Sunday, September 26, 2010

Got stoke ?

Windsurfing is live | Sylt, Germany | While North America is enjoying perfect Fall temps, windsurfing's biggest event is being played out on the coast of Northern Germany in what usually turns out to be pretty cold and gnarly conditions. Total spectator numbers are expected to reach 200,000. That's impressive. The only thing that could top that is the 2nd live PWA video webcast in as many weeks. If you time your visit to this blog right, the player below will be broadcasting live !!!

Daily news is the leading edge of history | DaNews was officially introduced to readers of this blog in early April of this year. After 8 months, DN has linked up over 1300 pieces of modern windsurfing history. Believe me, it's sometimes hard to select a readible/viewable amount of news for the day. Some days there's just too much; rarely, not enough. For months now, almost everyday starts with the hunt for da news. The daily hunt grinds through over 100 blogs, 40+ websites including 2 news aggregators, and over 30 Facebook pages (growing everyday).

DaNews is hosted by Facebook which is free and does a brilliant job with links and videos. DN is viewable by everybody (FB membership not required). FB supports an off-site reader gadget. If your website would be interested in embedding the "gadget," leave your website name in Comments. Here are 2 sites that use the reader: San Francisco BoardSailing Association and U.S. Windsurfing.

Where have all the legends gone? | Ian Boyd, 40 years old, was born in San Diego, lives in San Francisco and is married with 2 kids. Still a team rider for North Sails, he wants to be remembered for being one of the early contributors that helped shape modern day freestyle. He is the the founder and creative director of Cosmic Planet, a small digital studio based in San Francisco. He's passionate about photography, point-of-view videography, interactive design, board sports and his family. Take the time, visit his bodacious website and I mean click all the links. This new video got the attention of the windsurfing media:

Facebook | Someone tell me, how many windsurfers still do this sport?  I once read there were a million windsurfers in Germany. This Facebook page, Windsurfing, with 72,187 fans, describes the sport using what is found on Wikipedia. FB users will notice there is no wall, only the latest from your friends who post windsurfing topics.

Bloggersville | Jamin Jones | The level of writing and reporting found in windsurfing blogs is usually pretty good, but sometimes it exceeds all expectations, by any standard. The Pistol River Wave Jam 4 part event report gives new meaning to what a thorough, complete history should look like. Intro  Day 1  Day 2  Final

The Hatteras Wave Jam |  Maybe it's the rarity of  wave sailing contests or the exciting visuals but whatever the reasons, wave contests draw the reporting. Here's your complete source for the reporting of the 2010 Hatteras Wave Jam.     

Slang | stoke | Sometime in the early 1960s a word that related to fire building was used  to describe the great feeling that comes from surfing a wave: that word was stoke. Before the age of windsurfing, this word belonged to surfing; but in the last 30 odd years, windsurfing has also been smitten. Seems like everybody else has also adopted, arguably, the coolest word of the urban lexicon. You'll find the beloved descriptor titled in the Stoked for Life Blog. Stoked was used as the name of a  TV show, a cartoon series and video game; it's even the name of a vitamin supplement, a skateboard company and a documentary film. Wanna buy the domain name? I'm just getting warmed up...It's even the subject of this news broadcast...

Postscript | A friend keeping  it real here at Port Canaveral, Jetty Park, Florida just a few days ago.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

There's no going back

The RS:X Olympic Windsurfing One Design Class was started in 2005. Since then, Neil Pryde (the company) has built 3,000 boards. Very busy for the first couple of years, production has now leveled off to 200 - 300 boards per year. They are currently working on a new one design class, conceived as an intermediate stepping stone to the RS:X. Prototypes of this new RS One Class are already being tested. Full on production is expected to start in a month. This new feeder class board will be  lighter, simpler and cheaper than the RS:X.

After the 2012 Olympics Neil Pryde will submit, to the ISAF and the RS:X Class, a new improved version of the RS:X which will weigh 3 kilos less: a 20% reduction in weight. Ex Olympic sailor, Mr.Neil Pryde, explains all of this and more in the video below.

On the left is the new updated  RS:X  board that will be submitted  for use at the 2016 Olympics.  

