Monday, December 29, 2008
Sometimes You Have To Trust The Forecast...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Enjoy the windsurfing and paddle surfing Santas!
This is John Fulton in Canada...raising awareness for homelessness by windsurfing across the Niagara River as Santa Claus for the 24th consecutive year -
Thanks to Glen for first posting this one of a fellow paddle surfer as Santa in the UK -
and my favorite Christmas ornament...
Friday, December 19, 2008
Last year by this time, we had several good days on the lake in late fall/early winter. I haven't sailed since October and I felt it too. I'm so not in windsurfing shape right now. Note to self...start the daily pullup routine again (and stretch). Plus, I was on my new board (RRD Freestyle Wave 100lt) and spent the first hour trying to get used to it. I finally got it dialed in and love it.
Donald duck gybing
Dmitri one footed jump...I'm sure that was on purpose ;-)
Tommy blazing a path
James in hot pursuit
Dave kiting towards sunset
Looks like some wind for Sunday too!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Cape Hatteras doings (or "What I Did After Thanksgiving")
My family and I had originally planned to spend part of Thanksgiving week on Hatteras Island with some friends, however after some uneasiness by a few of us about the forecasted cooler weather at the beach, we bagged those plans and just did Thanksgiving with our friends at their place in Greensboro. Not to worry as I got the kitchen pass to motor on down to Cape Hatteras the day after Thanksgiving for the weekend. That day was forecasted for SW 20-25mph winds in the afternoon and NW 15-20mph the next morning. Plus, I had to pick up a new board I had already purchased...yeeha!
I arrive to pick up my new board around lunchtime, I continue on down to Canadian Hole to adjust the foot straps, and wait on the forecasted wind. I see some white caps, there's a puff of wind....could it be coming now? NADA! I got skunked! Apparently, the soundside water was too cold for the warm southwest wind and wouldn't pick up at the water's surface. Good thing I had my SUP board. I continued on down to the south facing beaches to see if I could catch some light wind wavesailing. The wind was barely blowing...not enough wind to power me through the surf and the waves were too disorganized for stand up paddling. Dangit...I was going to get on the water somehow so I just put in soundside at Isabels and went for a flat water paddle. I did capture a golden sunset when I came off the water.
That evening, I hooked up with my friend Don for dinner. I used to live in Greensboro and was part of the Triad Windsurfing Club. I met Don through the club and he continues to be an active member there. He and his wife Debbie go to Cape Hatteras as much as they can to windsurf and fish. I was hoping to get some time on the water windsurfing with Don and Debbie, just like old times. But it was not to be...but it was good to grab some dinner and catch up with Don (Debbie was off shopping all day for Black Friday).
The next morning, the forecast continued to change to a very light NE wind so I headed back to the south facing beaches again for some stand up paddle surfing. There were some decent knee to waist high waves...standing up a bit from the offshore breeze...and no chop. Perfect for me since I'm really still learning to stand up paddle surf. I started near the Frisco Pier for an hour, then decided to drive out on the beach up towards The Cove. I found some more decent waves about halfway to The Cove. I surfed for about another hour. All in all, it was fun even though there was a light rain for most of my sessions. I fell a lot...I'm definitely still learning and trying to get my confidence back from my lower back issues this past summer. I was able to catch and ride a few waves that morning, so it's getting better, the confidence is coming back, and I had fun out there. The water wasn't too bad in my 5/3 suit, gloves, and wetsuit tobagan (even though its in the low 50s right now).
It sure was nice to drive on the beach and find some space with no one around. There were some fishermen out but space was aplenty. On my drive out to check The Cove, I unfortunately came across a dead dolphin that had washed ashore. There's no telling how it died but it appeared to have some wounds...perhaps from a shark? Could have been attacked after it died though....who knows.
Speaking of which, a dead great white shark was recently found washed ashore on Morris Island, SC (near Hilton Head/Charleston). It's a mystery as to how it died as there weren't any apparent wounds on it. Thanks to Glen for first posting this. This picture was lifted from the news article and was taken by Josh Loefer.
I saw The Gypsy Dane parked on a big trailer at Ramp 38 in Avon. The Gypsy Dane is a 50 ft ketch that washed ashore in Avon two weeks ago and has been keeping Hatteras Island abuzz since then. Andy posted this story as it happened here and here.
