As Ok so it's been way toooo long since posted anything, but my excuse is that I've been too busy sailing and then trying to catch up with other stuff. Not forgetting the storm damage that I've been trying to clear up. We had 10 big trees down 25m/80ft tall pines and I'm still trying to sort that lot out as well as building a new shed.
Today was, how shall I put it, back to reality, the wind was cross onshore and the swell about 4ft, I got to try out my new Hotsails Qu4d (4 batten wave sail). The jumping was fun, I had a few forwards and even nailed a backie , which is always difficult when it's onshore! Martyn had a selfie set up on his boom, I was trying to photobomb him by sailing close up behind him, it didn't quite work but he had this one
As for other pics from the day of days, or should I put it, one of day of days there are some great ones on Pierre Bisson's website www.gsyphoto.com and here are few more from my gopro.
But it's not all been wave after wave after wave, I even broke out the slalom gear in March! Why I hear you ask? Well that's because I got a new custom 8.5 from the guys at Hotsails. It's a Dacron cam less freeride/slalom sail with a huge wind range, apparently people can still hold them down in 30knts! I've only sailed it the once and already love it. The colours are based on the French tricolour, the Jersey saltire and of course the gold cross of Normandy that features on our very own flag :-) oh and it was drawn up by my daughter.
For those of you who know me you'll know that I love this sport not for what windsurfing does for me but about what I can do for what is the greatest sport on this planet. How better than to get out there and get some media coverage to promote the sport we love! Twice on the www.thisisguernsey.com website in a week and also on the Hotsails Maui blog page. And it's not only me as Hutchy and Seb Lovell have been getting in Guernsey Press too in the last week!
Been clearing out some old paperwork and stuff and found these pics. A real blast from the past, taken in the late 80's or early 90's, in the days when a cheese roll meant something! I reckon these were some of the first ever Hotsails Maui sails in Europe, imported by Clem Brouard who work for them in Maui in the early days.
Check out the Z-boom!
Pretty high aspect ratio!
This is Clem on an Angulo custom, as for the sail I've still got it in the garage!
September is always pot luck, some years it can be epic with the sea still warm from the heady days of summer but with westerly swells and winds starting to push in off the Atlantic. But some years it can be, well, still summer, and this year was one of those years. Early September was warm, or dare I say, hot with quite a few beach days. That's tolerable, I love going down the beach with my family for swim and occasional BBQ, but come September I do usually start to get very itchy feet. Sometimes the urge can be fixed by a slalom session and I had quite a few of them this month with some great off shore blasting and mixing it up in the west coast bays.
But autumn is autumn and she has started to show her colours with a few wave sessions last week, nothing epic but a bit of fun smashing it up at Vaz. Les Perry was there taking a few pics and you can see them on his site here:
Here are a couple of screen grabs, it's worth checking out Les's site as there are loads of windsurfing pics that he's built up over the years.
He's been doing a bit of photoshopping too, inspired by my new blue ion wettie!
Anyway lets hope autumn is epic, the forecast this week is not too shabby and I'm on hols too! Here's a blast from the past just to remind us what's around the corner :-)
PS that's the re-break on the beach this is the proper stuff
My last post described Mother Nature as a cruel mistress, well she continues to taunt and tease me! This year I decided to do the whole south of France thing with my family. With my wife being a teacher she has a long summer holiday and I've never managed to find more than a week's holiday in the summer - besides whilst I might be able to do a week (at the most) by a pool two weeks would be torture! Anyway this year, what with a change of job coming up and some extra hols, I decided to do the two weeks.....the idea being to go down to the Rhone valley really far south (about an hour north St Marie de la Mer where they do the whole Defi windsurfing race - the one with 800+ sailors on the start line). Being so far south We decided to take the train, drivings a pain in proverbial when it's the middle of summer with no air con and two fighting kids in the back of van and anyway an hour from the coast would mean there'd be no chance of a sail and anyway I could hire a bike and go biking for my daily exercise fix, apart from anything else there would be no chance of there being any windsurfing spots and of course no wind or so I thought.......turns out I should have checked the spot list on Windguru before deciding to train it. It never entered my peanut that there could be a windsurfing spot near by. I guess there was a clue in the name when I started to drive down Ave du Mistral on the edge of the Rhone.
