Monday, July 27, 2015

Loops In Fuerte and Jeri

If you watched the videos from the PWA freestyle competition over the past few days, you may have noticed how often the pros did a forward loop. It seemed like every pro threw at least one forward per heat. This is somewhat surprising to me, considering that everyone claims the forward loop is so easy! A few of the pros spiced the loop up a bit - Tonky Frans did some of his trademark Bonkas (a loop into Flaka combo); crazy (as in: crazy good) Balz Müller did a one-handed rail grab loop. But the vast majority of loops were "simple" plaining loops.

During our Jeri trip, one of the highlights were the freestylers that were out every day. We saw plenty of loops, including some of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. Here is an example that Nina filmed while standing in knee-deep water:

A thing of beauty indeed. For all those working on learning the loop, here are a few screen shots from the movie, with a few notes:
Not a lot of power here

The back hand moved far back on the boom

Compressing before take off

Front arm extending, moving the sail forward-windward

Fully extended front arm and back leg; fin is still in the water

Fin leaves the water. Both arms long, no sheeting in. Nose starts turning downwind

Starting to pull himself up over the boom

Upper body above boom, nose getting pushed down

Fully up-down; both arms are bent, still not sheeting in - but the sail is getting power now

Back leg fully bent, front leg extended

Almost there - starting to extend arms to push sail up and stop the rotation

Soft, controlled landing

Planing out
The windsurfer in the movie and pictures is Edvan Souza (BRA250), a former PWA competitor who now runs Jeri 250, where you can rent gear and take lessons. Here are a couple of more videos - first a close by loop followed by a Shaka:

Another great planing loop, with a Flaka before and a Spock 540 after:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jinxed It

Blame the Caipis and beers. I jinxed it. Yesterday morning, the wind was funky - fine, then light, then overpowered on 5.2. But the wrong direction for loops, and the tide was too low. The afternoon looked dead, and the water was almost empty. Looks were deceiving - I had a lovely session on 5.3/102. Otherwise, conditions were not ideal, but a loop lesson might have been possible - it just did not look that way from the shore.

Today was the first day in a week with no wind in the morning. Then, the clouds came, so the afternoon is light, too. No rain - just a dense cloud cover that kills the wind. Obviously, I am getting punished for getting too excited. So we'll just have to go home. The return trip through Sao Paulo will take two days and a few hours. But that includes a night in a hotel, the actual travel time is only 28 hours.

Since I have not had any beer or Caipis yet, I can restrain myself, and won't mention all the things I'm looking forward to on Cape Cod. Don't want to jinx the wind there, too. Not that it seems necessary - from what I have heard, the last few weeks have been rather windless. Nor is August known as a windy month on Cape Cod. I don't care - after sailing 15 days in a row, 14 on 5.2-5.8, mostly fully powered, a break does not sound so bad. And my Skate 110 still needs to be repaired (and, soon, replaced).
Yet Another Jeri Sunset Picture

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stay Tuned!

What  a day! It started with a great flat water session in ESE winds - 2 1/2 hours full power on 5.2/4.5. When we stopped, one of the great local freestylers started throwing crazy tricks right out in front. Nina got her waterproof camera out and took some great videos. Can't edit and upload them right now - we're too busy having fun, and the internet is too slow. But stay tuned!

The sail number (BRA250) let us identify the sailor - Edvan Souza, who has competed on the PWA freestyle circuit in the past. Nina thought we should drop a copy of the videos of at his windsurf place, Jeri250. We did and got to meet him and his girlfriend (or fiancee / wife?). Both were really nice. Later, when we sat at a restaurant on one of the little side streets for dinner, they walked by and greeted us - how cool! I could not helpnit, I just had to ask about taking a private lesson tomorrow. The fully planing front loops he threw today were some of the best I have ever seen (and my regular readers will know that I watch a lot of loop videos). My knee is fine again - now the wind and tides have to cooperate tomorrow!

Monday, July 13, 2015

What's Missing?

Do you see what's missing on this image?
You say waves and chop? Yes, true, but that's not it. Other sailors? Also true, but again not the right answer. If you get onto the water at 9 in the morning, you'll have the entire bay (almost) for yourself, and you can find very flat water. But more about that below.

The most unusual thing that's missing is the right front footstrap. That's the result of trying to mix too a couple of things:

  • One-footed jumps: the PWA pros get very high scores for one-footed backloops - so why not try one-footed jumps?
  • Splits: The current Queen of the East, Deniz, always shows splits in her freestyle routine - why not add a split to a jump?
Of course, I'd never try these things voluntarily, but my subconscious must have gotten ahead of me two days ago. I have having a great session - finally got my first Carve 360 here, and started to comfortable with jumps. Then, the back foot slipped out of the strap during take-off. Too early! I did not get any of the height that the pros get! Instead, the back foot hit the water right away. The board was airborne and going forward, so time for the split! My stupid subconscious completely ignore the fact that I don't do splits. But before I even had time to complain, the board hit the water again. With the front foot still securely in the strap and the back foot trailing about 2 meters behind, my leg tried hard to bend sideways. One of the little tendons in the knee stopped that, but it complained bitterly about the try. I guess tendons do not like to be stretched too much.

To add insult to injury, the lovely Nina, who was close by and sailing towards me, did not even see my acrobatic act! I spent a few minutes in the water pouting, and maybe also waiting for the pain to go down a bit. Swimming after my gear was arms-only, since my right leg did not want to move much anymore. But I was still able to sail back to shore.

Yesterday, my knee felt ok while walking, so I joined Nina for a morning sail. Sailing out on port was perfectly fine, but returning on starboard was a different issue. With the right foot in the front footstrap, it seemed that every little piece of chop resulted in sideways torque on the knee, which in turn resulted in pain. I almost stopped after the first runs, but then I discovered that simply placing the foot on top of the footstrap fixed the problem - the foot could now move freely enough to make sailing (mostly) pain-free. 

Nevertheless, I kept the session short, and skipped the afternoon session. Here are GPS tracks from a previous day where we did both a morning and afternoon session:
The lower tracks are from the morning session, the upper tracks are from the afternoon session. Morning winds are offshore and gusty, but the water is very flat. In the afternoon, you have to sail out past the point into the big swell and wind chop - very different! When you come back in, you get a short region where the water is flat; but if you sail too far, the wind drops off, sometimes to nothing. Yesterday, I did not think that my knee was ready for big swell and chop, so I took some pictures instead.

Nina Duck Tacking