Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life goes on, windsurfing, etc.

There was a "paddle out" memorial for Stephen Schafer today in Stuart. A paddle out is a tradition in surf culture, where the folks mourning a lost friend paddle out into the ocean on their surfboards and form a circle where they remember and honor the deceased. I didn't go because I never knew Stephen, but some of my buddies who knew him went and said it was pretty emotional.

I've talked about the attack with several of my marine biology colleagues who know more about sharks than I do, and the general consensus is that the culprit was a bull shark. Dr. David Portnoy, a fish biologist who I went to grad school with, said that it's hard to guess the movements and whereabouts of bull sharks, since they don't form predictable, easily-observed aggregations in the area like spinner, blacktip, and lemon sharks do. In terms of reducing the risk of attack, the things I wrote in my last post are probably your best bet.

Today didn't look like much of a wavesailing day, since the wind was due west and there were no waves. It turned out to be a fantastic day for windsurfing in the Indian River Lagoon, though. I filmed about 20 minutes of sailing with a 4.7 sail, then switched to a 4.2- the first time I have used that sail in earnest for over a year. Woo hoo! From where I launched at South Causeway Park I could make short tacks across the main channel of Fort Pierce Inlet, or sneak through the lee of a spoil island to access a big, open seagrass flat on the north side of the channel. Doing a full-speed jibe on a 4.2 in very flat water is sooooo fun.

View Larger Map

Here's the video of the first part of the session where I was sailing 4.7. I didn't bother to film the 4.2 part, because I was starting to have problems with the camera fogging up and stuff again.

Big West Wind Windsurfing in Fort Pierce Inlet from James Douglass on Vimeo.

Later in the day my kiteboarding buddy Marc showed up. The wind had dropped a bit by then, and Marc likes to be well-powered, so he rigged his 11 meter squared kite. I took pictures. It has been fun to watch Marc really start to "get" kiteboarding the last few times he's been out, after he spent quite a long time struggling in the beginner stage. Today he was really blazing upwind, which is one of the harder things to learn on a kiteboard. The only thing he probably needs to work on is his stance. My back hurts to look.


uglyjiber said...

please send Mark to the cable park for a day - he and his back will thank you!

Frank said...

Hi James,
Very sorry about the death of Stephen from the shark attach.
It was in our local paper. Glad you bought a new camera. As I get older I do not ride sinkers very often. When the wind dies and it does often I hate swimming to shore. Be safe.

Brian said...

Hey James,
In case no one's sent you this info, you can get small dessicant packs for your GoPro housing:

or item #2189K11, here:

Van said...

Nice footage.