Turns out that not only is Chusclan famous for its red wine but by all accounts one of the few windsurfing spots on the Rhone, and probably the only spot in the world that shares its name with a wine! Also it turns out that when Windguru says no wind in Chusclan it's doesn't really mean no wind if the Mistral is blowing and blow it did for nearly the whole of the two weeks. Nothing super strong, I guess the windiest day would have been 4.7 but I never got to find out. I did 'checkez les conditiones' on one day and although not epic it would have given me fix. The spot reminded me of The Ditch in Wellington NZ (my old stomping ground) and I guess when it's nuclear it would be fun, and on the day I did check it out the guys were having a blast and getting some pretty good air on the far side of the river (not quite Gorge style but getting there).
The shots aren't great as they were taken with the Gopro so you need to be really close, but I got close enough to the action to know although it was pretty flat (some lumps in the middle) I'd have got my fix. The hols were, in another way, an eyeopener as I improved my appreciation of Cote du Rhone and covered probably 300kms+ on off road tracks on a MB (that I blogged for the whole 2 weeks) including some challenging climbs of about 500ft (off road that is) with bone shaking forest tracks, some dodgy drop offs and some epic views.
And the view up from from below
Am I in danger of turning into a wine drinking MAMIL (middle aged man in Lycra)? I hope not but I've made a good attempt this week!
But at least mother nature has a way of balancing out, I think I'm due shed loads of wind?.. pretty please....
Mother nature can be a cruel mistress and she's shown me who wears the trousers in our relationship! Its taken me a long time get over the disaster that was my annual canaries trip hence the delay in posting, I think the trauma has past but its not been easy to come to terms with it.
Now normally I coincide my trip with the PWA Pozo event safe in the knowledge that its aways windy in early July and in my 8 trips over the last 8 years I've not missed a single day, with the biggest sail I've had to use being a 6.5 ---- until this year! I knew things were going pear shaped about a week before when the forecast started to show some fairly light winds in the few days leading up to the trip, phew I thought if the Calima (name for the southerly wind that pushes up against the trades) kicks in a few days before our trip there'll be a possibility of day or two of lighter winds at the beginning of the trip and then the trades will settle in again won't they??
The calima winds never last more than 3-4 days never never never! Well this year it did, for the first time since windsurfing sails graced the beach of El Medano. The first few days were tolerable with some SUPping and light wind trickery but after 2-3days of those sorts shenanigans nerves began to get frayed. The forecast seemed to be goodish from the Wednesday onwards, nothing epic but nevertheless doable but as Wednesday arrived the promised wind failed to materialise but the Thursday was looking ok, nothing epic but doable.
Sure enough Thursday arrived and you've guess it the wind failed to materialise so Jas and I made the mistake of heading off to the Siam water park ( you might have seen the vid of Dany Bruch towing into the wave in the wave pool www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv_pYIsGuWM ) Mistake? I hear you ask, surely splashing around for the day in Europe's biggest mistake can't be all bad, well the park wasn't bad the rides were great, some of them verging on mental in fact but the 'mistake' bit was again due to Mother Nature & her showing who's boss. I mentioned the Calima wind earlier, the one that pushes up from the south against the trades and in effect cancels them out, well Siam park is just around the corner from El Medano and just like when you walk down a city street on a windy day and you turn a corner and suddenly you get blasted by the wind coming from the other direction well the same thing happened to us, sure enough on Costa del Concrete the Calima was cranking.
Would have been plenty windy enough for a 5.0 but with living in Guernsey and with that the hassle of transporting kit we were hiring from the TWS so no kit! We were standing on the top of a hill in Siam park waiting for a ride down the Mekong river ride and the faces of everyone queuing painted a picture of thrills and fun mixed with a little fear - expect of Jas and I who were seriously pissed off by this point (made even worse when I heard someone say 'well I've never known it so windy over here!') so we bailed.
The next day the forecast was tolerable and the outlook getting even better so Jas and I decided to hang on for an extra day and fork out the best park of another £200 in flight changes etc. We even managed to get in on some wave kit on the Friday, I tried out the new 85l Tabou tri fin with 5.3. Nice board I thought! These pics are from that one day. I've chosen not to publish the pics of me being washed up on the rocks or breaking my mast for obvious reasons!
The next day, the extra day, was again tolerable but not worth the extra dosh :-( . Will I be going again? Oh yes, I'll be back, you've only got to look at the footage from the very same beach earlier this month of the PWA to see that it can be a fun spot!