Friday, December 31, 2010


Family ski outing/day trip to Winterplace, takes longer to get there than it does to the NC slopes but they had a better deal on the kids ski school and seem to handle the crowds better with multiple parallel lifts running at the same time. We had good conditions as they had received a ton of snow earlier in the week. Great family day and the kids loved it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace On Earth

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Can Laugh About It Now

I fell in the water today. 45 degree water and 35 degree air temp. 4 miles away from my launch without a full wetsuit.

But I was able to laugh about it not long after it happened. I was with Fred and Matt for a long 9 mile paddle. We had dealt with some wind and chop with no problems. Then we end up in some flat glassy water leeward of a point in front of many lakefront homes. We're taking a brief break and barely moving on our boards just talking...and that's when I somehow lost my balance and my board shot backwards right out from under my feet. DOH!! In that split second, I'm thinking I can save myself and at least keep my upper body from getting immersed. But no chance as I go full under. It must have been the cobwebs I was still shaking off from the neighborhood Christmas party the night before. Whatever it was...was now a shock to the system and now a sudden worry of hypothermia.

But I was actually not in any real danger. I was not paddling alone. We were right next to several lakefront homes so I could have left the water right there and gotten a warm blanket from someone and called my wife to come pick me up. I'm certain someone was sitting in their nice warm cozy home and saw me fall in...and probaby mumbling something about that crazy nut out on the water on such a cold day. I'm sure it wasn't a good example and showing for SUP on Lake Norman.

As it turned out, the biggest reason I wasn't in any real danger, was the clothes I was wearing. So I just decided to keep moving to stay warm, paddling the rest of the way back to the launch.

Rip Curl 5mm booties & 2mm "Glacier Gloves" - the only thing I had a problem with after I fell were my fingers....they were freezing. I'm now getting cold weather neoprene mittens to keep those fingers bundled together.

Fleece cap (made for road bikers to wear under their helmets on cold days). Keeps my head toasty warm.

NRS hydroskin .5mm neoprene pants - not like a real wetsuit but wicks off water nicely. They passed the cold water immersion test today and my legs stayed warm.

Polyester wicking shirt (I wore this as the 1st layer). If you're not in the water, this is normally a warm shirt and keeps you warm even when you're sweating underneath.

Fleece long sleeve rashguard (as 2nd layer) and shorts (worn under the hydroskin pants) - I've had this combo for 10 years that I usually wear under my wetsuit on cold windsurfing days. This is what saved my upper body from getting hypothermic today.

3rd layer on top of the fleece shirt - Pearl Izumi cold weather tri/biking shirt

I was also wearing a pfd belt pack and had my cell phone in a water tight pouch.

Talk about feeling like an idiot. Looking back, it was pretty funny. I can imagine what was going through Matt and Fred's head when I fell in. I've never fallen in while simply paddling on flat water...and never have given it a second thought. I normally don't wear the fleece shirt/shorts or hydroskin pants if its over 40 degrees. If I had not been wearing those 2 things, I would have had to find help from one of those lakefront homes. Don't make the same might not have the same luxury I had with others close by. Be prepared for cold weather paddling.

30 minutes after I got home, it started snowing.

Here are some good articles written about cold weather SUP and windsurfing:
The Ice Man Cometh

30 Tips For Cold Weather Paddling

Welcome to Freezing Cold-Ville (windsurfing)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Irish Waves

The surfer (Richard Fitzgerald) talking on camera looks like that kid in the Ireland scenes from "Step Into Liquid", doesn't he?

The windsurfer mentioned must be Finn Mullen....great article here from what must be that day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There Is No Off Season

SUP is a year round sport. Whether at your local lake or coastal spot, put on the rubber or lycra and a cap...get out there and paddle. And take in the beautiful never know what amazing sights await. It's the best time of the year on the boat traffic. Here's a brief collection of some fall and winter SUP footage, mostly shot over the course of the last 30 days including a couple of indian summer (2 weeks ago), sunrise, and fall color scenes thrown in, as well as some winter surf footage from last year. Click on the title link and enjoy in HD.

