Saturday, November 19, 2011

The last one...

Today we closed the season with a killer session at Wolf, with 20 mph from the South, and warm air. The lake will freeze in a couple weeks, so this was truly the last session, at least for me.
This was an amazing season; the Summer was slow, but the Fall was the best since I moved to Chicago. We got to sail in a bunch of different spots, meet new wind junkies all over the Midwest, and sail in some of the gnarliest conditions I've ever seen. Now it's time to finally take the gear off my car roof, patch the 5.2, put everything away, and get ready for snowboarding season...


Another great pic from Ella Geen (this one from last Sunday). Check out the scenery, that's Hammond Indiana baby! That's were we sail.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Overpowered again!

I don't know if it's global warming, but truth is that we are having some insane conditions here in the Midwest. I'm talking about rigging in a T shirt in the middle of November, and going out to 40 mph winds, at Wolf! Maybe the gods felt bad for an awful summer, and are trying to make it up to us... We certainly appreciate it. I honestly think this was the last one of the season, but who knows?  

Sail 360, first attempt
Check out these pics by Ella Geen, and if you want more, go to her website (click here)



By the way if it is global warming we better start buying Chevy Volts, because this weather is way too weird.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flat water madness

Last Sunday we had 25 knots from the South. My buddies were going to Wolf. I decided to join them for a flat water extreme session, and the pond delivered again. We had hours of pure fun, hanging on to our smallest stuff and crashing graciously. Everybody was there, except Steve... (where is Steve???)
Last session of the year? We'll see...

The result of that session is Windsurfing Movie 4 by Andrew, the mastermind behind Wave-hog, check it out...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Waukegan once again

Last Sunday we had amazing conditions at Waukegan. 25 mph side off with nice waist high waves... Too bad I didn't get any pictures... Too bad that I don't have time to write mote about one of the best sessions of the year, but such is life, and such is windsurfing...
Carving a line in the water, ephemeral, purposeless, and beautiful. What a great way to spend your life!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October continues to deliver

The good days keep coming here in the Midwest. Last Tuesday we had a SSW breeze, and I ended up at Wolf for an after-work session. It was good to see all the familiar faces once again, ripping in anything from 6.5 to 5.2. It was as gusty as Wolf can get, but overall it was a good session. The days are getting colder and shorter, so it's time to bust out the dry suit and enjoy what's left of the season before Chicago goes into hibernation mode.
Chop hop at Wolf. Courtesy of  Brian Geen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In the news!

Check out what Reid Fillman from found about the insane session last Wednesday... I saw the photographer, but I didn't know that we were going to make the news! This gives you an idea of how inane the conditions can get in the Midwest in the Fall, and how respectful you have to be of Lake Michigan.
Fall is not over yet! I hope we get a few more good days... although we may need a smaller boat...

Check out the two links for more pictures!,in-pictures,picoftheday,windsurfing-in-chicago-picture

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another boom bites the dust

You gotta love the Fall, pumpkins, apple cider, colored leaves, and insane winds. Today, for the first time since I moved to Chicago, I had to leave the beach because I didn't have a small enough rig. The wind was in the 40s (mph) from the NNE, a perfect Montrose setup. I got there by 1 PM, and Steve and Andrew were on the water already. Steve said he was super overpowered with his 5.2; bad news, because I have almost the same rig (both of us have Ezzy Wave 5,2 and 105 boards, his is an RRD though). I pulled the crap out of my downhaul, and prayed my already banged mast held the tension. But still, the wind was too much. I could not get the board under control and every piece of chop was throwing me up in the air. After an hour of kamikaze runs, we decided to call it a day, the wind was gusting well into the 50s by then.
In one of the hundreds of wipeouts, I killed another boom, confirming that my thing is destroying booms
Tomorrow it looks insane too, should I say "Pray for less wind?" NEVER!
Here is a video of the session by Andrew. Let's hear what Bill Clinton had to say about the day...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Big Fall day at Michigan City

There were 30 knot winds and 10 foot swell this Friday in the Midwest. We headed to Michigan City where things looked pretty intense. The wind was side on, with enough grunt to push you through some chest high white water. Outside there was no place to rest, it was a jibe and head back business, as some pretty big swell was coming at you. I never felt at ease, although I was making it out and back, something was just too much. By one PM I decided to end my wave riding session and go to Wolf for some speed runs. I was in one piece, and so was my gear, which is more than I can say about my last session at Michigan City.
Fall is here!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Great fall session!

