Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Increasing Addiction

2013 ended the same way it began: with a lovely session at Skaket Beach. The first session last year was on January 1st with Nina, the last session on December 30th with Hardie. The wind did not come in quite as strong promised on the 30th, but we got enough for an hour of flat water fun. Hardie was flying on his new Exocet WindSUP 10.2, at times keeping up with me on my Skate. That board certainly planes! A great ending to a great year of windsurfing.

2013 was the first year where we lived the entire year on Cape Cod, and that had a noticeable effect on sessions sailed:

I had a total of 145 windsurf session, with more than 5260 km (3270 miles) sailed. That's 21 sessions more than in 2011, when we had lived on Maui for almost seven weeks, sailing there 37 times. It's 40 sessions more than in 2010, when we traveled all over the US to check out potential areas to move to, and sailed in the Gorge, Maui, Corpus, SPI, Cape Hatteras, and Bonaire.

Many of last year's sessions were short - an hour after work, or sometimes during the middle of the day, when the wind picked up. With three great sailing spots just a 15 minute drive away (and many others within 40 minutes), I caught many sessions on days where the forecast had not predicted anything planeable. Moving to Cape Cod was definitely one of the best decisions we ever made. Not just for windsurfing - the beauty of the Cape is much better for the soul than the hectic of Boston! Around here, very few people here regard making it to the next red light before you as of utmost importance.

Despite scoring an average of almost three sessions per week for the entire year, I cannot claim any big progress in skills. The loop is still a dream, and Vulcans and Flakas remain untried. My speed has only improved marginally. Perhaps the one thing that has changed is that I am more comfortable in voodoo chop now - no big surprise, since Kalmus is now my home beach. I also sailed for the first time in wind averages above 40 mph, which was not really a big deal once I switched down to the 3.7 m sail from the 4.5.

Mostly, I have been just mowing the law - back and forth, back and forth. After three and a half decades of windsurfing, I am still fascinated by the just planing, and could do it for hours, without feeling any need to work on new tricks. Although it probably helps that the water conditions are different almost every time I sail - even the same spot (like Skaket or Kalmus) will have very different swell and chop levels if the wind direction or tide levels change. That keeps things interesting, and was one of the reasons why we chose Cape Cod over Maui.

A few new things, however, did happen in 2013 that also kept things exiting. One was getting certified as a US Sailing Windsurf Instructor, and teaching my first "official" windsurf lesson. The other one was organizing the East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod, which was a big success. In 2014, we will try to get a windsurfing organization going that will make it easier to hold similar events on Cape Cod and other places. The hope to participate again at the ECWF in Long Island is definitely a big motivator to work on light wind and planing freestyle moves; I can't wait to fly to Tobago in a few weeks to practice!

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