Friday, August 29, 2008

Word...

or, words, as it may be. We just got the September 2008 issue of the New England Windsurfing Journal in the mail. Peter decided to publish a slightly "heavier than usual" column that I wrote last fall, while sleepless, as Tropical Storm Noel approached. Now that I see it in print, I like the way it came out. And I'm sure, many of you will be empathetic to my emotions displayed within the article.

And congrats to Bill Bell, who snagged the cover shot! He's setting up on a sweet looking wave at the Lighthouse! Nice! Wanna know what I'm talking about?? SUBSCRIBE! A measly $20 gets you 2 (two) years worth of home delivery, and helps support the stoke!! Scroll down to the end of this page for subscription information!

Holy Smokes!!!!! Fed Ex just showed up with a package. It contains a UNBELIEVABLE Scrapbook, put together by Janice Markopoulos! The content surrounds the Hatteras Loopfest, from earlier this year. Unreal!! This thing is SO COOL!

THANK YOU SO MUCH, Janice!!! Check out some of her other work here, dear readers!

Man, sweet. I'm going surfing!! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Disappearance By Theft; Then, Some Appearances

Hmmm. Someone stole my dirty boardshorts while they were drying on the porch. LAME. They were cool shorts, too. Billabong made them out of recycled textiles and plastic bottles. They call the fabric "Eco Supreme Suede." Pretty cool stuff. So, in a sense, someone is re-using my recycled boardshorts. But I wasn't quite done with them yet. So, if you see someone wearing these, with blue highlights, in a size 33, please feel free to reduce their self esteem by stripping them of their un-rightfully obtained shorts, and pop 'em one right in the kisser. Not that I condone violence.

This was the second to last session that I wore those awesome shorts:



We've caught SO MANY fun waves over the last few days... My arms are about to fall off from paddling too much. Hopefully the wind will kick in and I'll be able hang off a boom for a little while to stretch out!


On another, better note, the Winter 2008 Edition of Windsurfing Magazine just showed up! I'm stoked for the coverage of Loopfest (pages 29 and 44), including a pic of me chucking one:) Nice picture choice, Josh! I also came across a sweet photo of my friend Taurin on page 39. But something looked weird about it, like it had been edited. So I dug through my files, and found the original picture:


Not sure why they made it look like he was in Colchester, VT, when he was actually jumping over the Earth?

Finally, don't miss all the videos covering Loopfest, which Bill has posted here!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gorgeous Morning Surf, and Boujmaa's Blowin' Up!

Fun swell the last few days! Last night it was blowing very light onshore, which was bowling them up pretty nicely. They had a bit of size too, if you were patient and waited for the sets. Most of 'em looked just like this: (thanks for the pic, Anne)

Bowly and Sectiony, but a whole lot of fun!
The ocean was magnificent this morning! The breeze was non-existent, so it was super glassy out there. The water's very clear right now, with a hint of a greenish hue. There were a bunch of little bait fish swimming around, full schools of them jumping out of the water in close succession, probably running from something bigger looking for breakfast! Lots of cannonball jellyfish bobbing around, too. But the cake winners this morning were the massive thunderheads bubbling up a few miles offshore. The rising sun was directly behind them, illuminating the swirling anvil shaped tops. Kevin and I watched in amazement as a funnel appeared at the base, slowly pulling straight down towards the water. It went through a few phases, sometimes appearing to have multiple layers wrapping around a core cylinder. Eventually, we could see the ocean water swirling and pulling up towards the funnel that was reaching down. As the two ends met, I watched as a DNA style double helix started to twirl up towards the cloud. That's when I tried to determine exactly what direction this system was moving... Phew, out to sea! All the while, there was no hint whatsoever of breeze where we were, just a mile or two away.

Once the sun popped over the thunderheads, I watched as the Lighthouse was illuminated first, then the Motels, and finally, the waves. Duck diving under the sets, the sections of broken whitewater were bursting with bright turbulence, a stark contrast to the undisturbed dark green water underneath. Gorgeous morning.

I'll try to get some pics this afternoon if we head back out there, should be a killer few days of swell and light winds!

In the meantime, check out this video of Boujmaa, which I came across on windsurfjournal. This guy, quite simply, rips!! I especially like the weird aerial grubby he throws about 42 seconds in (not to mention the huge backloops, stalled forwards, and pushloop to forwards...) Anybody wanna go to Morocco?!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Caribbean Crap Wind!!

