Calema Midwinters report

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Calema Midwinters report

report from the Calema Midwinters this past weekend...

Friday:  up at dawn for launch of space shuttle Columbia at 6:25 just as night is turning to day. Danny Johnson, David Wade, and I watched from 7th floor hotel room on Cocoa Beach. An amazing sight as it passed through alternating layers of light clouds and clear sky almost right over our heads on it's way down range over the ocean. A nice beginning, but we came for windsurfing. Greg and Kelli, Gene Mathis, Scott Geddie, and Bill Herderich were also on the scene.
Friday... Wink not bad, 6.8 early, 5.8 later. Nothing major, but not bad...60's...full suit.
Saturday... Biggrin  33 gusting to 40 mph.  4.5 and 4.0 all day on 86 liter board.  partly cloudy...70's...shorty's
Sunday...  :) 8-16 early followed by 15 to 22 from 3:30 on ...partly cloudy...80...shorty's
(These are my sail sizes. I'm 160lbs. and usually on my F2 "Max-2-Air 264" at 115 liters. Adjust accordingly for Danny Johnson, etc.)
      On Sat. in the high wind, we sailed just upwind -- and sometimes unavoidedly in the middle of -- the pros as they warmed up for the freestyle event. We would take breaks to watch the actual competition then walk 5 feet to pick our gear back up and sail some more. We took pictures from 20 feet (no exaggeration) of vulcans, spocks, wymaroos, duck tacks, things I don't the names for, and, yes, one-handed forward loops in absolutely nukin' conditions! The Bonaire kids stole the show again this year. At the Sat. night banguet, Danny Johnson and I got a little private verbal lesson on looping from Matt Pritchard. "Easier than a planing jibe -- reallly, no kidding."  Yeah...right.   INCREDIBLE Weekend!!!  Next year, I'll be organiz :)ing a Wed. to Sunday trip for this event to replace the Spring Hatteras trip.
 
This is the story from the local newspaper...and there were 260
participants, not all pro...

Pros enjoy strong gusts at windsurfing festival

Event is now world's largest, organizers say

By Victor Thompson
FLORIDA TODAY

MERRITT ISLAND -- If it weren't for the surfboards carpeting Kelly Park's shore Saturday, the 17th annual Calema Midwinters Windsurfing Festival could have been a hang-gliding competition.

Flying over the Banana River on near-40 mph wind gusts, 260
professional windsurfers from around the world competed in the weekend-long competition that began Friday and ends today. Susie Dornellas, who has organized the event with her husband, Tinho, said the festival has become the largest of its kind in the world.

"For some reason we've just been getting really good wind for the last couple of years," Dornellas said. "Last year we had 194 pros enlist, and that just put us over the top."

Men and women from North America, Europe and the Caribbean faced off in racing and freestyle events.

Kevin Pritchard, two-time world champion windsurfer and former U.S. champion, said the Calema festival is timed at the height of the buying season for corporate sponsors that spend thousands of dollars annually to develop new designs.

"It's a good event because companies get to showcase their
equipment," Pritchard said. "For a couple of years the equipment had gotten too technical, but now it's come back so that anyone can learn to sail and go on the same board."

Pritchard, whose brother Matt competed in the freestyle competition Saturday, said this event feels unlike many other professional events. "It's really fun because the people are super-stoked," he said. "In most international competitions there's a lot of attitude among the surfers, but out here people are here to have fun."

And compete. A delegation of windsurfers from the Dutch commonwealth of Bonaire flew in from the small Caribbean island off of the Venezuelan coast to take part in the festival. Freestyle pro Ronald Mayer, 20, said windsurfing has been a way of life since his brother, also a pofessional, taught him at the age of 8. "The freedom of windsurfing is unbelievable," said Mayer, who also teaches windsurfing.

Kimberly Birkenfeld, who took first place in the women's racing competition Saturday and is training for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, said windsurfing has a been a passion that has carried her through 15 years of competing professionally.

"This is a great event and I'm pretty psyched," said Birkenfeld, who owns a marketing firm in Miami. "There's just something inside of me that makes me love it."

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Re: Calema Midwinters report

Acute That was FOUR OHHHHHHH!!!!! on Sat, I started on my 5.0 on my 80 liter (wild) board for about an hour, then rigged down to my 4.0 for the rest of the afternoon. Great ramps, great day, it was like a big day at Hatteras.  ;D  The Freestylers were amazing.

Gene

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Re: Calema Midwinters report

Where do you guys come up with this stuff.  Nobody’s going to believe you.  They think that you’re just saying that because you spent 8.5 hours in a car just to get down there.  Everybody knows the Space Shuttle didn’t go off as planned on Thursday.  The reason being it was 36 degrees that night.  Now you want them to believe that the afternoon temperature rose to a balmy 65 degrees and that other days were 82 degrees.  I guess we might as well milk this thing for all it is worth.  Sure, I rigged my smallest sail a 4.5 but did I sail it.  No way.  I picked it up off the water and the wind ripped it from my hands.  I tried to sail but I would be launched to the Hubble as soon as I reached the first wave face.  Sure thing.  Lets keep this going by saying that we sailed everyday and that we didn’t even have to remove our trailers from Kelly Park at night because of the beefed up security, by aging, patrolling, and unpaid windsurfers.  Do you think your readers will believe that you could hardly even walk on the beach because there were so many inappropriately parked sailboards littering the ground.  Do you think that people were sailing in bathing suites and shorties because the water temperature was 75 degrees.   REALLY.   You know that they will believe that we were able to participate in this event without Rap (crap) music.   Why I will even bet that Gene used some creative accounting techniques in his wind diary on his web page just to back all this up.  Needless to say everyone who didn’t go knows of the lies sailors tell.  Yep, we just sat around all day freezing with no wind, no food, and no clothes, while everyone who stayed home had a blistering day at Van (Freezing) Pugh where the winds were rocking.

Now the burden is on you the READER.  Was it a good trip or was it all hype?  How will you ever know for sure.  Hint: Go back and check the launch schedule
   http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/summaries/109comp.htm
and then check the bouy history at Cape Canaveral.  So much to do and so little time to do it.    

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