Nothing epic the last few days, but we’ve had a lot of fun nonetheless! There’s been a wee little wave out there, and a bit of wind pretty much everyday. Got out on the 5.0 the other morning and sailed through my best spock 540 yet, back in the flats down in Buxton! Stoked!

Last night the breeze picked up a bit, so Anne, Drew and I took turns sailing the Starboard Gemeni, aka The Biggest Board Ever Made! It’s a tandem, so you kind of want it big, but man is this board huge! It’s also a ton of fun to sail, even in mediocre conditions. We only really got it up and running once or twice in the biggest gusts (of like 14), but it’s fun just trying to coordinate tacks and jibes and even uphauling… Huge thanks to Jim Drake for giving us the opportunity to sail this behemoth!!

The board is not only fun, but a great teaching tool, too! Drew’s only been out windsurfing a handful of times, and I gave him an impromptu harness lesson in the 20 minutes we were out there. Within minutes, he was comfortably hooking in and out with good form (and not looking down)! Nice!

Well I’m off to Chicago for the weekend to visit my brother Jim and his fiance Pauline! Should be a ton of fun, and it’ll be good to get off the island for a few days (it’s been a while)… I won’t be traveling with gear, but I think it’s still pretty cold up there anyway, so no big deal! Carry on only, easy as pie!

New Pics, Old Pics, Rad Pics

Lots of pictures for you today! Zofia sent me a bunch of shots from Super Windy Saturday (thanks so much Zofia!!!), and the last few days have seen a variety of conditions, with lots of surfing (welcome back Drew!!), and some skate sailing to boot! Loving it down here!! Come visit soon!

How often do you see a backloop at the Canadian Hole??!! (Zofia pic)
Dan on a Ego Beach Nugget! (Zofia pic)

What do you guys think of these slideshows? Yay or nay?

Drew and I surfed the shorebreak at 34 Tuesday morning, mostly knee to waist, but a few barreling chongers came through!

I happened to catch the set of the day! (Drew pic)
Drew on a long, slow peelerSkate sailing is really really fun in next to no wind! Stuart, Anne and I hit up the culdesac for a sunset session last night. I spent most of my time working on the sail handling for a burner! Will I be able to do this on the water? Probably not, but you never know!

Anne and Stuart Skate it Up!

Perfect Sunday!

Loading up the truck on a 36 degree morning…
Clearing winds ushered in a perfectly blue sky this morning, as well as a 30 degree temperature drop from yesterday! The forecast called for fading NW winds, so I grabbed a short but sweet early morning freestyle sesh at the Hole. It was a totally different body of water from yesterday, back to it’s normal flat-ish state in the 15-20 knot breeze. A bit chilly with air temps around 36 or so, but the warm sun and water felt great!

One million and one birds fly north
As the breeze and tide dropped out, the leftover South swell got really fun up at 34! I took a pretty amazing solo sesh on my SUP, then switched to my 6’6″ for a few shorebreak barrels when I got tired of paddling! The SUP session ended up being far above and beyond any expectations, placing it at a definitive #1 Best SUP Session Ever!!!! The waves were rolling in at waist to a touch overhead in the biggest sets, super clean in the light offshore breeze, and hitting pretty lightly off the outside bar, then rolling in all the way to reform into a beachbreak barrel. Perfect SUP conditions, but that’s not what made the session epic….

…This Wave Is!!
Just a fraction of a second before this picture was taken, as I ripped straight down the line under a head high peak, two dolphins jumped fully out of the wave, surfing a mere 10 or 20 feet in front of me… You can see their “V” shaped trails and splashes to the right of me. Absolutely the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen, due mostly to the fact that it was just right in my face!! Unreal….

Another Jumper!
I knew they were around, a pod of 5 dolphin had been frolicking around me for about 30 minutes, sharing waves and then flanking my paddle back out. After the epic wave, they started jumping all over the place- just as I would climb over a big closeout, they would come popping out the back of the peak, tossing in a twist to show off… And then more wave rides with fins exposed and the occasional jump just a few yards away! By the end of my session, they had multiplied to about 10 or 15 of ’em, all following me around, wrestling with each other, spitting spray into the air. They were very curious and playful today, more so than I’ve ever seen, so I’ve postulated a theory.

