Simply majestic...

Phillip Koester at Red Bull Storm Chase Ireland

Philip Koester (GER) in a winter North Atlantic storm during the Red Bull Storm Chase in Magheroarty, Ireland on March 10, 2019.

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Gene’s Campground Adventure

Editor's note: We thank Gene for taking the time to describe from his experience in the big blow last Sunday

And who came up with all these rules?

Rig for what you got, not what you want or the forecast. When you can’t decide between two sails, go bigger if the sun is shining, smaller if cloudy. (Caps look bigger in the sun, and it was sunny.)

When I arrived it was windy. I checked the launch, super high water, not good but doable. Rhett was planning on his 5.2 but falling off plane a little in the lulls. Maybe 6.0 or 5.2? Then the wind came up some, maybe 5.2 of 4.5? So, put on wetsuit first before rigging to have more time to decide and one last look. Although I had the 5.2 pulled out of the trailer, the last look told me to rig the 6.0.

Anyhow, I was overpowered, struggled a while trying to water start, then decided to just clear the sail and body drag back. That didn’t work well, was going to miss the launch, so shoot for Bozo Island? Got close to Bozo, but not an island, just trees growing out of the water with waves. If I could make it there, I still had to get back to the launch. I was getting a little tired, there is a rule about take your breaks, watch your energy level, but this is hard to do in the middle of the lake. Also a very important rule is stay with your board. You don’t want to give out and not be able to hold on to the board. Also, remember, don’t panic. I remembered years back when David W and I took our trip to Bozo, instead of struggling; we sat on the boards and let the wind blow us down wind (to Bozo Island.) So I sat on the board and headed for the campground. Know your take out points. Years back, I ended up at the campground after breaking a mast. Not that big of deal, but, you have to breakdown your gear and tote it to the locked campground entrance (hide it) and then hitch a ride back to Van Pugh. Then you have to drive back to get your gear. All this can add a couple of hours to a not so fun day, and if it’s cold, it’s cold. I was dressed in my warmest wetsuit, better to be too hot than too cold, you can always cool off, so I really wasn’t that cold.

Once at the campground, it was tuff trying to get ashore due to the high water and I was glad to see the Hall County Rescue guys. I’m not sure they were looking for me (although I think Barret had called them) because they asked where the second person was. Then we saw the 2 kayakers stranded at the campground (they were definitely cold, having no neoprene.) Hall County took them back while I stayed with the kayaks and broke down my gear, then they came back and hauled me and all the gear back to Van Pugh. (I think the coast guard will not rescue gear.) I really did appreciate their help. I think they had a good time too as it does look like a fun job as long as no one dies. We probably should only call them as a last resort when someone is in real trouble. We don’t want to get a bad rep or get windsurfing banned. But it’s hard to tell if someone is in trouble when they’re far away. I used to keep cheap binoculars in the car to search for people; this is probably a good idea. Also, remember the universal distress signal. And don’t turn down help. I’ve hitched a ride with fishermen ( kiting) and on David W’s jet ski (kiting), had a nice ride in a pontoon boat (broken mast) and have hitch hiked a ride (in a wetsuit) from Aqualand (pulled muscle ) and from the campground. It seems people don’t mind picking up hitchhikers dressed in neoprene, I think they’re curious.

I guess, even when you take your time, think about what you’re doing and try not to do anything stupid, sometimes, stuff happens.

Gene Mathis

Maui - Behind the Scenes

Maui, after all these years, remains the emotional center of windsurfing. While windsurfing's popularity is higher in Europe, Asia, Oz/NZ, Africa - well pretty much most places - than the U.S., Maui is the place that is the Mecca for windsurfers: the place they should visit at least once in their lives. There are other places that areas windy or windier. There are other places that have sweet waves (Margaret River, Cape Town, Baja). Yet, Maui and its iconic launches, especially Ho'okipa, are perhaps the most widely recognized and photographed. Just about every major windsurfing manufacturer shoots at least part of its catalog there.

If you look at the photos long enough, you know the layout, the rocks and the way that every wave is sailed on port tack and sailors go to the right on the wave. And, the wind. It's always windy. It has to be as the wave sailors are always using 4 to 5 something meter sails and just ripping down the faces of those waves. Right? Well, I always thought so until drones came along.



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Before the widespread use of drones, most of us had just seen just quick clips of the best windsurfers performing their best moves. Outside the rare helicopter shot, most of what we saw was taken either from shore or in the water. If you were like us, you just assumed that windsurfers there got on their 95 l. board and 5.3 sail, ripped out through the surf, jibed and then screamed back through the waves. Probably a lot of this is how unfamiliar inland and intermediate sailors are with the mechanics of wave sailing. We associate waves with wind but in a place like Hawaii, where the waves often come from weather events thousands of miles away, that's not necessarily true.

The other day I clicked on a blog post from the Cammar's (Giampaolo Cammarota) Maui Surf Report which I do from time to time. You can see his new posts pop up on our feeds on the front page on the right hand side. He often posts shots and videos taken by himself and other locals. He windsurfs, windfoils and surfs so quite often there's something fun to see.

The previous day there had been a good swell and he posted some nice pics including the one above. By chance, I was killing time on Youtube later on in the day and came across this video by Matt Holton who shoots some good stuff in Maui. Probably one of the best things he does is just long cuts so you get to see the actual process of wave sailing there. It's not just bam, bam, greatest hits. You see people going off the shore, getting worked in the surf heading out, good moves and moves that don't end so well. Most interesting was that the video was shot the same day.

Now if you just look at the pics, it looks like a screaming day. Spray is coming off the wave tops. But, then you watch the video and realize that all that power is the wave, not the wind. In fact, the sailors that day were just shlogging, not planing, out through the surf.

Take a peek here at 1:43 in the video. Not a white cap in site and someone finally catches a ride by pumping like mad and being on the right spot on the wave. His/her buddy right beside doesn't even get going. It's fascinating.

Bonus: here's a short clip of Cammar windfoiling yesterday

Ed. note: Yes, we know that on other days, it's cranking there.

Holiday Party! Dec 22

Yes, we're having a Holiday Party! What? Now you need details? Well, why didn't you say so?

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The Details!

Date: (Sure, it's in the title but we have to fill in all the blanks and boxes) Saturday, December 22 Time: 7 pm. Just enough time to get home from whatever you do for fun Saturday afternoon, clean up and head on over. Where: Chez Windfoil (aka Casa Webguy) Google Maps Linky Guests: Yes! Of course. Spouses, SOs, friends, relatives. What to bring: If you wish, bring a main course, side dish, salad or desert - it's perfectly okay to come without (ie don't stress about cooking). If you have a dietary restriction, you may want to bring something appropriate. The club is throwing in a couple of main courses, side dishes and desserts. Post in the comments what you are thinking of bringing if you wish. BYOB. What else to bring: Bring something for the ever popular White Elephant Gift Exchange. This is always the highlight of the evening. You may bring a regift, something moderately nice or something amusing. If you forget to bring something, no worries, I'm bringing a pieces of quality vintage gear you may use as your gift (quantities limited). Past gifts have ranged from a bottle of wine, an old windsurf board to bunny slippers.

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