Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Better budget a few minutes for this one, folks...

First things first- A wholehearted "Nice Job!!" to the Avon Volunteer Fire Department and all the neighboring crews who swooped in to help keep a huge house fire from spreading throughout the whole neighborhood last night!!

Not even a speck of ash on those neighboring homes!

Nice work, thanks for helping to keep our community safe!!

While I'm thanking people- I'd like to let all my customers know that I truly appreciate them! I especially appreciate the ones who bring me treats :) For example, this morning I ate the last of 2 dozen bagels delivered straight from Brooklyn, by Chip! And last night I imbibed in the last "Alexander Keiths" beer that Don so thoughtfully brought down from Nova Scotia. And Mark! Mark dropped off a bottle of Jamaican Rum the other day! Yup, I truly am lucky, and I really do appreciate the gifts, guys!! Thanks!

How am I supposed to get any work done?!

Moving on-

We've had a lot of warm SW wind over the weekend and the beginning of this week. There's a pretty solid Bermuda High sitting out there, but it's a little too close to us to really pump the afternoon winds that we like so much. As it is, we've been seeing a mild afternoon build into the mid to upper teens most every afternoon. It certainly hasn't been epic, but it sure has been fun!

Here's a little play by play:

Saturday Cranked SW. Windy windy, all afternoon. I gave Gary and Mike a jibe lesson late in the evening, and they both did great, despite having sailed for hours prior to our commitment. Stu and I closed down the hole on 5.0s and caught an amazing sunset from out in the water. Gotta love it!

Some action at the Canadian Hole

Anne and I took out the Starboard Gemini tandem on Sunday afternoon. It was pretty fun even though the winds were kind of light. I taught Anne how to sail backwinded and we worked on helitacks and duck jibes and all that fun stuff. Wendy and Roland showed up at the beach, and seemed like they were looking for some fun, so I sent them out on the Tandem, and strapped a GoPro helmet cam to Roland's noggin'. This was the outcome:

Wendy and Roland sail the Gemini! from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Since it didn't seem like the wind was really filling in, we made some plans to do a standup paddleboard down-winder. Wendy decided to pull the trigger and bought the Naish 11'6" that she's been eyeing up for the last week or two. So we went and grabbed it from the shop, and set off on a Hole to the house downwinder, which is about 5 or 6 miles!

Wendy and her new Naish!

Anne and Wendy setting out on the voyage

Of course, since we were determined to go paddling, the wind DID fill in to some pretty good levels, and the whole way through Avon we were dodging windsurfers and kiteboarders who were out enjoying the evening winds (or were they dodging us??). There was one group of guys on some kites that had us all laughing, as they were obviously trying to show off, and were catching about 18 inches of air and then faceplanting in knee deep water. It was, uhhh, entertaining...

Nothing like finishing up a voyage by paddling to your backyard!

Here's Stu, at the Hole, lit up on a 7.5:

Nice form!

And here's Mike, on Stu's 7.5. I gave Mike a jibe lesson a day earlier. Hmmmm, maybe I didn't do so good of a job!! Haha!

Nice dismount!

Last night, the wind faded out to the low teens, and I was able to take advantage of it and test out the Tabou Rocket 135! It's been awhile since I bombed around on an 8.5 and big freeride board, and man, was it fun! That is one smooth, fast board, that's for sure! I let Dave C. take it for a spin, and he came back in and simply stated "That's the best 130 liter board I've ever ridden!" Here's some more GoPro action for you guys:

Testing the Tabou Rocket 135 from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

By the way, every morning has provided a fun little longboard wave in the waist high range. Stuart and Chris went SUPing this morning and I happened to pass them while walking Banana (the dog). Fun surf in the mornings, afternoon siestas, and evening breezes... If only I weren't stuck in the shop all day...

Stuart and Chris, SUPing the shorebreak

Looks like a pretty big wind event is in store for this weekend! All you weekend warriors need to get the truck filled with gas and the boards on the roof rack 'cause its gonna get good!! Awwww yeah!

Hope to see y'all soon! Swing by the shop and say hello when you get here!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

They're here...................


I'm a lucky guy. Usually, when you get a new high wind stick, it kills the wind and you just have to stare at it for weeks on end until the wind gods smile upon you. Well, I must have done something right, because yesterday my new 80 liter Tabou Pocket showed up, and it just happened to be gusting into the 40s all afternoon!

