This is an attempt to monitor lake & ocean conditions, especially on those windy days, to be in touch,
and to maybe find sources that will assist with some on-water moves.
Responses to emails that may be of general interest, wandering about, and some ongoing thoughts rational and otherwise, may also be shared.
|To enlarge most of the pictures below please click on the thumbnails. Refresh to ensure the latest image and entry.|
|2009 - 2011||Mar.Apr||May.Jun||Jul.Aug||Sep.Oct||Nov.Dec||Jan.Feb||Mar.Apr||May.Jun||Jul.Aug||Sep.Oct||Nov.Dec||Jan.Feb
December 30th While wandering about one makes the best of friends
Back in the day I was a runner. For about 15 years. Thirty-seven years ago when the earth was green. Watergate, a new VW Golf, Viet Nam, Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier, running to Hall and Oates, Huey Lewis and the News, (anyone remember the Bonefone?) and Wheel of Fortune made its debut.
Now, I walk a lot, every day, without fail, a die hard hiker, with orthotics, polyester shorts, a gortex windbreaker, black cotton garden gloves, aviator sunglasses, and a wool cap. And, a few good friends along the way.
For the past four years a very large marmalade domestic shorthair cat has come to meet me on a somewhat irregular basis along the Hydro Haulage Trail. More often a few weeks go by without a visit and I fear the worst. The grim feline reaper has finally come and escorted my warm greeter to fur-ball nirvana.
Today was a warm, wonderful, classic reunion. Instead of Ok, I'm just sitting here licking my paw my beautiful Marmalade was running up behind me, doing a hey, you walked right by me back there. How 'bout a back scratch my best, old friend?
Yup. I'd love to stuff this big guy under my coat, take him home and watch Netflix. Maybe a beer for me and a few kibble treats thrown around the room for a chase and eat. Life would be near perfect. Ok, maybe for me. Definitely for him.
Wherever he now lives, whoever shares his life would surely miss this guy. Can't do it. If only there was a 7-11 cloning store nearby that could duplicate this big lunk. If I had a cloning store I'd want a note from who's in charge at home before the Petri dishes came out.
December 29th Holiday Season
Still waiting hopefully for another windy day in 2012 and a seeing few brave souls rig up. The Polar Bear Swim pales in comparison to a gutsy windsurfer getting air and landing in slush. Not making this up. (That's Adrian below - no gloves)
Wishing everyone the best in the coming year. Margarita in March for some and Hatteras in April & May are just a few short months away.
(That's Milo below)
December 23rd A get together with Cliff
Here are a few of the pictures from the evening.
December 22nd Pre Press Release
Just received possible confirmation from CP that the concept for a new commemorative stamp has likely been approved for consideration. It will be featuring either JF, Adrian, Bob, Cliff, or whoever is the last one out sailing in December and could be available in rolls and booklets on April 1st. The one of Cliff will be valued in Saudi riyal if he's the one. Adrian will receive 5% in royalties in this case because he took the picture of JF seen below.
Click on it to enlarge the stamp.
The text will be rewritten as Last Woman Standing, Last Windsurfer Standing, or Last One Standing if the contender is female. We're waiting for a French translation before actually completing the effort as well. Rest assured that language will be correct and appropriate in the final printing.
It will be a peel off self-adhesive stamp as well what with the background water of Lake Ontario and all.
Good luck to all.
a. December 21st Great rental equipment in St. Martin
Denny sent these shots of the rental gear available in St. Martin and heading out into the bay on a 6.7 m2/133L
He and Vlasta were there for 2 weeks enjoying the climate and touring around the beautiful island in the warm sunny Caribbean. The wind was somewhat iffy most of the time but he sailed and did some SUP.
b. December 21st Surfin' USA
In case you missed this the first time around (shot in Malibu). Brian Wilson was arrested for not surfing.
Younger brother Dennis Wilson was an avid and devoted surfer. He actually encouraged big brother Brian and cousin Mike Love to write a surfing song in 1961 and capitalize on the popularity of his favourite sport. Sadly, Dennis died at age 39 in 1983.
Their music drew attention to the California lifestyles in the 60's and likely fuelled it for the rest of us. Surfing, "California" girls, beach life, and hotrods were all a part of their iconic appeal. They continued to produce hits and perform through the 80's.
Cousin and lead singer Mike Love was ordered to pay everyone's legal fees after trying to sue (was unsuccessful) for compensation in 2007. (Someone will no doubt produce a dark but satisfying documentary about all this)
December 20th Hey man, I mean they still haven't moved the lighthouse.
The tunes, the VW bus, what the kid in each us needs to do.
Watched this a few times, life sure was cool back in the day.
Maybe 35 years from now you'll look back and be thankful you did an Odyssey or two to Hatteras.
And a trip through Cocoa Beach. Far out.
December 19th If there's all that symmetry involved in a jibe why are there so many challenges in simply making a U-Turn or any move as far as that's concerned?
The board is perfectly symmetrical, and it's made to steer and turn with some foot pressure on the rails. It's a mirror image, from end to end, top and bottom. So's the rig. For that matter so are we in a front view. And, the turn goes through 180 degrees, half a circle.
That said, most everything else can create an imbalance and break the flow in working through any move we attempt.
