Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sunrise Session

September passed by with barely a hint of wind. Squeezed out a dawn session at Port Aransas on Saturday. This is a cool pic:

Look close and you can see the fisherman casting his net
Hit some solid knee high lips like in this clip:


But we really need some proper wind and waves soon.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Learning to Push Loop

Sailing out fully powered I hit a nice steep head high bowl. Imagining I was Boujmaa I projected as high as possible. Here goes! I threw my head back, ready for the fast backwards push loop rotation. Waking from my reverie, for a split second time slowed down, I found myself peering down at the water. I focused on the water surface in fine detail, a long way down. I was hanging there, lets say 20 feet up, over my sail. A sinking feeling welled in my chest. "Mike, what have you done". I'm not quite sure what happened after that moment of timeless clarity. Time sped up and I hit the water, not my equipment, surfacing with a sense of relief and a smile.

I guess that's just the reality of pushing your limits and not living in complacency. You flirt with the edges and often cross them.

So, the first couple of days in Moulay I was trying backloops but kept over-rotating. Jem called them push-backs. Kind of half back loop, half push loop. Here are some examples:


Coach encouraged me to choose one. After watching the video I decided I might as well start trying push loops! Here is an ugly attempt:


I didn't get any others on film unfortunately. Then day 3, sailing up by Lawamas I hit a nice ramp and busted out a decent one right in front of the coach landing bum first. My first ever push loop. Boom! The next day, the crash...a mental step backwards but a technical step forwards in the learning process. Going into the wind slightly speeds up the rotation and appears to be the secret to making it round all the way. It also feels safer as you aren't really right over the top of your equipment.

My take on how to push loop:
  • Jump off a nice steep ramp with hands pretty close together
  • Aim to go straight up but also steer the nose somewhat into the wind (to speed up the rotation and go a little more horizontal)
  • Look straight back and pull in hard on the front hand only
  • Let the magic happen, at this point I'm just along for the ride
  • Apparently you slow down the rotation and finish the move by pushing out on the back hand and opening up the body. Personally I'm still working on this part. 
PS - Check out the push loop diaries on for more tips and motivation
PPS - Last Friday, Packery was working great, a rare gift. Side-on, nicely powered 5.2 and head high waves. First attempt I whipped it round and landed on my back. Ooh stinger - that hurts without a wetsuit! Second attempt didn't go so well and I got stuck again mid rotation on top of the kit. I guess I went too vertical again. Came down hard on the sail...

Got some bruising on my tricep
AND put my head through the sail - first time out on my new (but used) 2016 Severne S1-PRO. Noooooooo!!!!
PPPS - Next time!? Oh and I am loving the S1-PROs. They feel pretty special. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Moulayyyyyyyy!!! Jem Hall Clinic

Wrapping up video analysis, the morning of day 3, I looked around the room. It was remarkably quiet. In fact, the tension was palpable. Was I imagining the steely eyed looks? Somehow, in the space of an hour filled with banter, slow motion video feedback and seriously un-PC humor, Jem had lit a fire in everyone's hearts, producing a burning desire to take it to the next level.

Jem giving us all video anal-ysis
An hour later. With most people on 4.0s or smaller and decent size waves it was ON!! Check out this clip from Emile Kott:

Moulay July 2016
A little video from the Wittering Boys in Moulay on Jem Hall ' s EPIC wave clinic. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we are fully fired up and more excited about learning moves than ever. Respect to the big man for all his hard work changing everyone's mindsets! You are literally never too good to get some coaching. Spend the money and get on it, you won't regret it. Thanks Fettah Lamara for the hospitality, food and making us all feel like part of the family!
Posted by Emile Kott on Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sick action right? Apparently this was the highest level clinic Jem had done. A bunch of legends from the south coast where there and it felt pretty special to be part of that. But what was surprising was the total commitment from every single person there to improve and push their level.

So what about Jem? I was expecting a drill sergeant coaching style, but instead found a much more measured and subtle approach. OK, he does speak clearly and with authority but he seemed to be able to adjust his style to the individuals. The best thing for me was the frequency that he would put something I was thinking into words. A number of times I marveled at how something I had thought or mulled over in my mind was described in a succinct and straight forward manner. I was like "Wow, that is exactly what I was thinking! Thank you." All in my mind of course. Haha.

Jem Hall. Coaching Legend!!!!
Time for some more action. I was working on controlling my forwards and rotating more horizontally. They didn't always work as planned though:


Shoulda gone for the double! This one was much better:


I also worked on backies and made a few. Jem got one landing on video (cheers Jem!!!!). Woohoo:


This post is gonna last foreverrrrrrrrr!!!!! The millenials already quit reading. Hi mom, I know you're still with me! What's left? The people. The place. 

So we stayed at Lawamas. Loved it. The food was exceptional. It was clean and comfortable and Fettah, his family and staff were great hosts. I would totally recommend the place.

The view from Lawamas - click on it to see the windsurfing action
I also spent 3 nights at Magic Fun, rented kit off them and we all ate lunch there every day. Bruno and his team were awesome. The food was super fresh and tasty and the windsurfing kit was nicely up to date with mostly 2015/2016 board and sails. 

And the people? The locals are super friendly and the clinic crew were the best. Top marks to everyone for being fun and interesting. We went into Essaouira one evening and had a great time.

Mark 'Pezza' and Ian Celebrating Oyvinds Stag Do!!!!

The crew! Champagne anyone? Geoff?
OK I'm spent. Do you want to improve your windsurfing? A Jem Hall clinic would not be a bad place to start. Oh, and Morocco is amazing! So much culture and so much to see.