After the last week's experience in the ice, I've been searching the net for new and innovative ways to dislocate my shoulders. To be honest, the ice is fun but is a little bit two dimensional. The ever changing terrain is what hypnotizes me about windsurfing, 50 feet from you there is nothing, and all of the sudden there is a hill, or a mountain, or a wall, ya' know what I'm talking about.
But then I found this guy in Canada named Guy Trudeau, and he changed everything... His thing is a sled made with skis, powered by a windsurf sail. You may say "Oh! I've seen that before" to which I will reply: "Check what this guy Guy does with his windski"...
I already made mine, and I'll be waiting for you out there in the snow, or in the ice...
PS: Check Guy's website http://pages.infinit.net/gtj101/home and enjoy...
Winter finally arrived to Chicago! It was 1 degree Fahrenheit last Wednesday, and the small lakes are all frozen now. This was never a problem in New England, the ocean never froze, so I'm a little inexperienced in this matter. Luckily, our friends in the Nordic countries have been dealing with details such as frozen water and extreme cold temperatures for years. So surfing the net I found this new and exiting sport, which I will call "Spoon windsurf" a.k.a SPW (the thing at the bottom of the mast is actually a ladle). SPW is the hottest sport in Latvia, and the number SPW enthusiasts is growing exponentially (now there is three of us). Big companies are fighting to sponsor the young hot shots: Gollito Estredo just signed a contract with IKEA, and it is rumored that the Pritchards are between Bed, Bath and Beyond and Kitchen Aid. In Siberia, Antoine Albeau just hit 160 knots with a 7,5 m sail and a spoon made with titanium, he is still coming back upwind. Anyway, don't let the cold days go by and get a spoon; soon it will be spring again.
The rig, and my beach chair
Starboard just released the 2011 SPW board: 2300 dollars. Or you can steal your girlfriend's ladle: 2,25 dollars
How fast? Scary fast!!!
12 mph wind, a perfect day for your 5.2
The ice ain't smooth, so helmets are a must (elbows and knees pads are also recommended). HAVE FUN!!!
St. Joseph is a ENE fetching beach in Michigan. The place has a reputation for going big in N wind, with big swell wrapping arround the channel's breakwall. This was not my forst time at St Joe, but it will be one that I will remember. Today the wind was SW 18-20 mph, or at least that was what the buoy at Sowth Haven (30 minutes north of St. Joe) read. I rigged my 6.5 and sailed upwind from the wall, trying to stay in the area between the wall and the beach. The side-on shore wind felt prety safe, but I ran out of power on my way back. What followed was the inevitable wipe out, and a swim to shore. Not being able to waterstart or uphaul, I ended being pushed against the wall and had to climb one of its ladders. In doing this I lost grip of my rig, which floated astray for 20 minutes until it was pushed back to the wall when I was able to grab it.
Overall, nothing serious happened, but I learned my lesson: no room for mistakes in the Big Lakes. Things that went right: from my launch the wind was side-on, and that is what generated the waves that pushed me back to shore. My dry suit, gloves and booties were appropriate for the conditions, I never felt cold. Things that went wrong: I knew that the wind on the inside was not enough, and I still went out. I was alone, bad idea. I launched too close to the wall, worse idea.
Today Lake Michigan showed me its true power, and I am grateful that I got out of the water in one piece.
Fortunately the ladder I climbed was not covered with ice.
I started windsurfing as an excuse to visit my brother in Tarifa, Gibraltar, his usual windsurfing spot. The moment I stepped on a board I was hooked. I love windsurfing because it's fun, it took me to amazing places, and because I met wonderful people through the sport.
This is my story, I hope you enjoy it...