I have it on excellent authority that there's lots of room in the freestyle group of this week's ABK clinic.
If you did not win the freestyle competition in Cape Cod last week, you should be here.
If you did win, you should be here.
If you didn't go (like me...previous commitments) you should go so you can compete at Joe's Beach in 2014.
If you don't know any freestyle, you should DEFINITELY go! One of my all-time favorite ABK clinics (and I've done 17) was Freestyle #1. Had to drive to Delaware to do it. Now it's at Tiana...shallow, breezy, shark free, easy parking, closer than Napeague Tiana.
If you know anyone who has ever done an ABK windsurfing clinic, you've already had your ear talked off about how great they are. If you yourself have engaged Andy Brandt and crew in an ABK clinic, you know you should get back there ASAP to work on The Next Steps of your windsurfing. If you are not in either of the above groups, OR if you are stuck wondering if right now, this is the time for you to ABK it, see if you're on this list (which is only partial) of People Who Should Do The Next ABK Clinic:
-people who have never windsurfed,
-people who tried windsurfing a long time ago and found it incredibly hard,
-people who windsurfed a long time ago and want to get back into it,
-people who enjoyed sailing around but never learned to use the harness or footstraps,
-people who managed the harness and footstraps but never got comfortable going fast,
-people who never learned to waterstart easily,
-people who want to sail smaller boards,
-people who want to learn the planing jibe,
-people who want to perfect their jibes and duck jibes,
-people who want to learn to jump (or jump higher),
-people who want to plane in less wind,
-people who want to be able to sail in strong winds,
-people who want to learn freestyle,
-people who want to learn radical freestyle,
-people who want to learn cool things to do on a windsurfer in light wind,
-people who want to meet and hang out with other windsurfers.
ABK Windsurfing Clinics come to Long Island on September 20-22, at Tiana! Shallow water, good for all wind directions, plenty of waterside parking, easy peasy (whatever that means). Sign up before it fills up.
It's on in Cape Cod, y'all. September 14-15! The East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod edition carries on the traditions of Long Island's East Coast Windsurfing Festival, which is to say that it will be a fun factory. Casual racing, casual freestyle, not-so casual freestyle...competition at it's funnest. Be there.
(The East Coast Windsurfing Festival wants you! Photo by Bill Doutney.)
When Sandy trashed Joe's Beach it shut down the East Coast Windsurfing Festival for a year...we thought. But now rising like a puffin from a pile of sand eels, the ECWF is happening...a Cape Cod version! We reached out to a longtime King of the East...Mighty Mike Burns...to ask what the word is on the CCECWF. It went like this:
Peconic Puffin: What's up with the CCECWF?
Mike Burns: What?
Peconic Puffin: CCECWF!
Mike Burns: I think you're choking on an eel.
Peconic Puffin (spitting out eel): The Cape Cod East Coast Windsurfing Festival! Speak, and we shall record...
Mike Burns: We were all bummed when we heard that for the first time in 6 years there would be no East Coast Windsurfing Festival at Heckscher this year. It's become an event that sailors up and down the east coast have started to look forward to each year as a place to make new friends, have tons of fun and maybe even win a couple trophies and prizes in the process. Well, guess what. There were so many people bummed not only from Long Island, but also from Cape Cod, that some nice folks up in Cape Cod took it upon themselves to organize the first annual "East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod." The head organizers of ECWF Cape Cod Peter and Nina contacted me right about the time they found out that the ECWF LI was officially canceled. We all decided that we just couldn't go an entire year before the next big ECWF!!!! So slowly but surely, permits and insurance were put into place and yes it's official. The first annual East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod is happening at Kalmus Beach in Cape Cod on Sept 14th and 15th!!!! It's the exact same event as ECWF LI only at a beach with more wind :-) So if you missed the event this year and want to help support future events, come on up and compete, or rather help cause more pile-ups at the marks with everyone else!! (That's my personal favorite part) I hope to see you all there!!!
For more info on the event and to see who is officially signed up go to www.ECwindfest.org
The windsurfer in the photo is on a sinker board. It does not have enough volume to float him. If he was to sheet in in sufficiently strong wind, the forward motion of the board would bring it to the surface, and he could have a lot of fun. In this case it looks like the wind does not have enough strength for the sailor to use a sinker. He should have chosen a larger board, with enough volume to keep his calves dry.
(That's Andy Brandt, who knows darn well how much volume and wind he needs to sail. And how much you need too. And how to teach you to need less! ABK Windsurfing Clinics come to Long Island on September 20-22, at Tiana!)
