David has been asking about the Bowl for awhile. When would a good day for him to try it? His first LI wave day?
Saturday it was!
Along with the Brothers Natalie, Scott, the Wolf, Arty (returned from the Gorge), Jon Ford and yours truly, in 2-3 foot swell with no beach break, David went in! Full props. And the usual ocean newbie stuff:
Q: How was waterstarting?
Q: Did you worry about sharks?
For the rest of us it was smooth sailing...what the Bowl lacked in wave size it almost made up for in smoothness. It was calm enough on the inside that I was throwing duck jibes for fun. On the outside there was still swell to jibe off of. Good day!
SUNDAY BONUS: Mecox. Me lit on a 6.2 (should have rigged the 5.4) blowing Carve 360's. Some days I"m 100%, others I'm nowhere. I was nowhere.
(no pix from the Bowl unfortunately. That's me on a southerly from the Yacht Club.)
“It’s not raining…what are we doing here” I asked the Wolf.
“It’s rare” he replied. “What a day!”
Indeed. When conditions are prime for the Bowl, rain usually accompanies the eastern wind. And there’s a bit of chop on the water too. But not yesterday. Warm sun, smooth waters, luxuriously long periods between the waves and no shore break combined to serve up the Return to Waves that we all needed (I needed it, at any rate!) Scott, George Pav, the Wolf, Hulse (strung to a kite) Jan and Bruce, and later Jon Ford reveled in the 4.7-5.4 conditions. Swell was 4-5 feet with the occasional six footer…and CLEAN. I completely blew the sail flip jibing on the face of a 5 footer, but I was well placed on the wave and I’d swear my board speed never dropped below 20 as I fumbled my way to the inbound tack. Suh Weet. Would have been an ideal day for ocean novices. No walks of shame, no beach break rejections, no rides through the inlet.
Oh Happy Day.
(What is wrong with this picture? It's sunny at the Bowl!)
I hadn't been in the water in 90 days. That's probably a record for me in the last decade. Way too long! But Christian pinged me on Friday about the possibility of a Saturday paddle, and I said Count Me In. Then a breeze came up and SUP became SUPSailing, with Mr. Charles and Joe Natalie, at Dolphin Road. Thigh high with the occasional legit three footers, we had a fine time. 38 degrees but sunny. Using the Long Island Rule of 100:
Air temp + Water temp + Wind speed + weeks since last session + 5 if it's sunny yielded
Award-winning surfer Kai Lenny shares “breath-taking sessions with international champions of big wave, progressive surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, and SUP" in this film created by Johnny Decesare and one of the original Peconic Puffins: Jace Panebianco! There's a special screening at the Parish Art Museum in Southampton Friday September 29th at 6PM. Be there!
Yes she is. Mary Lee, three thousand five hundred pounds of Great White Hell is coming for to eat you up. The good people at OCEARCH track her and other sharks for the betterment of science. 'Cause sharks are really great. Just look at the pictures.
In photo #1 Mary Lee skids to a halt after jumping on a boat to eat some dude.
In photo #2 a cheap windsurfer tries to grab a pair of masts that Mary Lee coughed up like a hairball. Dude doesn't realize that if he pulls he's going to end up with two bottom pieces. What, he's gonna stick his arms in her mouth to get the tops?
Anyhow Mary Lee was in Atlantic City yesterday, and is headed north. While we've had some good ocean sessions at the Bowl and Ponquogue of late, methinks East Landing on the Peconic is sounding pretty good.
Back in his sailboat racing days, Christian once crewed on a around-the-world race. I assume that means he sailed around Cape Horn, that legendary stretch of sea at the bottom of Chile known as a sailors graveyard. From Sailing World: "Cape Horn has long been the most iconic landmark in the minds of sailors, and sailing around the Horn is a huge challenge."
Closer to puffinly windchimpdom is another horn that windsurfers have been known to round: The jetty tip leading into Shinnecock Inlet. A number of windsurfers have come into trouble near the inlet opening (usually the wind has died, and or swirling currents make waterstarting a challenge) and an incoming tide has pulled them in, only to spit them out a few minutes later in Shinnecock Bay. Happened to Frank a few weeks ago, and heck, if Frank can be dragged in, who among us is not inlet bait?
