RT 12 is open, and the waves are firing!

First item:

Route 12 is open to ALL traffic! 2wd cars, tractor trailers, everything.  NC DOT built a temporary surface on top of one lane of the existing highway. You may have to wait a few minutes until oncoming traffic clears, but that’s a heck of a lot faster than taking the Stumpy Point to Rodanthe emergency ferry service… That also means that the supply chain is wide open again, so things like gas, groceries, mail, et cetera are all readily available again. Don’t fret, you WILL have Turkey for Thanksgiving!  More updates here.

Next item:

The Lighthouse was Firing today! Well overhead set waves, and pretty light winds kept the faces clean and barreling, and the consequences high. Keith, Caleb, Stuart and I windsurfed, and every one of us took a pretty solid beating at one point or another. Personally, I schlogged/positioned for 27 minutes before I caught my first solid wave. It took me 9 minutes to get to the outside, and 18 minutes to get back up to the peak and find a good set wave that was lined up. It was worth the effort. After that first good wave, I lost all inhibitions and sailed much more carelessly, dropping in on most anything that came my way. ‘Twas a very fun sesh!!

Keith gets the only pictures of the day:

And I caught a rare glimpse of his secret weapon- a 34 cm freeride fin!!  No wonder he never has any trouble staying upwind…

More wind in the forecast!  GET HERE!!

Ida Action (2 Videos)

It’s no secret, Ida caused her fair share of destruction across the Eastern Seaboard, including taking a good chunk out of NC12 up in Rodanthe.  NCDOT is working furiously to repair the road, and they even had a lane open at low tide today to let 4wd vehicles on or off the island.  There’s lots of info all over the net about the storm damages and repair schedules and what not, so I’m not going to add any more to the confusion.  Check out islandfreepress.org and ncdot.org for the latest info and some crazy slideshows.

I will, however, add to the action report!  Ida kicked up some serious swell, but our winds were slow to catch on as the low hung out pretty much directly over us.  So, the first day or two were a wash (literally).  By Friday afternoon, however, the low slipped off shore just enough to kick up some North winds.  Friday had potential to be an epic wavesailing day on the southside, but North winds are straight offshore down there.  It doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but NE is really the money direction, while due North is downright dangerous, especially when it gets big.  With the East beaches an out of control washing machine, we decided to hit up the sound side at Island Creek.  4.2 and freestyle board.  Check da vid:

Ex-Ida Windsurf HQ from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Major thanks go out to Drew for filming and Ace for the loaner on the camera!!

We had another batch of wind on Saturday morning.  Fluky 4.7 at the same spot, with really very similar conditions to the video.  By late evening, the wind died down, and the swell backed off to 12 feet at 15 seconds or something ludicrous like that.  I caught word that a few guys were thinking about paddling out down at the lighthouse, so I grabbed Anne, Banana (the dog), and the video camera and headed to Buxton.  Joey Crum and Brett Barley made their way off the beach in the fading light and caught a few mackers.  I’ve got nothing but respect for these guys, as these were exceptionally difficult conditions, and they made it look easy.  Check da vid:

Ex-Ida Surf HQ from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.


OBX Marathon, some surf, and looking ahead

So Anne ended up doing really well at the OBX Marathon yesterday!  She ran the 26.2 miles in 4 hours 15 minutes 40 seconds, which is 30 minutes faster than her last marathon time!  It was one heck of a scene up there, with a total of almost 7,000 people running in the 8k, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon.  What an event!  Here is a little video showing the scene:

OBX Marathon 2009 from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

After we made it back to Avon, Drew, Stuart and I paddled out and caught some waves.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve surfed… It’s just been so dang windy!  Luckily, my first wave lined up perfectly, so I got a great ride, and built up some confidence for the rest of the sesh.  Laura and Anne stretched out on the beach and snapped a few pictures of the action:

Drew posted quite a few more pics and a recap of the Marathon here.

Keep an eye on that forecast!  It looks like it’s going to get pretty crazy out here…  of course, you never know what you’re going to get until it actually happens, but some of the forecasts have been touching on 50+ knot winds and waves in the 8+ meter swell range…  Yikes!!  I doubt it’ll get that crazy, but I won’t be surprised if the road gets washed out.  I’d plan on being here by Wednesday afternoon or not at all.  Oh, and make sure you don’t have to be anywhere until next Tuesday, because that might be the first time you’ll be able to leave!

Loop Face

My, oh my, it has been windy…  Until today.  But that’s okay, because we needed a break anyway.  I strapped up Stuart with the GoPro camera yesterday for his Buxton Slick Sesh on a 4.7.  Check out his flat water loop face:

Haha, nice!!  I took a bunch of footage of him from shore, too, with Ace’s hand-me-down video camera (THANKS ACE!!!) but it’s going to take me a while to get around to editing anything. 

