Sunday, November 30, 2008

Big waves + three hot dogs eating contest.

I'm going to start this Sunday post with Uncle Pat's forecast summary: "calendar shows fall although the surf says winter."

Have a look at this photo from yesterday's surf contest at Sunset beach (Oahu) and you'll see what he means.

The live webcast is on as I'm posting (hey, my computer can multitask, just like me!). I just watched aussie veteran Mark Occhilupo (42) advance in his heat together with young Maui surfer Dusty Payne (19).

This is the weather map of Sunday morning.

As you can see a deep low is up there pushing waves our way. The front is almost completely occluded already and that means that the low is not going to move much. Actually that other smaller low on the left is going to join in and give life to a situation which will give us huge waves pretty much all next week.

Here's how Uncle Pat explains it:"The jet stream has set up a large equatorward loop in the central north Pacific. This is the Aleutian low, a feature seen in climatology based on the persistence of low pressure in a broad area straddling the dateline between 35-50°N latitude. The synoptic, or daily changing large scale pattern, of the coming days shows a family of extratropical cyclones forming off Japan then tracking east to reinforce the mother low pressure area just south of the Aleutians."

Check the website of the Eddie Aikau event at Waimea, 'cause it may easily be held. Tuesday and Thursday are my best guesses.

Last, but not least, here's a stellar performance of my friend Darian.

He who won a bag of goods at the Second Wind's sale by winning a three hot dogs eating contest. Good job...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Paia bay invitational

Great success of the annual Paia bay invitational surf contest.

I'm clearly going to start my self-centric report with a photo of the beautiful, picture perfect ass (talk about Reef models...) that was in my first heat and made me completely lose my concentration.

Look at me jumping in the water after her... what else can I be focused on? The waves?!? Gimme a break! (no pun intended)

Anyway, on top of being a model she's also a solid surfer and she kicked ass (!) and advanced. Unfortunately she had to leave and I got to advance in her place. She was strongly missed...
Ok, let's talk briefly about the contest now. Look at the organizational effort! I believe those 1,000 bucks could be spent only with the sponsors reported on the check...

The board.

The six finalists.

Da winnah: Michelle Crompton from Devon, UK! She ruled all the guys with late takeoffs, whipping turns and a kamikaze shore break tube ride, like Bruce Irons at Waimea. She didn't even need to flash her boobs to impress the judges, like she did in her first heat!!

Second place: Lee.

Third place: Poof. I mean, Sid.

And now a selection of beach scenes, starting with some of the judges playing football during the final... just to give you an idea of how serious the whole thing is!

Thanksgiving wasn't over yet, as a sunset sailing session was to be held at Mr. Henderson's place. We caught a couple of fun waves on our longboards and I met Eddie: a rock at Uppers that sticks out on low tide. It doesn't stick always out, though. Only when the wave approaches and sucks the water off the reef... not particularly easy to spot.

Today it's Friday, the big NW swell is on the rise (9 feet, 18 seconds at 7am at the NW buoy!), the contest at Sunset beach in Oahu is on (women first), the weather map shows no wind all day...
It's going to be an epic surfing day and right after this post, quickly made while sitting on the toilet (I'm sure you guys are thrilled to learn that), this is what I am going to do: surf and enjoy yet another marvelous day in Maui.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

reef model

Well, I told you not to get too excited, but you asked for it anyway...

What do you think about me as a Reef model? Should I talk to Scott Trudon about sponsorship?

Are you disturbed by the visual content of this post?
You should thank god that I put all the other ones in a slideshow instead of posting each single one of them!

About to puke? Blame photographer Corey Arnold who was at Hookipa taking photos for his travel story and thought that I was a character iconic enough to ask me to pose for a random photoshoot...
"What, you want to take photos of me with that big and expensive camera? SURE!!!"
So vain...

What strucks me is that yes, now I look like a surfer. You should see instead my photo on the 2001 HP badge that I still have... quite a radical transformation.
Talking about which, here's a funny clip to illustrate what still lays behind the surfer look...

Anyway, trying not to make this the most insignificant post ever, let me mention that there will be a sale at the Quatro/Goya/MFC shop at the Haiku cannery on West Kuiaha on Friday and Saturday morning (sorry Pascal, blogger doesn't load the pdf).

No wait! I did take a few photos at Hoo yesterday too. Bloody windy and gusty, I survived another session made only to get a water shot from Ben. I didn't talk to him yet, but I'm afraid he didn't get much... what a shitty water photographer he is!
He was out of position for that one single good wave I was able to catch in 1 hour and a half... shame on you Ben!

I instead, keep loving what I take out of my lil Sony and Nico is going to be happy again.

