The Wolf continued to dominate the media spotlight over weekend, following his dramatic rescue at New Suffolk last week. “I hope the Giants win so this nonstop Wolf coverage calms down,” Jeff Slecta said to me yesterday (the Giants won but the Peconic Puffin isn’t done just yet!).
In his latest interview with The Southampton Press the Wolf dazzled reporters, telling them he seeks out extreme conditions all over the world “because that’s what it’s all about”, and “no doubt” he’d go out again in the conditions that found him bobbing sans gear in the South Race (45mph gusts, swell 4-7 feet.)
I would ask the Wolf if he needs an agent, but I can already hear his response: “No. I’ve got it under control.”
Movie rights are complicated, though. And will he want approval on casting? Tom Selleck plays Scott, of course, but who plays the Wolf? Eastwood is the natural choice but he could be hard to get.
Tonight on USA, if you should turn on the dippy "Royal Pains" (which follows the exploits of a doctor serving the uber-rich in in the Hamptons) you can catch some of the Long Island fleet in the background (catch a few seconds in the video promo.)
In order to capture the Hamptons watersports scene, the producers decided to shoot at West Neck. Go figure. Actually West Neck is a beautiful spot (site of last October's Fall Regatta) and has lots of features that made it more amenable for a day of shooting than, say, Ponquogue or Napeague (I know these things.)
Windsurfers on hand adding spice, color, and general windsurfing excitement? Kevin O'Shea reports the crew included Steve Domjan, Jill Marr, Buddha Mike, Dan, Christina Clement, Joanne, and K-Dog himself.
The Long Island Press (my first employer...I had a paper route with them a zillion years ago) is running a "best of Long Island" survey, and in the Sports category Windsurfing Hamptons is a nominee under "extreme sports".
As it's the only windsurfing nominee, I encourage all windsurfers to vote for it, to encourage visibility of windsurfing.
As I am a long-time fan of the shop, I encourage everybody to vote for it.
As my righteous sailing buddy Jon Ford is the proprietor, I encourage all windsurfers to vote for it.
While you're there you can also vote for Long Island's best in skate shops, fishing, surfing, golf, marinas etc. Just remember to remember the Peconic Puffin's half-baked, screwball kook editorial in support of our local shop!
Mayhaps you've noticed the paucity of functioning webcams... (editor's note: we slapped him. Take two:)
Long Island webcams have been on the fritz lately...the Gilgo Cam was off, with a note of "bandwidth exceeded" for explanation, the Cooper Beach cam was stuck with an image from a week ago, and the Meschutt cam on the Great Peconic went into lockdown two weeks ago.
Gilgo and Cooper are back, but the bay cam is still down as of post time. I'd mention the Shinnecock Inlet station (for both wind and its cam) but it's down so often that its not news. How great would it be if it:
A. Worked, and
B. Shifted its gaze from the Inlet and looked 45 degrees to the right, at our beloved Bowl?
Pretty darn great. Good, surely!
On a seperate note, we're stoked to find not one but two mentions in the current issue of WindSport magazine. In the article "World Windsurfing Web" editor Pete DeKay writes "It's a big deal to see oneself on the Peconic Puffin, Bill's OBX Beachlife, Maui Surf Report, James' Blog or G-42 to name just a few sites." We can't speak for the other blogs, but for our part we say "we know, we apologize, we didn't mean it, we were just trying to be funny." Later in the magazine in the "getting real" column, a profile of wind Buddha maker Michael Jamieson (who is golden with the Puffin as we bask under the serene gaze of our wind Buddha we get a nod as an early fan of Michael's work. So we're stoked x2. Actually x3, as time spent on WindSport.com found lots of great new video and instructional articles...check out "Phil and Matt's Baja Adventure" for starters.
It had nothing to do with windsurfing. But to be in New York City the night of Election Day...to hear the sound of the city when Barack Obama was declared the next President of the United States...it was so overwhelming that I took some photos and wrote a quick post.
To my jaw-dropped surprise, The New York Times website included the post in their list of blogs whose coverage they were reading.
It made me proud. I imagined historians in the future poring through the Times as they research that night in New York. They'll click on "a sea of exuberance in Union Square". They'll read my humble little piece and nod. Then they'll scroll down a few posts and see me wearing my puffin mask and realize they're in the belly of a goofball beast.
