUP surfing session at Thousand Peaks. No wind, sunny sky, perfectly peeling two footers... what a blast! From one to two feet, I really dig SUP surfing.
Here's how the ocean looked like with Lanai in background.

And here's how the blog author looked like with the Mauna Kahalawai (hawaiian name of the West Maui Mountain) on the background.

Lastly but not leastly, you guys remember the broken Goya?
30 dollars and quite a few hours later, here's a piece of art.

The fix came out so good, I had to sign it...

How did I get the rocker so perfect without the original rocker jig (damn, what's the other and more used word for jig?) and a vacuum bag?
Let's see if anybody guesses the brilliant, yet very simple idea I had...
Can't wait to put it in the water and see how much the added weight (yes, it did take some weight) will influence the performance. I'll have Cookie (the original owner) ride it and tell me the difference...

By the way, what a bloody great blog this is! You guys so lucky... I just got to improve the post titles a bit.
Modesty: always been one of my many qualities...

PS. Last minute addition, I forgot about this one. Check the reflection in my glasses...

Monday, September 22, 2008

day 7 + accident sketch + other stuff

Well, Sunday there was very little to ride.

Still enough for Josh Stone to pull out aerials like this in his early morning sesh (this photo was taken at 11.30).

I would rank the conditions we had from Monday to Friday as the best 5 wavesailing days (in a row) of September in the last 7 years. In fact, it's not unusual to get this size swells in September, but they usually last 2-3 days, not 5!
Thinking of a couple of waves I rode on Friday, I still get goose bumps...

Different kind of goose bumps, I get when I think about the collision on Thursday.
As promised, here is a sketch of what happened. Click on it to see it better. The wind is coming from the left.

What I wrote summarizes what I was thinking at the moment. Other information you need to know:
- I have no idea who's wave it was. 95% of the times I do, but there are times in which you end up on a wave without knowing if the guy upwind or downwind of you caught it before you. In this cases, my personal rule (and I wish everybody else would do the same) is to assume that it's NOT my wave and behave accordingly (like I did also in this case).
- afterwards, when I asked him if he knew who's wave it was, the guy said:"what do you mean? I thought you were on the wave behind". In other words, he didn't even see me downwind of him on the same wave! That explains why he started so aggressively aiming to top turn right where I was. IMO, that's quite a bad mistake.

When on a wave approaching the impact zone, in fact, I need to know:
1) if there is somebody upwind and who he is.
I add the who because, in case it's his wave, the space you can anticipate that a pro sailor will need to enjoy his ride is quite different than the space a regular sailor will cover.
And if it's my wave instead, I need to know if it's a dangerous MotherF that won't respect the priority or a correct sailor that will...
2) if there is somebody downwind and who he is.
Same as above. If it's my wave and there's Levi, Keith or Kevin (for example) downwind of me, I know that I can just choose my line and my timing and start whenever I want because THEY KNOW it's my wave, they're watching me and they will manage to get out of my way. If it's a tourist (or a known MF), then I better put more attention and ride my wave more conservatively...
3) if there is somebody in the water in the impact zone.
In this case, there's no difference: running over a pro sailor is just as bad as running over a tourist...

Ideally, I'd like to know also what's going on on the next wave for two reasons:
a) maybe there's nobody on it (forget it at Hoo) and it's a better one so I can let go the one I'm on and get the better one!
b) the wave I'm on may end up in a close out and I may choose to kick out before the close out happens. Bad idea if the wave behind is bigger and the kick out will be right in front of the rocks... guess how I learned that one!

Back to the collision. It was an unfortunate accident. We had two kinds of bad lucks:
- he fell in the top turn. He said that he did it in great control (and what I saw from the back of the wave confirmed that... a really nice turn!), but somehow the nose of the board pearled after the turn... "first time something like that happens to me!", he said...
- I had no wind at all. It was the end of the day and the wind was lighter, but in between those two waves there was really not a breath. I could have chosen to ditch my gear (to save my ass) but it would have hit him for sure. Instead, I still had a very small chance of making the drop. If I managed to make the drop I would have sailed just upwind of him and avoided the collision. But that didn't happen...

What did I say, bad luck? I'll take that back... We were so lucky that nothing really bad happened. I already fixed my board and his hand is quickly getting better.
It could have been a lot worse...

Well, let's move on now: nice dog.

Now we're going to have a few days of flat conditions on both shores... great, I could really use a little rest! Then a small north swell on Thursday and Friday, and then uncle Pat says that models suggest a moderate episode from 330-360 next Tuesday. I checked the long term modelled weather maps and it's true: a very wintery pattern, with big waves (eventually a bit messy, since the head of the fecth will be very close to the islands) and light or no wind... cool!

Still, what to do in next couple of days?
To answer this horrible dilemma, this afternoon I went to Hookipa in search for inspiration. I ran into Cookie who gave me a nice present and I now finally own a Goya board. More precisely two halves of it.

