Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Wind Sacrifice

Maybe windsurfers are heathens. We believe in wind sacrifices. How often have we seen the wind pick up as soon as most sailors have put their gear away?

If there was ever any doubt that wind sacrifices work, it is time to stop doubting. Since last Friday, we have a great wind sacrifice: Nina. She is on vacation in Iceland, traveling around with her little sister. This is what was happening on the water the day she left:
Chris spocking. Pictures by Eddie Deveraux.
The wind started the day before Nina left. Of course. She had to pack, so she could not sail. 6 of the next 7 days were windy - often enough for 4.7s, even 3.7s for the lighter guys. When the wind took a day off, I was happy - I really needed a break!

Here are some more of Eddie's pictures from last weekend. Chris threw tons of loops:
So did Sergey - I saw him do two on one run when I was behind him:
The other sail in the picture above belongs to Marty. No big surprise he's in the picture - as usual, he sailed more than anyone else. Check his GPS tracks from one day where he sailed more than 107 km in 30-35 mph wind:
He did not actually go for distance - the runs are about 500 m long (which means he did more than 200 turns). He practiced his 360s, tried loops (getting closer), and jumped for joy:
According to the iWindsurf meteorologist's forecast, the wind sacrifice keeps working: low-to mid-20s today, and more low 20s possible for the next three days. Great! But I'm looking forward to when the wind sacrifice officially ends.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Anti-inflammatory Andy

Windsurfers know that windsurfing is good for your health. Science is still playing catch-up with our knowledge. In one scientific study that was published just a few months ago, the researchers found that feeling awe lowered the amount of inflammatory cytokines (specifically, IL-6).

When my lovely wife read about this, she right away said "Andy is anti-inflammatory". She was talking about Andy Brandt, and thinking about the windsurf session we had a few days ago at Frisco Woods in Hatteras. After sailing for an hour, Nina stopped to take a few movies of Andy windsurfing. Here's one where Andy makes the Donkey Jibe look easy:
Here's another awe-inspiring old school freestyle move, the Free Willy:

We had been working on the light-wind version of the Free Willy just a few days earlier during the ABK camp. The light-wind Free Willy is not nearly as impressive, but it's still complicated enough to really confuse me. But with plenty of demonstrations and help from Andy, I finally go the move, Yes, only the light wind version, but it still filled me with pride and joy - two other emotion that will lower cytokines and inflammation.

I followed Andy around a bit that day, and he threw several perfect loops right in front of me. It got me motivated enough to try several times, although none of my tries even was close. But I'll count just getting myself to try as a big success. I had a bit more luck on my runs back in, where I worked on the Carve 360 with both feet in the straps. Early tries were close, but a bit wet:

After getting a couple of tips from Andy, I was able to carve through without getting wet:

Even though I understand the 360 pretty well, I would have never come up with the small adjustments that Andy Brandt suggested myself. As usual, they were spot-on, and following his suggestions made all the difference.
Funny enough, I ended up being better at the 360 in the straps than I am when I take the back foot out of the strap, even though the move is a bit harder in the straps. The likely reason? Bad muscle memory! When I take the back foot out of the strap, the entrance is almost identical to a jibe entry, and I have practiced bad ways to jibe for decades before my first ABK camp. The entry for the Carve 360 in the straps feels quite different, since you have to through your weight forward much more to compensate for the feet being further back. This setup I learned only last year, with immediate corrections from ABK instructors, so I never practiced the wrong way. It's so much easier to learn it correctly right away!

Of course, learning things correctly at ABK camps is one of the "secrets" why Nina has gotten so wicked good. She worked on getting into the straps in switch stance while planing in Hatteras, and was quite happy with her progress. Thanks to tips from ABK instructor Eric, she got quite comfortable getting into the straps switch while planing. She jibed out most of the time, but in her last run of the day, she ducked the sail switch for a Reverse Duck Jibe in the straps - a very cool move indeed. I don't have video of her doing this move, but Andy Brandt demonstrated it during the brief video session:

I'll leave you with a last video where Andy makes the Spock look easy:

Big thanks to Nina for taking the movies, and to all the ABK instructors for another fantastic ABK camp!