Sunday, August 3, 2008

Catching Up - with some recent sessions ...

Nick (on the Boards forum) wrote: "Hopefully you'll get time to put some more stuff up on your blog! How am I supposed to spend my days day-dreaming of moving there if you don't keep me supplied with new info to get jealous about?!"

um, yes been a bit lax here recently ...

Partly because there's not so much to write about right now ... we've kind of got over the initial period of panic, sorting out the basics & adjusting to the different pace of things, and are now really into just enjoying the simple things ... like sitting around the square with a cold Dorada in the early evening sunshine and watching the world go by.

Anyway, so here's some recent musings ....

I met Steve Thorpe (aka Ripper) the other afternoon - what a nice bloke ... he was modestly dismissive about his sailing, but I was wave riding with him at the harbour wall a few days ago, and I noticed how much faster than anyone else he was on the wave ... he had about 50% more speed than anyone else going from bottom turn to cut back (maybe the speed sailing helps ?) which makes it all look a lot more dynamic in very onshore conditions.

Ah yes, I also met the famed 'Geriatric Looper' today, and his lovely lady. Certainly nowhere near as wrinkly as his name would suggest and again very modest - telling me that he was finding the evil tack a bit tricky for looping etc, but clearly far more bottle than me (you won't catch me throwing myself over the front at my age, no way, it's me dodgy knees you know ...).

He did express surprise though (to Nikki) that I was somewhat less 'ard than my appearance in photos had led him to believe. However Nikki explained that the shaved head was pure necessity rather than choice, and that I was also lacking any tattoos.

High season is 'perro come perro' (dog eat dog') here - at least it gets the adrenaline going when you have to fight for every wave, and that's when the nut head look with a few day's stubble comes in handy :-)

High season is 'perro come perro'

Thursday 24th July:
another classic El Medano day - 4.7m on the waveboard and waves just about overhead at the Wall ... which does mean that I get rinsed a fair bit, but the good thing there is that if you just patiently wait with the mast tip pointing into the oncoming waves and bury the sail underwater, the current etc just takes you out of the impact zone into the deeper water, and you eventually get left somewhere you can waterstart and just sail out through the channel around the waves again.

as to why I'm getting rinsed ... ah well, that's where I'd appreciate any advice. Up to about head high my top turns are working fine, but when I go for a an overhead high lip I sometimes don't give it enough commitment and just get pushed over backwards into the breaking section and then get worked.

fear factor I suppose, and I'll probably get it sorted - especially in such a safe location - but I'd appreciate any help with how to tighten up my cut backs on bigger waves and come back down the breaking section instead of being eaten by it.

I also fell off a couple of times doing faster bottom turns on bigger / steeper waves, but I'm not so bothered by that as I think I know where I need to have more commitment (sheeting in and leaning forwards more to set the rail and control the speed etc).

ps oh yes, just said hola to Ian & Emile (Boards test team) - just arrived to bring lots of wind and waves

Monday 28th July
Had a late afternoon / early evening session ... Perfecto - 5.2 well powered on the wave board. Wind gets more consistent and starts to go more X-off as the land cools down and this week the mid tide sweet spot is right for an evening sail. Waves were lots of fun - shoulder to head high, and of course the crowds start to thin out.

Plenty of Brits out - Emille and the Boards test team, OTC staff, Sparky, Ben Proffit I think is here again ... good vibes all round with no aggression but plenty of inspirational, aspirational wavesailng.

Beautiful light as the sun backlights the waves, instead of the glare you get in the morning.

July's been good pretty much every day with no let up on the forecast

Friday 1st August
It was 'Viernes Grande' (Big Friday) here today.

Started off in the morning (tide on the push) on my waveboard and 4.2m, but after maybe 20 minutes I was well over-powered. So changed down to 3.7m and took Nikki's WaveCult77 back up to the wall ... where I was the only windsurfer for about an hour.

Glorious but taxing conditions - probably (allegedly ?) logo high in the sets. Certainly the biggest I've sailed in anyway. I found myself looking down this huge steep smooth face and thinking 'this is a bit different - how far down it do I go before i do my bottom turn' Not taking too many risks with the cut backs, but when I did eventually get rinsed it was a case of hang on to the kit for dear life and hope the mast survives.

