Save The Waves is an environmental protection org whose mission is "To protect and preserve the coastal environment with a focus on the surf zone." They have a vision of a world where waves and coastlines are cherished and protected, and surfing provides a proactive vehicle for long-term coastal conservation.
Sounds pretty important to us water folk, doesn't it?
As part of their latest fundraising efforts they're sharing a new film, directed by Puffin and Wind Chimp Christian Charles. Check it out, then think about donating. Here it is:
A couple months ago my jibe guru Dasher came through town, accompanied by his lovely girlfriend Maggie. I got to spend some time with them, but unfortunately wind and waves did not present an opportunity to windsurf or SUPsurf (I would LOVE to get SUP coaching tips from Dasher). To this day any time I hit a good jibe I experience a quick moment of gratitude, having once been The Worst Jiber In The World. I still muck them up on occasion, but those are on me. The good ones are credited to the reindeer.*
There are a number of visual artists within the Puffin/Wind Chimp collective. Right now at the Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery in Cutchogue Peconic Jeff Schultz and Bruce Milne (that's Bruce of Jan & Bruce) are showing some non-watersport art as part of the gallery's "Small Works" exhibit. These are days of gift buying, my friends, and one might consider the work of these two guys!
(photo of Bruce and Jeff at the exhibit opening, with WLNG Radio's Debbie Tuma courtesy the Gallery web site.
"Can I give you some constructive criticism?" Hulse asked.
"No" I replied. I had just returned to the beach after a few minutes of humiliation in the impact zone. Couldn't get out, couldn't get in gracefully.
"Well you're going to get some anyway." This I knew when I said no. Saying "no" just seemed like more fun.
"You've got to bear off." This was true.
"No shit. I tried bearing off but the board was getting turned by the current"
"Always with an excuse," Hulse said.
"Yeah, but this excuse is real!" Also I had been bitten by a sea snake. Look at my hand.
The following story is not true: On my first ocean run in a year, and at Cupsogue (where I hadn't sailed since 2008) on the 93 with a 5.5 I had just caught the sail from my only sweet jibe of the day banking off some swell, when what looked like a wooden branch popped out of water (a fallen tree out here, I wondered) and then the top of it stretched forward and bit my left hand. I was more surprised than anything...WTF? Sailed back to the beach, took the board out of the water, and showed Scott.
That's all I need, to get eaten by a shark after being bit by a sea snake.
"Mary Lee is down at Hatteras," John Natalie said. This was true and good, though she was near Democrat Point two weeks ago.
My hand was starting to swell up a bit from the sea snake venom. I tried sucking it out and spitting, but it didn't seem to help. "Salt water will be good for it" Jeff suggested. So I launched again. And couldn't get the nose of the board to bear off...I seemed to be in perpetual swirl mode. So I came in to be abused by Hulse.
All of that is actually true except for the sea snake parts.
What really happened was, like all good wavesailing dings and damage, I was just at the shoreline. I'd sailed in from my first run, right up to the beach, and stepped off. Out went the water, and holding the boom with my right hand I reached for the front footstrap with my left hand...overhand...when a wave came in and popped the back of the board up, mashing my hand into the boom. It hurt like hell. I got the gear up onto the beach and then sat in the sand to let the pain pass, and then a sea snake slithered up and bit my hand right where it was mashed. What a one-two combination! But I'll take boom/snake over snake/shark any day.
Okay I'm still making up the snake part. It bit me when I was derigging.
(Top: John Natalie taking a wave upwind. Photo by Jeff. Bottom: My hand, happily not in Mary Lee's belly. Also on the water: George Pav and Lord vanderWolf.)
I never got around to writing about the magnificent long windy weekend a coupla weeks back. Three meter sailing at Napeague on Friday, then back to back 4.2 days at North Sea Road (where men go when Gardiners and Napeague are blown out.) NSR on a NE with outgoing tide gets a bit Gorgelike, and a great many of us (Scott, the Wolf, Peconic Jeff, Tomas, the brothers Natalie, Jon Ford, Christian, Bill Barber, Curtis and more) tore it up. Tomas even managed a breakdown (broke his boom, lost his 25+ year old sail...what a shame!) though not long after getting back to the launch he made the round trip to Hampton Watersports to hit the water again!
Here's a teense of video from Saturday, showing NSR's storm inside conditions. Out in the big swell I was getting flattened, and have no worthy (read "unhumiliating") video to share. Can't wait for the next one!
“Man up, Puffin,” Frank said. I was whining about the prospect of sailing at Goff Pt on Gardiners Bay in 40 knot gusts (that’s 46 mph winds. Highway speed!) Mightn’t we consider sailing someplace slightly less insane? East Landing? North Sea Road?
No. I am a girlyman it seems in the eyes of greater Wind Chimply Puffindom. So of course I will join the crowd!
The flag at the Coast Guard station said WIND but "there aren't any whitecaps" Scott complained. Still I saw some people planing, and I had a feeling 6.2 would do the trick. It would have, too, if it weren't for the bushels of weeds in Tiana Bay. Quick change of the fin and I was golden! Happily Scott LOVES weed fins (he's nuts that way) so soon the two of us were ripping around the pool-table flat, whitecapless water, whilst nearby Andy Brandt and ABK (assisted by Peconic Jeff!) did their thing.
