on both days.
I've noticed that as the summer draws on, the wind line moves out at Natural
Bridges so that the inside is very light, even when the wind is raging off-shore.
It may be because the wind direction slowly changes, putting more of the inside
area into wind shadow.
Anyway, on Saturday I sailed Natural Bridges and got to sail my Stretch race board
for the first time. I just pushed it over the surf, waterstarted and went!
Immediately I noticed that it was moving right along even though the wind was
not that strong. What is more, it pointed upwind pretty well. As I neared the kelp
and spotted a channel, I headed off wind to go through the channel and was
startled to find just how fast this board accelerates. I was really pleased.
Once I get it wired it should be very fast.
Later, the wind died on the inside and I struggled trying to beach start. With
a deep fin and in the surf zone I found it impossible. Stepping anywhere behind
the mast foot seems to sink the tail, and the extreme lightness of the board
makes it tip over if my weight is even slightly off center. Practice I guess...
Sunday was also foggy, and because of the light winds inside the day before,
decided to head up north to Davenport Landing (site of the infamous shark attack).
On arrival, the wind seemed like 5.0, but as it was freshening, I rigged my
4.7 NP Wave. I tried the new board again and found it a delight (at least in a
straight line. However, the chop further out was giant and I could not keep the board
on the water. Switching down to my wave board, I headed way out and totally
exhausted myself riding over huge ocean swells. I'd say they were a hundred feet
high, but more realistically they were probably ten feet and some were breaking.
The whole ocean was a sea of white water and I was overpowered to say the least.
I was constantly fighting the board to stop it rounding up. I'm not sure why,
but it may be as a result of moving the fin forward a couple of weeks ago to
help in pointing.
Anyway I got seriously tired pretty quickly, but decided to make one more run.
On the way back I fell off a couple of times and messed up a couple of waterstarts
(fun when you are thinking of Great Whites) and had drifted downwind a bit.
Not wanting to exhaust myself further, I used my last energy to force the
board downwind and got fully powered up headed for the wave sailing section of the
beach. Sunday was a good day for wave sailing and they were crowded with some real
hot shots including IAn Boyd. I never seem to be able to get on a wave when they
are small but this time a wave found me. A big set wave started forming behind me and
I started going faster and faster. I could sheet out and easily maintain speed on
the wave. In my state of near exhaustion I didn't realise that this was my big
chance to try a hard bottom turn and maybe a nice off-the-lip. Instead a pretty good
avalanche of white water cascaded over me and holding on tight I shot out in front
heading for the beach.
Just as I was feeling so pleased with myself and just as I knew everyone including
Ian Boyd must be watching in admiration, my fin grazed a rock. Realizing the water
was pretty shallow, I performed the now famous Kirk Lindsrom manouever and landed
in a rocky bed of mussels nestled amongst the coral. What must have been a pretty
rock pool at low tide performed instant surgery on both bare feet but fortunately
nothing more serious.
'Did you see me on that wave?' I said to my sailing buddy when I had dragged my
board back up the beach. 'No' he said, 'I thought you were still way out there'.
Somehow, I don't think Ian Boyd noticed either.
Today I have some minor pulled muscles in my calves as a result of cramps on
Saturday, sustained while swimming my rig out 300 yards to the kelp beds to try
to waterstart, sore arms, sore hands, shredded feet, and a bruised shoulder.
But I'm still gonna be a wave sailor one day!