Gusty wind, waves of different sizes, and chop, some as high as an elephant's eye, all interfere with what should be an otherwise simple 180 degree turn. The tack we're on and which way we're turning can be different. Every jibe is different. Conditions are never quite the same. Knowing when and where to move hands, feet, and body will keep the board planing and get you heading the other way.
Remember that the board will turn in the direction that foot pressure is applied, just like a water ski. The sail essentially works the same in both directions and a clew first exit can be a part of the turn. Forward weight or a downward pressure on the booms/mast keeps the board planing. It's all about adjusting the turn as you go. Fast forward the video below to 4:40 and watch as Henry works perfectly through a complete turn.
A knowledge of these shape characteristics and practice on a simulator will help anyone achieve and correct all the tacks, jibes, and freestyle manoeuvres later on the water. A piece of plywood with a mast base or an old board with a rig will help to rehearse and learn those elusive moves.
December 18th Symmetry as our world turns and as some of us plan to, in the New Year.
It's fascinating how repetitions and reflections of shapes in leaves, flowers, faces, architectural design, and logos to name a few can draw attention as a unique pattern or design. It extends both large and small here on Earth and across the universe.
Lights and bright balls repeating on a Christmas tree, wreaths, reindeer pulling a sleigh, a Chev Bow-tie or a Mercedes Benz 3 point star, all have a symmetry that balance a scenic composition.
When a string of lights go out, or an irregularity in the placement of ornaments occurs it breaks the symmetrical flow. The balance is gone. The composition fails.
Like a jibe gone awry.
When unsynchronized timing or an imbalance occurs from incorrect foot placement the flow of the turn will be disturbed. Speed and direction become unglued and that perfect cycle fails, out of order. The finish is lost. We fall, wet and humiliated. Out of place in the temporal succession of our windy cosmos.
Ok ok. These irregular thoughts come to me when I walk. Honest. You can't make this stuff up.
Maybe, just maybe Santa will bring me the new edition of Windsiurfing Trictionary 2 . And, the universe will once again unfold as it was designed. Moving and turning in near perfect balance. Coming out clew first, grabbing the mast and flipping the sail. Still planing. Applause.
Some of the related video efforts below are worth a watch.
December 16th (Some of us get it right, some of us don't.)
JF and Adrian were sailing yesterday at LaSalle. A dentist appointment, a shopping list, revisiting a gift I saw the Bay, and an afternoon engagement kept me from at least heading that way and cheering them on.
Besides being unseasonably mild and windy, it was also raining.
The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season sometimes gets in the way of being where you'd rather be. Detours in our journey can too easily interfere with more significant destinations. But not for JF and Adrian. Their priorities are right on. It was a 5.6 - 6.0 m2 day and they were out there in the wind and waves on Lake Ontario. Keeping the faith.
We May Lose And We May Win Though We Will Never Be Here Again Fitting. The song came on somewhere between Sobey's Super Market and The Bay. Just kept on driving. Fist pumps to Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, and to Adrian and JF.
Looking back it seems that sometimes some of us just don't get it right. And you can't go back.
Take It Easy was written by Jackson Browne. He couldn't finish the song. He gave it Glenn Frey who needed songs for his new band The Eagles. Glenn completed the words and music and took it on the road. It became the first song on their first album.
Winslow Arizona was a fuel stop in the desert along Route 66. Today it's America's first image of the Eagles. And, another stop in a personal journey not yet taken.
Just maybe another resolution to consider. Take it easy. (And try to get it right, you can't go back)
And, pack the camera and set the GPS for Winslow (FIYOLO)!
Well, I'm a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin' down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don't say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I'm climbin' in,
so take it easy
words and music - Jackson Browne & Glenn Frey
Just received these pictures. A warm and encouraging greeting from Florida.
Site will be somewhat inactive for the next 3 - 4 days, away with family.
December 8th Just missed JF powered up on a 5.6 m2 at LaSalle.
JF is our new Cliff, braving the cold, and keeping the faith.
Our old Cliff is somewhere the Middle East likely sand boarding at Dubai Dunes and drinking Turkish Coffee Cappuccino double doubles.
We miss our old Cliff and hope he can make it to Bugsy's on December 22nd for a welcome back.
If it's windy the next day we'll expect a forward loop at LaSalle.
December 7th Windinsight ~ (re: Are you going to do any changing to the site? As a student I am interested in the rationale you use. )
Most lead pages have stated objectives to help keep me focussed and on track.
Quite simply, other than what you see the site was also part of a resume and maybe in part a career path not taken.
There was a time, way back in the day, when uncertainty, confusion, and a lack of confidence kept me from knowing what to do with my life. Perhaps Alice Cooper summed it up in his song - I'm Eighteen.
Almost dropped out to begin a career in photography. Was strongly encouraged by parents to at least finish the year. Did that and continued on in school. Writing wasn't a chore. Passed all the exams, sometimes barely, but did well with essays.
Photojournalism as it appeared in Life and Time Magazines fascinated and moved me deeply as a young person. Actually considered photojournalism as a vocation years ago. It actually helped to end the U.S. war in Viet Nam in the 70's. By that time however I had found my purpose and life was good. Sometimes look back and wonder about that choice.
