Monday, August 24, 2015


They were forecasting good wind for today, like, a week ago or so.  But for the last few days, not a whole lot.  Well, lo and behold, it was one of them good old Kingston thermal days that seem more and more rare all the time!  Took a few hours of vacation time and sailed 4.7 with the 105 for about 3 hours.

Experimented quite a bit with shakas today.  Numerous attempts, some decent, some terrible, but slowly starting to figure them out.  Seems like I am perhaps going back on the word to try pushies, but while there were some fun waves out there, it was not a pushy day.  The big ramps were just not there.

On the shakas, I am having trouble with rotation.  I'm not exactly having any success turning into the wind at all.  I think this could be one of two problems or both.  Either I am not committing and throwing my body over the sail enough to get it flat, or, perhaps more importantly, I am not keeping my backhand sheeted in enough. ???

Any shaka-doers out there have any advice to help promote rotation into the wind.

I think its going to be something like this:
Solid 4.7 or 5.3 day - work on shakas
Solid 4.2 or smaller - get some pushloop tries in.

Giddy up!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

OMS Update

Two posts in three days OMG!  What has gotten into me?  I guess I can attribute that to a great session just a couple days ago which brings the stoke level up!

I notice that my post on Old Man Syndrome from a few years ago probably got the most comments of any of my posts.  Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting!

I thought I'd give an update.  Anyone who knows me or has faithfully read this highly-intermittent blog will be aware that I have been suffering from chronic shoulder tendonitis in both sides for almost 5 years now.  Well, it certainly is not gone, but it has improved quite a bit.  How?  I'll tell you.

In my 20's, pre-family, pre-maturity, my life was essentially focused on living for two sports - climbing and windsurfing.  I think they complimented each other quite well.  I was injured from time to time, from one or the other, but while I cannot say I was in great shape on the whole, my shoulders & arms were generally in great shape, for me.  I could happily sail 4-5hrs nearly straight before cramping, which I thought was pretty decent at the time as I outlasted most people on the water and was constantly trying tricks the whole time.

In my 30's, life changed.  I met a great gal, traveled a bit and came home with a couple additions to the family.  Around this time, several things happened.  I stopped climbing, as it just didn't fit life very well.  I got a desk job that is 99%+ desk work.  I was a parent, so time to fulfill my active needs decreased a lot.  The only thing I hoarded was time for myself to windsurf.  During this time, through bad posture, reduced physical activity and much less arm/shoulder use, combined with windsurf-only shoulder activity, things went off the rails.

Part of me had a wee sneaking suspicion that if I could just get to the gym and start working out (without having the tendonitis flare up), I should see some improvement.  But, two things:  1) I don't like gyms (never have, never will) and 2) I could not get the pain to subside.  That took a long, long time.

This winter, things got much better.  Towards the end of last fall's windsurf season, I was a mess.  But through massage, stretching & rubber-band exercises from my physio, plus daily icing, attention to posture, etc... etc.. I made it through into this past winter pain free with most normal unloaded or minimally loaded arm movements.  Some good friends of mine were planning to start a weekly guys-night-out to the local climbing gym, so I started to tag along.  I took it super easy at first, iced/stretched like crazy afterwards, but soon enough, I was starting to make it through each week without having to endure a week, or a few days of pain.  I could climb, and be pain free.  I could ice-climb, and be pain free.  To this day, I can still climb, and be (almost) pain free.  If I take the time to warm up, stretch a bit afterwards, and ice, I am usually good to go, and climbing at a happy-for-me level (just 5.9-5.10 max, for you climbers out there).

I think despite all the advice I got, diagnoses I received, treatments done, I didn't listen to my own brain, which kinda had that suspicion that all that shoulder mess was simply due to a massive muscle imbalance that evolved due to a number of factors.  Thankfully, through those treatments, diagnoses, etc... I managed to get pain free long enough to get back to climbing, and the multi-directional strengthening it offers which presumably has regained better muscle balance and support for the joint.  Windsurfing, I think, is just too uni-directional when it comes to forces on the shoulders.

