Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nahant Windsurfing; Pre- and Post-Frontal

View of Boston Skyline from Nahant, MA, 5 November 2010

One of the fun things about being a windsurfer is trying to figure out the weather patterns of a new area, how they change through the seasons, and how they interact with shoreline geography to determine the best spots to ride at different times. I had all that figured out when I lived in Virginia and Florida, but I'm still working on it for Massachusetts. A cool thing about Mass is that it gets big, rotating storms that start with onshore wind and rough waves, then shift to sideshore or offshore wind and nicely-groomed swells as the storm moves out to sea. That was exactly the scenario that played out last Thursday and Friday in Nahant.

Thursday had blasting 30 mph winds, fog, and sideways rain from the Northeast. I went windsurfing from the causeway after work and was overpowered on 4.2. The wind and the relentless, incoming waves were very challenging and I got tired out quickly, partly because I had stupidly wrecked myself the night before by going to the gym for the first time in two years. Anyway, it soon it felt like I was stuck in molasses and I was almost too tired to walk or swim after my gear when I crashed. My old wetsuit felt like it was squeezing the life out of my sore muscles, and my hood and helmet strap felt like they were choking me. During some washings I felt water gushing in my nose and flowing out my mouth. Yikes! Next time it's like that I'll take the wiser local windsurfers' advice and launch up by the Lynn / Swampscott line where it's more sideshore and protected.

Friday the wind was a mellower 10-20 mph from the Southwest, but the big swells were still coming in from the Northeast. I used a 5.5 sail and my floaty 106 liter board and got some fantastic "frontside" wave rides with blue skies and in the company of a bunch of surfers and paddleboarders. I tell you what- the feeling of rushing "down the line" on a frontside wave ride on a windsurfer is the most awesome thrill I have ever gotten in any sport. So much power, so focused. The pictures below are from Friday. It was a "minus" tide so the beach was even broader than usual. It looks like the waves are small, but if you compare them to the little black speck down by the water (a surfer) you can see that they're actually big.



In other news, it's getting COLD here, and I don't know how much longer my watersports season will last. I may be able to get a few more days if the repair I just did on this hole in the back of my wetsuit holds.


Also, the forecast for the next couple days is ridiculous. HUGE waves and NUCLEAR wind. Given my scary experiences on Thursday I'm going to play it safe and may sail a flatwater spot or just stay home if it's too hardcore.

Surf forecast for the upcoming week from magicseaweed>


Johnny Douglass said...

Ooh, you're up there in serious yankeeland. Just hang up that gear and have light workouts in a warm gym until late spring.

Frank said...

Hope you still have your 3.7. Looks like you may have a chance to use it.