First, whenever I see dolphin while regular prone surfing, they’ll come over and check you out, but then they usually move on rather quickly. On the SUP, they followed me around for about an hour and a half total. I think it has to do with the paddle strokes- a prone surfer is always splashing around, taking lots of quick strokes with his hands, while a stand up paddle surfer takes long, slow, and powerful strokes with a solid blade. I have a feeling the water movement off the blade reminds them of the forces of a fellow fish flicking it’s tail, making them more comfortable with the propulsion of a SUP.

Second, I only fell once or twice all day today, riding a wave as far as I could and kicking out at the shoulder before it closed out. By staying on the board and just paddling back out, I wasn’t creating a huge splash and kicking around and climbing back on my board, as most prone surfers do when they finish a wave. So, fewer big splashes probably made them more comfortable with the SUP, as well.

Whatever the reasons, it was truly an amazing day, that I will not soon forget! A huge thanks to Anne for snapping the pictures while hanging on the beach!

After the SUP sesh, it felt great to stretch all the muscles out and paddle around on a regular surfboard for a little while! The shorebreak was getting really dumpy as the tide filled back in, so it was fun to make a quick drop and try to tuck into one before getting deposited up on the beach!

Lining one up
The board made it a lot further in this one than I did!

Crankin’ Breeze!

It was windy today. Really windy! All the meters were averaging in the 40s with gusts up to 60 mph at Frisco Pier!! Solid breeze! I sailed at the Hole all day, litski on my 4.2. Charles, Emmanuel, and Dano joined, and even hit up Ego Beach for a little while when the wind went more SW. There were also a few out of towners in the hole, signifying the start of the spring sailing season!!

Emmanuel hanging on in a gust
When it gets that windy, the sound turns into a crazy playground. Ramps aplenty, even some “shorebreak” to deal with… Straight up jumps become scary, so, you might as well loop! Once you start a rotation, everything seems to solidify (until you splat down)! I had a pretty crazy jumping day, throwing countless loops on both port and starboard, attempted a handful of backloops, and even went for some nasty pushloops! When you consider the normal state of the Pamlico Sound (flat), just the fact that I was able to try this stuff is pretty amazing! It made me laugh while sailing…

Sing it: Smoke… on the wa…ter….I think Bill and Billy hit up Coquina Beach today, so be sure to check their sites for a report!

Dare I say it…. Epic?!?!

I was speechless at the end of today’s longboarding session. I just milled about, shuffling my feet in the sand. When I looked up at Stuart, he was basically in the same trance, sitting on the end of the walkway over the dunes. He eventually looked up, and a goofy grin spread across his face, slowly, like I had just reminded him of the type of inside joke one can not speak of in public.
Here’s Why:We had just sailed down at Isabel’s in a moderate NNE wind, probably gusting up to about 20, with lulls in the single digits. Sound epic yet? Not to me, either… Especially when one considers the dune line there, coupled with some current, to make the inside virtually windless. The waves, however, were rolling in at waist to slightly overhead in the biggest sets, super clean, barreling, and fast! They were too perfect to ignore! Today actually reminded me a lot of a baby version of Noel, minus about 30 knots of wind and a meter of swell!

Didn’t Lane take this picture six months ago?
I sailed a 5.0 on the SUP, Stuart was on his 4.7. The huge boards allowed us to stay afloat in the 5 mph lulls, and made it substantially easier to pump into the waves. Once on a wave face, board speed multiplied by a factor of 10, and the butter smooth faces were a dream to lay in to! The smaller, crumblier waves were perfect for sailing backwinded, walking the nose, and messing around on. The larger, faster, barreling waves, were the scariest 5 seconds imaginable, racing for the shoulder, driving through a bottom turn at mach 10 on a 12 foot board!! Oh… my….

It Wasn’t All Peaches and CreamBut Sometimes It Was!Crazy Clouds
Huge thanks to Stuart for taking the time out to snap today’s pictures! In other news, Bill has posted a video of the other day’s session at Pea Island! Check it out! Also, my buddy Drew has just created a blog of his own, which will most likely focus on the surf conditions, random fun, and social life here on Hatteras. You can find it here.

Perspectives… and A New World Speed Record!!!

I got really frustrated yesterday, which doesn’t happen often. I’m usually the optimist, in just about any situation, however yesterday I caught myself yelling and cursing and otherwise expending totally worthless energy… Pointless, really! After the sesh, I spent a good bit of time focusing on the good moments, while chowing on some peanut butter and crackers, and drinking about a half gallon of water. After I derigged (and, more importantly, digested), I was a whole new man! In retrospect, I realized that I had sailed for over 2, if not 3 hours straight, I didn’t stop and rest once, I was totally overdressed in the 65 degree air, and I hadn’t stretched at all… So basically, I got dehydrated, and didn’t physically prepare for a rather grueling session, so I sailed poorly, and got frustrated….

