May 2015

Words: Le Défi 15 and Feeling Old

"So, when you say Medulla Oblingata, is that something I chew, sniff or pee on?"

We hope that you take advantage of the "Latest Posts Elsewhere" section on top of our home page. We have feeds from various *surfing (wind and kite) web sites and forums. It's a great way to find out what's going on beyond our little and somewhat isolated community in the foothills of Appalachia.

A couple of things caught our eye this week. First, Le Défi Wind, the big French windsurfing event, went off this past weekend. Big here in the US would mean a hundred or more participants; Le Défi had twelve hundred. But the word this week for Le Defi is not big in the number of participants but in the conditions. Second, twenty years ago, if you could say "loop", "cutback" "mumble, mumble jibe", you would cover most of the really cool windsurfing moves. These days, those gosh-darn kids are doing stuff we've never heard of and, despite watching it a dozen times, can't comprehend. It's like a dog watching brain surgery. We watch it, know something really incredible is going on but realize that whatever is happening is far beyond our pea-sized brains (and ability).

So, without much further ado, words this week.


Le Défi Wind happens every year off the coast of southern France. The iconic image is the "rabbit" inflatable boat which marks the start roaring down while, literally, a thousand windsurfers cross just behind. It's actually a series of races held over three days, each race about 12k along the shore, a jibe and, then, back. The winds are typically pretty strong. Another attraction is that mere mortals like us can start the race on the same course as some of the best pros in the world - maybe not finish with the pros but, at least, start.

Le Defi Wind 2015
A start of Le Défi Wind 2015. The "rabbit" heads upwind as windsurfers start behind it. Watch the second video to see how close people are at the start.

This week, they had wind. Like 40-70 knots of wind. A really good description is in the video below. Conditions were so brutal that on the second day, the race committee recommended wave kit only with an 80 liter board max. And, if you needed rescuing, it was just you, not your equipment since it became lethal in those conditions to try to retrieve it.

Book Tour

While the rest of you will be suffering through a typically windless summer, I'm happy to announce that I will be on a book tour. I will be promoting my new book, "My Jibes Suck, So Let Me Tell You What You Are Doing Wrong." My book has been a work in process for quite some time although, admittedly, when I was blowing many of my jibes, I didn't know that it was all in the name of literary research. I thought I was just an inept windsurfer. I had no idea I was merely following my literary muse. The more jibes I blew, the more I'd be able to write the book, the definitive book, on jibing.

Jibing too good to write about it
Don't look so smug, young lady. A jibe like that will never get you a book deal.

I'm sure that at least someone out there is thinking, "if you can't jibe, how could you write a book about it?" The question is understandable but, quite frankly, shows a complete lack of understanding of how our culture works. I must admit that some of the inspiration for the book came from seeing a blurb in a flyer from the Atlanta History Center which was pimping promoting an appearance by reality "star", Bethenny Frankel. Ms. Frankel was promoting her new book, "I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To"