Perfect Hatteras!

The last few days have just been plane old wicked, regardless of what game you play! Monday saw a building swell, and some pretty up and down SW wind. By the time I got off work, the buoy was reading something ridiculous like 9 feet at 14 seconds (don’t quote me on that, but the waves were macking)! I walked over the dunes at Ego beach to find a bunch of people and rigs on the beach, and only one guy out. The wind looked Super light, so I hemmed and hawed over what to do. Moderate wind freestyle in the sound, or light wind schlog in mast high Ego beach?

The lure of huge, clean wave faces won out, so I rigged my 5.7 on a 85 liter RRD. This is usually a very schloggable combo for me, but the water was so aerated that I was sunk up to my calves while trying to punch over head high walls of white water! Not the best combo… Somehow, I got super lucky with a few puffs of breeze at VERY crucial moments. Not enough wind to plane, but enough to pop over some major piles of water and squeak out past a looming set on the horizon.

Once out, I realized how lucky I got. The sets were rolling by, at least mast high, if not bigger. I felt pretty small bobbing around out there all by myself, not even a soul on the beach. I decided to catch just one wave, the biggest wave I could find, and ride it all the way to the beach. After testing the waters on a few medium sized waves and kicking out really early to make it back outside, I finally saw The Wave.

This thing was a wall, at least a hundred yards long and mast high out in deep water. The main peak was about 30 yards downwind of me, so it was easy to pump into it and I new it was going to be a loooong ride! 8 (+) bottom turns and 45 seconds later I was kicking out right before it dumped up onto the beach. Unreal. Soooo smoooooth, and the most wide open wave face I’ve ever been on. So much room to build speed, pick a line, drive the rail through a bottom turn. No sail power, just apparent wind. Wow.

Stuart walked over the dune just as I finished walking back up the beach. This was the best 200 yard walk of shame I’ve ever taken. I will never forget this wave (probably). We both tried to get back out again, but got denied no more than 20 yards from the beach.

To finish the evening, we joined the rest of the crew over at the Hole, including Anne, Brett, Jim M and a few other visiting sailors. The 5.7 was perfect for about 30 minutes, and I pulled the nastiest spock 540 I’ve ever thrown! Before long, the wind picked up to solid 5.0, and it turned into a loopfest. Stuart chucked a sweet port loop right in my face, so I had to follow suit! Usually I only throw ’em on starboard on flat water, so it was good to have some motivation! Thanks for pushing me, Stu!

And man, the next morning, Tuesday morning, the waves were just FIRING! The wind went west, and was very sailable, probably 5.0 again, but the waves were just too perfect to pass up! Drew and I surfed down in Buxton, the sets were a bit overhead, and just reeling down the beach! I got trounced a few times, and had a really tough paddle out, but the experience was well worth it. We also saw a few guys just tearing it up a few hundred yards up the beach. I’m talking full on stand up barrels, then getting spat out, and chucking a bit of air or thwacking the lip vertically. Nasty, nasty surfing. Very rad, and humbling at the same time!

On the drive back to Avon, Drew and I noticed that everyone was out having a great time! There were kites in the air, windsurfers ripping around the sound, fishermen with lines in the water, and of course the surfers we had just seen. We saw people biking, and even practicing Tai Chi on the beach. The whole island seemed alive with people enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Good Stuff!

We planned to surf again last night, but within the five minutes it took run into the house and grab a wetsuit, the wind switched around 180 degrees and immediately ruined the surf. It’s amazing how much of a difference wind direction makes. So, I decided to go skate sailing for a few minutes, and stay dry for the evening. Drew showed up halfway through the sesh, and he had a go on the skateboard as well. He did great for his first time out, but next time I’ll make him wear a helmet! Check out the video!

More Visuals for Your Viewing Enjoyment!

My lack of recent posting has created a backlog of media! So, without further ado, here it is! This is in addition to the video I posted last night, here! My Brother’s wedding photographer’s, Bobbi and Mike, posted some pictures of the wedding on their blog, here! Check ’em out, even if you don’t care about my bro’s wedding, because the pictures are just plain old beautiful from an artistic standpoint!

