Monday, January 26, 2015

Texas!

We knew Juno would come. We did not know when, but that the media would describe the first big snowstorm of the winter as a "historic blizzard" was quite predictable.

So we escaped. We drove south, through 13 states, 2140 miles, 35 hours of driving over 3 days. But gas is cheap, and the weather was fine for driving. It was even finer when we arrived in Corpus Christi, Texas: air temperatures in the high 60s (20ºC) and sun - nice! We just had to go for a light wind freestyle session the day we arrived. Lovely!
Nina likes palm trees


We've been in Texas for a week now. Since getting and staying here is quite a lot cheaper than the Caribbean,  and since we can take our work with us, we'll stay a little longer. It's not a vacation, but we'll take some half-days off when it's windy. We're not too picky - if the weather is nice enough, we'll settle for 10 mph winds to practice light wind freestyle. So far, we've had three light wind sessions, and two planing days.

We had northerly winds on both days that we have planing conditions. Air temperatures dropped into the low 50s on day 1, and into the high 40s (8ºC) on day two. The water temperature in the shallow Laguna Madre dropped almost as rapidly, from the 60s down to the low 50s. Too cold for Texans, it seems - we only saw one other windsurfer on the water the entire time. But compared to temperatures on Cape Cod, it's nice and warm! We did not even bring our winter wetsuits, nor do we need them. Here's a short video from the second planing day, just to show the conditions:



So far, we have only sailed in the Bird Island Basin, where WorldWinds is located. It's a 15 minute drive from our condo, but it's a really nice spot. There are a lot of shallow areas, so you can always find a spot to turn or work on tricks where you can stand.

The weather forecast for this week looks great, with 70s and lots of sun. When the temperatures drop a bit at the end of the week, we'll get wind - just perfect for a mix of work and fun.

Great weather, great sailing, a nice condo - now what could make Nina even happier?
The answer: a German bakery within walking distance! And not just any old German bakery, but one that's run by a proper German Bäckermeister. You doubt me? Here's the proof:
Yes, he learned how to make good German bread (and sweet stuff :-). But most importantly, he learned this not just anywhere in Germany, but close to where Nina was born - so he knows how to make Laugenbretzeln just the way they should be made:
Now seeing this got Nina really excited. Laugenbrezeln are one of the things she missed most since she moved to the US - and these are just the way they should be (trust me, she has tried a few!). So, my dear friends who are currently in Bonaire, or will be going there soon - I hope you understand that we'll stay in Texas this year.

Since this is a windsurfing blog, I'll end with a couple of windsurfing pictures. After analyzing Martin's loop tries in one of my last posts, I played around a bit with wheelies and jumps/pops, concentrating on getting the front leg bent and the back leg straight at takeoff (or during the entire wheelie). For the wheelies, I found that I tend to lean back a lot, so perhaps this is not the best drill for loops (at least not for me). But for the pops/jumps, I think I made a bit of progress. Here's an example:
This is far from perfect, but the sail is open, the back leg straight, and the front leg is bent. Here's what this looked like a bit later:
In this picture, my front leg is straighter than the back leg - definitely the right direction. I only concentrated on the pop, and did not do any of the hand and arm movements for the loop - but nevertheless, the nose of the board has turned downwind by about 45 degrees. I find this quite encouraging - it's easy to see that the nose would go past downwind if I only move my hands further back on the boom, and extend the front arm towards forward-windward. I see some loop crashes in my near future - I hope the water is still warm when we get wind again!


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