So, that is the update.  OMS?  Well sure, I still feel it, I'm still not sailing 4-5 hours straight any more, but managing 3-4 hours anyway and improving all the time.  I think this blissful state of emerging from a long bout with shoulder issues has got me AMPED and has lead me to my Quest for Pushies!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Quest for Pushies

I haven't written anything on this blog for a long time!  I guess I've been getting frustrated with the ever reducing amount of good wind we get here in Kingston, as well as getting a bit bored with it.

I think I have the cure - I need to learn a new trick!

There are a number of tricks I've been pining over for some time, the threesome of flakas, shakas and push loops.  We'll, I am hellbent on ticking one of those this year, and its going to be pushloops.  I think the flakas and shakas need a lot more time, effort and fine tuning of movements, etc... and I just don't get the time on the water anymore.  Pushloops?  Well, I know how to do them (or at least I think I do), it's just HOLDING ON part that I need to work on.  I've gotten too use to bailing.

So, I will reinvigorate this blog with my quest for pushloops!

Had a great session today by the way.  Nice waves at Everitt and solid 4.2 for 4 hours did the trick.

If you read this, then thank you very very much for following my blog and forgiving my 16 month absence.

I have also decided to get myself a 6.0 again.  I've stubbornly refused for years after living in NZ to get a 6.0, but I think the time has come.  6.0 Banzai!  Spring 2016.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hatteras Report - April 2014.

A friend and I booked a last minute trip to Cape Hatteras to score a nice forecast down there.  By nice, I mean windy of course - not nice in many other regards.  But that's all that matters really right?!  The wind forecast was damn near perfect, as you can see, not hard to make the call to go:

Sweet forecast, courtesy of WindGuru of course...
A sign on a little store on US-13 through Delaware stuck with us for the trip - "Fireworks and Hams", it said... as did a lyric from one of Craig's tunes - "Today was a good day, I didn't need to use my AK."  There's something about vacation that just inspires absurd giddiness.  Love it!

Here is the week's summary with some photos:

Arrived Saturday night after long trip through Delaware (slow, $30+ in tolls).  Kicked it off with the usual trip to the Food Lion to initiate beer-o-rama.  Beer quickly eliminating the frustration of arriving to a busted hot tub (a role it continued to fulfill adequately all week).

Sunday - no wind, but warm, sunny and nice clean 1-2' waves on the ocean.  Took out the SUP (with no rubber on yeah!), gawked at the pods of bottlenose dolphins swimming by me within 20-30 ft, surfed a few waves and had a blast.  Makes me think again about picking up another smaller wave-oriented SUP, something like THIS in 8'6" perhaps?  Yes please.  Surfing really is a damn fun sport.  Here's a wee vid of one of the waves:

Monday - light winds to start the day but building by late afternoon.  Sailed the Canadian Hole from about 3pm onwards on 5.3 Banzai with the 105L One (with MFC 22cm FS fin).  Took a while to get 'er all figured out, but had some fun blasting around ironing out the winter kinks, getting the blisters started and giving the shoulders something to scream about.

Craig ripping through a fully powered jibe on 3.7!

Tuesday - strong southerlies (that didn't end up being that strong) - sailed the Cdn Hole again with 4.2 and the wave board.  Tough finding any bumps to play with, but some fun nonetheless.  Starting to pine for the ocean but Ego Beach looked nasty atrocious - just a trip out there would have been solely to stroke the ego.  It was ugly.  Didn't go.  It was notably the last warm day of the trip!  Rainy, but a balmy 22°C.

A little sand blasting never hurt a camera did it?
Wednesday - kept on nukering, but from the North this day.  I think our house nearly blew over during the night, as we were hammered from the south, then the west, then the north.  All I could think of during the night was my unsecured and uninsured SUP being blown around under the house down there... but not so much as to actually get my ass out of bed and do something about it.  Sailed 3.7 in freezing 7°C at the Hole - damn - barely willing to sail those temps at home.  Wind was from the north - checked out Izzy's but didn't go, just felt too cold for almost pure offshore winds with no land for a damn long way, with a touch of pansy.  Froze bag off entire day.

