Every windy weekend day that I sail in Kalmus, Martin is there. My drive to the beach was 15 minutes, Martin's closer to 2 hours. I go mow the lawn, Martin does tricks all the time. Overpowered on 4.7 in 30 mph winds? That's not a reason to shy away from 360s, at least not for Martin.
Two days ago, the Kalmus wind machine kicked in nicely in the evening. The 6.5 got too big quickly, the 5.5 was perfect with the 96l 3S. Martin seemed to be lying the in water a lot. When I followed him on a run out, I saw why: he was going for speed loops, two or three times on every run out. Conditions were perfect - he was powered on 4.7 / 99l, ramps were steep and coming at us almost at a 90º angle.
The speed loop is on my "wanted" list, too, so I finally decided to follow Martin's example and go for a few. My attempts were half-hearted, with tiny little jumps. Conditions would have allowed huge jumps and stalled forwards, but my fear kept me close to the water. Still, I went through the usual progression I see when working on loops in ABK camps - the first non-planing fall, then a few falls to the inside while I focus on turning the board, finally catapult-like falls to the outside, but without the board. Those last falls finally convinced me (again) that I should not chicken so much, since nothing bad happens. But then, the wind picked up, and I was overpowered, having to concentrate to get any resemblance of board control.
Somewhere during my tries, I see Martin getting around 180 degrees, with the board fully in the air and his feet still in the straps. So close! Chris Eldrigde sees him try, stops by to give some pointers, and then shows us how it's done on almost every run out. Nice!
After the session, we chat, as usual. Martin confesses that he shares my fears in really going for it, even though that really is not obvious on the water. Here's a picture of Martin during a regular jump a couple of days before:
He's got enough height, nice board control, the mast is to windward - a completed spin loop seems near. We just need a few more days with perfect 4.7 winds and ramps. I need to follow Martin more! Whenever he was not looping, he was doing upwind and downwind 360s, duck jibes, beautiful oversheeted carve jibes, and probably more things that I missed.
We had hoped for a repeat of the evening winds yesterday, but that did not happen. Just as we decided what to rig, the wind picked up for a few minutes, with gusts up to 23 mph. But as soon as we hit the water, it dropped, and kept dropping for hours. I switched to my 7.0 and got a few planing runs, but then ended up with really slow lawn moving practice (and just a few heli tacks and upwind 360 tries thrown in). Martin stayed on his 4.7 and did light wind freestyle for hours. Not surprisingly, he's wicked good at light wind freestyle on a 99 l board, too. And every time I sailed by him on both days, there was the trademark ear-to-ear grin - too much fun!
One of the great things in windsurfing is the people you meet, like Martin. Another regular ABK camper that we sometimes have the pleasure to sail with is Jonathen, who came down to the Cape with his wife Bianca for the long weekend. On Friday, Bianca wisely refused to sail, but Jon had a blast. On Saturday, Bianca hit the water again at Kalmus, where she had torn her ACL while windsurfing a few years back. She started a bit hesitantly, but looked good sailing back and forth in Kalmus chop a little while later. At the end of the day, she was rightfully proud to have sailed again at a spot where she had been injured the last time she had served.
So next time when we get a perfect day for spin loops, I'll have to copy Bianca's courage, and Martin's "go-for-it" attitude, and really work on the loop. But that will happen only if Dean is not around to drag me over to Egg Island for some speed fun :-)
Thanks to Jon D Petersen for the posting the pictures of Martin on the Cape Cod Windsurfers page on Facebook.
I've been windsurfing for more than 30 years, although this includes several multi-year periods where I did not windsurf at all. I got really hooked again a few years ago, after getting married to my lovely windsurfing wife, and starting to take ABK clinics. We mainly surf on Cape Cod, with regular trips to Cape Hatteras and the Caribbean.