Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Let The Wind Be Your Friend

I have a confession to make.  We finally got a windy warm Saturday a couple weeks ago and I chose to do a SUP downwinder instead of going windsurfing.  I could have windsurfed afterward for a twofer double-header, but had a youth volunteer commitment later in the day.  So I chose the SUP downwinder first.  Why?

I have been trying to figure out the best way to do SUP downwinder on Lake Norman.  After a couple of tries last fall, I was ready for a long one in the open channel with the right wind direction.  On Lake Norman, we have the ability to do a 10 mile downwinder in either SW or NE wind.  Technically, its about 11 miles.  And its actually about 9 miles of open channel beyond the wind line (= bigger wind swell/chop).  Here's a map depiction...

I still love windsurfing, but I also love SUP surfing and SUP downwinders.  Downwinding gives you that feeling of surfing....even if its just shin to knee high swell on the lake providing the ride.  The trick is getting yourself in the lowest point in the trough of the swell and connecting the dots from swell to swell.  We had SW wind 15-20mph so I took advantage of it...and had a couple partners in crime joining me - Matt & Mike.  We did the shuttle pickup and drop off thing, launched in Denver on the southwest side of the lake at a marina, then paddled with the wind all the way to Mooresville (Vinnie's) on the northeast side of the lake.

I can tell you afterwards that I want more and I want 25-30mph+ wind for a SUP downwinder.  Yeah, its that much fun.  We had a few lulls in the wind as you can see in the video but the swell was still rolling out in the channel, giving us some fun rides.  That middle 6 mile stretch in the map above has the biggest swells as the fetch behind you gets longer.  Who wants in next time?  (Don't worry windsurfing brethren - the sails will be making appearances again too!)

Here's a little 3 minute taste of the action from a couple weeks ago...

Let The Wind Be Your Friend from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

You mean like this?

Yeah, the guy in The Gorge have been ripping up the swell. Looks like fun.

Waterturtle said...

Yes, like that. And this:

Just like in windsurfing, Hood River & Maui offer the best SUP downwind conditions.

Anonymous said...

Hope you can make it out there while we're out!