Monday, December 3, 2007

Seeing Red

I knew it was coming. All the forecasts agreed; it would blow like hell on Monday, December 3rd. A powerful cold front was crunching down from Canada, sure to spin screaming West winds across the East coast. The iwindsurf forcast was saturated with red, meaning 20+ knot winds covering the entire region. Yes!

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I didn't mind working on Sunday, knowing I'd play hookey when the wind came. This morning it came. The bare branches outside my office window gyrated wildly, while the air vents on the roof howled and moaned, challenging my best efforts at concentration. Somehow I got a few things done, and stayed through the noon-time biological sciences seminar (I hate to miss free cookies and drinks). I met briefly with my advisor to discuss some statistics stuff, then ducked out to hit the beach. Perfect timing; the tide in the York River channel had just turned against the wind, jacking up whopper swells. I tried to figure out whether the wind was super strong or ridiculously strong, which would determine whether I used my tiny 4.2 sail or my miniscule 3.5 sail.

4.2 was the call, and it worked out great. I felt just like I was in the Columbia River Gorge; another spot where wind going against the current creates beefy swells (see vintage video).



No other windsurfers were on the York River today, but I saw some kiteboarders on the beach at Yorktown and blasted over to check 'em out. It was my friend Paul Dovel and some of his buddies. Paul had given up for the day after getting "lofted" dangerously near a rock bulkhead by the gusty winds. Another guy went out for a while with a very small kite and alternated between sinking and getting teabagged by gusts. Kiters around here seem to have a lot more bad days than good days, which reinforces my decision to stick with windsurfing for now.

Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be a moderate yellow-orange. I wasn't going to sail, but Sam, another kiter friend, called me with plans to do a "downwinder" to VIMS beach from an upwind spot. I've never done a downwinder before. It's more of a kiteboarding thing than a windsurfing thing because it's harder for kiteboarders to stay upwind. But anyway, I'm excited to see how it goes and you know I'll write about it.

2 comments:

Dad said...

Have you made it back safely from your down-winder? You're going to get sick if you keep flitting around out there in the water in this blustery cold weather. Now get back in your warm office and work on your dissertation.

James Douglass said...

OK dad... Geez. :)