Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wave sailing at Democrat Point

My "full report from a Demo newbie" as posted to the LongIslandWindsurfer Yahoo Group, describing my first wave sailing session at Democrat Point:

Well it wasn't classic Demo as per the regulars, nor did world-class wave described by Graham Ezzy show, but I'm more than glad I finally showed up to scope out the scene and see what all the fuss is all about. It took me just under an hour to make the drive from Hampton Bays, where the trees and wind chimes were going off next to Peconic Bay, but very little action on the ocean. I tried convincing the Peconic crew to join me in the pilgrimage: Scott Kielt was at Cupsogue beach with his family, on the other side of Moriches Inlet from Fire Island, and he reported "12mph at best". Michael Alex opting for time with his wife at Mecox bay was stuck searching for a plane on his 7.0. The Wolf also hung with his family, and when I spoke to him this morning, he said "so you got to Demo and the wind died, right?"

Not at all. Driving along the Robert Moses Causeway across the Great South Bay, I could see the wind was cranking 6.0 or better. I almost felt blinded by all the water as I sped across the long bridge, even though the sun wasn't out - or maybe it was just my wind-starved senses getting overloaded. I got to Cedar Beach just after 5pm, and within 10 minutes the crew had assembled, choosing sails from 5.6(?) to 5.9. It was good to see Brook, Joe, Steve, Pete and George, all of whom I either knew or met once previously. Brook and Pete started schooling me on the Demo do's and don'ts ("stay upwind of the channel" was the tip that sunk in), when jolly George Marr came over to say "bah, don't listen to those guys, just go have fun!"

The fun began shortly after catching my breath from the "Bataan Death March" across the beach - fortunately most of the sand was hard enough for solid footing during the long journey. I approached the water last, and was glad to see the other sailors nicely powered and planing toward the point in a hurry - I'd have no problem with my 5.9 / 109L kit. The shorebreak was non-existent at low tide, and with an easy beach start I was underway. I immediately felt a surge of joy to be back on the ocean after weeks of flatwater. I found the swell and waves from the beach to the channel to be bumpy and disorganized, but hey at least they were waves! Closer to the channel, the swirling currents occasionally produced some psycho-swell, but once into the channel and toward the point, the real fun began.

While this day was not classic Demo due to South wind (not the preferred SW or NE), it was still possible to grab wave rides and the occasional jump. The outgoing current against the incoming waves made for 2-4 ft ramps, and when the waves broke, the whitewater was gentle - nothing like the punishing waves at Ponquogue, the bowl and Cupsogue. A couple waves jumped up to the 4-6 ft range, one which I caught for my memorable ride of the day. I also had fun riding down waves just inches ahead of the whitewater, trying to not get taken down. Near the point the wind lightened up, and when some whitewater knocked me off balance, I was surprised to find myself standing in waist-deep water. The water was warm and clear, though the current spewed out a couple weeds and occasional chunks of floating plastic. Later on I followed George past the rock jetty, and rode several waves on the return. Now I feel prepped for the next sesh when "the wave" actually shows up.

After two solid hours, dark clouds appeared from the west, and the other sailors headed back to Cedar. The walk back across the beach wasn't too bad at first, with my muscles pumped and warmed from the sesh, though the last 50 yards of soft sand was punishing. After a refreshing shower I joined the BS sesh in the parking lot, topped off with an organic Goose Island beer (thanks Joe!). All in all, a good day, good exercise, and a good low-level intro to Demo. Can't wait to return for a taste of Demo Classic.

[This and many other LI spots can be found on the Peconic Puffin's Long Island Windsurfing Map.]


PeconicPuffin said...

Bring me next time!

George Markopoulos said...

Nice Jeff-
great recap. Nothing beats wavesailing for sure!

drysuit2 said...

love that spot. Beautiful, different every time you are lucky enough to go there.

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