A French National living in Canada, was sailing down to Charleston on the boat, had some initial trouble offshore Virginia and rescued by the Coast Guard. He continued on his way and apparently had gone under deck for a while, came back on deck and found he was washed ashore at Cape Hatteras. Welcome to the Graveyard of the Atlantic. It's a sad story as this poor guy had to sign over the boat to a moving company so they could move it off the beach. He apparently couldn't afford to pay them (or just wouldn't pay them...unsure which). Read the entire updated story here in the Island Free Press, with more pics.
Here are some pics I took:
Other Outer Banks happenings: As I drove over Oregon Inlet and the Bonner Bridge, I noticed the big dredging ship out there again. It was there last Memorial Day weekend. When reading the local "Coastland Times", I discovered that commercial fishing vessels haven't been able to pass through Oregon Inlet because its too shallow. It filled in (again) after the last two nor'easter storms in late September and October. They hope the current dredging will have it deep enough in a couple more weeks. The article said boats in Wanchese are going out of Beaufort Inlet and taking 24 more hours for their trips, instead of the normal 4 hour return trip. I'm wondering why they can't go out of Hatteras Inlet.
Speaking of the Bonner Bridge, I also read it was decided the shorter option replacement bridge would be built. It will sit on the west side of the existing bridge and work is supposed to be completed in 2014. In addition to that, they are planning to build short bridge sections over the trouble spots on Highway 12 leading into Rodanthe.
Finally, the big topic this year has been beach access. The National Park Service's Negotiated Rulemaking Committee is back at it and trying to come up with a long range rule for ORVs on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Don tells me the local economy saw a 30% decrease in business and is suffering. He thought there were between 9-13 piping plover nests this year. Many people who came this past summer and discovered they couldn't drive on the beach didn't renew for their normal rental weeks in 2009. Wow...local economy vs 13 nesting birds...birds win. Or did they? I wonder how they fared during the September storms.
Things sure are changing on the Outer Banks. Even the movie theater in Avon is closed. And Real Kiteboarding has a new behemoth store building in Waves and appears to be building condos next door to it.
After I came off the water on Saturday, I checked the forecast and found rain for the next day or so. I decided to go home early and spend Sunday with my family. The rain chased me away. 2 days at Cape Hatteras stand up paddle surfing in rain is better than most other days not at the beach...so no complaints whatsoever. It's still a beautiful place...even in the rain. I'll be back for the wind another time. Signing off for now...and definitely giving thanks for many things.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Big Wave Action
My first reaction when I saw this picture was "Holy $%@#!" Look at the thickness of the wave and how it doubles on itself as it pitches over.
This picture is courtesy of Reuters and found here at dailymail.co.uk along with an article about it. This apparently took place at a secret outer reef off Australia.
And here is a short 4 minute interview (along with some brief action clips including him windsurfing) with big wave waterman Laird Hamilton, who has been promoting his new book.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
GoPro Video from San Carlos - made by Taylor Congdon
Taylor Congdon is mostly known as a motocross filmmaker, but he has been windsurfing since age 11 and has been going to Punta San Carlos for a long time. He was there with pro Kevin McGillivary the same week our crew was there. Here is a cool video he put together from GoPro camera footage he took from his boom and helmetcam mounts. As you can see, Taylor rips. Enjoy!
The Best Windsurfing Video Ever. GoPro. from GoPro on Vimeo.
Friday, October 31, 2008
What Else Has Been Going On
I've been doing a little bit of windsurfing and stand up paddling on the lake. The family and I enjoyed some of the last warm water and weather days on the lake before it started to get chilly. Had a mole with suspicious cells removed from my arm that turned out to be benign....but left me with 9 stitches. Its been a good year to have health care....with this mole removal, lower back treatments, and hernia surgery. Is this what happens when you turn 40?
There have been so many other happenings that have kept me from going to the coast. All three kids are getting ready to play basketball so we're getting even busier. Thank goodness I live close to the water so I can still play when I'm doing so many things keeping me at home.
A glassy morning on the lake - Rob paddling
Rob's SUP board on the left (Starboard Ultimate Blend 11'2", 30 in wide), my board on the right (Sean Ordenez Shape 10'10", 28.5 in wide). Notice the shape differences at the nose and tail.
My daughter enjoying one the last warm water days of the season
My nephew Vic on his way to a 3rd place in a youth regatta...way to go Vic!
I took some of our neighbors' kids out for a spin when the wind picked up one weekend. I bought this used Starboard Start board many years ago...its been a great board for the kids to play around on, and for me to take them out windsurfing.
