Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Canadian Hole tailgate video

A tailgate video from Sunday's Canadian Hole session, including me, Anne, Dave C, Stan, Lou, Rick, Ralph, and I'm sure a few others (sorry if I forgot ya, it's been one heck of a few days):

Tailgate Video, Canadian Hole, March 29, 2009 from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

I'm still not fully recuperated from Monday morning's mast high dawn sesh down in Frisco. My adrenal gland is shriveled up like a prune and cowering in the corner. Once it reemerges, I'll fill you in on the details of the sesh!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm claiming it, folks:

Today was the most fun windsurfing day of 2009!! Yeeehaw!!

And I've got a mild sunburn, raw hands, a sore body, and a fat lip to prove it.

First of all, we had wind. And PLENTY of it (lit up 4.2 ALL DAY)! Second, we had company! The morning session at the Hole was FUN, because there was a small crowd of super amped up people to share it with! I'm glad y'all made it down/over/out to catch this rad day! Third, we had waves, to boot! That's a recipe for a fantastic day...

Moments of note:

1) Chatting with people other than the three I've been hanging out with all winter. (no offense to those three)
2) Catching a few logo-ish high down the line rides with Stuart, Jim K, and Olaf.
3) Watching Dave C. make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a 13" weed fin instead of a knife.
4) Watching Anne TEAR IT UP on a new 75 liter RRD/3.7 combo with smoke on the water gusts pushing through!
5) Screaming at the top of my lungs at Stuart to get him to chuck something huge off a logo high wave. He threw a weird back/push loop thing and actually sailed away from it! At which point I realized, that in order to be fair, I had to chuck something huge off the next one... A big delayed forward fit the bill... with a perfect landing nonetheless! Yeehaw!!
6) Watching Ralph get lit up on the smallest gear he's ever used!
7) Sailing my Tabou 100 liter freestyle board for hours in gusts over 40, totally in control!! (Until the whole fat lip thing happened)
8) Dodging a pod of dolphin while careening down the face of a head high wave!
9) There are so many more rad moments from today's uber long sessions (about an 8 hour total of watertime for me!!!)... the list is honestly endless!!

If you also sailed today, I'd love to read your additions to the list of awesome moments!!

I shot some tailgate video today, but I'm too tired to look at it tonight. And there were a few photographers hanging out at Ego Beach, too. So, if anything came out, I'll be sure to post it up! Also, check out Bill's coverage of the Northern sites. And George's coverage of Delaware. Sounds like they had a great time up there, too! Anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard go off today??

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weather Alert Emails!!!

Hey Folks!

So I've decided to start a weather alert email list! The idea is to shoot out a warning note whenever it looks like its gonna get good here on Hatteras Island! I'll limit the mailings to announcements of a forecast containing two or more days in a row of 20 knot or higher winds, based mostly on the iWindsurf and Windguru forecast charts... and maybe a little intuition...

Hopefully, all you road warriors out there will be able to benefit from these emails and score a few epic days of Hatteras wind and waves that you may have otherwise missed!!

Here's how you sign up:

Simply send a note to lostinhatteras at gmail dot com with the subject "Hatteras Weather Alerts." In the body of the message, let me know what email address(es) you would like to receive the alerts at. Don't forget to mark my address as "safe" so that the alerts stay out of your junk folder!

If you ever want to be removed from the list (knowing how often it goes off here may end up being pure torture for some of you), simply send a note to the same address with the subject "unsubscribe" and your address in the body of the note.

Please feel free to let me know if you're interested in hearing about occasional specials, sales and general goings on at Sailworld Hatteras, as well!

Please note:

By signing up, you agree to release me from any liability due to false alerts and missed work days if the weather doesn't hold... etc etc etc... AKA: Don't get mad at me if the forecast doesn't come true!!

I hope to hear from (and see) y'all soon!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Downwindas/Surfrider's Stance

Sorry to leave ya hangin' there for a few days, folks. We've had some great surf, and wind to boot for the last 3 or 4 days now. Gotta love it, just wish that warm water would push itself in already!! Not that 50 degrees is all that bad, just gotta put on the boots and hood, that's all.

Sea Surface temperature, courtesy of the marine.rutgers.edu website. That 70 degree water is SO CLOSE!!

