Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black and Blue Friday

It was a Black (& blue) Friday because I took a nice shot in the ribs from my board.  Just about knocked the wind out of me.  But not before a day of pure sweetness in the waves.  Mostly lefts but snagged a few rights too.  Clean waist to chest high and bigger sets all morning, then it got bumpy in the afternoon as the wind clocked around a little earlier than expected.  It was very crowded and bigger at the pier but we surfed a few blocks south of there and had it mostly to ourselves.  Enjoyed the day trip to Topsail Island to burn off the turkey and stuffing with Ralph, Mark...and Ken T as he was able to join us for a little while later in the day.

That shot to the ribs was at the end of one my rare rights and one of my best wave rides of the day...just got a little greedy as the wave reformed on the inner sand bar and I stayed on it.  I knew I was in trouble when I could see the brown sand.  Too late as I tried to fall flat and cover my head with my arms but the board came up from underneath and slammed into my left side.  Being optimistic and guessing they're just bruised as I sit here icing them and taking ibuprofen.  Doesn't hurt enough to go to the doctor. Still buzzing from the awesome day and grateful my injury wasn't worse.

Enjoy the photo extravaganza of wave sweetness (click on each shot for best viewing in high resolution)...

Ralph on his small surfboard

Mark and our friend the pelican



Mark and the shark chaser


Ralph - Oh Boy!!
Ralph traded in the surfboard for his SUP surfboard & paddle when it got bumpy

Notice that Ralph goes both ways?  "Ambidextrous" or as NC State and NBA short-timer Chris Washburn once said "Amphibious", which is actually more appropriate here anyway.


When I came out of the water for a break, I broke out the telephoto lens and trained it on the guys at the pier a few blocks away....

Local Chris Hill was charging at the crowded pier on his SUP surfboard.  Chris was an early sponsored SUP racer with Surftech/Bark and is now an Infinity team rider.  He now has his own shop on Topsail Island along with his own SUP surf boards with Infinity that have a fascinating short, fast, and stable board shape.


local surfers at the pier

check out the toes on the nose guy on the right

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Plan C - Lake Downwinder

Last weekend, I had mountain biking plans with some friends that fell through.  Which wasn't so bad since the wind was supposed to be blowing, so Plan B went into effect.  I planned to go windsurf for a couple hours instead.  Only, I found out at the last minute that my usual NE wind launch was taken up that day by heavy equipment doing some work and wouldn't allow me to park/launch.  What to do?  Plan C - SUP downwinder.

SUP downwinders on Lake Norman are for real.  It was blowing 20mph+ and the lake was blanketed in whitecaps.  My lovely bride dropped me off and 1/2 mile later I'm in the open channel with some fetch behind me catching shin to knee high chop/swell and getting some good rides.  I was walking all over my 14' race board and standing way back on some nice swells to keep it from pearling....also using the paddle to steer and keep the board from rounding up on the swell face.  A very fun outing and definitely a good work-out.  It was a good test run for 5 miles and now I've figured out a good 9-10 mile open channel SUP downwinder route for any good NE and SW wind events.  It's no Maliko or Hood River run, but just about the same distance and a ton of fun here on the lake.

Geared up!

The next day, I took one of my sons for a father son mountain bike outing with our friend Pete and his son.  Trying to raise a little ripper...hopefully it far so good.  Thanks to Pete for these pics.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Eat & Ride

My bride and I finally got away for a weekend in Asheville to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary a few weeks late. She said "why don't you take your mountain bike and I'll go shopping". And that is how you stay married for 20 years!

So I hit the Bent Creek trails for some big climbs, bombing downhillers, and fun single-track.  You can see the downhill high banked berms in a couple pics below...they were a lot of fun to just carry so much speed into.

The rest of the weekend was a culinary and IPA lover's dream.  We stayed in a downtown hotel and walked everywhere.  We enjoyed the following establishments and highly recommend them all:  Limones, Tupelo Honey Cafe (get the Sweet Potato Pancake loaded - my pre-ride breakfast), Salsas, Posana Cafe (100% gluten free restaurant), and Doc Chey's Noodle House.  All these places are just a handful of many great restaurants in the Asheville area that focus on sustainability and largely source their food and ingredients locally. The Thirsty Monk, Asheville Brewing Co, and Green Man Brewery served up great brews.  One place I didn't get to this weekend but I love to visit in Asheville is Barleys

Asheville is a fun town with lots of live music opportunities, great food, plenty of outdoor recreational and mountain sport opportunities, and is now ranked the #1 beer town in the USA.  I'm glad its only a 2 hr drive away.