One of our neighbors "surfing" on the nose of the board, getting the sensation of windsurfing. On this day, after all the kids had their fill, I got a smaller board and windsurfed out in the channel, fully powered on my 5.6
Another weekend we got 20mph winds at the lake. Rob and I hit it and I stuck the Oregon Scientific ATC2K camera on my boom. Didn't quite get the angle I wanted. It looks like the camera is right on top of me here, but it's really not. I may have to get one of those new GoPro cameras that have a wide angle lens that captures so much more in the picture compared to this. But you can still feel the speed in this short clip.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Punta San Carlos picture slideshow
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - Slideshow from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Summer Camp Finale - Parts 5 & 6
Lets face it - I'm married with 3 children and I don't live close to the coast. I'm not going to be a great wavesailor anytime soon. But damn - I sure did have fun at San Carlos. I know I was at the very far end of the spectrum compared to when you watch guys like Wyatt Miller and Kevin McGillivary (Duh!), but it sure felt good out there on those waves.
The problem with San Carlos? Now I'm spoiled. There wasn't any current, there was a nice long swell period, side off wind, no crazy chop or washing machine-like conditions between the waves, no huge shorepound to get through, and long crumbly waves that went forever....a wave riding dream. I would be real lucky to get conditions exactly like those anywhere on the Carolina coast...it just doesn't happen. Either there is a wicked current, major shorepound, the ocean is boiling, or something. I'll just have to suck it up, get out there in our local waves, pay some dues, and enjoy the heck out of it.
I think I'm going back to San Carlos. Who wants to go?
Part 5 - "Summer Camp" - The Dirt
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - The Dirt from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
Part 6 - "Summer Camp" - Finale - Camp Life & Departure
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - Finale - Camp Life & Departure from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
Special thanks to the Solo Sports crew - they were great, kept us laughing, and gave us great tips all week that helped our sailing and gear selection. Kudos go to Kevin Trejo for running a great operation in the middle of freaking nowhere for the past 20+ years and running. And kudos to his compadres Clark Merritt, Rodney, Joey, the local Mexican cooks and maintenance crew, and the local pilots. Thanks also to Wyatt Miller, Kevin McGillivary, Taylor Congdon, and Casey Hauser for providing us the ripping moves and impressive wavesailing...and for being very cool with helpful tips on and off the water. Thanks Kevin for coaxing me onto that nice wave even though you had right of way! Sorry Taylor - I thought I had footage of you wavesailing but the few shots I got of you didn't turn out well....you definitely rip! Thanks also to Taylor for the video tips. And thanks to Josh for being....well, Josh. Always fun to hang out with you and glad you were there for our next big adventure (as you were there for HIHO with us last year). Come back to sail with us in NC!
Special thanks also to my traveling and windsurfing mates - Alain, Alan, Donald, Jim, Rob, Tommy, and Troy. I had a great time with all of you and I'm ready to do it again. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know our new friends Ken from Portland, Mike - Sergai - Hugh from San Fran, Mike from Santa Barbara, and John from Cleveland.
May you always have wind in your hair and sand in your shorts.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Mother Nature Provides a Beat Down
Thanks to Drew for first posting this. Its a slide show of the recent storm that hit Hatteras Island. Donny Bowers, windsurfer and local photographer, took great shots. It includes shots of the house, Serendipity, (used in the filming of the movie Nights in Rodanthe), surrounded by the ocean and another house nearby that fell into the ocean.
Humbling isn't it?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Pros - Part 4 of "Summer Camp" San Carlos video
Untitled from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
"Summer Camp" - Part 3
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - The Waves from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
Monday, September 29, 2008
"Summer Camp" - The San Carlos videos
Here's a start - it's what I call Parts 1 & 2 of my new San Carlos video series - lets call it "Summer Camp". Parts 3 and 4, and maybe even a 5 will come in the weeks ahead...heck, we'll see what happens...it's still all a work in process. I figured it would be more interesting if I did this in pieces rather than one long video. Anyway, this is meant to be an intro sneak peak and an introduction to the motley bunch I traveled with to San Carlos...I like to call The Windsurfing Crew ("The Windsurfing Crew" is my trademarked patented pending term for any group of people that windsurf with little old me). I want your feedback so please comment! Enjoy!
