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?"
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)|
|The price of the windsurf kit could probably buy a couple more trucks|
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|
|I planed out of this baby|
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|
|The Slalom Winners|
PS - Kudos to Noel for encouraging me to come out of Texas windsurfing blog retirement. Yeehaw!