Stuart, Brian and I took a nice long downwinder yesterday, from Askin's Creek to the Lighthouse (about 4 miles). The buoy was reading 7 ft at 12 seconds which produced the occasional logo high set, but it was mostly about head high, and kind junky but fun in the sideshore wind. The wind actually backed off quite a bit while we were out there, to the point where Stuart and I were schlogging probably 60% of the time. But every now and then a puff would roll through, and set you up for some awesome action!

My only moment of glory was caught on one of those puffs, where I was barely able to eak onto a plane. I was headed out, while there was a big set looming and Brian was coming in on the biggest one. There was definitely the moment of decision: To Chicken Jibe, or Charge? Well, you know me, of course I decided to charge it. Pumping my butt off, I was able to pick up speed as this logo high wall was starting to pitch in front of me. Brian let out a hoot as I whizzed past him about 10 feet upwind. Man, did I launch into a huge backloop! There's nothing quite like hitting a 10 or 12 foot vertical face going just as fast as you possibly can!! I swear, I ended up flying higher than Brian's kite! Hahaha! Of course, I botched the landing, but it was still plenty of fun...

So again, I got to test the range of today's gear... 4.5 and 85 liter board in 15mph gusting to 25, average 20. Planing at least 60% of the time, maybe more. Could I have used my 5.7? Yeah. Could I have used my 5.0? Yeah. Could I have used a 3.7? Probably not planing, but yeah. Get the point, folks? Don't stress the choice of sails so hard!! Just pick one and go, for crying out loud!

It's windy again today... Stuart and I have plans to try and snap off some photos for y'all, I know I've been slacking on 'em... Oh, and check out this Sunday's forecast!! Could be time to load up the car and take that first road trip of the Spring, folks!

Also- Surfrider Foundation has composed a pretty reasonable petition concerning Off Road Vehicle access on Cape Hatteras. Read their overview here (and check out that picture of the Cove GOING OFF!!). If you agree with their stance, sign the petition here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sail Quiver Rant/Lighthouse Radness

***update*** Bill posted some pictures on his site, you can check them out here. Click on the photo of the lighthouse, and a little slideshow will pop up!

Bill and I scored a sweet sesh at the Lighthouse yesterday afternoon! The wind was almost perfect sideshore (due North, maybe a tiny touch NNE), but when factoring in the way the waves wrap around the jetty and get a bit pulled in towards the beach there, on the face itself it was side off. That's a fun setup, because sneaking off the beach is usually pretty easy (unless you get stuck in a lull, which were all too frequent), the jumps can be fun, and the waves rides can be epic! We both caught some great waves today, and we both got worked super hard as well....

Begin sail quiver rant:

I'm telling ya, folks... the range of modern gear is just unbelievable... I started off yesterday with a perfectly powered 5.2- it wasn't overpowered at all, it just felt nice and light in the hands, easy to handle, and dialed in. But, as happens a lot at the Lighthouse, I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and snapped a mast. Bill was just 20 yards behind me, and he snuck out no problem with dry hair... Just bad luck for me...

So, my only option, without going back up to the shop to get a new mast, was to rig the next best sail. In this case, I also had a 4.2, a full meter smaller than I had just been on! Furthermore, this is in the smaller sizes that everyone swears you need to space no further than .5 meter apart... I rigged it up, just a tiny bit light on the downhaul (maybe 1 cm less than normal, if that), and definitely light on the outhaul (about 2 cm less than normal). This gave the sail a nice deep pocket, but kept almost all of the normal stability. If anything, the slightly lighter downhaul tension allowed the mast to respond to pumping a little better, too.

On the water, there was virtually no noticeable difference between the two sails, 5.2 and 4.2. Sure, the 4.2 took a bit of pumping to get up and running. But once planing, all the speed and stability were still there. The lighter weight of the 4.2 probably factored in a bit, as well- helping the board float just that tiny bit higher in the water, making planing a bit easier than with the bigger, heavier sail... regardless of having less power.

So the verdict is- don't stress about what size sail to rig!! If a 5.2 and 4.2 can work equally as well in the exact same wind and water conditions... well, what the heck do you need both of them for? So, minimize already!!!

Get yourself a few key, widely spaced sizes, ditch the mega-oversized van, and cart your two or three sails around in a honda civic. It's better for the environment, its better for your checkbook, and it's better for your sailing. At least this way, newB's looking into the sport won't think they have to change their whole way of life to start sailing. One board, one sail can work perfectly well for 75% of days on the water. Add another sail, and maybe another board, and you're covered for 98% of days on the water. That's a beautiful thing.