What can I learn from this? Next time things don’t feel quite right, I’m going to stop, smoke a “mental cigarette,” and get a drink of water. Taking 10 minutes out and re-aligning your mental focus can make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. At least this instance of frustration was due to a windsurfing session, and not something actually important in life! Next time something is bogging me down, hopefully I’ll remember this lesson!

Billy on a nice one!
So, yesterday’s session was up by Oregon Inlet, in a warm, moderate south wind. The waves were mostly waist high, with the occasional bigger set, and rolling up the beach, setting up some potentially really long rides! Billy said he caught one that was at least 5 or 6 top turns!! Not me, that’s for sure! I couldn’t seem to make anything happen… Don’t get me wrong, it had it’s moments, and it sure was a heck of a lot more fun than going to work!! Billy, Bill, Caleb, Stuart and I were in attendance, as were Bill’s parents (I think), who shot some video! Bill is editing the video of the day, so be sure to check out the clips (of me flailing, and everyone else ripping) when he posts them here!

Caleb and Billy schlog out through an approaching set:
This morning’s forecast was spot on, with strong WSW winds that faded faster than Brittany Spears’ public image! Stuart, Mark and I caught a few minutes of fun at the Hole, but called it a day by 8:30 am as the wind dropped. It was good to get wet, and I got a chance to rinse yesterday’s sand off my 5.0!

Mark rips by in the fading wind:
In other major news: Antoine Albeau has broken the outright world speed sailing record at the ditch in France!! He used a custom speed board and a 4.8 square meter sail to hold an average speed of 49.09 knots over a 500 meter course!!!! That’s 56.49 mph, 90.91 km/h, or 82.85 feet/sec for all you non-nautical types out there! Basically, jump on the highway and drive the posted speed limit, and then imagine going that fast under the power of a sail that you hold with your hands… Incredible! Congrats to Albeau, Patrik Diethelm (46.57 knots, Italian and Production board records), and Farrel O’Shea (44.46 knots, UK record)!! Very impressive stuff!

Looks like they’re forecasting more record breaking wind tomorrow (Thursday) in France, follow the live ticker of the event, and get more info on Albeau’s record here!

Beautiful Spring Day!!

Sun and moon rise
What a beautiful afternoon on the water! Billy E, George and I shared Ego beach with a few pods of dolphin today. Super light South winds (average 10, absolute peak gust 15), crystal clear water (you could literally see the bottom), and a waist to head high swell all combined to provide a really fun stand up paddle and longboard sailing session! We caught a few great waves with the paddle, but the chop built up just enough to make it tricky… so we tossed a sail on the boards and were good to go!

Billy on a nice left!There was a bit of shorebreak to contend with
It’s pretty tough to convey the sensation of cruising along with a pod of dolphin flanking and surfacing all around you…. Imagine the pictures you’ve seen of dolphin jumping in the bow wake of motor boats. Now, get rid of the noise of the engine. Total silence. Finally, put your feet two inches above sea level on a 26 inch wide plank… Wow…
I’m chasing the section (thanks Caleb for the pic)Dropping in late! (Thanks again Caleb)Billy going right!

February Wrap Up, March Comes In Like A Lion

In summary, February was pretty darned rad! Pretty chilly over all, 28 degrees F was the coldest session, but most days were in the mid 40s to 50s, and a few in the 60s. I didn’t nab any of my 2008 goals, but I certainly tossed a ton of biggg backloop attempts, and came realllly close to landing a bunch of ’em. Also, the forwards have gotten a lot cleaner, and I even over-rotated a few! Time to start trying doubles!

Here are the raw stats from my February 2008 Fun Log:
32 seperate water sessions
20 days windsurfing (22 sessions, 8 on a 5.7, 13 on a 5.0, 1 on a 4.2 )
5 days surfing prone boards
5 days on the SUP (4 surfing, 1 cruising)
4 days spent on land (playing tennis, running, bicycling, yoga, etc)
0 rest days
18 sessions in a 6/5/4
13 sessions in a 3/2
1 in Trunks!!!!

On To March!!!