It's unlikely that I'll return to the work force at this time. However, this site, as part of a resume, might help me get an interview and gain related employment. Windinsight simply grew out of an idea showing wind conditions on Lake Erie for fellow windsurfers back in 2002. Over the past decade it has simply evolved, and has a surprising life of its own for a picture website. Currently, it's a large collection of photographic images and some haphazard communication. Working the site helps keep me technically aware, generally amused, and somewhat in the loop.
December 6th An exchange and response to a rather conservative offer for the 120 L Flow I had for sale on Kijiji. Hey, I loved this board.
A few weeks ago the 120 L Flow was advertised in Kijiji. What a site! Responses to inquiries were required every few days however not much came together until this past week. The board had around 500 interested lookers and resulted in more than 30 emails. Some were fun. After a while responding to someone whose offer was a bit low became somewhat mean-spirited. A more serious offer was being negotiated and so what the heck, time to vent some seller's frustration on the new guy
December 5th Search for your purpose
Life becomes simple when you know where you're going.
When the wind is up Long Beach, LaSalle, and Cape Hatteras made the short list years ago.
Recess is always better than Math class. The only thing to keep in mind is that Maths and English may be the things that pay the bills.
Time with family, travel, keeping fit, working my cameras to help chronicle the journey, loving the wheels I'm on, and a bit of unique exhaust note behind just make the journey more fun.
Not so sure about the ultimate destination of it all. But the stops along the way have been great so far. Wandering about isn't aimless when you know your purpose. It's about resetting priorities from moment to moment, day by day, as needed. Somewhat like a job jar. But in a form of a time management that kicks in so life isn't just a list of things to do. Lists are fine when you go to a store, need to do some inservice, self improvement activities, or have some chores that need getting done.   Lists keep us clothed, our pantries filled, our lawns cut, basements organized, and window clean with frames freshly painted.
You can't get optimistic without a purpose, a sense of of humour, and a willingness to get on with life no matter what cards you're dealt. Optimism and flexibility go had in hand, along with forgiveness. There's no such thing as perfection. Life gets a little better than pretty good some of the time. But the high you can get on pretty good is way more than pretty good. To search for excellence is fine if you're a perfectionist. Me? I only sought for pretty good and have never really been hugely disappointed or overwhelmed with the problems of living. I love the easiness of a simple climb, a walk on a beach, a sunrise or two, and some laughs. The only perfect thing I've ordered lately is a perfect Manhattan. With some extra sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters, and a stem cherry. Maybe make that two, and another for Nancie. Things are looking up.
I read recently that an annual income of $75,000 was enough to make you happy in 2011. Not so sure about the $ figure, Not an easy goal to reach in today's marketplace, especially in the U.S. A financial target to aim for and accomplish somehow. We set our minds to achieve goals and objectives and get on with them. The forgiveness mentioned above plays into both forgiving yourself or those around you if we come up a bit short of our dreams. I love the expression we can fail our way to success. Just don't give up. Try not to blame others when things get a bit rough. If it's going to be it's up to me.
It would be great to be all used up when the end comes. No regrets. And FIYOLO as the plate from a few weeks ago still reads. You Only Live Once.
Search for your purpose.
December 3rd Ha! Should ignore some emails but here goes.
Enjoy your blog. Does the sixth sense work for windsurfing? Are there any other senses used?
Ok, the sixth sense is about seeing dead people like in the Bruce Willis movie Bill . Some kiters sail by like they're comatose but kiting can do that to you.
About the only thing that dies for us is the wind. Not fun.
Other senses? Probably not common sense, and Nancie would suggest a bit of nonsense. Wait a minute, time for some online research. Makes sense.
Actually, if you Google sixth sense, seventh sense, how many other senses do we have, etc. you might be surprised to learn that (neurologists, researchers, etc.) believe that there can be many more senses beyond the 5 acknowledged ones Aristotle first described (linked below).
Yesterday's wind-insight involved a relationship about sight, 4 other senses, photography, and windsurfing. I think about these things wandering about each day. Doesn't everyone?
Will be with family this weekend, site may be inactive for a few days.
December 2nd So, what's in a photo?
A significant image frozen in time. A durable form of communication. An emotional nudge. Proof that we're living the dream we started all by ourselves.
Aside from touch, smell, taste, and sound it seems to me that sight gives us the greatest opportunity to experience most of what we know and do. A photograph or a video lets us see it again somewhat differently.
I get excited when a special scenic composition appears, or when a photo captures a unique moment in time. Am usually pretty impressed with those special email forwards we sometimes get with those super cool shots that someone adds be sure to pass these on to 10 people you love. Studying all the great photos in the better magazines at the doctor's or dentist's office is usually the best part of the trip there that day for me. Makes the waiting so much more meaningful.
During a great session our senses come together in a complete experience. Spray, sky, sun. The sound of the wind, the board, and waves. The smell of the sand, salt and beach. The feel of the sun, water, the pressure of the waves, wind, being weightless, flying for a moment, the squeeze of fingers wrapped round the boom. The occasional taste of lake.
Above it all, amidst it all, we share a moment. The good stuff that keeps us coming back for more.
Occasionally photographs help bring back the wonder of it all. At least they do for me, and maybe keeps us looking forward to the next windy session.
Santa, please bring me an XL Ed Hardy t-shirt with a sail on a sinking skull. The caption should read Wind Kills Slowly. Oh yes. More time that way.