Awwww yeah!!

I'll tell ya, 5 o'clock could not come fast enough!! At closing time, I raced on down to the Hole and rigged up Anne's 3.7. The straight west wind was kicking up some fun swell and pushed the water all the way up the beach to the parking lot bulkhead. It was a little hectic for the first sesh on a new stick, but what the heck, might as well jump right in, right?

Light and balanced (photo: Dan Kramer [Thanks Dan!!!])

Some impressions: Smooth and Fast!! Even though the Pocket is officially a wave board, the sucker really does have some speed built in to it, making it a great option for bump and jumpers. Freestyle, you ask?? My first mild attempt at a vulcan instantly slid all the way through a full spock... effortlessly! And with a wave fin, nonetheless! Hmmmm, does it jibe? The harder you push it, the slashier it becomes!! And does it jump? Well... yeah!!

Slishy Slashy (original photo: Dan Kramer; but I'm responsible for messing it up with photoshop)

I can't wait to get this thing on a wave face, where it's true beauty will really shine!!

Speaking of wave faces, Rick sent me a note saying the South side got pretty big in the afternoon... He spent most of his time out on the monstrous third bar, well powered on his 4.2! This pic is of his friend Peter inside on the second bar:

Billy Mitchell looking gnarly! (Photo: Rick Eustis)

So, my board wasn't the only one to show up.... We received a whole range of Tabous for y'all to check out the next time you're here in Hatteras! Available to demo (left to right in the picture): Pocket 80 and 85, Freestyle 100, 3S 97 and 107, Rocket 115, 125, and 135!! These boards are sick, all you have to do is hop on one and you'll feel the Tabou love instantly! I must warn you, however, that you'll dread getting back on your beloved Astrorock after riding one of these beauts... hahaha : )

Come and get 'em!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Springtime SW

Saturday: Southwest about 20
Sunday: Southwest about 20
Monday: South-Southwest 25 gusting up to about 30
Tuesday: Southwest 25 gusting up to about 30

AKA: Springtime in Cape Hatteras... Warm temps, afternoon winds, fun swell, daylight until 8PM... Love it!

All pics are by Stuart, who was blasting the race horn, driving a jet ski, watching the clock, officiating the races, and taking pictures, with only one hand, as the other hand is still out of order!! Nice work, Stu!

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We ran some heats for the Hatteras Wave Jam Fast 8 race on Sunday night. It was super fun, and each race was up for grabs as everyone fell, everyone schlogged, and everyone planed about evenly... I was racing on my Tabou Freestyle 100 (with 14 cm stubby freestyle fin) and World Sail 5.7- hardly a race kit! But everyone else was on pretty wavy gear so I guess I had a bit of an advantage in the planing ability of my kit...

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Took the lead in the first race but made a huge tactical error by rounding the wrong side of the buoy at the finish... hahaha whoops! So it was down to the wire as I struggled to schlog around, jibe again, and schlog back over the line on the correct side before Donald came blasting in and sprayed me down, crossing the line just inches ahead of me! haha! Nice work, Donald!

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I timed my start perfectly on the second race, crossing the line on a full plane just a millisecond after the horn... so that race was in the bag right from the beginning. Then on the third race, we all had a great start and I got caught in some dirty wind and chop and got pitched over the bars... Luckily most everyone fell at the first and third jibe mark so I made up some time there and got back in the running, but Donald was too fast to catch! Nice work, Donald, on taking 2 out of 3, and a big thanks to Stuart for officiating!

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Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

On Monday evening, Anne and I watched from the queue at the grocery store as the bushes bent over backwards in the quickly building breeze... but by the time we got the milk back home and in the fridge the sun had faded... So I chalked up a "missed it" in the calendar. Looks like Bill and Caleb had some fun up in Pea Island.

Made up for it Tuesday afternoon, though, as the SW hit again! This time, Keith called with a report of fun shoulder high waves at "The Stump" out on ramp 34. By the time I got out there, Chad, Justin, Caleb, and Dan were already ripping with Keith or in the process of rigging up their 5 meter sails. I rolled in with a truck loaded to the gills with very little windsurfing gear, but three friends and their insanely high quality video gear! The light was perfect with clear skies and the evening sun setting behind the beach, illuminating the wave faces. Should be some great footage in there, although the conditions deteriorated as the light got better... Wind faded, tide got too high, waves lost their punch, etc etc. It was far from epic, but it was a really fun sesh anyway! On a personal note, I think I'm over my fear of starboard back loops (the move that caused me to break my own hand by punching myself in the face), so that's good (not that I can land them yet anyway, but at least I'm trying again)!