The first video was shot by Ace, and edited by Drew. Stuart, Drew, and I were SUPing down in the Cove in a pretty stiff offshore breeze and waist to shoulder high waves. His music choice is “El Mar” by The Beautiful Girls. Gooood stuff!

The next video I shot a few weeks ago on a chilly sunset sesh north of Avon. It was one of those days where I just couldn’t land anything, but the video came out alright anyway after lots of editing! Enjoy!!

Surfy Surfy and SUP Helmet Cam!!

First, my apologies for the lack of recent posting! I assure you, it’s not due to a lack of action! I’ve been super busy at the shop, and a bunch of friends from out of town were visiting last week! So, blogging took a back seat to surfing, sailing, hanging with friends, and 🙁 working… This is the group of friends, who gathered in Hatteras from New England and as far away as Washington State! They’re all awesome sailors, and not afraid to hit the ocean for some surfy surfy when the wind doesn’t blow! Fun loving kids, that’s for sure!

The Crew in the Cove (photo: Brett)Cove SUP Action (photo: Brett)
To summarize the action, last week we encountered some gloomy weather, but there was some wind mixed in between the rain storms. A few customers claimed they sailed 6 days out of 7, and our rental Serenitys, SUPs, and surf boards got some serious use! I missed most of the wind events, but surfed EVERY freaking day last week in some great waves! 2 SUP sessions in the Cove, 1 shortboard sesh down in Frisco, a North Avon SUP sesh, and a Lighthouse shortboard sesh this morning! We also snagged a fun windsurf sesh at the Hole Saturday evening.

Rowdy Bunch of Kooks!!I had a really good time hanging out with my college sailing buddies. I didn’t get much sleep at all, but that’s what they make coffee for, right?

I tried out the helmet cam while SUPing north of Avon. It was tough to frame the action, but I think a lot of it turned out pretty well! Check it out:

I’ve got a bunch more video to sort through, and it looks like tomorrow is going to honk SW with a head high swell, so check back for some more action soon! Yeee haw!!

Jamaican Wedding!

People often ask where we Hatteras-ites go on vacation. Most of us never go anywhere else to sail, but we do sometimes leave the island. Last week, I crossed the bridge for the second time in 2008, to head to Jamaica for a family vacation, to celebrate my brother Jim’s wedding! It was a very fun, relaxing, rum soaked experience!

The Family, all dressed up!
My Bro married a wonderful lady, and his best friend, named Pauline. They had a simple, but romantic beach wedding, short but sweet with their own tear jerking vows. But maybe it was just the sunscreen in my eyes making them water… It was a small gathering of immediate family, so I met Pauline’s Mom, Dad, Brother, Aunt, Cousins, and step-parents for the first time! They were all super nice, rowdy Texas types!

The Bride, with Parental Escorts
We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, so I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we got a real Jamaican experience, but it was the most worry free, easy vacation I’ve ever taken. The first day felt strange, since we weren’t whipping out our wallets every time we wanted a plate full of food or glass full of rum. By the time we left, however, we got so used to it that we almost walked out on a check at the first normal, public restaurant we had been to in 5 days! Whoops!

Jim and Pauline, Married!

We got a lot of sailing in down there! Most of the time, the wind conditions and intoxication levels were more conducive to Hobie Cat sailing than windsurfing! However, I did go windsurfing in Jamaica! The resort had some poly HiFly boards and dacron sails, so Anne and I cruised the bay one afternoon, rocking some light wind freestyle in clear blue water and sunny skies. Once I got back to the beach the resort’s windsurf instructor barraged me with questions about a type of windsurfing he had obviously never seen! So after he was off the clock, I taught him how to waterstart and heli tack. He promised to have a windsurfing trophy to show me by the next time I came to Jamaica!

Always Bring Everything!