Finally got some sailing in today! It really reminded me of the Caribbean out there. Crystal clear blue water, warm (well, hot), and some sucker wind. Just enough breeze to lure you out there, but not enough to really get you moving. Super up and down, just like the Caribbean! There were even those weird yellowish-orange weed clumps floating around. But who cares when there's a bit of swell and some nice poofy clouds in an otherwise blue sky? Very pretty out there today. The only thing missing were the rum shacks right on the beach!

Tough schlog out, if you mis-time it.... Stuart, facing a few walls of white waterStuart and I grabbed a morning session down at Isabel's, which lasted about 5 minutes for me. Schlogged out, pivot jibed onto the first wave I saw, got one good backside lip smack, and then proceeded to pearl on re-entry, go over the falls, and break my mast in half... Luckily, it was a nice clean break so the sail came away unscathed. I think that if there had been just a touch more wind, I would have been fine, but as it was, I had nothing to work with. Usually, in that scenario, I just tuck my chin and sheet in as hard as I can so as to rotate halfway through a "forward." That gets the mast to line up at least parallel with the wave. Today, however, with no juice at all, sheeting in just sent me straight forward and jammed the mast straight into the sandbar.... Doh! Heard it snap underwater, too... That's a pretty unique sound, and you always know *exactly* what it is. That didn't deter me, though. I had my surfboard, so I grabbed a few waves while Stuart kept on sailing.

Nice Long Faces. Stuart heads down the line.
I decided to head back down this afternoon, and ended up schlogging for a few hours. Frisco George and a visiting sailor named Takefumi were also out there, nabbing a few waves and enjoying the day. The afternoon session was WAY better than my morning sesh. Both the wind and wave directions were oscillating a little bit, so it kept it interesting. Some sections lined up for big backside smacks, others for some down the line action, and if you were lucky, some would line up for a few hits in both directions! Good, solid, summer-time fun!! Gotta love it!

The swell is supposed to build a bit over the next few days! Not sure about wind, but you never know around here... See ya out there!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer Swell

Nothing epic to report from the last few days... But we have had a fun little background swell. Only waist high (at best), but I'll take it for August. The water is crystal clear and refreshing, to cool off on these hot August days. We've been keeping it fun, too, trading off boards, and hootin' and hollerin' each other into 2 foot mushburgers. Anne took this pic the other day, it's pretty much looked like this for about a week now (+/- a foot or two).

Even though the surf hasn't been all that great, I've been using it as an excuse to get back into paddling shape. My buddy Will got me into sprint paddling, basically giving it everything you've got, anytime you paddle anywhere. Man you feel like a kook paddling out at 110% on a knee high mushy day, then turning and burning like your life depended on it for every little bump you see! Aah, who am I kidding, I pretty much feel like a kook every time I surf anyway...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Fay" May Be On Her Way!

Hooo I am feeling worked this morning! Snuck in 5 killer surf sessions over the last two days. Lots of really long lefts were hitting the bars, some of them lining up for well over 30 or 40 yard rides! Good size, too, big enough to give you a bit of face to work with, but not so big that it was hard to get out or anything. I'm kind of bummed that we didn't take any pictures, but my camera is on the fritz right now. I'll add it to the list of things to do, I guess... There's still a bit of swell lingering, but a moderate North wind is bumping it up right now. It's a great day for a SUP sail session, that's for sure!

Image snagged from wunderground.com
Time to get back in shape, kids. Hurricane season is here! Tropical Storm Fay has the potential to effect our area by the middle of next week, depending on the track it takes. I just checked over my gear, and everything is looking good. Then I jumped on the scale, and I'm a good 7 pounds over where I was last spring... and it sure isn't muscle weight : ) I'm going to have to knock that down, fast, if I expect to make it out on any big days this fall... Time to get focused on the yoga, maybe take a few jogs with Anne to get the heart rate up a bit. Gotta set up the heavy bag, too. Maybe I'll lay off the pretzels and beer and grab some carrots and milk instead... Nah, that's taking it too far!

See ya out there, if you're ready for it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sailin' and Surfin' Again!