In the meantime, check out this video from the Reunion Wave Classic.  These guys scored some unbelievable conditions, it’s pretty insane, really.  Chargin’ it, too!!  Bear in mind, the wave breaks over a really shallow, urchin infested reef.  Yikes!!  My vote for best overall rider goes to Alex Mussolini, mostly for his smooth, yet aggressive, style…  For example, his wave that starts at 1:20… unreal!!  Although, it might be Thomas Traversa on Alex’s gear, so, uhhh, yeah, maybe Thomas gets my vote.  Don’t skip out on the video’s ending, either.  Watch it all the way through for the grand finale!

Ravine on Fire from Arnaud on Vimeo.

Wicked, eh??  (For my Canadian readers, haha)

In other news, the shop will be closed on Sunday the 8th, because Drew and I are going up to Manteo to cheer on our ladies as they run in the OBX Marathon!!  Wooohoooo!!  These gals have been training hard.  I think we’re going to see some new personal bests!  Wish them luck!


Old Road

From the dunes, the setup at Old Road looks very tempting- little itty bitty waves lapping up on the shore, an inner bar that looks fairly heavy but fun, and then an outer bar that gently throws and fizzles for upwards of 50 yards…  Very inviting! 


…you actually step foot into the ocean.  Immediately, the sideshore current sweeps you off your feet.  And you realize that there’s no shorebreak because the inner bar is shin deep and 25 yards wide, eventually opening into a little thigh deep tidal pool at water’s edge.  That fun looking inner bar now looks mean, as it sucks out below sea level, hurls a thick lip, and then continues to churn all the way in, coming to rest in the little pool that you’re standing in. 

A tiny puff fills your sail, just enough to lure you onto the board.  As you drift with the currents, you inch your way closer to the heaving section.  The water pushing in under the board gives you a sense of speed and power, that really isn’t there.  As soon as the tidal push evens out, you sink to the bottom, with zero actual sail power.  Just in time to watch the next wave heave, peel down the line, and then spit it’s churned up exhaust as the last section closes out just 5 yards in front of you.  Ain’t no gettin’ over that one, so you get washed all the way back into the little pool, in a matter of seconds.

Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and declare “Old Road” as unsuitable for windsurfing, at least for now.  Maybe with more wind?  Here’s the best moment of my windsurfing session this morning:

Other than that little swimming sesh, it’s actually been really fun down here for the last few days!  We’ve had decent wind every day, 4.7 or 5.2, decent temps, and that chilly, overcast, spitting rain that keeps most normal people indoors.  Luckily, we as windsurfers, know how to make the best of a crappy day!

Looks like more wind through the end of the week, with an emphasis on Thursday and Friday, which might provide the first real solid NW blow of the Fall.  Reef Run, anyone?


It has been a super windy Fall, here on Hatteras Island.  Wanna know how I can tell?  Check it out:

These are some of the only flags left here in Avon.  All of my shop flags have been completely thrashed by the relentless winds.  Most everyone else already took down their tattered remains, and probably won’t put up any fresh flags until Spring time.  How will I ever know what direction the wind is blowing?   : )
Stuart needs a shout out for yesterday’s freestyle session at the Canadian Hole.  He was ON FIRE out there, just killin’ it on his 4.7.   I’m going to need to chug some Red Bull to keep up with him…  Yeeeehaaa!! 

Wasted Wind

Hi!  Wow, this weekend was ALL over the place.  We saw south winds, north winds, strong winds, light winds, sunshine and 70s, rain and 50s…  Some of those variations were within a span of minutes!  Regardless, lots of people flocked to Hatteras to go windsurfing, and man did we have fun!  Personally, I got some time on the 2010 World Sail Surge, in a 4.7 and 5.2.  They are feeling super light, very pumpable, and they go neutral very easily, making them a great choice for freestyle.  I’ve got a few available for demo at the shop if you want to give one a try.

