Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sunset SUP

Rob and I went for a sunset paddle session after work tonight. Great exercise and beautiful sunset views. Pictures say it all I guess. We were on Lake Davidson...notice the traffic on I-77 as it runs in between Lake Norman and Lake Davidson. We got a few honks from the truckers and another guy fishing off a dock said he had never seen anything like us before.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We Rocked Our Faces Off!

That's what Jeff said. "We rocked our faces off."

Rob is the link that brought he, his friend Jeff, and I together on Friday evening to attend the Old 97s concert in Charlotte at the Visulite Theater.

What a great show. These guys left it all on the stage with such high energy and sweat. It's tough to classify the Old 97s...but I guess it's best described as alternative country rock.

So what does this have to do with windsurfing? Before you get all snippy on me, remember this blog from time to time will have something other than windsurfing in it. However, Rob has used Old 97s music in some of his windsurfing videos, such as this one. When I hear certain songs, it makes me think of windsurfing, surfing, mountain biking, etc and then I start envisioning my next video creation and what song will be in it.

Rob introduced me to the Old 97s and has also turned me onto some other great bands of similar persuasion. I have always been into various types of music. For example, here is a sample of some of my iPod playlists:

"Island" - Jack Johnson, G Love, Ben Harper, Donavon Frankenreiter, The Beautiful Girls, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Peter Tosh, etc.

"Alternative" - Death Cab for Cutie, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, RadioHead, Modest Mouse, Keane, Joseph Arthur, Moby, Angels and Airwaves, Silversun Pickups, O.A.R., etc. Also includes some great oldie alternative bands like Concrete Blonde, the Pixies, Buffalo Tom, The Replacements, etc.

"Heavy" - includes some "mandatory metal" and other fast paced hard rock such as Disturbed, Korn, Cold, Saliva, My Chemical Romance, Nine Inch Nails, The Offspring, Everclear, Green Day, Foo Fighters, etc.

I've always steered towards alternative. But lately, this alternative country rock thing has really stirred up the musical juices. I've been collecting some stuff that Rob and Jeff are really into and putting into my "Roadtrip" mix since it's so suitable for driving....bands such as:
Wilco, Averitt Brothers, Drive By Truckers, Caleb Caudle, Old 97s, and Rhett Miller (lead singer of Old 97s...his solo stuff). Blues Traveler and Ben Lee also round out this playlist nicely.

I put a Wilco song into this 3 minute Outer Banks picture montage a while back -

Anyway, music is the soundtrack of our lives....I thought I would share some recent stoke about a cool band we saw and mention some of the other music I've been listening to.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It Barely Blew 10mph and We Didn't Get Skunked

I have seen the promised land.

OK...thats overdoing it...but Rob and I did get to finally experience something we've been reading and hearing about....light wind wavesailing on a SUP (Stand Up Paddle) board. It all started with a classic 24 hr day trip. Rob and I had identified Saturday July 12th as a day trip day several weeks back. If the wind blew...great. If the wind didn't blow, we would go stand up paddling. The location was still to be determined. We were looking at several spots all week up and down the NC/SC coast. While we've done Hatteras Island before in a 24 hr day trip, we just didn't feel like driving the extra 2 hrs (one way) this time around since we were looking for a drive that was 4.5 hrs and under. The wind forecast wasn't looking so good late in the week but Hurricane Bertha was giving the coast some nice waves. However, Rob and I didn't have our own SUP boards yet. Not to worry I thought. We can call Glen at Hilton Head Island. As it turned out, Rob's sister was also staying in Hilton Head for the week and had a spare room for Rob and I to crash in Friday night. Perfect.

We meet Glen Saturday morning with the 3 SUP boards he brought along and we hit the ocean. I tried a Sean Ordenez Shape (SOS) Big Blue 10'10" board and Rob took the SOS Big Red 11'11" board. Glen was on a new Danai Fish 10'2" quad + 1 fin set up. It was low tide so there weren't any waves to be had yet. But we paddled up the beach, then a light breeze started up and we paddled back downwind. We were out there for a couple of hours just enjoying the exercise, the view, the company, and the wildlife (a few jellyfish and a spinner shark coming out of the water going after a school of fish). The board I was on was nice and stable, yet I could feel it was still a board I would need to work my way into especially for surfing the waves. But I liked it. As it turns out, Glen has a friend who works for a local surf shop and had a used SOS Big Blue SUP board for sale...just like the one I was on that morning, except this one had a mast track so you can put a sail on it for light wind wavesailing. The other shops I had been talking to didn't have the other model SUP boards I was looking at and didn't know when any more were arriving (and I have more beach time planned this summer), so I went for it and bought the used SOS Big Blue. Ain't she a beaut? (Picture by Glen Barroncini)

