Is there a better way to start a season of occasional windsurfing than 2 windy days in a row, with plenty of sunshine and on a weekend?
West Meadow, Saturday 111L/7.5m2, Sunday 92L/5.8m2, Happiness.
West Meadow 180 deg panorama; the toy on the right is mine :)
I finally pulled the trigger on a SUP board about a month ago. It's an "old" (2009) starboard superfish 9'8". I got it quite cheap for a brand new SUP that's also sailable. At 140 liters, it floats enough for me to paddle on it comfortably although it's quite lively. I went many times flat-water SUPing and really enjoyed it. It still glides considered the small volume. I now hope to catch some waves with it at Cupsogue. The were a couple of good days (mostly wind swell) that I missed but hopefully we'll get more solid surf soon. Even if it's not designed to plane, I'm curious how this board will behave as a windsurfer on flat water (I can put footstraps on it). More later!
As many others I have not missed the wind call last Sunday. Summertime at its best. We should get more of these cold fronts. Even on the North Shore the wind was 5.0-5.5 grade by the late afternoon. I rigged a 6.2 at first but that tired me out quikly. Rigged down to 5.8 and had a blast. I didn't mind being a bit overpowered as the are always gusts and holes at west meadow under these conditions. The chop was also disorganized or with a short period (about a board length) and therefore hard on one's knees. Not easy to get good speed and decent port tack jumps. But no complains after all also considered the nice little crowd of North Shore windsurfers and kiters too. Looking for more of this, hopefully later this week.
I'm pondering whether to change the blog title to "Rare windsurfing...."
I have only sailed 3 times this year. Once in June and twice in July. After a tough working week, I decided that last Thursday forecast (SW winds gusting up to 30 knt) was a well-deserved gift from God so I headed to Shirley at round 3pm. The beach perennials (Steve and James) where already out on 6.0-ish. I rigged the 5.5/90L combo. Boys, it felt good to be on small gear after so long. Sweet port tack jumps! Obviously, after such a long period of inactivity, I could barely water-start but things are coming back...
I had not crossed James in long time and (after seeing him wearing a helmet) my question were about the unfortunate accident that occurred at Shirley last year during the passage of hurricane Irene when Joe Rocco lost his life. James was the one who first pulled Joe out of the water. He told me the bay was littered with huge debris that day (such a massive chunk of dock). Joe had sustained severe head injuries but his board and fin didn't show apparent signs of damage as if he had hit a floating debris at full speed. James' rule is "always wear a helmet when it gets rough" and I think I'll stick to that too.
my favorite toy
James schlogging is way in after the wind dropped a notch. The cloud at the horizon is a big thunderstorm coming our way.
Yesterday West Meadow beach drew a small crowd of windsurfers and kitesurfers. Even Long Island's finest (Mike Burns and John Sassone) were seen spinning around there. There are now new fancy signs pointing to the beach in case one needs directions. The town has also replaced the booth at the parking lot entrance with a shiny new construction. Apparently, this wasn't a necessary makeover. I learnt someone ran into the old one with a car this summer...! Luckily no one was injured.
The day got better and better since I arrived in the early afternoon. No water sport fanatic was on sight and the wind seemed kind of light (for my bigger sail, 6.3) so I spent 5 good minutes pondering whether to rig or not. Then a strong gust convinced me the 6.3 would do. Eventually, the wind progressively went up and by 5 pm the freestylers were on 5.5-5.0 I guess. I don't have a lot of footage because the GOPRO mount on the boom tail got detached after the tail hit hard the sandy bottom (the tide was ultra low). The camera was saved by the safety line I added as a precautionary measure (the new gopro doesn't come with one). Too bad because the antifog was working like a charm. But I haven't missed much beside a couple of badly-closed duck jibes and perhaps the chance of capturing a few tricks Mike threw in front of me when I was sailing by. I'll just post a couple of still pics.
Yesterday it became apparent to me the importance of taking a break during a session -- a luxury I can rarely take--. Usually, I have such a limited time before it rains or it gets dark or the wind dies on me or I have to run back to work or somewhere else, I only think of rigging, getting in the water and sailing until I collapse. Admittedly, this isn't the best approach for improving my (limited) skills. On the contrary, yesterday I had the time to take a break, switch fin, and return to sail reinvigorated and with a clearer mind. This is crucial in order to be in control and to avoid repeating over and over the same stupid mistakes. One of mines is not doing a boom shaka with my front hand before flipping the sail. This encourages me to grab the mast with the other hand thereby slowing the flip to the point it takes me too long to sheet in. After the pause I focused on this issue and I was pleased to perform a couple of clean boom-to-boom transitions. I know it doesn't sound as exciting as landing a forward loop (which I'll perhaps attempt one day as my jumping skills improve) by in my mind closing the perfect jibe still marks the transition from an average windsurfer to a good one. And that's all occasional windsurfers aspire to, namely to become good occasional windsurfers (being occasionally good doesn't really help).
(no boom-shaka. The difference seems small due to the perspective but sliding the front hand about a foot towards the mast greatly facilitates the flip allowing one to grab directly the other side of the boom with the back hand)
The past "Suck-tember" I spent no time on the water due to a combination of shitty weather, work chores, various projects to carry on, and having to swap car with a friend (Lexus IS250's are cool to drive but don't carry windsurfing equipment). The beginning of October has been pretty much the same until last Saturday. I thought West Meadow would be "da spot" for the conditions: WSW 30+ MPH. But when I arrived at the beach, about 2PM, I was surprised to see only 2 windsurfers in the water. As usual the kiter population was predominant. I rigged a 5.0 but the wind was really holey and starting to fade. The tide was going out which made for some kind of wave riding and nice port-side jumps. I'm trying to get more air out of these. After 2 months of windsurfing and weight-lifting inactivity my upper body strength is down to nothing but I managed to have fun. I put together a few jumps in a video which shows little technical skills and it has the sole purpose (as this blog) to remind me of this great day in October. The true highlight was meeting a great windsurfer called Jeff. I really had a nice chat with him and he was kind enough to share a glass of Montepulciano with me after the action! See you soon at West Meadow, Jeff!
I never liked you. How can one like a one-eyed girl anyway? So Irene passed by and thankfully "only" as a trop storm. It took down lots of trees and with them the electric power. I heard it will take up to Friday to fix it up in Stony Brook?? I hear talking about rebuilding the infrastructures of the US as a way to create jobs and modernize the country. How about a new, smarter power grid? Anyhow, I have been following the storm on the radar and on the wind-meters linked on this webpage until early Sunday morning when the power went out. The wind picked up on the south shore first and the Moriches meter recorded a gust of 80 mph(!) from the E at about 5am. The North shore followed with lots of shacking and falling trees. It was also very clear from the radar that the mainland was to take the most of the rainfall as confirmed by the reports of catastrophic flooding in NJ, VT and parts of NY this morning. By 1pm things calmed out a bit then the wind switched to a very windsurfable WSW breeze. I thought some nut-job went windsurfing West Meadow beach by then. I even considered going to check the situation myself but decided to wait. I'm glad I did because (as expected) the wind turned into a brutal, super-gusty westerly, even worse than the one experienced the previous night. As a result this morning the road to WMB was flooded up to the Old Field Club. I read a windsurfer died yesterday afternoon in the South Bay near Shirley. I'm very familiar with the spot and I might have run in to the guy a few times. That's quite sad and a reminder that these storms are serious business.
Tuesday 8/30 update: LIPA restored the service this morning. Thanks for the hard work guys!!