Wednesday, September 24, 2008

7 Windsurfers at the Fort Pierce Jetty - EPIC!

Woo hoo! Oh, man, today was sooooo good at the Fort Pierce S Jetty. And there were six other windsurfers there! That's six more than I've seen at the spot since I moved here. I guess they come out of the woodwork when it's blowing 25 knots from the NE. Since there's been a nor'easter blowing over the whole East Coast for a couple days now, the swells are really big in Florida. You can see them overwashing the N jetty behind the fisherman in the pic below.



It was still smooth in the lee of the S Jetty, though, as you can see in these pictures with the kiters. That made launching easy. Even past the jetty, where huge waves were breaking, it was slick in the valleys between the peaks.



Facing a big wave on the way out was an intense, "think fast" moment. Depending on your positioning and the shape and size of the wave you could:

1. Just sail smoothly over it.
2. Hit a steep part to launch into a (high!) jump.
3. Run downwind to avoid a scary breaking section.
4. Pinch upwind to avoid a scary breaking section.
5. Turn downwind to stay on the wave face and ride it!
6. Jibe on it and head back to shore.

On the way in you couldn't ride a wave the whole time because that would take you too far downwind, so you had to decide when to:

1. Pinch over the shoulder or
2. Plunge down the face.

If a ginormous wave started crashing just upwind, there was no choice but to run down the face. THAT was exciting, with the thundering whitewater at your heels.

There were a lot of signs of fish activity out there all day, but toward the end of the session the schools of big mullet were unavoidable. They would scatter and leap when you sailed through them, thunking against your fin and clobbering you in the shins. Several times I saw some sharky-looking fins after the mullet. It definitely improved my jibe-completion rate and hastened my waterstarts!

One of the other windsurfers out there was a nice guy named Mike who turns out to only live a couple blocks from me. Mike jumped a small wave, not realizing that there was a really big wave right behind it. The big one clobbered him and broke his mast, but he was able to swim back to shore without getting eaten.


I asked Mike to take my picture, so here's me posing randomly:


I'm starting to feel like a real Floridian now. I even got a cool, nature-themed license plate for the burgundy-beast. :)



Andy said...

Welcome to the far end of the Nor' Easter receiving line! Sunny skies and swell... Not too bad while the rest of the East Coast is getting clobbered! Enjoy, I 'm sure you'll get plenty of days just like it all winter long!

Farrah said...

Manatee shoulda gotten the Indian River Lagoon plate :)


James Douglass said...

Andy- Yeah man. Nice to be able to do a Noreaster in sunshine and swim trunks.

Farrah- Chicks dig manatees. Don't they?

Outdrsmn said...

Man that looks fun but I still have a long way to go till I can sails those conditions. I imagine YRS had some decent waves the last couple days. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to get out.