Rob and I went to have lunch with his sister and her family and Rob got to spend some time with his nieces. Then it was off to hit the water one more time with my new purchase. Except this time, the wind had picked up...all the way to a rousing 10mph side onshore. Luckily we brought our windsurfing gear (just in case!) and I whipped out my 5.4 sail. There has been a lot of hype about sticking a small sail on a SUP board in light winds with the goal of just catching and riding waves. You aren't supposed to be planing as the small sail is supposed to give you just enough momentum to get you out through the waves. Once you're in position to catch a wave, you let the board do the rest. OK, so lets see this theory work for ourselves.

It was high tide and the waves had arrived. The most popular surf break at Hilton Head Island (not known for its waves) was crowded with many surfers and people in the water. The surfers were on the best waves and the lineup was very crowded. So Rob and I scoped a gap without surfers and people just down the beach. The waves weren't as good, but hey...thats what a SUP is for. We rigged the 5.4, stuck it on, and I went out for the inaugural ride. That board cut right through the whitewater going out. I get past the breakers, tack, and head back in to catch a wave. I catch my first wave and that was all she wrote. That board was like it was on rails as I was wavesailing backside on a wave that peaked over waist high before breaking. Even riding the whitewater in was fun. I got a couple more waves and then it was Rob's turn. Now keep in mind that Rob and I have been windsurfing for 20+ years, yet we are beginner wavesailors. Rob gets his first wave and sails it with no problem. We took turns on the board/sail for another hour or so. The waves were classic east coast....small and mushy. But we were getting our mandatory time on the water and having a blast. Needless to say, there were big smiles on our faces for the ride home that night.

I want to thank Glen again for being such an awesome host, hooking Rob and I up Saturday morning, and for linking me to that used board for sale. Glen, you should be getting a finders fee for that! If you're ever in the Hilton Head area, look Glen up and he'll take you out for lessons, demos, rentals, SUP equipment sales, and just plain fun stand up paddling. He is the ultimate SUP ambassador and a nice guy too.

Here's a short 1:25 video clip and some pictures below that (Rob has the hat on and I'm hatless):


Yours truly and Glen


Rob and I playing around

Me heading out through the whitewater

Rob enjoying my board and sail. How big is that smile? Can you say STOKE?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Who Says the Wind Doesn't Blow in the Summer?

Everybody got some this past weekend! A Bermuda High sat off the coast for several days producing some solid SW winds for the coast and even reached inland a bit.

Where to start....

My Greensboro buddies, Mark and Todd, combined work in the Wilmington area with some windsurfing and scored at The Basin in Fort Fisher. A submerged metal box reached up and attacked is his description of the carnage: "Here it is: the new hinge-tailed slalom board. Available in 2 piece and 3 piece versions. Board can be stored in the trunk of your car or in the overhead compartment for you frequent fliers..."

Todd busted his sail too. Guys, it's time for new gear!

Alan made the roadtrip to Kure Beach and sailed the ocean opposite The Basin....called Corncake. He reported solid 5.0 wind but the waves didn't show up.

The Charleston, SC gang also reported 5.0 conditions with chest high waves in side-shore wind.

The Hatteras LoopFest went off in excellent conditions. There are great summaries and awesome pictures at Andy's, Bill's, and George's blogs. And there is a great
Loopfest video here.
Donald made the trip and showed up in some of the pictures on George's blog. I took these pics of Donald off George's blog...they were taken by George's wife, Janis Markopoulos. This is Donald's first year of wavesailing...I'd say he's taken to it just fine.

As for myself, I finally got to windsurf for the first time in almost 2 months after my hernia surgery. I didn't make the trip to the coast but I was able to score at the lake on a rare windy summer day here. I was fully powered on my new 6.4 sail for 2 hours solid in 15-25 winds. There was a bit of boat traffic in the main channel but I was able to get upwind and play in an open area next to an island where no boats were and just had an absolute blast.