Thursday - ahh, warmer, but not warm in any sense - about 12-14°C, but sunny!  Sailed Izzy's in the morning with the 3.5 (should've rigged bigger, but it was honking).  Waves were small and infrequent but I just had to try.  Keith (local) joined me shortly after that to show me how its done, and Toeside was out there on his kite.  Very interesting conditions.  I've never sailed winds that much off-shore before - it probably had more off-shore in it than side...  Caught about 5 waves over the course of 2-3 hours only and kooked out totally in the port conditions.  Not my tack at all!  This just gave me an extra dose of respect for Mr. Court and Mr. McCory who make Lyall Bay cross-off in Welly look damn good.  Once you are on the wave and burning down the line, its pretty damn easy to hit the wave, but finding the waves and keeping on them were tough.  Fun regardless.  Followed this up with a sunny 3.7/105 (thruster mode) session at the Hole.  Got back into freestyle and found some loop/shove-it ramps.  540's still going OK, grubs not so much.  Still nursing shitty shoulders so didn't man-up and try anything new.

On a chest high wave at Isabelle's.
One of many that got away... :(
Friday - pretty windy again but still not exactly warm - sailed 4.7 with 105L in thruster mode in cloudy skies.  Watched some guys from Quebec dominate with sweet freestyle trickery including Lopi and Luc from Iles de la Madeleine.  Those guys are pretty solid!  Saw Lopi pull out a super slow (barely planing) Flaka out of no where.  Definitely the full speed ones are amazing to watch, but when a solid sailor can pull one out of their ass when barely planing, you know they REALLY know what they are doing.

Perfecting my ducks at the Hole.
Saturday - Back on the road via I-95 this time.

Other thangs:
  • Thanks to Andy at Wind-NC for giving us the spot low-down.  Sorry we never got to sail together Andy!
  • No thanks to Hatteras Realty for the lame hot-tub that they could not fix during our stay.  Boo!  We're old men now, we need that hot tub!
  • Thanks to Bill Bell, author of the OBX Beach Life blog for an on-the-spot report from Nags Head.  Didn't get up there, but thanks for taking the time!  Much appreciated.  Here's Bill's report of April wave sailing action.
  • The Goya Banzai's are sweet and combo those with the 211 Carbon boom and bingo...
  • Bummer to see Avon Sail House shutting down the doors.  Best of luck to Margaret in future endeavours!  S
  • Never seen so much shitty reality TV as I did down there...  Bizarre Foods?  Deadliest Catch?  fark...  And if you were not into reality TV, you could always tune into the Forrest Gump channel that played it every night.  My own fault though - brought down four books and didn't crack a single one.  Too tired to read, so I let the reality TV dull my senses.  My already dimmed IQ dropped a couple extra notches.
  • SUP in good waves is awesome fun, especially with dolphins!

Hatteras is just so much fun.  Can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


The word 'epic' gets used a lot these days, and what does it really mean?  In some instances, it means simply an experience that was incredible, or beyond the ordinary.  In other instances, it is used to talk about the conditions - conditions that were incredible, or beyond the ordinary.  I am guilty for calling sessions 'epic' regularly in the fall, when we typically have anywhere between 3 to 5 really good days.  If that is the case, Friday November 1, 2013 trumps them all as the most epic of the epics.  Time to stop using the word 'epic' and just call it what it was, just damn incredibly epic.  Oops.  Did it again. Nope, how about this:  


That's my new word!

Out in the middle.  Photo: Pierre Boily
The insanity of it all...  Photo by ILAN!.

