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!


Hatteras Windsurfing Guide- Sound Launch- The Buxton Slick

Click to Enlarge

If you want to work on some freestyle moves, the Buxton Slick is the place to be!  You can head down there in almost any wind direction, but it’s really best on a WSW to WNW.  Rig up a tiny freestyle fin, and be cautious of the shallow spots.  I usually recommend rigging up for some extra power, too, since the wind can get a bit junky as it goes over the islands.

We usually launch from D’s spot or the Canadian Hole and make our way over.

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These are some of the conditions you can expect:

4.2 At The Buxton Slick from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

50 Seconds in the Buxton Slick from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

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

Tabou meets the Buxton Slick from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

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 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.


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.


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 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!

Cove Video!

It ended up blowing 4.7 all afternoon Thursday, so I spent a lot of time tuning up the 2010 Surge.  This sail is like a chameleon on the water depending on down and out haul combinations!  If anyone is looking for help getting a certain feel out of their World Sail please shoot me an email, but I’ve been really happy underdownhauling and adding a little extra outhaul for most applications.

Anyway, I tossed together a video from Wednesday’s Cove sesh!  Conditions were Super Freaking Windy out of the ESE, with fun waves in the chest to head high range.  Queue it up full screen, turn up the volume, grab a non-windsurfing co-worker, and press play:

Windsurfing 30+mph Winds in The Cove from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Everyone please say “Thank You” to Ace for loaning me his video camera!  I’m pretty sure he knows how sandy everything gets out here…

So Windy!!

Something weird happened today.  I was blown off of my 4.2.  I couldn’t hang on, I could barely waterstart.  Bottom turns were manageable, but top turns were out of the question, unless you went one handed and flagged the sail.  Very weird, indeed.  My suspicions were confirmed upon checking the meters:  Frisco Pier was reading average 38 with gusts to 47 mph!  Yes, yes, it was FREAKING WINDY out there.

It’s all good, though, because we scored a sweet day in The Cove!  It wasn’t until the last hour that it went truly ballistic.  The waves were in the chest to head high range, and most people were on 4.2-4.7 or 6-8 meter kites all day long.  One thing is for sure: there are a lot of smiling, tired, sore bodies on this island tonight!

Keith bottom turns as Stuart sets up for the next wave

I took a bit of video from the beach, and tied on a GoPro while sailing too.  Here are a few frames from the clew mount camera to tide you over until I get a chance to edit the vid:

One handed one footed top turn…  And yes, I sailed away from it!

No handed back loop… And no, I did not sail away from it 🙂

There is a lot more wind in the forecast for tomorrow and this weekend too!!  Come on out and join us!

The Sylt of The Americas: Side-on in Frisco

Thank goodness for!!  Today was one of those weird days where it blew 25-35 mph all day in Frisco, but barely touched 20 in the gusts for much of the day in Avon.  As the crow flies, these spots are only about 5 miles apart…  Without iWindsurf’s meters, I would have never guessed that Frisco was crankin’!


A bunch of us ended up sailing/kiting the Bathhouses in some super fun side onshore conditions.  Good jumping and fun waves in the head+ range made for a pretty sweet afternoon on the water.  Not to mention temps in the high 60s!  It’s tough to believe that it’s almost December already!  The only thing that kept me honest was the massive sideshore current, taking my power away right when I wanted it the most- right in the impact zone!

Sorry, no pictures, but think of Sylt, minus the freezing temperatures, a foot or two of wave height,  and thousands of cheering fans!

Looks like another massive storm event on Wednesday/Thursday!  Come on Down and JOIN US!!!!!

Gobbling Up Good Waves


The surf has been just gorgeous for the last day or two!  Light offshore winds and overhead sets…  What more can you ask for?! 

Happy Birthday, Dad!!  I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving up north!  Miss ya!