Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lowering the bar

First cold session in the Gorge! Well, actually it turned out to be not that cold: water was at 50 degrees, air was at 30 when we started but climbed up to 40 by the end. Plus, Rooster has heated restrooms, so no going all Houdini in your car while putting on the wetsuit. It's like cheating almost! Wind was at around 30, so I rigged 85 L and 4.7,  and it was perfect! I really like winter sessions, I don't know why I find cold weather almost more appealing than warm weather. And apparently there's a group of people here in the Gorge who like being splashed in the face with freezing water as well (and they've been doing it for years!), so I look forward to more winter sessions...
Best past of windsurfing: sharing the stoke, no doubts about that...

The icy path the the water, try to walk on ice in sailing booties while holding a rig and being blasted with 30 mph wind

Rigging area

Larry ripping out there

Well within temperature range, by the end of the session ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chicago is on fire

Greenwood Beach, one of the prime wave riding spots near Chicago (Photo by Wavehog Chicago)
The guys in Chicago are having a killer fall season so far, with over 8 days of solid riding this month. Lake Michigan can deliver some epic conditions from the end of September until almost thanksgiving, and it's looking like this year will be a good one. The Lake may not have big predators, but has plenty of things to be scared about: frigid waters, strong currents, gusty winds and man-made obstacles that will chew your gear up. Definitely not for the faint of heart. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Finally a westerly

I was there from one til 3:30... Gusty!
Nice sesh at the Hatch yesterday. 4.7, 85 L. It was gusty but the 4.7 worked just fine, the sweet spot for the 85 L is between 4.7 and 4.2, the rig felt perfect for the conditions. But still I was slogging in the lulls. Hit a couple jumps, rode some nice swell... Good day!
Afternoon at the Hatch 
The river in gentle cycle

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Fall is here

Sick session today at Rooster! The forecast was spot on, it blasted from early morning until around three. When I got there in the morning it was blowing E at 35. Rigged 4.2 and 85 L and got blown off the water. Rigged 3.7 and that was the ticket. East winds on the Gorge are tricky, and i keep saying that. You have to always be sailing as close hauled as you can or you end up way downwind, and down current. Anyway, by 2 it came down to about 30, maybe upper 20s, so I rigged the 4.2 again and got one more hour of pure fun.
In other news, the Fall season in Chicago is firing up and the guys there are hoping for a double sesh this weekend. Today they had crazy conditions at Michigan City, with side shore winds in the 30s and  massive swell. During this time of the year it is not rare to see three days in a row of wind in the 20s and waves in the teens, all you have to do is have the bowels to go out! Trust me, Lake Michigan in the Fall is no picnic. Well done Seeker and Little Bird!

Rooster Rock on a beautiful Fall day

Little Bird (Brian) tearing it up on Michigan City (Picture by Andrew, Wavehog Chicago)

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Scouting the Oregon coast today. Stoped at Manzanita, they say the place fires up when Portland gets hot, so let's see if something happens in the afternoon. Swell is small but that's fine, don't want to get my butt kicked my first time out.
Sunday update: So the wind showed up later on Friday, and Saturday I had stuff going on so I missed a killer day at Rooster. But today I scored at Jones! First time out there, 5.3 and 85 L, the place is weird, but works when the Gorge and the coast are dead.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Another one at Rooster

I caught the fading nuke fest. It was one of those days when every hour you have to go get something bigger. Which was ok because I got to try a lot of gear combos. Started with 72 and 3.7, that board is so slick! It was 40 gusting to 45 and I was lit up, but the board handles so well it's amazing. By 1 the wind dropped to 35 so I went to the 86 liter Goya one. After the 72 liter,  the 86 felt big and smooth, still love that board. Grand finale was 85 and 4.7, again lit up til it dropped to mid 20s so I called it a day. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rooster Rock

Have you ever done something you are not exactly proud of in order to go windsurfing? My wife calls this "an unhealthy attitude towards windsurfing", which she says is what I have. I'll reflect on the things I've done, you reflect on yours, but I'm pretty sure that except for a few, I'd do them again for a great sesh, and I'm afraid so would you. 
Great sesh at Rooster Rock, the Pearl of the West Columbia, where the Easterlies hit hard. The walk to the water through the pool of mud is well worth it.