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - "Summer Camp" - Intro
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - Intro from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - "Summer Camp" - The Players
(Parents beware - this is one is PG-13 - parental supervision is required!)
The Windsurfing Crew in San Carlos - The Players from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Moments - The San Carlos Experience
Yeah...thats what it was....an experience. You could call it an adventure, a trip, or an event. But it was the experience of it all. As Kevin Trejo says, "you just don't know until you go".
It was also somewhat of a milestone for me as well. A full week of wavesailing of which I've never done before. 7 straight days of wavesailing. It would have been 8 straight days but I went mountain biking the last morning we were there. My back and hands were done after that. And to think I almost didn't go because of my recent back issues. I'm so glad I went. My back is pretty sore and stiff but now I can focus the next few weeks on rehabilitating it back to 100%. Been windsurfing for 20+ years and only been in the waves a few times. And that was in onshore winds, mushy waves, and riding backside. So you can call me a beginner wavesailor. What in the world was I doing going to what many pros say is arguably the best windsurfing wave in the world?
(Picture taken by Rob Cornwell)
Well, besides being a wave the pros love for it's long down the line rides and seemingly endless bottom turns, it's also a user friendly wave. Most east coast waves have short period swells along with onshore winds meaning there are waves on top of waves and lots of chop in high winds. Baja had long period swells and side offshore winds meaning there is relatively flat water in between the waves. And the way the ocean floor, rocks, and geography are made up there make for very long waves that you can ride frontside and surf "down the line". Finally, when the wave breaks at San Carlos, it crumbles on itself. It doesn't curl over and pound you like other big wave spots. So it's hard to get into trouble if you fall in the impact zone. Just hold onto the mast tip, keep yourself between the wave and the gear, take a wave on the head, plenty of time to waterstart between waves because of the aforementioned long swell period, and you're golden. This has to be the best place to learn to wavesail. Problem is...now I'm spoiled on side-off down the line wavesailing.
Me, on a sweet San Carlos wave (picture taken by Jim Crawford...thanks Jim!)
Now we're back home and still dreaming of the place. Hard to get going at work for sure. I keep thinking of the "moments".....just observations of all the cool stuff we did all week long. If you've ever thought of going to Punta San Carlos, here are some of those "moments" for you to ponder....
Food – Omigosh! The food was amazing. Eating at a Mexican restaurant at home will never be the same again - we had fresh salmon, huevos rancheros, tamales, cheeseburgers, Mexican chicken and rice soup, sliced avocados, breakfast burritos, crab claws, ribs, fish tacos, posole (Mexican fish soup), pancakes & bacon, fresh fruits, and salads. The Mexican ladies there can cook up some serious food.
(Picture taken by Rob Cornwell)
(Picture taken by Rob Cornwell)
The Beach Bar - fun...day and night.
(Picture taken by Jim Crawford)
The Lounge - outdoor lounge with comfy sofas and all the windsurfing/kiting/surfing magazines you wanted to peruse.
(Picture taken by Jim Crawford)
Tents - large and comfortable with air mattress
The Thatched Umbrella overlooking The Beach Break - you roll out of your tent and the view is all in front of you. You could sit anywhere in camp and see the wavesailing action on the water but the old van seats under the thatched umbrella provided the best action watching and picture taking.
The Bombora, The Beach Break, The Point, The Chili Bowl, Bird%#&! Rock, Fish Camp - From right to left facing the water...those are all the different breaks you could surf/sail.
Beer & Tequila – All the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages you wanted. Kevin pulled out the very good aged tequila from his long time family Guadalaharan friends…from wooden barrels...very nice!
The Cessna plane ride down and back - a lot quicker and more convenient than driving...and great views of the Baja coastline. Fun landing on the dirt and rock landing strip at the beach camp. I have video of the landing...stay tuned for future post of videos.
(Wyatt, Mac, Clark, Josh, Rob, Mike)
The People You Meet -
- Solo Sports owner Kevin Trejo, camp photographer and author Clark Merritt, Gear Master Rodney, SoCal Joey, and the local Mexican staff - It was a laugh a minute...you better have a good sense of humor.
- Josh Sampiero/Editor of Windsurfing Magazine
- NorCal and Gorge Pro Wyatt Miller - he said it was his “best week at San Carlos ever” then told us the story of how he fell off the beach cliff on his 1st trip there (in the first 5 minutes after he arrived) at age 15 with his father....funny but scary story.