December 1st Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton's tragic accident, amazing recovery, and a recently released movie
Bethany's story in the next two paragraphs was taken in part from bethanyhamilton.com You can Google Bethany Hamilton for a number of other related links.
At the age of thirteen, on October 31, 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off KauaiÕs North Shore. The attack left Bethany with a severed left arm. After losing over 60% of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude.
Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer. In January of 2004, Bethany made her return to surf competition; placing 5th in the Open WomenÕs division of that contest. With no intention of stopping, Bethany continued to enter and excel in competition. Just over a year after the attack she took 1st place in the Explorer WomenÕs division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships Š winning her first National Title.
Bethany had a huge personal impact on my life. After running my left hand through a table saw 8 years ago and undergoing reconstruction of the hand the possibility of not windsurfing ever again was a reality. My attitude was absolutely rearranged when her story came my way.
Her recovery and surfing success was both inspirational and instrumental in the months of my physiotherapy following Niagara's own Dr. Huq and his amazing rebuild and followup reconstructions of my mangled left hand. I remember thinking about her recovery and trauma for years after taking the shot in Sunset Bay below. If she was able to surf again then wrapping my left hand around a boom would be a simple walk in the park. Have faith, never give up, and simply do everything that the physiotherapists ask.
What an amazing young lady. A personal hero of mine.
Her story has been hugely inspirational to so many others. The movie was released this past summer.
November 30th Reeb's Bay, 1940 - 2011
Returning to Reeb's Bay is always an uplifting moment.
Our family cottage was there, across from the Red Barn Dance Hall.
From 1940 to 1958. Beach walks. Picnics at the point. Sunburns. Sand Hill Diving from the Tripod. Finding crayfish under the rocks at Oakwood Point. Fishing at the Clay Pits and the exploring the quarries. Waterskiing with one ski. Boats, from an orange navy surplus life-raft in '46, a 9' sea flea with an Evinrude 14, to the Dolphin Craft with the 25 HP Johnson in '55 that we drove across the lake to Cherry Creek NY. It all comes back in a huge rush of memories. Learning to drive. Some great moments and some challenging ones. Growing up Grant, living and learning from May 24th to Labour Day & Thanksgiving, year after year, almost a lifetime ago.
The west point across from Oakwood Cemetery hasn't changed much, but the profile of the east point with the breakwall in the background is remarkably different largely due to the storms. Most of the cottages have been rebuilt since the 50's but ours (once aptly named Snarkhome) remains much the same as it was in the early 40's. Breakwalls are everywhere now.
Feels good to be back, especially on this cold, grey November day, so may years from then.
November 29th Cold rain, fog, light wind, and the likelihood of wet snow sometime next week. Welcome news for TGNWC - (The Greater Niagara Windsurfing Community)
Call me Mr. Positive.
Just checked out the weather in Bonaire, Nassau, Padre Island, Margarita, St. Maarten, and the Florida Keys.
Sun, partly cloudy, showers in St. Maarten/St. Martin, warm, and wind in most of the forecasts.
Maybe head to the mall today. Maybe walk to the gym in my old, classic Bill Rogers Gortex running rain suit. Maybe spray my snow shovel with WD40 and check the level of EcoSafe Super SaltGrit in the garage.
Will start with some steel cut oats, a cup of black coffee, and turn on the cheery Outside Christmas Lights. It looks the same out front and out back. Might just wander to the curb in my sandals, ABK Boardsports T-shirt, and baggies to see what's up in the neighbourhood.
Pretty sure that all this will pass.
November 27th Why wait for the New Year? It's perfectly clear right now.
I think everybody goes through something like this once in a while.
Call it whatever it is. A New Year's resolution or a simple objective or two. Start fresh, clear the deck, get on with life. Whatever.
With a renewed focus on body and health, as well as improving some windsurf moves and staying dry there's one more thing.
Simplify. Shed a few pounds of excess baggage. Ok, that's gonna be the new #2.
Hey, on a clear day you can see forever.
Way too much stuff. From the basement to the gear bag. Toss, save some good stuff for a garage sale, and simplify the board/sail quiver at least till that time when it simply isn't working. Shock and awe.
It actually started a few months ago when life felt a bit like a clogged drain. Too much stuff.
Sold the van, the 85L/105L shortboards, two sails, down to 1 camera and a few lenses, just reduced the price on the 120 L Flow, and combed through the old tool and hardware section in the garage & basement filling 5 bags taken by Landfill Inc. It's only just begun. What's left and deemed unnecessary will be short-listed for the annual Garage Sale next spring. It's a giddy, self-conscious feeling, something kinda like the Emperor with His New Clothes must have felt.
Like sailing into sunrise on a brand new day. Just ignore the red sky in morning thing.
November 26th A new camera from Canon, New Year's Resolutions, and enhanced visualization techniques.
Wow, the Canon 1D X. To start there's 12 - 14 frames per second. A full size sensor, 18 MP, a 100000 pixel unit, !SO's to 204,800 (hugely improved for real low light capture), 61 AF points, video, and so much more. This is a real treasure to hope for some day before the Grim Reaper grabs me by the PFD and hauls me toward whatever mortal destiny is held for most of us somewhere out there.
Working anew with a fresh outlook for the coming year. 2012 NYR #1 - Will become both injury free and dry through the turns by the summer. (This will become my first New Year's Resolution for 2012).