Looks like more solid westerlies this afternoon and a Northwest fade tomorrow morning. If you're here, this afternoon should be super fun in the sound, or if you want to wavesail, the southside (Isabel's or the Airport) will be sideshore but probably pretty disorganized. The secret for tomorrow morning is to wake up super early and rig one size bigger than you think you need. It's not as windy as it looks, and it generally fades pretty quickly, so don't dillydally and get on it as early as you can!

Side note from the shop- We've got lots of new harnesses, footstraps, and accessories from Dakine and Protec helmets have arrived as well. I'm expecting Tabou and Gaastra today or tomorrow, as it has "out for delivery" status on the tracking page... I can't frickin' wait, because I've got one of these for myself in that shipment...

Seeeee ya out there!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good from far...

... but far from good... describes my and Drew's Saturday morning surf sesh. I'm mostly to blame as I pushed to keep it local and not go driving all over the island looking for a working sandbar. Sorry Drew! It didn't look all that bad from the beach, but once out, there was all this voodoo chop and current bumping it up and pulling the power out of the waves. Word is, the Lighthouse was absolutely firing, but with 50 some odd people out, I'm sure I wouldn't have caught many waves anyway (I'm generally too well mannered in the lineup to catch a lot of waves when it's crowded)...

Keep an eye on Surfline and Surfkdh, as I'm sure they'll publish some pics of the action sometime soon! **4PM Update- Rick Eustis sent in this picture from the Lighthouse:

The Lighthouse, looking lined up, fast, and fun! (Photo: Rick Eustis)

It was a beautiful morning, though, with warm temps, sunshine, and straight West winds making it look better than it was!


That left was looking good, but it dumped you out right into the pier...

Luckily, I decided to paddle back out in the afternoon, when it looked worse due to a more sideshore wind, but was actually way better... So the day was redeemed and a few waves were caught!

The wind kicked in SW last night, too, and on a dog walk behind the house Anne and I counted 40 some odd windsurfers and about 6 kites all having a grand ol' time out there! Looked fun, but we were spent by that point and decided to skip it. Drew said he went out and was having fun, getting in the straps on a 130 liter board for the first time!! Woohoo! Nice, Drew!

Probably tried a new World Sail, and reallized that it's time to update the quiver!

Looks like it's lining up to be a great week, with lots of warm SW winds! Should be a fun time, I hope to see y'all out there! Swing by the shop and say hello if you're here, we're expecting lots of new toys for you to check out including Gaastra, Tabou, Severne, Starboard, Dakine, Chinook, Tangent Dynamics Fins, and more, all this week!! I'm available for lessons, too, if you want to dial in those jibes or work on some vulcans and loops!

Bill's scheduled the Fast 8 Race, too! It's tentatively scheduled for this afternoon. Check out the details here!

I also want to shoot out a quick "Happy Anniversary" to Jim and Pauline, who were married exactly one year ago!! yeehoo! Here they are on the morning of their wedding:

Jim and Pauline

Friday, April 17, 2009

Super Windy Thursday

Super Windy Thursday was pretty good, folks! If you were here and caught it, you're stoked right now! If you weren't here, well, what the heck are you waiting for?! Get here already!

I woke up early and checked the Lighthouse, but it was already pretty dumpy and heavy looking (although dead low tide didn't help). The risk to rad ratio was looking a little skewed towards the carnage side, so I ran back to the Hole and caught a solo sesh on 4.2 until Alex came out and joined me. My energy level was pretty low, as I'm just getting over a little cold (damn tourists, haha), but it was great weather to dial in the looping technique for the Wave Jam Clinic that I hosted last night.