At Sandbanks, it takes a lot of wind and a narrow directional wind-range to get the conditions we all want.  Basically, it takes anywhere from SW through WNW perhaps, to set up well at Mac's or West Point.  SW is a bit side-on even, making the riding really difficult.  Safe to say, West is best.  When we get strong westerlies, the riding is beautiful and there is usually enough wind to fill in the hole near shore from what amounts to mildly side-off conditions.  Fire up to upper Mac's and everything is even better.  What gives us the down-the-line conditions is not perpendicular wind and swell like Maui gets, but its the wrapping of the waves along the northern part of Athol Bay that generate 'psuedo side-shore' conditions, or down-the-line.

JF Lemay going big.  Photo by Ilan.

Funny how this seemed really high at the time...  Photo by Fathom

Friday was a different beast.  It was a bit weak on the westerly component, more WSW, but the wind strength more than made up for it.  The forecast was big and it delivered.  For most of the day, winds were overpowering for most people's small sails, me included.  The anemometer at Pt Petre suggested sustained average winds for much of the 9am to 6pm range of over 35 knots, peak around 2pm at 44 gusting to 53 knots.  Needless to say, small sails were not small enough.  Although the direction wasn't perfect, the size and wave wrapping were certainly working for us.  Longer period waves will interact with the lake bottom at greater depths, and hence start wrapping towards the shore (refraction).  So, the big winds created longer period waves (got to 8 seconds I believe), which created more wrapping.  The waves were damn fine.
(For my previous dissertations on wave dynamics at Sandbanks, check out my older blog posts:  Wave Theory and Principles Interpretted, Part1 and Part2).

Down the line.  Photo by Fathom.

Sailors were on 2.9's to 3.8's out there - whatever people had on hand.  Diapers, winter jackets, snot rags... whatever could be successfully rigged was used.

Fathom getting a beautiful hit.  Photo by me.

It was great to see such a keen core gang of windsurfers out there.  I know scary strong winds were forecast throughout southern Ontario and Quebec, so we didn't have as many people as on other good days, but the gang who was here was stoked and ready to sail whatever conditions actually came our way.  Great to see my mates JF, Ilan and Jacek from Montreal among others, the Durham gang Windchiro, Fathom and rINR, and the locals Joe and Old Whitey.  Met some new guys too!  Lots of short sessions with rests in between.

Another down-the-line.  Photo by Fathom.
Nice backside hit.  Photo by Fathom.

Some highlights:
  • JF Lemay sending huge on numerous jumps!
  • Ilan looking really in control with his 3.4 and getting some sweet hacks.
  • Pierre Boily, whom I think I have met before, hucking a huge ballsy endo forward right behind me (Got a great view!).
  • Fathom getting some great rides and linking some good turns.

JF getting flattened.  Photo by Fathom.

I had an incredible time.  Yes the 3.7 felt huge, especially in the gusts, but ya know, you just make the best of it and try to ride those beautiful waves as best you can.  I think over the course of sailing about 2-3 hours, I had maybe 2 to 3 wave rides that I considered really good - one with about 6-8 turns, and one in particular with a not-so-forced aerial.  After watching Pierre's Endo, I tried to man-up myself with a forward of my own off some near-shore whitewater but totally lost my back foot out the strap and crashed bad.

One-handed top turn.  Like most of 'em ;)  Photo:  Ilan.

One particularly memorable wave was really going well until about my third hit when the wind extracted my kit from my claws... and it was gone!  After the first wave, it came to rest about 50m downwind but then just kept on going.  Each wave seemed to take it further and further towards the beach, and each successive wave carried it further than any distance I covered.  I was not going to catch up - I was destined for Outlet Beach.  Thankfully Ilan saved the day and grabbed my stuff for me while I caught up.  We then shared a long reach out to the middle to regain the 600-800m downwind positioning.  The waves out there were nasty huge, with little waves on top of big waves.  Really gnarly stuff.

Smack by Ilan.  Photo by Fathom.