The only caveat: This philosophy only works with modern gear (younger than 2005 or 6... and there's even a noticeable difference between '06 and '09).

OK, the rant's over. Thanks for reading.

Anyway, Bill took a few minutes to snap some pictures yesterday, you can check them out here. Click on the photo of the lighthouse, and a little slideshow will pop up!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fun surf sesh with Stu and the Local Boys!

Stuart and I got in the water and went for a surf this afternoon. It's been a long time since I paddled around, due to how much wind we've had lately.... Definitely felt out of surfing shape! Which wasn't too good because because it ended up being pretty big out there. The buoy was reading about 5 ft at 11 seconds, which doesn't sound like much, but I'll tell ya, around here that ends up being some pretty good sized surf.

The lineup was pretty crowded out there today... Lots of local boys... As in, dolphin! They were everywhere, dropping in on waves, jumping around... It was a pretty cool spectacle, with the clear blue water, sunshine, and pretty glassy overhead waves rolling through. Gotta love it! It did feel like a pack of wave hungry surfers out there, though- At one point there were about 5 or 10 circling around me and catching waves. I saw a set approaching and started paddling for the outside, flanked on all sides by dolphin. A few of them turned and burned on the first wave, but I could see the second wave jacking up way outside, so I kept scratching out. Made it just far enough to pivot around and take a super late drop on this macking wave! I didn't have a chance to look up and see how big it was, though, because I was busy watching all the dolphin scatter out from in front of me as I was careening down this huge glassy face... By the time I kicked out over the shoulder and started paddling back out, the next wave was bearing down and I could see 3 or 4 dolphin dropping into that one, a few of them punching through the surface and catching some air... What a sight!!

Speaking of sights- I watched Staurt catch some big ones today, too. He was charging, for sure! It was inspiring, and... uhhh, well... entertaining! I wish I had brought my camera out there... He caught this one set wave, and just kind of shot way out into the flats in front of it, while it was heaving this thick lip behind him. Somehow, I have no idea how, but he started to get pulled back into the wave and somehow cleared the lip and got back onto the face. At this point, he just kind of stood there, as the whole thing folded over the top of him and clipped him right in the head, sending him cartwheeling down to the bottom!! Hahaha! I'm laughing, but I'll tell ya, his eyes were pretty wide by the time he resurfaced! Nice work out there, Stu! Way to get on it!

Anyway, wish I had some pics for ya... but I've got the sights burned into the ol' memory banks, so if I ever take up painting I'll recreate them for y'all... Ahh what the heck- here's my best attempt at drawing Stu right before his head got taken off:

Stu, about to get "The Axe!"

As I write, that North wind is starting to rattle the windows again... Should be a heavy day at the Lighthouse tomorrow... See ya out there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!!

I hope y'all had a great St Paddy's Day!! Grandma, and Uncle John, I couldn't help but think of you two today, and what wonderful lives you lived!! I miss you both dearly!

A quick family history- Apparently, we used to live in Scotland, and go by the name MacKinnon. For some reason or another, we got booted from that wonderful country. I'm sure it was a good reason. In any case, we moved to Ireland, dropped the Mac, and turned into McKinnons. Shortly thereafter (within a few hundred years), one of my ancestors took the boat to America, at which point we dropped the "on" and turned into McKinneys.

So there you have it.

Anyway, it was super windy today, which was rad. I rigged my 4.2 and 100 liter Freestyle and got two great sessions. The first one was at the Hole. It was perfect freestyling conditions, a bit bumpy, but still great. Got some perfect, planing starboard tack spocks, and worked pretty hard on the port tack action too.

Mark, speed check at the Hole!

The Afternoon Venue

Later in the afternoon, I met up with Stuart, and a few of the St Mary's College of Maryland Windsurfing Club brosefs at the Lighthouse. The waves went from chest high to logo high in the course of an hour. It was pretty rad. For some reason, I decided to ride my 4.2 and Freestyle board again... It actually worked pretty well, but I've gotta tell ya: Dropping into a meaty, overhead, Lighthouse barreling lefthander is a little sketchy on a board that size.... Anyway, all's well that ends well...

Stu, workin' it before it jacked up a notch

Looks like a day or two of light winds, and then massive winds again on Friday and Saturday!! I'm not sure what y'all are up to, but shoot me a note if you're coming down this Spring. Let me know if I can help you out with anything- be it boom choice, fin screw size, jibe or spock lessons! I am here to help you out!! Time to get rad, folks! Let's turn it up a notch!!