I know I sound like a broken record, but this place is so freakin’ windy! Sunday evening, Drew and I broke rule number one of Hatteras living. We didn’t “bring everything” with us when we went to the beach… The flags were hanging limply when we closed up the shop, so we grabbed a few SUPs to catch the lingering chest high swell. By the time I got my big toe in the water, there was a noticeable ripple on the water. By the time I paddled out, saw a set, and turned around to catch a wave, the side offshore wind was sending whitecaps, spray, and knee high chop my way… It turned into full on 5.0 wind in about 5 minutes. These are not the best conditions for paddling around on a 10′ log. Had we brought everything, I would have quickly rigged up and sailed, but that wasn’t an option, nor was going home to grab sailing gear with only an hour of daylight left. So… we SUPed. It was a learning experience. I’ll probably never try it again. If I let my windward rail bobble up even an inch, the board got ripped off the water and sent me flying. I had to CONSTANTLY paddle to keep from drifting out to sea. I only caught two waves. It was very challenging. It was VERY fun.

Dropping in with a gale force head wind (Stuart pic) Keep that nose down!And then Monday it blew all afternoon, yet again, out of the North! After work I rigged up my 5.0 and took a freestyle sesh north of Avon. I tried out the helmet cam again, but in all the chop and high wind, it turned out pretty shaky and hard to watch… Maybe I’ll sift through the files and grab some highlights, but most of the footage was pretty worthless at first glance.

And right now, guess what? It’s STILL windy! the Avon Pier meter is reading gusts up to 47 mph. The building is creaking and groaning. Stuart and I sailed the lighthouse this morning, it was super fun! Way lit up 5.0, powered to the gills on the outside. The waves were just reeling left, but the angles were lined up better than usual so it was easy to get 4 or 5 bottom turns on the same wave! Every time I kicked out, I would look up and realize that I was 150 yards down the beach, again! Super fun, with some huge jumps on the outside, but I was so lit I was mostly trying to keep it on the water and in control…

And the forecast? You guessed it, windy! For the next two or three days straight!

But guess what? I don’t care! As of Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be sipping rum drinks on the beach in Jamaica! Anne and I are packing up the car to drive to Raleigh tonight for our early am flight tomorrow morning. Once in Jamaica, my only job will be to provide “Best Man” support to my brother Jim, who is marrying a wonderful woman named Pauline! Wooooooo Hoooooo! I can’t wait to hang out with my family and help send my brother into the next phase of his life story!

Chances are, computers will be the last thing on my mind, so be sure to check all the other local’s blogs for Hatteras updates in my absence! Looks like they’ll have some epic sailing to report!

Seeeeee ya next Tuesday!!!!!!

Wicked Ego Beach Action!

Wooooo it got windy today! 70 degrees, sunny, and SW winds! Ego Beach was lined up pretty well, chest to head high with an occasional logo high bomb. I showed up for the post work session, and it was only Stuart, Thomas and I on the water. There were a bunch of trucks and spectators on the beach, so I’m sure a lot of people got on it earlier!

What a fun session! If the waves had been any bigger, I think I would’ve used the phrase “survival sailing” but as it was, it was pretty do-able, and I wasn’t too afraid to huck it big or go for a lip! I ended up being lit out of my mind on my 4.2, which doesn’t happen too often. Stuart sailed a 3.7, and he said it was just about perfect. Some of the gusts were borderline violent, as they warped and wrapped around the wave faces, switching 20 degrees nearly instantly! I took a few monster sets on the head, but came out unscathed, so all is well.

Drew came out and took a bunch of pictures, he’s got a great Stuart shot on his blog! And it looks like Billy has got a slideshow up on his blog, with lots of action from all day long! Check it out! Anne and Banana were also hanging on the beach, and she took a bunch of pictures with a little point and shoot. Thanks, guys, for getting sandblasted all in the name of a sweet pic!

Thomas lining up a hitI tried a wave face 360 for the first time ever! (It didn’t end so well)Stuart, laying down a solid arc!
Going up…
…and coming back down!

Gemeni Action!

Had an awesome few days! Drew and I surfed down in Frisco again the other night, in conditions pretty much identical to the last post. Super fun chest high waves! And last night, the breeze filled in, so Anne, Drew and I packed up the truck and drove down to the hole for a sunset session. Anne and I sailed the Gemeni, Starboard’s tandem, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out a helmet cam. So here you go, a first person view of the sunset sesh on the biggest board ever made!

Right now, it’s cranking SW and 70 degrees! Headed to Ego beach to get a sunset sesh, check for a report later!

What a stretch of wind!