A college buddy, Tim, came down this weekend, looking for one last hurrah before knee surgery on Tuesday, and he nailed it! March has entered the scene with gusto! Saturday morning brought howling West winds, and a waist to head high swell down at Isabel’s. Stuart, Tim and I hit it up for a “dawn” sesh before the wind switched and let up. We caught it really good for about an hour before the current kicked in and the wind dropped off. Stuart got some great waves and few solid loop attempts, Tim made it off the beach and back in without breaking or losing anything (always a victory in my books), and I was able to get a few ridiculous jumps in, but not too much in the way of good waves. I got solidly worked on my first wave, and couldn’t dial in my timing for the rest of the session (more mental than anything else probably).
Stuart on a nice setI’m popping a little airTim on his way outStuart top turning
After the wind pooped out, we went for a quick soundside freestyle session, and then grabbed some kites for a sunset session. Tim was stoked with a solid day of battling the ocean, then some butter flat water for a wrap up.

Sunny days!
Sun on the sandTim pops a little ollie
Scallops in the reeds
This morning, Sunday, dawned with chilly moderate NE wind, and not a cloud in the sky! Tim and I decided to toss the wetsuits back on for a quick morning session. I grabbed some slalom gear, and posted a 27.5 mph top speed in the 12-18 mph breeze, although there were a few gusts that were probably a bit over 20. Tim got one last pull behind his kite, and left with a smile on his face! It’s pretty cool to think that one hour on the water can satisfy someone who knows that he’s going to be immobile for a month! Good luck with the surgery and rehab, Tim!

Jibing the Big Stuff
Tim’s last reach before going under the knife!!
Well, the days are getting longer and the water’s getting warmer, so get yourselves all geared up and come on down! I met a few guys down from Michigan on Spring Break yesterday, so the season is officially upon us! I’m glad to see kids spending their break seeking the adrenaline rush associated with windsurfing and kiteboarding, rather than just looking for a buzz and a girl at Daytona!

Gusty and Fun

We’ve had some Really gusty and shifty winds the last few days. Some people might complain, but I kind of like the variations! I think gusty winds open up a session to way more opportunities. Helitack in a lull, then loop in a gust… Next time around, try the helitack in a gust, and a loop in the lulls, just to see what happens! If anything, shifty conditions will help you determine when to try what, and you can store it away for future reference.

Tuesday’s forecasted cranking southerlies never really materialized, in a safely sailable manner, anyway… Billy, Jim K, George, Visiting Neil, and I windsurfed the Hole (5.0), while Pam and Lane joined us on their kites. Everyone caught a fun, but short, session before a nasty front pushed through. Lane snapped a few amazing pictures of the front (Thanks, Lane!):

Tough not to see that one coming…It extended across the entire horizon!It was easy to tell that all heck was about to break loose, so we frantically derigged and stashed our gear (and bodies) just as the wind clocked around 90 degrees and boosted into the mid 40s! Lightning, thunder, rain, fog, and gnarly winds persuaded me to hunker down with the keys in the ignition, just in case a quick escape became necessary… Luckily, it blew over quickly and harmlessly, and Neil re-rigged, re-suited, and re-entered the water for another bout of blasting!

Billy, before the frontHunkered down in the thick of it
Neil, post-gnarliness
Wednesday brought the clearing winds, sunny skies, and cooler air temps. Stuart, Neil and I hit up the Secret Spot for some morning freestyling. The wind faded quickly, so it was a short but fun sesh (5.0 again). In the afternoon, the wind returned with a vengeance, and a slightly different angle, so Billy, Neil and I hit the flats down in Buxton for some wicked freestyle action (and 5.0 yet again)! I’m stoked to claim the fastest, most powerful, cleanest, totally planing spock I’ve ever thrown! Chalk it up to the butter flat water, but if you had blinked, you would have totally missed it and thought nothing had ever happened! Unreal!

Stuart in the Secret SpotBilly Ain’t Afraid to Throw Himself Around!Sunset Over the Shallows
Stuart and I braved the cold this morning, sailing short tacks back behind Island Creek (you guessed it, 5.0). Very gusty winds, again, and ice cream headaches if you got dunked. The water wasn’t bad, but the 28 degree air put quite a chill on any exposed, wet skin. Luckily, I brought my portable hot tub to thaw out the hands and feet during our frequent breaks! Sailing in shallow water, taking short tacks, with a buddy, really thick suits (6/5/4), hot water waiting on the beach, buildings right on shore for shelter, and hot showers a stones throw away are what made our morning relatively safe and comfortably sailable in the frigid air temps!