Even though I'm in love with the 90, I did try the 81 too (though just one day) and it's another brilliant board. Worth the try to put it back together.
I got my strategy already: no carbon, no stringers. Just plenty fiberglass (specially on the rails). That's how I fixed my 12.2 with which I still happily ride big waves.
Little difference: this board will plane on choppy waters... mmm, better talk to Maxi first...
Here, read this very well explained example and learn how the sandwich board construction works.

PS. Live webcast of the ASP contest in France here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

day 6

Saturday, as predicted, the waves were smaller and the wind stronger. Hence, for my standards, it was way worse than that magic Friday. But still fun!
Took some photos at sunset (five guys out) with Sharon's new DSC-H7 Sony cybershot camera. Not sure I like it that much... let me know if there's anybody interested knowing why.

Glenn's beautiful table top.

I think I need an aerial's lesson from Jazz...

And this is French guy #2: Cookie (or whatever the spelling is) in a sequence of a backloop.

The NW buoy still shows 4 feet at 10 seconds from 335, so I believe we're going to have something to ride also today Sunday.

Tom Hammerton instead is having his speed day at Sprecks, so speed lovers go there, get a GPS and see how fast you can go. It's one of those days with only one high tide (8.33am) and one low tide (0.36am monday), so the tide should be going down all day and there should be some smooth conditions in the afternoon... watch out for those shallow spots!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday: fifth day in a row of great wavesailing

It was actually my best, thanks to the fact that the wind was kind of light again, but with my big board under repair I was forced to use my 75l... and I had a blast.
One more confirmation that there is ALWAYS something positive in everything.
Sure it was harder to get out across the breaking waves, sure I was slower to get back upwind and so I caught less waves, but once on a wave... what a difference!

I also think I'll join the club of those sailors that never use a sail bigger than 4.7 at Hookipa. No matter how light the wind is, any sail bigger than that just doesn't feel right on a wave anymore.
Considering that I'm convinced that the better the sailor you are the less board and sail you need, I'll take it as a sign that I'm improving... it would be about time!!!

Anyway, I had some really glassy ones with up to two-three turns (that's pretty much the most you can get at Hoo) that really put a big smile on my face.

After that, I started my photo shooting sesh kind of late and I could only take one windsurfing photo. A good one, though: downtown Jesse Brown in a nice aerial.

And this is me (thanks Tato again). Lame top turn, but just look at that perfect size (and shape in this case) wave... hey, where's everybody else?!?

I also took some surfing photos, but none really impressed me. Other than this one, of course...

Starting today (Saturday), the waves should start to go down and tomorrow the wind should start to go up. I predict a shift towards jumping.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Close call

Probably the scariest windsurfing accident that ever happened to me.

I got no time tonight to describe it. I'm just going to show you the consequences on my board. Couldn't care less about it (easy fix), I'm just glad I didn't kill the other guy... who instead only reported a hand injury (no cuts, but really sore...).
Please no asking who the other guy is (I don't want his family to worry, in case they read this post). He's a super nice guy and this post is entirely dedicated to him. Good luck for a prompt recovery, my friend!

Stay tuned for a detailed report on it. I'd like to draw a few sketches to illustrate it (somebody may learn something out of it).

For now, the usual avalanche of photos from yet another gorgeous day of bloody phenomenal (and crowded) wave sailing action. I'll remember this week for a while...
It was so good that even uncle Robby thought about hitting the water.
Here's a push loop on his first wave.

Here's a forward. If I remember right, his foot came out of the foot strap once he started the rotation... but I need Glenn's help on this one.

And who can it be right after Robby if not... me!

Once again, look at the perfection of the size of those waves (the accident didn't have much to do with it... well, kind of!).
Anyway, plenty more photos in this slide. I don't like the slides too much, but it takes too much time to upload the photos one by one, so that's what you get.
If it stops, click on the X on the top right corner to make it start again.

Hey, check this fantastic video on the Windsurfing mag home page. It was shot with the new GoPro wide angle camera coming out in a couple of weeks... now, that's what I need!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A post a day keeps the doctor away

After yesterday's slog and surf feast, today (Wednesday) the wind was stronger and I was perfect on 4.7 and 68l... and when I'm on that tiny little turny board the fun is guaranteed!

Let's start the photo parade with Taka showing off a brand new yellow Fire in magic late afternoon light.

A hundred thousand people out, but still heaps of fun. I feel like spending a few words on the subject.
The key is in the attitude. If you enter the water with forty people out and expect that nobody will either jibe, tack or drop in on your wave, you'll be frustrated.
There's only one way to accomodate all that many people: to share. Three or four people on the same wave is the norm in these days. And guess what, it's totally doable...

Jesse Brown.

