A short helmet cam video, and (Road) Surfing

Hi-  I’ve been slacking on the vids lately.  So, first things first, here is a short helmet cam clip from Thursday’s freestyle sesh:

Freestyle Windsurfing, POV from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Visualizing is pretty important if you’re trying to progress in windsurfing, so I guess the helmet cam is pretty good for that.  But in all honesty, I like the clew mount videos much more because I think you get a better feel for the whole picture of what’s going on.

Anyway, we’ve had a good bit of wind most everyday lately, and the surf has been just absolutely bombing!  It’s almost too big to really do anything with at the moment.  The buoy topped out at about 15 feet at 15 seconds yesterday, which is just massive.  To put it in perspective, 3 feet at 15 seconds turns into well overhead bombs on our sandbars…  This picture is from up high on the dunes on the southside, where the swell had already been knocked down by Diamond Shoals and wrapped around a 90 degree bend in the island:

That line of white water running completely across the bottom of the photo was probably at least head high, to put things in perspective!

So Stuart, Anne, Banana and I just drove around all afternoon looking for a rideable spot, finally gave up, bought a 6 pack of beer and went fishing…

It ended up being a really fun day, but as far as I’m concerned, road surfing…
… is for the birds!

2 Different Days, 2 Different Swells

Winter in Hatteras can just be so unbelievable!  Feast or famine…  After a total letdown for wind over the weekend, Momma Nature made up for it with two incredible back to back swells, warm(er) temps, and sunshine!  Monday saw a bombing south swell hitting the Frisco and Hatteras beaches, with perfect, light offshore winds.  Man, I ate some $(*& out there!  The South swell was followed closely by today’s quickly building North swell hitting all of the East facing beaches.  Man, I ate some (*$& out there!  Tomorrow looks to be insane, with light offshore winds forecast and a peaking North swell!  Unbelievable…  Man, I’m going to eat some (*&$ out there!  Luckily, all this ($(*$ tastes pretty darn good!

Moon set over the pier
Barreling set under the pier

I think I’ve dripped about a gallon of water out of my sinuses over the last two days.  And only one casualty so far (knock on wood)- Stuart gave himself a pretty solid fat lip this afternoon.  Sweet!!

Keep an eye on the wind towards the end of the week- It might get pretty crazy out here!

No Wind, Teeny Tiny Waves, BUT LOTS OF…..

…… FISH!!!!  Black Fin Tuna, Puppy Drum, Stripers…

We have been eating like Kings lately!  Stuart lucked out with a place on a boat the other day, and took a trip to the Gulf Stream.  He sent me a bunch of cool pictures- Check ’em out:

It gets all foggy out at the Gulf Stream because of the interaction between warm water (~75F) and cold air (~35F).

The seas tend to be pretty rough, too.

Well, rough enough that Tyler needed to “look overboard” a few times!

All of their hard work ended with this:   (Lucky me!)

So I got inspired, finally went and bought a license, borrowed Drew’s rod, stood shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of friendly guys and gals pulling in Drum after Drum after Drum all around me, made sure to use the same setup as everyone else, and didn’t catch a dang thing but seaweed and my neighbor’s lines!  Hahaha!  Beginner’s bad luck, I guess 🙂  Oh well, try try again… 

I did see a few Harbor Seals on the beach, though, which is pretty cool.

It looks like we’re going to get some crazy weather this weekend, so keep an eye on Sunday/Monday as potentially great days for windsurfing!

Thawed out…

Luckily, all of that ice was short lived!  Stuart and I grabbed a freestyle sesh in the Slick yesterday afternoon, in some of my favorite conditions ever- barely powered in the gusts on a 4.7.  All of the freestyle stuff just seems so easy in those conditions.  The sail is light and easy to throw around, but it’s not so windy that you’re scared to try stuff.  I honestly don’t mind being bundled up in a 6/5/4 with hood, 5 mil boots, and mittens, either.  It just seems like armor against the inevitable falls you’re going to take…

So, with all that confidence and the perfect conditions (and a slightly numb brain from the cold), I decided to try a few Chachos, with mild success.  Read- I didn’t die trying.  I was nowhere close to sailing out of them, but I got through a few attempts and didn’t scare myself, which is half the battle with this freestyle stuff.  In fact, they seemed very controlled and approachable.  So I’m stoked to try more in the future!

Stuart happened to get the second one on film while warming his hands in the portable hot tub.  He was still numb, and wearing mittens, so I’m actually really impressed with the quality of the pic!  Thanks for shooting, Stu!

Medium Rare

Dan and I grabbed a quickie sesh yesterday afternoon- Lit up 4.2 conditions and cold cold cold!  Turns out, it was just in the nick of time, as the sound has frozen over last night…

That’s something you don’t see everyday- Yikes!  Luckily, we’ve got two things working in our favor:
1) The sound follows the air temperature pretty closely.  We’ve got a big 65F Southerly gale on the forecast maps for this weekend, so my fingers are crossed for liquid water, soon!
2)  The ocean is right across the street, and sits at a relatively balmy ~45F.
Speaking of which…  Time for a SUP sesh with Stu!  The report is waist high, super clean, and, well, an empty lineup.  Can’t imagine why?

Eighteen Days…

…since I’ve had a boom in my hands…  The only reason I decided to count is because one of my calluses just fell off.  Hmm, time to suit up and deal with the cold, I guess!  Perhaps Frisco is the place to be:

If you take a look at this map of Sea Surface Temperatures (obtained from marine.rutgers.edu) you’ll be able to see some pretty cool things going on.  Most obvious are the two different currents that meet off the shores of Hatteras Island- The (purple cold water) Labrador Current, and The (red warm water) Gulf Stream.  The Gulf Stream almost always sits tantalizingly close to our shores, but rarely pushes all the way in.  The Labrador Current, on the other hand, butts right up against the shore as it pushes down from the North.
Now, take a closer look at Hatteras and Ocracoke Inlet- They stand out as little plumes of (dark blue) cold water (from the purple sound) that jut into the warmer (teal blue) water of the ocean.  The wind has been WNW lately, which is evidenced by the shape and orientation of the plumes.  I’m not sure if the cold water plumes were completely driven by the wind, the tidal outflow from the sound, or most likely both factors working simultaneously.
Amazingly enough, though, the water along the southern beaches looks like it’s over 60 degrees, as long as you don’t get too close to the inlets.  That’s mighty tempting, especially compared to the 45 degree water (or less) found along the east facing beaches.
But the most interesting thing about those plumes of cold water?  When comparing their shape and location within the 60 degree water, one will notice that they form the eyes on a teal blue sock puppet.  Yay!

Road Trip

Wow, epic road trip!  Anne and I logged about 40 hours in the car in the last two weeks… we crossed 9 States…  which is a lot, but we saw many of our friends and family and definitely had a blast!  I guess I barely leave Avon for 11.5 months of the year, so I’ve gotta log some miles at some point…

I want to tell my brother Jim and his wife Pauline “Congratulations!” for their first child, Ethan James, born December 25th, 2009!  I predict that he’ll be throwing forward loops by 2015 : )

There are too many intricate (and most likely boring) details of the trip to write about, so here are a few random pics and a short video that tell just a bit of the story:

And, of course, there has to be an action video:

Sledding in VT from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.