At an undisclosed location on a special body of water to be named never (though its attributes…warmth, friendliness to beginners, shallowliness..may be reported) the mighty ABK traveling windsurfing clinic engaged with a group of windsurfing students for a clinique extraordinaire. Extraordinaire because the students ranged from never-before-windsurfed types to advanced sailors. Extraordinaire because instructors Andy Brandt, Tom and Brendan brought their most excellent games. Extraordinaire for the six count ‘em six women in the clinic (and two others had to cancel at the last minute…the return of women to windsurfing!) Extraordinaire for the entirely new concept in ABK shirts (transformational I’m telling you. Must have!) Lastly extraordinaire because I haven’t been in a clinic for a few years (you may not care, but I do.)
We had two days of light wind, and one of on/off/on planning (I planed plenty, because years ago ABK taught me to be efficient.) My better half Sally was in the Wide World of Jibes group (plus waterstarting etc) whilst I was in the duck tack/backwinded jibe/anklebiter/back to back/general freestyle group. My duck tack attempts went from coming apart at the seams two seconds after I start to “holy cow I’m planing in control switch-stance and am actually beginning the sail throw!” Also hit a planing backwinded jibe or two, and some obligatory duck jibes. Quack quack.
I got to ride in the boat during 15 minutes of Brendan Insanity. Starting with the notion that towing two windsurfers, one instructor, and their gear piled up on a giant SUP to the best sailing spot (what could possibly go wrong?) would be faster than sailing there, Brendan arranged gear and students in a manner that even I thought was hare-brained. “Have you ever actually done this, or is this all theoretical” I asked Brendan. He laughed. “I don’t even have a theory!” Outstanding. Everything went flying only three times (during the second reassembly we noted people passing us on their boards). All three chose to sail back rather than take the ride.
It was an outstanding event socially as well…saw old friends, made new friends, re-met people whom I failed to recognize (sorry Sam.) A classic great ABK time. I will be back to ABK, for clinics secret or declassified.
Note that this coming Friday, ABK Boardsports returns to Tiana Bay September 23-25 (sharing the secret spot’s attributes of warmth, friendliness and shallowliness) for what will surely be another outstanding opportunity to have fun learning to be a better windsurfer. There are, we are told, a few spots left in that clinic. If you are thinking that you’d like to spend a fun weekend with fun people learning to windsurf better, sign up now. ABK turns away people once they are full (though when enough people sign up early they will add instructors, to maintain a proper student/instructor ratio.) There’s also a New Jersey clinic in Atlantic City September 30-Oct 2.
(Photo: Sails ready to rock at the clinic. Beautiful, well-composed photo courtesy editor’s wife.)