Free Clinic Thursday 4/22/2010 9AM!

Head’s Up! We’re holding a free windsurfing clinic at the shop on Thursday morning at 9AM!! The clinic subject is “Sport Specific Stretching” and focuses on freeing up our necks, backs, and chests. Our local massage therapist and yoga instructor, Pam Bailey, will be our instructor!  How cool is that??

Don’t forget to bring a towel to lay on!

Introducing: Ken Ahrendt

Wind-NC's New Employee Ken

Ken will be helping me out this Spring at the shop.  He has a long history of windsurfing, starting with his time at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he served as the President of the Windsurfing Club.  He also spent a few years living the dream in Maui, teaching windsurfing and running sailboat charters- but the lure of Hatteras Island’s winds brought him back to the East Coast to hit the slicks, sounds, and Atlantic Ocean waves.

All of you heavyweights out there will appreciate Ken’s input- He’s 6’3″ and ~200 pounds, so he knows what it takes to get you guys moving.

Ken will be growing a mustache over the next few weeks.  Mention it and receive 1% off your next purchase at Wind-NC!!  Beat it with a better mustache and receive 2% off your next purchase at Wind-NC!!

Stocked up!

Just a quick head’s up- the shop is getting full to the brim with goodies for y’all to check out on your next Hatteras vacation!  I received a whole bunch of stuff from Sailworks, Chinook, MFC Fins, Gath Helmets, DVDs like Four Dimensions and Guy Cribb’s Intuition, etc etc….  We are ready to rock and roll!  Give me a shout if you have anything specific you want to see- If I don’t have it in stock, I’ll do my best to get it so that you can check it out!

Hope to see you soon!

-Andy

NoLimitz Masts!

New to the shop this year are NoLimitz Skinny Masts! I received a whole bunch of ’em, just in time to test out the 400cm Original in my 4.7 yesterday afternoon. What a nice mast! The finish is very impressive, and it has a very responsive feel. It was most noticeable while pumping up onto a plane- The mast really had a nice, responsive flex! Good stuff, I’m stoked, and can’t wait to try out some of the other sizes in my different sails.

NoLimitz RDM Masts, by the bushel!

I have almost every make and model NoLimitz Mast available for purchase or demo, so swing by the shop and pick one up! They’re bombproof, and best of all, MADE IN THE USA!!

New Aeron Windsurfing Booms Have Arrived!!

Aeron Booms have been available in Europe for quite some time, but have just recently been opened up to the US marketplace.  Their aluminum booms are a great product at a very competitive price, starting at just $209.  All of the booms that I have in stock (The MCT and the V-Grip) feature a monocoque front end, which means that the boom arm tubing is one continuous piece from one adjustment collar, all the way around, through the front end, and back to the other adjustment collar.  This provides a very strong, stiff boom because there are fewer joints to flex and potentially fail.

Grip diameters on the MCT start at a teeny tiny 26mm for lightweights or people with small hands, but most average size people will be totally pleased with the already small 29mm booms.  MCT sizes range from:

  • 140-190cm, 26 or 29mm grip, $209
  • 150-200cm, 26 or 29mm grip, $219
  • 175-225cm, 29mm grip, $229
  • 190-240cm, 29mm grip, $239
Pile O' Booms!
Pile O' Booms!!

MCT Front End, includes RDM shim!
Nice Curves!
Nice Graphics and Adjustment System

I also received one Aeron V-Grip in this shipment.  They are tough to get!  The V-Grip is totally new animal, and it looks pretty sweet!  The boom arms have a pretty cool V shape to them that provides extra stiffness and a really nice feel in the hands.  They’re a touch heavier than the standard construction, but the extra stiffness and cool feel probably makes up for the weight.  The shape doesn’t really show up in pictures very well, but here’s a cool cross section view:

Give me a shout or email if you want me to put your name on any of these booms!  I can ship straight to you, or hold one for pickup at the shop.  My contact info is in the little blue box to the right.

New Signs Coming Today!

Anne, Martine, Keith and I stayed up way too late last night weeding and masking all the vinyl for some new (temporary) road signs…  I have to admit, I’m pretty stoked on how the logo and name are looking, and hopefully you guys will have a very easy time spotting my bright green signs on the side of the road (after I chop those bushes down)!  Check it out:

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.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, Folks!

If you have some down time this Holiday Season, why not check out the latest edition of Windsurfer International?


The Venus Flytrap

Due West winds are the preferred direction for sailing the Buxton Slick.  Today, we had plenty!  Stuart and I sailed our 3.7s completely maxed out.  With that much wind, the Slick was no longer a slick.  In fact, there was so much extra water piled up (due to the strong winds) that only about 30% of the normal land mass was exposed…  leaving our normal stomping grounds a mess of micro-psycho-chop…

So we foraged further

         to a place

                     Stuart has dubbed

The Venus Flytrap
Where the water is so smooth, and the wind so strong (and gusty) (and shifty) that the most routine endeavor becomes either effortless or impossible.  More often than not, my luck swayed to the impossible side of things!
Regardless, it was a pretty sick way to finish off my 2009 season!  Cheers, to an even windier 2010!!!!
Come along for the ride- here are 2 minutes of GoPro action, straight from this morning’s session:


Windsurfing “The Venus Flytrap” from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Progression!!