There Is No Off Season from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Great video of the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands...7 minutes of amazement, wonder, and colors...let this video buffer all the way and watch it in full screen mode to the very end. You'll want to watch it again and again.

Galapagos 2010 from Darek Sepiolo on Vimeo.

...and Distressed Mullet posted this...a local Wrightsville Beach man witnessed and captured video footage of a large whale surrounded by many dolphin just off Wrightsville Beach on November 22nd. "There's the Whale Eva, Right There!"

I captured a surprise myself. I've been collecting some footage for a SUP short film I'm working on. One morning a couple of weeks ago, I set up my camera on a tripod to capture time lapse video of the sunrise over the lake. I left the camera running and went off for a paddle. I returned about 45 minutes later, shut the camera off and took it away. I reviewed the footage a couple of days later and to my surprise found there were a couple of "visitors" that made an appearance. Check it out...

Lake Norman Wildlife from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Dolphin Are Angels

Image shamelessly captured from Boardrider 58/Sam's blog...check out his site...great GoPro images.

Waves were had last weekend. And angels were among us.

Got a rare open weekend to take a day trip to the coast and the wave forecast thankfully worked in our favor for some SUP surfing. After watching the forecast change around several times in the days before the weekend as it typically does, Rob and I finally decided to venture to the Cape Fear coastal area. We drove in Saturday night, arrived in Wilmington for a late dinner and some brews, courtesy of Front Street Brewery...very good and would recommend it. They had a real good locally brewed IPA, Pilsner, and Lager. Got up early Sunday morning to hit the waves.

The conditions varied all day from waist to head high with different types of peaks. It was a beautiful sunny day that started out chilly, but warmed up to mid 60s. We only needed a 3/2 wetsuit...water wasn't too cold yet. Wrightsville Beach in the morning had nice lefts. We met our friend Jeff there for a couple of hours while he proned surfed and we SUP surfed. Lots of prone surfers were out but everyone had enough room to spread out and find their own peaks. We then moved down to north end Carolina Beach thinking we would see the local crew there but missed them. They had been there that morning in some hefty barrels. So Rob and I went to the inlet to surf but it was a bit bumpy and messy there with the wind and tide. After a few waves there, we then moved back down towards the pier with the prone surfers & 1 SUP’er we didn’t know.

Then the wind lightened up, it started to clean up and the waves got bigger! Got some nice rights despite staying out of the prone surfers’ way. I was challenged to get positioned right in order to finish out the wave and not get creamed by the close-out. I was mildly worked pretty good and have the scars to prove it (fin to the shoulder...nice bruise...glad it wasn’t my face).

However, something else magical happened. It started at the inlet when some dolphin appeared. They were jumping clear out of the water right in front of Rob, just like a SeaWorld show. After we moved closer to the pier, they appeared again. They sort of caught me off guard and surprised me. An immediate feeling came over me that these guys were "angels". It was just one of those very strong feelings that overcome you...hard to explain...but I got some serious goosebumps. They were looking out for us. I turned to paddle into a wave, they followed and surfed the wave with me. They surrounded me on all sides and I could see them to my side and even in front of me on the inside in the whitewater. Escorted by angels.

Ralph and his friend Sam had the same experience at Topsail Island. Sam caught some amazing images of the experience. Awesome stuff...experiences we'll never forget. could say they were just being dolphin....doing as dolphin do. They were curious about us, checking us out, being playful alongside us...and showing off to highlight they are the better surfers. It doesn't matter what faith, religion, or lack thereof you might adhere can't deny the presence of something bigger than we are when stuff like this happens. I never get tired of seeing dolphin (or sunsets)...and I'll always think of them as my angels. Grateful.

