Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life in the Wind (and Sun) - Another great OBX trip

Another great trip to Hatteras Island last week. We stayed in a soundfront house about 2 miles north of Frisco Woods, site of the annual Windfest. Here's the general water action summary:

Wed 4/16 - 4.6 late in the day through sunset (gotta love the sunset cruise) in strong 25-30+ N/NE winds. I missed the previous two days where Mark, Donald, and Tommy windsurfed in 30-35mph winds on 3.7s.
Thurs 4/17 - 5.4 and 6.5 before the wind faded in the afternoon (N/NW 20-25 mph winds).
Fri 4/18 - no wind - went stand up paddle surfing in the ocean. Absolutely beautiful day...sunny and high 70s.
Sat 4/19 - 8.0 mid afternoon until almost sunset at Canadian Hole in S/SE 15 mph wind. Another sunny and beautiful 70s day.
Sun 4/20 - Left early but looks like it could have been another 8.0 15 mph day in SE winds.

- Our buddy Mark turned 50! We celebrated the momentus occasion with the old man over birthday candles at Cafe 12, with flat tops, the "volcano" dessert, and his new AARP card. Everyone in the restaurant sang "Happy Birthday" to was hilarious.

- Coincidentally ran into Chris (from Charlotte) out on the water at Canadian Hole on Saturday and he joined us for dinner and late night poker.

- Cafe 12 used to be the Pickled Steamer and it changed ownership last year. They kept the now famous flat tops and they are still very good (although the price has gone up). Mad Crabber was still good for dinner (the surfing videos have returned after a long absence), as was the breakfast burrito and apple uglies at the Orange Blossom.

- Windfest - very light attendance by the board & sail manufacturers/reps this year. I heard different theories on this from different folks including some of the shop people. Big props go to Roger Jackson & Ellen Faller who are consistently there every year with the Starboard/Sailworks gear, plus out there teaching people to windsurf. Real Wind and Hobie were also there.

- Met a couple of fellow windsurfing bloggers in person at Windfest, James and Catapulting Aaron. It was cool to put faces with the....well...their web sites...even though I already knew James' face from his site (thats how I recognized him and introduced myself). It turns out that Catapulting Aaron and I work for the same company...too funny and somehow very strange at the same time!

- Ran into Jim Drake again...this seems to be an annual pattern now of seeing him in the Outer Banks in the spring. Always a super nice guy and very approachable. Look here on this blog in the not-too-distant future about how I first met unusual story.

- My buddy Rob was finally nailing his duck gybes on a fairly consistent basis and I have video evidence (in video below). Now I really have to buckle down and learn to do the same dammit!

- One of our sailing buddies and housemates, Donald, ventured out into the waves with the local OBX crew at the north end of Ocracoke Island. OBX Bill has a good recap of that day here.

- No weeds! I can't remember the last time I sailed without weed fins in the Outer Banks.

- Rob, Donald, and Tommy paddled out into some heavy surf on Friday in north Avon to catch some big A frame waves well over head high. Donald caught a couple of huge ones and ripped them up.

- Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Surfing - I had been SUP'ing on the lake for close to a year now. I learned to surf in Costa Rica. I knew that applying the two together in the ocean would be hard and I would spend time in the water, not on it. Only when you get out there do you realize this for sure...and more. I felt like I was learning to windsurf again! Its very humbling. Rob and I finally got the hang of the board and the not so flat ocean. Once out past the breaking waves, we were paddling pretty good out in the open ocean in the swells. Coming back in and catching the waves is going to take a lot more practice. Getting a much bigger board to do what I wanted on a wave was MUCH different than the 9'4 longboard I was surfing in Costa Rica. We should have been in smaller waves for our first time but I think these were going to be the smallest we would get anywhere that day (Friday) since there was decent size surf everywhere on the island still left over from the previous 3 day north wind extravaganza. I also learned that wide is good. We rented 2 was a 12'2 board with 27 inch width. We also had a 11'8 board with 29 inch width and I did much better on that one. I look forward to SUP'ing in the ocean more and even trying it with a small sail in light winds.

- A couple of poker late nights - an OBX tradition with this motley crew.

- Aggravated my wrist/forearm which I apparently first hurt 2 weekends ago when my harness line snapped out on the lake. Now it's gotten worse after windsurfing and SUP'ing last week. I can't bend my wrist or barely use my right hand. Maybe it's tendonitis? It must get better soon. Of course, it didn't hurt on the water while windsurfing (nothing hurts when you're windsurfing) but it hurts like a mother off the water. I know...I must suck it up.

- I got to try out the improved modified helmetcam I mentioned in an earlier post. The results were pretty good. It was much more comfortable and worked great. Here are pictures of the new set-up. Note the much shorter boom length.