It’s STILL windy on day 5… We’ve had a string of four solid days of North wind. Cold, cloudy, rainy, and honking wind! Just the way I like it! Well, another 30 degrees on the thermometer would be fine with me, but I don’t mind the cold. Nor do all the customers coming through the door! They’ve all got torn up hands and smiles on their faces! I love that windsurfers can find joy in such nasty weather, where most sane people are curled up on the couch drinking beer and watching TV!

I desperately needed a day off from hanging on the booms, so, *gasp* I didn’t go windsurfing yesterday, even though it blew solid 5.7 all day long. Instead, Drew and I took a surf session on the South side, in strong, but straight offshore winds. The faces were nice and clean, and the lines were long if you picked the right one! Here are a few shots I snapped off, but the sun was basically gone so there wasn’t much light. Still, you can get a feel for the chest high lefts ripping off the pier! Enjoy!

Felix on the peak!The View Down the LineNice Lines!
Drew waits for a setThere’s still a bit of breeze out there today, and it looks like tomorrow’s going to switch South and warm up a bit! Should be a great couple of days coming up!

Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, Bill’s just officially announced OBX Loop Fest 2008! If you’re on the verge of committing to some huckage, come on down in June and join the fun! Nothing like lots of other people throwing themselves around to up the energy level and get yourself to do something stupid! And once you do, you’ll never look back! Oh yeah, there are lots of prizes to be given out to contenders, so maybe a new waveboard or sail will help you overcome your fears! Note: the contest is not for accomplished huckers, it’s for people who just want to chuck their first attempts. Of course, if you’ve spun around before, you’re welcome to join the fun, but the idea is to boost the overall number of loopers out there in the windsurf world! So come join us, and learn to nail one of the easiest moves there is!

Reef Run!

Life has lots of ups and downs. Luckily for me, they usually end up balancing out positive. For you, however, well…. So let’s write a checklist:

Pro: Today was wiiiiiindy
Con: It stayed North, and never went NE, so the south side chest high waves had dead off shore wind all day (not so hot for windsurfing)
Pro: Due North winds are fun out at the reef in the middle of the sound!
Con: The reef is about 5 miles offshore, and nobody has a telephoto lens that big.
Pro: I built a helmet cam with my new waterproof camera, to catch the action!
Con: I forgot that I needed a hood when I tried on the helmet, and there was NO way I could even buckle the chin strap with the hood on…
Pro: I went sailing anyway, without the camera…

So I got some great sailing in, but you get zero pictures to look at! Good for me, not for you…

Stuart (fresh back from a European Vacation), Olaf, and I sailed out to the reef after work today to hit up some soundside “wave” action! I don’t go out there nearly enough! That place is so much fun to sail! Today’s waves were occasionally stomach high, but mostly knee to waist. That’s a bit smaller than I thought it would be, but it’s still plenty of ramp for massive jumps when you’re lit up on a 4.2!

I’m glad all three of us are pretty competent sailors with good gear- it’s a bit sketchy heading that far offshore so close to dark in chilly temps. Didn’t help that it was overcast, a bit foggy, and not the best visibility! The island was definitely out of site when we were way outside playing in the swell. There’s a few landmarks out there, but not many… If you ever venture out there, make sure you have buddies, and that all your stuff is in good shape! Overdress, too, just in case!

Lots of action out there. I wish I had the helmet cam set up so you could see what I saw! Stuart was sailing like he never left, and Olaf was sending buckets of spray skyward as he slashed the tops off the waves. The waves were lining up great for full roundhouse bottom turn/cutback combos, where you basically end up sailing clew first/switch stance 200 degrees from your original point of sail to crack the lip! Backside airs were also basically at your fingertips, just point it and go! Super fun. Lots of good loops, too, and some major thwack downs to keep me in check.

One of the best parts of sailing out to the reef is coming back home. The natural flow of things usually puts you a good chunk upwind of your original starting point, so the tack home is generally 10-20 degrees off the wind, lit up, through the flats out in the middle of the sound! F A S T. Next time I’m bringing my GPS, and my (modified) helmet cam!

Looks like a day off for wind tomorrow, but there’s a ton of swell in the water, so I’ll probably have a surf report tomorrow night! See ya out there!

