I missed it Thursday, but others did not. Chimply Lord Scotworth the Earl of Kielt texted me: "Ponquogue went off! 4.7, easy to get out. William (He Of Whom Fun Shall Not Be Made) didn't want to quit!" I love Ponquogue. Missed it!
Meanwhile for those of the Saturday persuasion the coastal marine fricasee calls for NE 15-20 gusting to 25. If that holds there will be windsurfing. Scott says "hopefully enough for Goff" (land of the giants in Gardiners Bay north of Napeague.) May it be so.
(Photo: Lord VanderWolf holds station off of Scottworth's bow. Photo by Kielt.)
Wave sailing...on a Saturday...4.7 conditions...and warm? Yeeha! I hadn't sailed in the ocean since June (and it showed) but who cares! The Wolf, Scott, Jonathan, Joe, Jan, Bruce, Jeff, Bill, Hulse (kiting) a new guy named Remy and a few other kiters had a blast in head-high swell. The waves were not particularly ridable, but when you haven't sailed them in ages and you can jibe and jump off of six footers, well that's pretty great. Heading inbound and seeing only the top of someone else's sail reaching along side you...exciting times!
The launch at the Bowl has lost so much sand that big rocks are now an issue when you get off your board. I dinged my feet three times before resigning myself to putting on...booties. I love the barefoot ocean sailing thing...first time I've warn booties in ocean warm water in memory.
The other issue was "windsurfing shape" or the lack thereof. Arms were burning out quickly. "Doesn't matter if you're working out...all those thousands of little adjustments you do when you're sailing...we're not getting that excercise" lamented Bill regarding the poor wind year.
The SE wind was side on and fairly consistent 4.7, until the rains came and killed it. I was toasted anyway, but some of the later arrivals did not get a full serving. We all need 25 days a year like Saturday. Bring it!
(Photos by Scott. Top: Scott airs out his new board, very lightly used and I believe formerly the property of my friend Karin. Bottom: The pilings weren't a problem, but rocks under the water to the east made getting off of your board a little tricky.)
E winds 10 to 15 kt...becoming se 15 to 20 kt in the late morning and afternoon. Gusts up to 25 kt.
Scott in particular is hoping for some water time. Here he is at the Bowl in 1993. He said it was "better" then. Probably because I wasn't there to kook it up! (I was windsurfing in 1993...which was also the inaugural year of The Peconic Puffin...but I could not waterstart dependably nor jibe at all. It would have been a mess!) The photo is taken from Scott's Facebook page.
(filed by our special correspondent Chimply Lord Scotworth:) Got the call early to go to Ditch,supposedly it was epic so jamming out there some guy in a box truck in front of me turns his left blinker on so I start to pass him on the right..right? wrong ! he makes a right! I cant explain how close (doing 60) I came to getting smashed into the guard rail. Got to Ditch with blood pressure at 200x200 and after half an hour finally calmed down. Waves were pretty good, but you had to pay some dues to get out. Too much offshore, but Jimi Jam, Fisherman and Jonathan got out and shredded (Jonathan underpowered on a 6.2! The Wolf and I decided to go back west to the Bowl. Got to the Bowl and it was honkin 5.3! After many jumps I was way outside and landed one flat...SNAP!! The only thing holding the two halves together was a footstrap...took me a long time to get back body dragging with two halves acting like anchors! Hope I never go through that again. had my GoPro on but when I got back to the beach it said "card full", didn't get any video. The Wolf broke his mast in the shorebreak before he even got out! Thanks to Jonathan for replacing his mast right away and replacing my board! Oh almost forgot..C.D. showed up and sailed!!!
For a number of us, those Puffins and Wind Chimps and assorted Fools On The Water under the age of 60 or 50...the Wolf is our beacon. He turned 70 this week. 70! And he's still out there. Every time Jan vanderWolf catches a wave or launches off a ramp, we're hopeful for ourselves, that we can be out there decades from now. Also we're having a good time, because let's face it: The Wolf is fun to sail and paddle with. "The Stoke of the Wolf" Jeff calls it.
So Happy Birthday Jan! May we get some conditions soon!
(Above: Air Wolf. Below: The Stoke of the Wolf. From Jeff Schultz's collection.