Memorization, visualization, and simulations, all seem to help in becoming more aware and correcting some of the bad windsurfing habits acquired over time. Working the moves and time on the water will be the ultimate test in the spring, or if Santa agrees, much, much sooner. I believe! I believe! Whatever.
A regimen of correct diet, exercise, corrective surgery, detentions, lines, corporal punishment, conditioned response dream therapy, electric shock, a swift kick in the ass, hey, whatever it takes will be incorporated into a workable time management plan each day to get it right! Argh! Where's my patch, and treasure map to Black Friday shopping centers?
So much to do and to get, so little time.
Not making this up.
Ok, in hindsight, maybe actually getting a new 1D X, and the electric shock part. But, that said, where would any of us be and what would we have accomplished without a few dreams and serious resolutions? The only thing standing between greatness and me is me.
(Moved the wind widgets to the very, very bottom till spring)
November 22nd In case you missed how they made the shots in Tricktionary
Here's a youTube trailer showing how they shot the photo bursts in the book (and the iPhone Ap). Maybe Santa will gift us all one of these with a DVD.
Here's a link for a reminder about the front (footstep) foot change, placement and weight shift (sometimes overlooked) in the step jibe turn that helps keeps the board turning (Jibe 101 hot tip) And, another jibe link.
Involved in a neat project for a few days, site may become somewhat neglected for a while.
|The stand they built to shoot the multiple Tricktionary bursts and some freestyle|
|The other foot move in the step jibe sometimes overlooked in helping complete the turn before the sail flip|
November 21st There's always something to do if you own a simulator, instructional materials, and a good move to share.
Denny picked me up in his beautiful new silver/black Grand Caravan and we headed to Long Beach totally enjoying the journey, not so much the destination.
Of course the wind had died by the time we got there but the beach and sky in the late morning were fun to photograph. Don and Matt sat around hopefully expecting change, and change it did. It became calmer, and calmer.
The in-house simulator became a part of our afternoon as we tacked and jibed our way overpowered and out of control through couch high chop and waves in the downstairs Family Room. We noted that no move on the water is ever quite the same. Perhaps that's the essential uniqueness that keeps us hanging in there decade after decade. The uncertainty and challenge of it all helps keep the sport fresh. Plus, it's a kind of soap opera. The Hi Wind Days Of Our Lives. The Young And The Windless. Drama, elation, disappointment, triumph, strife, all of the elements of classic comedy and tragedy inextricably coming together in a common hope and expectation on a windy day. Hey, philosophical only in the Family Room around a simulator, there isn't the time to be this analytic blasting about on the water.
Added a larger carpet platform for the simulator. Also created a plywood base for outdoor use that will easily fit into the surf-mobile. It'll be available for both amusement and enlightenment on those off wind days next summer. Kinda like a $2 bucking bronco ride in a bar. Not for the faint of heart! Not really that dangerous either.
November 20th Maybe some more wind tomorrow morning for a session
Long Beach started out ok but the wind slowly faded as the afternoon progressed.
Will check out conditions in the morning. It was fun returning to Long Beach after a month's absence. Didn't get any action shots but had a chance to catch up and visit for a while.
Nancie and I simulated a few beers at Drifters with the Captain! Sure beats the basement!
November 19th Fine tuning the windsurf simulator and making simulation more of a reality as well. Day 3
The board plus rig actually became unwieldy It was often difficult to stay balanced on. Turning on the carpet through an imaginary wind proved to be a chore. Am rethinking the rig setup and making some changes.
A tennis ball on the top of the half mast protects anything you might hit as you swing purposefully about, highly focussed on the task at hand. Adding a fan with a ribbon helps with being mindful of the wind direction. Air Wick makes a scent called South Sea Magic.
Using the rig only as shown previously and below was lower and easier to turn with the wind direction in mind. It takes up way less space in the family room. Storage is a snap (note below) and keeping it out of sight in a dark corner of the basement minimizes any embarrassing questions about sailing inadequacies from anyone passing through the Family Room to get to and from the garage. Plus, no stink eye during Happy Hour from Significant Loved Ones because of needless clutter downstairs.
Am proceeding with focussing on one move a week Will also be working on memorization and visualization with eyes closed during non-productive moments (which now accounts for more than half of what's left of my life). Plus, have wisely decided not to attempt jumping and looping simulation anywhere inside the house.
Marty and JF were windsurfing yesterday at Sherkston in near-blinding snow flurries. To me this is both inspirational and gutsy, It's actually where I'd rather be.
Before you cry "Foul, no fair! - They jibe perfectly 'cause they don't want to fall into the cold water! It's fear that keeps them upright in their turns!" Before you shake your head and start with any disparaging comments let's stop and think this through for a minute.
As a novice simulator junkie the answer is simple. Simulate reality.
Next time you're alone in the house get your simulator rig and head to the bathroom. Start filling the tub with cold water and place the rig right next to it on the bathmat. Close the door, turn on the exhaust fan, and open the window wide. Strip to your shorts and go for a tight turn next to the tub.
See? Now, you've put yourself in harm's way and have risen to a fear level keeping you upright through the move. Stop whining, adapt, and rise to the challenge of simulating a jibe with both the illusion of high wind and cold November water. It's kinda somewhere nearby the motivating fear they must have felt being out there. You get the idea.
