Opening Day

Opening Day

September marks the beginning of the windsurfing year. As the air cools and jet stream descends from its summer vacation in Canada, gentle summer breezes yield to blustery autumn winds.

The lakes empty as kids go back to school, adults go back to work and football season keeps most people away on weekends.

These football fans are enjoying their opening day. That's why you have a parking spot at your favorite park. That's why we love football.

The water is still warm, warm enough to invite us back until we become reverse lobsters, staying in the water, unaware, as it slowly cools until by February it becomes hypothermic.

Opening day sometimes means keeping your head low and wearing safety orange.

It's time to put away the large boards and sails of summer, dust off the smaller gear, sand the nicks off the small fins and chase the rodents who've nested in our small sails all summer.

If we are lucky, it will blow on a September weekend. It's opening day.

Lost in Africa

Lost in Africa
"Stop that boy! He has our hurricane!"
Lost in Africa (movie). A white couple look for a lost tropical storm in a continent full of dark people. We're sure they have a black friend. But he probably dies.

One of the standard scripts of windsurfing in Atlanta is a bunch of us standing on the shore of our favorite local spot, staring at the still water and asking, "Where's the wind?"

It's usually a rhetorical question, of course. The wind is somewhere, just not here. We recently posted a clipping from an English newspaper where this summer was projected to be the windiest in two decades. Let's be more clear: the windiest English year in two decades while this summer, locally, has been more true to norm, i.e. dead as our social life. To make things even more annoying, we actually read the article (usually, we just pretend to and then purposely make vague statements). This is the part that got us: "Just eight days this year have been 'calm' -defined as when at least 20 weather stations record maximum gusts of 11 mph or less." Wow. Around here, an 11 mph gust gets categorized as breezy, not calm. And, pretty much any summer day without a thunderstorm qualifies as calm.

But, back to our question: where's the wind? Try... Africa.

Typically, one of the few opportunities for wind in the summer comes from tropical storms. While we don't wish a hurricane on our neighbors in Florida or North Carolina, a good tropical disturbance is enough to kick up a bit of breeze during a time of year a wetsuit isn't mandatory. This year, so far, has been a poor one for producing tropical storms in the Atlantic. It's not for the lack of warm water in the Atlantic (good try climate deniers ), but because of strong pool of warm water, El Nino, in the Pacific.

Nonetheless, we are starting to see a few disturbances in the tropics - near Africa.

Windsurfing Trip to the Jersey Shore

Barrett Launches
Barrett launches at Lakes Bay, NJ

No wind in Atlanta? Barrett and Peggy share photos from their windsurfing weekend at the Jersey Shore.

We flew to Newark, but then discovered it cost under $100 to fly direct from Atlanta to Atlantic City on Spirit Airlines. It’s only 5 miles from the airport to Extreme Windsurfing where you can rent gear. There’s more wind and better conditions on the Outer Banks, but it was easy to fly direct to the Jersey Shore.

View the complete album

Odds and Deep Ends No. 25

It's been a slow summer. Some of us have been lucky enough to get out in the occasional breeze with large sails or long boards but, by and large, it has been quiet. When it's quiet, we have way too much time on our hands and, instead of getting out on the equipment we have, we spend hours reading web pages about places we will never go and justify purchasing equipment we'd use if we ever got there - which we won't. Not the least because we've spent our money on gear that will get wet maybe three times in the next decade.

How bad is the summer? Even youtube knows it's pretty bad.

recommended for no wind
Recommended for us? Thanks, youtube. Now you are just being mean.

While we desperately try to find a way to pay for this gear, we thought you might enjoy the following tidbits.

Better get the Carfax

We love trolling Craig's List for windsurfing gear. Once every five years we come across something worthwhile. The rest of the time, we realize that along with cockroaches the only other thing to survive a nuclear war will be crappy, heavy plastic boards from 1986. Craigs List has an endless supply of them. If we could convert them to biofuel, we could drive our windsurfmobiles to Hatteras every weekend.

The descriptions are humorous as are the asking prices. This board, however, really caught our interest. It's an old Mistral with a decidedly unique set of graphics. According to our CSI: Flowery Branch lab, the graphics appear to be from Michelins on a late model SUV or light truck. But, until we get the DNA test, that's only a preliminary finding.

mistral board needing carfax

We can't identify the model, though. It's not a Pandera, nor a Competition. Maybe, it's the Mistral Possum.