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?)
I was tricked into SUP surfing. Peconic Jeff put me on a board with a paddle three years, when the ocean was serving up day after day of clean, well-defined sets, color by numbers waves...all of a sudden there was a wonderful alternative to windsurfing for days without whitecaps. I bought a board, had a great year and a half, and then conditions went away. We still got waves, but they've been messy, peaky, hard (I'm not very good at this) and anyone near me has heard me bitch mightily about the shortcomings of waves these days, and my hankering for Conditions of Olde.
Sunday I got 'em.
Glorious sets, 4-6 feet (then 5-7 feet) at Flying Point. Myself, the Wolf, Joe Natalie, Jonathan, Scott cackling a chimply soundtrack in his kayak, Bill Barber (fresh back from Barcelona, on vaig gaudir molt dels museus) and the trickster Jeff went, went right, went steeply down the faces in a moderate off-shore breeze. Glorious. Jeff had his paddle-mounted GoPro fired up, and a great time was had by all. Between Saturday's windsurfing and Sunday's SUPfest, it was a perfect weekend. M-F would be so much nicer if all S-S went like this.
Thank you wind and water gods!
(video by Jeff...we'll both swear that we were on this wave for half a minute.)
John Kerry took a beating in his presidential bid over being a windsurfer. Of course the leader of the opposing campaign allowed himself to be called "turd blossom" in public, so hopes for dignity...what were we thinking would be said about windsurfing?
A few days ago a television commentator opined that dressage was almost as "hoity toity" as windsurfing. The horror. Turns out one of the presidential candidates like dressage a lot, for which he's taken to task by MSNBC's commentator Lawrence O'Donnell.
The best highlight is towards the end, talking about Jim Drake.
With only two weeks left to the winter, medoubts that the iceboards will be seen out east this season. Bellport and Mecox are not going to freeze over...
("SCREECH!!!" I hear varied disembodied friends and poltergeists shreiking. "What the heck are you doing...trying to JINX it? Are you a goshdarn evil GROUNDHOG? Dude...shut up!")
Ahem. As I was saying, we are not likely to get sufficient ice in what's left of this Very Warm Winter. A blizzard in April perhaps (my dentist predicts thus) but no ice sailing. The Wolf's Shopping Cart, Jeff Slecta's collection of ice rides...they shall not carve.
To fill the void, Shelter Island windsurfer Chris sent me a link to this video, shot in New Hampshire. These guys are going fast. As I always think when I'm on the ice, where are the brakes?
With the bulk of the Puffin/Wind Chimp community up north snowboarding at CD's place (wish I coulda made it!) I have no tales of derring-do (or doofus do) of my own to share. So thank you Bill Nightingale for sending this peach...Alaska wakeboarding (featuring a special appearance by a puffin 56 seconds into the video.) Enjoy!