It’s Official!!!

Henceforth, the 2008 Hatteras windsurf season will be known as the Year of the Huck. The energy level is off the charts right now. If this is any indication of what’s to come, then we’ll be supplying some major action to the windsurfing scene this year!

I witnessed, and personally helped create, more major splats and splashes today than I’ve seen in a long time! The setup was: Litsky 5.0-4.5 SW wind, an occasional good stomach high set wave (but mostly crap windswell), and multiple huckable ramps per every outgoing tack. Everyone was going huge today! It was actually ridiculous. Bill was chucking loop after loop, Stuart was throwing himself through forwards with reckless abandon, Caleb and Billy E were tearing the tops off of whatever wave came their way, and I saw Jim K bailout of a huge jump on the outside, his kit cartwheeling 20 yards before it even hit the water!! Insanity, I tell you. I’ve never seen so much huckage from so many people in one afternoon. It was awesome!

Major moments of note:

  1. Stuart claims a “lollypop” backloop, witnessed by one beach spectator! Rad!
  2. I landed a few endo forwards really solidly on my feet, not planing, but close!

Not many pics, because I was sailing all afternoon, but here’s a few:

Billy E lines up a hit
Stuart drives down the line
Billy E throws some spray
Bill B had a friend on the beach videotaping this afternoon, so I’m sure he’ll have some great action to share on his blog sometime soon! Be sure to check it out!!

Tuesday Warm-Up

So much for taking a rest day… Conditions looked way too good to pass up today! It was warm, with a moderate Southwest breeze, and a fun waist to chest high groundswell hitting at Ego Beach. I warmed up in the hole with a few freestyle passes, then carried over the dunes when the rest of the crew showed up. The conditions were perfect to warm up, stretch out and get dialed in for Wednesday’s (hopefully) super windy, bigger waves! Caleb, Stuart and I dusted off the mental cobwebs from our last cold water sesh by playing all afternoon, moderate power on 5.7s and bigger boards. Here are some pics of the action:

Caleb punts one off the lip! (click for a better view)
Stuart and I “share” one
Caleb lines up a nice top turn
The Fog rolls in
After a great couple of hours, the fog rolled in and it got really spooky… Low visibility is creepy, especially in fluky, shifty winds, when you can’t make out the shoreline!

Well I can’t sleep because the sound of wind is driving me crazy… Hopefully I’ll be rested enough to charge it when the sun finally shows!

Summer Surf, in February!

The last few days have reminded me of summer, with a few vital differences:

1) There’s no-one here…
2) The water is 45 degrees, not 75…

The swell, however, has been glassy and fun, just like most summer mornings! Three days straight of virtually no wind, and waist to shoulder high crumbly swell, has made me a very tired person. To limit muscle fatigue, I’ve been changing boards like a ski town girl swaps boyfriends! 2 hours on the SUP, an hour on the fish, then grab a longboard for an hour, then back to the SUP…

Here’s the sunset Sunday evening:


Makes me feel calm and, well… reflective…

I have a confession to make:

I LOVE buying surfboards. It’s an addiction, kind of like cocaine. It’s just as expensive, but much healthier. I have more surfboards than most people have socks. I only ride a handful of them all the time, but I love every one of them just the same. Last summer I got a 12’2″ behemoth to learn how to stand up paddle. I also got a 5’9″ fish, the shortest board I’ve ever owned. The funny thing is that they both work great on exactly the same days…. So why’d I buy both? Beats me, but I love ’em!

Speaking of consumption, James sent me this link about the history of plastic, and the science of dealing with all of the leftovers. It’s a really good read, but budget yourself a solid 10 or 20 minutes to digest it all! Thanks, James!

Sunday was really fun, but I had trouble catching waves. I wasn’t tired, it was Anne! She kept on snatching ’em all up! She was on fire! I guess when you become a weekend warrior, you’ve got a lot of steam to burn off in only two days… She was nabbing (and completely shredding) every single wave that came her way! Eventually I had to paddle down the beach to my own peak, just to get some waves to myself! Dan and Family, and Chad and Family joined us on the beach for a great afternoon of board swapping and sunny fun!

Here’s Dan, taking off on a nice A-frame, courtesy Foust Photography, Inc.


