Friday, December 31, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
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 mistake...you 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
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
...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...
Friday, November 19, 2010
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 successful...got 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.
Sure...you 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 to...you 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.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
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 boardshorts...in 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
Sunday, October 10, 2010
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"...as 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...
Hunting Island beach with sub-tropical forest right up against the ocean - looks like Costa Rica.
Enjoy the video....tons of dolphin encounter footage...