With the completion of the 2010 RS:X Worlds, all focus is now on Perth, Australia and the 2011 ISAF World Championship. The first hurdle is getting your country qualified for the Olympics. Windsurfing is allowed 38 countries for the men and 28 countries for the women. At Perth, countries will qualify for 75% of the allotments for the 2012 Olympics.  The top 28 countries for the men and the top 20 for the women will win Olympic berths. The rest of the country slots will be won at the 2012 RS:X Worlds on the Bay of Cadiz, Spain only months before the Olympics. The top country finishers, that haven't already qualified at Perth, will win the remaining Olympic berths. Only the countries that qualify at these 2 events go to the Olympics.

Klitmoller in reviewWave sailing revealed... It finally happened: the historic, first ever, live video webcast of a PWA event; beginning to end, nonstop coverage of a wave sailing contest. And...and it was supremely amazing. The video quality was over the moon outstanding. The actual video player gadget was extra large so no squint eye syndrome. In fact the only eye problem may have been square eyes caused by staring at a computer screen too long. Was there anything to improve? Sure. I like listening to Roberto Hoffman, hour after hour, but where's the second or third announcer for some variety; no instant replay; more cameras...but what the hell, overall, no complaints, only praise. Am I gushing? After all, it was the first ever...

The week of the event, my mornings started with a trip to Denmark while trying to get DaNews delivered. If you didn't watch it live, then you have a real delimma: there are hours and hours of recorded replay.  The hard part is figuring out what to watch.  More than 100,000 visited the Cold Hawaii live feed website. Congratulations to both Stream Factory who produced (camera work) and delivered the broadcast and  platform provider, Bambuser who made it possible to see the event on our computers.

For the last couple of years, I've seen almost every PWA daily highlights video. These best moments of an event led me to believe that the entire day was nonstop perfection. Point the camera and everything is going to look great. But guess what? In the real world, on the real day of an event, real things happen. My wave sailing heroes make mistakes just like you and me. What a relief, we have something in common. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of amazing moments, lots of them.  Watch the replays and you will see yourself out there at Klitmoller, probably going over the handlebars trying to do a quick tack.

Treat yourself to the jumbo viewer or just go full screen on the player below. Bottom right corner of the player is the More button which links you up to the replay library.

This post, I broke one of my rules tonight,  from Drysuit2 is a moving remembrance of the Twin Towers tragedy.

"And I thought…Sailing alone at dusk is dangerous. But not nearly as dangerous as continuing to work across the street from the former World Trade Center after 911. I’m sure people who saw me from shore might have thought, “what is that guy doing, sailing out there all by himself, in the rain?”, “that’s crazy”. No. I think watching the progress at Ground Zero from my office window…that was crazy...Breathing air that’s not safe, when your Government tells you it is; that’s crazy..."

It's an amazing moment when you get to share your sesh with a dolphin. The first sightings start at the 1:50 minute mark. This and other videos are found on the Learners guide to windsurfing

Postcript  Josh Sampiero has invited this blog to the WINDSURFING website. I'll still be posting here and at all the other regular spots.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Maria Antonia Dominguez joined her daughter, Spanish star Blanca Manchon, at the 2010 RS:X Worlds. She wasn't there just to watch and offer support, but rather to compete against her. The medal race concept of doubling the scores of the last race, was intended to bring drama to Olympic class regattas. The concept truly delivered the promise when Blanca won by one point. Unfortunately her Mom, an accomplished windsurfer and the 2010 Raceboard Master Class World Champion, finished last in the Silver fleet. This must have come up before, parents racing against their children, but at a World Championship? Apparently the two have raced together before. Blanca says, "All my family have been my inspiration as all of them have sailed since a very young age, and my mother participated in a Spanish Windsurfing Championship when she was five months pregnant with me! Blanca was the youngest sailor at the 2004 Olympics.

JP Australia has made their fashionably late, grand entrance to the 2011 New Gear Party. The complete line up of next year's gear is on the website. What's really different this year, besides the obvious new board lines and graphics, are some of the fins. The fin on the right is a new shape for the JP Free Style Wave.

The fin on the left is the X-Wave made by Maui Ultra Fins. Since the MUF fin was made first (2008), some will contend the JP is a copy. Folks, this is what the Brits would call a kerfuffle. Some of you may remember this same issue came up before, quite recently, on the 2010 JP Twin fin board. Olaf Sutor of MUF said they have made no deal with JP to allow use of their fin designs. Their products have European industrial design patents which fall under the EC laws with penalties for selling counterfeit products. They have brought this issue to JP and have asked for royalties. On the other hand, Olaf said he would have to worry about their fins if they weren't copied. He's confident MUF is truly innovative and no one can produce their quality.

