Tuesday, November 11, 2014

First Encounter

In west to northwest winds, the iWindsurf meter that consistently shows the strongest readings is the "Hatch Beach" meter. It's a great mystery why it's called "Hatch Beach" - the beach it is on is the First Encounter Beach in Eastham. It you think of Cape Cod as an arm sticking out into the Atlantic that is bent at the elbow, the beach is darn close to the elbow pit. No surprise the wind likes going there!

First Encounter is a kite surfing beach. Windsurfers usually go to Skaket, or to places with better waves. But we tried First Encounter once, and Nina had a great session there. So when we got a wind forecast that promised straight onshore winds at Skaket, but side-on winds at First Encounter, that's were we went.

We arrived near high tide, and the water looked rather uninviting. "But it was so flat last time" said Nina. Well, the tide was about 4-6 feet lower then. With a 10-12 foot tide, the differences in water state are quite dramatic. We dawdled a bit, but eventually made it out onto the water. The Hatch Beach meter often overstates the wind a bit, so we rigged big - 4.7 for Nina, 6.0 for me. Nina ended up a bit overpowered. I like power and was just fine, thank you very much.

Here's a video from the session:

I won't blame you (much) if you call the video boring. I tried a few Carve 360s, but that was it, and those did not work. Otherwise, I was perfectly happy going back and forth. Since the water was quite bumpy at the start, I diverted from my usual straight ways and wove some curvy lines into the water. A little more than a mile out, there was some rather lovely swell for such "wave play" (although, admittedly, calling the swell "waves" is stretching it a bit). But for this straight-line flatwater surfer, it counted as serious fun, and kept me occupied for a while.

After an hour or two, the tide had fallen more than a meter, and it got flatter. I took this as an excuse to sail in a more linear fashion. If anyone had asked, I would have pointed to the GPS on my arm and called it "speed runs", but nobody asked. Just as is started getting really flat, my inner chicken reared it's ugly head and send me scrambling to shore. The water was still mostly more than knee-deep, but there were some shallower areas and shell fishing cages, and I was not sure were exactly all these were. Nina, who was a bit safer on an 8 cm shorter fin, came in shortly afterwards. After we had de-rigged, we took a final look at the water:
It had gotten buttery smooth, and I was a bit jealous of the kiters. Maybe I should order a 15 cm Delta Wing fin from Maui Ultra Fins...
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For all the history buffs among my readers: the name "First Encounter Beach" reflects that this is where the Pilgrims first encountered Native Americans,  a little while prior to their settling in Plymouth. 

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