A big front passed through the Midwest for the past three days with winds up to 25-30 knots. On Friday, Matt, Andrew and I tried a new spot North to Chicago called Wilmette, in Evanston IL. The wind was side shore but not super strong. The waves were pretty big, with that relentless pounding typical of wind swell. We struggled for an hour, and then we decided to retreat to Montrose, where the wind was more on shore, but the waves were less intimidating. The story continues, but since I'm not that good of a writer, I put together this video, just to show some of the action. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Warming up

One day this jump will end up in a forward, I just need balls and skill
A huge front will be hitting the Midwest for the next three days. As I write this, Michigan City is showing 40 knot winds. Today we hit Wolf to ride the beginning of the storm, a warm up session. We had some fun but the real deal started right after sunset, so we missed it. Tomorrow it will be serious business. 
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Being irrational paid off (this time)

So what if the forecast said the wind was going to drop? Well, I should know better at this point. C'mon man, I've been skunked in all forms known to mankind, and the forecast really sucked! Why on earth was I throwing my gear on top of my car, on this particular Monday afternoon? Because windsurfers are like compulsive gamblers: we care very little about odds. 
So I got to Wolf and the gods decided, this time, to reward my irrational behavior. Next time it may or may not happen, only one thing is for sure: I'll be there.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Surfin is realy good

The days are getting shorter here in the Midwest, and we are entering that time of the year when the water is warmer than the air, the North winds kick in, and the surfin' gets good. Or at least that's what we thought this morning when we hit Montrose. The reality was that the wind less than perfect, the air was chilly, and the surfin' consisted in 10 seconds of planing and a long walk back, smiling though.
The short wave riding reminded me of a song that my friend Jordan Yaruss made a few years ago. He is not a windsurfer, not even a surfer; he is a white water kayaker and song writer who captured like no one else the essence of a short sesh. I hope you enjoy the video.  
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Puerto Madryn

My brother Carly is a windsurfer. He is actually the one who introduced me to windsurfing. As many of us, life took him to a bunch of different places, but ironically never close to the ocean. He would drive 8 hours from Madrid to Tarifa to score a weekend of good conditions, and also as many of us, he became addicted to weather forecasts. Finally, last year he decided to fulfill his dream and live close to the sea, so he moved to Puerto Madryn, in the Argentinean Patagonia. He quickly found a group of windsurfers, who apparently rip, and he is now one happy dude.
So if you're thinking about going South, go knock on his door, tell him you know me, tell him that you're a windsurfer, he'll show you around.

Off shore wind, and some flat water. You gotta be careful though, the place is a whale sanctuary
Sunset in the Patagonia

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Monday, August 29, 2011


I once read an editorial in a kitesurfing magazine about some dude who started using the motto "simplify" to guide his kitesurfing lifestyle. Less gear, less over reading forecasts, less trying to get to the perfect spot, and more about enjoying what he had at hand at that moment. The piece was nicely written, but to me, at that time, it sounded like a bunch of self sufficient crap.
The forecast for this weekend was 17 to 20 mph from the NNE and I, as usual, spent hours trying to figure out things. After much deliberation I decided to go for the simplest option, good ol' windsurfing at Montrose, in front of my house. Simple plan. What followed was one of the best sessions I had since I moved to Chicago.  The wind kept building all day, it was sunny and warm, and the beach was packed with kitesurfers and windsurfers with big smiles and tired arms. 
Crib run from Montrose beach
By the end of the day, we decided to do a crib run, about 2.5 miles out and back. Three windsurfers, two kiteboarders, out there, in the bluest water I've ever seen. Simplify, I'm not going to tell you that it always works, nor that I live by it, but occasionally it may be worth trying. 
Montrose wind swell will make you a better human being

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

12th Street Beach

12th Street Beach 

There is always something unsettling about launching at a new spot. Yet there are a few things that excite us more than throwing ourselves into uncharted waters. I don't know why this happens. Maybe we do this because we want to see how things look from the other side. 
12th Street Beach is not the easiest launch, especially when it's blowing SSW. But once you get out the wind gets clean and the water gets blue, and things begin to fall into place. The real treat though comes after jibing outside. Then, you are standing on Lake Michigan, on your 8 feet bard, facing the Chicago skyline. 
Seeing things from the other side, yeah that's what throws us into uncharted waters.  
Going back to shore, making the most of a puff of wind

Heading out

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lake Huron

Just came back from a three-day kitesurfing road trip to Tawas, Michigan. We had all sorts of different conditions, from barely keeping the kites in the air to 100% overpowered. As of me, I was just fine kooking it out and walking upwind. We also made some good friends, had barbecues and bonfires by the beach, and learned that kitesurfing is, as I suspected, also addictive. Good times.
Maurice throwing some spray 