The day started as a questionable Bowl sesh. It was 5ish meter sails and big boards (me on the JP 109 with a 5.4) doing a lot of gagging and some planing. Why bother? Clean sets of 3-4 foot waves, that's why! Frank, Christian and I were first on it, followed by Bill Nightingale and later John Nat (despite the lack of perfect conditions). Young Jon Ford and the Wolf both looked and demured.
But some of us were out there enjoying the gusts and lulls. I came in to guzzle some water, took my eye off the ocean for 30 seconds, and then Lo a sail was missing.
"Your friend is in the inlet" a woman yelled to me. I looked. Christian was not just in the inlet, he was flying through. I guestimated his speed at five knots (Christian later said "at least!"*) I jumped into the van and drove to the traditional spot to pull guys out (the parking lot on the northwest corner of the inlet. Christian attempted the usual tactic of sailing into the bay, jibing and coming in amongst the rocks, but the current was so strong that he could not get near. Then he was REALLY drifting downcurrent to the west when I realized "no, he's going that way on purpose trying to find a spot he can get in at" so back into the van, then down the road, and a few hundred yards west we managed to connect, wading through a field of beach nettles. While it was a longer drive, the spots to the west make getting the gear out of the water and up to the road more manageable.
*Christian says shooting through the inlet is an exciting and invigorating experience. "Quite the ride!" he proclaimed. After initial press reports appeared he added "I see it as a bucket list thing like seeing the pyramids or running with the bulls. Still surprised at how quickly it happened. More wind and waves please…"
That's him, framed between the boom, the 93 liter FSW, and the 4.7 sail. Hulse inbound at the Bowl Thursday. Earlier in the session I jibed too close to him on the outside for his liking, and he counseled me to watch out (Scott said I was nowhere near, but I don't like to crowd anyone.) Had my eye on him later when I watched a rare Hulse rejection as the sea said NO. Truth be told the lulls on the inside were wicked...I got dropped by one shortly after...but why tell the truth?
Two nice hours at the Bowl, y'all. Jonathan, Frank, John Natalie, Scott, Bruce, Pav, Hulse and moi. Thanks John for loaning me a harness line when mine snapped!
I turned 39 on Saturday (for the umpteenth time) and was richly rewarded. AM was the swap meet at Hampton Watersports. Do I love swap meets. All that gear makes me think of all the sessions each board and sail has seen, and the people who come are the best! I ran into Nancy, whom I last saw in 1993 when, from the original Puffin House on the Little Peconic, some of us would sail across the bay to New Suffolk, and meet windsurfers over there. Nancy is still sailing and she needed a new board (and found one!)
After the swap the winds came up from the east, and it was time to sail Ponquogue. I hadn't sailed Ponquogue since my birthday three years ago and ocean sessions are so rare that I was super excited. T'was me, Bruce, Frank, George Pav, Jimmy Sobeck, John Natalie. Scott, the Wolf, and Filipp from Baltimore (we met at the swap.) The water was a choppy mess, but still there were ramps and the occasional rideable swell (Frank was seen getting some rides of decent length.) For myself every time I jumped I felt OLD. "I'm not sure my ass is up to this" was the thought every time I landed a modest jump. I finally got some half decent air and landed it without pain, just as the wind came up. That was my cue to go home for a birthday dinner with wife Sally.
(Scott wants this post to be all about Frank's rounding the horn of the Shinnecock Jetty. I want to tell the story of the day in order. If you want Scott's version skip down to the bottom. Here's my version:)
Wind and pouring rain at the Bowl. That's how it always is for a good Bowl session. But Friday was particularly so! I arrived to find Scott, Frank, Jeff and Jeremy (the man in Gumby Green) getting their 4.7 on (that's 5.0 to Frank). Rigged my own as Bruce arrived.
"I don't know if I want to rig" Bruce said, eyeing the howling misery of the rain.
"That's the thing about the Bowl," I reminded him. "We all remember the windsurfing but forget that it was raining!"
Rigged we did, launched we did. My first time in the ocean in six months, so I was tentative. Also perhaps I was tentative because the swell on the outside was 6 feet plus. Blew my nervous Nellie jibe, and sailed back to shore to adjust a footstrap (on the 93 FSW which hadn't been sailed all winter). Happily everyone else was sailing to shore as well. To advise me on footstrap trim? No! Seems that everyone was overpowered now, and I was just too out of balance to notice that I was overpowered too.