For lack of a better story:  Last night we got hit with a major thunderstorm.  It was gnarly.  The iWindsurf.com wind meter at the Avon Pier recorded a gust of 51 mph!  Wow!  That same gust ripped a piece of the sign off of the roof at the shop.  Luckily, the parking lot below was deserted, since it was 2:30 am.  I’m kinda bummed about that chunk of wasted wind, because:

  1. It was dark out (doesn’t always dissuade me from windsurfing)
  2. It was due to a major thunderstorm with tons of lightning (always dissuades me from windsurfing)
  3. It woke me up in the middle of the night, so I then proceeded to oversleep, and missed the 5.2 dawn session
  4. I have a new 3.7, but obviously, that was not a good time to give it a try
Source: iWindsurf.com
Looks like more wind over the next few days, and this weekend.  Don’t forget:  ABK Boardsports clinic this weekend, Fri-Sun.  Sign up here.  Anne is taking the clinic, and I’m insanely jealous.  She’s probably going to be throwing flakas by Monday…

Week’s Recap

Phew- Alright- Here’s the week’s recap:

Early in the week, it was windy, and cold.  It felt like winter, but Stuart, Justin, and I snagged the year’s first good Buxton Slick sesh!  Booyah!!  There’s no photo evidence, but it was sweet.  How about a pic of Anne and Jenny de-rigging after their sunset sesh, instead:

Then the wind died but the swell was macking for a few days!  Check out this video on Surfline to get an idea of the conditions!

Andy Brandt came to the shop for a THIRD FREE CLINIC on Wednesday!  That has got to be some kind of record, we are hooking you guys up!!  It was another good size crowd (50+), with topics ranging from The Sail Flip to The Shuv-It.

Then the swell faded and the wind hasn’t come back yet.  Today was as flat and windless as it gets around here, and honestly kind of rare.  All of the beach goers and everyone who owns a Standup Paddleboard is still loving life, though.  Warm and sunny all day today!

I’m loving life, too, because a few 2010 World Sail Surges showed up at the shop this afternoon!!  They are looking sweet, with a cool color scheme and some nice construction details like lots of x-ply, hemmed batten sleeves, and a heavy duty double thickness head cap strap (among lots of other things, of course).  I rigged up the 4.2 and am pretty stoked with how it looks.  Can’t wait to get some wind to try these sails out!!

And check out the sweet graphics on the Chinook Carbon Big Wave boom!  Dang, lookin’ hot!  Give me a call if you want to get your hands on one!

It looks like we might get some wind this weekend… C’mon out and join us!

Super Fun Morning at The Cove!

***Update 10/18/09*** Check out the re-cut on the vid! (It’s not really different, just smoother edits)

I Love Windsurfing At The Cove!  That place is just so much fun.  Soft, easy waves, lots of jumps, and down the line rides…  What a rad place!

It started off pretty small yesterday, so I sailed the freestyle board for awhile.  It actually worked really well on the soft waves, but I don’t know if I’d ever take it out on a more critical day.  Once the wind came up a bit and the waves built, I switched over to the Pocket 80 and had an insanely fun time!  There were lots of folks out, I think I counted about 10 windsurfers and another 10 or 12 kites at one point, which got a bit crowded, but no-one was really stepping on any toes or anything so it worked out alright.  Here’s the scene:

And a cool shot of Lane:

And here’s some GoPro boom cam video:

I just want to shout out a major “Thank You” to Keith, Rick, and an unknown kiter who helped me get my board back after I had a little separation issue…  Much appreciated, folks, thanks for keeping an eye out!!

Cheers, to many more days just like that!!!!

North Winds =


It’s been windy, every day!  In the last post I made the claim that I hadn’t put on a wetsuit yet.  Well, yeah, that’s all changed.  I’ve been suited up every day since!  I had a few Lighthouse sessions, in pretty weak waves but it’s all good.  Here’s an image grab from some boom video:

See the Lighthouse in the background?

Yesterday was pretty solid, too, NNW in the AM so I went to the Hole and threw down some freestyle.  The crowds were building just as I had to leave, but I took a few little video clips of Andy Brandt, Dave C, and West Coast Meredith on my way out.

Andy Brandt Old School at the Hole from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Speaking of Andy Brandt, he threw down a huge windsurfing clinic at the shop last night.  I counted over 60 people before everyone even showed up, at which point it was impossible to even try to count!  I’m stoked that everyone came out, it was a great time and I think everyone picked up a tip or two. Hopefully, they’re all out on the water trying some new tricks right now!!

The forecast is looking… interesting… ?  Keep an eye out for soundside flooding Thursday night/Friday morning…

Sorry, but…

…I’ve gotta rub it in!!  Two things:

  1. I haven’t put on a wetsuit since May.
  2. It’s been howling!!

Last night and this morning were just awesome- Well powered 5.5 and 5.0 respectively,  trunks and shirtless, freestylin’ it up at the Canadian Hole with lots of people out and about on the water.  If you’re here, you’re stoked!  If you’re not here, well….  Get Here and Join Us!!  It looks like it’s going to be a great week to be on Hatteras Island!

Check the forecast here.