I suppose that’s just a testament to how much fun windsurfing really is!! We (the general windsurfing populace) often get excited, and brave some very harsh weather, just for some time on the water… Why wouldn’t we, really?

Stand Up Surf Extravaganza!

Lots of great waves this afternoon, light breeze, crystal clear water, and blue skies! What a beautiful day! Drew, Stuart and I hit up ramp 34 for an afternoon of board swapping, although the SUP was the tool of choice on the weaker waves.

Stuart on a nice rightDrew drops in late
There were lots of curious dolphin in the water today, too! The vantage point from a SUP is amazing, especially when the water is so clear. Pods of dolphin were swimming up to, surfacing next to, and diving under us all afternoon. I almost got mowed over by a few set waves because I was too busy looking down at all the action underwater, rather than the horizon!

Drew bails on a closeoutMe, attempting to hit a lip and redirect to the right… miserable failure 1 second later!!
Drew lining himself up
All in all a great afternoon on the beach! Looks like we’re in store for a few days of cranking winds, so come on down, or at least keep an eye open for a report in the next day or two!

Fine Coastal Weather (Wind, Rain, Fog, and Sunshine)

We’ve had a good few days here in Hatteras, with some fine coastal weather…

Caught up with Chad surfing in Buxton Friday afternoon, after the rain passed. Fog was drifting in and out, with moderate offshore winds. Lots of current was ripping up the beach in the south swell. Kind of spooky looking out there.

Chad’s somewhere deep within this wave:
Unknown surfer with a late backside drop:
I ended up rigging a 5.0 in the first parking area I found that wasn’t foggy, with an hour of “daylight” left. Planing was effortless on my 108 liter freestyle board, especially in the butter flat water I ended up finding! It certainly wasn’t an extreme session, but I got some great reconnaissance in for a sicko new freestyle spot, or maybe even a speed run in the right wind direction!

The foggy view while rigging:
Saturday brought light west winds and sunshine, so I surfed the leftover chest high swell from Friday morning’s storm. Weird waves, with lots of invisible currents and small cross swells coming from virtually every direction. It got so bad that I felt a vertigo-like sensation from the random rocking. Nonetheless, some of the waves were really good, though few and far between. Sorry, no pics.

Now today, Sunday, was UNREAL at the lighthouse. A huge, macking swell kicked up in no time while I was out schlogging around on a 5.7. Dan snapped this pic of me dropping into a monster:

Fooled ya! Photo manipulation is just too easy these days! I did schlog around on a 5.7 today, got planing once, and the waves were less than epic, but it was a fun session anyway. I had the place to myself, although one kiter came out for about 10 minutes. Here are the unmodified pictures that Dan took (thanks Dan!)

The Original Pic:

Wish I had been on this one!
Setting up for a knee high wave:

Warm Sunset, Disappearing Moon, Freezing Dawn

Wednesday brought warm(ish) South winds, and Ego beach was crowded with 5 sailors out!! Amazing, considering there were no waves in the super high tide… Anyway, killer sunset session, bump and jump (4.7-5.5) at Ego then a quick freestyle sesh in the hole to rinse the sand off the gear! Billy, Stuart, Jim K, Jeffro, Visiting Neil and I caught the warm afternoon breeze! There was tons of energy out there, with Stuart going for some loops, Billy throwing backloop attempts off nothing, Jim going huge as always, and Neil in the Graveyard of the Atlantic for the first time ever! Personally, I got a few great forwards off, some 360s in the “soup,” and tried to toss some spocks in the ocean chop (unsuccessfully)!
Sunset BlastingBilly behind the one set of the day!Jeffro Mach 5 Jibe

Turns out there was a lunar eclipse Wednesday evening! Here in Avon, we were able to catch the first half before it clouded over. I snapped a few pics and tossed ’em together for y’all:
Eclipse Montage

Thursday morning brought MUCH colder temps (35F) and North/NNE winds. Stuart and I hit the Lighthouse for some big jumps and some variable but fun wave rides. The waves were mostly waist to shoulder high, and peeling down the beach! A few lined up for 4 or even 5 bottom turns, and both backside and down the line hits! Really fun session, but I’m sure glad I brought that cooler full of hot water to thaw out the hands afterwards! Dale grabbed a few pics while walking his dogs (Thanks Dale!!):
Backside Lip Hit!Stu in the Bowl
Onshore Bottom Turn (switch stance/clew first)
I took a turn behind the lens as well:
Stu on a Wall
Stuart in the SoupLifegaurd BeachThe Only Witnesses

34 and The South Sigh-eeed

Ocean sailing in Hatteras comes with it’s perils. It’s all sandbars here, so there aren’t any well defined channels or safety zones to help you get out. Here’s what Stuart and Billy had to face when schlogging their gear out for Monday’s Point session:

Thanks to Dan for the pics! And again, major props to these guys for simply stepping off the beach!

