Saturday, October 30, 2010

Triad Windsurfing has moved...

What began with windsurfing has expanded to surfing, paddle surfing, skating, wake surfing, wake boarding and general disinterest in work.  It is a good time for new beginnings so I'm moving the blog to a format that better fits the lifestyle and displays all the opportunities out there on the coast and inland.

Here is the new link

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekend SW at the Local Water Hole. Forecasts are more like guidlines.

So the NWS said 5-10 SSW Saturday and Sunday.  With a formula board and 9.5 or SUP and 7.5 this is cause to sail when it is sunny and warm.  That goes double when you only need a spring suit. 

Saturday Leah spent a few hours on the 106L/5.8 in some pretty good stuff- likely around 13mph gusting to 16 up the main channel.  The tacks are getting faster and she is certainly loving the maneuverability of the smaller gear.  The 13-16 dropped off in the early afternoon down to the forecasted 5-10 so I rigged up to the 9.5/formula for a good pump workout.  There wasn't much planing later in the day but we schlogged until dark since it was so nice.

Sunday.  Wow.  After the service Sunday morning while we were walking home the wind was blowing and messing up my hair that I had spent so much time on.  Excitement was building but in check at that point.  We had to handle some commitments and didn't make it to Belews until around 2:30 but dang.  When we got there it was white capping and filled in nicely!  I rigged the 9.5/formula figuring the wind would drop while Leah rigged the 5.8/ahd.  In the straps and off I was.  It was some of the best quality I've been in at Belews since I was planing and in the straps non-stop.  Get this- it steadily built until evening.  I got blown off the formula, immediately went to the 9.5/ahd, got blown off that, 5.8/ahd was working with plenty of power so I grabbed the 106L/5.8!  I had no idea I had been sailing so over powered with the 9.5/formula until I was planing on the 106L/5.8 since the wind built in so slow and steady!

There were lots of sailboats about and it seemed like more party barges & bass boats than normal.  This becomes relative I think.  When you are well powered you are one of the fastest vessels on the lake and when you are crossing the channel almost 90 degrees to the flow of traffic it seems like there are boats in the way fairly frequently.  This isn't a bad thing though since it is a great opportunity to represent the best sport on Earth while there are plenty of folks on the lake to witness it and maybe even drum up some interest in trying it.  Warm, sunny Fall weather is the best time of the year to be sailing and gaining interest in windsurfing and SUP.  Where are all the Triad Club locals? 

Friday, October 22, 2010

A WSW Jibeathon

The wind yesterday north of Greensboro started SSW and was predicted to go NW by afternoon.  Luckily it clocked WSW and locked in for the duration!  For Belews lake this means a hike south in front of the plant to get out of the wind shadow of the 2 islands.  I took the hike and sailed 4 hours straight on the 106L/5.8 with a 32cm freewave fin (loose).  It was lake wind- gusty, some long lulls and squirrely at times but a fine time was had.  There was about a half hour, I'd estimate around 3 or so, where the wind picked up and filled in the entire span of the opening in front of the plant.  I made figure 8s with chop hops along the way with my heart rate pegging pretty high.  I wish we could get some of that on a weekend too.

Zoom in and you can see the white caps left and right of the island.

The Raleigh crew has their own forecaster so maybe their wind predictions and wind meters are solid.  The wind meters in the vicinity of Belews are not matching the lake much nowadays.  I know the leaves are still on the trees and that may be most of the issue but the low readings may be keeping folks away and missing some fun sailing.  The following are from Summerfield, Walnut Cove, Reidsville and the gso airport, resp.  It seems the airport matched the best yesterday.  Bottom line is DON'T MISS OUT! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How the? He must have been using foot straps.

From  Bernd Roediger's incredible SUP aerial at Dana Point, California.  Naish team rider I think.

