Nabbed It!

Somehow, I got lucky today! I can now claim success on one of my unwritten goals for 2008, only one month into the year! Today’s gusty, shifty, rainy, then sunny weather ended up providing the perfect setup for some sound side freestyle. The wind was so up and down today, you could’ve rigged your favorite sail, 4.5-7.5, and it would have been perfect 25% of the time! So I rigged a 5.0 and tossed it on my 85 liter FSW. A lot of the time, I was just powered enough to barely plane w/out pumping… perfect for freestyle! I started off pretty slow, and then picked up steam as I started nailing some vulcans, then a few perfect spocks, and finally, my first ever spock 540! I ended up hitting 4 dry, one of which was perfectly clean and composed! The others were somewhat, ummm, forced… Hitting a new trick gets me so amped up, its ridiculous! What I’m most excited about is the extra 180 degrees, which makes the spock (a totally pointless, but really fun 360 degree rotation) into a somewhat useful maneuver! Now, I have another method of turning around, beyond some of the various jibes and tacks I’ve learned in the past. Stoked!

After a killer 4 or 5 hours, the wind started to really lighten up, so Stuart and I derigged, grabbed our surfboards, and crossed the highway to Ego Beach. Straight off shore breeze, and a lingering (but kind of warbly) chest to head high swell was ripping down the beach! I only had enough energy for about an hour’s worth of paddling, but it was so worth it! Butter smooth faces, all rights, and pretty darned consistent. All in all, another super fun, multi sport day on Hatteras Island!! Loving it!

Honking Surf, No Cajones…

Today, the east facing beaches were FIRING!! Light offshore winds were holding up head and a half (+) bombs all morning. A few hardy folks paddled out, and 75% of them came back with their boards in one piece… The few who caught a good ride are probably still amping, 12 hours later! Those who didn’t, well, they probably still have ice cream headaches and salt water dripping out their noses… I chose to sit this sesh out, after talking to one of the best local surfers I know: “I’m just glad I made it out and back in, in one piece. I didn’t catch any waves.”

Light west turned into moderate SW breeze by mid afternoon, so Stuart and I went on a recon mission to see if it was sailable…

‘Twasn’t. As you can see, Ego Beach was doing it’s best impression of Backdoor/Pipeline. It’s bigger than it looks. Schlogging a 5.7 would have been death on a stick if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time today!
So, after looking around for a few hours, we ended up nabbing a sunset sesh at the hole, 5.7 and freestyle board, and loads of fun! And nobody died or broke any gear! Success!

The Stoke Level is…

… Very High! Good stuff from over the weekend! Saturday was windless all day, with a nice, soft, easy waist to shoulder high wave rolling in! A glassy ocean is beautiful. Waves seem to appear from nowhere, the perfectly smooth faces provide Cadillac soft rides. Never once did I question the ability of my rail to hold through a turn. These are the days that make you feel good, because it’s just that much easier to push yourself, as opposed to when its firing and, dare I admit it, a bit scary. Dan, Stuart and I surfed all afternoon at ramp 34, fast rights and long lefts, with ridiculous numbers of waves and porpoises!

The wind returned on Sunday, with moderate NNW breeze and cold temps. Stuart and I sailed the hole, and tested out some of the 2008 slalom rigs. I took out my GPS, and registered a 27.5 mph top speed in 14-18 mph breeze! We were pushing ourselves pretty hard, head to head, with lots of different points of sail. I don’t usually run slalom kits, but I have to admit, it’s really fun to just go fast every now and then! Unfortunately, half way through the sesh, I looked down and realized that my GPS had fallen off my wrist…….. arrrrgh! It’s hard to contemplate losing a device that’s meant to keep you from getting lost… However, after trolling and searching the shorelines, I slowly came to grips with losing my new toy. Its a bummer, but it was just a piece of plastic, right? No attachment!

Today was very similar to yesterday but with a touch more wind, about 18-25 mph breeze! Stuart and I decided to set up some buoys and run a figure 8 course, head to head! He had a few anchors at his disposal, so I offered to do some dumpster diving at the recycling center. I came up with two of those big orange Tide detergent jugs, which worked perfectly as jibe markers! Tell you what, going fast, head to head, is exhilarating, and exhausting! I pretty much sailed the same damn path, over and over and over again for hours and hours… and never got bored! Being in the lead is exhausting, because you don’t want to mess up. Following is exhausting, because you want to catch up and pass the leader! It was full throttle, the whole time! I can’t wait for this summer to try to get a few more people running the course with us! The only thing I was missing was that darn GPS that I lost yesterday…

As we were nearing our limit of energy expenditure, the wind started to back off (thank you!). So we gathered the buoys and called it a day. I decided to jump on my SUP and coast down the shoreline, hoping to spot my GPS somewhere… and… success! I found it nestled in the reeds about a mile and a half from where we were sailing, perfectly safe and sound. I had kind of already written it off in my mind, so you can imagine the excitement of spotting it half an hour into the search and rescue mission! Disaster averted!

I’m tempted to postulate a little life lesson from this GPS story… Probably something along the lines of “don’t lose hope” or “never give up trying.” But I think that in the end, all that can be learned from this experience is to tie the damn thing on really well so that you don’t lose it in the first place!

Denied! …Then, Retribution!