In the end, not a single person made the effort or successfully made an upwind attempt towards Upper Macs or West Point.  I can only imagine how incredible it must have been up there.  I guess the safety of proximity to the gang and the launch was enough to keep everyone close.  I know I certainly didn't want to take any long reaches way out in the bay - way too crazy out there, with liquid smoke everywhere and gusts that flattened you from time to time.

Aerial!  Photo by Ilan

With everyone's busy lives and long commutes, it often proves difficult to get together afterwards.  This time, many of us made the effort.  Old Whitey kindly booked us a big table at the Acoustic Grill in Picton and about 12 of us got together for tales of gusts, explosions and shit-in-the-pants.  What a great time - with delicious local brews and scrummy blue cheese burgers to boot.  Beer and burgers never tasted so fine!

Thanks to all those who made it such a legendary day!

Lots of photos were snapped.  I've put a few in the text here (with credit), but here are some other folders I am aware of.
Beautiful end of the day/carnage sunset.  Photo by Ilan.

Hey there! If you like what you read, please support my interest in blogging about windsurfing by posting a comment!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pansy Hands

I have pansy hands.  Not proud of it.

How bad? Two week trips to Cape Hatteras are interesting balancing acts between wearing irritating gloves, versus suffering the debilitating appearance of blisters and torn-off blisters.  Then I go nuts with hockey tape.  By the time we're driving home, it's like a thermonuclear explosion of pain every time my hands make contact with anything, including any microscopic airborne particulate-matter.

Frustrating to say the least... sometimes I'll get a handful of nasty ones after just 2-3hrs!

Not working in my favour, I am a desk worker, paper pushing, all-day-at-the-computer type worker.  So, I'm never going get those leathery manual-labour dream hands that can repel napalm.  I need a pro-active solution.

Have you ever suffered from Pansy Hands Syndrome imparted by windsurfing?  If you haven't, then you're lucky, or maybe you get to sail too much and are therefore well-conditioned which is unfair, and also lucky.

Have you found something that helps aside from gloves?  If so, what do you do that helps or eliminates?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

October Double-Header

Truth be told, the first session was not much to write home about after experiencing the second session... But none-the-less, a right October Double-Header it'was!

Session 1:  Everitt Park Dawn Patrol.

With the forecast so dang variable and with lots of rain to boot, I never felt confident that an afternoon blast would actually happen, or happen before dark.  Add into the mix the fact that the LOOFS website I rely on is only updating once a day (due to the USA being closed for business or whatever absurdity is going on down there ;), I was doubtful, and felt the prudent thing to do would be to sneak in an hour sesh before my morning meeting.

It was decent!  Really warm (for October), just 2mm suit required.  Sailed full-on 4.2 Goya Guru in winds shifting from SE (no waves!) to ESE and improving waves.  Just made the most out of the little time I had, enjoyed about 10 minutes of the orange morning sky when the sun poked through, packed up, and off to work!

A couple of my best moments here were getting a few one-off front-side hits.  Why is this a big deal for me?  Because I'm solid regular foot, that's why.  I skateboarded regular foot, I snowboarded regular-foot.  Regular-foot stance is so entrenched in my mechanics that getting hits on the starboard tack is monumental for me - it all feels so foreign, so I was pleased with getting a few hits that way.

Note to self:  Dawn patrol in early October means 7 a.m., not 6 a.m., ya damn fool.

Annoying Interlude:  Work

Yes, I work to make a living and when talking about windsurfing, 'annoying interlude' is a quite accurate description of work, or anything for that matter.  I'll take it my boss will understand if he reads this.

My meeting wrapped up at 11:30 and I checked the web:  LOOFS had updated (was looking epic - even some black arrows in the middle of the lake yeah!), and the Weather Network radar was showing rain clearing out of Picton area by 2pm.  YES!  Hit the road!

Session 2:  Sandbanks Epic-ness.

