Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shorepound, and Loopfest Day 1!

Good action the last few days! It's been tearing me up inside to be sitting on the beach watching, but taking photos has acted as a great distraction/new challenge! Friday evening we had some light winds and small shore break waves, so Anne, Drew, Miranda, Sam, and Kevin dropped into some waves while Deb, Colin, Banana, and I hung out on the beach. The pics say it all, except one thing: This was Kevin's 3rd day ever on a paddleboard, and he was killing it! Its one of those things where you want to be happy for him, but you wanna smack him too for picking it up so darned easily!!

Kevin, looking like he's been at it for years!The CommuteStandoffDrew on the Bonga 10'2"Miranda, walking on water!Sam dropping inColin, the cutest darned kid everDrew, walking on waterKevin, dropping in with styleDrew on a nice wallSymmetry!Local Boy
Drew and his Cheering Squad
Moving on, to Loopfest, Day One!!!

Saturday afternoon marked the official start of Hatteras Loopfest 2008! SW winds were cranking down here in Avon, with sunny skies and 85 degree air temps! I got super amped up watching Bill, Charles, Jim K, Jim M, and Keith destroying Ego beach. The waves were averaging waist high, and the ramps were just about perfect for chucking starboard loops! Keith and Bill were on fire, but unfortunately none of the other attending registered participants were up to the challenge today... I took a bunch of pictures, but messed up the camera settings on a lot of them... so only a few came out. Sorry if I missed ya! Enjoy the pics!

Keith Chucking One!Bill Makes a Hit!
Keith gets some air, but stays upright...Keith throws some spray as Charles looks onBill Bottom TurnsKeith gets stylieOne of these guys is not like the other! But which one is cooler?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SUPs, Sunshine, and Southwest Winds

Well there's a little bit of action to report from over the last few days! Let's start with Monday, Memorial Day:

Really light winds and sunny skies combined for a beautiful, light action day at the beach. Anne and Miranda snagged a few SUPs from the shop and did a short Atlantic coast tour. They were very smart and went upwind first, claiming about an hours worth of exercise, before turning around and making it back to their starting point in about 3 minutes! Hannah grabbed a few pictures of the ladies (Thanks, Hannah!):

Launching (yes, that is the ocean)Anne caught the only wave of the whole entire day!
Tuesday was Anne's birthday! Decent SW winds were blowing all afternoon, but by the time the 2 of us got off work, things had settled down significantly. We decided to take a walk over at Ego beach to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine and get a wee bit of exercise. Dale was coming in off his 5.6 as we arrived, and said it was an awesome afternoon of soundside blasting!

Dale comes in, after one last reach
Yes, Banana does like her Bandana!
After sunset, a bunch of us gathered at the Avon Cafe, a new restaurant in the old Hodad's location. The food and service were great, and I would definitely recommend it to any visitors looking for a relaxed atmosphere and high quality meal! My fish tacos were second to none, with an interesting mix of seafood, and some sort of cole slaw unlike any I've ever had, to liven up the flavors. They showed us a great time and a lot of hospitality to help us celebrate Anne's birthday. Happy B-Day sweetheart!

Sounds like Bill, Olaf, and Graham Ezzy had a great session up at Salvo yesterday, too! Bill detailed the experience of sailing alongside a pro here! Wish I could've been there, at least to snag a picture or two, but the timing didn't quite work out with my shop hours... Oh well!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend Update!

Sorry about the lack of posting lately! The wind has been relatively light the last few days, and the ocean pretty darned flat... The last few weeks of epic wind and macking swell seem like a year ago at this point!

As close to a "Shaka" as I can get!
Stuart and I are still all bandaged up. I've got about three weeks left, and Stuart's got about 5 weeks of forced rest time... In the meantime, we're having lots of fun off the water hanging out with friends.