Speaking of getting rad, the 2009 Hatteras Windsurfing Festival Series has been announced!! Oh yeah!!!! Sign up here! Just to clarify, this festival is NOT for experienced sailors only! The main goal is to get NewBs out into the ocean, chucking loops, and pushing their limits! So sign yourself up, come to the clinics, and get rad on the water!! Oh Yeah!!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Waaaaaave sailin'!!

Happy Friday, everyone!!

It's been one heck of a few days... Stuart, Chris, Dan and I sailed the Lighthouse yesterday afternoon, pretty juiced 5.0 and some big sets rolling through! Personally, I had a pretty short sesh, due to some equipment malfunctions... But I got one sweeeet wave and a few good jumps, and a nice, long, relaxing swim followed by a nice, long, relaxing walk back up the beach. Stuart claimed the biggest wave he's ever ridden on the outer bar, and it looked well over mast high to me! Sickness!!

Stu, launching off the jetty

A nice left usually lines up off the Jetty

Chris on the way in. There were some nuggets out there!

Stuart and I sailed again this afternoon, down past the Ferry Docks in Hatteras Village. It was pretty finnicky, gusty, shifty wind and waves, but when it all lined up, there were some rad moments! I saw Stuart throw some serious spray with his new wave board, he is amped on that stick! I caught a few waves myself, with a few good lip smacks, but my jumping was feeling a lot better today. Lots of good forwards and a bunch of great backloop attempts... Gettin' close....

Stu, whitewater hit

Stu lining up on a nice one

Bottom turn #3

Yeah Stu!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Solid Ego Beach, and Solid Progression!!

Spring is here, folks!! Stuart and I sailed logo high sets at Ego Beach yesterday afternoon in warm (but light) SW winds. The swell was running the wrong direction on the outer bar, but you could line up one or two good hits before it would closeout. And let me tell you, the shorebreak was "difficult." But once out, it was plenty of fun 5.7/85 liter.

Stuart, in front of a set(Anne pic)

Moi, driving down the line(Anne pic)

Anne showed up after a little bit, so we crossed over and joined her at the Hole for the remainder of the evening. Had a fun little freestyle sesh, and everyone nailed some sick stuff!! Stuart almost nabbed a Grubby- the first 3/4 was perfect, he just kinda botched the sailing away part. But the big news is that Anne destroyed her first duck jibe!! She couldn't have done it better, planed out and everything!! Siiiiick!!

So here's the situation- Anne's perfect duck jibe was nailed on about the 10th attempt she's ever made. Anne's been sailing for under 3 years, and only about 15-30 days a year. She's a great athlete, but the unique thing about her quick progression lies in 2 factors-

1) She takes lessons (from local instructors like Stuart and I, and ABK Camps as well)
2) She sails on good, modern gear

Is there something to be learned from this? I think so......... The lessons have provided her a solid foundation of proper technique, which makes progression much easier. And the modern gear is substantially more stable and easier to sail, which also makes progression much easier. That's a win win combo right there- and you should have seen the smile on her face!!!

While we're on the topic, I'm planning on making myself MUCH more available for lessons this year- so shoot me a note or swing by the shop and get yourself signed up! Windsurfing's pretty danged fun, but it's even more fun when you get better at it!!

Cranking NE is on the charts for the next... umm... forever! See ya out there!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back on Familiar Sand

I made it back to Hatteras, with little trouble... except for getting caught with the fresh oranges, limes, and lemons I had stashed in my carry-on. I had time to step aside in the security area and eat one of the oranges, but had to throw the rest away :( It was unbelievably juicy, and I made a total mess of myself just peeling the darned thing. The lady operating the x-ray machine took pity on me and offered some paper towels :)

Four airports and many many many hours later, I crossed the Oregon Inlet Bridge and breathed a sigh of relief, as I was finally back home... Just in time to catch a classic Hatteras Sunset...

It's still standing!

Looks like SW this afternoon, and then a massive batch of NE for the next few days! Time to get the East Coast Spring Season started!! Anyone care to join?!?!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Beautiful Afternoon!!

Well the nastiest morning on Maui ended up being the prettiest afternoon yet! By noon the rain had all but stopped, by 2 the sun was fully out (as were the peaks of the West Maui Mountains!!), and by 4 the wind had started to fill in (again).