November 18th The other challenges with cool moves etc etc etc Day 2
The Wayne Gretzskis and Shaquille O'Neals could invent windsurfing moves using their athletic intellect without ever windsurfing. Then too, people who dance well are more likely to be naturals on the water. Plus, it's partly genetic according to Mendel.
For the rest of us all it takes is time, practice, faith, stubborn dedication, and some non discretionary cash flow to learn how to loop, jibe A, tack, jibe B, jump, etc.
In his book The Outliers Malcolm Gladwell says you don't really get any good at anything until you've spent 10,000 hours at it according to Brenda. OK, having spent 10,000 hours since 1980 perfecting faulty moves and learning to jibe badly very well I'm in the undo it all category. I go into this in much greater detail in my new book Anyone Can Jibe Before Death If You Live Long Enough
To add to challenge the under reconstruction simulator may be my last chance to help me fail my way to windsurfing success in this life. On a sailboard with a mast base & extension it's a bit too high and the ceiling in the family room is now scarred and will have to be fixed before Christmas. Back to the drawing board.
Have faith, it's doable. So is time travel and travelling faster than the speed of light. Gather inspiration in whatever way you can and believe. Seeing is believing and believing is seeing. It will come to pass.
My windsurfing heros are all in this website, jumping, looping, jibing, and free-styling all over the lakes and oceans.
Read it, watch it, think it, visualize it, believe it, practice it, do it, and most important, cast aside all fear of ridicule, shame, and FIYOLO. There is a morning after!
Before constructing one and getting on a simulator note the following cautions and disclaimers
a) there are no government subsidies or tax breaks available, you're entirely on your own
b) before a practice session avoid using alcohol, drugs causing drowsiness or nausea, laxatives, and anything labeled psychedelic
c) don't tell your wife what you're up to unless you sometimes actually win some of your worst arguments
d) if you don't believe in the afterlife avoid trying to loop in your family room
e) people who buy lottery tickets, believe in aliens, have a huge sense of optimism & humour, and have vague notions about infinity,
eternity, and politics are likely to do better
f) definitely not for kiters
g) wear a helmet and a PFD in case you fall
h) not so sure about b) and e) above and as for kiters, go out and buy some 220V fans if you want to simulate a few moves in your basement,
I'll bring the camera ;)
Having said all this the simulator sailboard shown below will be for sale after a lengthy winter of dedicated time spent working the moves learned in the ABK Boardsports Clinic. Hopefully it will end up in Sunset Bay area, Wainfleet with someone who knows the Flows and will benefit from having this amazing 85 L Board in his quiver.
November 17th What really works best helping to perfect a move you want to accomplish? Day 1
On the water, on a board with a rigged sail, in good wind is the only way to perfect any move. (Not that much fun in mid November)
That said there are ways that help prepare for a loop, a jump, any of the many jibes, the fast tack, whatever.
Listening to and watching others including instructional DVDs, text/picture instructions (i. e. ABK Boardsports - below), are a good beginning. But that's where it ends.
Get an old board or a piece of plywood with a mast base and an extension/mast/boom rig and make a windsurf simulator. Watch, read, whatever and then get on the simulator and try to go through the move, slowly step by step. Memorize the move sequence. Go through the hand and step sequence through the correct wind direction until you think you have it.
If you don't memorize the correct sequence and continue to visualize it then old habits that likely didn't work will simply repeat themselves. Yup, sailing fast on the board without the corrected mindset will result in the same old ending up in the drink just like before. Move slowly and mindfully as you sail into the corrected move. Think about it as you go, one step at a time. Get someone to video you.
In off (or on) moments like just before dozing off is a perfect time to close your eyes and visualize the sequence of a fast tack, a jibe, whatever. Watching DVDs or moves helps to reinforce the correct flow and sequence. Incorporating the actual doing on a simulator or in motion with hands, body, feet, is the next step. Being on a board and practising on the water is the only way to perfect the move you want to accomplish. Video yourself and compare what you see to the instructional sources.
Seek advice and help only from capable, credible sources who have actually accomplished the moves. Offer them beer and chips.
Practise one move at a time.
Anyone wanting to set up a 10 step program day or night or with regular meetings count me in.
A real clinic with certified instructors and followup can benefit anyone who's serious about progressing. There are many to choose in the warm green water south the here from December through March. Or, let's build a simulator, put on the baggies, and play some steel drums on the tune-maker.
The practise boom below is just a starter, will have a much better simulator in a few days. FIYOLO!
November 16th ABK Boardsports
Check out the links below to visit ABK Boardsports and a link that delivers a step by step guide to all of the moves we may ever need to improve our advancing intermediate windsurfing moves plus an amazing winter destination.
|ABK Boardsports - overview, clinics, warm turquoise water, and white sand beaches this winter|
|some great windsurfing moves described/reviewed in a PDF as a step by step download|
November 15th It seems that, the apples don't fall far from the tree.
Where do we go for inspiration? That's the emotional fuel which we need to keep us really going from session to session, year after year.
If you have to think about it for too long you may have a problem.
Easy for this board head. I go to the beach where there's sand, maybe waves, and maybe some wind for starters. That's the best place to go for a walk if I can't sail. When it's warm enough the shoes come off. Simple eh?
When it's a bit of difficulty to get to a beach I just get up and go for a walk. This also includes a bit of a hike when there's some extra time. The Bruce Trail is nearby and there are three easy accesses nearby our home.
