Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sailing Stats for October

I've started keeping stats for my windsurfing here (El Medano) - I'll post them on our blog at the end of each month, if anyone's interested.

As you can see below, we didn't get that brilliant an October, but quite a nice spread of conditions.

Days on 4.2 - 2
Days on 4.7 - 2
Days on 5.2 - 1
Days on 5.7 - 3
Days on 7.0 - 3

Total Days - 11

several days stand out in my memory though ... yesterday fully maxed on a 4.2 and very psyched up ! today and one of the other 4.7 days, beautiful smooth waves without nuclear wind.

still in a shortie, but a bit chilly at times today (I've also got the mother of all chest colds).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Problems on El Medano Beach ?

Here's a copy of an e-mail I recently sent to the various surf centres in El Medano ...

"Hola to the El Medano Windsurfers and Kitesurfers,

There are currently a couple of problems on the (Playa Sur) beach:

1 - the area that has been marked out for swimmers is in the wrong place - ie too close to the windsurfing launch, and is not well marked out with those buoys. Also there are no obvious signs on the beach, so no-one knows where they are / are not supposed to go. This is bad for the swimmers (they can get injured) and for the windsurfers (the swimmers get in the way).

2 - there is no area that has been set aside for launching / landing kites - this is dangerous for people walking on the beach and can lead to incidents such as happened the other day, when Nikki was just walking along the beach and a kite landed on her, the lines got tangled around her neck, and she was lucky not to get very badly hurt.

Perhaps these are not really problems, in which case obviously just ignore this and leave everything as it is.

Or perhaps things can be improved ?

In which case, is it not possible for the various centres etc to get together and put a case to the council, mayor, or whoever controls these things in Medano.

1 - just to move the swimmers area a bit closer to the town beach and mark it out properly with bouys going right the way into the beach (?) and with some signs on the beach.

2 - mark the area where kites are launched / landed with some signs that make it clear to kiters and also to people walking on the beach."

To be honest I was a bit embarrassed after hitting 'send' on that e-mail ... after only being here a few weeks I was worried (in an English kind of way) about it sounding pushy etc

But I got at least one supportive reply, and it's good to hear that there is concern about the beach. Sunday was a classic example really, with swimmers and "surfers" (mainly very young kids) etc trying to mix it with planing windsurfers ... an accident waiting to happen.

Apparently there's an idea to start an El Medano windsurf club, who might then be able to negotiate with the authorities to work out a sensible solution before either someone gets hurt, or they get heavy with us and impose some unworkable zoning system.

My New-Found Latin Temperament

Most days here are a bit of an adventure, and today was no exception.

First off, we had a power cut for most of the day, which meant that I couldn't use the computer or do any work, so 'forcing' me to go to the beach to windsurf - after all it was windy and what else could I do ? :)

However, I hadn't factored in one aspect of the lack of electric juice - and that was the small matter of our garage door being electrically operated - and guess where the car was ? :(

No worries - we'll get on our bikes and head downwind and down the hill to Playa Sur, and forget about the inevitable uphill pedal back into a stiff headwind after a good days windsurfing.

It has actually been reasonably windy for the past five days, but the forecast for Tuesday has been looking especially good for a while. I went for a 4.7m on my Tabou DaCurve 85 and Nikki was on a 4.2m on our RRD WaveCult 77.

I had a quite superb session up at the harbor wall ... the first twenty minutes I had the break all to myself, nicely powered up on my favorite size sail and getting more and more happy with the board each time i sail it. The waves were a lot of fun - about head high, so too small to do much damage, but just big enough to give you (well at least me anyway) a reasonable rush when I got on one. The nice thing now is that I'm on a fairly steep learning curve re cracking the onshore dtl wave riding and making real progress. Also my port tack jumping is finally coming together with the legs being re-programmed to forget their previous starboard tack life in shingle land.

Eventually I was too knackered to be learning much and several kites had turned up to pinch all the waves, so I headed back downwind to the beach (this part of the session is a wonderful broad reach down large rolling swell and is always an enjoyable trip back).

Still feeling stoked (apologies for the 'dude speak'), I put my gear down and walked up the beach. As I did so, I noticed that there was a geezer playing with one of those stunt kite thingies - whizzing around with full power right in the middle of the launch spot, but also in the firing line of all the sun bathing families with kids playing on the beach.

