Monday, October 26, 2009

Warm, Windy, Owned

I blew that jibe

Leah after a squall pushed through.

Leah and I represented the Belews windsurfing community Saturday. We had a blast. The water is still spring suit warm and the air was toasty. Hopefully more to come soon.

The afternoon sky

No description needed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mac's Footage

Mac posted the Fall OBX video! If you haven't watched it is in your interest to do so :]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ready for Winter Windsurfing?


Leah and I had our first taste of cold weather windsurfing Sunday at Lake Waccamaw. 50 degrees and cloudy so we had the full suits on. I was toasty save for the couple of holes in the crotch of my suit. That first minute over waist deep was eye opening! Apart from that both of us were perfectly comfortable sailing so no issues with that. Only thing was Leah was having a circulation problem- I guess the suit wasn't fitting well but not sure.

Belews is deeper and of course the power plant heats it so it stays warmer longer. Even in the dead of winter it is the warmest hole around. Some of the best most consistent wind we see in this area comes Fall - Spring (yes especially including Winter in the middle). You do not want to miss these fronts pushing across Belews. Life is too short to be a wind snob so make sure you are prepared for cooler wind and eventually water.

There is a 100 degree rule of thumb- water temp + air temp >= 100F is good for windsurfing in a wetsuit. I've been in much colder and you can certainly still be comfortable enough to have a blast. My experence is the most important items to have are:
  • dakine mittens (maybe use surgical gloves under)
  • at least 3mm booties
  • a good insulated hood

Obviously you'll want a good wetsuit too. Read this-> Andy McKinney has some interesting thoughts on choice of wetsuit. He recommends a surf cut rather than the special windsurfing suits. This is especially good for waves since you end up swimming your rig, but maybe fine for any type of windsurfing. The MOST important thing is that your suit does not cut off your circulation. If you have never experienced this it is awful- you can't grip the boom and you think you are suffering from some crazy unexplained fatigue. Manufacturers go through great lengths to measure your proportions to the nth degree. Do not buy a cheap cold weather suit. Make sure you get the perfect fit since there is no margin for error. If you love to sail you will more than get your money back out of the suit! I've sailed in the snow and sleet- snow is sweet but wind driven sleet kinda sucks ;) Right Andy?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October Wind at Belews

Well the wind came a little late this season but it has been a pretty good October so far. Wednesday we had a strong WNW and Friday it was an even stronger S. Both days I started on a 5.8/106L and got some good reaches in. In both cases the wind was sliced and diced by the contour of the land around Belews but I'm always happy when it blows. I even rigged down to a 4.7 for a while Friday! I am still waiting for that magical SW and solid N though. Those give the steady blow and big swell. Following pics are from Summerfield- not exactly what happens at Belews...

Andy, Joe & Tony came out Wednesday but the stoke had pretty much dropped down to a mild roar. I think mostly it was being thoroughly cut off by the trees. Joe Benson scored a great session Friday- hitting his first pivot jibe and beach start. It is trial by fire if you haven't been out in 20+ but Joe was comfortable on reaches after a couple hours! Sid and Judy are a couple newbies- they have been putting in the time in tough conditions so they are doing a great job. Jerry came out too and didn't have his gear. Dang. Still he did help out the newbies with equipment and good pointers. It finally got the better of him so he even sailed for a while in his street clothes!

Leah and I got there late last Sunday but we did get in a good little light wind session before dark. If you don't have big gear get on it. You NEED big gear if you want max fun at Belews. Note we got there around 4:30.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Last Windsurfing Sesh of the Trip

We were sweating last Friday. The forecast kept shifting & changing- then Mac made the anouncement around 4pm... Frisco is seeing > 15! We all jumped up and headed out to get the gear ready. I started on the 7.5/158L and after maybe 20 minutes grabbed the 5.8/106L. Mac, Rob, Mark & I were steadily getting more lit and as the sun set Donald, Andy and Anne joined us.

The moon was full so we just kept on. I wish I could have captured the scene under the full moon- fully lit and everyone blasting! It is an odd feeling pulling off a jibe when the moon is behind some clouds. Really we only stopped when the heavier clouds moved in and we had trouble seeing each other. After Andy and Anne joined us for drinks and grub. As Mark pointed out I typically eat for 2- you really spend some calories in sweet conditions! No breaks just stay steady at the wheel.
I took a little footage of the early action. Check out Mark handling that massive board like a champ!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A little SUP video

We hit old light house beach for some more SUP surfing. I put on the old helmet cam for a little action video. Check out Rob's blog for a really cool vid of the first sesh the day before. Mac has some really cool footage to come.