Thursday, October 31, 2013

Winduro training

Yesterday I went back to Lake Washington on my long board for some winduro training. The winduro is a race around Mercer island (on Lake Washington). I had my first attempt at it a few weeks ago, and was not able to finish it, mostly due to not being familiar with my gear.
Yesterday the wind was much lighter than on race day, maybe 10 mph out of the S, SSE. Greg and I sailed upwind from Leschi, and went under the East I-90 bridge. We stopped at a small park upwind from I-90, and then crossed the lake back on one reach before heading downwind under the West bridge. It was a great sesh, and good training. Handling a big rig downwind is a hands full, and that's my biggest issue.
I'll sail the course as many times as I can, and in as many conditions as I can, the idea of circumnavigating Mercer Island is just too good to pass!

I have no pics of Mercer island. This is Vashon island, a beautiful spot in front of West Seattle

Monday, October 28, 2013

Back to Seattle

Seattle gave me a welcome back today. We had a killer sesh at Lowman with Greg and Dan. I got there by 11 or so, it was cranking. There were white caps all the way to the beach, and it looked pretty gnarly out in the middle of the sound, the wind must have been above 25 because my 6.5, with max downhaul on a 105 wave board still felt like a hand full. Greg showed up and rigged 6.0 on a 130 race board. We were out there for 30 minutes and it was pure survival sailing. There were nice ramps, maybe 4 to 5 feet, but I was not going for them because I had too much sail. We sailed back, traded a few nervous smiles, and went back out. I think that's when Greg sent the email saying we were OPd. Dan showed up and rigged a 5.0 on his long board. I rigged 5.2 and that was the ticket. I rode the 5.2 fully powered for an hour or so, but then the wind came down a little (maybe to low 20s), just enough for Greg to be "in da zone" on his 6.0, and for Dan to go out as well. I rigged back up to 6.5, and we rode for an hour or so more before calling it a day. What a day!

Lowman's notes: the wind was steady and predictable, water temperature was not an issue with a dry suit. Swell was gentle, as I said, maybe 4 to 5 feet, typical bump and jump conditions. The launch is. however, not to be underestimated: the beach is narrow and flanked by walls, and there is some current with the tides. This is not a Fall/Winter solo spot. 

Greg ripping on the way back to shore

Saturday, October 26, 2013

JP Aloha Classic

The JP Aloha Classic PWA event is happening right now on Maui, and I just so happen to be here, what a coincidence... Paia is bustling with windsurfers from all over the world, and with some of the local talent as well. Ho'okipa delivered good conditions for the last two days with side to side off to almost offshore winds, so we were able to see riders like Kevin Pritchard, Levi Siver and Graham Ezzy in action. These guys really rip! Tomorrow the skippers' meeting is at 10:00, and the action starts at 10:30. I hope I'll be able to catch Robby throwing down against Ricardo Campello, old vs new school! Will Ricardo have some respect for the man himself? I don't think so...

Off da lip

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Back to Maui (part one)

I am in Maui right now, It's been a pretty intense day. It started with a visit to the Goya headquarters, where I was blown away by the hospitality and good vibe of all the folks there. Jason Diffin (Ezzy, North, Severne, now Goya sails... yeah that dude) was working on a sail, but took the time to show me around, and introduce me to the others. Keith Teboul was there working on a prototype, but stopped to chat for a minute... with me! I'm a total stranger, a regular Joe who pretty much walked through the door. My biggest windsurf accomplishment is that I haven't drowned yet, and yet everybody took their time to introduce themselves Goya stopped and chatted for a bit, before offering me to demo some of their stuff: Nexus sails 6.4 and 7.5, and an FXRS (I told him I ride an FXR) because Kanaha where I was headed had more free ride conditions. Pascal Bronnimann even offered a bag for the board.  
So yeah, I was blown away by the guys at the Goya Loft, and I haven't told you about the session yet!

More to come.

Jason Diffin

Francisco and me


Keith Tenboul

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sailing backwards

We had a great day at Kirjland today. The wind was out if the north, enough to cruise around. Fifteen people showed up with big rigs, anything from 8.5 to 10.4. At some point the wind got so light I thought the bubbles made by my board were going faster than me. Am I sailing backwards? Us that even possible? 
Zero to 6 mph and 15 sailors on the water. That's the spirit!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Las Sunday we had the ideal conditions to run the winduro: 15 to 20 mph SSE all over the Seattle area. Well, it was not my day. I rigged a loaned Sailworks Retro 8.5, on my F2 Lightning. I didn't know the sail, and how to tune it right, so I did the best I could and launched. The first leg of the race is downwind under the I-90 bridge. I was not able to point the board deep enough, so I had to do several reaches to get to the bridge. I was falling a lot, and the harness lines felt very long, so my arms got really tired. After going under the bridge, I hit a big buoy in the middle of the channel, and my rig snapped from the  board at the U joint. I was able to retrieve the rig and board, and make it to shore, but by then my arms were done. I fixed the rig and sailed back upwind to the start point. 
To me, the big difference between riding bump and jump, or waves, and racing long distances was that in short reaches, for short time, you can compensate for any rigging issue by adjusting your posture, using your arms, or whatever. When you are sailing for so long, every detail matters, and every rigging error becomes painfully evident sooner or later. 
Oh well, live, learn, and train! Next time I'll be more prepared. 
Congratulations to those who finished! 
At the winduro start