Link here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Naish Mana 9' Review

The Naish Mana is bamboo with epoxy and a 3/4 length pad. It’s dead sexy. At 9' you can cram it inside your minivan or suv. Here are our initial thoughts on the board.
First, to establish a frame of reference. I am 70kg, my wife is less. We have owned only 2 prior true SUP boards. Starboard Drive 10'5, RRD Wassup 10'. Prior to that I SUPed on old windsurf boards like the Mistral Superlight and Bic Bamba. The following is a collection of thoughts on jumping from a well regarded first SUP board (Starboard Drive) to a completely new class of SUP board. This is about going to a high performance SUP and does not compare the Mana 9' to other similar boards in this class since we have no experience there.
The summary for folks in a hurry:


• 140L, 29.5” wide and 9' but still surprisingly stable. really.

• LIGHT. Easy to handle out of the water and in the impact zone after you get trashed

• funboard surf board shape- surfs like a much smaller board

  • lightweights can engage the rail standing more in the middle rather than having to be on the tail
• makes getting out through white water easier and even fun. *Low tow factor.

• pivots on a dime

• tracks well while paddling if forward of the carry handle

• anti-pearl nose?

What could be better

• need non-slip on the nose.

• have to remove fins to zip board bag

• where is the mast track?


I first tried the 9' Mana at Carolina Beach surfing with Dwight and Jacky. Thanks again guys. Jacky traded with me so I jumped off the 10'5 Drive after a few hours of great long period hurricane Igor waves. I immediately noticed that I lost 16 Liters and 1.5 feet. You have to find the right standing position on the Mana but this comes quickly. I also noticed I was better off with a narrower stance. The board is only 1/2 inches less but certainly easier to dip a thinner rail. The waves were at least shoulder high, easy and conditions were glassy. I've been in strong off shore wind before and there you need to jump on the nose to get the drop. In the Igor conditions you had to paddle like mad and run to the nose to stay on the swell even with no wind. Luckily DW added non slip to their Mana so I was able to catch the waves early on the nose, throw a few turns and nose ride. After 2 waves on the Mana I felt like I had been on it much longer so comfort comes quickly.
More recently at Hatteras I took the Mana out first at Frisco in glassy left handers on the outer bar. I was blown away by how well the board punched through or jumps up and over incoming surf. I jumped into the surf stance putting down some deep strokes and kept right on trucking. Once on the back side of the wave you can jump back to normal stance to paddle the rest of the way. This offered a new fun factor for me- it is actually a blast taking on the white water.
Riding the 10’5 Drive taught me to run nose to tail while catching and riding waves. I immediately missed being able to pounce on the nose to get the late drop on some fast forming sneaky Hatteras waves. Second nature took over a few times and I ran to the nose only to slip like I was on ice. My non slip product has shipped and should arrive by the end of the week!

I hit Old Lighthouse beach with the Mana for a much more stringent set of conditions. The waves were big, somewhat inconsistent and there was a psycho-chop component that really forced me to concentrate on balance. Again I missed the nose traction but aside from that I was very impressed how well the board handled late big drops. Quite a few times I ended up on the tail with back foot on the kick pad following the falls and coming out standing. Another huge plus is that when in the impact zone eating a huge wall of white water while off the board I don’t get towed by the leash all the way to shore. The Mana has much less surface area so I assume that offers much less for the wave to hold on to. The result is that even if I get knocked down or bail in front of a top to bottom closeout I don’t lose much ground while trying to get out. I’ll call this a much lower tow factor since I’m into *nameology.

Flat Water

Leah first tried the board on a weekend at the lake. That means plenty of boat wakes producing psycho chop and a few good swells to ride. She never fell in the course of the afternoon. Not once. I was blown away. Moreover the Mana has more glide than the Drive. I certainly had a tough time matching Leah’s speed. The deck pad isn’t as cushy as other boards but the Mana is just as fun in flat water as the 10’5.

About that Missing Mast Track

We are not content to surf the early morning sesh and bail for the day. Instead we tend to stay morning to dark and in the course of a typical day you can get wind. Putting a sail on the Drive is a blast since you can catch sooo many more waves. I wonder why Naish doesn’t add a receiver for the 8mm Chinook base? Is it simply that there is no market or does it have more to do with construction? Sure I realize the board will schlog but you would be doing that anyway on a windsurf board.
I think this board suits anyone looking for more maneuverability and excitement.
Initial quality is impressive. I hope the construction holds up well since I plan to keep this one for a while. Any thoughts, concerns, or outright disagreements?