Stuart gets all the attention with his "twisted ankle" Drew and Kevin, wondering where all the ladies wentNow that I'm broken, Anne has given up on me and moved on to a more complete, manly man. He's got a tattoo, so I'm pretty much out of the picture forever...

Everything looks better when you're upside down
I was away for a few days last week, hanging out with my family. We were celebrating the life of my Uncle, who you can read about here. While I was gone, I missed this session at the point! Looked like a fun time! When I got back, I saw the newest Windsurfing Magazine. Flip directly to page 20 to see some coverage of yours truly, and page 22 for an editorial written by Stuart! Stoked on the coverage!!

May, 2008 IssueI also found a big pile of new gear at the shop patiently waiting to be unpacked and oogled.

Ooooh... Stuff!
Of course, now that I'm laid up, all of my personal stash of new gear finally arrived... A whole lot of schwag from DaKine, a new carbon boom from Chinook, and a brand new stick from RRD! And all I can do is look at it... and dream... and wait...

My New Stick, T3 Harness and Mono Lines!

So that means that my "old" board is now up for sale! Its a 2006 RRD FSW 85, in good condition. This is what it looks like in action:

She can fly! (pic: Drew)

And this is what it looks like locked up inside and sad that it's been replaced:

"Somebody love me... please... I'm so lonely... and dry..."

If you think you can give this board a good home, and you have $600 of expendable cash, call the shop!

We also received some rad new sails from Hot Sails Maui. The Superfreak is just about the coolest looking sail out there, and you can totally customize them if you want! And we also got a few Fires, which are bomber, control oriented wave sails. Very cool looking as well!

The Super Freak
Hot Sails Fire
We've got more stuff showing up everyday, so if you need anything, swing on by or give us a call! Looks like more wind on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week so I'm sure I'll have some action to show you guys!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Casted and Flabbergasted

So the hand is all casted, splinted, and aligned. No surgery neccesary, all I have to do is take it easy for the next few weeks. The doc thinks I can have it removed by the Loop Off, so watch out kids!! You ain't gonna get off that easy for the competition! : ) And thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement!

Turns out I'm not the only one all busted up right now! Stuart broke his ankle landing a big jump in some nasty chop down at Isabel's on Sunday... He's been to the ER, but hasn't seen a specialist yet, so no news as to how long his recovery will be. Good luck, man!! Keep us informed!

Moving on to the second topic:

Aaargh! Please stop being idiots regarding the beach closures! Vandalism of the signs proves nothing and hurts everyone. Another Press Release was sent out yesterday from the NPS:

Second Act of Vandalism of Shorebird Closure Fencing

A second vandalism incident to a signed resource protection area was discovered by Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff on Friday, May 16 th , 2008. Park staff found over 1,500 feet of fence protecting an American Oystercatcher nest had been damaged. This closure area is located on the ocean side of Hatteras Island, about .8 of a mile north of Buxton in a pedestrian use only zone. The park ranger called to investigate the vandalism found that 20 fence posts had been broken, five signs pulled out of the sand, and three carsonite closure signs are missing. The ranger documented one set of bare footprints going from post to post on the beach and then into the dune area. The footprints entered the closure area; however, the nest appeared undisturbed. Over 1,300 feet of fencing was damaged on the west side of the dune and about 274 feet combined on the north and south sides on the open beach.

A recent Consent Decree related to shorebird and sea turtle protection at Cape Hatteras National Seashore requires the National Park Service to automatically expand the closure area by 50 meters if a confirmed deliberate act disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants. Park staff documented the site and expanded the closure 50 meters (164 feet) to the south as ordered in the Consent Decree. This closure expansion is located in a pedestrian only area and will not affect ORV users.

Destruction of government property and entering a resource closure are federal criminal violations, each subject to up to a $5,000. fine and up to six months imprisonment.