And again.

A little bit of Diony.

11.30am: got to go to the Pay bay invitational. Can't miss the opening (of the beers) ceremony...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

unexpectedly epic

Ask any Hookipa regular who's the guy who throws the highest backloops and you will hear one name: Nico Drasimino.

He's a super nice guy from Argentina (like pretty much all of them that I know), he's not a pro, but he jumps really, really high.
Think I'm exaggerating? Check his famous youtube clip.
I like Nelisblog's comment: "tjezus christ what a jump!"

Unfortunately, I had the camera zoomed in too much to really appreciate the height. The thing is that I was following Nat Gill riding the same wave a bit more downwind when, THANKS TO THE FACT THAT I WAS LOOKING IN THE LCD DISPLAY OF MY LOVELY SONY and not in the viewfinder of that stupid Canon (that I'm so going to return!), I saw him blasting out with the periferal vision of my upwind eye and I was able to redirect the shot. Not to change the zoom though.

As a comparison, here's a jump of an unkown sailor. I played with zoom on this photo on the computer a bit, trying to get a similar zoom to Nico's one, and I think that in this photo he would be right at the very top of it.

Anyway, who cares how high exactly he went! He went high... oh-my-god kind of high!
Lots of people can backloop at Hookipa, but for some reasons Nico's ones are my favorite.

Just like Francisco Goya's bottom turns. Check this one out (and the superduper digital zoom of my Sony...). Click on the photo and get yourself a magnifying lens to appreciate the microscopic distance between his boom and the water...

In this department I feel like mentioning Levi, KP, Polakow and Naish as my other favorite ones, but there's something about Cisco's bottom turns... I think it's the supersonic speed at which he does them.

As you guys probably figured out by now, conditions were pretty damn good at Hoo today.
Give this place a 4 feet, 14 seconds bump from 330 with the help of a 7 feet, 9 seconds windswell, and you'll miracolously get head to logo high sets with a few sporadic mast highers. Add strong and offshore wind and you'll get unexpectedly epic conditions. Think I'm exaggerating again? Check these other photos...

Levi, always a photographers favorite.

John Skye is consistently ripping hard.

I'm usually not a Naish sails fan, but that sail looks quite good. Skye boy again.

Another of my favorite sailors: Nat Gill. He landed this aerial 360 off the lip perfectly. 10 from the italian judge.

You can count on KP to do something worthy in every session...

In between sessions, he couldn't stay put and he went for a water photo shooting... without a helmet!
Now, that's bold. No pun intended... ;-)

Diony's new Superfreak. Now, that really is bold!

More photos in this slideshow. If it stops, click on the x on the top right to make it start again.

My session report.
I stopped by Hookipa around 12.30 and seen the size of the waves I was going to go sail somewhere else downwind. But then I saw my friend Benjamin getting in the water to shoot and I decided to challenge the fate... what would I not do for a good water shot!
I always say:"the photographers in the water are annoying and dangerous... unless they're taking photos of me, of course!"

Anyway, don't know what happened to Ben, but he swam in after 10 minutes and left me out there without a purpose in life... other than trying to save my ass and don't go on the rocks. Which I managed to, unexpectedly.
Didn't manage to have too much fun though... too many people, too many times too close to the rocks. I had a really good one lined up with no one else on the way, but of course a 30+ knots gust on the wave face made my 4.7 way too big to sheet in in the bottom turn.

< And all of a sudden, the shuffle selection I had on my WMP came up with "Come to my aid" by Simple red... Simple red?!! Jesus, I really got all kinds of shit on my hard disk! >

Where was I? After an hour of survival sailing I sat to take photos and after that, around 4, I ventured back out. I got immediately nailed by a big one on my way out, brushed the rocks on the consequent wipeout/swim, caught a nice wave but ended up downwind of guy who wasn't too willing to share... "Fuck this shit, I'm going to Lanes!"
What a great decision that was.

It was me and Elliot Leboe on his kite... we often share waves/sessions either in superlight wind at Kanaha or standup surfing.
He's got a good energy, never aggressive and very respectful of priorities. Plus, he absolutely rips and it's a great pleasure to watch him carving hard on those small surfboards he uses.
I had a blast. The quality of the wave wasn't as good as Hookipa, but the quality of life was much better!
Didn't have to worry about the others, could choose the section of the wave that I wanted and didn't have to swim like Michael Phelps to save the gear from the rocks!
I was so relaxed that I finally even managed to make a couple of decent turns!

More of the same tomorrow, Wednesday. Actually, a bit smaller waves.
Thursday instead, I don't care if it's windy or not, I'll take part to the annual Paia Bay invitational surf contest, to which I was honored to be invited.

