Attention all windly hopeful: Scott thinks Sunday is going to be a big day. Windy. Wavy. Me I think getting excited about a forecast five days out is an exercise in windsuffering. But in the meantime, lets hear it for Sunday!
Taking a break from the 4.7 conditions, the conversation turned to our feet.
"Why are you wearing winter booties" I asked Scott. The water was warmish...I was more than comfortable in my summer booties.
"They don't let sand in," Scott replied. I couldn't remember the last time sand in my booties was an issue.
"Look at your feet," Scott said to Hulse. "You have red tyrannosaurus rex feet!"
I checked out Hulse's feet. They were red, but lacked the ripping and tearing claws that are the hallmark of T-rex feet.
Then we went back out sailing. Wind straight from the north (good but not great for Meschutt) it was Dr. Pain, Joe Natalie, Christian, the Wolf, Hulse, Scott, yours truly, Bill Barber (still on his Long Island visa) and more playing on the Great Peconic with the occasional decent ramp, though not the perfect halfpipes that are Meschutt's calling card on NW blows. Just the thing for a Sunday afternoon, and who cares about a bit of rain? I had to leave midway through the sesh, but the wind was picking up when I did, and I 'spect a number of the guys rigged down to 4.2.
Whining heard about the terrain today at East Landing:
“My teeth are getting rattled.”
“My kidneys doth complaineth.”
“The chop sucks.”
I windsurf with a pack of old women, who spend their water time contemplating their vaginas. Probably I shouldn't say that because they're all better sailors than me, and most of them are bigger. Too late.
It was bumpy, and rainy to boot. But it was also 4.2, so Peconic Jeff, Dr. Pain, Natalies John and Joe, Scott, Bill, Jonathan and myself had some fun on the Great Peconic, in the NE that was gusty but strong (at Napeague/Gardiners it was strictly 3 meter sailing...I'm still getting back into shape for that, and happily most of the wind chimps passed as well.) But those bumps. They were fine with me...I said "you guys, I didn't even know from good conditions until I started sailing with you ten years ago. I ALWAY sailed in stupid chaotic chop!" It was true.
In any event, four meter sailing is always good times!
It had been two years since my last sesh at Gardiners Bay ("Goff Point!" Scott says). I was intimidated...Gardiners gets big (we don't call it Land of the Giants for nothing) and I'm out of windsurfing shape from a summer of waterly indolence. But who can pass up the drama, the excitement? Gardiners wasn't huge but it was solid medium, and so I joined Scott, Jonathan, the Wolf, Fisherman, John Natalie, Jan and Bruce, and (in a special return engagement, straight from Cape Hatteras) Bill Barber. Regular sized guys were on 3.7's and 4.'2's, with larger specimens on 4.7's, and whatever Jan was on it was working (3.3?)
I could only manage about 90 minutes of water time before arms were fried, but I'm looking forward to getting back out somewhere today (if I can sheet in.) Saturday looks windable too...get out there!
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.)
Watch out, world...I'm back on the water. After two months of landlocked exile, I returned to windsurfing yesterday, sailing with Bill at Mecox. Beautiful 6.2 conditions, and a jibatorium perfect for remembering how to do this darn sport. We ripped back and forth for an hour before Bill had to leave for a sailboat race.
As we stood on shore talking about how great a sesh it had been, a woman walked up and asked us how bad the water was. "What?" we said (or words to that effect). She told us how the toxic algae had given her dog pneumonia and so on, pointing at the signs that we had walked by several times, oblivious:
Don't you like how my gear is on the other side? Oops. Mrs. Puffin arrived as we discovered the situation...she was going to rig and join me on the bay...but we thought better of it and instead repaired to our house, where my better half launched with a 4.5 on the inlet, to practice pivot jibes and tacking. I changed at the house (didn't want to track any Mecox contamination into good water) and as I stood on our beach watching Her progress, she dropped the sail and pointed at my board shorts. Which were on inside out.
"A new windsurfing shop in Manhattan" I wondered? Then "could it be a sailboat store?" No and No. At the site of what used to be Paul Smith's menswear shop (where I once interviewed Dee Dee Ramone) North Sails now appears to be a fashion brand. Oh well. I saw a surf shop in Kansas last month. Yep.
The Save The Waves Film Festival is making it's way along the East Coast, and will be stopping in Easthampton on Friday September 2nd at Guild Hall. Noted Puffin/Wind Chimp/maker of films Christian has a hand in it, and he says "it'll be a spectacular evening of beer, surf movies and attention to this fragile playground we get to take advantage of so much."
How do you say no to that?
Other stops on the tour include Virginia Beach and Long Beach Island, but if you want to say Hi to Christian you'll really need to get out to East Hampton. For more information, check out the Save The Waves Film Festival web site.
There had been the optimistic sense that you could park at South Jamesport without a permit. Now the word is: WRONG!
A wind chimp who shall not be named to protect his anonymity had a chat with a constable. "Locals have been complaining" he learned. The officer said a parking permit is needed until September 30th. They will be giving tickets. The land of NO!
The fine is $100
There's a sign calling for permits at Mattituck to, is the word.
Be careful parking up there in high season!
(Peconic Jeff did all the good work on this report. Anything clumsily worded is by the editor.)
He is coming. They are coming. And so we all should be going! Two ABK windsurfing clinics on Long Island, and one in New Jersey, courtesy Andy Brandt and his ace team of instructors. The Napeague clinic is sold out, but spots still remain for the Tiana clinic (Tiana with its shallow friendly waters, lots of parking, bathrooms and proximity to the ocean beaches.) If you're an ABK veteran you know the deal. If you're not but always wanted to try one, take advantage of September's warm waters! If you don't know about ABK, it's outstanding instruction tailored to your skill level (with groups for everybody from First Time Windsurfers to Accomplished Freestylers and everyone in between.) The wife and I are taking a clinic...you should too! As ABK says: Get Better Here! (Also it's loads of fun and you make new friends.) The dates:
What the heck happened to the blog? One post per month? Lame... Yes it's true. The "why" is my wife and I rented out our house for the summer, and so your humble editor is marooned in New York City until Labor Day weekend is concluded. My skin is dry and itchy...my body feels wrong. Acute lack of salt water exposure, aggravated by a lack of planing, exacerbated by a lack of wave therapy. Just terrible. In the interim there may be the odd guest report (thank you Peconic Jeff for the last one) and I may sneak out one midweek day if the stars align. Until then, good sailing and surfing to you!
(guest report filed by Peconic Jeff. The editor hasn't had access to the water in a month.)
"Michael, you missed a sweet summer session at Jamesport Friday! A hot thermal had windsurfers sweating in board shorts, and riding 4.7 & 86L rigs. The roster included Scott (leading the charge), Dr. Dan, Dr. Pain, Joe, Christian, Jon Ford, and the Wolf, plus 1 kiter. By late afternoon, nukage prevailed, with sand blowin’ and Scott yelling “4.2!!!”. I was too exuberant, and managed to tweak my left hamstring while over-shredding backside waves. When I left at 7pm, people were still sailing.
Meanwhile on the ocean, Johns Natalie & Hulse caught 3-4’ waves (5.8 for the Nat, 9m for Hulse) at the Cupsogue wreck."
Thank you Peconic Jeff! I hope to rejoin the Puffin/wind chimp collective in August.
(Top: Jon Ford sets a firm rail. Bottom: Chimply Lord Scotworth (the Earl of Kielt) airs it out. Photos by Jeff Schultz.)