I did try the GoPro that morning but didn't catch anything good before the batteries died (forgot to put in the lithium batteries...DOH!)...although here's two images I captured before it went kaput.

Here's a quick vid...I pulled out the other camera in time to catch Rob catch one of the messy waves at the inlet (check out his switch stance on the inside). I know you don't believe me but we had many better and bigger waves than this throughout the day...I just didn't focus on the camera because I was more focused on the surfing. Anyway, after Rob's wave, just sit back for a moment and relax while the ocean lulls you into a dreamy state of mind.

CB Surf from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thrills & Spills

Cardio workout on the trails today with Rob set to the remake of "Under My Thumb" from one of my favorites, Social Distortion.

Thrills & Spills from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Winds

Yes, The Waterturtle is still windsurfing. And yes, The Waterturtle still loves to windsurf. I wish we had wind every day so I could windsurf all the time. But we don't have wind every day...and that's why I still be able to get on the water when the wind isn't blowing and to stay in shape.

Now the fall winds are starting to kick in and I've had a couple of good post-work sunset sessions the last two weeks. And the water is still warm. I wore my 1 mil shorty but could have easily gotten away with just late October no less. The big question - is this a preview of a mild and windy late fall and winter to come? Crossing my fingers.

Thanks to my friend Ron for taking these pics from his dock as I came in from the open channel...

My last session was late this past Tuesday. Incidentally, that night a tornado touched down about 1 mile from our house as the crow flies. Laying in bed, I could hear it through the open bedroom window...a very distant roar. Several homes were damaged and many trees were down...and we lost power. Mother nature brings us her best and her worst in just a matter of hours.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Women Will Drive SUP Growth

See what I mean SUP social...and more women doing it means more men doing it. We also had 2 kids out there with us.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Low Country SUP

We just spent our 18th wedding anniversary this past weekend in Beaufort, SC. Not to be confused with Beaufort, NC near Morehead City/Atlantic Beach/Emerald Isle....the SC version is pronounced "Beau-fort" in "beautiful". The NC version is pronounced "Bo-fort".

It was an awesome weekend highlighted by:
- several very close dolphin encounters while paddling the Beaufort River (see pics and video below).
- stayed at the beautiful Cuthbert House Inn Bed & Breakfast. Owners Jeff and MaryAnne were great hosts and we would definitely stay there again.
- SUP surfed at Hunting Island State Park beach - caught the morning high tide, glassy waist high peaks where I could go left or right. No pics or video but I surfed for 2 hours straight....4-5 surfers were out but there was enough room for everyone to spread out and I pretty much stayed out of their way and still had a great time. I went out again at low tide later in the day and it was flat as a pancake...went for a flat ocean paddle exploration.

Other noteworthy items...
- Hunting Island is unique in that it is covered with a sub-tropical forest that bumps right up against the ocean. There were many trees right on the beach coming out of the sand with their base getting covered at high tide. Very rare on the east coast and it looked more like Costa Rica than South Carolina.
- Beaufort, SC is where many scenes from "Forrest Gump", "The Big Chill", "The Prince of Tides", and "The Great Santini" were filmed

Kris now has her new Tahoe SUP Bliss board, made especially for women. The board is very lightweight and narrower for womens' less than broad shoulders (yet still stable). Her new Kialoa Pipes paddle, also made for women, has a smaller blade and has made a huge difference for her compared to the older, heavier and taller paddle she was using. She no longer has any pain in her wrist and hand like she did using the older paddle.

The dolphin encounters...

Me in front of "The Big Chill" house

The view from the front porch of our bed & breakfast - Cuthbert House Inn

morning coffee on the Cuthbert House Inn porch

Hunting Island lighthouse

Hunting Island lighthouse from the ocean - paddling at low tide

Hunting Island beach with sub-tropical forest right up against the ocean - looks like Costa Rica.

Enjoy the video....tons of dolphin encounter footage...

Low Country SUP from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.