"A surprisingly good sesh," Scott proclaimed. When it all started it didnt...Scott, Jeff and I met at Ponquogue, where the wind was insufficient and the waves uninteresting enough that Jeff said he was going back to work, and I decided to drive to the Peconic to sulk in a bay session. Just as I pulled up to the Little Peconic I got a text: "15-20 sideshore at K Rd, going on on 5.3/Go, small waves breaking" from Jeff. Scott texted that he was going to Rick's (later we would determine that his spellchecker didn't like "rig".) Anyhow I drove all the way back, rigged the 6.2 (to Scott's 5.8 and Jeff's 5.3) and went.
The waves grew to 3 feet and the wind came up enough for Jeff to switch to his Skate. Soon the Wolf arrived, followed by Bill. Bill in his triumphant return to windsurfing (he just picked up a tasty light wind board...we need a photo of it) forgot a few things...mast pieces and soforth...and so had to borrow from Scott.
There was some beach break...the move was to drop board in knee-high water and shoot through the white stuff, then hit the inside ramps which were packed with bluefish. "I landed on two," Scott said. Scott jumps a lot, so there were surely many fish who thought him a pain in the neck (worst Peconic Puffin joke ever, folks. There it is. All uphill from here. Ooof.) 2014 is All About K Road...we SUP, we sail, we don't have crowds of surfers to contend with (it must be working somewhere else for them, which is just fine.) More days like this please!
(From the top: Scott spots his fish while the editor watches, Jeff works a wave, Bill takes his new board for a spin, Wolf wave. Photos by Jeff Schultz Photography.)
iWindsurf is talking about ENE 15 gusting to 23 in the afternoon. That's your basic big board at the Bowl (Bill's Bowl) type conditions. A fine way to start the long Memorial Day weekend. What say ye, men of wind and waves?
We sat in Scott's truck for almost an hour, staring at the waves, bemoaning the lack of planing winds, and jibbering like fools. We are wind chimps, after all. The Bowl waves looked tasty (3-5') and some surfers were catching some action, but there was a shortage of whitecaps. Finally Jeff decided to try SUPsailing, and when he started planing the rest of us decided to rig.
Jeff was soon on his 100 liter with a 5.3, planing "often". I was powered on my 6.2 and 109, and the rest of the guys (now including Jimi and Eric) were in various states of power. Soon Bill Barber arrived, and announced that Bowl was his personal property. "This is my beach," Bill proclaimed. "I was here before any of you m**********rs." Content with his dominion over the beach, jetty, water and waves, Bill neither rigged nor command us to vacate, so we continued to play as the waves on the outside grew to a crumbly 6-7'. By and by the Wolf packed it in (but not before catching one fine wave ride on the inside) Jimi and Eric lost interest (or was it the fog) Scott said he was calling it a day, and it was just Jeff and I. Until a large hole in the wind materialized as eight feet of swell reared up in front of me. I shlogged over before it broke, yelled to Jeff "too big for me in this wind" and wimpered back to the beach.
For future reference it's worth noting that the Mecox meter showed SE 15-18 during the sesh. That's enough to go, we now know!
JUST what the doctor ordered! Oh yeah. Looking at 2-4 foot waves at Ponquogue, Scott and I (he on 98 liters and a 5.7, me 5.5 on the 109 Freestyle) had an absolutely pleasant time in the ENE wind. A little backside wave riding, the occasional jump...by no means a major session but heck: a sunny day windsurfing in the waves?!?! Yes sir please may I have another!
Jon Ford organized the sesh, though in the end he did not rig. Joe Natalie and friends were sailing bayside, and Kurt stopped by just as we were derigging. Miss miss miss. Thank you Scott for sharing the day!
Consider the line in the sand. Such was the wind direction offshore last Friday, as determined by I don't know who (someone will comment soon). I hadn't yet arrived, but Frank and Scott felt it was too offshore (Frank said in the parking lot it was dead offshore btw.) This over the protestations of Jeff, who had an excellent side off session last fall which seemed to point to a new day of side off wavesailing in Greater Puffindom. Meanwhile up island at Gilgo, George Pav, Jon Sassone and company caught a fine wave sesh that left Peconic Jeff wishing he was Side-Off Jeff.
What's it to be, Men (and Jan) of Wind and Water? I think we've got to give this angle more chances. Yes we've got wind shadows and tricky swirling on the inside, but if we've got a SUP board or two on hand someone can always paddle out and rescue, no?
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.