West Maui Mountains from the Ho'okipa bluff

Russ, making it look FUN!!

Kudos to Russ for being the guinea pig and getting out there! We watched him bob around for half an hour, barely moving at all and only catching one wave. Then, all of a sudden, he chucked a big ol' forward loop and sailed off to the horizon... at which point GP and I simultaneously said "Guess it's time to rig up!" 5.3 Manic HD on the 3S 86 provided plenty of juice, especially on the outside. That board is a bit corky in the rails for true, powered, down the line sailing (at my weight), but it did just fine out there...

And now, it's my last day here :( But that's alright, because it's been an amazing trip, and I'm truly looking forward to getting back to my life in Hatteras! Anne, Banana, all of the Scalias, Stuart, all of the Kramers, Bill, Keith, Martine, Pam, Lane, MNOP, Mark, George, Dale, David, Zach, Chad and the rest of the pre-season crew- I'll see y'all soon!!!

And a sincere "Thanks!!" to everyone who has helped make my trip to Maui both possible and unforgettable! Mom, Dad, the Pritchards, Rebecca, Casey, Olaf, Jazz and everyone else I've met (it's a long list)- "Aloha!!!" Thanks for the unbelievable hospitality, the stoke, and for sharing some waves!! I hope to see you all again sometime soon!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Friday Fun

Follow up on the teaser from last night...

So it was pretty light winds yesterday... But the waves were still there... I took a nice drive up into the hills in the morning just to check out some of the little towns up there. The words gorgeous and idyllic pretty much sum it up. I can see why so many people would want to make this their home!
Looking down towards the south shore

I was pretty wiped out from my extra long day testing on Thursday, so I had no issues with taking a break and sitting on the bluff above Ho'okipa, watching the pros do what they do best. What a show! As I said before, the wind was super light, especially on the inside... but these guys and gals all made pretty easy work of it.

Levi, gouge!

Levi, shaka

Jace was out filming for the WM, II. Levi, Kai Lenny, and Fransisco Goya were putting on quite a show!

Fransisco Goya

Marcillio Browne, super light wind waterstart in front of the rocks

Levi over Jace

The crowd, bobbing around waiting for the next set

After about an hour of watching, I couldn't take it anymore and had to go sailing. Those rocks were looking pretty treacherous in the super light wind, so I decided to head downwind a bit. I ended up at the same spot as last Monday, with just 3 people out and head to logo high waves, peeling down the reef setting up 2-4 turn waves! Super super fun, at the perfect size to give you some face to work with, and throw you around a little bit if you messed up, but not be totally jaw dropping scary... It was well worth the short swim out the channel, that's for sure! I put a 5.3 Manic HD on the Pocket 75. I was a little sketched out about the bigger sail on the tiny board, but the Pocket handled it just fine, and still schlogged and planed up like a champ. It honestly ended up being one of the best sessions of the trip!

Last night I joined some people for sushi and some Friday night crazyness at Jacque's. Let me just say, the place held up to its reputation! Sizable crowd, lots of ultra famous windsurfers hanging out, loud music, and a good vibe! Heck yeah!

And a quick story to finish this morning's post- The other day I was getting out of the water at Kanaha, kind of lost in my own blissful world. I heard someone say "Hey, you must be Andy!" Looking up, I saw PWA champ (and one of my personal windsurfing heroes) Kevin Pritchard extending his hand to introduce himself. So I responded "Yeah, I'm Andy, who the heck are you?" Hahaha, just kidding! I did not say that. I did, however, allow my ego to flare up for a minute... until I remembered that I was sailing on his brother's gear, driving his brother's van, and staying at his brother's house for the last week... Of course he knew who the heck I was!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Awesome day today, folks! Light on the wind (5.3 Manic on the Pocket 75), but a bit more side off than it's been, and still plenty of wave action. I did not sail Ho'okipa, but I still caught some great action elsewhere. More later, I just wanted to tease you with this shot of Levi:

Ho'okipa Goiter

More Thoughts on More Gear...

