Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Maiden Voyage

Here's my new 2011 Starboard Element 9'8" SUP surfboard. It has a mast track for light wind wavesailing. I demo'd the 2010 version of this board at Bolsa Chica (Huntington Beach, CA) last year and liked the feel of it. After talking to Andy about what I've been riding (SOS 10'10" Big Blue), my intent and goals for dropping down in SUP surfboard size, and the conditions I would mostly be in, I settled on this board (thanks for the help Andy - remember readers, support your local shops!). She's a beauty...check out the thruster fin set-up.

First chance to get in waves - Isle of Palms, SC with Rob (left, with his Starboard Ultimate Blend 11'2") this past weekend.

We had some wind in the morning...a bit too much for paddling, so we stuck our 5 meter sails on our boards and went light wind wavesailing in 10-15mph side/side-off wind and waist high waves. I was able to turn the Element immediately down the line and get a couple of good top and bottom turns on most waves before they completely broke. The Element caught waves very nicely. The waves weren't rad by any means, but we had a ton of fun out there. I do look forward to seeing what else the board can do in bigger, longer and cleaner waves.

The walk of shame thanks to the fast current from wind direction and wind swell running in the same direction (and being awfully close to the inlet).

All photos above taken by my wife. Kris. All photos below taken by Rob.

After the morning windsurfing session and the wind/waves dropping off, we woofed down some mahi mahi and shrimp burritos for lunch. After refueling, it was off for some afternoon flat water paddling with our better halves. Here's our lucky dolphin on the flat water SUP paddle in the intracoastal waters behind Isle of Palms. Kris wanted to see dolphin and she was not disappointed.

Me, Dawn, Kris

Kris and I, the inlet behind us (between Deewees Island and Isle of Palms)

My friend the pelican. I want to be a pelican in my next life.

I look forward to getting the board in some nice paddle surf conditions. Its still a stable flat water board for its size. It was nice to have taken only one board for the weekend....waves or flat water, wind or no wind...this board appears to handle it all.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out in Charleston, eating some fine low country cuisine, taking in the historical sites/homes, and seeing The Old 97s in concert.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Support Your Sport - Donate to the Cause

We all love windsurfing. Lets support our sport and help the American Windsurfing Tour with a permit issue for their first event this spring.

Check out the article here and what you can do to help.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back In Windsurfing Mode

It's not every day we get warm sunny and windy conditions in February. The forecast looked solid for strong SW winds so the local crew busted out the smaller gear we haven't had out in months. Ramsey Creek Park was the call and I got there for an excellent post work sesh just as the wind started to kick in and sailed until sunset. Folks were already coming off the water having been there all afternoon. Others were rigging down and going back out. It was one of my best sessions ever at Ramsey...fully lit on my Ezzy Wave Panther 5.5 sail and RRD Freestyle/Wave 100lt board. Everyone is still buzzing and dreaming of the next sesh.


Here's a great duck jibe sequence - Donald Obst showing how its done

WaterTurtle (Ezzy Sail) and Raceboard Dude (Jeff)


Donald airing it out

A brief plug for SUP - It has been since early fall since I've sailed in 25mph wind. I felt great yesterday and I'm not sore at all today. I attribute that to stand up paddling. If you're wanting to stay in shape between windsurfing sessions....think of SUP as jogging/running on water, except that it's more of a full body/core workout. Plus its another excuse to hit the water more.

It was great to have everyone out there sailing again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is Punxsutawney Phil right?

LKN windsurfing February '11 from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

Somehow you have to believe there's another cold snap and probably another snowfall in our near future before spring officially rolls in...but this warmer weather is a nice treat. Punxsutawney Phil apparently didn't see his shadow this year, meaning we may be in for an early spring, but I heard on the radio the other day that he's been only 39% accurate. Last year it felt like we went straight from late winter to a very hot summer (and PP saw his shadow last year). However, the two years before that were nice mild and windy winters that transitioned into nice springs and relatively mild not-so-hot summers. So who knows.

