Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Sprang

For a brief couple of weekends, then it got a bit cold, it rained and the wind disappeared.

But let me tell you about one session in Corpus bay. It was TOO MUCH FUN! Fully powered on 4.4, with nice steep ramps. I went for a couple of backies but after over-rotating onto my back I decided I was actually trying pushies instead. Psyched!! PUSHIES!! I guess if we had days like that all the time, they wouldn't be so special.

Then the week after we got a fun sesh at Port A with over a dozen people on the water. Small waves but nice 4.4 wind. Enes and Olivier were going for Takas and Julie got one of Oliviers attempts on tape:

video


Those guys rip. She also captured me boosting an endo. Watch it with sound, it's funny. :-)

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Oh and during one of the many windless moments, I ordered another board. It's like we were made for each other, I was just in denial for the last few years. Fingers crossed my KT83 will arrive before the late season cold front that we all deserve.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blogattical

I have a windsurfing blog! Blame the lack of: media, adventure, wind, waves...

Two weeks back I eeked out a fun 5.2 sesh at South Packery and my wonderful wife took some video. Cheeky little top turn:

video

This hurt like heck:

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Then last week the best Boca Chica forecast ever started to take shape. 30mph NNW wind, 10 ft waves and 50F temperatures. Friday afternoon, Enes concurred, Julie and the kids packed their weekend bags and we were committed to the 400 mile trek south.
What a forecast! Boca Chica is just under (SE of) Brownsville
We rolled up at the beach to lashing rain, 39F temperatures and offshore WNW winds. Disaster! Deciding to give it a shot anyway we kitted up, donning every available form of neoprene clothing. Getting in the water the cold permeated every extremity. I have never felt so cold.

If only O'Neil made these in neoprene!!!
We ended up sailing back and forth in the knee high shorebreak. Enes:

video

Was it worth it? Course it was!! :-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Weed Antics

The weed this year has been on another level. I'm not talking about the grass-like stuff, I'm talking heavy duty seaweed. Thick carpets of it floating around the Gulf of Mexico en masse.

Wait. Wait. What? Du-ude is talking about seaweed? Wait. What. Oh!
So after seaweed ruined the best spring wave sailing sesh ever I quickly invested in a set of Makani weed fins for my Quad. Some time in June, weed fins packed and ready, we headed out targeting a late Packery session and arrived at the beach with wind and one hour of daylight remaining. First run out, I felt like a trawler, dragging large lumps behind me. Time for the weed fins!

Switching out the side fins first I couldn't get them in the mini-tuttlebox. Oh no! Precious minutes being lost. Digging around in my toolbox I found some sandpaper and got to work, finally getting them in with sunset approaching. I can still get 30 minutes in I thought.

Next the rear fins. And that is where it turned ugly. They didn't fit. The fin base was too long to actually fit inside the mini-US box. I was not a happy bunny.

The next day I trimmed as much excess material off the fin base ends as possible and using a shortened fin box nut managed to squeeze the fins in, just in time for a fun side-on Packery day. The moral of the story? Test your stuff well before you try to use in earnest on the beach and double check that the fin you are buying will fit your box before spending a bunch of money.

So, how do they ride? Really nice actually. Last time I sailed I switched between the 16cm weed fin and the 15cm regular fin and found the difference quite interesting. There are a number differences in the setup, the fins are different sizes obviously, the shape is different (but not that much actually) and due to the rake of the weed fin, I think it is a bit like moving the fin almost an inch further back in the box. Whilst I can comment on the change in feel from all these changes, the engineer in me would like to isolate each variable and figure out which makes the biggest difference. My guess is that the 'effective' fin positioning is the key driver in the differing feel.

One 16cm weed vs. one 15cm regular - note the perspective over-exaggerates the differences
Planing off the beach, I didn't see a big difference in the get up and go. I did however, have to be much more delicate with the 15cm fin. If I hoofed the back foot the nose of the board would head upwind and the tail would crab sideways with the smaller fin. After sailing the bigger weed fin set up for a while I had become used to pushing as hard as I liked. Readjusting to the front foot, I was up and away.

Gybing on outside swell I found it more difficult to maintain my speed with the smaller fins and stay with the wave. To be honest, I didn't expect to feel so much difference.

Onto the wave. The smaller fins felt free and loose, quick changes felt much easier. I'm liking this I thought but there was also a feeling that I was pushing the tail out in the bottom turn. And the real negative for side-on conditions was that I was loosing speed. So, whilst my turns were shorter and skatier, they felt slower with less power. In comparison, the bigger more rearward fins would drive me through the turn, keeping speed for the top turn. It would be really interesting to watch some video to see if there was a visual difference.Which is best and why? I'm honestly on the fence. For onshore conditions, I think the weed fin might have it. That said, I will probably ride the 15s unless the weeds come back but only because it's too much work to change them back and Texas side-off conditions are imminent!