And, an announcement:

Earlier, I announced a few free evening clinics at the shop with Andy Brandt.  Surprise! We’ve got an addition to the list!  Tuesday, October 13th at 7 PM!  Be there, or be not as good at windsurfing as everyone who was there.


So I’ve been pretty locked up in that shop… Combined with the shorter days, it’s been a bit tough to hit the water…  But I did snag 5 minutes of 4.2 weather Wednesday morning after teaching Craig some waterstarting techniques.  I really enjoy sailing, even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Sometimes the short sessions are the best- just go out and throw down for five or ten minutes, make it happen as best as you can, and then go ahead with the rest of your day feeling revitalized and ready to rock and roll!

These guys were probably feeling the same way about their SUP sesh tonight:

One of the reasons I’ve been locked up at the shop is because it’s pre-season time of year- as in, now is when we’re placing orders for our 2010 shop goodies…  So if you’ve been eyeing anything up or are in need of a new board or sail, please give me a call so that we can discuss your needs and make sure that your dream board actually exists come springtime!

IBSCC Week Roundup

Not too much action for me the last few days…  But Anne and I grabbed a moonlight sail with the IBSCC guys last night, with 5.5 on the 100 Freestyle board.  Super fun!  Thanks for the hospitality, fellas!  It was great having you around this week!  After the crazy winds earlier in the week, they’ve been busy SUPing, and have put together some great little movies.  Check them out here and here and here.

If y’all are looking for some more fresh material this weekend, check out:

Windsurfer International Issue 2

And be sure to tune in to the Live Ticker for the PWA contest at Sylt!  It’s gusting over 40 knots with 5m waves right now…  Sounds pretty epic!!

**Update** Tabou/Vandal team rider Alex Mussolini won the Sylt Wave Event!  Check out some of the pictures on the PWA website!

And don’t forget- Free clinic with Andy Brandt, Wednesday October 7th, 7 PM, at Sailworld Hatteras!!

Wave Jam, Take 2

So Monday ended up being extra windy SW!!  After scouring the whole island, we ended up at Old Lifeguard Beach.  The timing was such that everyone showed up exactly at high tide when everything got weird…  The waves were doubling/tripling up, hard to read, voodoo chop inside, voodoo chop outside, the North swell instantly faded as the new South swell tried to take over…  Tough conditions to make anything happen, to say the least…  But everyone tried their best and did a great job out there!

Luckily, once the tide switched around and started pulling back out, everything reorganized.  Just in time to rig down to a 4.2!!  Even then I got yanked over the front while trying to drive down the line on a few waves…  man that wind was punchy!  Anyway, the sunset sesh was sweet, to say the least!  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a bigger, redder, sun make contact with the dunes…  It was very distracting…

Bill posted up a bunch of great pictures on OBX Beach Life (Thanks for shooting, Keith and Martine).  Hint- if you click on a picture, a slideshow comes up, with captions.

While rigging, I snapped a few pics too:

Caleb, lining it up…

…And smacking it!  (or getting smacked?)

I also tied on the ol’ boom cam.  I’ve had a bunch of requests for pictures of the GoPro Wide setup that I’ve been using, so here y’all go:

Put a safety knot in the straps (around the boom), and use the extra outhaul to tie a safety line around the camera itself.

Tie it up as snugly as possible, and angle the camera down towards the mast base for best results.  In the camera menu, set the record mode to “upd” (upside down) since the camera is hanging upside down from the boom.

And here’s what I got for video from the early sesh, on a 5.0 with the weird high tide waves.  When am I going to learn to save the batteries for the real deal footage???  Oh well, something’s better than nothing, right? 🙂  Enjoy!

Wave Jam ’09 from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Wave Jam 2009!!

Wave Jam is scoring some super fun conditions!  It’s not huge, it’s not flat, it’s not too much or too little wind.  It’s just plain old fun sailing.  We’ve had two days straight of side/sideon winds in the 5.7-5.0 range, with waves in the waist to shoulder high range.  Basically, Perfect Clinic Conditions!

Friday was NNE so we sailed at Old Lifeguard Beach.  It was a blast.  Very little current, very fun waves, lots of juice for some great jumps and backside/frontside hits.  There were a ton of people out, and the energy level was way high.  Very good stuff.  Janice took A MILLION pictures (actually 1,583).  You can check out the cream of the crop here.

Here’s Stuart, on a wave indicative of Friday’s conditions

Sailworld hosted a wave sailing clinic on Friday night.  A solid bunch of people came out and listened to me wax poetic about the onshore-wind switch-stance clew-first bottom turn technique.  Luckily they had beer to amuse themselves with.