Oh man I am just shot right now... What a day on the water... It was a bit lighter this morning, which was good because I haven't had a chance to try any of the normal sized gear... So I blazed on down to the beach and got in a good hour or so on the 6.0 Remedy and Rocket 105, and then the 3S 107. Shortly thereafter, I rigged the Echo 5.6 and put it on the 86 3s. An hour later I was on the Poison 5.0. And half an hour later, the Da Curve 79... So three sails, four boards, and about 5 hours on the water... Yow!! The waves were pretty fun today, with some of the sets still coming in about logo high, but mostly smaller in the head high range. A few of them were lining up Really well, for 2 or 3 good down the line turns... Very fun out there! (Sorry Janice, no goiters yet)

Looking towards the West Maui Mountains

There were lots of Pros hanging out at Kanaha testing slalom gear today- KP, Robby Swift, Finian Maynard, Phil McGain, Barry Spanier, and I'm sure quite a few more... I thought I was pretty danged fast on that Rocket 105 until Robby Swift blew my doors off like I was standing still!! Haha! Granted, he was on 2 extra meters of sail and a full on slalom board... I did, however, have a much easier time jibing than him. : )

Some thoughts on today's gear:

Rocket 105 LTD- Slalom board speed, upwind ability, and responsiveness, with a freeride board's ease of use, chop eating ability, and comfort in the jibes (both wide and tight). Oh, and I wasn't afraid to jump it, either :) Accessible speed is the name of the game on the Rockets! This board is aptly named, as it's a fricken rocket ship!

3S 107- Good speed, but a notch down from the Rocket (just a small notch though). Significantly smoother and easier to handle in the chop. Nicely balanced, especially in the air, and for those basic freestyle moves. Overall, just super easy and fun to sail- quick, responsive, smooth in the jibes, controllable.

3S 86- See above, but for stronger winds. Performed pretty danged well in the waves, too!

Da Curve 79- Watch out waves, cause you're gonna get smacked! This thing is fast down the line, and likes to drive on one rail or the other! Super smooth in the chop. It took some power to get it up and running, but with a wave behind it this thing was MONEY! It definitely takes more input than the Pockets, but rewards with instantaneous rail to rail transitions and tons of grip in the turns. Sick!

Remedy- Fast, stable, easily pumpable, no-brainer freeride sail. Smooth in the transitions!

Echo- Tons of low end grunt, at the expense of overpowered stability. Mega pumping power, and lots of torque from up high. Thie sail gets you up and running, and provides a ton of juice for easy popping in the jumps. Freestyle heaven!

Poison- Very similar feel to the Manic, but with more juice. Stable, nicely balanced, fast(ish), and tons of grunt gets you up and running, and helps to pull you through the turns. This sail forces you to oversheet in the bottom turns, or else you just get yanked over the front! Good stuff.

Haleakala emerges from the clouds (almost)

Sorry for all the gear talk, but that's what I'm focused on at the moment... I can see why all the pros and manufacturers base themselves here- it's so easy to test gear, in the consistent wind and water conditions... Windsurfing heaven, eh? But I might forget how to sail port tack waves if I spend too much time here! Good thing I'm leaving in a few days... Gotta keep it balanced, you know?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tabou 3S and Pocket, Gaastra Manic thoughts

Another solid day out here on Maui! The way outer reef at Kanaha Uppers was breaking at well over mast high during the big sets! The regular inside reef was a bit confused but still really fun and maybe logo high if you found the right nugget. Goooood stuff, and really not that challenging or punishing, despite the size... Just fun sailing!!

Looking downwind at an empty Ho'okipa

I didn't see anyone out at Ho'okipa when I drove by, both in the am and pm. I watched for a while, and there was plenty of time between the sets, but most of the big ones were closing out the whole stretch, all the way down to Lanes. I hear that most of the pros went over to the Westside somewhere, where the wind was super offshore and the waves were massive. I'm sure it was pretty insane, I would've loved to join them... or maybe just snap off a few pictures from the beach :)

Thoughts on today's gear: (Well powered on the Manic 4.5 again, this time I sailed the Tabou 3S 76 and the Pocket 75 head to head)

So, I've been super impressed with the Tabou line. The 3S 76 that I rode today handled the psycho chop and big waves impressively well. It was really just a super early planer, with lots of speed and great pop for big jumps. It even handled those mast high waves pretty danged well... It wasn't super snappy off the lip like the pockets, but it had a real nice feel in the bottom turns and kept it's speed up without needing too much input. Definitely seems like a no brainer go-to board for general high wind blasting, jumping, trickery, and forgiving wave sailing. Two thumbs up for ease of use and radical accessibility!