To add to the moment if the camera was left at home there's always my handy cell phone (used below). A composition that validates a scenic composition helps to capture memories in my daily journal which is a discipline for a long held objective - a picture or two a day keeps the blaws away. Hey, this actually works. (for me anyway) It's both a chance to see and create a soothing visual composition in what's left of this otherwise totally screwed-up world. It's also an avocation that's become another wonderful distraction in my old age.
Also, my Bang and Olufsen headphones are attached to my favourite iPhone iTunes. (Bang and Olufsen have been making overpriced speakers for decades. It's their name that's hard to resist.) Yup, a visual composition here and there and the Bach cello solos of Yo Yo Ma or the fast, driving rhythm of the Gipsy Kings sweetly resonating in my mind. Magnificently uplifting along with the metabolic uptake of oxygen and carbohydrate as sweat cooly evaporates on my brow. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, and a Hallelujah thrown in!
OK, so far the response has been simple. As Jim Fixx once said, "If the decision to run has been made there's no delay in the day to choose to go for a run." I'm there. There's a light at the end of my tunnel. In fact I need sunglasses to help me keep from being blinded by the light. And furthermore, If you only have one tunnel hear this. You actually need a whole lot of tunnels for all the directions we need to take. Working out, walking, hiking, eating well, stretching, are all a small part of a bigger plan. To windsurf, SUP, kite, bike, whatever, preparation is the key. It's a preparation for the big thing. It's all a part of how we choose to live to do what we do.
Oh yes, the apple thing from the beginning. There's also inspiration drawn from life with my wonderful wife, my dear, close friends , especially my amazing children, their smart, capable, loving husbands, and of course my beautiful grandchildren.
My daughters are amazing. They somehow reflect an attitudinal focus has has fuelled this life to date. Do it. Get on with life. Hey, You Only Live Once (FIYOLO) This isn't a dress rehearsal. No regrets. It's all in the game.
Yes, and with a lot of time in, diligent effort, and hard work too.
I'm so very proud of them. Each one is so unique. But their focus is the same. Whatever it takes. Bring it on. Do it, just do it. Inspirational.
I'm so very blessed.
November 14th Dreams, decisions, and hey, just do it.
It's been a week since our return and the edginess of wind, salt water, waves, great food, and the fun company of fellow windsurfers has past. I know that our local community of tight knit board heads lives on and sails on until the February Freeze. Shrinkage, huge shrinkage going on out there folks.
That said a mild depression has settled in over the euphoria of blasting around user friendly Pamlico Sound in Hatteras. The 4" plastic perforated pipe installed with these boom calloused hands last Thursday will keep water from freezing on my back sidewalk this winter. The back door and frame that didn't get painted in windy 4.0 September patiently waits for 2012. Have just helped a good friend and my youngest daughter close their cottages. Still haven't finished unpacking and organizing my gear from the Outer Banks. The web site is falling way behind and my beloved cameras are being neglected.
This next year will involve a rethink of boards, sails, and Andy Brandt's fun and informative jibe clinic. These thoughts will help overcome the challenge of snow on the windshield heading to Haliburton on Friday morning, and the background Christmas music at Sears browsing in the tool department. Hmmm, attitude is down about a litre. And, to help matters Nancie is making rude and disparaging comments about the new air compressor she recently discovered under my tool bench.
The 7.5 m and the 4.0 m are gone. The 120 L & the 85 L Flows are for sale and will likely be gone by the spring. Look out Kijiji, here I come.
A Personal Multiple Choice Self-Help Pop Quiz To Be Completed By April 1st 2012
Ok, here goes. To complement the 6.5 m, the 5.5 m, and the 4.7 m sails with a 102 L JP a _____ and a ______ and a _____ (a) may (b) will be added to the sail quiver. (fill in, cross out, or omit the blanks)
To complement the 102 L JP _________________high wind sailboard (a) may (b) will be added to the board quiver. (fill in or omit the blanks)
Answers: a 7.0 m sail, a 4.2 m sail a 3.7 m sail a 77 L or an 85 L Freestyle Wave RRD do nothing and live without a
So little time, so much to do and consider. Dream on, decide, and do it.
November 6th The feral cat community near out Hatteras home.
It all started one evening rounding the corner and heading toward Windcatcher, our home in Avon. A gentleman in a blue RESCUE jacket was rounding the opposite corner surrounded by two dozen cats trotting after him. Having never seen such a site I stared in amazement realizing that this was the full complement of the abandoned stray cats that I had seen in the underbrush here and there.
I slowly approached this entourage and with window down I asked, "Are you feeding these strays?" He replied, "I am."
After a brief talk I asked if he'd mind if I photographed the colony and ask a few questions and he complied. There are 25 colonies of cats being cared for on Hatteras Island by volunteers like Bill.
Two evenings later 5 of us drove back to this location and waited patiently. He appeared on schedule and brought fresh water and dry food for the cats twice each day. He's been doing this for about 10 years with the help of other volunteers and some community support.
We all donated to the cause and he was grateful. A few of the stories he told involved how the cats had survived Hurricane Irene when 6 feet of water inundated the area. The cats survived for 3 days in the trees until the water subsided. Not one was lost. Another was about the meanest cat ever to join the colony. After a few months he finally petted the cat only to be turned on and scratched so deeply that stitches were considered. Today, the same cat is quite friendly to him.