Dan and I almost hopped a last minute flight to Puerto Rico last week. Here‘s what we missed. In Dan’s own words: “shoulda, woulda, coulda- didn’t” Ahhhh well, I still had plenty of fun here, wearing a 6/5/4…

Today, Stuart and I had the place to ourselves, and caught a ton of great waves! Started off on the SUP, then grabbed the fish when I needed a rest/change of muscles. It felt great to throw some spray after cruising and nose riding all morning! Here’s Stuart going toeside no matter right or left (I honestly don’t remember what his natural stance is anymore… any 3rd party guesses based solely on the pics?!)

Backdooring a right:

Lining up a looooong left:

A can of PBR to the first person to correctly guess Stuart’s natural stance! (it’s 50/50, so it shouldn’t be that long till someone gets it)

I drastically need a rest day, maybe I’ll take one tomorrow, since Wednesday is supposed to howl Southwest!!! 65 degrees and a 6 – 10 foot swell!! Yow!

The South Beach Diet, and A Request To All

My version of the South Beach Diet is comprised of a heaping helping of surf, sun and fun down in Frisco! Anne, Banana, and I headed down to the airport ramp for the afternoon, seeking some waves and sunshine. Leftover windswell from yesterday’s Southerlies, with light offshore breeze made for some fun waist-ish high surf, bigger earlier, but I slept in… Unfortunately, yesterday’s wind did not push in any warm water, so temps remain in the 40s. Caught a bunch of fun waves, but I got tired quickly… so we started having some good ol’ fashioned fun and games on the beach!

I had my GPS in the truck, so we had a sprinting contest. Anne didn’t think I could break 10 mph in the sand, so we made a small wager, and off I went:

Suffice to say, she’s the one cooking dinner tonight! 16.3 mph was my max! I couldn’t celebrate my victory for long, however, because she started making fun of my form. Apparently I stick my ass out. So, a few hints about running posture and I was right back at it:
My good form the second time around slowed me down 3 mph, to 13.4! Thanks for the help! Now it’s Anne’s chance to prove herself:

Yeah, so, she’s cooking dinner tomorrow night, too! Ha! In her defense, she did already run 3 miles while I was out surfing… but she hit a very respectable 11.2 mph!!!

After catching our breath, I started walking around and picking up trash strewn on the beach. I collected all this in about 3 minutes, all within a 20 yard radius of my truck:


So much for the unspoiled beauty of Hatteras, eh? It’s possible that yesterday’s swell washed a bunch of this crap up, I guess. It really could’ve come from anywhere, but most likely it got tossed out someone’s window… Kind of bums me out. It also could’ve washed in from one of the trash vortexes out in the ocean. If you haven’t heard about them, check this out (greenpeace site). I first learned of it from here (usually happier news, the maui surf report). There’s one vortex in the North Pacific the size of Texas! Literally, a floating raft of junk with the acreage of our second biggest state, or, for you Northerners out there, all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina combined! WTF?! A healthy portion of the waste is plastic shopping bags.

Fun facts and numbers:

The worldwide consumption rate of plastic bags is at least 500 billion per year. That’s about 1 million per minute!!!!

It is estimated that billions of those bags end up as litter every year. Simple math: If 1% ends up unaccounted for, that’s 5 billion missing bags, every year…

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade. They break down into tiny little fragments, which then end up in the food chain when fish and birds unknowingly ingest them. This adds toxins and carcinogens to what WE eat.

Read more here (reusablebags.com).

What can you do? The easiest thing is to bring reusable bags to the store. Many stores sell sturdy bags, and some even give $ credit for using your own bag (usually about $.05 per bag). That means a $5 reusable bag will fiscally pay for itself in 100 uses. It will conscientiously pay for itself the first time you use it.

Also, consider packaging when purchasing items. Glass is easier and safer to reuse, or make sure you purchase products in easily recyclable plastics (#’s 1 and 2, and sometimes 5).

Sorry if this is bumming you out, but I think it’s important. Nothing kills a sesh for me more than seeing junk floating around in the water or strewn on the beach. Also, the old wive’s tale states that “you are what you eat,” and I don’t want to eat plastic. Therefore, I don’t want my food sources to be eating plastic, either…

Ice Cream!!! (Headaches)

Playtime with Anne’s dog, whose name is Banana, is part of my daily routine. Usually, we take long walks on the beach. Sometimes, we also take skateboard rides! Today, I’m happy to report, Banana broke a world record! She (41 lbs) towed me (4 times her) on my skateboard at a magnificent top speed of 13.9 mph! Here, the record breaker catches her breath while checking the surf:


On to the day’s watersports extravaganza:

South winds ushered in warm air today, approaching 60 degrees, and some brief moments of sunshine made for a pleasant afternoon. The morning surf check revealed lumpy, disorganized, washing machine conditions on the East facing beaches. I decided to check the cove, on the off chance there would be enough angle to the wind to get a side-on sesh. As I arrived, one kiter was leaving, saying the waves were really good, but the water was cold, and, … he saw a huge shark… Tommy was still out there, and for sure, the waves were looking pretty good, however the angle of the wind to the swell was directly onshore. Not so hot for windsurfing, especially in waves that large (they block the wind). Tommy’s kite shows, but he doesn’t:


So, off to the north I went, to meet up with Caleb, Bill, and Stuart at the Boiler! The beach bends just enough up there to make a South wind just a tiny tad bit offshore, cleaning up the faces and organizing the swell enough to make it ridable. As I arrived, Caleb was heading out to test the waters:

Shorebreak? Nah…

Lining up on a meaty one!

Hucking his meat!

Shortly thereafter, everyone else arrived, rigged, and hit the water. I was surprised at the size of the sets, some reaching about logo high at the peaks! I was playing it pretty cautiously, because I really didn’t want to take a long swim in the 40 some odd degree water. A spinout in the trough put me down in the impact zone, and I immediately felt out of my comfort range. I made it out unscathed, but my wave riding confidence was shot. Luckily, there were some great ramps on the outside, past the breaking waves…. So free from the fear of getting worked, I was able to chuck a few lit forwards, and ended up skying one of, if not the, biggest air I’ve ever caught (kiteboarding included)!

Safety Time:

Please don’t ever ride alone in water this cold.

Please make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the air or water, whichever is colder.

Never sail out further than you can swim.

We got lucky today, and everyone made it safely back to shore… but it was a little too close for comfort…

Alright, that’s enough of that! Be safe, and everyone wish Caleb a happy birthday if you see him tomorrow!! He got an early gift this afternoon!

Sweet vid, worth a look!

Check out this new video on Continent Seven:

http://www.continentseven.com/video7next3.php?moveid=589

In the movie, Andre Paskowski turns waist high mush into a freestyle playground, morphing classic wave sailing with modern freestyle. Sick aerial acrobatics, both in the water, and on land (you’ll see what I mean)! I wonder if he still remembers how to jibe? I really wonder if he was using the same fin for the whole movie… Is that possible?

If he was, I really, really want it!

Isabel’s, January Wrap-up

Nothing epic, but really fun wavesailing at Isabel’s today! Caleb joined Stuart and I for an all-afternoon romp in the knee-waist high lines hitting the beach. Strong, gusty NNE winds made for the usual- no wind on the beach, 5-30 with 20 degree shifts for the first 30 yards, then nuclear power and chop on the outside. It ended up being a great setup for the occasional back flop, and lots of loops once you got out a bit! The wave rides were WAY short of epic, but really fun to mess around with.


We skipped the lighthouse because it was mostly chest high slop, riddled with current, and we wanted a relatively low key sesh after pushing ourselves so hard for the last few days. So we started slow, with a few jumps, and a few turns. But before I knew it, the adrenalin started pumping again and the reserved, cautious approach got thrown out the window. There were just too many opportunities to pass up! Stuart broke free and started hucking his meat through a few really respectable forward loop attempts (some of his first ever), which always gets me charged up to see, so then I started going bigger…. Then I saw Caleb throw a ridiculous chunk of spray off of a top turn, which in turn made me want to hit the lip harder…. It’s really hard to take it easy when you’re surrounded by people who charge. I can only imagine the energy level at a place like Ho’okipa when it’s firing! So in the end, I nailed one of the best port loops I’ve ever thrown, attempted a few back loops, and went for a few (terrible) aerials! So much fun, and not in the least bit scary! That’s a recipe for a great day, right there!

Above: Stuart rips in to one!

On to the January wrap up:
14 sessions windsurfing, 15 surfing, 6 days of random activities (flat water SUP, tennis, skate sailing, yoga), and a total of 4 rest days (2 of which were spent driving from VT to NC in a snowstorm). 10 sessions in a 3/2 wetsuit, 19 sessions in a 6/5/4 (it was cold in January). No sessions in trunks. 1 experience with a finger on the trigger, concerning a last minute trip to Puerto Rico for a huge North Swell. Considering the conditions here, I didn’t miss anything but a sunburn! Overall, a awesome, but chilly month here on Hatteras!

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…