- Taylor Congdon – famous motocross producer and videographer and former downhill mountain bike racer, turns out he's been windsurfing since age 11 and loves to sail/mtn bike San Carlos.
- Kevin McGillavry – Central Cal Pro, great guy and gave helpful tips.
(Picture taken by Jim Crawford)
- Brian Caserio – former pro windsurfer back in the 80s and 90s, waterman filmmaker, and can also rip on a kite and stand up paddle board. Brian was one of the pioneers of San Carlos.
- SoCal pro Casey Hauser
- Our other Solo Sports campers - take Coogey for instance. Coogey was our Japanese guy who was there for 3 weeks straight. He had a knee injury but was out there ripping it up every day. He'd go in the water and come off the water limping. He supposedly didn't know any English. So his only form of communication was the internet and he was on it...a lot. He would have 20 web pages open at once and be watching Japanese Youtube...and bring down the internet every time he was on it. Kevin tried to ban him from the wifi but when Kevin walked away, Coogey was back on it bringing down the internet again. We now think he was playing us all week and actually knows English...what a riot. And then there was Sergai, our new Russian friend...plus our new friends from Portland (Iron Man Ken...he logged the most time of anyone on the water kiteboarding), San Francisco Mike, San Francisco Hugh, Santa Barbara Mike, and Cleveland John.
The gear - all good stuff from RRD, Ezzy, Quatro, Real Wind, Goya, and Streamlined.
(Picture taken by Rob Cornwell)
Here's a rundown on my daily equipment:
Sat – Real Wind 270 with Ezzy Wave 6.3 (light wind)
Sun – RRD Freestyle Wave 110 with Ezzy Wave 6.0 overpowered and dropped down to 5.2
Mon – RRD Freestyle Wave 102 with Ezzy Wave 5.0
Tues – RRD Freestyle Wave 102 with Ezzy Wave 5.5
Wed – 102 with 5.5
Thurs – 102 with 5.2
Fri – 102 with 5.5 (way overpowered, should have been on 4.7 or 5.0 easy)
Sat – mountain biking on Cannondale bike. The trails were awesome...world class. (Picture taken by Rob Cornwell)
Surfing, stand up paddle surfing, and mountain biking - Every morning campers would partake, then wavesail in the afternoon, like clockwork.
Donald with stand up paddle board in hand (picture taken by Jim Crawford)
Rob on a wave
I read “In Search of Captain Zero” by Alan Weisbecker, the perfect book for this trip. There were surf/kite/windsurf mags everywhere, and a great library of old books left by campers.
Reading Room - The outhouses....'nuff said.
Recreation room - pool table, foosball table, dinner table, wifi, TV/DVD with all kinds of videos.
Blisters - I was out of action for almost 2 months leading up to the trip with back issues so I lost my hand calluses from all the spring windsurfing. I should have dipped them in rubbing alcohol for a few days before going (the apparent tip that supposedly works). Here's the results after 8 days of adrenaline...ouch!
Exploring - you could go hiking and biking for miles and find all kinds of cool stuff like ancient indian petroglyphs and awesome views.....
Seals - we saw seals everyday...very cool. One popped up about 10 feet beside me as I sailed by. I said "greetings". He said "whats up" and ducked under.
Whale - Even cooler, we saw a whale breaching our last day there. Rodney said it unusual for this time of year. We also saw dolphin and porpoise. I never get tired of seeing dolphin.
There are rattlesnakes and scorpions around but we didn't see any the entire week. Pelicans and seagulls aplenty.
The kelp and seaweed - this was a new experience for me. There wasn't a lot of it in the general sailing area but there were some clumps here and there. It was closer to the shallower beach break that made it interesting. If you stopped there to rest, or were entering or exiting the water, it was almost like the stuff would wrap itself around your legs and not let you go.
Warm water – I was in a 3/2 short sleeve wetsuit and got a bit warm some days. There were others out in only their trunks. Solo Sports usually recommends a 4/3 suit as the water does get colder.
Thats a wrap. I have a ton more pics and video footage so I'll be working on a picture/music slide show and edited videos over the next couple of months, so check back for more on San Carlos.
Special thanks goes out to Alan for organizing the trip and giving us helpful tips throughout, the rest of the NC windsurfing crew (Rob, Jim, Tommy, Donald, Troy, Alan, and Alain) for such a great time together, and to the Solo Sports staff (Kevin, Clark, Rodney, Joey, and the Mexican staff) for being such great hosts.