The brilliant freestyler and videographer Andre Paskowski has lost his fight with cancer. It sucks just to type that. Over the years the Peconic Puffin has run half a dozen videos of Andre (usually with Gollito) and they've all been happiness and flow and excitement and smile fodder...not a heavy note to be found.
There's an extraordinary good-bye note from Andre on his Facebook page. Here's a video clip of Andre and Gollito doing there thing...the music seems about right for the moment. If it's not, I apologize...I simply want to put one more bit of Andre up there.
Thandi is way cool. Jon Sassone is almost as cool (and a fantastic windsurfer. Thandi sails too, but Jon is crazy good. But cool as Thandi...?) Cooler still (and we're in a heat wave) are the upcoming screenings of Children of the Wind, the movie about the birth of windsurfing in Bonaire (the cradle of 21st century freestyle, and one of the great windsurfing vacation destinations.)
Here are the deets:
There's a screening hosted by Jon on Long Island, Tuesday August 6th at Huntington Arts Centre in Huntington, NY at 7:30 link- http://www.tugg.com/events/4770
Thandi is also hosting a screening in Upstate NY Aug. 08, 2013 West Nyack, NY, 8:00pm at AMC Loews Palisades Center 21 link -http://www.tugg.com/events/4857
Joe's Beach at Heckscher took too much damage for an event
to be possible next month. Here's the word from Mike Burns:
to all the East Coast
Windsurfing Festival racers,
freestylers, paddlers, tossers, spectators, formula guys, schloggers, crashers,
splashers, bobbers, buoys, officials, judges, and sponsors.
great sadness that we have to officially postpone the 2013 East Coast Windsurfing
Festival at Heckscher State
Park until 2014 :-(
due to damage that the park took during Hurricane
Sandy our usual
windsurfing launch at Field 7 is currently unavailable for use. Since our
usual beach will not be ready, the event has do be canceled for this year.
Don't worry though, it just gives you more time to prepare
yourself for the 2014 ECWF!!! We'll be back in full force for 2014 with
all the fun of the past years and then some! I'd like to thank you all
for the support for the event over the years and we're really looking forward
to holding more events in the near future!!
So get training, go hunting for
that light wind monster that someone inevitably has laying under a
pile of lumber in their back yard, and get your game on for the return of the
See you at the beach,
Now I'm even MORE bummed that I missed the 2012 Festival. Must start preparing for '14...
Andy Brandt and his merry crew of instructors are coming to Tiana next week (May 17-19) for three days of magnificent windsurfing instruction and fun. It's coming down to crunch time, meaning if you sign up now (and wait until the last minute) you may get shut out. ABK is strict about the ratio of students to instructors, and at some point in the next few days Andy will put a cap on the overall clinic size. So sign up ASAP!
Mistakes you don't want to make include:
*Waiting for the wind forecast to decide if you want to go. I've made this mistake, and regretted it. It goes wrong three ways: The forecast is wrong (the clinic gets better conditions than forecast,) the clinic is fantastic even on light wind days (and you have to listen to your friends rave about this, and see them sailing better all summer) and you miss the fun (and have to listen to the same friends go on about it.
*Assume that Andy will let you join at the last minute, even if the clinic is full. I haven't made this mistake, but I've watched people's faces fall in disappointment as they stood there (Napeague) cash in hand, gear on cars, and be told they can't join.
*Trust the ABK web site when it says there are plenty of spaces available. I love ABK, but the web site is not always running at the same speed as the clinics.
So sign up for the ABK clinic. It's going to be a great clinic at Tiana (which doesn't have the name cache of Napeague, but in opinion is better for more wind directions, easier in terms of parking and managing your gear, more convenient for Saturday night dinner, etc etc etc. As Scott says (or sings): "Oh, Tiana!"
(Photo: Don't get stuck inside your boom...ABK will help you prevent this. Unless you're a freestyler and want to do tricks...ABK will help you do this. Photo borrowed from ABK Boardsports.
Damage from Hurricane Sandy (and delays in getting Federal funding to repair Heckscher Park) rule out Field 7 (Joe's Beach) for the sixth annual East Coast Windsurfing Festival. The organizers need an idea for an alternate site, and right now they don't have one.
If you do, please reply here, or post them in the Yahoo LI Windsurfing Forum. Otherwise we may take 2013 off (and miss all the great racing and freestyle and SUP and board tossing and funification).
While on a windsurfing vacation in Aruba in 1997 I first heard about "the Bonaire kids", a collection of young (and very young) locals one island over who were windsurfing on antiquated gear, many of whom were fantastic windsurfers, and some of whom were astonishingly good tricksters. We now know the names of some of those kids: Kiri. Taty. Tonky. Etc. Review the PWA Freestyle rankings. THOSE Bonaire kids.