The colony is obviously healthy and quite content. Females are spayed but the males remain intact (sigh). A small cutoff is made on the ear of each female to show that it has been neutered. Signs encouraging fishermen to remove bait from their hooks if rods are left outside are posted in tackle and bait shops, and on the piers.
November 4th We left as the wind and Nor'Easter threatened to breach the Outer Banks at Pea Island.
De-rigging our gear in the driving rain and high wind has only one advantage. No mosquitos.
The decision to leave Kinnakeet Shores was a difficult one. The waves against the Outer Banks generated by the strong Nor'Easter over the next 24 hours could breach the dunes and flood the road. The ferry south to Okracoke would not be an optional escape route. Get out and maybe sacrifice some useable wind or make it to the mainland and head home like the chickens in the childrens' documentary Warm And Safe In The Henhouse, Cluck, Cluck..
As we headed north through Rodanthe and Waves the scenes of devastation still remained from Hurricane Irene. Cul de Sacs of homes were left as small islands in large pools of choppy, wind-driven water. Mountains of debris in acres of parkland and parking lots still awaited removal along the highway. (pics below were taken a week earlier) Trailers, boats, mattresses, and whatever was stored under homes and not well secured during the hurricane was strewn along the curb sometimes stacked and still awaiting pick up.
The sand along Highway 12 was ploughed like how we handle our snow along our northern winter roads. Extended ditches of ocean water were beginning to cover the edges of road as we headed west and north. The raging ocean could be seen over the repair of sand bags and huge blowing sand dumps from the remarkable fix following Irene. We were on our way, mile after mile, the worst behind us. Hopefully, for the people staying behind the repair would hold.
Once in Kitty Hawk and Nags Head life became more settled and easy. Didn't take any pictures of any part of our exit. Should have. Miss the Cape already. Drove all night, and dreamed of both a safe arrival at our Peace Bridge Duty Free and the warmth and comfort of a warm, fresh, white, feathered duvet without any seatbelt and suitcase at my head.
The waves at Avon Pier (below) a mile out were 25 - 30+ feet high and breaking half a mile offshore on Wednesday. They were skimming the underside of the walkway on the pier. The shots below were taken on Thursday morning when they had reduced somewhat in size. The building Nor'Easter was predicted to boost these waves and drive them into the vulnerable dunes, breach the narrows, and wash over the road at Pea Island. It would have taken many days to pump out the ocean water and clear the sand so traffic on Highway 12 could get in or out.
November 3rd Our windsurfing population continues to diminish.
It was reassuring yesterday to see a four young people uphauling sails.
Twenty years ago there were more than 2500 sailboard shops in the US and Canada. Today there are about 60. There are four here on Hatteras Island. We are an aging fanbase in a sport that simply shouldn't be allowed to decline if we can do anything to help it grow.
The choice to kite, sailboard, surf, or to choose other water sports is a choice that has lessened our numbers. Overheard, ~ "Oh, I tried windsurfing once and it was difficult" "Look at all the gear you need" "How do you carry all that stuff?" "There hasn't been any wind for the past month!" "It's just too windy to learn" "Hey it's an expensive sport!" Yup, many reasonable objections out there for sure and in fact they are all true. But once you're hooked and hooked in it's an amazing ride into what's left of the rest of your life.
People choosing to SUP (Stand Up Paddle) may stick a windsurf rig on one and get into it that way. Freestyle windsurfing in the Islands catches most everyone's attention and helps draw a few into the sport. The availability of lessons, rentals, and clinics in windy centres is helping to promote the sport.
On the downside, as our population diminishes in these tougher economic times so will the availability of sail and board development, and the gear we need and use.
Hey, seeing those kids yesterday, and the boom in SUP helps make me hopeful that a healthy windsurfing future will continue to be there for everyone.
So, support your local windsurfing shops even if you have to drive for a hour or so to get there!
November 2nd wants vs. needs
Ok, it started waking up utterly and completely terrified from a really bad dream 2 nights ago. One of the hags that has dominated my night terrors since childhood has been encouraging me to reduce my sailboard quiver. In her shrill, crackling, horrible utterances, on Hallow'een, she admonished me to own only one sailboard and 3 sails. A 4.7m, a 5.5m, and a 6.5m with the 102 L JP. Hey, it actually makes sense for 90% of the time. A 7.5 can be hauled out during a dry spell of lighter winds, or better still sold off. This would easily help eliminate all of the excess baggage hauled around and hugely simplify life.
In the past if a want rated more than a 3 on a 1-5 scale it automatically became a need. A bad idea. A really bad idea.
Along with the Whopper SUP life sure got simpler at Club DeJohnny here in Hatteras henceforth and for evermore. Not making this up. The sunset tonight was exquisite
Next, a minimal clothes bag, 2 pair of shoes, and teeny shaving kit packing nightmare.
Sitting oh the bank watching Sharryn, John and Chris, sail into the sunset was an uplifting moment.
It was a windy day, all day and we are all pretty much used up. Being here is such a priceless part of our lives.
These shots help to summarize a few of the magic moments which we share. It's often quite difficult to describe the emotional highs that accompany moments like these and why we persist from year to year. Perhaps the photos help to explain somewhat.
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