That was Friday. Saturday I returned to Tiana for even better wind (and some water time with Christian) while Scott snuck off to the Bowl without telling me. I hate missing ocean sessions, but Tiana is a prime jibatorium, and there was plenty of rippage in the shallow warm water.
Meschutt Sunday. I was rigging a 6.2. The Wolf looked dubious.
"Rig your 5.8," I said.
"He didn't bring his 5.8," Scott said. "He's a 5.3 snob now."
"I'm a 5.3 snob," the Wolf agreed.
What the heckage?
"It's on account of summer is over. We don't sail the light wind days in winter," Scott explained.
"IT'S STILL SUMMER" I pointed out. Hell I'll rig a 7.5 in summer and am happy to sail it. I remind them of this.
"I'm going to rig anyway," the Wolf said. "I have limited time."
Don't we all.
The Wolf got one good run in. I got about 20 runs...jibes, duck jibes, a tack, a hoss tack and some blown donkey jibe attempts. Then it lightened up, so I went home, but not without kooking it. I left board on the beach, oy. Thanks Tomas for grabbing it for me!
Let the windy season come. The Wolf is a 5.3 snob!
(Photo: Looking back at a near-windless summer, and the Meschutt launch.)
At Tiana Bay on Long Island! Outstanding shallow-water learning location (better than Napeague IMHO) will be taken over by the great Andy Brandt and his merry crew of top-notch windsurfing instructors. Nobody teaches windsurfing like ABK, whether you’ve never clambered onto a board before, through planning, tacking, jibing, footstraps, harness sailing, speed sailing, jumping, racing, freestyle, funstyle, and mad good times on the water with other nice people! September 25-27th at Tiana Bay (in Hampton Bays).
I have done (ahem) 17 ABK clinics over the years (maybe more) and the wife has done quite a few herself, so in the Peconic Puffin household we are big fans. You should be too! After a weak summer for windsurfing the fall breezes (water is still warm) are coming…get ready for them now. Register for ABK’s Long Island windsurfing clinic here.
(Photo: Andy Brandt fixes windsurfers who look at their feet to much by telling them to look at the sky. He demonstrates here. Doesn't that look like fun?)
The worst summer in windsurfing history (well, Long Island windsurfing history in the opinion of both this idiot blog and The Mighty Mike Burns) is starting to show signs of relief. Caught a 6.2 session last weekend at Mecox...jibing, duck jibing, upwind 360's were the order of the day. Little bit of duck jibe above.
Bring the winds!
With the windy season approaching it's time to get better. Learn to windsurf, learn to windsurf better, learn to windsurf even better than that* at ABK Boardsports September clinic at Tiana Bay on Long Island, September 25-27. Andy Brandt and his merry band of instructors will be ready for you! C'mon you know you want to and you know you ought to. Sign up now!
* "Mastery of windsurfing is the realization that you can't." Andy Brandt, quoted on the side of Dana Miller's legendary windsurfing van. None of us will ever master windsurfing...that's part of the fun and the challenge of it!
Long Island's Zeptember swap meet returns on the 19th at Hampton Watersports. You know the drill: If you're selling, drop off your gear during the week preceding (or arrive early that Saturday morning). If you're buying, bring your money! If you're buying sails, it's helpful if you know what size masts you own, and what the minimum and maximum extension lengths of your boom is, to make sure you can rig what you buy. If you're swapping (selling and buying) well then you're my brother or sister! Note to sellers: If you sell you get 100% store credit or 70% cash. Me I maintain a permanent account there, as I both windsurf and SUP, and one of the first three axioms of windsurfing I was taught was "shit breaks".
Rain or shine, buy or sell used Standup Paddleboarding, Windsurfing, Kiteboarding and Surfing gear. There will be closeout sails on 2015 equipment as well. If you have questions, call the shop 631-283-9463. See you there!
And now, in honor of Zeptember, I give you Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Stuff"
Sharks get a raw deal when it comes to public perception, is the thinking of the learned and the green. "You're more likely to be killed by a falling coconut or a cow than by a shark, they say. For us watery people that comparison does not serve. Ain't nobody made so much as eye contact with a shark whilst standing under a coconut tree or on a cow farm. We worry about sharks when we're IN THE OCEAN, dressed like seals and acting not much better. No windsurfer, kiteboarder, SUPper or surfer has ever been even grazed by a falling coconut while in the lineup waiting for the next set.
Then there's the live and let live crowd.
"It's their ocean," they say.
"Yeah well it's my leg" we say back!
I don't misunderstand sharks. I understand perfectly: If a shark attacks me, I am befuckled. And I am not comforted by the "sharks don't want to eat people" line of thinking:
"Many will take a sample bite, and taste it with taste buds just behind their teeth, to be certain it is something properly edible. If it does not taste like food, they will often spit it out at this time, and swim away.
This explains why so many “attacks” on humans are just a single bite; most sharks do not feed on mammals and do not recognize the taste of the humans to be food."
Oh thank goodness. I'm not being eaten, I'm just being tasted. Good-bye thigh!
Poor misunderstood shark.
(Top: Illustration from a Wall Street Journal article. Bottom: Ain't no pictures I've seen of a shark sticking its tongue out to lick something...see if it likes it. They be all like this.)