The three cars ahead of me on the on ramp in Wilmington
halted, then started to back up, trying to avoid the traffic behind a
generic two car I-95 accident.. With the trailer on the back of the
Jeep I wasn't backing up anywhere in a hurry. I honked my horn to
warn them, but this only prompted the three drivers to jump out of
their cars into the miserable, drizzling evening and start yelling at
me to "Back the f... up". It didn't seem like the trip to see the
King was such a great idea after all.
Frank had called about three weeks before, e***d that Robby
was coming to Hatteras. Both our wives got that look of resignation
on their faces when we told them. They both seemed to understand that
it was a rare opportunity to meet a legend. With work schedules
finagled for a couple of days off, all I had to do was collect Frank
from a Friday night wedding in Washington, DC and head for the Outer
Banks. And deal with three large, loud, unhappy motorists at my car
They settled down somewhat when they saw the trailer. We all
got off the ramp successfully then toured Delaware whilst getting past
the accident. I-95 to Washington was full of large trucks throwing
spray in the rain, so I was glad to find Frank's in-law's house in
Washington and catch three hours sleep. The next day things started
looking up as we crossed the bridge at Oregon Inlet, and definitely
improved when we sighted the Orange Blossom caf for lunch. As usual,
our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, but the sandwiches were
delicious. Not much wind in the afternoon, so a quick tour of the
shops was in order.
Sunday morning we sailed the tail end of a light Noreaster for
an hour or so before it died. That evening it was off to Windsurfing
Hatteras. They had emptied the shop out in anticipation of the crowd.
By 7pm the place was full and there he was, casual, relaxed and
sitting on the counter of the shop answering questions: Robby Naish.
The Q & A session went for about two hours. Among other things, we
learnt that the King has a weakness for Taco Bell, that Bjorn's
attitude has improved...well, somewhat.. and Antiventilation Skirt
Boards are referred to as "Flappers". Through it all it was apparent
that Robby was a regular guy who still really enjoyed sailing, in
spite of a brutal travel schedule which would make hardened executives
cringe. At the end of the session, everyone crowded the counter for
an autograph. However, it quickly became apparent that Robby was
going to take the time to meet and talk to everyone, and sign posters,
sails, and even shaved heads! It was two hours later when he was
finished, and this just emphasized to everyone what a class act the
The next morning it was blowing 25 to 30k form the southwest.
We parked one of the few non-Canadian vehicles at the Hole and were on
the water, fully wound on 4.7s by 7.30 in the morning. The chop on
the inside was wicked. As were some of the flat water forwards being
thrown by the locals close to the beach. At about 11 we took a break
and headed to Ego beach. And there he was, Robby on the water. It
was light on the inside and everyone was pumping to get across the
inside sandbar. Watching Robby pump, it became apparent why his arms
look the way they do and ours look.. Well you get the idea. He hit
the wind line and there was "the stance"- leaning out, sail raked
back, flying upwind, a dry forward off a peak on the outer bank.
Transition then in, pumping onto a nice five footer, the classic
bottom turn, leaning hard, carving his rail in. Off the lip, in the
air, down the line past the breaking "brown bomber" and off the lip
again. Better than poetry. All the other local stars were there:
Donny Bowers, Dimitri, To Luckett, maybe even Dana Miller, and many
more I am not hip enough to recognize. The wind died a little, and
the show was over, so it was back to the Hole. The wind filled back
in, and then cranked up a notch, so we sailed overpowered until dark.
Robby repeated the "meet the people" event that evening at Avon
We drove back the next morning, fueled by apple uglies from
the Orange Blossom, and reluctantly leaving a 20 to 25k Norwester to
head for home, work, and our other lives. To all those that had a
part in organizing the event, thanks, and DO IT AGAIN.