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.

Miss Understood

The Misunderstood Shark
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 8, 2015

With Mary Lee now swimming off the coast of Georgia, the public’s fear of sharks has returned. In case you’ve forgotten, Mary Lee is the radio-tagged Great White Shark with 88,000 Twitter followers. We’ve learned a lot from tagging sharks. Great Whites are estimated to live 70 years or longer, and reproduce slowly. No one has observed females giving birth, but they are thought to have a gestation period longer than humans. Because great whites are responsible for more attacks than any other species of shark, they have been labeled as cold-blooded killers. In reality, great whites are warm blooded. And to put your risk of a shark attack in perspective, coastal residents are far more likely to be struck by lightning than be attacked by all species of sharks combined.

Every year we travel to the Outer Banks to windsurf and I’ve always been wary of sharks. The recent spate of shark attacks in North Carolina makes this fear seem perfectly rational. With eight victims in less than a month the risk seems overwhelming. What’s to blame for the surge in shark attacks? Biologists tell us the reason is more people in the water, not more sharks.

Our worst nightmare

A windsurfer’s worst nightmare