So thank you WindSport magazine for the item on this extraordinarly brilliant windsurfing blog. Go directly to page 30 and skip all the other stuff in their first issue of the year.
Actually, don't skip the other stuff. Editor Pete DeKay is starting out 2008 strongly, with (in addition to spotlighting 2008 windsurfing equipment and The Peconic Puffin) looks at real world wave sailing, helmet philosophy, and serves up a lot of great photos for when you're done with the words part.
Windsurfing doesn't do well in most newspaper headlines. Either the headline is about someone being rescued (and it's usually a kiter being rescued but the reporter screwed it up) or it's someone making windsurfers out to be crazy or extreme or whatever (not that these contingents aren't well represented in our community.) When a local Long Island newspaper chose to put a great photo of me (thank you thank you thank you!) on their front page, captioned with neither bad news nor hyperbole, Frank approved, and commented thus:
"Michael, I just saw the cover photo of you on the Riverhead Newspaper from your site. Great photo. It’s so nice to see news coverage of our sport with out the superlatives; extreme, or rescue."
I'm with you, Frank, particularly re windsurfing photos captioned "rescue".
Even more particularly, photos of ME windsurfing, captioned "rescue."
But that would be better than a photo of me windsurfing, captioned "his remains were found..."
Which I suppose would still beat a photo of me windsurfing, captioned "he was last seen being dragged below the surface by huge sharks."
That would really suck.
(photo: The cover of the Riverhead News-Review. Click and squint to read the perfectly reasonable caption.)
(Additional note: Frank Messina played a small but important role in my windsurfing past: He is the first windsurfer I ever saw do a planing jibe. I'd been windsurfing for two years with people who either did not care about jibing or who did not plane through their jibes, and while I'd heard of the thing, seeing it happen was a revelation. Frank carved beautiful jibes. I immediately moved from the "I don't care" contingent to the lowest ranks of the "I must jibe" crew.)
When The Wolf called to say that some guys were heading to the Pier my response was reportedly less than enthusiastic. I distinctly remember saying "okay, see you there!" But hours later as we reflected on the fine session, John said to me "so you like it here now? Because you sounded tentative when I called."
"I was intimidated" I confessed.
My first Iron Pier session had been some of the most challenging windsurfing I'd ever done. There was the occasional spectacular reach or good jump, but mostly it was survival sailing for me (the Pier vets did well.) So when John called and said "Pier" I may have agreed, but what I wanted to do was whine "doesn't anybody like Sebonac Inlet anymore? Doesn't anybody like Meschutt?"
(Shut up and drive, Michael.)
But when I arrived at the Pier, conditions were blessedly a hair lighter than last time, and I was grateful. Sailing with the Wolf, Jon Ford (fresh back from Maui,) John H and Frank, sail sizes on the water were 4.2 (Wolf) to 5.4 (Mr. Ford) with me overpowered on a 5.0 and 77 liters of aircraft.
I'd taken a few exploratory runs and was standing on the beach (working up the nerve to go back out and really charge) when about a dozen puffins flew by, only about 50 feet away. Talk about an omen! They were the first puffins I've seen this fall, and I've never had them fly so close! Their message was clear: Time to fly!
So I did. While not sailing particularly well I proceeded to have plenty of fun anyway. The puffins also buzzed Jon Ford, who told me he too took their appearance as a commandment from the cosmos to shred. Jon showed off his best Maui-honed chops as he rode wave after wave (we lesser beings also played with the waves, but Mr. Ford was on top of his game.)
So now I like the Pier.
(Inset: A newspaper photographer (Barbaraellen Koch of the Riverhead News-Review) had shown up at the previous Iron Pier session and graciously provided the Peconic Puffin with photos from the day. It got even better when they slapped that photo on the cover of last week's newspaper.)
Local media seems to have discovered Long Island blogs.
Last week's Long Island Press boasted the cover story Citizen Journalists: Long Island Blogs Tackle Topics from Politics to Sports to Rude Behaviour in the Hamptons, and Beyond. It's not clear whether the Peconic Puffin falls under "sports" or "beyond" but we're in there. We've also just done an interview for Hamptons.com.