For more information, call 252-473-2111 ext. 148.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Incalculable Loss, Epic Action, and Busted Bones

Don't feel much like writing today. Leukemia has taken one of the most positive, happy, and loving human beings I've ever met, my Uncle John Bachman. I miss him dearly. Aunt Sue, Claire, Kevin and the rest of my family: I love you, guys! See you in a few days.

Keeping up with the daily routine will help me get through in the meantime, so here goes:

Here's what happened at the end of last week:

Big swell, light winds Wednesday and Thursday. See more, much better pictures here. And here. And here.

Racing the section
Cranking southwest wind hit on Friday. I sailed Ego Beach with a bunch of other windsurfers and kiters. I felt on fire for the first hour, sailing out of big stalled forwards and carving some good turns on the head high wave faces.

When the perfect back loop ramp popped up right in front of me, I went for it, went big, stayed solid, and came down with the sole intention of sticking it and sailing away! Something went wrong on landing, I was too balled up and on top of my rig, and on impact, all the force of the landing transferred through the board, into the mast, into the boom, and into my back hand. I then transferred all that power through my hand squarely into my jaw... Long story short, I almost knocked myself out by punching myself in the face. I broke my ring finger metatarsal in half, in the classic "Boxer's Break." My jaw is ok, two days later. Anne has been kind enough to feed me soups and soft foods like rice and beans to limit the chew factor. And lots of chocolate chip cookies, the perfect soul food for a physically hurt, grieving psyche!! Thanks, sweetheart!

My last bottom turn for a whileBroke!
So, I'm out for a bit. I find out Monday if I'll need surgery or if the doc will just set it and forget it. Regardless, it'll be quite a few weeks before I'm back in the water. Time to revert to some other meditation, coping, and healing tactics, like yoga, and the simple art of breathing.

In the meantime, I will not coop myself up and sulk. When I return from some much needed quality time with my ever-optimistic family, I plan on continuing the Hatteras action documentation. At least everyone else will have a dedicated, one handed videographer for a little while!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Outer Bar Isabel's

*5/15 Update: Bill posted some more pictures here!
**5/15 Update #2: Aaron posted a bunch of pictures from last week's honking SW winds here!

Insanity today! Keith and I caught an amazing session at Isabel's. Pretty classic conditions- no wind on the inside, raging current, and barreling inside bars made it very challenging to get off the beach. It took both of us multiple tries to make it out, with the inevitable 200+ yard walk back up the beach for every failed attempt. Once we made it out, however, we encountered sheer waveriding bliss! (All pics by Anne. Thanks!)

Sneaking out during a set
The outer bar was on fire with a long period wrap around swell. Head high waves were lightly rolling over the sandbar, jacking up but not really pitching. Logo high waves were crumbling off the top. And the mast high macking sets were absolutely detonating on the bar, full on whitewater explosions. The wind was very offshore, and fairly light 4.5 so most of the faces were reasonably clean and easy to pick a line on without too much fear of bouncing out.

Long lines crumbling off the top
I didn't take too many waves all the way to the inside, for fear of not being able to get back out. So, instead, I spent about two hours cherry picking the big ones way outside. Keith and I shared a lot of waves today, since the big sets weren't all that frequent. I've never really been on a wave that had an open enough face to bottom turn around someone else, make the top turn, then look down in the trough to see Keith bottom turning 10 feet below me... awesome experience!

Running for the shoulder!

I got lucky enough, again today, to huck a MONSTER back loop attempt. This one was big enough that I bailed out 3/4 of the way through. Didn't even try to make the landing. Chucked the rig and fell out of the sky... Good stuff... Good stuff... And my last wave was just about as ridiculous as it gets for Hatteras standards. Mast high, hit the lip just as the bottom dropped out... basically free fell 15 feet... took it all the way to the beach and called it a day!

I guess a few guys hit up Ocracoke today, too. I'm sure they scored some ridiculous conditions down there! If I get any pictures, I'll post em up.