Also because most of the waves would not allow a down the line ride all the way from Middles to the end bowl anyway. It's up to the sailors to judge who can make which sections.
It depends on the day, of course, but sometimes there's three rippable sections at Hookipa: Middles, right in front of the beach and the end bowl. That's three sailors, right there.

That's the other french guy... what's his name? Damn, I must be bad at remembering french names...

No question that the technical level at Hookipa allows most of the sailors to share a wave and still enjoy a few turns each. Don't like the idea?
Better go somewhere else...
Frustrated because you caught a wave all the way upwind but don't like the section you're on as much as the one forming downwind and you can't get on that because in the meantime other people appeared downwind?
Guess what, that's your fault... learn how to read the wave better (like the good guys do) and position yourself in advance on the best section, even if it's downwind.
At that point, if somebody else will jibe upwind of you, he will have to stick to whatever section he's on, since it's still your wave. And if he doesn't do that and tries to push you downwind, then it's time for a few friendly words.
But honestly, I don't see that happening too much...

That's the south african guy... what's his name? I'm bad at remembering all names...

So with this little rant (that ends here) I'm not encouraging the disrespect of the priority rules, of course! I'm just being realistic and trying to suggest other activities (like computer war games...) to people who wake up with the desire to fight... windsurfing is for people who want to have fun.

I love this photo because of the two man canoe that got framed between the guy jumping (I think it's Brad... hey, I remembered his name!) and the two other sailors.

GP's physical performance report (extremely interesting, I'm sure):
After having entered the water at 1, this time I tried the strategy of shorter, more numerous sessions. Didn't really work... every time I had to get up to get in the water again, my body was so stiff that I could barely walk.
Note to myself: next time, stretch in the breaks!
Looked online for arms transplant techniques... could really use a pair of new ones! Even though it's possible, it doesn't seem a good idea.

Nico hits a lip.

Why am I posting so often lately?
The reason is that Hookipa this week is just the perfect size for my poor skills. It might be boring for the pro sailors (I doubt it, judging from the smiles they all had), but that up to head high-ness just makes me feel like I can try to hit as late as I can, since the consequences of a wipe out (plenty of those for me today) won't be disastrous...
In this transition period (winter appetizer, somebody called it) upcountry is the call. In just a month it's going to be way bigger and I'll sail somewhere else down the coast and have less opportunities to take photos.

Enjoy the posting frenzy till it lasts...

slog and surf perfection

Sooo much fun again at Hookipa on Tuesday with perfect slog and surf conditions.

Got a bunch of windsurfing pics again, but the main page deserver is this aerial made by a surfer at Middles... slightly more difficult without the sail!

He's riding a Kazuma board... I heard they're opening a shop at the Haiku cannery next week.
Another Kazuma rider that's doing pretty well is my next door neighbor Matt Meola: he won his first three heats in the Newport beach contest. It's a two star WQS contest, nonetheless there are $25K total price in money and it's fully webcasted with plenty camera angles.
So much more money in the surfing industry, so much more money...

Here are the windsurfing photos. If the slideshow stops, click on the X in the top right corner to make it start again.

Since I destroyed my UltraLigth, I went back to my regular Superfreak 5.0.
I really like that blue...

Let's see what today has to offer...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What a fun day!

Well, the waves were overhead only in those every half an hour big sets, but nonetheless yesterday it was a really fun wavesailing day at Hookipa.

It was pretty crowded and really action packed, as you can see from these photos that I took in a 30 minutes (!) break between my two sessions.
The first three are my favorites of the day.
Here's Francisco Porcella hitting a push loop on his first wave.

Matt Pritchard in a big goiter. I don't recall if he landed or not, but notice how the back hand seems to have slipped off the boom because of the impact of the sail on the wave...

Here's one of the many aerials that Jazz did. Good job Jazz, I was impressed.

And now the other "normal" photos, in the order I took them.
Levi is always stylish even on a small wave.

Kai Katchadourian back loop.

I see some contac cement in Ferdinando's foot pad future...


Rudy Castorina.

Dave Ezzy.

Rudy in a tweaked one. No wait. Before somebody corrects me, tweaked would be with the fins towards the ocean. What's that then... donkey kick aerial?

Jazzy aerial.

Rudy is trying to make my aerial's labeling difficult here... but this is actually an easy one: it's a spectacular wipe out!

Glenn joins the aerial fest.

And now a few photos from a visitor from Uruguay: thanks Tato!
Can't really tell who this one is... is that a white North?

Levi's goiter.

Last but not least, the blog author.
Around 4.20 the waves got really good and I went out again. Too bad the wind got light and a horde of surfers went out. I had to move downwind at Lanes were I caught a few more waves, but nothing compared to the Hookipa ones...

Still, I like the light and the crispness of the colors of my sail. Click on it to appreciate it.

Wow, that was a lot of photos... see ya next time!