On to Tuesday! Ramp 34 had the PERFECT swell height, direction, and tide setup for SUP surfing today. The bigger sets were barely peeling over waaay outside (like 50-75 yards off the beach), then rolling in all the way to the inside bar where they would finally jack up and throw. The moon’s pretty full right now, so low tide was a bit lower than usual, allowing the waves to roll all the way in between the bars without petering out. The biggest sets were about shoulder or head high. My SUP gave me enough juice to catch them and work the sections back and forth for what seemed to be about 30 second rides before I would kick out on the inside section. The wind turned on a bit too strong, albeit straight offshore, which kept today off my list of Top 10 SUPing days. Had it been glassy, today would have absolutely been in the #1 spot!!! Here’s a chest high set of 4 rolling in from outside:

Luckily, a little wind never stopped me from having some fun! Stuart and I decided to roll on down to Isabel’s for an afternoon wavesailing session. 5.7 and 95 liter waveboard, planing 60% of the time. Isabel’s was waist to a little overhead in the biggest of sets. A good bit of current. Virtually dead sideshore wind, just a touch off. This session was really surprising, and way more fun than I thought it would be! Among the top of the distractions list: The nearly full moon rose just behind the Hatteras Lighthouse and over the Frisco Pier! It was pretty much right in my face when looking down the line at the wave I was trying to sail… very distracting… Anyway, the pics tell most of the story. I took the pics of Stuart (white/blue sail), he took the pics of me (green Worldsail):

Stu on a long oneI’m diggin’ in!A fraction late on the camera duties… Sorry!Making the dropFull Moon’s a RisingStu trying to slow downI’m a little late (but I made it, I think?)Stuart noticed a balloon floating by and nabbed it! Adding that to Anne’s stash of recent trash pickups makes 12 balloons in 4 days!!! Hooray for valentine’s day! Well, maybe they saved the lives of 12 turtles and fishes? Who knows?

Letdowns and Surprises!

What a day. Highs, lows, rain and sunshine…. I started off the day waiting for the rain (and lightning) to pass, playing phone tag with everyone while looking for a window of opportunity. Eventually, we settled on waiting out the storm at the point. The waves looked reasonable there (head high and organized as opposed to a mast high washing machine), with side offshore wind filled in all the way to the beach.

Boy were we wrong. The waves were way bigger than they looked, and the wind was most certainly not filled in… I simply didn’t feel “right” about the session, but Stuart and Billy E charged it as soon as the rain cleared!

Stuart’s big bomb!
Billy on a solid one!
Major props to these guys for schlogging out through the logo high sets! They definitely took a few major bombs to the head, but it was all worth it for the few rides they got! Just look at Billy’s mug shot once he made it back to the beach! Says it all, really!

As the afternoon faded on, I stopped by the Jetties and saw Dan and Chad out surfing the head and a half, warbly, choppy, current riddled mess of an ocean. Man, these guys deserve major props, too, for dealing with all that garbage for the few rides they got!

Dan Bottom Turn
Dan’s 75 yard righthander!
By this point I was really feeling like a chump for sitting out the wave sailing, then skipping the surf sesh too… But with an hour of daylight left, I checked the Hole on the way home. There was wind! And lots of it! The forecasted 20s to 30s finally filled in for an amazing sound side sunset session! It’s pretty awe inspiring to watch such a huge front pass overhead, with a distinct line between low and high pressure cutting the sky, revealing the sun on the western horizon. To top it all off, the almost full moon showed it’s face through the clouds for the final 15 minutes of fun, easing the transition from daylight to dusk…….