Just then there was a loud BANG, and I turned round to find that said geezer had landed his kite full speed into my beached sail and board. Needless to say I was not amused, in fact i would go as far as to say that I was actually quite angry (and those of you who know me, will probably agree that I'm usually mild mannered to the point of being a bit bland :)

Anyway, perhaps because of Nikki's recent incident with a wayward kite nearly strangling her (see the post above), I saw red (in a mild mannered English kind of way), and proceeded to bundle up the kite, wrapping the lines around it furiously and walking back towards said geezer, who still had a firm grasp on the handles.

When we met up it was a spaghetti western kind of showdown. He thrust his chest at me and did his best to remember some obscenities in the universal language - of course I had the advantage there, it being my mother tongue :) I pointed out that I was in fact bigger than him, and would he please bugger off and fly his kite somewhere else.

Anyway, I just mention this because I rather think that I'm becoming a bit more Latin in my temperament here. Only the previous night a big dog had tried to kill Basil, our small (but thinks he's much bigger) terrorist terrier, and I went mildly berserk (in my very limited Spanish) to it's owner.

And the other day, when a delivery man demanded two hundred euros from me before he would let me have the computer that I had waited three weeks for (and had paid through the nose delivery, VAT etc for in the UK), again i saw red, and mentioned that we should perhaps call the police to sort it out (a very, very, bad idea !).

This is a new side to my personality, and I haven't had time to decide if it's a good or a bad thing (but I suspect the latter).

Luckily the rest of the day gave me ample opportunity to give vent to this new found Latin machismo in a less worrying way. The wind picked up so much that I was absolutely maxed out on our 4.2m, and in those conditions it's intense sailing with a heavy metal / punk / hip-hop soundtrack playing in my head.

So yes, another day on The Reef, another adventure, and a good time was had by all (except perhaps by one disappointed man-with-a-kite :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Exhausted and dehydrated, Illegal Immigrants from Africa land on El Medano Beach

Nikki happened to be on the beach with her camera (shooting for the previous item) when a boat landed. These are her evocative and telling photographs (nb to be published in this week's Tenerife News) ...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sparky's Magic Youth Camp

Sparky's (OTC's Beach Manager) is currently running the third of his famous Annual Youth Camps - the biggest and best yet! Here are some shots from the first day ...

Monday, October 8, 2007

More of Nikki's Medano Images

Here are some more of Nikki's beautiful images of our new home town ...

The South Bay (Playa Sur) with Montana Roca in the background

The Harbour Wall (aka El Muele in wave break terms)

The North Bay (Cabezo as it is known to windsurfers)

Windsurfing Diary 8/10/07

Windsurfing Diary - Monday 8th October 2007 - A Classic Medano Day (there again probably not) ...

8am - The wind has been howling all night, and it's still honking as I take the pooch for his pre brekkie walk.

There's already someone out at Cabezo, and he's absolutely flying ! I watch as he rides a logo high wave and cranks three or four tight turns, and then about five minutes later he's rinsed onto the rocks ... equipment and sailor seem unharmed though - the locals here must all have bullit proof gear and feet like leather.

Cabezo beach 8/10/07 (but not our pooch)

I walk back to the house as the sun starts to warm up, dust is flying everywhere and Basil is struggling not to get blown back down the road. I pour myself a glass of orange juice and sit down to write this.

This time the wind has gone straight from 7m conditions yesterday to full on 4m today so no time to get knackered in between ... which is lucky as it looks like being a classic El Medano day, and I'm going to need all the energy that I can lay my hands on !

(12 hours later ...) well the promise was there, but it didn't quite turn out a classic - for me anyway. Pretty good - yes ... I was on my waveboard and 4.2m all day, and there were waves around, so I guess that I shouldn't complain ... but ... maybe I'm getting a bit choosy, but it was mega gusty - even miles out to sea you could be totally maxed one minute and then struggle to plane for the next few ... and then later in the afternoon it just got too bloody windy really. It takes a fair amount of wind for me to feel overpowered on my 4.2m, but today I felt overpowered. Strong men were out on 3.7m's and some of the gusts were simply ridiculous.

And when it's that windy it's always hard to do much with the waves (well for the likes of me anyway). There were a few loops being thrown ...

and I certainly got a few high jumps (and some flat landings), but the wave riding wasn't that great with the waves being quite blown out and tons of white water thrashing around everywhere.

But at least Nikki got a few pictures of me sailing at last ...

I really like this one - taken from the harbour wall with the barren slopes of Montana Roca in the background (amazing depth of field - those rocks are maybe 3 kilometres away)

Oh and tomorrow is supposed to be even windier :(