Monday, May 16, 2016

US Windsurfing Nationals

I rolled up at my place after a post session refuel at Executive Surf Club. The lights were on. That's weird I thought, Olivier should still be at work. Peering through the patio door window, I could see a stranger sitting at the table. I knocked at my door. It's only polite, right?

Me: "Hi, I'm Mike. This is my place. Who are you?"
"Hey! I'm Martin from Martinique. I think Olivier may have mentioned you?"
Me: "Cool if I come in?"
"Sure..."
I could have been a crazy person for all Martin knew. We sat down and talked windsurfing. :-)

Welcome to the US Windsurfing Nationals! For me, that set the flavor of the event. Grass roots, community, oodles of volunteers, relaxed and fun. Spare vehicles were borrowed, couches were slept on, local gals were hit on, rides to Dallas generously dished it. First Baptiste church put on an amazing breakfast at first day registration. Then free tacos and beers at the Yacht Club at the end of the day hit the spot. It felt great to be part of it all, helping to represent Texas windsurfing.

Love this pic! (Most pics courtesy of Mike Murphy and www.USwindsurfingnationals.com)
Olivier and Martin packing the truck on Day 1:
The price of the windsurf kit could probably buy a couple more trucks
So how was the competition? Note: this is a tad Mike-centric but then it is my blog. Haha.

Slalom
What a blast! My top tip to really maximize enjoyment of slalom competition would be to leave the ego at home. Someone else is always going to have a better size sail or board, carbon fin, faster start etc. Just go out there and have fun. I qualified for the A group in both eliminations, let's call the A group 'the pros', ;-) but then failed to do much with the opportunity. One heat in particular stands out though, I think it was the semi-final second elimination:
Approaching the gybe behind Miles Borash
After a mediocre start I managed to overtake Miles at the second to last gybe marker with a sweet gybe:
I planed out of this baby
We raced to the final gybe marker with me looking back and laughing, Miles was whooping as he tried to catch me. Really, it was that much fun! Rounding the final mark we sailed away neck and neck. But the wind lightened up and I just couldn't get the speed I needed to ride off the fin. Miles reeled me in and I could only watch in dismay as he overtook me 50 yds from the finish line and qualified in fourth place for the finals.

Long Distance
Day 2 and the long distance race was on the cards, wind permitting. This time I dug out and dusted off my light wind summer Bird Island set-up. The F2 Powerglide with weed fin and my trusty 7.5.  The Powerglide was actually my first ever board, bought used off Worldwinds over 13 yrs ago and still going strong. At 287cm in length, it's pretty old school. Warming up I had to work hard to get on the plane so was a little worried at the prospect of slogging for 6 miles. But magically, about 5 minutes before the race started the wind picked up a notch. Nice!

The start was interesting. At the green flag, one of the boats drove along the start line directly into the wind and you had to wait for it to pass before you could go. Once past, the race was ON! Sixish miles of high speed blasting, three miles in each direction. Everyone was racing, no matter where you were in the race, there was someone else close by to race against. It was great trying to eek a little more speed out of the kit. I signed up for the B fleet and after the gybe was pretty sure I was in the B fleet lead. But alas, I sailed a bit broad and had to pinch to make the finish line and right at the end Josh Shirley came through upwind of me to take the B fleet first place. Afterwards, Olivier was like "You should always go high Mike". Like everyone knows that. Sheesh. Well, maybe next year.

Barely pinching over the finish line after about 18 minutes of fun
And then it was all over. Some light wind kona and formula followed but the wind didn't co-operate as forecast. The closing ceremony was fun with cool hand made trophies, solid cash prizes for the pros and lots of goodies for the rest including free gear rental at Worldwinds, a sweet IFJU carbon fin, Naish board, Ezzy sail and Chinook masts and boom.

The Slalom Winners
Fingers crossed for next year. I would definitely do it all again. Just...need...that 120L slalom board...and 8.0...and 3 carbon fins...and a watch...one of those big ones with a countdown timer...

PS - Kudos to Noel for encouraging me to come out of Texas windsurfing blog retirement. Yeehaw!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Winner to Wavesailor

"Woah, you brought the kids?" was a common sentiment on our August trip to solosports Punta San Carlos. In the middle of nowhere, no electronics and not a whole lot to do except play in the waves, relax and eat great food. You can see why. But we had a blast!

Flying into the campo was pretty exciting.

The airplane

Take Off!!
 We all enjoyed lots of water time.
Post-Sesh Shakas
And there was plenty of things to keep the boys entertained. Climbing around on the cliffs, swimming across to the bird poo island, boogy boarding, foosball, chasing scorpions. Plus being able to eat and drink as much candy and soda as they wanted, albeit when we weren't watching.

Joey showing the boys the ropes
It was warm-up week for Jem Halls clinic and I was really impressed both with Jems coaching style and clear passion for his job and the standard of his 'students'. Everyone was tacking onto waves, cranking nice turns with a bunch of them busting forward loops. Here is a nice short from Clive Boden: 


If you watched that till the end you will have seen me trying a ponch/goiter. Unfortunately, as I landed my front foot came out the strap, the back one stayed in and twisted HARD. It was rather painful and resulted in me spending the rest of the week with my bloated foot in the air. The diagnosis once back in Houston: fractured bone and sprained ligaments. Worth it though I reckon.

Welcome to 6-8 weeks in a boot

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Perfect Packery

Short clip from fun Memorial weekend Packery session. Excuse the quality, new camcorder needs adding to the 'buy one day' list...