The story of windsurfing in Bonaire is an amazing tale, and a documentary about it years in the making, entitled Children of the Wind, will soon be screened in New York City on April 21.
There's no such thing as guaranteed wind. Doesn't matter what a meteorologist tells you...all you need to do is ask a group of windsurfers who have flown great distances to get to Sure Wind...the skunk stories come out, or at least long stretches of barely planable conditions. I've had the experience in Aruba, Bonaire, Hatteras, even Maui.
But not last week in Bonaire. For our seventh trip to Lac Bay could sail any time I wanted to. One afternoon I needed a 7.0, one morning I needed a 4.5, but the rest of the time it was all 5.5-6.1. Morning and afternoon sessions. Wind wind wind.
Such conditions have side effects. One positive effect was the daily opportunity to torture ABK instructor Brendon, who could be found every morning by the Jibe City rental center.
"Hi Brendon! What's the sail call?"
The first few times I asked he'd make a recommendation. About the fourth time he responded:
Brendon: "How long have you been windsurfing?"
Me: "Twenty one years."
Brendon: "So what do YOU think the sail call is?"
Me: "Come on, Brendon...you're sitting watching everyone sail, you know the idiosycracies of Lac Bay, you have the Keen Eye! What should I take?"
And invariably he'd make a recommendation (an excellent recommendation, btw). This was so much fun that I continued to ask him for sail advice daily, even when I knew exactly what the wind was doing. He'll take his vengence on me later this year at an ABK clinic, I've no doubt.
The one downside to all the wind was the lack of the Caesar Flowstyle show. Just about anybody who has been to Bonaire has had the pleasure of watching Caesar Finies do the seemingly impossible with a dancing rig in a light breeze, right in front of Jibe City (where he works).
On the off chance that you've never seen him do his thing, here's a video I shot in 2007:
(Photo: Brendon at the beach bar, wondering where he has to go to get away from me. Hey Brendon...you think a 5.5 will work?)
Recently in the Yahoo Long Island Windsurfers forum Mike Burns made reference to looping an F2 Sunset Slalom.
This is ridiculous. The F2 Sunset Slalom is best suited to intermediate windsurfers, getting them comfortable planing in the footstraps and perhaps beginning to learn the planing jibe. It is a doofuss board from yesteryear that should be impossible to loop. But Mike Burns, Long Island's finest and the King of the East, went and did it.
"Haha!!" Mike replied, when I told him I hated him. " Yup, I remember trying to get around all day at Heckscher on the
F2 Sunset and my 4.0 Northsails Zeta. Then finally I was able to
water-start away from one! Starboard tack, about even with the east end
of the parking lot. The very next attempt I broke my "indestructable"
Fiberspar Tidal Wave mast in half over my knees! Didn't try another
loop for at least 5 or so years when the KOTC came around and all those
guys were going for it. But still my first loop was on the trusty
sunset slalom. 101 ltrs!! Is it a coincidence that about 100 ltrs is
the current most popular freestyle board size? I think not!"
So the next time you see Mike Burns, just remember he looped a Sunset Slalom. Give him a piece of your mind (or ask him for tips!)
As a postscript, some of the Heckscher regulars are organizing a beach cleanup (I can only imagine how hard it's been pounded by Sandy etc) for Sunday Feb 24. Check in with the Yahoo group for details.
(image of the F2 Sunset Slalom pulled from a random website.)
I can barely raise my arms to the keyboard. I'm out of windsurfing and SUPsurfing shape, having suffered through a windless waveless hell of a season (until last Saturday glorious Saturday).
So all I'm going to share now is Saturday: Got a text from Christian and a voicemail from Peconic Jeff that Tiana Bay was capping. Drove there, rigged the 6.2, hopped on the 99 Skate and proceeded to enjoy a three man flatwater extravaganza. NW at Tiana Bay is super flat (promising for the upcoming ABK clinic in two weeks) so Jeff and I were going for carving freestyle (360's, backwind jibes, le duck) whilst Christian eschewed such frippery in favor of the classic step jibe.
After almost enough of a nice morning session the wind dropped as the forecast predicted it would, and I headed home. Wasn't there 20 minutes when I heard from Massimo, saying "come sail with me on Noyack Bay". Who could resist? The 6.2 came out again, this time on the 109, and there was more reaching and jibing and faux surfing the microswell wrapping around Jessups Neck. It was a darn near perfect day, how to kook it? I know, when putting my gear back in the van I'll ram my forehead into the fin of a board on the rack, and leave a fine red welt. Yeah, that's the ticket!
Tomorrow: The return of good waves (and Bill Barber).