Thanks to Stuart for snapping some pics:
Jim K mid jibe
Yours truly, feeling the slide
Visiting sailor Neal laying one down
You can always find an “if only” to use as an excuse in this world, and I really hate to use that phrase, but, man… if only that wind was there earlier to hit the ocean on a well powered 5.0……

The New Classic Cove

It seems like every time a southeast wind blows, the Cove becomes a madhouse of watersports enthusiasts. Odd, since the angles are kind of wrong now as the point has morphed over time. If you can find a copy of Kooks of Hazzard II, you’ll see some of the Old Classic Cove footage, with mast high bombs peeling down the line for 100s of yards, side offshore wind holding up the faces, windsurf kits skittering across the faces. The New Classic Cove is somewhat, umm, different:

Mushy windswell, side on to onshore wind to swell angles, and a mess of fishing lines, kite lines, and downhaul lines all ready to tangle at a moments notice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still really fun to play around in there, and usually the atmosphere is cheerful. When it’s actually windy the jumps can be massive, and the wave rides, although mostly backside, can be long and fun. But it’s a long way from those video clips I’ve seen! In defense of the Old Classic Cove, all the old timers claim that it only happens that way once every 6 years, if you’re lucky. I’ve been here for 7, and I’ve seen the waves, and I’ve seen the wind, but never at the same time… Luckily, patience is a character trait deeply rooted in the windsurfing and surfing learning curves, and I’ve learned it well…

Stu (white/blue) and Emmanuel (red) pick off a nice set
So, today, Stuart, Emmanuel, 10-12 kiters, and I enjoyed the New Classic Cove setup in light SSE winds. Mushy knee to head high waves were pushing their way down the point. We sailed 5.4 – 5.8 and new school longboards/sups. Never going fast, unless there was a wave pushing us. ‘Twas a “soul-surfing” session! Not too many radical cutbacks on a 12’2″ board, that’s for sure, but it’s still an awful lot of fun, and a great tune-up for highwind conditions!

Emmanuel and Stuart

A solid few days!

Friday: Moderate West winds pretty much all day… so Freestylin’ in the morning on a 5.7, then surfing in the afternoon! Stuart and I sailed the hole, it was gusty, and looked exceptionally windy but wasn’t… Just standing in the lot, I would’ve rigged a 5.0, but as it was, I could have used a 7.5 once in the water (this is a classic morning West wind situation in Hatteras). Anyway I got a couple of one handed spocks in so I’m happy!

Friday’s Waves
The swell is still kicking, for 3 days now solid head(+/-) sets! With a fading sun, Anne and I took a quick surf session at Witches Hat in the afternoon. It was a little spooky, as the light was fading, and it got choppy as the wind veered South. It’d be waist high, and out of nowhere these bombs were coming in, really hard to read in the fading light and chop… We both definitely got worked a few times, but caught some fun ones too!

Saturday: Crankin’ NNE winds all day! Stuart and I started the day off at Isabel’s, sailing very gusty and shifty nearly straight offshore wind… It was mostly frustrating, with a few brilliant moments mixed in, which made it all worthwhile! The sets were still pumping solidly chest to head high, with great shape in the offshore breeze. The hard part was lining yourself up to be in the right spot… But when you hit it right, man it was sweet!

After a few hours beating ourselves up, Bill B called from the Cove, so off we went! The rest of the afternoon was spent in a playground of waist high waves in straight offshore, but clean 5.0 wind. We were all throwing ourselves around, and everyone took some mighty spills! Anne came out and snapped some pictures of us:

Riding the elevator, straight upwind!
Shorebreak Bottom Turn
Bill, mid loop!
Stu, about to eat it!
Me, eating it!Looks like more for the next few days! So, I find myself saying it again: “no rest for the weary!”

Perfect Surf?

My friend Dan has been talking about the “Valentine’s Swell” of ’07 for, well, a year now… Thank heavens he’ll have something else to talk about now. Something tells me I’ll be hearing him reminisce about today for, well, the next year or so…

On the way down the beach, Stuart and I stopped at Isabel’s and found Chad out, solo:

Click to see a larger version, Chad’s in there somewhere!
It was a little heavier than I was really looking for, so on we went, further south… We found just a touch smaller, but way softer, longer, crumblier A Framing peaks where Dan was hiding. Way more inviting to my eyes! Sorry, no pics, so the spot shall remain nameless. All you need to know is that it was just about perfect!

The idea of “perfect surf” will certainly conjure up different images in each and every surfer’s individual mind. Well, today was pretty darned close to my version. Big enough to throw you around a little, but not so big to be really scary. Super clean faces with light offshore breeze. A-frame peaks with 50 yard long peeling shoulders. Ahhhhhhh…. It doesn’t get much better than that around here. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it was just me and 4 other guys splitting the never ending supply of peaks!

