George Pav was on the water
first. The winds weren’t fully on yet,
and George had to trade a long walk back (“it was worth it”) for the “head high
bombers on the outside” and downwind, but he was rolling up his 5.3 to move on
to other business while most of us were still rigging. “I got two full sessions!” he said, and
indeed he did.
Ponquogue Jeff (we’re field
testing the name) was seen carving a radical jibe off of a wave face. Also he had a good day with the rest of the
Bruce waxed poetic after
putting on a lovely display of fancypants wave carvage. “A watery face rose above me…translucent
green as I recall…”
Jan didn’t tell me her story
(I think because Bruce swiped her sail.)
Jeremy launched on the
sinkiest board at the sesh (“is he standing on the bottom?” more than one
onlooked asked) and drifted well downwind, but came back to shore all smiles.
Jonathan tried kiting, but
the chop on the water proved irritating to the major ding his ribs took a few
weeks ago while mountain biking. So
instead he made himself comfortable in the Wolfmobile and took pictures. (At press time, the Peconic Puffin is waiting. Will update ASAP.)
Scott told Bill it was one of
the best days at Ponquogue in SW ever.
Bill told Scott he was crazy.
Scott was not crazy about the best plan to get out through the impact
zone (walk slightly upwind, bear off and shoot out parallel to the sand
bar…worked for me.) Someone who didn’t
try it was
The Wolf, who nevertheless
did get out and into the downwind area pioneered earlier by Mr. Pav. The winds there were flukey, the current no help, and a Walk did
John “he only sails when it’s
perfect” Natalie’s presence lent some credence to Lord Scotworth’s appraisal,
though he said “I’m nuked on the outside but am light on the inside.”
Bill went kiting way on the
outside (it looked like he was at the buoy, but Bill says twasn’t so). Contrary to Scott, Bill thought the
conditions were “a mess”. I countered (seeking
the peaceful middle) that it was “busy”.
How’d I do? Well, Bill predicted disaster in the parking
lot, eyeing my trusty 5.3 as the tape that held it together was flapping in the
wind. “One hit by any beach break and that
thing is done,” Bill averred. Truth is
I knew the sail wouldn’t be in my quiver in 2014, but hoped to eek out the rest
of the season on it. I took five or six
runs of modest but enjoyable performance before fulfilling Bill’s
prophecy. It went like this:
the wave I wanted to come in to shore behind.
to put on some steam to catch it, as I picked a wave too close to the beach.
in towards the sand I had to sheet out and sink the tail so I wouldn’t go
hurtling face first into the sand.
off the board when the wave behind me hit.
the mast well under water, I had several long seconds to watch a two-foot
dumper rise as the water sucked back.
“Oh well” I thought.
So I took in the scene from shore for
an hour, until the wind swung offshore and really started honking. Time to pack it in/toss it in the
dumpster. I shed no tears…it was a good
(Photos by Jonathan Ford, except for the wrecked sail, courtesy the editor in chief.)
Indecision. Peconic Jeff to go to Ponquogue "for side-off SUPsailing". Scott was eyeing the whitecaps at Sebonac Inlet, declaring 4.7 conditions and "you're crazy if you think you can sail the ocean in NW!" I was torn. I knew from my one micro wave sesh in Hatteras several years ago that side-off made for sweet wave play, but my very limited side-off experience on Long Island warned me of gustiness and a fickle inside. What to do?
Scott: "You think I wouldn't be on the ocean if it was doable?" he asked with righteous indignation.
Jeff: "We're SUPPOSED to be wavesailing in side off," Jeff responded.
I called Jon Ford. Jon thought the Peconic was the way to go.
In the end I said to Jeff "you sail Ponquogue, I'll sail Sebonac, we'll compare notes later. Hopefully Ponquogue works.
It did! Jeff reports "Ponquogue was a blast. Easy-peazy 2nd grade wave sailing, with knee/thigh waves and the side-off direction we all crave. Caught my first off-the-lip aerial! It was baby-sized air, but it felt great."