We are fortunate enough to have Sandbanks Provincial Park dish out epic-ness a few times a year - sometimes more, sometimes less.  This year, it's looking to be less than normal, but thankfully, at least we've now got one under the belt before the temperatures start to drop.  Water is still nice and warm and the air temperature was solid at around 13C or so.  The rain dissipated around 2p.m. and then it absolutely went off.

Slash on a small-one.
 First, I rigged up the trusty 4.2 Guru with the Quad 78 and had some fun waves - still pretty small mind you, but it didn't take long for the winds to ramp up to 35kts+ and start removing bodies from rigs, including mine. Top turns became one-handed.  The waves jacked, we all rigged our 3.7 and less, and out we went again.  Great gang here on this day - a crew including Ilan, Pierre & Mimeault from Montreal, the locals Andrew & Joe, plus John & Reiner from T.O., Peter, Guy & others from Ottawa, and myself and Craig serving up the Ktown contingent.  I also met 'windchiro' and another Picton local, whom I cannot remember his name - sorry!

Peter getting some airtime on 3.2!
For the first while, a bunch of us sailed upwind towards West Point, to an area we call upper Mac's.  Not sure why (maybe because we were overpowered), but we didn't venture upwind as far as we have in the past, up near the true point where the waves are colossal, but just opted for near the top of MacDonald's Lane (barely considered 'uppers').  The waves there are clean, and easy to spot.  With a handful of others, we traded off on smooth head- to logo-high wave-faces.  Seems like I was botching more than my fair share and getting grumpy about it, but I managed to fend off those negative vibes and find the groove a bit better as I rode a couple back downwind towards the launch.

Ilan on a small one near-shore.
Medium size long peeler.  About 100m out was the place to hop aboard.
By the time 4p.m. rolled around, the overpowering conditions started to take their toll.  After my first real rest break, heading back out I totally floundered on the launch and found my arms cramping immediately once I finally made it out.  I just kept at it since I felt was no where near ready to call it quits, and luckily that cramping vanished and I ripped as many waves as I could before needing another break about an hour later.  Quite frankly, I thought I was done, but I went out again for round three, fought through the cramps that hit right away, and lasted probably another hour in blissful conditions.  

Local Joe holding down a 4.5 and charging those waves full-speed.  Awesome!
Every once in a while, I find that you can pick off a wave near the launch, and connect all the way down with 5-10 turns.  It's a very neat sensation, just hopping on a wave and letting it keep you going along the face without any power in the sail, rather than bottom turning all the time - a very useful method for connecting long rides where the wave is sectioning.

Local Andrew getting dialed on the new RRD Quad
All in all, what can I say but it was an incredible afternoon!  Great to have Mac's to a limited number of excellent sailors all with huge perma-grins on their faces.   Supporting each other, filming each other, joking around and just having the time of our lives.  THIS is why I windsurf.

The AfterGlow & AfterMath:

The afterglow from sessions like these is incredible.  For me, it usually lasts a few days as reports, photos and tales of epic-ness begin to show up on the internet, to help relive the glory. Still completely sore, but a 'good' sore that only other windsurfers can understand.  Only regret?  Rushing off for the long tired drive.  Definitely, we should have collected the gang, shared some burgers and beers!  Next time...

Didn't do much in the air (its all about the riding!), but hard to resist the odd loop.
But the aftermath....  I wonder how John is doing, after crunching his foot?  I wonder how many bandaids were used in patching up zebra mussel foot slices?  Volume of Advil consumed?  For me, I should consider myself fortunate that despite going full-on for 3-4 hrs on the water, my shoulders have come through just fine.  I'm sore all over, my feet are sliced & diced, my hands are raw meat, I've definitely bruised a rib because merely living hurts, but the shoulders are fine!  Bring out the champagne!!  Maybe the worst is over for my 2-3yr adventures in shoulder tendonitis!  Fingers crossed, knocked on wood, all that.

Head-high peeler.  These were ridable for 5-10 turns into the bay.

A couple great videos!  Thanks for capturing guys!


Photos on this page courtesy of Craig Butler and moi.