Repetition is key…  Stuart and I hit the Slick for the last 2 days, both days on 4.7.  The wind direction stayed basically the same for both days, too, so we had a chance to really dial in a “course” of ridiculously flat water.  And now, we’ve both got Grubby’s pretty confidently in the bag!  Stuart on both tacks, and I’m still stubbornly starboard…  I’m stoked, for sure.  And I owe Stuart a huge thanks for keeping the motivation up!

Here’s a few image grabs of yesterday’s massively overpowered slick sesh:

Tight quarters…
 
Slickety slick….
 
 Stu (up ahead) halfway through…

Moments before disaster (Flaka attempt)

I know most of you guys only like to come during April and October, but Hatteras absolutely HOWLS the whole rest of the year (except August)….  For example, in the last 2 weeks, I’ve had 2×3.7 sessions, 2×4.2 sessions, 3×4.7 sessions, and 1×5.2 session.  And when the wind hasn’t blown, the surf has been super fun and glassy.  We definitely can’t complain!  Come join us for some fun!!

Super Windy Wednesday Video

This video is long, but I think you’ll like it.  Gather up your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and pets.  Pour everyone some eggnog (but leave the rum out of Junior’s).  Load the video, and turn up the volume.  If you aren’t enjoying the action, then close your eyes and absorb Tchaikovsky’s soundtrack.  Enjoy!


Super Windy Wednesday from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Everyone please say “Thank You” to Ace, because without his generosity this video (or any of the last half dozen videos for that matter) wouldn’t exist!

Happy Holidays Everyone!  There’s still time to ship stuff out before Christmas, so shoot me a note if you’re in need of a windsurf board to put under the tree.

Trumped

I hate to say it, but I think today’s 20 minute sunset session completely and utterly trumped yesterday’s all day long 3.7 warm sunny blowout.  Let’s go through a checklist to try to quantify.

Was It:

  1. Windier?  No, not even close.  The winds hovered right around 20 knots this evening.
  2. Wavier?  No, it was flat with backwash voodoo chop.
  3. Warmer?  No, not even close.  My hands were freezing and I should have worn mitts.
  4. Of longer duration?  No no no no no.  20 minutes, tops.
  5. With more friends?   No, it was solo.
  6. Radder action?  No, all I did was mow the lawn.  I didn’t even get my hair wet.

So, by what quantifiable measure was tonight’s session even remotely better?  Well, none at all.  But sometimes you just can’t quantify the surprise of an unexpected sesh, the beauty of a setting sun, or the pure joy of experiencing the natural world while perfectly powered on a 4.7.

I forced myself to come in for 30 seconds to take this picture.  No more, no less.  Then it was right back out there for a few more blissful passes…

Windy Wednesday

***Update:  Dale sent in a few more pics!!  (Thurs, 9:30am) ***

Wow, it has just been howling out here on Hatteras Island!  I was smart enough to grab Anne’s 3.7 today, and I’m glad I did because I ended up using it pretty much all day long.  George, Jim K, Dale, Donny, Mark S, Freddy, and I hit the Hole in the warm, summer like SW winds.  It’s tough to believe that it’s December when the thermometer reads 70F…  We are LUCKY!!  I took a bunch of video footage that I’ll work through eventually, but in the meantime, check out these pics that Dale sent in:

Jim K and Mark S, full speed ahead!  Jim gets the biggest sail award with his 4.0!
 
Mark, 3.4 and 66 liters
George (3.7)
Me (3.7 and 80 liters)
 

Thanks Dale!!

Mid-afternoon, I snuck down to Old Lifeguard Beach and sailed a 4.2 for about half an hour with Thomas, Charlie, Dan, and Lane.  The waves were super clean and had nice size, probably a touch overhead in the better sets.  Slight equipment malfunction cut the sesh short, but that’s alright as it was time to get Anne on the water!

With an hour of daylight left, I ran back to the Hole and re-rigged Anne’s 3.7 for her.  She showed up, tossed on her wetsuit, and charged on out into some seriously gusty winds.  After she had had her fill, I decided to let her in on a little secret- All of the other (190 pound) guys out in the water were on 3.7s too!  She just smiled and asked for a 3.2 for Christmas…

No Strap Jibes

There is a forum thread on iWindsurf.com where Spennie recommends jibing with both feet out of the footstraps.  That is certainly an unconventional approach, but I know a few people who jibe this way.  I figured that I’d give it a try, and recorded the sesh for posterity and a few laughs at the inevitable crashes.  Check out the outcome:


No-Strap-Jibes from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

I found it harder to control the rig because I was too close to the mast base to have any leverage over the sail.  It was fun to try, though, and I’ll certainly keep it in the ol’ bag of tricks.

Any other experiences?  Add your 2 cents to the iWindsurf forum thread!