Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve windsurfing at Sebonac

The last time it was blowin' NW 20-35 mph at Sebonic Inlet, I was stuck on shore with too much board and sail, wistfully snapping photos of jumps and jibes. This time, however, I was able to do both, riding the 89L Naish with a 5.2m to join in the fun, while taking some action shots during breaks. About 10-15 windsurfers took advantage of the Christmas Eve windfest, jumping, carving and having a great time. The photos are the real highlight of this post, so please check them out (preferably in full size) in this Flickr set: Sebonic Inlet - Christmas Eve '06. My two favorites include the one above (anyone know who that is?) and this one of Jon Ford shredding chop:

I, on the other hand, had a tough time struggling with poorly positioned harness lines and occasionally fluky winds. My arms quickly became tired, and after my first jump, I ended up catapulting, twice. This was my 3rd or 4th time on this shorter board, and after my previous successes, I realize I'm back at the bottom of the learning curve.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Solo Sesh at Mecox

What a day over at Mecox Bay today! Gusty 15-25 mph SW winds and air temps in the low 50's (water temps manageable in the upr 40's). Originally I was hoping to meet up and surf with Michael, but unfortunately he was side-lined with a cold. I then checked in with Jon Ford, who was headed to Cupsogue to do some ocean sailing (apparently great on a SW). Unfortunately that launch needs a 4wd for access, the only major drawback of a van. Next time I'll plan better and see if I can borrow my brother's new monster pickup truck.

Arriving at Mecox around noon, I found a wide open bay with some decent chop building. I rigged the 6.2m to start, and managed the gusts until about hour later when they picked up full blast to 20-25. It was tough getting back, and a bit tiring, but the shallow bay made things easier.

For the rest of the day, I was in a range from "nicely balanced" to "nicely over-powered" on the 5.2m. I had fun hopping chop, as I'm still in the early stages of jumping waves and swells. I'm also still in the early stages of gybing through chop, which I'm finding much tougher than flat water.

My bro was cool enough to stop by in his monster truck and snap a couple pics and videos (thanks Keith!). I'll update this entry later with some highlights and spills; I welcome all comments and pointers!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hark! A Peconic Puffin Flies In

I had no idea what an Atlantic Puffin sounded like until the recently resurrected Peconic Puffin flapped onto the windsurfing blog scene. Check this out (I'd never guess):

A big hello and thanks to Michael and the PP for sparking me back into action. I have been sailing over the last few months, but haven't made the time for a blog update. I'll be back-dating a couple "new" entries to try and get back up to speed. I also want to thank the PP for this highly needed and useful Long Island Windsurfing Map. You can add spots to it that aren't already there (or perhaps supply additional details for ones that are). One neat detail would be photos, which flickr does with their maps. For example, this is a map of photos I took across the East End while this is a map of the roughly 1500 windsurfing photos across the world!

Finally, the puffin picture and sound comes from the National Audubon Society's Project Puffin, which I actually lived 3 miles down the road from when I lived in Ithaca. I'm taking this as a sign from the universe and will be adopting a puffin for the year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Nor'easter

Thanks to my Aunt Cindy for shooting this video of me on Peconic Bay. A Thanksgiving Nor'Easter brought winds from the Northeast at 20kts, gusting to 30kts. I was on my 5.2m and 90L Naish, having trouble with my harness lines, but making the best of it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My first Napeague Noreaster

20-30 mph NE winds meant shoulder high swells and big jumps on Napeague Bay, back on October 6th & 7th, 2006. I was a bit overpowered at times on my 5.2, and the 116 was too much board, so I retreated to the Harbor and practiced my planing gybes.

A dozen more pics here: NE winds at Napeague - Oct 6/7, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jibing Better - with video

I finally began hitting my gybes consistently on flat water behind the Red Cedar Point on Sunday. You know you've hit a new level when you don't need to water-start or uphaul for 20+ minutes, and your wetsuit and hair dries out from just rippin back and forth and carvin gybes. Even dry, non-planing gybes like this one shot by my brother Keith made my day:

Now on to jumps, vulcans, and maybe that forward. There could be some good ocean sailing on Sunday, but I'd feel much better doing it with a nose guard attached (will it ever arrive from Europe?)....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Windsurfing Ernesto

Another tropical storm visits Long Island, this time as the remnants of Ernesto, which double-teamed with high pressure to the north to whip up some incredible east winds. The Shinnecock Inlet tower recorded 34 hours of 30-40 mph wind from Friday night through Sunday morning, with a peak gust of 55 mph late Saturday afternoon.

