Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Windsurfing Stats - Obsession Unleashed

Whoever said, "the unexamined life is not worth living" was probably not referring to my obsessive windsurfing record-keeping. Nevertheless, it gives me much joy to write down all my sessions on a wall calendar, then enter and analyze them in a spreadsheet at the end of the year. I first did it two years ago for 2007 (154 sessions), did it again for 2008 (133 sessions), and now, of course, for 2009 (157 sessions).

This year I did almost all my water recreation in Florida, with the exception of two short trips to South Carolina and one to Washington / Oregon. My low-latitude is reflected in the mostly warm weather and moderate wind conditions I experienced (below). The average sail size I used was 7.14 meters squared. The smallest I used was 4.25, which I only used one time. I didn't use my 3.5 this year except for lessons.

I launched in 24 different places (below), but most frequently in the ocean off Fort Pierce, which is a just a few blocks from where I live. Living right next to the ocean helped me get a lot of "time on the water"- 154 sessions in a year works out to approximately 3 per week.

The wind was crappy from May-October, with the exception of an unusual, hot, West-wind episode in June and my escape to the Columbia River Gorge in August. I bought a used formula board and 9.8 sail to deal with the barely 10-knot summer breezes. Because of that formula board, my entry into kiteboarding in May, and my switch to a vehicle incompatible with my old roof racks, I didn't get out on my Kona ONE longboard as much as I had in previous years.

I am beginning 2010 with a quiver of 5 boards; one longboard, one formula board, one freestyle-wave board, one high-wind wave board, and one kiteboard. The freestyle-wave board, an Exocet Cross 106 that I bought in 2008, continues to be my #1 board, but I also really like the high-wind board I got in May, a Starboard Evo 83. It replaces an F2 Style 250 that I sold.

Although I don't own any big freeride boards, I got to try a lot of cool ones during the Windsurfing Magazine board test at the Banana River Resort in Cocoa Beach this spring. (See rack of boards at the B.R.R., below.)

I had a lot of gear frustrations associated with my entry into kiteboarding and my re-entry into formula windsurfing this summer, but both efforts paid off in the end. Some of my kiting trouble could have been avoided if I'd known never to leave a kite in the car in summer, not to bother trying to kite if there are lulls below 10 knots, to make sure the pump is cleaned and lubed and the kite is firmly inflated, to stay within easy swimming distance of shore, to slide the kite to the edge of the wind window before relaunching, and to always maintain moderate bar pressure. Some of my formula windsurfing trouble could have been avoided if I'd known not to expect an aluminum boom or ancient carbon boom to work for serious formula sailing.

There are several sessions from this year that stand out as having been particularly glorious, a few that stand out for having sucked colossally, and some that had both glorious and sucky aspects.

28 February- Wavesailing in gulfstream-blue water at Stuart Beach with Jon Plaster. I was lit on a 6.6 and the Exocet Cross 106, and able to work waves all the way to the beach before whipping jibes and dashing out again.
5 April- A rising, after-work wind turned a mellow ocean cruise with an 8.7 and big freeride board into a rocking bump-and-jump session on my 6.6 and Cross 106.
25 April- Big wind for slalom races at the Stuart Causeway!
5 May- The third afternoon in a row of trying kiteboarding, and I managed to ride upwind and come back to where I started from for the first time.
22 June- Great, powered-up 8.7 formula session in hot, offshore winds that interrupted a long period of windlessness. It was awesome looking down into the clear water and seeing the reef patches whiz by.
5 July- A beautiful, blue-water beach day with friends, and enough wind for a confidence-building kiteboarding session. I got my first (ugly) kite jumps. Only slightly marred by a leaky wingtip strut.
24 July- A powered-up 9.8 formula windsurf session with my friend Scott also sailing and my friend Marc trying to kite. This was also the first time I made a half-decent GoPro camera movie.
20 August- Windsurfing in front of my childhood home in Washington State, possibly for the last time ever. There was a blasting SW wind and I sailed so hard on my dad's old Bic shortboard that the fin started to break loose from the box.
25 August- 5.0 in the Gorge! Sailed Hood River Waterfront Park in the morning and drove east into the desert to sail Maryhill Park in the afternoon. Such amazing nature in that place, and great to be with my family.
16 October- The summer doldrums were broken when I finally got to ride the Evo 83 waveboard I had bought back in May. It was just a flatwater session in the Indian River Lagoon, but it was still fantastic after such a long "drought" in Florida.
18 October- A bit gusty and offshore, but probably the longest and best wave rides of the year at Fort Pierce inlet. I set the video to a cheesy techno version of the Mortal Kombat song.
4 November- A satisfying jam-session with a 5.5 sail on the Cross 106, that looked good in the GoPro camera boom-mount video. I made duck jibes on both tacks, which is a rare occurence.
18 December- 4.7 wavesailing session in blasting onshore wind and rain, late in the day, but beautiful waves and the company of some hardcore kiteboarder dudes.
24 December- Another 4.7 wavesailing session, this one in South Carolina. Oh, 4.7, how I love thee.
30 December- A bit windier than I like for kiteboarding, but super stoked about the long, floaty jumps.

9 August- Weeds, shorebreak, leaky kite bladders, scorching sand, fire ants, and no wind.
2 December- It blew like hell all day while I was at a meeting, but when I got to the beach around 5pm it more-or-less stopped. I could barely waterstart or uphaul, and after a piddling spurt of planing I got bashed to smithereens by waves while swimming my gear to shore.

Glorious AND Sucked:
16 January- Sunny skies, 65 degrees, and an all-day blast of 25-knot wind from the Northeast. I used my 4.25 sail and 87 liter F2 Style 250. At the end I think I crashed into a baby sea turtle and killed it.
27 March- Wavesailing Juno Beach. Huge, scary waves breaking from way outside all the way to the shorebreak, and a fierce alongshore current made for an epic challenge with my 5.2 sail and Cross 106.
20 November- Ample wind and perfect wind direction for kiteboarding in smooth water at the Fort Pierce jetty. I was kicking ass and taking nice video until my kite inverted a couple hundred hards offshore, causing me to say the F-word and then become the subject of a prolonged rescue effort.


Geoff said...

hi James
I really enjoy your blog.
Would you mind sharing your session excel log template?
Geoff UK.

Magnum said...

Outstanding report, shows your scientist roots!
Have a great 2010, all the best.

James Douglass said...

Geoff- Send me an email; I'll be happy to send you the file.

Magnum- Thanks, you too!

PeconicPuffin said...

It's a bit light on the detail, James...


Nice pie charts! Hey the temperature chart says "2010" instead of 2009...are you predicting the future?

In summation, thanks for another fantastic year-end statistical analysis!

James Douglass said...

Puffin- Thanks, man. I just fixed the typo in the temp chart.

Farrah Hall said...

I heart your data

James Douglass said...

Farrah- Thanks! I heart your blog. Good luck at the Olympic qualifier thing. I need to bite the bullet and get down to a race or something in Miami.