Words: Le Défi 15 and Feeling Old

confused
"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.

Carnage

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.

More video:

After watching this several times, we agree that carnage is an appropriate adjective.

Double something something

The vocabulary of windsurfing has expanded significantly in the last ten years. As windsurfing has spread from its cultural root in Maui to other parts of the world, the riders have adapted to those conditions and pushed the boundaries in ways few would have anticipated when Hookipa was still the epicenter. Windsurfers in Bonaire, Dahab, northern Europe, Brazil and elsewhere adapted their styles to their flatter water and smaller waves. A whole new lexicon developed with these new school moves.

For us older dogs, the new style moves and vocabulary are fairly lost on us. Many of us are still in that intermediate stage where simply having the board change direction 180 degrees presents a challenge. Standing on the wrong side of the board, staring at the wrong side of the sail and then getting the whole contraption five feet in the air is beyond contemplation.

Here is a video of Amado Vrieswijk pulling off a Double Air Culo among a bunch of other cool stuff. Frankly, we have to admit we wouldn't know a Single Air Culo if it bit us on the butt. We see him doing a double something but it all happens so fast that we aren't really sure what. It's not for the lack of trying - we've watched it a dozen times. But, we do know we like it. It inspires us that the boundaries of this sport keep expanding and that's a good thing.

More Amado (part 2):

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webguy
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Joined: 12/31/2000 - 22:01
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Re: Words: Le Défi 15 and Feeling Old

pretty timely: this was just posted to the windsurf atlanta facebook page by Andy Patton

Popping and the Vulcan

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Randy
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Re: Words: Le Défi 15 and Feeling Old

We have a facebook page?

What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole.

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webguy
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Re: Words: Le Défi 15 and Feeling Old

Chris set up the facebook page a few years ago when our website bonked pretty badly (circa 2010?). It's been a good way for people new in town to find us.

The link was typically on a side menu that I realized didn't make the website upgrade a few months back. It's now there, again.

In the meantime:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/124424204266293/

For anyone wondering why we just didn't migrate there - the webmaster (me) felt that we'd be better off owning our own content. We aren't as big or feature filled as facebook for social networking but we've been able to accumulate and keep a lot of info that would have been harder to do in facebook e.g. wiki, photos, forums going back a long way that are mostly chit-chat but had good tips and pics buried inside.

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