Sunday, March 29, 2009

Windsurfing Juno Beach and Hillsboro Beach

My friend Andrew got married this weekend in Delray Beach, which is about 1.5 hours south of where I live in Fort Pierce. The wedding was an extended affair, with pre-wedding baseball watching Friday afternoon in Jupiter, the wedding itself at 4pm on Saturday, and a post-wedding bbq on Sunday. Fortuitously, it worked out that I got a windsurfing session in Jupiter on Friday after the game, and another in Hillsboro Beach on Saturday before the wedding.

The Jupiter session was scary. I wasn't sure where to launch because I'd never sailed there before, but I saw an old RV with a windsurf on top parked a few blocks N of the Juno pier, so I pulled over and checked it out. There was a big swell coming in on top of normal waves pushed by the 20+ knot wind. It looked larger and more intimidating than anything I had seen in Fort Pierce, with no easy way out. I was nervous. I rigged a 5.2 and put a small fin on my 106 liter Exocet Cross, since I'd left my high-wind board at home. By some miracle I got in and out of the danger zone a number of times without incident, but I didn't really do anything cool since I was just surviving. At the end I lost track of where I had launched from and had to walk about 1/4 mile back up the beach. Oh, well.

When I was derigging, Mike Colombo, who I had recently met while board-testing for Windsurfing Magazine at the Banana River Resort, spotted me and said hi. We went to happy hour at a nice restaurant with some of his friends. It was cool. In appreciation, here is a picture of Mike jumping in Jupiter on Saturday with a 4.2 sail and 93 liter board. I'm not sure who took this picture - it came across the East Central Florida Windsurfing listserve.


Compared to Friday in Jupiter, Saturday in Hillsboro Beach wasn't that scary. The wind and waves were still serious, but the mongo swell was either gone or blocked by the "swell shadow" of the Bahamas, which is generally what happens to big swells from the Atlantic as you move S of Jupiter along the Florida coast. I sailed the same gear as the previous day. My dad was there to give moral support and take pictures, which was nice.


Some German tourists we befriended on the beach took the picture of him taking the picture of me.

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