Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Gerry Said (Sunday, March 29th)

I love it when I read or hear someone say something that speaks for me in a way that I never really thought of but completely agree with.

Take the new issue of Stand Up Surf & Sail Journal. There is a great article, titled "The Big Score" by surf legend Gerry Lopez who has taken up Stand Up Paddle Surfing.

I'll quote the opening paragraph:
"Yesterday I scored big. It was one of those rare days that left me so pumped up when it was over I knew I was going to have trouble falling asleep that night. I figured I better write it down before the afterglow faded, and later I could savor it again. One of the sad things about surfing is that the best memories are fleeting. Before one knows it, they have all but disappeared, been erased like they never existed. Sometimes when the focus is so intense, the concentration so great, it seems as though they don't even get recorded..."

You'll have to get this issue to read the rest, but that opening salvo can also speak for windsurfing. At least we can more easily record the fun these days with video, pictures, blogging, etc so we don't forget and as Gerry says, "savor it again".

That brings me to Sunday, March 29th. What a great day of windsurfing for everyone on the east coast. Spring is here and everyone is FIRED UP! I love it when everyone gets some on the same day. Andy, Bill, George, Michael, and James have all posted about last Sunday to "savor it again".

Even Rob came out of hiding to resurrect his blog and even do a new video of the action, including a hilarious intro (and great music). And Alan posted some pics at the top of the Charlotte area windsurfing web site.

We had 20-30mph wind on Lake Norman all day long and sunny 65 degree air temps. We started on 4m sails in the morning around 10:30am and apparently didn't get there early enough. It was perfect for about 15 minutes. I haven't sailed Hood River, but Alan said it was very "Gorge-like" with the big wind swell coming through. We surfed and jumped that swell while we had it. Then the wind came down just a notch....enough to send us back in to rerig 5m sails. No complaints however...you can't complain when its still blowing hard enough for 5m sails, especially on the lake.

Speaking of what Gerry said....I brought my GoPro wide-angle camera to record the action. Except this time, I wanted to test the still pictures feature and had it mounted on my helmet. There is a feature where the camera will take pictures every 2 seconds and I wanted to see how that came out. Rob, Alan, Dmitri, Tommy, Donald, and I all worked ourselves upwind out into the open channel where the wind was more consistent and powerful. I was in such great position for some great action....duck gybes, heli-tacks, sail 360s, chop hops, etc. Unfortunately, I had it on the wrong setting (basic picture mode instead of every 2 sec mode) and even then I apparently wasn't pushing the button hard enough...lessons learned for next time. I hate that I missed capturing all the great action out there.

Hence what Gerry said "....the best memories are fleeting. Before one knows it, they have all but disappeared, been erased like they never existed. Sometimes when the focus is so intense, the concentration so great, it seems as though they don't even get recorded..."

But I was so fired up after Sunday that I'm still just a few days later able to recall some of the images in my mind of that session. Until the next great day on the water, I think these memories will last a little longer than usual...thankfully with a little help of course from Rob's video and Alan's pics.

Even though I goofed the on the water action shots...I was able to capture a few pics from shore and one picture turned out from the GoPro wide-angle helmetcam.

The Ever Elusive Chuck

Matt P (the other Matt P) - Welcome Matt!

SuperFreak Alan

Speed Demon Dmitri

Spring is here!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Demolition Derby Fun

Non-windsurfing post alert....but fun nonetheless (depending on your tastes)....

Anyone remember that cliffhanger episode of "Happy Days" where we were introduced to Pinky Tuscadero as she was competing in a demolition derby and Fonzi jumping the cars as the cliffhanger? We see this pink car just completely destroying all the other cars and we're wondering who this "guy" is who is driving the pink junker. "He" gets out of the car, takes off "his" helmet, and it turns out to be a tall attractive long haired redhead who is Fonzi's girlfriend. Anyway...

