Saturday, May 20, 2017


Scrolling through my phone I found this clip of me attempting to wave sail on my freestyle board.

And it reminded me of this, one of my favorite quotes: "Sailing head high down the line waves with a Freestyle board is like taking home a smoking hot girl and realizing that you don't have any protection. Damn right, you do it anyway and worry about the consequences later."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Slab of Death (Part 1)

At low tide, upwind of the main launch opposite Lawama the slab of death might not always show itself. 

On small days, it makes a nice peak for jumping and getting one or two hits on the way in. But windsurfers beware. As the swell picks up this cute little kicker can unleash it’s fury on the unwary sucking up the surrounding water and breaking top to bottom in an instant of power and determination.

I arrived in Moulay 2 days early. Excited to get some warm up sessions in before Jem Halls clinic started. The forecast was for building wind and waves. Yippee!! The first day was fun 4.7 jumping and the second looked great with building wind and waves. 

After a few warm up runs I worked my way upwind and picked up a nice set wave. Oozing confidence I lined up upwind of the peak and charged down the line cranking a hard bottom turn focused on the water in front of me. I looked up opening the sail for my next move, ready to hit the lip. In that instant a feeling of dread ran through me. A thick fat brown and white slab of water had silently snuck up on me. “Fu…”.  The lip hit the sail in an explosion of sound and energy. The sail and boom hit me hard in the shoulder with the pressure building. Then suddenly something gave way. I was pushed deep and bounced around like a rag doll.

“I’m hurt” I thought. “It’s not good”. Surfacing I tested my arm. It still worked! “Yes!”.

Once convinced I still had functionality in my shoulder I looked around for the kit expecting to see major carnage but the mast looked to be intact. “Yes!”.

Lifting the sail to waterstart I found the foot of the sail flapping around under the boom but the clew still attached. “Yes! I can still sail it!”.

Thankful that the sail had failed before my shoulder I waterstarted and limped downwind with my tail between my legs. 

Bit of bruising - Day 2

Man style! - Day 4ish
Addendum - I wrote this account whilst in Moulay in between plenty of windsurfing and SUPing choosing to ignore the pain and swelling in my chest and arm. Once back in Texas as the swelling reduced I noticed my chest looked kind of weird, like some of it was missing. A visit to a specialist confirmed major tearing in my right pectoralis and I'm now waiting on the MRI to find out if surgery is required. Doc reckons the 'impact' I described was actually my muscle/tendon fibers breaking...yummy.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ten Minutes with Jem Hall

Hanging at Magic Fun in Moulay with the clinic crew. We decided to give the enigma that is Jem HallTM a good hard grilling with the goal of finding out his deepest, darkest secrets. Below is what we unearthed. Photo credit: Nick Jones

Clinic Crew From L to R: Rachel, Arve, James, Mike, Bastiaan, Mark, Enigma, Laurence, Jacob, Tom, Bjorn, Kevin, Gøril, Gary (Martin is missing in action after tweaking his ankle back looping)
James - how did you first get into windsurfing?
My best friend’s Dad taught my two best mates and I to windsurf in Southsea which started a life long passion and journey. 

Tom - Top 5 most used phrases on a clinic?
Get down James Brown
Back hand down the boom 
Toughen up Princess
Drive forward and bend the ankles 
Jump more / do more forwards!
(Jem played this one way too safe and PC. My kids favorite from PSC was "Woohoo! Living the f***ing dream" - Sorry Jem! :) Mike)

Jacob - what gives you the most joy doing your job?
Seeing people improve and begin the powerful action of becoming better self coaches too!

Mark - Who is better in bed? Southsea Tony or Darren (two of Jems best friends from Portsmouth)?
Mark, my good man, you are best qualified to answer this :) 
Don’t put this in Mike! (Oopsy! Haha ;) - Mike)

Jacob - When did your job last make you cry?
Frustration at a particularly difficult time for travel logistics. I hold it together when coaching, in the main, to be of the best support to my rippers. 

Gøril - where and when would you like to retire?
Oslo with my family and after 60 (15 more years). I have heaps of coaching and working with amazing people to go. 

Mike - do you rotate undies or do laundry on your 3 week clinics?
Rotate and clean them. I have too many fins in my luggage to carry enough pants to not wash them!

Laurence - if you could have a different personality trait, what would it be?
It sounds like I already have enough of it but I would actually like to be a bit more competitive. 

Arve - will you let your daughter get in to kite surfing?
I will look to steer her away from this sport and into sports that require more challenges. 

Jacob - Favorite sailing location?
Punta San Carlos, Baja, Mexico. Amazing adventure, world class wavesailing, SUP and hospitality. 

Bastiaan - will you still be windsurfing in 10 years?
Yes and I will be still be looking to get you jumping even higher and hitting the lip more.

Kevin - if you were forced to stop windsurfing from injury, would you become a life coach instead?
Yes, this area interests me a lot as I am very into personal development and love to see people move forward and help themselves to get the very best out of them.

Laurence - What is the most memorable incident whilst on a clinic?
There really are too many, and so many amazing ones so i will take one of the first to pop into my head now and that is when a dutch intermediate was so happy with his improvement that he picked me up, bear hugged me and then put me down and kissed me on the forehead. Blew me away and it was such a genuine sharing of happiness and emotion that it really touched me. 

Gary - how did you enjoy learning to kite and what did you take from it?
I enjoyed the journey of learning a new sport, but it was not for me and so I could not give it the passion I apply to so many other areas of life. I took from it that it is good to learn new things and take a step back and know what my people feel when they are learning and developing. I am now enjoying learning to ski, both downhill and cross country.

Bjorn - if you were to go on someone else’s clinic, who's would you go on, where and why?
Colin Dixons, as I enjoy sailing with him, he is a fun guy and I feel he would have a different approach to getting me to improve and charge. 

What would you be if you weren't a windsurfing coach?
Some sort of sports coach, or a life coach or back to my roots and being a Physical Education teacher. 

Laurence - top tip for doing a push loop? 
Speed, right ramp and be committed and best technical tip is to look past the mast tip, pull on mast hand and throw your legs over your head.

Rachel - you spend so much time in the sun. How do you keep your skin looking so youthful?
Why thanks for that, simple really, use a scrubber to take off the dead skin, moisturize when possible, use high SPF, get a hat and shades whenever you can, eat well and be happy. I’m a new dad so I can’t say sleep well :) 

Martin - what is your biggest regret?
Sorry mate, no regrets, I take it all, good and bad and all have been part of the journey. 

Thanks for the questions, really enjoyed contemplating my answers and getting them across here. 

Thanks too for all being such a fun and focussed group, stoked to share Magical Moulay with you. 

Love and respect, 

Thanks for reading! If interested in what it is like to do a Jem Hall Moulay clinic check out this post from last year: moulayyyyyyyy-jem-hall-clinic