So we all rigged down. Except for Frank, who stayed out there on his 5.0. Frank is, after all, not like the rest of us.
Bruce and I brought our freshly rigged 4.2's down and watched Frank sail, as we hemmed and hawed in the rain. Then the craziest rainiest gust of all time came through. Seriously. 50 mph winds and perhaps two inches of rain in ten minutes...the water drops were ripping up the beach as they hit. Visibility was perhaps 50 feet. Thank goodness we were all on shore. Except for Frank.
But the squall soon stopped, Frank appeared, and all was well. Frank relaunched, followed by Bruce, and I watched and waited, as the wind seemed to have dropped a lot. Bruce was shlogging so I decided to call it a day.
Just as I got to my van I heard Scott shout out "Frank is going through the inlet!" The deal at the Bowl is to not get too near the inlet to Shinnecock Bay during incoming tide, lest you fall, not be able to waterstart, and have the incoming tide suck you through. Lots of current, and swirling eddies to boot make it quite difficult...I've almost gone through in the past, but never actually.
The trick is to go all the way through the inlet...don't try and get out over the rocks on the side...and then get out on the Shinnecock Bay side and walk your gear back (or walk back, get your car and drive back to your gear). Frank took the ride as Bruce and Jeremy kept an eye on him from the jetty whilst Scott and Jeff drove to the bay side to meet him, and I did some of each. One thing about windsurfing: it's nice to have friends who look out for you! So Frank hogged the spotlight for another 20 minutes, then emerged, proclaiming that he'd had a great 5.0 session. And he had!
(Top: Frank talks about the weather to Bruce and Jeremy as he passes through Shinnecock Inlet. Note the color of Jeremy's wetsuit. When asked about the green, he replied that the wetsuit was from Portugal. In Portugal they know how to make a green wetsuit. Bottom: Text from Lord Scotworth encapsulating the day much more efficiently than I could! Photo by Jeff Schultz.)
“All I sail is 4.2” Scott proclaimed. We were in the parking lot at Tiana Beach, rigging for what was going to be the second second day of back to back 4.2 sessions (the previous weekend ‘s Sebonac fest having provided the first two.
It was true. Friday we caught it again at Sebonac. Starting just after high tide, conditions were a mess…worst I’ve ever seen there…which we attributed to wind being a bit more North than usual. But hell it was 4.2 so off we went! For some reason (to be revealed shortly) I got cold on the water, and after trying in vain to warm up in the van finally left. “What’s wrong with me? I’m in a 4/3 and I’m cold when the air is 50 degrees?” But cold is cold and I was not having fun. That night checking out my drying wetsuit in the shower, I saw the “3/2” on the sleeve, and realized that I’d been wearing the wrong neoprene. Kook. (Frank later said “3/2? I was cold in my 5/3!”)
Then came Saturday at Tiana. Frank, Jeff, Scott, the Wolf, Dr. Pain, Joe Natalie there for the good times. What started out as 1-2 foot waves started building, until Scott proclaimed the outside as 5-7. I was sailing closer to shore, where for the first half hour I blew every jibe. What the heck? At least I was warm. After taking a break I headed back out and Lo! Started hitting my jibes! Excellent…let’s sail a bit further out and have some fun. Fun was being had when I spotted a nice little inbound ramp to jump off…jumped…back foot came out of strap…landed and did a split on the board, while pulling the boom head straight into my forehead. All of that helmet but I found a way to make direct contact.
I was more concerned with my legs, which did not feel good after the split. But there was some blood coming from my head when I made it on shore. Surely it was nothing, but before I found a mirror I found Dr. Pain. For fun I asked him how my head looked. “They put stitches in all sorts of things,” he began. Stitches? C’mon I just bumped my head. I thought. Then “If you were young and beautiful you’d be lining up for about $4K of plastic surgery, but at our age we don’t worry about the scars.” “So neosporin and a band aid” I asked? Yep.
(Top: Sweet Tiana. Bottom: It's still a great day! Photos by Jeff Schultz)
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!
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.