Monday, September 22, 2014

Light wind freestyle video

Here's a short video from a recent light wind session at Duxbury:

It's put together from about 40 minutes of Clew-View / GoPro footage. I tried to cut out the boring parts. Even with the cuts, it is quite far away from Flowstyle. My brain and body just don't work that fast. But even my slow style was a lot of fun. If you wonder why I got excited about the Ankle Biter at the end - that was the first clean one I ever did. Thanks for getting me there, Caesar!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Are You Bored Sailing?

What? Did she really say that? "Are you bored sailing?" I said "What?" many times. She repeated herself until she finally asked "Are you hard of hearing?".

She seemed like such a nice old lady. Why would she ask me such a thing when I was de-rigging in the parking lot? Ok, the wind had been light. Sure, it was not my best day, and I did fall a lot. Yes, I spent the last 20 minutes trying to go upwind, hardly making any progress. But boring? I was not bored! I even got 3 or 4 Ankle Biters and a Jaw Breaker. Most Jaw Breaker failures were tame, with the sail just refusing to come back up, and lying down on the water instead. Maybe my sail was bored? Only once did the sail gently wipe my face when the clew whipped around, reminding me why the move is called "Jaw Breaker" and "Guillotine".

Finally, the old lady spelled it out for me - she had asked if I was "boardsailing". Digging deep into my memory (which is racing my hearing for the "fastest decline" trophy), I remembered that this is a term sometimes used for windsurfing. Yes! I was not bored sailing, I was windsurfing! The nice old lady then explained that she had been the first windsurfer in Massachusetts, boardsailing in Hingham Harbor and later on Cape Cod. We chatted briefly, before she took off in her car that seemed to be the same vintage as our Fanatic Ultra Cat.
Sunset at East Bay

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ECWF Cape Cod impressions

Many things at the ECWF Cape Cod impressed and amused me - here are a few random ones:
  • Caesar Finies skipping his lunch break to demonstrate Ankle Biters and more on the beach to a large crowd of onlookers; some of them later did the move on land
  • Mike Burns putting up an amazing show in the pro freestyle heats, making Caesar work very hard for the first place in pro freestyle
  • Phil Soltysiak racing on his small freestyle board and 5.x m freestyle sail, and always coming in in the top 1/3rd of the pack, even when winds were light 
  • Eric Skilbred upping his performance in every heat to eventually steal 1st place from Niko Kley, who had dominated the earlier heats with flawless duck tacks, back-to-back, and jaw breakers
  • Caesar pumping like mad to get on a plane in marginal winds, and ending up way ahead of everyone else on the last mark - but being caught by longboard sailors on the final upwind leg in shifty and weak offshore winds
  • The crew from Makani Fins who came from Canada to participate in racing and freestyle with big smiles on their faces, and to let everyone interested try out Makani fins
  • Pam Levy, who had again come from Michigan to help with running the event, but who also participated in both racing and freestyle - and who kept her smile even when her car had to be towed to a repair shop when she was on her way to the event, towing the rescue jet ski
  • Nina whipping everyone into shape on the megaphone, making sure that we stayed close to schedule and earning many remarks for how well organized the event was
  • Mike Burns beating Caesar in the second-to-last freestyle heat because he had chosen a larger sail, and had just enough power in the gusts to throw amazing new school tricks
  • Caesar fighting back in the last heat in lighter winds - when Mike drew large cheers for seemingly never-ending turns and cool rail rides, Caesar answered with never-ending ankle biters, explosive railride into Matrix combos, and his trademark "Hail Mary" attempts 
  • Jeff Bull absolutely dominating the first day of racing on his ancient Mistral Superlight, leaving all kinds of slalom boards and longboards in the dust in 4 of 6 races
  • Jeanne Baumann, the old and new Queen of the Cape, showing the guys how to race with 4 placings in the overall top 5 - she would have taken 3rd place in the Men's 7.5 division, and 1st place in the Men's Open division
  • Seeing the Kalmus parking lot filled up with windsurf vehicles 
  • Lots of beautiful sails on the water during races
  • Nikita putting family first and taken both of his kids out for a sail instead of competing
  • Mike Burn's catapult over the finish line when his fin caught the anchor line of the buoy
  • Freestyle Fred skillfully taking down Jerry Evans with a sail throw in a freestyle heat
  • Having competitors come from Bonaire, Canada, Vermont, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, and lots of other places
  • Seeing competitors ranging from 16 to 72 years in age competing in the same races and freestyle heats
Here are a few pictures from the event:
Race start - PWA sailor Phil Soltysiak ahead of the pack
Great weather, lots of colorful sails
Caesar Finies demonstrating moves on land

Pro freestyle heat - Caesar and Mike on the rail

Caesar on the boom during a Matrix
Phil and Mike Burns getting ready to race
Women's freestyle

Cape Cod sailor Jerry Evans chasing Caesar Finies

Caesar going for a Hail Mary

Novices competing with PWA pros - all had lots of fun

Monday, September 15, 2014

ECWF Cape Cod 2014 Results

The ECWF Cape Cod 2014 last weekend at Kalmus Beach in Hyannis was a big success. 38 windsurfers competed in 9 races and several rounds of freestyle. The Pro freestyle division included two PWA freestylers, Caesar Finies and Phil Soltysiak, as well as local legend and ECWF Long Island organizer Mike Burns and Phil's brother Tom. I'm hoping to post more pictures and details later - for now, here are the results:

Pro Freestyle
1. Caesar Finies
2. Mike Burns
3. Phil Soltysiak
Men's Freestyle
1. Eric Skilbred
2. Niko Kley
3. Joe Natali
Women's Freestyle
1. Jeanne Baumann
2. Pam Levy
3. Kristen Casse
Racing - Men's 7.5
1. Jerry Evans
2. Caesar Finies
3. Joe Natalie
4. Joseph Giordano
5. Jeff Bull
6. Tom Burns
7. Sean Jancski
8. Phil Soltysiak 
9. Mike Burns
10. Alex Gleyzer

Racing - Men's Open
1. Jean-Robert Wilhelmy
2. Jay Baldwin
3. Pete Ford

Racing - Women's
1. Jeanne Baumann
2. Liz Patton
3. Alena Ashenberg

King and Queen of the Cape: Caesar Finies & Jeanne Baumann
Caesar and Jeanne, King and Queen of the Cape 2014
A big thanks to all the helpers, sponsors, and participants of the ECWF Cape Cod 2014! Hope to see you all again next year!