Monday, September 5, 2016

Hermine: Windsurf, WindSUP, SUP, and SUP-repair sessions

Last week I was out on the water just about every day after work, as we had an extended period of Gulf of Mexico wave and wind action related to the passage of Tropical Storm Hermine.

Tuesday, 30 August- There were strong onshore winds all day while I was at work. Unfortunately, by the time I got home, the wind had died off. I had major indecision out about what gear to take to the beach, and ended up bringing just my small windsurf gear (in case the wind came back) and my 14' Riviera race sup (so I could get some bumpy water race and wave-riding practice). The waves at Wiggins Pass State Park were bigger than I had expected, and the confused sandbars and wave reflections made it really hard to balance on the narrow (22" wide) race sup. Meanwhile, my SUP buddies who had sensibly brought surf-style SUPs were having the rides of their lives. I switched to a bigger fin on the race sup and that seemed to take some of the wobble away, such that I could actually stay upright. I caught some exciting, fast rides on the big, smooth waves, until I realized that my board was developing a buckle and crack about 4' from the tail. Doh! I had to cut the session short and just do a jog on the beach to get my workout in. The board is an unusual "production prototype" model, and it has slightly different shape and "layup" (what layers of carbon, fiberglass, and plastic are put in what parts of the board) than the normal production model Riviera RP raceboards have. This particular layup seemed to have a vulnerability to buckling where a carbon reinforced area met an unreinforced area. I am currently doing surgery on the board in the operating room at CGT Kayaks and Paddleboards to add fiberglass reinforcement to the failing area. I think the end result will be just as fast as the original, stiffer, and only a wee bit heavier.

Wednesday, 31 August- This time I took one of my windsurfable SUPs to the beach; the Angulo Surfa 10'4 that I modified with a planing tail and twin-fin setup. The waves weren't as perfect as on Tuesday, but they were still quite rideable, and I had a good time, paddling half the time and using a 6.4 sail the other half of the time. Some strong wind and rain squalls came through, which were really exciting on the windsup. (See video.) It was nice to have a bunch of sup buddies out there on the water again.

Thursday, 1 September- This was the big windsurfing day, with 20-25 knots of wind from the South and lots of water moving around. I joined my windsurf buddy Alex Owens at Wiggins. He was using a 4.7 sail and a 105 liter Fanatic Freestyle-wave board. I also went with a 4.7 sail, and put it on my 83 liter Starboard Evo waveboard. The first run out I was LIT! (That mean's overpowered with wind.) But later the wind dropped just slightly, and with all the whitewater and current I sometimes wished I was on my floatier board, i.e., had a tough time getting in and out of the waves. Still, great session.

Friday, 2 September- One more day light wind and SUP on the 10'4 Angulo.

Here's the video, with footage from Wednesday and Thursday.

TS Hermine Sup, Windsup, Windsurf from James Douglass on Vimeo.


tbuckee said...

Good to see some windsurfing.

Unknown said...

Cool !
Just starting to think about getting back into windsurfing, after 5-year absence.
Do you know of other wave spots on Gulf Coast which are closer to Tampa ?
I used to live in Miami and hit Marco and Wiggins on several cold-front occasions


James Douglass said...

tbuckee- Yep, I do still windsurf!

Rob- I know there are wave spots around Tampa but I'm not familiar with them. Check out Tampa's North Beach Windsurfing and see what they recommend.

Southerly said...

i'm interested in your opinions on differences between windsups you've used; how noticeable, how important. personally, i'm interested in all-rounder for traditional longboarding, windsup wavesail, and casual sup touring.

James Douglass said...

Hi Southerly- The differences are quite noticeable, and the Exocet 11'8 windsup is far and away the best all-around windsup I've found for longboard windsurfing plus SUP touring and wavesailing. The extra length is important for the glide. If you're more focused on light wind wavesailing, and you have pretty good waves, then there are some other options you might look at, but for something that's fully capable as an all-conditions windsurfing longboard and touring SUP, the 11'8 is it.