For more expert opinions and advice check out NC Paddle Surfer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ramp 49 Wave Sailing- The Redemption Sesh

My trip could not have ended much better.  I planned to spend most of the day SUP surfing at 49 again but when I paddled out the side-side-off WNW was creating a strong wind swell.  Dropping in on the wave was really tough since the wave was peeling left and into the wind- so that put the board across the NW chop and the nose floating on the air.  I didn't mention it in my previous Mana post but second nature took over a few times on Monday and I ran to the nose to get the drop.  Without traction the nose is like running on ice!  The nose was still slick so I certainly missed jumping on it in that head wind.

I rigged the 5.8 and the cross 106 again for my wave sailing redemption attempt.  I love side shore wind.  Though it was light and fluky as expected I was able to clear the impact zone pretty well 8/10 times and the bars were shallow enough at lower tide that I could beach start in some spots.  No denials this time.  The NW wind swell built up quickly so there was waist high checkering across the SE swell rolling in on the outside.  It made it challenging staying upwind, even on the outside, but between dogging it and some planing I always managed.  It made me appreciate sailing areas with dominant swell offering free shoulder rides into the wind.  On another note, there must have been a million jelly balls out there!  Inside, outside, middle tons of the darn things everywhere.  Every time I fell in I had 2 or 3 bumping into me.  I don't know if they sting but I had a full wetsuit on so I still can't say.  Unnerving.  Then there were the dolphin.  Lots of em and it always gives me a good vibe though I'm not sure why.  Every little thing helps when you are charging waves solo.

Speaking of waves, does Hatteras have the sneakiest waves anywhere or what?  Ramp 30 had a clear flat path out that suddenly was suddenly blocked by a head high top to bottom closeout.  Even the south side would do that.  More like waist to shoulder but I got put through the spin cycle head over heels by a few of them.  I was talking to Andy about it and he agrees it is the sharp bars that cause the swell to jack up so fast.  The swell will hide between bars in deep water and pounce on the poor soul trying to sneak out.  Ramp 49 added the new dynamic of SE swell hiding in the WNW.  When staging for the SE you had to keep a keen eye out for the money shot.  Where o where is it...  Ooh, pump pump!  Sometimes the wind gave power for the drop, sometimes not.  It just makes those times that you make it to the outer bar that much sweeter and the jibe out of that DTL wave ride that much more of a victory.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Denial Twist

I tried wave sailing solo at ramp 30 this morning.  It looked so sweet- big crumbling lefts on the outer bar.  Each time I tried to get out I was denied in exactly the same way at exactly the same spot.  The wind was light and side shore- blowing better on the beach than on the inside somehow.  I would punch through a couple white water areas, start to take a breath of relief since I was on my way and out of nowhere a head high top to bottom closeout would slam me!  If fully lit the 5.8/106L would have been the express route to the outside but the power was just not there.  Hopefully the fishermen next to me enjoyed the show.

Since the wind was so light I hit Ramp 49 again for some more time on the Mana.  Have I told you lately that I love the Mana?  The tide was low and rising again so the bars were similar to Sunday but better.  Beautiful peeling lefts on the outside with tubes!  Add in the first completely sunny day of the trip and zang, wave sailing blues gone.  A fellow NC surfer posted some good pics at Frisco too.

The higher tide wasn't working at 49 or bath houses so I headed up to old lighthouse.  The waves were huge compared to the southside and good grief what power.  Certainly more challenging paddling but still easy to get out.  It isn't often you have waves that big and it isn't hard to get out.  Yesterday it was a great high tide spot and I SUP surfed on the Mana until sunset.  Best of all my last ride of the day was the best of the day- long left on a head high with enough steam to keep me going until it reformed on the inner bar.  Stoke was plentiful. 

Oct 4th was another flat water day at the hole on 5.2/85L.  It was NW and I was well powered to marginal.  Stu and Ken came out after 5pm but the wind was falling off quickly by then.  What a sunset!