Highs and Lows the last few days... Sometimes I leave the island, in order to remind myself how amazing this lifestyle is. I spent a day up in Elizabeth City, dealing with some vehicle issues. Tell you what, Toyota is one large company that still has some values. They bought back my 8 year old Tacoma, for 1.5 x (!) the Blue Book Value, because the frame was rusting out. Apparently there was a composition error, or maybe the sealant they used was incorrect, so they've extended the frame rust warranties on '95 - '00 Tacomas to 15 years. Talk about standing behind your product, eh? So, I used that check as a whopping down payment on a brand new truck. Su-wheet!

The dealership that I dealt with was a whole 'nuther story, but I don't feel like flaming online, and I'd rather forget about the whole experience, and I doubt many of you will ever buy a car in Elizabeth City, NC... so don't worry about it! I will, however, say that I am very glad that I live and work in such a relaxed, honest environment. I couldn't imagine what my life would be like if I had to go work with those guys every day. I don't think I'd be able to sleep at night...

Anyway, back on topic, I drove my nice new truck down to Isabel's last night to catch the breeze that Bill talked about here. Of course, by the time I got down there, it had pretty much died on the ocean side, and there wasn't much in the way of waves anyway. So, I rigged up the 5.0 and put in on the sound side. This was the first time I ever sailed down there, in all these years of sailing the ocean right across the street... It was shallow, but no problem with a freestyle fin. There was a wind line a ways out, so I walked/schlogged the kit out. Got to the line, the sail filled with power, and I was off! Lit up, in the straps for the first time in 10 days! I threw a celebratory spock within 5 seconds of planing up, planed out of it, and tossed a 540 5 seconds later!! Man it felt so good to be juiced up and sailing well! Got in about 20 minutes before the sun got low and I decided to call it quits. Did really well on the percentages last night: 5 out of 5 on the 540s, 4 out of 6 on the spocks! That water is butter flat down there, really perfect for the sliding moves! Gotta love it!

All that wind left us a little swell this morning. Kevin, Dan, Stuart and I grabbed some chunky chest high waves during our pre-work wake up surf session. Felt a bit like fall out there, with a little chill to the air, and warm water to keep you comfortable in trunks. Good stuff, it felt great to get out there and catch some waves after how flat it's been!

With Fall quickly approaching, I can't wait for more! Please, let's be done with the doldrums!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Where is your wrath, Mother Nature?!

Well, there's no ignoring it anymore. The summer doldrums are here. I haven't sailed powered up 5.7 or smaller in *gasp* 7 days. Although I did miss a solid morning of mid 20s on Wednesday... Now that I look at the meters, yesterday would've been a great day to sail a 7.5 or go kiting. And there's been a tiny little wave to play with, but it's been pretty weak and small, nothing too exciting.

But the fact remains, nobody here has really gotten thrown around by an aggressive mother nature in quite awhile.

I count myself lucky, because I'm easily amused by sailing the Starboard Serenity, or paddling around a SUP, or coordinating light wind freestyle on the Gemini with a friend. And I've already talked about some other cross training opportunities we have available to us. (I've really gotta get that skate sailing kit out again).

There is one job I do not envy here on the island, in down times like these. Being a bartender at the Froggy Dog, when there are no waves, and a lot of hungry surfers in town, is downright dangerous. I hope, for their sake, that the female/male ratio is at least 3:2. Otherwise, there's going to be some very drunk, aggro people in that bar! Referee or bartender? Sometimes it's tough to tell the difference! Good luck, Buck, and Tom, may the force be with you.

Have you been getting it good lately in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments, so that we can live vicariously through you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Finding Your Inner Zen

Lately, we've been surfing very close to the shop (I'm not tellin' you exactly where, though). After closing up for the night, we've just been walking across the street with our boards, which is terribly convenient. I'm not going to lie to you though, Stand Up Paddleboards are big, and kinda heavy. My preferred method of carry is to balance the board on my head, stabilizing with one hand, and carrying the paddle and leash with the other hand. It's pretty tiring over long distances, but I consider it part of the exercise. In my opinion, their fun factor more than makes up for the mild hassle of transporting them. Until tonight...

I think we just had a record breaking mosquito hatching event. I'm talking about clouds of the things, all hungry for their first meal. They only really hang out near the drainage ditches by the road, and sometimes in the grasses covering the dunes. So if you make a run for it, it's not that bad, and once you get to the beach, you're fine. Not the end of the world, especially when one has two hands available to swat with.