Ever make the call from the beach to let a friend know it's windy, only to hear back questions tainted with skepticism? Why don't you make a run and let me know what you're on...There's an easier way to deal with the doubt: Show 'em. Bill's OBX Beachlife website has a brand new feature: live video beach reports via his cell phone; just in time for the 2010 Hatteras Wave Jam which starts September 15. Posting cell phone videos to your Facebook friends has been around for awhile, but embedding a video player gadget on your website/blog is new. Platform provider, Bambuser, will also be making it possible for the PWA to do their first ever live video broadcast. This wave sailing contest, the KIA Cold Hawaii, at Klitmoller, Denmark starts September 13.

If you read the Pistol River report in the just published winter issue of Windsurfing Magazine, you may have noticed Sampiero's brain fart where he misnamed the Florida Wave Challenge. Which by the way, turns out to be the last possible U.S. wave contest of the year. The FWC is run on the first possible weekend day, during a contest window of 3 consecutive weeks, only if the wind and waves allow. First possible date is November 6.

There's been talk about some kind of national wave contest tour for next year. Could be as many as 6 events. Even venerable racing org, U.S. Windsurfing may offer some help. And just in case it really happens, should such a tour end with a Championship on Maui? Maybe a few more freestyle contests sprinkled throughout the year are also in order.

Two weeks ago, the worlds longest windsurfing board video drew a lot of attention. That video and the ones below are certainly not new. All 3 can be found in the Learners guide to windsurfing on this page: Inside the brain of windsurfing. These videos really resonate with me...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Calendar: Oct - Nov - Dec 2010

PWA: Slalom, Freestyle, Waves | Sylt, Germany | Sept 24 - Oct 3

Endless Summer Sailboard Classic | Shell Point Beach, Fl | Oct 1 - 3

ABK | Long Island, NY | Oct 1 - 3

San Diego Formula Windsurfing | SD Bay | Oct 2

Matt Pritchard Wave Camp | Solo Sports, Baja | Oct 2 - 9

Columbus Day Regatta | Lake MacBride Solon, Iowa | Oct 9 - 10

Pumpkin Cup Regatta | Dallas, Tex | Oct 16 - 17

2010 Cape Cod Wave Challenge | Cape Cod, Mass | Oct 16 - 17

Wyatt Miller | Solo Sports, Baja | Oct 16 - 23

Atlanta Fall Classic | Lake Lanier, Ga | Oct 16 - 18

Aloha Clinic with Matt Pritchard & Shawna Cropas | Maui | Oct 16 - 23

ABK | Hatteras | Oct 18 - 22

IFCA N.A. National Championship 2010 | Miami | Oct 22 - 24

1st Annual Paia Town Clean Up | Baldwin Park, Maui | Oct 23!/event.php?eid=147690358607942

ABK | Hatteras | Oct 29 - 31

Kona Worlds | Miami Beach | Nov 1 - 7

ABK | Corpus Christi | Nov 4 - 7

Florida Wave Challenge | Cocoa Beach | First possible date Nov 6 - last date Nov 21

International Windsurfer One Design Freestyle & Slalom Cup | Miami | Nov 6 - 7

SDFW | San Diego | Nov 13
Aloha clinics with Matt Pritchard & Shawna Cropas | Maui | Nov 13 - 20

PWA | Cabo Verde | Nov 14 - 23[showUid]=172&cHash=db4940ecbc

ABK | South Padre Island, Texas | Nov 18 - 21

Miami Pro-AM | Miami | Nov 20 -22

i to i Race | Ft. lauderdale, Fl | Dec 3 or 4

ABK | Bonaire | Dec 6 - 10

SDFW | San Diego | Dec 11

More events will be found on this Canadian schedule. Plus, on page 2, Nevin Sayre put together a calendar for 2010 junior events.

More Team USA junior events.

Mowind does a detailed schedule  for the Great Lakes / North Central Region

Calcup covers the west coast U.S. races and more.

ABK continuous tour schedule

U.S. Windsurfing National Racing Tour

Southeast U. S. events will be found here

iWindsurf Events page

Solo Sports events.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Follow up: "News from across the pond"

All too often a news story grabs your attention and then sometime later you begin to wonder: how'd that ever end? Here's the follow up to the German language, Daily Dose story of the Churchulla twins' windsurfing adventure with their 8 man board. The story below is my best effort at making the automated translators readable for an English only audience. However, if you want the original German or the German to English Google translation, follow the links.

