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!

Holiday Reading

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  For my international readers: Thanksgiving is all about sharing and being thankful for what you have, and has roots in the US’s adolescent history when the first European settlers were getting their feet underneath them.  Basically, everyone just gets together with family and friends, watches some football, drinks some beer, and eats a lot of delicious food.  It’s really fun!

In honor of the tradition, let’s all take a step back for a minute and think about who and what we truly love, and give thanks for those parts of our lives.

And now that you’ve got a few days on your hands with nothing to do, check out the latest edition of Windsurfer International: (go ahead and click, even you non-windsurfers, it’s free to read and has great stories and photos from some amazing places all around the world)

I’m especially smitten with this Edition (#3), as it has a feature article about the Hatteras windsurfing scene and the Hatteras Wave Jam in particular.  It’s pretty cool to get some coverage on the event, as Bill Bell, Keith McCullough, Stuart Proctor and I have put a lot of time and effort into the whole thing (Bill especially).  So, thanks for writing about your experience George, thanks for tirelessly photographing the event Janice, and thanks for publishing the article Brian!!

I know a lot of you Northerners are starting to think winter, but bear in mind, there is LOTS of windsurfing season left down here on Hatteras.  For proof, check it out- the hibiscus plant on my porch is still flowering!  If that doesn’t scream “Warm enough to windsurf” I don’t know what does!

And check out this picture of the moon from last night:

Coming up:  Looks like a very windy end of the week!!  That’s a nice compliment to the  


at Sailworld Hatteras, which starts Friday November 27th at 10 am!!!  We have some killer deals for you guys on what’s left of the 2009 gear, and a few opportunities to get your hands on 2010 stuff, too!  Shoot me an email or give the shop a call (252-995-5441), or better yet come on out to the beach, check out the goods, and get some sailing in to top it all off!!


Well, I think I know where all the sand from S-Turns ended up- It’s all at the Lighthouse!  That sandbar is working insanely well right now!  We’ve been getting hooked up with North to NE winds for the last few days in the 20-30 mph range.  The waves have been really fun, too, ranging from chest high to occasionally a bit overhead if you find a good set.

It’s a lot of work to sail at the Lighthouse, especially in a due north, as the jetties and the town of Buxton really block a lot of wind on the inside.  Couple that with a jet stream of current accelerating through the gaps in the jetty, and you can definitely get yourself worked if you’re unlucky with the timing.  I spent a lot of time in the drink this afternoon, and got pushed a solid 150 yards down the beach before I made it out, on more than one occasion…  But when it all lines up for that perfect wave, you realize that it was definitely worth all of the effort…

Here’s Bill, lining up a hit on a nice peak this afternoon:

And…  showing off the bottom of his new 92 liter twin fin!!

heh heh heh, sorry Bill!!
Looks like more of the same for the next two days, then a mid week lull, and another good front at the end of the week!!  Sweeeeeet!!

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?