Unfortunately, while carrying a 10 foot long 25 pound board on your head and a 7 foot long paddle and a 12 foot long leash, one does not have two hands available for mosquito swatting. Nor is running easy. Nope, you pretty much have to tip toe your way along the hot blacktop, carefully stabilizing the board against cross breezes and using the paddle like a high wire circus performer to help remain balanced. And the mosquitoes? You must grin and bear them. And it is torturous. You must separate the body from the mind. You must ignore the pain. You must find your inner zen.

Anne just counted 22 welts on my neck and back. That does not include the bites on my face, chest, stomach, arms, hands, legs, ankles, behind my knees, arches of my feet, ... well, you get the idea... So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a bath in calamine lotion.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Swell Coming? Pretty Please?

Hmmmmm... Who will be the 20,000 visitor? I'll send a free Sailworld Hatteras T-Shirt to the lucky person, if I can figure out who the heck you are from the stat counter!

Now that I think about it, I've been at this thing for about 6 months now... Whatchay'all think? What do you like best about visiting the site? I put up a poll concerning various topics I've covered in the past, and I'd love your feedback!


In other news- invest 99 is taking a perfect track to send us some waves later this week... Could be fun, and it'll be a welcome change, 'cause it's about as flat as it gets right now! (image snagged from wunderground.com)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fully Stoked!!

There is just so much to be amped about right now! Great forecast, more magazine coverage, another Hatteras Windsurfing Event in the workings... Loving it!

First, Bill just announced the Hatteras Wave Fest 2008!! We're blocking off the last 2 weeks of September for some nasty wavesailing action, right in the heart of Hurricane Season! It's loosely modeled around the format of the Loop Fest from earlier this year, with a informal wavesailing clinic, a few weeks of time to get newbies out there, and a shorter window of time for a contest. I'm very excited to get some new people out into the ocean, boost their confidence and take their sailing to the next level!! I really enjoyed the success of the Loop Fest, it's great to see people bust through their own mental and physical limits and up the level a bit! I'm sure the Wave Fest will have a similar outcome!! Sign up here, if you want to challenge yourself, and consequently reap a whole new level of personal satisfaction and excitement from windsurfing!

Last night we sailed the summer SW, yet again... It was a quick session, before a crazy storm front pushed through. This is what the front looked like, with an occasional burst of lightning. When it got directly overhead, as we were frantically derigging, Anne looked up and noticed an obvious swirling motion in one little section, like it was trying to spin off and pull down into a funnel. It didn't, but it was sketchy!!


The temperature dropped at least ten degrees in 30 seconds. Check out the iWindsurf wind meter from up in Waves: (note the hard shift to NW with the velocity spike)

We also just received the latest issues of Windsport Magazine and the New England Windsurf Journal at the shop. I wrote a Ride Guide of the Canadian Hole for Windsport. I like how it came out, with a great aerial photo by Donny Bowers. It definitely shows the sparse, isolated, fragility of the island. And the NEWJ has about 4 pages totally devoted to the LoopFest, with a lot of great pictures and a few stories written by Bill, George, and Janice! Great stuff, be sure to check them out!!

Looks like a few more great days of SW are lining up this week! If you're in town, you're stoked! If you're not, then pack the cars and start driving (it's still cheaper than flying)!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer SW, July Wrap-Up

Summer out here on Hatteras Island is tough to beat. The water's warm, the air's hot, and the wind blows pretty darned often, especially compared to the rest of the East Coast. We just got 3 days in a row of great SW wind, with some evening thunderstorms mixed in to keep it lively! Anne and I sailed with Stuart and a few visiting sailors out behind Island Creek. The water stays pretty ridiculously flat back there, great for working on jibes, throwing freestyle moves, and the occasional spin loop when you get all lit up. I took my camera out there and shot some video, it's a bit bumpy, but still fun to watch! The sailors include a great group from New Jersey (imagine that?), Eric, Pete, and Betsy; some very excited kids from Montreal and Ohio; and local rippers Stuart and Anne. Enjoy!

video

On to the July Wrap-Up:

8 days windsurfing (5.7 x3, 5.0 x5)
8 days surfing
3 SUP downwinders
15 rest days!!!! due to (fun) family obligations, travel, stitches, etc etc etc......
Lots of Missed-Its.....