Everybody knows that an extra-large NW swell will hit on Friday.
No one knows what the wind is going to do. That's the case when the front generating the swell gets very close to the islands. I personally think that there will be not enough wind for windsurfing... but sure enough for surfing! :-)
Oh, DO NOT miss out the webcast of the second event of the Triple Crown of surfing at Sunset beach. Just pray for the waves not to be too big...
Hey Ian, when are we going to webcast the Bay invitational??!

What not everybody knows is that next week another extra-large swell will hit. This one actually looks bigger to me, but from a more westerly direction. Too early for details, I just love when the north Pacific remembers that it's winter time...

Quite characteristically, I'm going to ignore (for the moment, at least) the suggestions I received regarding the posting topics list. But you guys keep voting...
Actually, I'm gonna report it again here and add a couple of more items.
1) reef model (don't get too excited)
2) underwear website link
3) windsurfing pole vault video
4) quatro/goya/mfc sale banner
5) photos kanaha (mine and alex)
6) photos hookipa (mine and jazz)
7) Kazuma series
8) my new wave board quiver (I still have to take a photo of this)
9) Chico's amazing windsurfing photos
10) windsurf boards museum. You guys won't believe your eyes...
11) description of a scary moment at Hookipa

Life is grand.

to post or not to post

Some bloggers post almost every day even when they haven't really much to say.

I instead, usually like to make my posts full of stuff. Sometimes though, I accumulate so much material that it will take me a whole day to put it together in a satisfying manner. Since I don't have all that time (in particular this morning I only have like 15 minutes) I'm going to break my rule and do a lil post.
Let's see... here's a list of things I could post:

1) reef model (don't get too excited)
2) underwear website link
3) windsurfing pole vault video
4) quatro/goya/mfc sale banner
5) photos kanaha (mine and alex)
6) photos hookipa (mine and jazz)
7) Kazuma series
8) my new wave board quiver (I still have to take a photo of this)

You guys post a comment and let me know what you'd like to see first.
In the meantime, enjoy a couple of photos of Hookipa yesterday. Diony is back on the island and he's quite visible in the water with that yellow Fire...

It was pretty damn windy and I was debating if to go out on 4.2 and 68l (yes, my favorite kind of conditions...), but when I saw Kai Katchadourian riggin a 4.0 I wisely decided to pass...
That's what I did to my foot the day before with 4.5 wind... imagine what I would have done to my body with an overpowered 4.2!

These guys in Holland, instead, don't seem to mind strong wind... amazing photos! I would have surely died... while wearing the wetsuit!
Respect to all sailors in the world that sail in those temperatures and those conditions.

Got to go work! Aloha.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Windsurfing Movie Two interview and new blog sponsor

Howzit everyone, been and will be busy with friends visiting and odd secret TV show jobs, so I didn't take any photos at all.

There have been waves and wind, fun but nothing epic.
Hence, it's a good time to publish a little interview to Johnny De Cesare and Jace Panebianco about the Windsurfing Movie 2.

Also because just yesterday I saw that awesome movie again...
Considerations: as soon as I saw Levi riding on single fin, the movie immediately looked kind of old. He definitely does shorter radius turns now. Maybe I should really consider to get a twin fin... too bad I just added 2 (two!) single fins to my wave boards quiver (stay tuned for that)!!!
But then I saw Polakow at Backyards (definitely my favorite part of the movie) and I relaxed... Those deep bottom turns in the flat, way in front of the wave face followed by sick hits to the lip still look good enough for me... too bad I'm not Polakow!

Let me welcome a new blog sponsor. You'll find the link clicking on the banner on the right. They were smart enought to buy 6 months in advance now that the price is still low ($40/month).
Hurry up advertisers, before it goes up again!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

how Kazuma shaped my custom surfboard part 5 + SUP shirt initiative

Part 5 of the Kazuma series. After this, we'll move to the shaping room.

Surfing has been absolutely epic here in Maui. The lack of wind and the not too big size of the swell has brought some real gems to our reefs. Tons (literally!) of perfectly shaped A-frames. Let's celebrate that with a few blurred shots (haven't opened the manual of the new camera yet... too busy surfing!).

After a couple of fantastic regular surfing sessions I had to switch to standup (much easier on my back). Still heaps of fun, but one thing has been bugging me. About 80% of the pack of standup surfers (that now outnumber the regular ones in some breaks) is absolutely unrespectful of the etiquette and hog the waves leaving little chance to regular surfers to have their share of fun.

