Monday, August 31, 2009

There we go, the Hookipa show is on again! Part 4 + The Hookipa Rockstar Contest

What a day!

To summarize today's conditions I could just report Josh Stone's comment while exiting the water with his proverbially beautiful smile.
"Man, that was some fun windsurfing!"... he was visibly stoked.
Instead, I will also add the usual bunch of pics and words. You guys lucky...

The photo of the day goes to a nice bottom turn by Keith Teboul.

Here's the other ones in chronological order.

Andres rescued my gear from the rocks (see session report at the end of this post), so I wanted to thank him with some nice shots.

Not a difficult task, since he's a damn good sailor (and a hell of a guy).

This move has always fascinated me (carving 360 on a wave and backwind wave ride with the feet in the footstraps... anyone knows if it has a name?). Robby and Sean Ordonez are the ones that do it best (Robby with more power, Sean with more style). Last week, when the waves were smaller, I finally pulled one out. I'm overly stoked to be now able to do something that a few years ago seemed like impossible to me. Now I have to do it on a big wave...


Philippe is sailing great.


Nico is famous for his backloops, but he also has a great timing for the aerials.

Sweet table top by Andres.




Robby, late phase of a push loop.

KP, taka on the lip.

Robby, early phase of a front loop.

My sessions report.
When I got to Hookipa around 2, it wasn't as big as I thought. Not mast high for sure (maybe the occasional freak set). Still solid head to logo high, but nicely spaced out and with occasional lulls. Despite the strong wind there were some smooth sections, specially the last bowl right in front of the rocks.
"Damn", I thought. "That looks really fun! I might have to go sail that!"
So I did and everything was going great. I was sailing smart and safe and was having a blast. Until I met a tempting head high section that was perfect for an aerial.
"Da hell, I'll go for it, otherwise when am I going to learn?"

On a smaller day, that's when I'm going to learn, dammit!
Clearly I didn't land the aerial and clearly the next 4-5 waves pushed me right on the rocks. No cuts, no dings: stoked!

Plus, I got the first point of the season. The guys at Kuau every year have the Kuau Cup to celebrate the sailor that doesn't sail back to the launching point most times in that season.
Inspired by them, this year I'm going to start the Hookipa Rockstar Contest. From this swell to the end of the season (we'll see when that'll be), if you guys want to compete, please send me (email on the right column of this blog) the date of your day as a rockstar (that'll be when you go on the rocks). Photographic evidence would be appreciated (and eventually published).
I'll soon start publishing the ranking under the ads on the right column of this blog. I also just created a facebook group. It's completely open anyone can post rock updates, photos, videos. Post your rockstar day there and I'll update the rankings on this blog.
Please help me spread the word, tell all your friends, post it on your blog if you have one.

After the rocks, I sat to take photos for a while and after that, despite the fact that the swell was visibly starting to drop, I went to Kanaha for a mellow sunset session.
A bit too windy for my taste, but waist to head high waves made for a fun sesh. After you've sailed Hookipa for a while, riding the waves at Lowers feels like a piece of cake. So much fun to finally aim for that lip without any fear at all. I stayed out till 7 and I was missing a couple of sunset regulars that are temporarily off island: Glenn and Juan. I dedicate this post to them, hoping to see both of them soon again on those waves.

Here's my tomorrow's plan (Tuesday):
- (try to) wake up early.
- do laundry
- finish packing and boxing everything in my studio
- move from studio A to studio B on the same property
- clean up studio A
- set up studio B
- pack for the italy trip
- pick up the person who is going to subrent my new studio when I'm away (3pm at the airport)
- go back home, show him everything, empty the car from all my gear (he's going to use my car too), take a shower and go to the airport again to catch a 6.40pm flight to start the LOOONG trip to Italy.

Do you guys think I will be able to squeeze in a sailing session? I almost hope that the waves will be gone, not to be tempted... but I know that they will be smaller, but still there. We'll see.

Any which way, I'm not too worried because - I swear to god - I just received this text from my buddy Nino in Rome:
"I guess you must already have a boarding card, since the wave forecast looks pretty good over here in this coming week..."

No way, I can't be that lucky! Oh well, I went to check and looks like I can...

This map shows the wave height and direction for Sunday September 6th. That's clearly a strong Mistral (NW wind) episode. My luck goes beyond human comprehension. I'm speechless.

PS. Check this out. Thanks Patrick for the link.

There we go, the Hookipa show is on again! Part 3

Another grand day at Hookipa. Let's start with Robby, 'cause Robby is always Robby.