Where's the water?

I ducked the crap out of my 6.5 today (didn't nail this one BTW)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My right foot

I messed up my foot yesterday playing soccer. The details of the incident are irrelevant but involve being old and brittle. This morning I tried to go out on my 85 and 5.2, and my foot complained. A lot. Now I'm sitting at Stevenson watching the wind blow and barely standing on my sausage foot. Oh well, I missed a good day, there will be more...
This is Stevenson, WA. Gotta try this spot...

Doug's beach

Scored a sweet sesh at Doug's today! Temira and iW called it right with high teens to  low 20s east of Hood River (which was pretty dead by the way). My first time at Doug's, the place has sandbars on both shores, so it's perfect for practicing new stuff. Foot is almost back, but still hurts so my moves were less than spectacular. It's good to be back on the water though!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First sesh with the new gear

I finally got the 85L Goya One on the water today! The wind was around 20 mph at the Hatch, but ubut up and down and gusty, so not great for smaller gear but what the heck I couldn't wait any longer. I rigged a 5.2 and got out first on the 105. Once I felt the wind was up I switched to the 85, with 210 fin and 100 thrusters. Man that stick is sleek! It combines the surfey feel of a quad with the drive of a mono. It turns on a dime, I got up on a couple of small swells and the board just switched direction with the slightest foot pressure. The sesh with the 85 was short because the wind came back down so I had to go back to the 105, but so far I'm loving this board!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The verdict is here

Insane day at well City today! Zane and I spent all day testing different quivers, and the verdict is finally here (at least regarding the boards). We had a Goya Custom wave quad 78, a 2013 Goya One mono 72, and an Exocet 86 L Wave. For sails we had Goya Eclipse (5 batten), Banzai (4 batten power wave), and Ezzy Elite (4 batten). We rigged 3.4s for the Goyas, and 3.7 for the Elite, the wind was super gusty and there was a decent swell.
I was excited to finally get on the Quad, so I jumped on it first. That was a struggle. The board grips to the swell incredibly, you feel every bump, every chop. I now get why wave riders love these things. I's not like you can't jump the thing, but when riding, the board stays on the swell at all times. I wasn't feeling the love, but I still gave it a good shot. Then I jumped on the Goya One 72, and all of the sudden the river, the skies, the mountains, all my surroundings lit up. I could see everything, hear everything... In a stupor of joy, I heard the board's voice, and she said: you don't have to ride a quad if you don't like it, now let's grab that piece of chop in front of you and shred it into pieces... Seriously that's what happened.
When I came to shore (maybe an hour or two later), Zane was waiting and he knew I had seen something out there... I swapped the Eclipse for the Banzai to give the 4 batten sail a shot, but didn't love it. The sail is too on/off, whereas the Ezzys carry you through lulls with grace and bravado.
So in conclusion: I'm a monofin/thruster kinda guy, and I embrace my nature. Regarding the sails, I need to do some more testing, but again, the Ezzys will be hard to beat.
So what did I like about the One 72? The board TALKED to me bro!

Zane coming in after executing a perfect forward 20 yards from shore

Goya Custom Quad/Goya Banzai 3.4

Goya One mono 72/Goya Eclipse 3.4... This is the RIG!

Dude shredding...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

That's what she said

Just came back from the Event Site... What was that??? Nobody called this one. Temira (Gorge forecaster extraordinaire) called low teens, so I was just about to go on a bike ride when I got an email from Greg, who was at Hood River, saying there white caps all over... Checked iWindsurf, 19 at Swell City, so dropped the bike, packed my stuff and off I went. It turned out to be a solid 5.2 session, completely powered up from 5 to 7. The river swell was maybe hip high so nothing nuclear but nice ramps.
I guess the Gorge is as hard to predict as any other place!