Stay tuned, the swell is still building!!! Tomorrow's looking like some light wind, a totally out of control surf session is on the menu. And Thursday looks like an either/or day, with building SW winds throughout the day and lingering swell! Sweeeeet!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Holy Windy, Batman!

*5/13 Update- New pictures from yesterday's huge winds!

Avon Beach at Dawn, 5/12/08Backloop at the Hole (Anne Pic)Some Texture on the Water! (Dan pic)Fully sheeted out, fully planing jibe! (Dan pic)Smokin' water! (Dan pic)Keith's "Lake Front" Home during the flooding! (Keith pic)Thanks for sending the pictures, guys! Yesterday was pretty epic if you were able to charge it. The pictures taken at the Hole were my second 4.2 session of the day, and I had zero adrenalin and energy left after my morning Isabel's experience. Basically just survival sailing, in the average 35 gusts to 45 mph. Bill's got a short video of the Jockey's Ridge 3.7 action here. While we were sailing yesterday morning, Zach, Chad, Dan, and a few others surfed the overhead barrels in Buxton. Everyone claimed some time in the stand up straight barrels! Good stuff!

*Back to the original post:

Geeez it is cranking right now! What an awesome couple of days! Last night (Sunday), Keith, Olaf and I sailed the Cove, lit up 4.2 conditions, with about a waist to shoulder high super peely wave! It was a bit of an adventure, as we couldn't drive all the way out to the point... So we sailed there! The Point itself is open right now, you just can't access it from land, so we sailed around the enclosures and got into the Cove via ocean-going vessels (our sailboards)! I've been out there a lot in the past, but it's never had such a lonely, isolated feeling to it. Not a single person on the beach, no trucks, no nothing. Just the three of us catching whatever waves we wanted... Cool experience, but with mixed feelings...

This morning was about as wicked a windsurfing experience as I've ever had. West winds at 25-35 kicked up a pretty sizable swell down at Isabel's. The 1/8 off shore wind direction left clean barreling faces in the waist to head+ size on the inside bar, long enough for 2 or 3 smooth turns before they closed out. The outside bar was a totally different story. Crumbly logo to mast high walls of water were detonating 200 yards offshore. So lit on my 4.2, there were a few times where I should've destroyed every bit and piece of my rig, but somehow got lucky and came out unscathed. My second run out, I chucked the biggest backloop attempt I've ever thrown, and I had no choice but to huck it. Imagine if you will, being super lit on a 4.2, and watching a wall of mast high water start to pitch 20 yards in front of you... The only choice I had was to point it slightly downwind at the last little bit of wave not throwing over yet, but already vertical and feathering at the lip. By the point I left the wave, I was already at least 10 or 15 feet in the air (relative to the trough), full speed ahead in 4.2 conditions... Hoooooooooooo watching the bottom drop out from underneath me.... wow. Of course, I botched the landing, but it was quite an experience... Certainly way bigger than the one Drew and Billy caught on film from a few weeks ago. Wow.

Anyway, we're looking at insane amounts of wind and swell over the next few days. I'll try to line up some photos, but being stuck in the shop all day, my sailing sessions aren't really overlapping with everyone else's... Mostly solo dawn and dusk sessions these days...

Aye yae yae...

Here are the court mandated rules, people: deliberate acts of vandalism to closure areas or wildlife harassment result in mandatory expansion of affected closure areas... 50 meters expansion the first time, another 100 meters the second time, and 500 meters more for every additional incident!

I'm not too sure about the constitutionality of these rules (punishing everyone for one anonymous act of vandalism). Any lawyers out there know anything about that? Regardless, those are the rules right now, so that's what we're dealing with.