Peconic Bay, Saturday morning:

I got out Friday afternoon on Peconic Bay, and progressed from my 6.2 to the 5.2 as wind built from 15 mph to 25. It was such pleasure to be perfectly balanced with the small sail, fully powered by reliable wind, and jump off of cresting white caps and 2-4 foot swells. On one jump, however, my feet came out of the straps and I neglected to unhook and sheet out, and I catapulted around the front. My friend Steve says I would have done a forward if I had kept my feet in the straps - ha, that's one way to think of it. Fortunately, the Deviator kept me from smashing the board's nose, but the impact on the weak side still opened the crack created in TS Beryl. What a bummer, after an awesome day.

Around Noon on Saturday I swung over to the Shinnecock Inlet. The winds were really cranking at this point, and waves were crashing into the rocks, sending sea spray well downwind. A couple of surfers were braving the rough surf, but windsurfers stowed their 3.5 sails and gear as winds started hitting 40 to 55 mph. I've got 19 photos from that day here: Ernesto at Shinnecock Inlet - Sep 2, 06. Here are two that I like:

The constant east wind funneled a lot of water into the inner bays, and by the final high tide of the storm there was some minor coastal flooding, but nothing too serious:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

First Bowl Wave Sailing Session

Awesome day on the Ocean for me, though I didn't deserve it. I spent the lazy Sunday morning making eggs and oat bran, watching "Meet The Press", and expecting the winds to build 15-20 in the afternoon. The SE winds meant side-onshore conditions, the first wave sailing since April. Unfortunately, I had missed the best by the time I got there at Noon. My brother and I came across a kite surfer at Ponquogue, who said windsurfers were blasting away on their 5.3's over at the bowl. When we rolled up, however, the guys were packing it in. The winds were getting fluky, and most had just had enough.


I came back an hour later and the winds had picked up enough to get me to rig. For about 20 minutes I was underpowered on my 6.2, but I was able to schlog upwind and get out to the breakers at the sand bar. The swells were pretty deep, and I was happy to just keep my balance and finally enjoy being on the ocean after 4 long months.

Luckily, the winds picked up and delivered 40 minutes of moderate to slightly overpowered planing. I loved jibing near the shore, in the smooth water between waves. Smooth water made for smooth carving, though not for smooth sail flips.

It was fun avoiding the breakers, and I got some pretty decent air a bunch of times, with only two crashes (one involving surging white water). I also saw some fish fins protruding from the water - they seemed to be feasting on something, but I couldn't tell if I was looking at small sharks or striped bass or dogfish.

5 more pics from the day are here: The Bowl - Aug 27th 06.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Windsurfing with Kids, aka Shredding with Six Year Olds

Another awesome session with the kids, this time with much better pictures! Full sized versions are available here: Windsurfing with kids!. Here are smaller versions:

Friday, July 21, 2006

First Planing Jibe - Woohoo!

A new milestone today: my first planing jibe! After what was probably 100 attempts, I was quite surprised to find the sail right in front of me after the flip, and my feet balanced in the right spot. I just grabbed on and planed right out of the turn -- sweet victory! The trick that did it for me was keeping pressure on the inside rail, and sliding the outside foot across the centerline.

And now the bad news: while getting ready to beach-start, I noticed a crack in the board's nose (Mistral Synchro 116). It must have come from surfing in Beryl the previous day, likely a catapult or crash of some sort, but I was having too much fun to even realize it. Anyway, I quickly got back to shore, pulled out the screw and let the water drain out overnight. The next morning I swung by Windsurfing Hamptons, and left my baby in the hands of Jon Ford for repair. Now comes a week's wait - at least I've still got my Go board...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tropical Storm Beryl brushed by Long Island, passing about 100 miles offshore. For most of the day a 20+ mph east wind built up some good 2-4 foot rollers. I got out there around 6pm on my 5.2, and had an incredible session full of jumps off the swells. Cousins Kerri and Nicholas did some taping as they watched from the shore. A couple stills from the cam-corder:

Plenty of wind for the 5.2:

Getting a little air:

In a trough:


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Windsurfing with Kids - first sesh

On July 10th, before the winds ramped up too much, I took my young cousins for rides on my old Go board. "Fearless Kassidy" (Age 7) and "Big Guy Nicholas" (Age 6) each took turns sitting on the front. The winds were strong enough to get us up on a plane for a few runs, and I was very impressed that they both held on, despite the sometimes wet and bumpy ride (plus the ever-scary threat of jellyfish!). Kassidy even stood up a couple times! I've only got a few blurry cam-corder stills, but perhaps we'll have better photo luck later in the month.