A few more people showed up by the time I was heading to work. Here's a piece of the scene:

Alex on the orange sail, Cliff and friend hiding in the lee

Brett was cool enough to let me run down to Isabel's in the afternoon, where I sailed with Bill, Olaf, Keith, and Nico. It was pretty fun down there, with super easy waves and strong wind. It reminded me a lot of Tropical Storm Noel, minus about 3 meters of swell and 10 knots of wind!! For some reason, I spent a lot of time down in the impact zone (?) but I scored some awesome views of everyone ripping down the line and making some sweet turns (if only I were a cameraman)! Good stuff, for sure! As a matter of fact, it was enough fun to make us completely lose track of time...

It was pretty out there, for sure. Here are a few pics of Bill that I shot off before rigging up:

Frisco Pier in the background

These folks have probably been married for 40 years (just a guess, of course)

Looking towards Hatteras Village

Fun, Easy wavesailing!

Isabel's is a good 20 minute drive from the shop, and when I got out of the water and checked the clock, still suited up and with a sail to de-rig, it read 6:42... And the clinic that I was hosting was starting at 7! Doh! So after a lightning fast de-rig and de-suit, and luckily no speeding tickets, I rolled into a crowded shop 15 minutes late and taught about 25 oddly patient and stoked people how to chuck their first forward loop! Yeeeeehaw!

Anyway, now that Super Windy Thursday is over and done with, we're looking forward to lots of wind early next week... It's a good time to get here folks... Swing by the shop and say hello, or sign yourself up for a lesson- let's get those loops dialed in!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Schlog a 5.7 on 75 liters??

I know I've been bombarding you guys with stories about the ranginess of today's gear... But I think it's really pretty interesting, and could help you guys plan out your personal quivers a little differently. So here's the latest story:

Yesterday afternoon, the wind puffed up a bit out of the NW. There was a fun little south swell out there, so Olaf, Chip, Brett and I "sailed" at Ramp 34. I use quotes because it was pretty weird out there, with virtually no wind, current running in odd directions, voodoo chop, and drifty wave peaks moving around and faking you out...

Anyway, in the spirit of getting everyone out there, Brett used the 95 liter board that I had brought, which left me with a '09 RRD FSW 75. I had a 5.7 rigged, and actual wind on the water was about 10 with an occasional gust to the high teens. Even at just 55 cm, that 75 liter board handled great, and felt pretty well balanced with that 5.7! Who'da thunk it? It eeked up onto a plane in those gusts, and schlogged like a champ in the lulls.

Was it the perfect board for the conditions? Absolutely not. But it still worked reasonably well...

Now, this morning, it's blowing 29 to 39 mph. I'm gonna go use the same board again, but I think I'll rig a smaller sail this time : )

See y'all out there!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quick Update

Sorry to leave ya hangin' there for a few days, folks... April is busy busy busy with all the regulars in the shop, plus a bunch of family and friends in town... which leaves little time for hitting the water, let alone blogging about it!

So not too much water time for me, except for a little sesh at ramp 34 and the lighthouse a few days ago, and some reeeealllly fun surf yesterday morning! The next few days have some serious potential, too, so I'll try to keep y'all informed! Looks like massive swell (5 meters) and near nuclear winds for Thursday... Yikes!!

In the meantime-
We've got lots of new stuff rolling in at the shop! Check out a few of the new Prydes:

5.7 Neil Pryde Firefly, lots of low end grunt with plenty of maneuverability. $728

4.0 Neil Pryde Combat, bomber construction, soft feel. $711

So, whaddya think? Love the colors or hate 'em?

We've also got a few sizes available in the V8 Helium- Tons of grunt, light weight twin cam freeride. A 7.5 is $898.

Tabou boards have landed!! We'll have a bunch by early next week for you to demo... awww yeah, get on it!!

Also- the Loop Clinic is coming up, Thursday night, 7 PM! This is all about getting you safely and easily around your first attempt... at which point you'll reallize that it's not such a big deal and you'll kick yourself for waiting so long to try one... And your world will be changed forever!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Early Season Treat!!

I don't know how long it's going to last... But we have an early season treat:

Today's Sea Surface Temperature, image swiped from marine.rutgers.edu

That's over 60 degree ocean water from Avon South!! Better take advantage of that! Friday afternoon and Saturday morning hold a lot of potential for some fun, easy wavesailing. Good time to get things rolling on the Wave Jam! We've got a loop clinic coming up a week from today, Thursday the 16th, at Sailworld Hatteras. Feel free to come in and badger me for tips earlier, though, if you want to give 'em a go this weekend! I'm semi-available for actual lessons, too, if you want the real deal instead!! Gimme a call or swing by the shop to schedule!