I thought about having made some custom lycra shirts to wear when to go SUP surfing. On the back:
"Regular surfers can drop in on me (as long as it's safe)"
On the front:
"I'm not going to take advantage of my unfair advantage in catching waves"
or, if that is too long:
"Unfair advantages bug me".

That would give a strong message to the other standup surfers, don't you think?
Please post a comment if you have ideas for other sentences or if you want to join the initiative and share the cost of it.

I also opened two threads about this on the Standup Zone forum and on the Hot Sails Maui forum.

See you in the water. Surf with aloha!

PS. Thanks to Maui Ultra Fins who decided to renew their banner (check the new twin fin one) till the end of the year. I'll use that money for the lycra shirts!

The number of blog readers keep growing, but the banner's price just went down (they follow Wall Street): 40 bucks a month!
Here's the stats of the last two weeks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

new camera?

I'm going to update this post with a photo that Alex took with his XTi and 300mm lens. Looks a lot nicer, doesn't it?
Anyway, this is Andres who just shaped himself a brand new twin fin with the colors of his Smack.
Sometimes it's good to have somebody in front of you, since you're forced to do a tight turn...

--------start of the original post--------------------

Taking advantage of Costco's crazy return policy (3 months! It used to be 6, but somebody must have taken too much advantage of it...), I bought (or temporarily borrowed if you like) a new camera.

It's a Canon Rebel XSi and it came with two lenses, one of which goes up to 250mm .

I know nothing about photography other than pushing the button of my trusty little Sony and I'm having a hard time (of course I didn't even open the manual). The first two shooting sessions were quite disappointing as I will explain hereafter.
First, let me mention the main (and only so far!) advantage I found in it: continuous shooting rocks!
Here's Patrick Bergeron in a sequence of a nice aerial yesterday (Tuesday) at Hookipa. I was impressed by how well he sailed also because, truth to be told, he didn't sail well at all the day before! I guess we all have our good and bad days...

Here's instead the disadvantages I found (so far) of an SLR camera:
1) heavier and bigger. You can't really keep it your backpack.

2) more expensive.

3) sure the quality of the photos is better (supposedly), but the size of the photos is way bigger. The shittiest smallest quality with the Canon means around 800k per photo. With the Sony it's around 300k. My disk space is limited and I don't want to bother with external disks or have to change my PC...
I take photos for my blog (and for the fun of taking them). On it you can't even notice the difference in quality (or can you?).

4) There's no way (or at least I didn't find it yet) you can use the LCD display when you shoot. This is Glenn.

I'm not used to the viewfinder and I wear glasses. It wasn't too bad... just harder to keep the horizon line horizontal, since often it ends up in the very top of the mini screen and I just don't see it!

In addition to tilted, the horizon line also appears a bit distorted (kind of concave) to me.

This is another little sequence. US1111 (still can't remember who's that...) is pretty well on focus in the first shot. I'm using the sport settings with super short shutter times (like 1/1000) and autofocus and the lens has Image Stabilization.

Now, can anybody tell me why in the second shot US1111 is not in focus anymore? Is that because I moved my hands? I'm not using a trypode (and I really don't want to).

In the third shot it's a little better on focus...

Oh, and the zoom of the 250mm is not even as strong as the 12x of my little Sony...
And in the fourth shot is mysteriously back on focus (kind of)...

Most (MOST!) of the photos were kind of blurred. Even this close up of this cute Spanish girl! When I saw this photo, I almost brought the camera back ahead of time... cute Spanish girls cannot be blurred!!!
That's actually going to be my answer to the customer service employee's question:"and... what was wrong with it?"

What can I say... I have a lot to learn and I should be reading the manual instead of posting bad shots...
Patrick again.

Philippe. BTW, sequences are nice but they take forever to load on blogger...

In the end, it looks like moving from longboard to shortboard surfing. A hell lot of disadvantages for a very little reward. But it's just day two...

Here's a couple of shots from today, instead.
The wind was light, gusty and offshore, very difficult sailing (at least for me, as usual). The new NW swell started to show up late in the afternoon. This guy caught the biggest set of the day.

Buzzy Kerbox took advantage of the offshore wind and got covered.

Oh look, a swiss beauty! Not particularly missing Guernsey, I's say...

Indoor shots are pretty good instead. How's that grab?

Allright, NW swell on the steep rise. The NW buoy shows 13 feet, 16 second from around 315 degrees at 7pm. I have no doubt where I'm gonna surf tomorrow morning: NOT at Hookipa!
Here's a well done video forecast

As they mention, the Triple Crown will start tomorrow morning at Haleiwa. If you don't live in Hawaii, check the live webcast online.

If you live in Maui, instead... see you guys in the water!
Don't forget the wax! The bikini one, I mean!