Big Guy Waving:

Kassidy Standing!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Windless Ponquogue Summer Days

I've been spending a lot of windless days at the ocean this month, soaking up sun and salt water with my cousins, who are in town from Chicago on summer vacation. On July 3rd, Ponquogue was full of families and surfers, quite the contrast from our visit in April. One of these days I'm going to have to trade in my boogie board for a real surfboard. Some pics from the day:

Ponquogue Beach, Hampton Bays, July 3rd
Surfing at Ponquogue Beach, Hampton Bays, July 3rd
Ocean Kayaking at Ponquogue Beach, Hampton Bays, July 3rd
Chasing seagulls at Ponquogue Beach, Hampton Bays, July 3rd

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Shots from Sebonac

Strong 20-30+ kt winds from the WNW brought East End windsurfers to Sebonic Inlet in Southampton on Saturday. Shortboards and 4.2 to 4.7 sails were the rule as the long fetch across Peconic Bay provided ample wind and swells for jumps and jibes. I snapped about 15 pics of the action, uploaded to this Flickr set. (Large size (1024 x 768) and extra-large (2272 x 1704) sizes are available there - don't just view the tiny thumbnail-sized pics.) Here are a couple from the set:

I, unfortunately, was relegated to Cold Spring Pond with my larger equipment, and made a good time of it, as long as I wasn't beach-starting from the mucky bottom.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Losing Fins and Carving Peconic Bay

The sun was out, winds were gusting well into the 20's out of the SW, and I thought it'd be the perfect day for some pictures at Red Cedar Point. Luckily my brother was available to man the camera, but the photo shoot came to an abrupt end when I hit bottom and ripped off the stock 35cm fin. Despite lots of searching since, I've been unable to find it. Some crab probably dragged it to deeper waters - it is horseshoe crab mating season after all.

After some credit card abuse over at Windsurfing Hamptons, I returned with 28cm and 35cm G-Sport replacements, but by then I had lost my cameraman. I only have this picture from a week later showing a little carve action. This time I'm well away from shore!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Yearning for Waves

Big waves this week!

Returning from Ithaca, NY this afternoon, I see that The NWS at OKX has issued a Small Craft Advisory (also see the marine weather statement). Here's Monday's forecast:

I can't partake (nor could I in that much surf), so I'll have to wait until this weekend to work on either my jibes in flat water or my balance on ocean waves. I'm hoping for some 15-20 SW wind and flat water on the lee side of Red Cedar Point, as I'd like to try out some ideas in this Ottowa Windsurfing Tips Page.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

My first Ponquogue wave sailing session

An East wind this weekend brought much desired side-onshore conditions at Ponquogue Beach. On Saturday, 5.7-6.2 conditions gave way to 4.7-5.2 as the pressure gradient tightened through the day. About 15-20 windsurfers hit the waves, which were a bit sloppy and disorganized, but a manageable 1-3 feet for newbies like myself. This was my second time on the ocean in winds greater than 20mph, and I'm glad to say that this time I survived with my sail intact. Air and sea temps were in the 40's, so dry suits, hoods and gloves were necessary.

More photos to be found in this flickr set, including this one of Jon Ford getting some major air:

I ended up the day with a late afternoon session on Peconic Bay. The winds were still cranking, perhaps even more than before, and I really flew across the chop. Time to get a GPS, I think.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Jibing (or trying to)

I spent a portion of Easter Sunday in the chilly waters of Great Peconic Bay. The NW winds were pretty variable, averaging 10-15 mph, gusting to 20. This variability made jibing tricky, not to mention just staying on the board. I completed 4 sloppy jibes out of about 15 attempts. This pic displays a common beginner's error: waiting too late in the turn to switch the feet and flip the sail.

I've set up a Flickr account with 6 more pics from Sunday's session. Check'emout!

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Blog is Born: Windsurfing the East End

After finding a surprising lack of blog sites dedicated to Windsurfing (Giampaolo Cammarota's Maui Windsurf Report is a notable exception), I've decided to start one of my own to share my passion (borderline addiction) with other wind-crazed surfers.

Most of my surfing is done on the East End of Long Island, NY, on Peconic Bay between the North and South Forks (Google Map), and on the Atlantic Ocean near the Shinnecock Inlet. Two weeks ago I scoped out Napeague Harbor and Bay, which are supposed to be great spots (Google Map). Elsewhere in the world, I've surfed the Outer Banks of NC (March 06), Tarifa, Spain (July 03) and Canada's Crystal Beach/Thunder Bay on Lake Erie (Sept 02 & 04).
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