Heading back home... I wasn't expecting to ride this weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No testing today, just blasting

Sweet session yesterday! Mid to upper teens, sunny, warm, great. I rode upwind (down current) from Hood River to approximately half way to Swell City, and found perfect blasting conditions. Spent all afternoon BAFing like a maniac, in the middle of what seems to be kite territory (those guys knew where the wind was because they were all there!). Regardless, there was plenty of space for us all. The swell was decent, but granted this was 6.5 conditions, this spot is supposed to go off when it's 4.7. The river exploration continues...

Gear notes: talked to one of the Windance dudes, those guys have sold all brands of sails over the years, and he's pretty stoked about the Ezzy Elite, so I guess that'll be the next sail I test out.

I was by the island East of Hood River

Friday, July 4, 2014

Gorge gear review, part 1

I just came back from my first Gorge session since the move. I've been trying to get some intel about what gear to get for the conditions here, and I was able to narrow the sail and volume range to 3ish-5ish, and 70is to 80ish. Now that's rather broad, so let the testing begin.
First stop: old friend David Ezzy (actually he has no idea of who I am) and his Tigers, paired with an 85 L / 25 cm fin Mistral Joker (what? is Mistral making new boards? Turns out they are). Got to the Event Site by 10 or so, assessed the wind an determined that it was solid 5.5. Rigged, launched, and got my ass handed to me 200 yards from shore... Got back, rigged a 4.7, and that was the ticket.
So how do the Tigers handle in Gorge conditions? First of all, I do not believe in reviews, I think you could copy the description of a 1970 F2 Lightning and paste it on a 2014 Quattro Shpere thruster and people would not notice. They all say the same thing! Tight turns, supersonic acceleration, no top end speed, will put you in orbit... You get the point. So you have to go and try shit if you can, and if not, just buy stuff and adapt to your gear. AYWAY, the Tiger has the trade mark Ezzy feeling, grunt, power, stability, no fuss and no muss. I know that feeling oh so well, I've been riding Ezzys for 6 years. When well rigged the sail feels like a feather, seriously, weightless in your hands. It actually depowers pretty well for an Ezzy, and in the air it feels super stable. So, verdict: more of the same awesomeness, worth considering them.
The Joker 85: I don't know about this board. It didn't have the crisp turning that an 85 L board should have. It does accelerate pretty well, and it jibes nicely, but it did not blow my mind. Sorry Mistral, it's not you, it's me. I may not be good enough to unleash the power of the Joker.

So all and all it was a pretty awesome session. By the end of the day I could not move my arms. I need to start working out.

So what's next? I need to compare this rig with others, and try a lower volume board (78 L or so). The Joker felt a little bouncy in the gusts, so I may need something smaller. In the end is a matter of what do you like the least: slogging in the lulls, or bouncing in the gusts.

OK, more to come soon.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


We all know the wind hates me, but it hates Windfest more. For three years the Hood River event has run on 0 wind days. It is still lots of fun, a full weekend of demos, clinics, and beer. I thought this year was going to be no exception as I pulled over to the Event Site parking lot. I hung out, learned a few freestyle tricks, introduced myself to Bruce Peterson (great guy btw), and drank some Full Sail lager. I called it quits at 4 on Saturday, and as I was getting on I-84, I saw the trees moving. All of a sudden the river was full of whitecaps, I could see them from my rear view mirror. So I stand corrected, the wind hates me more than it hates Windfest.
All these people hit the water right after I left

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Good bye Seattle!

I can't believe that another year has gone by! I moved to Seattle in July of 2013, and now it's time for me to say good bye. I'm heading to Portland in one week, and hopefully this will be my final destination after years of travel. For the past 10 years I've lived on the East, the Midwest, and now the West coast, and everywhere I go I seem to have the ability to find a bunch of nuts who are hooked up on windsurfing. No matter the conditions, or the weather, there is always a somebody who likes to sheet in, and I somehow find him. I hate to say good bye to good friends, so hopefully I'll be seeing these guys when they go down to the Gorge, as they usually do. So I guess I'll see you there folks!
Wednesday City League at Des Moines. A bunch of old race boards, friends, and wind. Perfect. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Goya One 105 liters

Andrew (aka Waveseeker) just finished testing his new ride, a Goya One 105, let's hear what he has to say:

The 2014 Goya One 105 L arrived last month to replace a cracked 2009 RRD FSW LTD 105 L. I’ve been riding that, and an identical 90 L RRD board for the last three seasons. How does the Goya compare? Well, actually, it might replace both of them.
I’m 5’11”, 160 pounds and I windsurf almost exclusively on Lake Michigan and only when it’s blowing 18 knots or more. I managed about 40 sessions between my two RRD boards in 2013. (See Windsurfing Movie 12 - Year in Review) Our conditions max out at sustained winds of about 35 knots, with gusts into the low 40s. But, two-thirds of the time we get 5.4 to 6.2 weather.
The Goya is a more competent wave board than the 105 L RRD. It has a more pronounced tail rocker, the forward-most foot strap position is 10 cm closer to the mast track, the overall length is more than 10 cm shorter AND it can be set up as a thruster. All of this makes it crazy maneuverable and an amazingly fun board to ride. The double concave V bottom smooths out the ride over chop, cushions landings and provides greater structural integrity over RRD’s flat bottom design. Despite the wave bias, the board still planes as early as, if not sooner than, the 105 L RRD because of extra width and volume in the tail. About the only disadvantage of this rearward volume redistribution is the tendency for the nose to submarine if you don’t pay attention. You could say the Goya is "less forgiving," but more experience with the board makes you appreciate the trade off.
Thrusters have shorter center fins than the single fin on regular boards. If I rig a 6.2 Naish Boxer, I’ll ride the Goya with a 27 cm center fin and two 10 cm side bites. I would have to use a 34 cm fin with this sail on the 105 L RRD. Shorter fins are great for shallow launches with heavy shore break. You jump on the board and go instead of walking your gear to deeper water while getting pounded by the break.
The Goya might replace the 90 L RRD as well. The Goya is definitely fun. You can stomp on the rail and turn it on a dime. I’m not sure why it should be more maneuverable than the 90 L RRD—the Goya is carrying around an additional 15 liters of volume after all, but I’m guessing it’s not any single thing. There is the tail rocker, the forward foot strap position, the thruster fin set, and the overall compact length (3 cm shorter than the 90 L RRD). Whatever it is, it works. Earlier this week we had our semiannual 30-knot day on the Big Lake. Sustained wind was 33, +/- 5 knots with a peak recorded gust during the sesh of 43 knots. Although I would normally ride the 90 L in these conditions, I wanted to test the Goya. It did Francisco proud. I used a MauiSails 4.0 Global with a lot of downhaul and a 22 cm center fin in thruster mode. The board remained very composed on the water and in the air. So much so that if I didn’t already own the 90 L RRD, I’m not sure I would buy one. The 4.0 accounts for less than ten percent of our sessions. If the Goya can do the job reasonably well when it’s really cranking, there’s no need for a second board. Before passing final judgment, I’d like to test both head-to-head. But, I hope the Goya does well. Having just one board saves space in the car and makes it easy deciding which one to bring to the launch. Simplify : )

It looks like we have a new favorite!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wise men

I'm lucky to know a few guys who have been windsurfing for many years, and today I rode with some of them. As my life goes through changes, and gets busier, I often think about these guys who are as stoked today as they were 30 years ago. Life artists, wise men, I look up to them. I want to be as stoked and injury free and healthy and ripping in 30 years just as they are today. 
Oh yeah, the session: it was good riding, 6.5 at Newcastle and an afternoon finale at Alki.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Texas rippage

The Chicago guys are back from Texas, and it seems they had a pretty good time. After all, what's not to love about a two-day cross country road trip that culminates in a week of sun, thermal winds, great food, and a bunch of your buddies shredding in flat water. 
For what I gather there has been some wave riding in the Gulf as well, but that's as far as I know... 
The annual Corpus Christi pilgrimage is becoming a tradition, a way to start the season strong... Will 2015 be my first in Texas? I seriously hope so!

