...and stoke there was. A high concentration of it.
I have some good pics and video but it will take a while to sort through it all. In the meantime, here is a 1:40 minute teaser video...
First of all, big thanks to Bill for organizing and putting on the Hatteras Wave Jam Festival. Thanks to Andy for the wavesailing clinic and other festival responsibilities. And also big thanks to Janis Markopoulos for taking literally thousands of photos from the beach....she is very talented.
Here we are in the beautiful Outer Banks....and loving it. By our landlubbing standards, it's been an awesome week already and its still early in the week. There was no easing into the week. We began at the Hatteras Wave Jam Festival. Most of us missed the Friday action as we were arriving that evening but we got there in time for Andy's excellent wavesailing 101 clinic. I did however, arrive on Hatteras Island in time to grab a quick 30-40 minute sesh at Canadian Hole on a 4.6 as it got dark and before heading over to the clinic. Great group photo here after we scored some swag from the contest sponsors.
Saturday was contest day and a good opportunity for us lesser experienced wavesailors to get some more wave time. The winds were ESE so that put us on the south facing beaches at The Bath House in Frisco. It was side onshore winds with some decent sized waves. I was powered up on a 5.4 with some shlogging. It was a "first" day for me as I helped judge and score a heat and I sailed in a heat making it my first ever wavesailing competition. The heat was 20 minutes long which seemed like an eternity. I scored 4 decent waves in fairly quick succession and came in thinking surely time had run out. Andy and the judges were yelling at me that I had 5 more minutes! My heart was beating out of my chest (hey, lets see other landlubbing lake sailors get out there!) and I looked back out in the water, only to see my 3 heat mates down in the wash in a wind lull and trying to slog back out. So I stayed put. Perhaps I could have scored another wave....but then again maybe not. But let me tell you....even though it wasn't the greatest conditions by the locals' standards, it was pure fun and good to get some more time in the waves. My confidence level went up a notch also considering there was some serious current running on the inside.
Some of us went on to Canadian Hole for a late afternoon 20mph offshore ESE sesh in the sound. That evening, Bill brought the cookout and awards there. It was a good time had by all and we even had a blogger group photo (here). The Long Island blogger contingent was obviously missing....maybe next year we'll all be on OBX at the same time for a bigger photo. Sunday was a no wind lazy day but we ended up having a party at our house and had a great time with many of the visitors and locals from the Hatteras Wave Jam.
Monday brought SW 20-30mph winds and sunny 80 degrees. We started in the sound on 5.4s and found some great outside ramps and swell riding. We got Andy's message to stop dilly dally'an and get our butts down to Old Lifeguard Beach for more wavesailing. So we did...and boy did we. We rigged 5.4s and hit the water. There was more shorebreak to deal with, a warbly inside wash, then some big wave peak sections to get through to the outside. On the outside, it was choppy with good sized swell. I would sail back, thinking I was starting out on a nice wave, working upwind on the swell and taking my time to then go down the line....only to go down the line and the wave disappeared.
I think we got there a little late and the high tide broke up the longer lines. From our crew, Donald and Alain caught some good wave rides. Once again, it appears wave selection is my biggest area of needed improvement. I felt a little better later when some of the locals were saying their good wave rides were out of sheer luck due to the conditions, and they couldn't tell if they were even on a good wave until well after they were on it. Then the wind picked up a notch. We went for some more rides out and back. Rob, Alain, Donald, and I all got worked pretty hard in the wash. I think I recall saying something last year after the Punta San Carlos trip that I needed to go pay some dues at Hatteras. Well, I did....and took several on the head....just remembering to hold that mast tip and keeping myself between the gear and the waves. Finally got back to the beach however, and watching the locals...Andy, Keith, Olaf, Donny, and Stuart....they were killing it. Fun to watch.
Ken Kellar, Rob Cornwell, and the Lighthouse
Our crew packed it up and headed back to the sound for a killer sunset 4.6 bump and jump session that went well after the sun went down. It turned into a moonlight session as the moon had come up right as the sun went down. Sweet.
Rob has some more pics and a quick post here.
Tuesday morning, it was an hour powered up on 8.0 for some moderate NW wind. Then it was on to the Bath House beach again in Frisco for some side side-off light wind wavesailing. We all started out on floaty shortboards but it was too light. Only Ken stuck with his floaty shortboard while the rest of us got out the secret weapons - stand up paddle boards with mast tracks. It was like a conveyor belt of waveriding. We caught so many waves it was ridiculous. Good times.
We have forged new friendships this week with many people we only knew of through the blogs. It was great to finally meet so many people in person and have real live conversations with them. I talked to my wife on the phone and told her I was with "my people". I'm looking forward to more gatherings.
Looks like the next couple of days are going to be very light wind so it could be stand up paddle surfing on tap. More time on the water...