Yikes! A fool with his fool friends dives off a cliff without looking where he was going first, and is nearly impaled on the mast of a passing. What else can you say? Shish Kebab, nearly.
Thanks Jerry Evans for posting in iWindsurf.
It was cold on the beach. "Wind chill" said Scott, but I thought it was the humidity. "What works is a long hood that covers your neck," Scott continued, showing me his, which is attached to his wetsuit. Mine doesn't come more than halfway down my neck. Must go shopping...I imagine a hood/shirt combo.
Jeff, the Wolf, George Pav, Scott, a seal and I hit Ponquogue (ESE 18-20, 3-4 foot waves) on everything from 5.3's to my 6.2 (the seal did not rig). The shore break wasn't particularly strong but it came all the way to the sand, so you had to carry your board over white water and get on fast while you still had water beneath your fin. This the Wolf would not do. And so Lord vanderWolf got worked, trying to time the perfect moment (which he did once, took a nice ride out and caught a fine wave back in. Once.) After an hour of abuse, finding himself a few hundred yards down the beach having had to chase his gear, he called it a day.
I myself had issues with arm strength...the lack of. Too little windsurfing over the winter made sailing unhooked a bear, and I had to come in to the beach a lot. Still was having a good time until I heard Scott say something about "it's time for 5.2" when it occurred to me that I was tired from carrying too much sail. Doh! With sand blowing down the beach all the 4WD guys rerigged on the spot. I had to hike to the parking lot, and by the time the 6.2 was down I was chilled to the bone, and so went girlyman, calling it a day as the Wolf drove by. My old 5.5 isn't waveworthy anyway...must go shopping.
Jeff had a waveworthy sail. But in his words he took one wave too many. How fixable is it? We await word. He may need to join me shopping!
All photos and video by Jeff Schultz. Scott goes back side, I contemplate a large seal, Jeff's sail, and Jeff's compilation video of the day.
I met it as the Hoss Tack. A crazy jibey looking thing in Aruba, as performed by Andy Brandt and Jason Voss. A carved question mark. That was 2000.
I was hitting the occasional Hoss (ugly but dry) a few months later, but not long after that I caught the move on a Peter Hart tape, which referred to the move as a Push Tack. Boar-ring! Who wants to do a push tack? Where is the poetry? Hoss tack please! But by and by I kept hearing and reading "push tack" and finally found self saying "'hoss tack', usually called 'push tack'" to cover my ass. There was no joy in Puffinville.
Then just a few days ago I stumbled over this: "The Haas-Tack is a flashy transition that integrates a variety of technical skills such as switch stance riding, backwinding, and clew first sailing. When mastered this move is a flowing and artistic maneuver showing graceful sail and board control. Sometimes called (erroneously) a Push-Tack. Invented by Hass Jahrmarkt of Tangier, Morocco while experimenting with a variation of the Duck-Tack." You can also find it spelled "Hass"...I suppose only Mr. Jahrmarkt knows for sure.
Did some Googling and found this in several places. Erroneously called a Push-Tack! They might have added "unimaginatively" and "boringly" and "tediously"! Yeah! Haas! Go throw a Haas Tack. If you can't, go learn it. (I know the idea of backwinded clew-first sailing in planing conditions does not immediately sound...attractive or attainable, it is possible and it is fun. I hit my first one on a Seatrend slalom board with a cammed 7.5 sail. That is about as stupid as it gets, and I suck at freestyle, and I still hit it. So you definitely can!)
(In the video at the top, I hit (barely) a Haas Tack in Bonaire while being coached by Pete Dekay in an ABK clinic (2004). The still photo is of Hoss, for whom I thought the tack was named. Now I'm wondering if the dude tacks at all.)
It looks pretty great too. A cross between the usual Bonaire mastery, James Bond, and a Mike Burns fantasy session! Learned about it from Dasher, by way of Mike Gebhardt. None of the trustafarian faux reggae and third rate metal crap that I dislike (but apparently most freestylers enjoy). Hey nobody ever said The Peconic Puffin had taste! Hope you like this anyway.
Jeff: "This was probably my best day of the year."
Me: "This was one of my best days of all time. Best conditions in three years."
Thank you thank you thank you L Road. In the last few years I've felt that I was tricked into SUPsurfing by conditions we used to get, but see no longer. Well-spaced, well formed waves coming in sets you can see from a distance. Plenty of wave for everyone, all day. I haven't had anything like this for years...it's all been slop and closeouts. Okay I'm exaggerating but in the Olde Days of a few years ago it was much better.
Sunday brought it all back. Jeff, the Wolf and I had L Road to ourselves, as beautiful sets of 4-6 footers (with the occasional 7) came rolling through. Beautiful long lefts and rights. Little or no dues to pay. Nice spaces between the sets to get back out. And an offshore breeze that held the wave faces up so long you had to wait until you thought they were going to crash on top of you to catch them. Wonderful. Jeff was slashing it up on his Starboard Go...he's getting so good on that windsurfing board that "my next SUP board purchase will be informed by the Go." I don't know how many bottom turn/cutbacks I linked together, but I certainly set a new record for myself yesterday. And the Wolf had fun too, though he arrived after the best portion of the day. To cap it all off, Jeff's Aunt Cindy was on shore, snapping photos, which is a treat because usually photos in the Puffin are by Jeff, not of Jeff. She snapped enough that Jeff was able to stitch together a few video clips. Here he is, putting the Go through it's SUPsurfing paces:
You can watch the whole thing, of course. I'm saying first go to about 6 minutes and let it play for 20 seconds. The top turn at 6:14...takes about .75 seconds...that's the whole game right there.
I was sent this clip in an email titled "King of Humans". It was sent by the mighty Mark Skelton of Cape Hatteras and the nascent Windsurfing Museum (Like it on FB). I saw Robby sail in Hatteras back in 1997. Video utterly fails to convey how (need a word that means awesome but isn't tired like awesome) it is to behold. Though the fraction of a second at 6:14 isn't bad.
Witness Peconic Jeff standup paddling a windsurfing board. In the waves. Oh yeah! "The footstraps are like kick pads," Jeff told me while waiting for a wave. I caught up to Jeff and Christian at Ponquogue on Saturday (knee high waves), and Jeff (apparently in between SUP boards...let the swap meet come!) was riding his Starboard Go. And doing quite well. The width looked particularly good to me. Watch the video!
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.
I love Cape Hatteras, and so I go every year. Except I've missed the last three years. I must correct this.
Ever correct though are the Reef Warriors, who thrash water and rum with equal fervor. The video above is found on their site. Not for the faint of liver...rum was harmed during the makings, they warn!
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?)