Convoy: they drove all the way from Chicago

Flat water blasting

Rematch at Waverly

This time the wind showed up on time at Waverly. As I got to the beach I saw Corrie on 6.0 and 100 L slalom, so I went 5.2 and 105, not enough... Came back, rigged 6.5 flat, but I needed a little more, so I powered the Ezzy to the max, and that was perfect! About an hour later the 6.5 was becoming a hands full, to I flattened it again, I never stop being surprised by the range of the Ezzys. Anyway, the grand finale was a teeth grinding, holing on for dear life 20 minutes, what I call a "caveman ride", when the rig is too, big, and you know it, but you're so stoked and tired that you (me) don't stop to re-rig... I love those moments, I love riding powered up, just holding on, blasting like a caveman...

Corey ripping in yellow

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Quickie at Lowman

There's wind coming up tonight, until tomorrow, at least that's what the forecast says. By this afternoon there was already enough to go out on the longboard and cruise around on the sound, a quick and beautiful session. It's rainy outside now, and that's a good sign, if NOAA gets it right, by 9 AM tomorrow I'll be ripping... Let's just hope!

Puget Sound

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Glass half full

The forecast was't technically wrong today. It just was four hours delayed. We got to Waverly expecting 15 to 20 at 2 PM, and it was dead. Greg got out on his long board, later I found out he made out to Sail Sandpoint, and was ably to come back when the wind picked up. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Then we left. On my way home I stopped at Alki and there it was, 20 mph out of the SSW, steady as a fan. It was late, I was on my way home, but I still went for a quick sesh. Sweet.
So yeah, it wasn't a long sesh, it wasn't what I expected, but it never is, and I scored a sesh when I thought I was coming home empty handed... Glass half full man...
In other news, I saw somebody upwind from me. He was going way out, and ripping back. West Seattle is not the most friendly place for storm riding, and it was getting late, but this dude knew what he was doing. I need to befriend this character!

Nailing that jibe, finally powering through the turn like it's supposed to be

Find Waldo. I've got to find out who the lone rider is!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Coulon Park

The warm days are back in Seattle, and that means no more winter storms. It's time to pack the small gear and and get the big stuff out. Today we hit Coulon Park, in South Lake Washington. The wind was in the single digits, gusting up to low teens, at best, ideal for long boarding. I'm always surprised at the planing capability of the F2. The thing gets on a plane with such little wind! I'm talking about 12 mph stuff, incredible. So all in all it was a great session: sunny, warm, beautiful.
The Chicago crowd is on its way to Corpus. They are driving all the way with loads of gear. I'll post pictures soon.

Coulon Park, with beautiful Mount Rainier in the background*
* I downloaded this pic from the internet, there is no author so I can't give props to anybody

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Skunk proofing your gear

Want to skunk proof your gear? Get a long board. You may say: weren't those boards hot when the movie "Back to the future" had just come out? You are right, the pinnacle of long boarding was back in the day. As an example, the board I rode today was made when I was 13 years old, the graphics show a picture of a guy riding, with no harness! (the harness was actually invented in 1974, so I don't know why this dude on my board is riding with no harness, he looks ripped though)
Nevertheless, those boards had a huge advantage in light winds, getting on a plane easy and piercing through chop like nothing. These boards are like torpedoes, meant to shoot on a straight line. But don't expect them to be snappy or lively, they have a turning radius bigger than the USS Theodore Roosevelt. I
n a any case, they will save you from a skunk, they will get you out on the water, and put a smile on your face as you drive back home, watching other drivers get out of your way, afraid that the thing on your roof will fly off and destroy their vehicles. 

Imagine this with a mast track

Friday, March 21, 2014

Almost made is across!

There are roughly 4 miles between Lowman in West Seattle and Blake Island, across the Puget Sound. I've been wanting to sail across since I moved here, so today I gave it a shot. The wind was in the low teens out of the North, perfect for the longboard. I launched late, around 5:45, and 30 minutes later I had still not reached the other coast. I knew that sunset was at 7:25, so I headed back. There is a constant traffic of freighters going up and down the sound, and I didn't want to get in their way with low visibility and no wind. The rig felt OK, as good as a long board can feel I guess.
So I didn't make it, but I'll be back! In other news, the new suit (O'Neil Pyrotech) feels fine, but you need to Houdini your way out of that thing, so hard! Anyway, I hope there'll be more of these sessions during the spring...
The Chicago band is gearing up to the annual Texas trip, more to come about that soon, I wish I could join them!