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Warm waters

In order to sail in the Midwest in the summer you have to be prepared. Prepared to drop anything you are doing and hit the water in 45 minutes. The funny thing is that there is a bunch of folks who seem to be always ready: the Wolf Lake crowd. I sometimes wish the forecast was as reliable as these dudes. Anyway, today was another great day at the dirty pond.
GoPro notes: As you can see, the GoPro is back, but I got this one for cheap on Ebay, and the pictures are kinda blurry... Well, I'll have to live with it...
Chop hop... enough for a forward? We'll see...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two in a row

We had two days of SSE wind in the Chicago area. Today in the afternoon every Chicago windsurfer I know was at Wolf having some... The launch was packed with boards, kites, harnesses, and tired yet smiling riders. Once again Wolf delivered a ton of fun to its loyal crowd, which does not ask for much, just for some wind.
Wolf's new launch

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial day and the beginning of summer

Memorial day is a date to commemorate the heroes who gave their lives for this country. It also marks, for 98% of people, the beginning of summer. For the weekend warrior, who has been wearing neoprene and going to the beach since the lakes melted, these are some not-so-awesome news (what do you mean parking fee?).
So let's say hi to the dog days of summer my friends, and as every year, everywhere from May to September, let's pray for thermals.

PS: I lost my GoPro Hero today. It went down the way it should, smashed against a buoy on a hero jibe. Don't worry, I'll try to replace it, because I know that I'm not Hemingway and this blog without pictures will get a little dull...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

El Lobo and some other weird stuff

For the weekend warrior, buried in daily obligations, there is one place to go when the winds come from the SSE, or SE: El Lobo.
So today everybody was there: windsurfers, kitesurfers, fishermen, policemen yelling at children, and me. I got there in the afternoon, and a complicated weather pattern already was forming in the sky. One dude pulled out his phone and showed me what was coming, it looked like... There is a tornado warning? Nahhh...
So I went out, planed, and then the wind died. I barely came back to the launch when hail started falling from the sky. That and the thunder were a clear sign, the sign said: DE-RIG. But some waited, and the storm passed, but the wind never made it back. So I left, and on my way back I could see Lake Michigan full of white caps, and I kept thinking, did I make the right decision by derigging? Well, there is always next weekend, right?
Who cares about going back? Going downwind is always fun...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A hell of a session

Crazy power session today at Waukegan. We had some rough North wind pretty much all day. The Northern wall was stopping all the waves, creating some flat water buffeted by 25 mph winds. I rigged a 6.5 with max downhaul  and had some pretty fast runs. Outside, close to the end of the wall, you could see the waves in that chaotic Lake Michigan pattern that we love and fear so much. All and all, Waukegan is becoming my new favorite spot for North wind.
The North wall, with some pretty self-explanatory warnings
Jibe or die
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Waukegan, where you don't want to miss a jibe

Zen and the art of launching in wind swell
Spring is all over the Midwest, and the wind gods are being benevolent with those who endured the winter, and didn't fly away to Bonaire to never come back. By Tuesday the charts started predicting some wind for the weekend, but in a typical windsurfing tradition, the blogs, websites and forums were silent. No one in this area would dare to say anything prematurely, piss off the gods, and screw it up or everyone else. But by Wednesday the tension was too much, the charts looked strong, and a got my first text: get ready for Saturday. Just that.
This time the charts were right, the wind was plenty, and smiles were everywhere. We tried Waukegan, and new spot for me, with almost on shore wind and that typical Lake Michigan wind swell with a period of 5 seconds that destroys your will and your gear. The place where if you miss a jibe, you get washed ashore like a sock in a laundry machine. But you know what's waiting past the white water, awesome shoulder high swell that invites you to jump, ride, surf, whatever you like. Good times. 
No gloves on Lake Michigan: spring is here!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back to the Midwest

It's finally spring here in the Midwest and we're getting some kick ass wind. Today it was 5,2 until 3 PM. But to me, nothing says spring more than being able to sail with no gloves, what a treat!
Everybody was there, some were removing the rust from the winter, some looked like they've been practicing all winter (I saw some forward loops and some nice duck jibes).
Anyway, it was just another great day at the pond, hope to see you there soon! 
No gloves!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Final destination: Maui