The Crowd

We ran a bunch of Heats for the “Beast Of The East” Wave Jam competition all day Saturday.  The wind had shifted to the East, so we ended up down at the Bathhouses in Frisco.  It was very similar to Friday’s sesh, except the current was stronger, the wind was flukier, and the waves were warblier.  Regardless, it was super fun to head out for your heat and throw down whatever you could with what was available.  Just hanging out on the beach was rad, with all the energy and stoked sailors.  Everyone was looking to push their own personal limits, and the venue provided the perfect arena for wavesailing newbies and experts alike.

I’m sure Janice and George are tirelessly sorting through hundreds of photos as we speak.  Keep an eye on Live to Sail to check out the latest action photography.  Janice is a Superstar behind the lense, and George deserves some serious recognition for all the work he puts into his blog to promote windsurfing.  Go Check It Out!!!

I just want to give a quick thanks to Bill for putting this whole thing together, and a huge thanks to all of the sponsors who helped to make the Hatteras Wave Jam 2009 a massive success!!  Cheers, to a great weekend, and to future installments of the Hatteras Windsurfing Festival Series!!

Upcoming Fall Events

Wow, you guys have got it good!  There is a ton of stuff coming up this fall.  Check it out, and mark those calendars!!!

Friday, September 25th, 7PM:  FREE wavesailing clinic at Sailworld Hatteras!  This is part of the Hatteras Wave Jam, and is centered around getting newbies out into the surf.  Come one, come all!!

Friday, September 25th through Sunday the 29th:  Hatteras Wave Jam “Beast of the East” Wavesailing competition.  Event locations/times TBD (condition dependent), although there will be daily “Meet and Greets” at 9:45 am at Sailworld Hatteras.

Wednesday, October 7th, 7PM:  FREE windsurfing clinic with Andy Brandt at Sailworld Hatteras!

Wednesday, October 21st, 7PM:  FREE windsurfing clinic with Andy Brandt at Sailworld Hatteras!

Monday, October 19th through Friday the 23rd:  ABK Boardsports 5 Day Windsurfing Camp!!

Friday, October 30th through Sunday, November 1st:  ABK Boardsports 3 Day Windsurfing Camp!!

Wow, that has to be some sort of record!  This is going to be an EPIC FALL!!!  Get Here!!

Tabou Rocket 125

Quick update for y’all:

We’re back to the NE winds again!  It’s not really cranking, but there’s plenty of wind to sail.  I’ve gotta tell you guys about my lesson with Greg.  He’s been tooling around his local pond for a month and a half, and has caught the windsurfing bug pretty bad, so he decided to come to Hatteras on a whim.  He’s a natural- I got him beach starting, into the harness, and fully lit up over the course of just one hour!  He was going so fast that I couldn’t keep up on my freestyle rig!!  Needless to say, his smile was pretty big…  And I have a feeling he’ll be back to good ol’ Cape Hatteras…  He’s gonna have to feed the addiction… haha

After the lesson I ran down to the Lighthouse and sailed with Keith for a while.  It was pretty fun, although I was mostly schlogging.  The waves were about head high, and they were lined up for a few good hits.  Fun spot; we’re lucky to be getting loads of days there so far this fall!

Last night I ran down to the Hole and rigged up some freeride gear for a change-  Tabou Rocket 125 and a 6.1.  Man it was fun to just go fast and lay into some jibes!  That board is so smooth and fast, it’s ridiculous.  It’s in the demo fleet at Sailworld, so you can try it out the next time you’re in town.  Check out the short vid:

Sailing the Rocket 125 from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Argiope Aurantia

After our 11 day streak of Northerlies, we just made it through a few days of virtually zero wind.  Luckily, there has been some swell, so we’ve been surfing it up, dawn and dusk.  Got out on the SUP, too, and had a blast the other night.  Check out the vid:

Evening Surf from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Fun stuff!  Wendy and Roland were out last weekend, also, and just sent me a few pics.  Killin’ it!!  Check ’em out:

Wendy and her dolphin friends!  
 Anne and I have a hibiscus plant on our porch.  I’ve noticed that some of the leaves were looking chewed up lately.  This morning, I found the culprit:
And then I noticed this guy:
And then I went to get my board and almost walked straight into this little lady:
Eeeek!  That thing is the size of a tennis ball!!  Huge, and freaking scary.  So I looked it up, and it’s called an Argiope Aurantia- eeek!  Sounds scary, eh?  Then I got to the common name:  Yellow Garden Spider.   Not even remotely poisonous or lethal or territorial or anything.  Sheesh, what a letdown…  Stained the old underoos for nothing!