This is great news. I'm sure Jonathan will be able to add some analysis that refines the "Ponquogue works in NW" working theory (maybe there was a teense more W in it than pure NW) , but for now, it's on!
And we may need to change Peconic Jeff's name to Ponquogue Jeff.
Oh no...wait...they absolutely tear it up! The Canadian Windsurfing page on Facebook recently posted a bunch of photos from Sandbanks Beach in Ontario, where it was gusting to 50 knots. Go there (Sandbanks, or if that's not feasible, the Facebook page) to check out the action.) Or check out this post by Fish, who sailed the sesh.
Down the line lake wave sailing...oh yeah! (All photos borrowed from Canadian Windsurfing where they are credited to John Vu. I particularly like the top photo...mast tips barely visible above the waves. Rock on up there!)
I had a most excellent session at Napeague on Saturday. But there was another session we must tell you about, featuring the usual suspects plus waves, at Cupsogue. If only I had been there too! But I wasn't, so here is Peconic Jeff's report:
"Nearly everyone got stuck in the soft sand and had to let out air, but once there we found nukin' 4.2/4.7. Christian & I had first checked out Ponquogue, which looked muuuch better: cleaner, more organized waves, but the Cup offered zero shorebreak.
Scott got some major air on a few jumps, and Jon Sassone was throwing bottom turns and cutbacks in the thick of the breaking waves. Christian had a 'breakthrough day', popping up and over breaking whitewater with ease. First day sailing with gloves & booties!
Sailor roll call: Scott, Wolf, Bruce, Jan, myself (Jeff), Christian, Jon Ford, Anders,
Jon Sassone, Sasha & Christina, & John Natalie."
An editor's note: John "he only sails when conditions are perfect" Natalie is an excellent indicator of the day's quality. If I could have only been in two sessions at once!
(From the top: Scott and Bruce line them up. Air Scott. Air Wolf. Jonathan. There's no picture of Jeff Schultz because this is Jeff Schultz photography...thanks Jeff!)
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.
The language that describes what we do with stand up paddle boards has been in beta for a few years now. Yeah we all know SUP, but then what? I've called SUPing in the waves SUPsurfing. Not too hard. But how do you say, for example: stand up paddle board windsurfing on waves? No less than Dasher (He Who Taught Me To Jibe) weighed in, with Wave WindSUPing, and who am I to argue?*
I finally did it (wave windSUPing). Took the AllWave with a 6.2 out at Ponquogue to join Jeff, George Pav, and Jonathan Ford in light crossshore winds for some well-spaced chest-high waves. I got about half a dozen rides before smashing my right wrist in the impact zone (a little two foot wave threw board into me)...ensuing numbness plus bleeding plus broken uni seemed like an excellent threesome of reasons to Stop. But before that it was so good! Here is how George Pav described it in the Yahoo LI Windsurfing group: "Four to six turns on very clean waves. Could be one of my top wave riding days ever. Conditions were perfect."
My first wave windSUP sesh. May my second come soon!
*I never argue with Dasher when it comes to windsurfing. Well, I did once. The moment I stopped arguing and did what he said (in a jibe lesson, against my will) I had my first controlled planing jibe. That was in 1999. To this day whenever I find myself having jibing problems I flash back to my lessons in Aruba, and Do What Dasher Said.
(Top: Footstraps were very much wanted as I went off that wave. Middle: George Pav lines up his next turn. Bottom: Even I had a good day! Photos by Jeff Schultz.)
It's like this: The best wavesailing day in years comes along, and I had to go to (say it with me):
The horror. Reading the text messages (4.7 going off! Head High Sets!) on the way to the church. Bill Barber's comment on the Puffin the next day ("nukin' wind fun head high waves and some shorebreak rejections at ponquogue saturday......why all the whining-where were you sir? ") Just awful. I actually like the couple that got married very much, and any other day would have been happy to be there, but...argh! As Peconic Jeff noted, I was the wind sacrifice. I weep bitter tears.