Although I love to have new and interesting experiences at least once, I don't really have an official bucket list. If I did have a bucket list, it would have included going to a real demolition derby.

Check that one off the list...

Kris was out of town for the weekend, so I had daddy duty and had the kids all to myself. So what to do?

Fortunately, I know of a little dirt race track (Millbridge Speedway)that I pass every week when I go visit one of my customers. For the last 2 months, there has been a sign out front advertising an upcoming demolition derby. I passed it so many times, it finally got my attention and it finally hit me like a brick that maybe the kids will love to see this too.

So I included some neighbors and their kids in my fiendish fun just to make sure more people shared in this new experience (and in case it turned out to be terrible, we could share in the misery). You may not believe it but we had an awesome time. The kids of course loved it. It was hilarious...watching grown men (and one woman) beating the you-know-what out of each other in old junkers with doors welded shut, big customized bumpers, and other parts mish-mashed on their cars for efficiently wrecking each other. I have to say I loved it as did my friends/neighbors and their kids.

This was apparently a big deal with an actual winners purse of $750 to the winner of the compact class and $900 to the winner of the 8 cylinder class. Folks came from all over NC & SC. Someone told our group that some of these cars are bought for $50 from junk yards and "souped up for wrecking" as a hobby. This is a passion for them just like windsurfing is a passion for us. They even have their own internet forum and Demolition Derby Association.

No better way to share this than to show a quick 1.5 minute video. Expand your minds, broaden your horizons, and turn up the volume!

Demolition Derby from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ring of Fire

I had never heard of Tonga until this week.

I had heard of the "ring of fire" before but couldn't have told you the exact range or size of it. It turns out its a very big area in the Pacific.

Quoting from MSNBC article: "Tonga, a 170-island archipelago about halfway between Australia and Tahiti, is part of the Pacific "ring of fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through Vanuatu to Tonga."

This is very cool...an actual underwater volcano erupting near Tonga...mother nature truly in action. There are actually 36 underwater volcanos like this one clustered together in this area and this could happen with any one of them. Fortunately it's currently not a threat to nearby islanders. No mention of big waves/tsunami created by this volcanic activity. You would think a big wave or swell from the volcano would be swamping that boat full of scientists/photographers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Life is so much better when its daylight longer. Its even better when its the first day of Daylight Savings Time and the wind is blowing. I could sniff that forecast a week in advance. Rob joined me and our traveling wind compadre Jim joined us as well. Sunny sky, 80 degree air temps, 3/2 wetsuit with short sleeves, and SW 15-25mph wind got us out on 5s & 6s sails and small-mid size boards most of the afternoon. The water was a shock (from the freezing temps and snow we had less than a week before) when I first fell in but after a while it wasn't so bad. I went for some duck gybes and heli-tacks (still learning) and got wet a lot. Got some good GoPro footage as well (below). Here is Rob, Jim, and I post sesh...

3 minute GoPro wide-angle boom mounted camera footage - anyone recognize the music (from 1990)? -

DST from Mac on Vimeo

Friday, March 6, 2009

Windsurfing is Cheaper Than Therapy

Our good buddy Mark said that once. So true. Cheaper than drugs and mistresses too.

Light Wind Windsurfing from Mac Barnhardt on Vimeo

This was 2 Saturdays ago on the last warm day we had until this weekend. It was very light wind 8-12mph...picked up to 15mph at the very end of our session. Temps were high 50s and sunny. Rob and I took advantage with our big sails and wide-style boards. I mounted the Go Pro wide-angle camera on the front of the boom for this shot. Those dorky sunglasses are Sun Specs...those things work great when there is a ton of glare on the water...saves my eyes. I would always rather have 25 mph wind, but planing along in 10mph wind is better than not windsurfing at all....especially when you live inland 4 hours away from the closest beach.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It Doesn't Really Snow in These Parts...

...but it did today. A rare treat and the kids are loving it. Yes, I'm guessing all the milk and bread is sold out at the stores....gotta love the south!