NE Extravaganza!

We’re in the middle of a three day NE wind extravaganza! Sunday night, Anne, Drew and I sailed the Hole towards sunset with a bunch of other people out. A little chilly with all the cloud cover, but the wind was honking! Anne was killing it, sailing through jibes and waterstarting with ease. Drew also got a few waterstarts, and sailed at mach 10 a few times on a 180 liter freeride/4.2 wavesail combo, sans harness! Scary, scary, scary, but lots of fun to watch!! Personally, I nailed a well powered spock 540 in chop, and then fell about 80 times trying to do it again…

Today after work, I drove down to Isabelle’s and snagged an hour of off off side off wavesailing before the sun went down. It was way more fun than it looked from the beach, so I’m really glad I decided to suit up in the 50 degree, overcast, spitting rain… Most of the waves were waist high, but there were a few head high nuggets rolling through. All the waves had one thing in common: multiple turns! It seemed like every wave was lined up for three, four, five, even six bottom turns! So much fun, even when it’s only waist high! A lot of them were barely fizzling off the top, so it was also super easy to chuck aerials off the lip, but with the offshore wind, most of them sent me out the back. Still, ridiculous amounts of fun!

Tomorrow’s forecast to go more NE, and building seas up to 4 meters (13 feet for all you imperials out there)!! If it happens, you probably won’t find me in the shop for too long! Shop early, or not at all when it’s blowing 30!

See y’all out there!

South Point SUP Test!

The Drewski and I made the most of a pretty bleak evening by testing out a few new SUPs! We paddled out at ramp 34, into the fog and drizzling rain, to see just how well the South Point Kalama 11’6″ and Bonga Perkins 10′ SUPs paddled. Drew took the Kalama, I tried out the Bonga. Conditions were far from appropriate for testing, but we had fun and learned a few things anyway. All pics by Anne (thanks for hanging out in the rain!!)

The Sticks:There were some solid nuggets out there!
My 2 cents on the Bonga:

This board Rips! It’s amazing how much a 10′ board can feel like a 6’2″ pin tail potato chip! Lay this thing on rail and it cranks right around! The step deck keeps the rails thin (and trust-able), but forces your feet into a pretty narrow stance. The slightly choppy conditions were challenging at first, but within 20 minutes I had the board dialed in. I wouldn’t recommend this board to beginners, but anyone with a year or two under their belt, looking for a solid ripper stick will love this thing. Anyone under 140 lbs would probably be fine on it, as well, even as a beginner board.

Dropping in!Paddle battle! (I won) 🙂
Drew’s 2 cents on the Kalama:

Well, he’s not here, so I’ll make an impression for him! Drew’s only had a few SUP sessions in the past, but he hopped on this thing and took right off! Looking solid from the start, he caught a good handful of waves, even claiming the ride of the day. The board looked stable, controllable, easy to handle, easy to catch waves on. But don’t get me wrong, I also saw a chunk or two of spray flying off the lip! Accessible performance is the name of the game with the Kalama model! Looks like a great all around board, I can’t wait to hop on it next time!

Drew Rocks a Soul Arch!Drew keeps it low and solid!
We’ve got both of these boards in demo, so if you want to try either of them out, swing on by the shop and pick ’em up!

Fun couple of days!

It’s been a great few days here on Hatteras! I scored a fun (but slightly frustrating) Isabel’s sesh on Wednesday evening. The chilly NNE winds were completely blocked on the inside, making for a tough schlog out, and some interesting moments of zero sail power with a head high set looming… Still, the four good waves I caught were well worth the struggle! This was the sunset over Hatteras village on the sound side:

Thursday was a huge “Missed It” for me! I was too lazy to get out of bed for the dawn sesh, which was easily 5.0 wind. And then later that afternoon, I could have had a great SUP sesh down in the cove, but I have yet to repair my busted board, so I was kit-less. Pretty bummed about not taking part in the action, but I needed a rest day anyway, and we had plenty of fun hanging on the beach with a bunch of friends. Here’s a short vid of the beach antics, but be forewarned, there is absolutely no watersports action in this movie!!