And the Pocket 75... Man, I might have to sneak that thing onto the plane when I go home! What a beautifully responsive, fast, snappy, forgiving platform to ride waves on! The Pocket planes up super early for it's size, yet remains easily in control on the biggest, steepest wave face you'd really want to get yourself onto... The rails are very trustworthy in the turns, and it's got a real nice balance and pop when hitting the lip. I Really Like This Board!!

The van, chock full of goodies- 7 boards, 10 sails, 9 masts, 8 booms, and enough bananas to feed a troop of monkeys

Up next- some of the bigger 3S models, a Rocket or two, the Da Curves, and (if there's time) some Freestyle action (but I already know how rad that board is).

I'm also getting a great feel for the Gaastra Manic line. Lots of stability, great speed and easy handling. It's got a very light feel in the hands, even when overpowered. Two thumbs up! I've still got a pile of Poisons, Echos, Remedys and Vapors to try out, too... Busy busy busy!! It's a good thing all this testing is fun (I mean really here, I'm seeing how well the 3S rail holds while driving down the line on a mast high wave!!!)... Otherwise, it wouldn't seem like much of a vacation...

Kanaha Confidence

Alright, finally got some confidence up today! Good old fashioned fun sailing at Kanaha, I hung out at Uppers all day long. Again, I started off on a board that was just plain old too big (for me) for the conditions. I just couldn't get the rail to engage on the bigger, faster waves, which was honestly a bit scary! I'm just not heavy enough to drive that Pocket 85 in these big (logo high+), windy conditions. Once I switched to the Pocket 75, though.... man what a difference!! Medium power on a Manic 4.5, and the Pocket 75, and life was GOOD!! I finally found the control I was looking for, and started attacking some lips.

Uppers is a funny wave, kind of peaky and weird with these cross swells bowling up the big sets... If you happened to be in the right spot, it was super fun, but if you were 20 yards off you basically had nothing to work with. Still though, a lot of the peaks were solidly logo high, if not occasionally bigger. You just had to find them, that's all...

West Maui Mountains

I still haven't really gotten worked... at all, really... which means to me that I'm still not really pushing it... The swell is supposed to bump up a notch tomorrow, and I feel like I've got that Pocket 75 dialed after today, so it's time to get wet!

Hana Highway

North Shore, Maui

Windsurf celebrities spotted over the last few days: Fransisco Goya, Finian Maynard, Kai Lenny, Robby Swift, Jake Miller, Nick Warmuth... the list goes on and on.... Even the people you've never heard of rip out here. It's so cool to be surrounded by incredibly talented people who are just charging it... Good energy out there, that's for sure!

Can't wait to get some more tomorrow!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mast High Madness!

Oh man, talk about getting right into it! Took off on some waves today!! Yow! Pretty finicky weather out here, chilly, with lots of rain squalls pushing through and killing the wind, but when it was good, it was really good! Casey and I ended up a little bit downwind from Ho'okipa, at a sketchy little launch site with just a few other people out. Rigged up the 5.0 Manic and Pocket 85 again, but I would've been fine on much smaller gear. The extra size did help with sneaking out past the very frequent, very big sets, though, so I was grateful to have the extra juice.

I snapped off just a few pictures, as I was mostly in the water while it was windy... The light was bad and the reef was pretty far out there... But they should give you an idea of the conditions.

The only shared wave of the day

Same wave... look closely to find both sailors!

Look closely, again!

Looks like these conditions are going to keep up for the next few days... I really played it conservative today... caught a bunch of the big ones, but stuck to the shoulders and kicked out early... Not too many critical lip smacks from me today... Maybe tomorrow I'll get a bit more aggressive... I just don't want to break all of Matt's gear... Poor guy's had enough breaks recently... (be warned- that last link is not for the faint of heart). Heal up fast, man!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mm mm mm mm....

...Made it to Maui!! After 20 long hours of traveling, Casey picked me up at the airport, and 15 minutes later I had a Manic 5.0 rigged on a Pocket 85 at Kanaha! Unbelievable!! Nothing like some wind and crystal blue water to wash off the airplane funk!

Casey gave me a quick tour- we briefly hit uppers, and then shot down to lowers and joined the crowd for a few waves. Nothing epic, pretty onshore and garbled, but a heck of a lot of fun!! No complaints from me, that's for sure!!

I'm writing this from the back porch of the unbelievable pad I'm staying at. Truly beautiful, simple, idyllic. More on the digs later. Right now I just want to mention the sound of the breeze rustling the tree tops, and the smells of lush vegetation and fruit trees wafting through the air. Perfect!!