We were hanging out at Oahu's North shore when one of my buddies mentioned that he was leaving for Maui the next day, and that sounded like a great idea. A few clicks later I had cancelled my hotel in Honolulu and had a ticket to Kahului. We arrived in the afternoon, with just enough time to do what any reasonable person would do: check out Ho'okipa.
We hadn't even pulled over at the parking lot and I was already out of my mind. We sat down on the rocks, and discussed for hours how would we launch if there was wind. But I sincerely don't know if I would have had the balls to go out on a windy and wavy day. After that we visited the Naish shop, the Hot Sails Maui shop, and other places, me and my little camera, like the good ol' mainland kook that I am (people were very friendly by the way).
Kite beach is 10 minutes from Ho'okipa, so my buddy who is a pretty darn good kiter and I went a checked it out too. 
As the sun was setting behind the mountains, we saw some humpback whales playing in the water, giant animals who have been swimming i these waters way before all the kitesurfers, and most of the windsurfers were born. They come to Maui for the winter, they know that the place kicks ass.
Hot Sails Maui shop
Ho'okipa, one day I'll be back and sail this spot

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oahu's North's Shore

Yesterday we left Honolulu and headed to Oahu's North Shore. We arrived in the afternoon, right on time for a sunset SUP session. The highlight was watching the whales throw big spray right in front of us, right where we were SUPing minutes ago, kinda freaky!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oahu day 2

The East winds were still strong this morning at Kailua, and the ramps were head high. I keep sailing like there is no tomorrow, because where I come from, when it comes to sailing there might be no tomorrow. Going to bed now, sore and happy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oahu day 1

Awesome first day in Kailua! 6.5 and 104 in the morning (provided by Naish Sports Oahu), brief lunch and 5.8 and 95 L in the afternoon. I lest the water at 6 PM, unable to hold the boom any more. The conditions were massive bump and jump on the inside, and some beautiful waves on the outside. More to come.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Last post before the departure

I'm heading to Hawaii on Saturday. The bags are all ready; the cameras, the harness, the rash guards. The injured shoulder is not allowed to misbehave for a whole week. Only one thing is left to do:
Pray for wind.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Busy weekend (Montrose is open for business)

This was a pretty unusual weekend. Saturday's forecast was high teens to twenties from the NNE. The kitesurfers were going to Miller beach, IN, and I thought that was a good choice. Miller faces North, so Miller should have worked, but it didn't. We could not explain why but Chicago was cranking, and we didn't get anything. On my way home I stopped by Wolf, and to my surprise there was plenty of wind there, so I quickly rigged up and had my redemption session. 
Today I went to Montrose for the first time since the season started, and it felt great to be back on Lake Michigan. The wind was SSE, so about 500 yards outside it was great, but inside I needed more juice to feel safe, so I called after a few nice rides.
Spring is definitely here, and we have to enjoy it while it lasts!
 The crowd waiting for wind

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The season opener

The birds are back, the ice melted and my car smells funky again. We are up for another season, my sixth, and what a better opening than good ol' Wolf Lake on a chilly, 13-20 mph NNE day. I hope this year brings more toys (I could really use a new mast), more friends and more fun.
See you out there!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First ride

Remember the first time you rode a bicycle? How about the first time you got up on a windsurfing board? This weekend was packed with work for me so I had little hope of going out; but the wind picked up right during my tiny window of opportunity, unbelievable!
With 18 mph wind, I was going to take it easy, again, and work on flying my kite. But my buddy Jim had another agenda to get me out of the mental block. So he put a board on my feet, gave me a few invaluable pointers, and sent me riding on a broad reach like a madman. My first ride on real gear.
 For the rookie kite rider, every fall is a massive crash.This learning curve will be a steep and bumpy one...

Kiters heading to the playground
Maurice and his trusty Flysurfer
Base camp
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whare am I?

This is a picture of Lake Michigan taken from my window today . It reminds me that not so long ago (in geological terms, of course...) the lake was a giant glacier. No snowkiting this weelend, maybe next week.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snowkiting in Grass Lake

We finally got some snow here in the Midwest, and on Friday night I heard from Maurice that he and his buddy Jim were going to hit Grass Lake for some snowkiting. We arrived to the lake at 10 AM, and stayed until 4 or so, and I must say that the place was incredible. There must have been eleven kiters out on the lake, all sharing the stoke. I spent most of the day flying Jim's 3m foil, and learning kite etiquette. Maurice was on a 8m Flysurfer foilkite, and Jim was on a 12m Cabrinha. The wind must have been 11-12 mph gusting to 16 or so, and there were around 4 inches of snow on top of black ice. By the end of the day I was feeling comfortable enough to put my Liquid Force up in the air, but the wind had died, so I flew it just for a few minutes. The thing flies beautifully, so next time it'is play time!
Some final comments: For those conditions, 12 meters was OK, but people were asking for a little more wind, or more kite, so maybe 15 would have been better for a 170-180 pound person.
Jim rigging his Cabrinha
Unknown kiter flying another Cabrinha
Maurice getting some...
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