Friday made up for “missed it Thursday” by providing a great surf sesh in the AM, and fun SW wind in the evening! Zach, 2 Chads, Drew and I surfed some really fun head high (+) sets in the light WSW wind early on. It was foggy, and there was a ton of water moving around. Really tough paddle out, especially since I haven’t surfed in weeks! But it’s great to start the day with a pre-work surf session! Gotta love the salt water shower!

Zach (I think) on a foggy morning bomb!
By closing time, the wind filled in to solid 5.0 down at the Hole. Drew, Anne and I squeezed in to my truck with a ton of gear, and caught a great sunset session! Anne hasn’t sailed in months, but she jumped right on to a 4.2 and went ripping across the sound, and even nailed a few dry jibes! And Drew successfully beachstarted a few times in the super gusty winds! Caleb was packing up from an Ego Beach session when we rolled in, he had a pretty big smile on his face, so it must’ve been fun! What a great way to spend a Friday evening!

Anne rips in while Drew lines up a beachstartPost Session Glow!

Check out this huge building going up right by the Village Grocery and Ugly Mugs coffee shop. Hopefully, there won’t be any bright neon lights accompanying it. I REALLY dislike the appearance of box stores, especially in such a small town. Chances are it’ll be stocked with cheap lead covered crap made in China. But maybe I’m wrong.

An Apology, and a Soundside Sesh

Well, I thought the picture that I posted yesterday was pretty obviously manipulated, but apparently I April Fooled at least a few of ya! The comments are pretty priceless, and are well worth checking out! Although anonymous #2 has obviously got some internal issues to work out, (s)he does bring up a good point. I love sailing with other people. However, notifying the whole crew of good conditions is a daunting task, especially when time is limited and you just want to hit the water. I think the forum is a great way to spread up to date information, especially since a few of us can post directly from our cell phones. I do my best to update the forum anytime someone calls me with a report, and I’m near a computer. If we all put forth a tiny bit of effort to keep it updated, then all is well and info is readily available. I would suggest that if you are available to go sailing, and want to know where everyone is, just check the forum. So, anon #2, I apologize for not calling you about my imaginary session. And maybe the next time we meet, you can apologize to me for judging me so harshly… Although, the bellyache I got from laughing so hard was worth whatever bad juju you sent my way!

On to yesterday’s beautiful, warm, SW sunset sesh! A handful of us convened at the Hole to sail the brutally gusty, shifty winds. Personally, I went through 3 combinations of board and sail in an hour, before I just settled on being overpowered on my 5.0 and small board! Got some fun freestyling in, and bonked my head pretty well to end the evening. Anne snapped off a few pics of the action! Thanks, Anne!
Unknown blazes a pathJim M gets trickyTraffic JamIt’s a good thing I stretch a lot…Keith lays it on railIt’s cranking NE right now, I’ll probably post a Lighthouse report later this evening! Maybe I’ll even call some people to let ’em know where I’m at…

Mast High Cove Session!!!! and the March Wrap-Up

All the calls from the Cove reported a building swell, but no wind Monday afternoon. I had an hour of daylight left after work, so I decided to run down there and see if it was sailable. Everyone had since packed it in, giving up on the afternoon, so I had the place all to myself when I pulled up, except a few friendly fishermen. My eyes couldn’t believe what I saw!! Unreal mast high perfect waves were wrapping around the point and peeling for hundreds of yards into the cove! It must have built after everyone left, I couldn’t believe no-one was there!

It was a tough schlog out, and I only caught one wave. One of the fishermen snapped off a picture and was nice enough to email it to me (thanks, Chuck!!):

Insane! Y’all definitely missed it! How could you leave waves like that?!!?

So, on to the March Wrap-Up! Last month was insanely windy here on Hatteras! Here are the raw stats:

19 sessions windsurfing
6 sessions surfing (2 SUP, 4 shortboard)
7 rest days (travelling or sick… at least 4 of those days were sailable on a 5.0 or smaller)
2 sessions on a 7.5
3 on my 5.7
12 on my 5.0!!
2 on my 4.2
11 sessions in a 6/5/4 suit
14 in a 3/2

Windy!! And warming up, too! This spring has been amazing! Come on out and join us!