On the water: Pete Roesch, Jon Ford, Scott, Peconic Jeff, Bill Barber, Jon Sassone, more lucky people.
I had to get back to the city. Just as Rt. 39 turned to highway I began getting texts about "4.7 at the Bowl" but I had things to do in NYC.
Ten minutes later it hit me. "What am I doing?" Took the next exit, headed back east, grabbed the van etc etc...an hour later I launched with a 5.3. City Shmitty...I'll deal with that stuff Friday!
1. In the last 18 months I have had all of one ocean session.
2. See #1. (Thank goodness for SUPsurfing!)
@thebowl I found Scott, the Wolf, George Pav, Bruce, and my neighbor Bill (catching his first East End ocean sesh!) Also Marty and some kiters (Johns Sassone and Ford would hit the water later). Finally got to take the 99 Skate out (which I bought as a lightwind wave board) but soon switched down to the 93 FSW. No proper waves formed, but the swell was jump and jibeworthy.
In days of olde yesterday's Bowl conditions would have been considered mediocre...up and down winds, no proper breaking waves. But when you've been denied ocean sailing for so long, the hills and valley are wonderful and sweet even without bottom turns and cutbacks.
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!
I missed it Monday. But Jeff and Scott did not. Peconic Jeff reports:
"Sweet session this afternoon at Ponquogue! Scott & I full powered on 4.7, 3-6' waves, sunny, perfectly sideshore, big airs and one frontside wave ride with 4 bottom/top-turns. About 30 seconds before the Wolf & Bill Barber* showed up, I launched into a giant back loop crash. Felt like I was in the air for a good 3-4 seconds. Not bad for my first wave sailing sesh of the year.
* - Bill thought we were talking out of our ass about the condtions. Maybe not up to Puerto Rican standards, but still sweet for desperate Long Islanders!"
Oh man. Damn damn damn. I mean, good for them, but I MISSED IT! Damn.
One data point of interest is Jeff's capture of iWindsurf's Mecox meter for the day. Check it out. 18-20 ENE at Mecox in the Spring should mean Ponquogue is windy!
It's that time of the year when the Peconic Puffin staff usually proclaims envy, jealousy, antipathy, perfidiosity...you name it...at Bill Barber and John Hulse, who wisely spend the winters windsurfing and kiting and surfing in Puerto Rico. But in 2013 we have mellowed (also we're getting over a bad cold). So above we will simply note that Bill (sailing) and Dimitri (kiting) are enjoying Shacks a few days ago. Mr. Bahbah did not get out today, as apparently the big waves were coming in at 20 feet. Poor Bill.
It had been a solid year since I windsurfed in the ocean. Arm injuries over the winter and lack of conditions this Spring/Summer...if it weren’t for SUP I’d have forgotten what ocean swell and surf were like.
But finally we caught some! Not much breaking, but beautiful rolling swell 4-6 feet at the Bowl made jibing glorious, and there were enough steep slopes to play with the occasional bottom turn. We’ve all been so starved for wind and waves that the place was a grin factory. Scott, Frank, Jon, Jan, Bruce, the Wolf, Bill, Jimi Jam, and more were all ecstatic.
For some bizarre reason Peconic Jeff was late to ring the enthusiasm bell.
At first he said he was going to the ABK clinic (a tough choice to make, with the mighty Andy Brandt preaching freestyle just 3 miles down the road.) But then Jeff showed at the Bowl and started taking pictures, (Jeff is a serious photographer) but
DUDE...I’M ON A 5.2 AND THE SWELL IS NEAR HEAD HIGH!
After snapping some photos (including the one here of The Silver Surfer Jan ripping) Jeff did finally rig and join the fun. At which time I was rigging down to 4.5.
Warm, windy, good swell, and uncharacteristically for the Bowl, no rain. It takes a lot to get me to skip an ABK clinic. I got it!