Sunday Feb 13th brought the sun and some light warm southwest wind. Of course, Valentines Day brought stronger wind but I had to Sunday was my only opportunity and I made the best of it....started in SW 10-15 on my 9.6 Aerotech VMG and AHD Free Diamond 145lt board. I've had this light wind combo for about 10 years now and its always done me right in light wind...however I don't think I used that combo once in 2010. It was good to wipe the cobwebs off. After a while the wind picked up to around 15+ and I pulled in the adjustable outhaul and continued to have a blast.

Also got to try out my new GoPro HD cam. Above is a brief 1 minute clip from Sunday's session. The picture is definitely sharper than the older standard def wide-angle GoPro I've had the last couple of years. The water is a nice cool 44 degrees. I wore my 3/2 short sleeve wetsuit and my arms froze even in the sun. You can also see that I'm wearing my dorky Sun Specs sunglasses. They're dorky but definitely save my eyes from that afternoon glare off the water.

Here's to a warm and windy spring...please oh please.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Go Karen!

2.16.11 UPDATE here She did it! Congratulations Karen!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I've met Karen Wrenn and her husband John three times in the last year and they're great people. Karen is a very talented paddler and athlete (windsurfing/kiteboarding)...and mother of two young kids.

Here's Karen with my daughter at last year's Coastal Urge May race

She just embarked on a very challenging paddle the entire length of the Channel Islands off southern CA....150 nautical miles. Here is the press release.

You can keep up with her progress from Twitter feeds!/SUPkaren)...or at the Keanon web site...and I imagine at some point, she'll have updates on her own site and blog.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ski Your Tail Off

Oh Eldora Eldora - a cool locals mountain near Nederland/Boulder. Neil checks out the double black diamond...

...and steadily teli-marks on down the mountain.

Now I've got to follow him...gulp.

Here is Neil and Connie's market in Lyons, CO. If you're ever in the Lyons area and/or heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park area through Boulder/Lyons, you have to stop here at St Vrain Market and load up...including fresh made breads, locally cut meats, deli, and coffee. Neil and Connie did an awesome job of upgrading, renovating, and painting the joint...and I saw it 1.5 yrs ago before they started to work on it. On top of that, they also adopted 4 yr old twins from Ethiopia last year....they've been very busy. It was great visiting the whole family. Thanks Neil for also introducing me to some tasty locally brewed Colorado IPAs. Neil is who I went back country camping/hiking with in summer 2009.

The drive through Rabbit Ears Pass on the way to Steamboat was a snowy one. I started out driving in ice on the way out of Lyons and into Boulder. This was the edge of the same storm that hit the midwest and east coast so hard last week.



The view of Steamboat Ski Mountain from our place. Thanks Bill for the awesome hospitality!

The birthday boy Greg (left) and Bill

Bill and Greg

Birthday Boy Greg


Greg, Bill, and Dan at the top of Steamboat.


My drive leaving Steamboat started out in -37 degrees. The storm earlier in the week left crazy cold temps in its wake. We were dressed for it and had a great time skiing at Steamboat. There was hardly anyone else on the mountain. We virtually had it almost all to lift lines.

Colorado sunrise

My legs are spent!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

-50 Below Zero Wind Chill

That was the wind chill temperature on top of Steamboat Mountain, CO today...and we skiied in that. Before wind chill, the high at the top was -22. The high at the bottom of the mountain was -9. I was pleasantly surprised how good I felt in these's all in how you dress for it. Several layers and don't leave any skin exposed. It certainly didn't hurt that the sun was out today.

Monday was low 20s and snowing. Greg in knee deep pow pow and heading into the trees.

Here's smooth in his turns. We ended up with 11 new inches of snow to go play in on Tuesday.

Tuesday - Sub zero temps, blue sky, powder, and aspen tree skiing. Bill leads the way.

Here's what it looks like in sub zero temps with wind chill...heading to the top. Dan (right) trying to get frostbite on his face and me all covered up toasty warm.

I'm here with friends celebrating Greg's 50th birthday. I've already visited another good friend Neil in Lyons, CO and we skiied Eldora together on Sunday in 35 degree blue sky conditions. When I arrived on Saturday, it was 60 degrees. Since I've been in Colorado, I've been through a 100+ degree swing in temperature change if you include wind chill...and drove through ice and snow to get to Steamboat. The skiing has been fantastic. More be continued.