The waves were a bit smaller, the crowd was overwhelming (almost 40 sailors in the water from 2 to 3pm), the wind was cranking, the chop was pretty annoying. Not my kind of conditions, I waited until 5 and scored a short but sweet session on waves that got glassier and glassier. Unfortunately at Hookipa you can't sail till dark because at one point the surfers will go out (no complaints, they have their right to enjoy the waves too!). That's why I love winter time when it's big enough for Kanaha...
Anyway, Nico didn't seem to mind the conditions instead.

This is Andres, who broke the tip of his mast. The Hot Sails Maui are the only sails I'm aware of, that have an almost undestructable webbing on the mast sleeve that will prevent the sail from tearing off when the mast breaks. Andres kept sailing for 30 minutes like that, getting worked pretty bad in a couple of waves and the sail was still absolutely intact when he got out of the water.
"I wanted to see if I could break that thing, but I just couldn't!"

Stratosferic backloops are not uncommon at Hookipa, but super high forwards are more rare. Philippe was in a jumping mood.

Seen the fins? Here, have a better look.

If I'm going to get a custom, there's no doubt that I'll get it with 5 fin boxes and spend the rest of my life trying all the possible fin configurations trying to figure things out. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to try some quads when I came back from Italy...

What's today? Monday. It's going to be epic, the best day of the swell, for sure. The Waimea buoy went up to almost 6 feet, 14 seconds from 345. With a 2+ feet high tide at 1.13pm, that means mast high at Hookipa. I may go take some photos before sailing my beloved sunset session somewhere else.
In the meantime, here's the slide show of ALL the other 81 photos I took yesterday. Sorry, no time to edit the caption. Take it as it is and be glad that there's someone that does this for you. Talking of which, Jeff got some shots too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

There we go, the Hookipa show is on again! Part 2

This post has 25 photos and 2 videos. It's a new record, I think...

The swell built in size compared to Friday and yesterday Hookipa was solid head to logo high with some mast high sets. Only 11-12 seconds between the waves and very consistent set arrivals made for a lot of people on the rocks.
I had two sessions at a downwind break: a early one and a very late one. Clearly the latter was the best, since both the wind and the tide dropped and the waves got cleaner and hollower.
In between sessions, I took photos from the bluff.
The above one is my favorite of the day. Nat Gill is always a pleasure to watch.

The other ones are in chronological order. Laurent.

Nils in foreground in a photo that shows a typical set.

Dunno this guy.

The lifeguards went to rescue a kitesurfer in distress. Fellow windsurfers, please stop complaining about the lifeguards that are only there to apply the ten men rule, because when someone is in need, they do go out and rescue people.
If you break your gear and/or go on the rocks but you're not in danger, it's not their task to come and help you. They're there to save lives, not to help you save your gear.

Julien is sailing pretty good too.

Nat air 360 off the lip.

Oh-oh. Now what?

Keith is back. As you will see from the short video below, he's very good at floating over white water.

And hitting lips, of course.

My buddy Paolo wasn't liking his old stiff sails. I let him try an old superfreak of mine (4-5 years old at least). You should have seen his smile yesterday...

The Superfreaks are the easiest, most forgiving, most gentle on your body and longest lasting sails in the world.
This is a fact.
They're not the most powerful of course. But when the wind is like this ( graph)...

...who cares about the power! When it blows between 15 to 35 all you want is a sail that dampens the power and that's what the dacron construction, the wide pvc window, the two central battens that don't go all the way to the mast and a few other unique peculiarities of the Superfreak do.
And if you think this is sponsorshit talk, do yourself a favor and try one. You may like it or not, but I guarantee you that everything I wrote is 100% true.
The easiest, most forgiving, most gentle on your body and longest lasting sail in the world. Period.

Talking about sails, looks like that brother to brother phone call was a successful one. Or maybe taking advantage of the fact that he's not here, Luke just went in Levi's truck and nicked one...

Julien one hand top turn into aerial.


Elena is the most wave sailing addicted person I know. She racks up the most hours of sailing at Hookipa every year, without a doubt. No one can compete with her in that category, not even her husband!

Good old Alex Aguera.

Nico first aerial.

Nico second aerial... on the same wave! Kinel...

This beautiful body belongs to the girlfriend of one of the sailors. I just wanted to leave her anonymous, but her face is just as beautiful. Lovely dress, btw!

Bit of a damage.



Nat was throwing some sick tweaked aerials. I missed most of them.



This first video shows a set and a bunch of "normal" sailors on it. Then Graham Ezzy pumps up the level, but you can still see how difficult it was because of the big chop due to the strong wind and extreme high tide.

Well, Keith looks quite at ease. I love the way he floats the white watery lip.