Came back to the south bay for an intense high tide session with the Boards crew, Ian, Emille, Ed, Mathew (Demon), Sparky. Looked more like Cabezo with huge back loops etc every few seconds. By then it was sooo bloody windy that it was more a question of survival for me - but hey, I survived ... and as they say: "whatever doesn't kill ya makes you stronger".

Too windy for photography (Nikki doesn't want to risk her camera with so much sand and spray blowing around) - so you'll just have to take my word for it

Sunday 3rd Aug
Another good session here - third day in a row well powered on my 3.7m / WaveCult77 with a sizeable swell and good waves at the harbour wall.

As I was about to launch I asked Ian Leonard what sail he had up - when he said a 4.7m I wasn't surprised since it can be very deceptive first thing in the morning. The wind is still a bit X-off from the land still warming up and it feels like there's not a lot on the beach, but as soon as you get out to the wind line it's wham-bam-gratias-senora

Anyway I was perfect on the 3.7m, got up to the wall in a couple of tacks and enjoyed a fine session with Ian, Emille & the Boards crew all looking a bit maxed out.

Back on the beach they were definitely looking a bit worse for wear and tear.

went home and watched the GP - fairly boring as usual.

Thursday 7th Aug
A funny thing happened to me on the way to the wall today ...

I was making my way upwind when i spotted a windsurfer in the water waving at me. So of course I stopped to see what he'd broken. Instead, he proceeded to tell me about the shark that he'd just seen out at sea ... described it as about 2.5m long and brownish colour. I asked him if it could have been say a dolphin, and he was adamant that it was definitely a shark.

Anyway, I kept sailing but stayed rather closer in than I normally do.

Yep, I know y'all gonna think it was a wind-up - but I don't think so. The guy was very Germanicly 'proper' and really didn't feel like a wind up. Probably a harmless variety ? I mean if it had been white etc

I guess the fishermen would be the experts.

Anyway that got the keyboards clicking on the Boards forum ...

Lostboy: "Stop trying to clear the beaches with your scare stories"

Nico: "There's bound to be sharks around an oceanic island. It's not impossible that it would be a White but statistically I wouldn't worry. Hard to say that when you are waterstarting and convinced something is eyeing you up for dinner. Tiger sharks are the other one. No seal colonies down your way anyway."

King Shingly: "I would say Mako sharks are the ones to worry about there. However from the description I would say that is a Bronze or Copper Whaler, which dont make a habit of attacking people, unless provoked. If its brown its not a dolphin."

PaulP: "If said shark has WiFi access and reads the BOARDS forum, I think it would be fair to say that it has been provoked by Mr S Beach in the past, and that any attack is justified."

Garethh: "Very true, if's Brown it ain't Flipper! SB pretty much any shark in existence bar the Bull ranges up to the Canaries because you're mid Atlantic mid ocean and somewhere between Tropical and temperate COuld be the Mako, they are Pelagic and easily range that way (this way too - I surfed Gwithian three years ago with a 16 footer - only realising when I came ashore) and in that breath could be a white too. Unlikely to be a Tiger if it was brown, so Copper Whaler is a possibility There are hundreds of shark species which experts find difficult to differentiate by sightings so I'd not fret too hard and assume it was one of the many harmless species and not one of the few potentially dangerous. Actually I take it back it could be a Tiger Shark"

Anyway, I got an e-mail from OTC along the same lines:

"The good thing is that they are not aggressive species and the fact that people have seen them is a good sign as they are obviously not interested in windsurfers. I believe that it is breeding season and that they are sitting in the currents right out to sea looking for some fish. Hence they are where the birds are diving.

All the sightings have been a long way out to sea so simple strategy if you don't want to see them."

The bloke who stopped in the water to tell me he'd seen one was obviously not too bothered as he kept right on ocean grooving way out to sea.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Windsurfing Pics - El Muelle 31/07/08

Nikki took a few pics of me the other day at El Muelle (the harbour wall). Quite windy - I'm using my 4.2m sail, but as you can see, tiny waves (at least the ones that I found anyway :-(

I'm quite pleased with the next one as I'm fairly well twisted 'inside out' with the sail opened out clew first as I head back up the (titchy) wave. In the cross on wind we get here you need to to do this to go frontside / down-the-line ...

And here are a couple of Stuart (aka The Geriatric Looper - but a mere and very spritely 58 as you can see :-) ...