Getting ready to launch

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Missed it

Worse thing about missing a session? This terrible circumstance could have been avoided with some minimal planning. So many variables have to fall in place in order for guys like me and you to score a friggin session. If you're like me, you have a job, a family, there's the wind (usually there needs to be some wind to go windsurfing), etc, etc. And I don't count temperature and rain as variables, we can't afford to have them ruin our only windy day of the month. So as long as the water is not solid and there is no lightning, rain and temperature don't count for me. So today  I could have scored a beautiful sesh if I would have been super efficient at work, had my gear ready in the car, and checked more than one forecast, but I didn't. THE FORECAST SAID IT WAS GOING TO DIE BY NOON!!! What's all this wind doing at 4 PM? Oh well, live and learn... The forecast looks flat for the next week... Nice...

Who was at work from 8 to 4?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Alki's South shore

Spring is definitely here in the Northwest. The days are getting longer, it's sunnier and warmer. That's why we are trying to score as many storms as we can before we put our small gear away. We had been tracking today's forecast for a week (useless endeavor, but I digress). It looked like wind in the morning, or in the afternoon, or no wind at all, or windy all day. Yeah you've been there... So I planned to hit Alki South of the point early in the morning, and scored a 6.5 sesh in bump and jump terrain, with the sun shining through the clouds, terrific. The sesh was cut short though by a 5 inch tear in my trusty Bare dry suit. After all these years I am lucky the think didn't just desintegrate. Luckily the surfers have a shack packed with gear in North Lake Union, so I got a new suit, and rushed back to the beach. As I was driving I could see the whitecaps, even bigger than the morning, 5.2 at most! I rigged in 30 seconds, but the wind literally shut off the minute I was done rigging. What??? Where is the wind? Gone. Gone for good. So yeah it was weird, but the morning was superb, and this spot that I found kicks butt, so I'm pretty stoked about trying it again.   

Monday, February 17, 2014

First double of the year

Two in a row! We had southerlies yesterday and today! I've been wanting to hit this place on the South side of Alki Beach point that I thought could work, but never had the guts to try it. On a S day, the wind is pretty much side on, and steady as a fan. There are a few "concerning" things though: if you pass the point and break something you're out in Elliott Bay, at the mercy of freighter traffic, barges, and all sorts of local critters, including several pods of orcas who like to hang out there (yeah I know, they don't eat people, 98% of the time, but I dare you to having one of them 6 feet from you while water starting and not crap your wetsuit). 
Despite all those things, today I decided to give it a shot. The wind was in the 20s from the South, and the place worked perfectly! Until I broke my fin that is. Yeah it seems like rocks are less forgiving than sand, and I broke my fin coming into shore, so I had to cut the session short. Still, I'm pretty pumped that I found this awesome spot on the sound for S winds, can't wait to try it again!
The spot is by the Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint
The beach on low tide

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Newcastle Beach on Lake Washington is also known as Gustcastle, and today it lived to its reputation. The wind was all over the chart, from solid 5.2 to nothing, like they've given the wind switch to a two-year old. Still, we had a full day of sailing, in February.
Carving in frigid waters, kinda my thing

Saturday, January 11, 2014

First on of the year

Signs of a rough night
Today we had our first session of the year in Seattle! A big storm hit the area yesterday. I packed the car in the evening and tried to catch some sleep. But all night I kept being woken up by trash cans rolling down the street and windows slapping.
The sunk boat is the first thing I saw when I pulled over at Waverly, the thing was tied to a park bench, someone made an emergency docking. Anyway, It was honking 30 to 40 out of the SSE. I went out on the 5.2 and got punished by big swell and way too much wind. I borrowed Corey's Sailworks 4.4and mast, and Michal's boom (I seriously need more gear), and that was the ticket. I hit some pretty nice swell, on port tack, the sail handled perfectly. I need to check out these Sailworks sails, everybody here loves them, and I must say I was impressed. Anyway, we rode until noon, and then I headed back home. 2014 is here, and I hope it's a good one!