Gotta love Hatteras in February! Thanks for the Valentine’s gift!

Wendesday Low Pressure!!

8:30 AM: Socked in with rain. Avon Pier meter is reading 32 gusting 47, due South, and 60 degrees air temp. Diamond Shoals buoy is reading 43 gusting to 56 mph, and 19 feet at 10 seconds… Stormy!! Time to go check it out!

Here’s this morning’s radar,

and a short video of the scene.

It reminded me of a tropical storm! Basically, the wind was cranking but variable, the rain was pelting, and the ocean was huge (the buoy maxed out at 20.7 feet!!). Stuart and I sailed the Hole in the morning, through the rain squalls, and gusts over 60 according to the iwindsurf Avon Ocean meter! I held down my 4.2 through most of it, and hid in the water during some of the major gusts. Basically survival sailing, with a few crazy fast spin loops thrown in for good measure. Later, when the sun came out, the wind backed down a bit and Mark, Jim K, Jeff, George, and Brian came out to join the fun!

Ego Beach breaking to the horizon
Jim K boosting
Current windsurfing gear is remarkable: I stayed on my 4.2 the whole day, in winds ranging from 32 gusting 48, to avg 49 gusting to 61 (I hid for a lot of that half hour), to 19 gusting 27, and never changed a thing beyond an inch of outhaul and a fin! I even did some speed runs (34.3 mph max in the semi bumpy water), and some freestyling during the lulls… Other sails ranged from 3.7 up to 5.2 in the gusty, shifty conditions! Here’s some more pics:

Head high waves of sand were blowing through
Da Hole
I’ve been out of the water for 6 hours, I’ve taken a nice long shower, and I’ve still got sand caked in my hair and ears…….. Yup, ’twas windy this morning!!

The Point, and a Summer Video!

What started as a pretty slow, lame sesh this afternoon, quickly became really fun as the wind and waves built! Billy E and I rigged for a schlog, he on a 5.2, I rigged my 5.7, and after about an hour of puttering around and catching a few decent waves, the wind finally started to boost up a bit. As soon as the wind built, the waves built as well, and we ended up having a great time! My big board turns like a Mack Truck, but it planes up super early and jumps like a 6 year old kid on Red Bull… So I only had a few fun waves, but a lot of big jumps, considering how marginal the conditions were!

Billy on a wall!
Billy Cutback

The dolphin were out in serious numbers this afternoon! They weren’t skittish, either, as they were surfacing, blowing smoke, and even jumping the same waves we were riding, as close as just a few feet away! Sometimes it’s very difficult to tell if they are just curious and playful, or if they are being territorial… More than ever, this afternoon seemed a little sketchy… But all’s well that ends well, and nobody got thwacked by a tail or anything crazy like that!

I also had some time to throw together some video clips I had laying around from last summer! I had tried a mast mount while cruising around at the hole, it’s a little bouncy, but I think there’s some cool clips! I linked the same video from you tube at the bottom of the blog… So, Enjoy!

Isabel’s Mirror Image

Usually, if I’m heading down to the south side of the island to windsurf, it’s blowing northeast, or, side-offshore. Today, for some reason, Bill, Billy, and I sailed Isabel’s in a SW, 180 degrees from the normal direction! What the heck were we thinking? Well, luckily, I didn’t think too much about it, because it was REALLY fun!!!

Just one pic today, because I couldn’t be bothered to stop sailing… when I pulled up a lone kiter was riding by, so here’s the scene:

We ended up getting side on conditions with ridiculous starboard ramps, and port backside waverides, mostly well powered on a 5.0. I saw Billy toss a huge tabletop on the outside, and watched Bill pop a bunch of backside aerials off the lip (no aerial loops yet, though, Bill!!) Personally, I had an insane jumping day, throwing a bunch of huge loops, and some of my most successful starboard back loop attempts ever! I’ve been visualizing push loops lately, and a few backloops sort of morphed into potential pushies, and felt pretty reasonable, really… I also smacked the biggest backside aerial off the lip I’ve ever thrown, off a head high wall just barely starting to throw over! Cleared the section, landed in the flats, still planing and ready to rock another! Unreal sensation, tons of power!

Today was one of those days when everything flows, and one big move rolls into another… I’m still buzzing off it, 4 hours later, ready for more as soon as possible!! Rad… The Hatt has been seriously providing this winter, and I have A LOT to be thankful for!