Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mountains to Sea

In the span of 24 hours soon after the start of 2009, I had the good fortune of being in the mountains of NC and then the coast of NC...for some snow tubing, ice skating, then some light wind wavesailing and paddle surfing. It started with a brief 3 day trip to Blowing Rock, NC with my family, in-laws and cousins. The goal was to get the kids (and myself) on the slopes for some skiing, as well as some other winter sports fun. We had the winter sports fun but weren't able to ski, but not for a lack of trying. On our first day, we arrived too late at Appalachian Ski Mountain to get the kids into the ski lessons...they were booked! Need to plan better next time. So we went snow tubing at Hawksnest that afternoon instead which was a lot of fun and the kids loved it.


Grinning ear to ear


video
Short video clip of a tube ride. It was faster than it looks.

We were planning to go skiing the next day and get there early enough to get the kids into their lessons....but we woke up to 70 mph winds! We didn't think that would be a good fun and conducive environment for the kids to learn to ski. I took one walk out onto the deck of our rental house, got blown around pretty good, then spent the rest of the day indoors catching up on a lot of reading, and knowing my buddies back home were getting some good sailing in on Lake Norman...which they did. That was New Years Eve...I didn't even make it to midnight...fell asleep reading before the ball dropped. We departed the next day but not before I woke up to go for an early morning sunrise walk to the top of the ridge to take in some beautiful views and watch the sun come up over the valley below us. It was so clear I could even see the Charlotte skyline from there...thats about 95 miles away!


Charlotte skyline 95 miles away

First Sunrise of 2009


The backside of Grandfather Mountain just outside our rental house. The wind speeds were measured at over 100 mph at the top on New Years Eve.

On our way out, we took the kids ice skating at Appalachian Ski Mountain.

We arrived back home on the afternoon of New Years Day. I talked to my buddy Rob and we decided the next day looked good at the beach for some potential light wind wavesailing and paddle surfing on our SUP boards. So off we went early the next morning...and at 11am we were on the beach just below Kure Beach/Fort Fisher.





The forecast called for SW winds building to 15-20 knots in the afternoon. But we knew there would be a "dome" effect whereas the warm wind wouldn't be able to penetrate the air over the cold water. Sure enough, the wind tried to build but didn't get more than around 10-15mph...perfect however for small sails on our SUP boards. The waves were anywhere between knee to chest high...depending on the tide at the time (it was outgoing). The SW wind was sideoff which made for some good front side rides on the waves. After a few hours of wavesailing, the wind dropped completely, so we ditched the sails in favor of our paddles and did some stand up paddle surfing. I caught some decent paddle surf rides and felt more confident this time around. I think I'm starting to figure out the paddling stance and getting onto a wave early enough for a good ride on the swell before it breaks. Rob and I had a great day playing in the waves. SUP boards definitely open up the fun factor for waves and more time on the water when the wind isn't particularly strong. We didn't get much in terms of pictures or video but here are a few shots. The last two are stills taken from some shaky video not worth posting.


Rob going out, up and over


Rob


Mac

A great holiday break all the way around. Spent quality time with family, got in some
windsurfing and stand up paddling at the lake and on the coast, and had some fun in the mountains. In addition, my wife and I watched the John Adams miniseries on DVD, which was very good and I highly recommend it if you like history. I also read 4 books, including:
- Laird Hamilton's "Force of Nature" - very good...a glimpse into what makes Laird tick. This includes his philosophy, diet, work out regiment, life on the water, surfing and stand up paddle surfing, etc. This book made me want to eat better. Read it and you'll see why.
- a John Wooden book on leadership/leaders/coaching - very good, I can clearly see now why John Wooden won all those championships at UCLA.
- "Making John Falcone" - a wild and fascinating true story of an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the Mafia between 2003-2005.

Hoping and wishing a great 2009 for all of you! Definitely looking forward to more time on the water.

4 comments:

scooper said...

You might like "Riding Giants", a great documentary about surfing that includes a lot about Laird H. I rented it from Blockbuster online, found it very inspiring.

Cary said...

Looks like you guys had a great few days. Great pic of Charlotte from the mountains! Happy New Year to you all!

George Markopoulos said...

great post. i miss the mountains sometimes, but the call of coast always wins out

Mac said...

Scooper, Seen it several times...I love that movie...and it still sits on my DVR to watch again.

Cary, Happy New Year to you all as well...see you in April my friend.

George, I'm with you on that.