Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Smorgasboard: Formula, Wavesailing, SUP

This Thanksgiving holiday has been awesome. It started last weekend with Rhonda's sister Andrea and brother-in-law Jon coming down from New England for early Thanksgiving-like festivities. We made pecan pie and watched the Patriots kick butt in overtime. Jon learned to windsurf with a 4.5 on the WindSUP 11'8".

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We also divided forces one day so the New Englanders could do craft-fair type shopping and I could test a new formula windsurf fin. The fin is a 72-2 cm F4 "xs" (extra soft). Compared to my older, cut-down Curtis fin the F4 has a more curved outline, which hides the fact that it's actually more upright (less rake angle) than the older fin. It's also more flexible, which is supposed to help generate the "foiling" effect that gets the board planing and helps it go faster with less of the hull touching the water. My maiden voyage with the fin was with an 11.0 sail in offshore winds around 5-15 knots. I definitely felt like the fin improved my planing threshold and my ability to coast through lulls. Upwind angle also seemed better.

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A nice treat at the end of the session was Dr. Alex from Naples showing up with his 9.0 and 90 cm wide FreeFormula board. I was about to quit but instead went back out and filmed some with my helmet camera. It's really nice to have someone else to windsurf with when you're used to windsurfing alone.

Formula with Alex 11-24-13 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

Rhonda's family had to leave and I had to go back to work on Monday and Tuesday. But the two-day workweek was a cinch, and I was back on vacation just in time for the FIRST BIG WEST WIND OF FALL on Wednesday. While the rest of the country was freezing cold, we had sunshine, 75 degrees, lots of wind, and respectable waves up to about person-size. I was able to use my 83 liter waveboard for the first time since last spring. I rigged a 5.5 sail with minimal downhaul to give me some extra power for getting through the whitewater, lulls, and longshore current on the inside. The board/sail combo worked really nice and I caught lots of waves to practice my turns on. The song in the video is "Lola Montez" by Volbeat.

Evo sesh 11-27-13 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

My folks arrived in town on Wednesday evening and we had a joyous reunion with Thai/Sushi dinner. Some cold air blew in overnight and it was in the low 40s this morning. BRRR! That's frigid when you're used to overnight lows around 70. We watched that giant balloon parade thing on TV in the morning, then did bbq and coleslaw for Thanksgiving lunch. By then the sun was warm enough that my thoughts turned to the surf conditions. The forecast said 2-4' waves with side-offshore wind, so I convinced the family that a long beach walk would be nice while I SUP'ed. I used the Angulo Surfa 10'4" and had a blast. The wave conditions were comparable to a good day back in Nahant, Massachusetts. Actually, they might have been even better because the waves were "peakier," meaning they peeled in a somewhat predictable manner as they broke, so you could get a long ride staying on the shoulder of the wave.

My dad took some pictures and video. Of course he missed my greatest moments of glory, which were later in the session, but from what I saw I realized two things: 1) That I'm still a kook at SUP waveriding, and 2) that I'm starting to get a "not in my twenties anymore" midsection. I think I need to work more on my fore-aft weight distribution; I'm sinking the tail too much. I also need to work on my wave knowledge; sometimes I go left when I should have gone right, etc. One thing that was cool, though, was a close encounter with dolphins.

Dolphin SUP from James Douglass on Vimeo.


StevenD said...

An F4 fin? That's pretty unusual here on FL. How did you luck into that? (Steven in Jacksonville, subscriber to ecfw list

Anonymous said...

I love the evo-sesh vid. Super jealous of your wind, warmth, and waves. Have fun!

James Douglass said...

Steven- I got it used from "Mac" in San Francisco.

2manventure- Thanks! It was an amazing day.