Rob made a great video with his own helmetcam here. We both looked like space aliens out there on the water sailing around with cameras attached to our noggins. From now on, they'll be known as noggin-cams.

The Windsurfing Crew rides again! Here is a 13 minute video from our trip that includes some helmetcam footage (with the new set-up shown above) from the 5.4/6.5 day in 20-25 mph winds. There is some fun helmetcam footage of Rob and I chasing each other around. Rob really knows how to find the camera :-) I wanted to make a shorter video but I couldn't bring myself to take out a bunch of good footage that I think really captures a windsurfer's journey in the Outer Banks. Also, listen to the quote at the you recognize it? Tell me if you know who the mystery quoter is and where it first appeared and you will win...nothing....hmmm...ok, you get bragging rights, how's that?

Please comment on the video. Do you like the helmetcam footage or is it a tired act? Do you think the video is too long? Please let me know what you think in the comments section.

More pictures -

Lets go SUP'ing! (photo by Mark Pace)

Stand up paddling out through the waves (Photo by Mark Pace)

Happy Birthday Mark! (l to r: Todd, Rob, and Mark)

Donald shredding it up on a 3.7 in nukin' winds (top and bottom, photos by Mark Pace)

l to r: Jim, Rob (with noggin-cam), and Mark

Donald and Rob venturing out into the big waves

Aren't these a "Beaut"?


Windmobiles lined up at Canadian Hole're windsurfing!

Rob passing a kiter - Canadian Hole

I never get tired of this - enjoying a brew at sunset after a great day on the water


Catapulting Aaron said...

Mac, excellent pics and videos... glad you got awesome wind... hopefully the gods will smile on me in a couple weeks when I'm down there again.

The video said it's 13 minutes, but it stops at 6:10 for me when the old red hots song plays... is vsocial wonky?

Also, cool that you went for it with the SUP in the ocean... it seems like that has to be super difficult. Just paddling one around in the sound in light breeze, I can't imagine steering it through waves.


Catapulting Aaron said...

oh -- and it's clear you put some work into the editing... nice job

Anonymous said...

Hey Mac, great video. It played all the way thru for me. I would say it is a bit long. Would it be difficult to break the video into each song?

Waterturtle said...

Thanks Donald. No, it wouldn't be hard to do that...and it's a good idea. I've been thinking of different ways to shorten these videos. I do admit I get carried away sometimes keeping a bit too much footage in there. In retrospect, I do see now that I could have cut out more scenes and/or shortened some the helmetcam footage. I get about as stoked making these videos as I do actually windsurfing.

Thanks Aaron for the kind words. As far as the SUP, I had been paddling on the lake a while so after I got through the waves, it wasn't that hard to paddle in the open ocean. You'd be surprised how easy those boards will cut through and over waves and swell as long as you bend your knees and keep the board moving forward with good momentum. Hard part for me was catching a wave back in....just takes practice like everything else.

Anonymous said...


Try Rain-X on the lens, it will get rid of the droplets.


Waterturtle said...

Thanks're right. I knew that but keep forgetting to do it. Now if I can just remember before next time.

mark said...

Hey Mac, great video and pics. I can watch the videos endlessly, so the length is fine. The idea of breaking it up into pieces is good, also.
Is that Laird Hamilton at the end? Step into Liquid?

Anonymous said...

I liked it. Was that video taken with you Sanyo? The video quality seems to be better than my GoPro, including the light sensitivity.

Anonymous said...

About the quote, I'm thinking it's the guy with black hair and the sweatshirt from Step into Liquid, can't remember his name. He says something different at the beginning of teh film.

Waterturtle said...

Mark & Donald, The quote is from Step Into Liquid, but it's not Laird Hamilton, nor does he have black hair. Maybe you were thinking of Gerry Lopez or one of the Mavericks crew?'s not them.

Brian, It is the Sanyo Xacti Waterproof camera. I'm hoping they come out with a HD version of this camera next year.

James Douglass said...

Nice video! Lots of great footage from different camera setups kept it interesting. For the future I would say one song is long enough for a video segment without narrative, but if there's a detailed story or text with it, a long video would be cool.

Waterturtle said...

"detailed story or text with it" - You're absolutely right James. That's what makes longer movies like Step Into Liquid, the Windsurfing Movie, and Endless Summer so interesting to watch. Thanks.

Drew said...

Mac thanks for stopping by and I've enjoyed reading your blog! Looks like you had a great trip down here and we'll look forward to having you back! I appreciate your input on the video on my blog and I hope you'll continue to stop by to see what we've got going on down here. We're actually expecting surf in the morning so I'm holding my breath and doing some good luck voodoo tonight! - Drew