Anyway, here's a press release sent out by the Park Service:

Vandalism of Resource Protection Closure Signs Results in Expansion of Buffer

Vandalism of symbolic fencing marking a shorebird closure in the South Beach area of Cape Hatteras National Seashore was discovered early Saturday morning. Approximately 1.7 miles east of Ramp 49, a park ranger patrolling the area discovered and documented twelve posts with “Area Closed” signs broken off at the sand line and several carsonite closure markers pulled out at the shoreline. During the investigation, two sets of footprints were found along the edge of the fence line that extended from the dunes to the waters edge. No footprints or tire tracks were observed entering the closed area which was established to protect a least tern colony; no birds appeared to have been disturbed during the act of vandalism. As prescribed in the court ordered Consent Decree, this closure violation resulted in a mandatory expansion of the closure area by 50 meters to the west.

The recent court approved Consent Decree related to shorebird and sea turtle protection at the Seashore requires the National Park Service to automatically expand the closure area by 50 meters if a confirmed deliberate act disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants. Park staff documented the site and expanded the closure as ordered in the Consent Decree.

Superintendent Mike Murray reiterated the need for all parties to meet the Consent Decree requirements. "I urge everyone to consider that future acts of intentional vandalism to resource protection areas will result in greater expansion of the buffers. These expansions are not discretionary under the Consent Decree," stated Murray.

For more information about closures at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and visitor opportunities, visit the park’s webpage at .


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, and A Radness Update!

First and Foremost:

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there, most importantly to my Mom, the best Mom around! Love you! Here she is with me and my Dad during a Hatteras visit about a year ago:

Next, the radness update:

Hatteras has been FIRING (surprise surprise)... Friday's SW winds were pretty much ridiculous, gusting up into the 40s at times, but mostly hovering around 25-30 mph. I scored a Three Session Day:

1) Dawn(ish) at Old Road. 5.0, litski, with waist to chest high "waves." There was so much cross chop from the wind, combined with high tide, that it was way more of a bump and jump session than a wave sailing session. Stuart and I sailed for about an hour before the "Sky of Death" migrated close enough to scare the snot out of us. Turns out there was a tornado warning, and Anne's first grade class was crouched in the fetal position in the school hallway while Stuart and I were chucking loops in the ocean......

2) Afternoon (after storm) at Old Road. 4.2, stupidly over powered at times, cleaner waves due to the lower tide, but still more of a jump fest than a wave riding day. Lots of big stalled forwards, a few back loop attempts, and a few major splat downs made for a pretty darned fun session. Stuart and Olaf also joined in the fun, and Catapulting Aaron was spotted on the beach with a camera (maybe he'll post some pics up soon?)! I hear Ego beach was also pretty fun, maybe a cleaner wave there?

*5/15 Update: Aaron posted some pictures from this session here!

3) Evening at Island Creek. Back to the 5.0, flat water freestyle sesh as the wind slowly faded with the sun. Stuart, Brian, Aaron and I got silly for Scott MacDonald who out snapping pictures for Windsurfing Mag. Hopefully he got a few cool shots off before the wind totally disappeared!

So three solid sessions, with some huge jumps and some flat water freestyle made for an awesome day on the water! Oh yeah, I even opened the shop for about 6 hours over the course of the day, so we did some biz, too! (Don't worry Brett, I'm not a total slacker when the wind blows)

I was looking forward to a recovery day Saturday, but no luck! Like clockwork, right at closing time, the wind kicked in again, but this time out of the NE. It felt like Fall, with warm water and chilly air temps. You know you're getting spoiled when 64 degrees feels chilly! Anne and I joined the crowd at the Hole for a quick sunset session, lit up 5.0. I got a bunch of flat water loop practice, and nailed quite a few spocks and 540s, but only on starboard... Yet another session goes by without committing to some port side freestyle....

Our forecast is off the hook right now! Strong SE today, then a major West to Northwest blow Monday and Tuesday! No rest for the weary! The big question is where to go for today's SE... The usual "Go To" spot for a SE wind is the Cove, but unfortunately it's no longer easily accessible due to the beach closures. I guess some side-on wavesailing at Ego or Isabel's will have to do? Either that or some butter flat water at the hole!