Today, the Hatteras Express had no time for tea, she had her pedal to the metal, she was on New York Time. Anyone that has windsurfed the Atlantic Ocean off any Cape Hatteras beach in a strong sideshore wind knows to whom I refer. Indeed, even the hardy bunch that fish our beaches are familiar with the express (It don’t matter how much weight you throw, it ain’t gonna end up where ya want it). For the sake of everyone else’s catalogue of local vernacular, the “Hatteras Express” refers to the ridiculous amount of littoral (side shore) current that can build up during a good blow. If you put in at ramp 34, you’ll be in Buxton before you know it. It’s really our only free system of public transportation here on the island. No car? Doctors appointment at 2?! No problem, just jump in the ocean! There’s no traffic, no stoplights, and only a few obstructions to hit (the Avon Pier and the Buxton Jetties will turn you into chum pretty quickly). And as I stated before, today was no exception. All aboard the Hatteras Express!
Stuart and I climbed over the dunes this morning to find a head+ swell running virtually sideways down the beach, waist to chest high shorepound and an unknown (but obviously large) amount of littoral current. Yikes. The only thing that made it look possible was the amount of sand blowing down the beach and pelting us in the shins, a visual clue as to the wind strength (howling). So, without much discussion or consideration for our own safety, we decided to rig and test out the waters. The potential for gargantuan port jumps was calling me, making me lose sight of rational thought. The frigid (32-34 F) air temps must have also been blocking some mental capacity. Had I stopped and looked closer at the conditions, I probably wouldn’t have even rigged, but hey, it’s always worth a try, right?
So by the time we rigged up and put our suits, boots, mittens, hoods etc on, the sand that had been blowing down the beach (and clogging my booms, mast halves, extension, fin box, etc) halted it’s assault completely. There was still texture on the water, but not nearly as much wind as when we had first arrived… But, we were already rigged, so off we went! I made it about 10 feet into the water (knee deep) and my feet got swept out from underneath me and a chest high barreling nugget of shorebreak exploded right on my kit. One minute and 50 yards later I crawled back up onto dry ground, heaving for air like a sucker punched victim of a school yard brawl. Somehow, all of my gear was still intact, so what did I do? Try again, of course! Round 2 ended just as quickly and just as brutally as Round 1 did. By this point, I was 100 yards down the beach, so I started the walk back upwind.
While dragging my gear up the beach, I watched Stuart carefully place his kit into the water, jump on, and sail right out. Hair dry. Hell, he was dry from his knees up. I looked down, and realized I had sand, gravel, shells, and other debris caked everywhere, including in my hair and ears. And I was wearing a very tight hood. Insult to injury, eh? Well, no one said windsurfing was easy (if it was, they’d call it kiteboarding), and having humble pie thrown in your face is an oft occurrence. I’ve learned to take it well.
A third attempt produced the same results as my prior 2, so I decided to call it, tail between my knees. I drove down and picked up Stuart from his final resting place (200 yards down the beach), and we decided to head for the relatively safe, calm waters of the sound for the rest of the morning. Low and behold, when there isn’t 10 knots (no exaggeration) of current ripping you straight downwind, a 5.0 does work in 25 mph of breeze! I was so happy to be actually windsurfing, rather than struggling to keep my head afloat in current while trying to keep my rig from being destroyed, that everything seemed perfect. I ended up having an incredibly successful (for me) freestyle sesh, sliding through a handful of perfect spocks, fumbling a dozen that were almost perfect, almost bagging my first 540, and a few (terrible) grubby attempts! Loving it, I couldn’t stop, even though my fingers were literally frozen and I could barely hold onto the boom. Windsurfing is simply too much fun (even when the water is 41 degrees and the air 33)!

Local Boys

This place is amazing during the winter! Stuart and I surfed ALL day today, totally by ourselves. Well, excepting the local crew, who were staring us down, stealing set waves, splashing around, and … somersaulting… Yup, I’m talking about the real resident rabble rousers of the ocean, the porpoises! We see a lot of ’em around these parts, but today they were extra rambunctious, chucking back flips, ripping down the line in the big sets, breaching out of the wave faces… They can certainly make you feel small, bobbing around on a 6’6″, submerged to your ribcage…

It started off glassy, and then the wind started to blow really lightly straight offshore. Mostly waist high, with the occasional chest or head high set, and perfectly clean, groomed faces! I absolutely love those conditions! The water was crystal clear, emerald green hue. Clear enough to count your toes, had I been barefoot. As it was, with 45 degree water and 45 degree air, the only skin I had exposed was my nose and eyeballs…

So what could make such a day even better? Wind, of course! One hour before sunset, the breeze picked up to 18-22, so I rigged a 5.7. Fifty minutes before sunset, the wind picked up to 25-35…. However, with limited time, and quickly plummeting temps, I decided to just hold on tight and ripped around for half an hour, completely overpowered! It felt good to get yanked around by a sail after paddling a surfboard all day. These are 2 very complimentary sports!

So all in all, I put 3 miles on the truck, and was in the water for 6 hours today (out of 10 hours and 14 minutes of actual daylight)! Not too shabby! And to top it off, dinner and a movie with Anne… Life Is Really Good!!!

Round One

Welcome to Lost In Hatteras! Thanks for reading! You can expect pretty much anything to pop up here, from daily sessions to thoughts on life.

Let’s start with today: Just as I like ’em! I surfed in the am (on my 12’2″ SUP) with nice clean waist high peaks and offshore breeze. The wind switched and came up a notch, so I tossed a sail (5.0) on my paddleboard and popped right back into the water for another two hours! Countless waves today, just a few really good ones, but all were fun! After dark, Pam’s yoga class kicked my ass. Any day that includes three sports and about 5 hours of activity is a good day! Not to mention dinner with Anne, and lots of playtime with the puppy dog! No complaints today, that’s for sure…