Hope to see y'all out there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Photo Heavy Recap!

Man it has just been cranking out here.... My 5.0 is all busted up right now (don't ask... it's embarrassing), but it doesn't matter because it's been full on 4.2 every day! Loving it! Anyway, a few people have dropped off some great pictures from the last few days... Thanks photogs!! Enjoy, public!!

These first two are of Charlie from the crazy session last Friday. Check out those smooth faces!! What a sesh!! Photos by Rick Eustis (Thanks Rick!!)

Scratch that 4.2 everyday remark from earlier... It did quiet down on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, but I personally welcomed the break!! Anne and Drew grabbed a sunset sesh at the Hole:

Anne stole my Tabou


The wind kicked in again all day Monday, to some pretty intense levels... I happened to see Stu grabbing an evening sesh while I was walking the pooch. He's on a 3.7, jacked!

I had sailed in the afternoon, during my "lunch break." I grabbed a quick Ego Beach session and then bombed around in the Hole for a bit. There were a bunch of people out and it was a lot of fun! Sasha Ostiguy was nice enough to snap some pics and drop them off at the shop today! Thanks, Sasha!!

Outer bar forward loop

Outer bar back loop (attempt... a sequence of this jump would've made you either laugh or cringe depending on your disposition)

Jonathan from Florida in the foreground

He was ripping for sure, as were his entourage!! It's great to see some people throwing themselves around out there!

It was a jumpfest, aww yeah!!

Stuart, Mark, the Florida crew and I all sailed at the Slick this morning... 4.2 again! Yow! Unfortunately, Stuart got a little too rad out there and ended up slicing up his hand pretty bad on his fin (tail grab spock 540 or something??). So the sesh was cut short for a quick clinic visit, but all is well now, only 20 some odd stitches later!! Luckily, he missed his tendons and arterys and all the important stuff and just gouged out the flesh... Anyway, make sure to wish Stuart the best the next time you see him!!

It's blowing again... Time for the sunset sesh!! See y'all out there!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Friday's Wavesailing Video

***Update*** The vimeo version has completed uploading... It has mildly better quality than the youtube copy... Enjoy!

Ramp 34 Wavesailing from Andy McKinney on Vimeo.

Here's a quick video from Friday's crazy wave sesh out at Ramp 34. Unfortunately, my little point and shoot camera can't really deliver the goods when it comes to zoomed in quality... Especially when compressed by YouTube... but hopefully you can at least get an idea of the conditions out there!


If you're here in Hatteras swing by the shop and I'll show you the original file... It's not much better, but at least you can see what's going on...

More crazy winds on tap for tomorrow! So, I'm going to bed. See y'all out there!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It Happened....


Cranking, warm SW wind with plenty of sunshine all afternoon!! I Love Springtime in Hatteras!!

I swung by the Hole and found Fred of BABA holding down the fort, solo. Where the heck is everyone?!?! Nice job out there, Fred!

Fred, solo at the Hole

Checked out Ego Beach, and decided to skip it due to the shorebreak situation:

Yikes! but where's my surfboard?!

So Keith and I ended up North of Avon on Ramp 34, followed shortly thereafter by Rick, Chad, Dan, and Charlie. I think Olaf made it out, too, but a little further South. In any case, it was an insanely good wavesailing session!! The faces were big and smooth, the lips barreling, and the wind cranking! The outer bar was over mast high, but tough to read and bumpy, and the inner bars were overhead to logo or sometimes mast high with beautifully clean faces. The wind was almost too strong, as it was ripping my 4.2 out of my hands at the top turn... Killer sesh, folks!! I'm claiming it as the best wavesailing sesh of the year!!! Woooohaa!!

Check out the Keith show. I took all these shots in about 3 minutes while suiting up, so the action was non-stop out there!

Outer bar bomb

Keith lining it up

Go Keith Go!


Tacking on the face to kick out the back... gimme a break man!!

I shot a bunch of video out there, too. It'll take me awhile to sort through it all, but there are some real gems in there... including some footage of Rick getting CRUSHED by a rogue set wave!! There are dues to pay, I guess, but this just seemed way too harsh... Sorry Rick, but I've gotta post it up!

It's blowing again right now this morning.......... Hope y'all are out there having the time of your lives!!