August 31. The 8 man German team took only 73 minutes after leaving Fehmarn Island to reach Danish soil. The twins, Manfred and Jürgen Charchulla, led their team safely across the Fehmarn Belt on the 16 foot sailboard. Once in Denmark, the windsurfers rushed to the beach and hoisted the banner, "Surf Republic." Getting too close to one of their support vessels caused their only crash. Ranier, one of the team members, had a bad leg cramp on the way over and the man behind, Ralf, was able to help him. A substitution was considered for the return trip, but Heike Reimann said they decided to tough it out and return with the original team.

Once in Denmark, after being met by the German and Danish press, they spontaneously decided to immediately return to Germany, because things were going well. "The wind was getting stronger; conditions were perfect" said 4th man on the board, Tim Buchwald, who controlled the dagger board. Buchwald laughed at the way you have to work as a team and balance the sail while moving the dagger board up and down. However, on the way back, the wind begins to drop off forcing them to sail a higher course. Unfortunately, going hard to windward makes the board unstable and at the half way point in the crossing, Captain/lead man, 71 year old Manfred Charchulla, is knocked off the board.  Second to last, 7th man Ralf sees Manfred's helmet buried under his sail as the board moves past him. He grabs him and drags him out of the water, back on the board, all of this in the flash of a second. The recounting of this brings a chuckle to Manfred. Making better time on the return, the team landed at the exact point of departure 59 minutes later.

Postscript  Boards Magazine reports: ...“These guys (Charchulla twins) are incredible. When they hit the water, they really transform into some 30 year old. They really look funny with their ZZ Top style beards, but there is no way you can tell their age when you see them on the water"... For more of the photo rich story.

On September 1, Starboard posted on their website, a PWA September Update...The second new stop on the tour is the Cold Hawaii World Cup in Denmark (Sept. 13 - 19).The big news is: the Denmark event will be the first to have a full, live web broadcast, transmitting all the day's action around the world live, via the internet. Plans are also in place for similar live broadcasts throughout the Sylt and Cape Verde events... Sylt will also have the additional feature of a full GPS tracking system for the Slalom, allowing spectators at the event site, and watching on the internet, to see in real time, the position and speed of each competitor as they battle it out around the course. Work is progressing with a new PWA Women's website, which will be launched soon...Meanwhile the ladies are racing in France.  

The RS:X Worlds along with Sailstream, whose parent company is radio communications giant Zenitel, put forth a very ambition plan of GPS and video coverage. This was the first ever attempt for such a large windsurfing regatta. Rory Ramsden reports: "The technology behind the process is all-new. Typically in live broadcast situations, remote cameras beam images back to a base station ashore via a microwave link. For the RS:X Worlds they will set up a giant wireless network across the race courses. As part of the technology they have created some racing marks fitted with the necessary wireless networking equipment to make this possible. 'We have developed some marks and these actually spread the network around the course. We collect all the data on the starting boat and then we send that to shore with a point to point link,' explains Møhl. 'The WiFi access points talk to each other automatically, so if one buoy is out of range, it uses the closest to get into the starting boat in order to get the best coverage.' While the equipment has been tested in the laboratory and on the water, this week Møhl is in the process of setting it up and trialing it in Kerteminde."

How did it all work? The GPS actually turned out to be quite interesting. Just like in the most recent America's Cup, the digital graphic display of boat positions helped show who was in the lead. Seems simple to understand who would be in the lead, but when the boats split tacks and head to opposite sides of the course, it's pretty hard to follow without that distance to the next mark line on the display. Throw in a post race replay analysis feature, an inset leaderboard window with time and distance behind the leader and the race becomes fun to watch. With someone or some country to root for, spectators have a real sporting event.

Now, all the above just needs the video interface and voila, it's mini ESPN coverage. And this is where their ambition was greater than what they delivered. In fairness, kudos on the attempt and great effort but the video coverage sucked: too many technical problems, at least on my computer. There were moments when we had a decent video feed, but sadly, too few... Nonetheless, ISAF President Goran Petersson was fully behind the new SailStream technology being trialled for the first time ever at this regatta. “We have to move the races and the stories about the races closer to those people who want to look and listen. They cannot come out to us, we have to come to them and that has to be pictures and comments and it has to be live and in real time and they are achieving this here. I understand there is still some development still to be made, but this absolutely is the way to go.”

When you have a dog in the fight, the competition is a lot more fun to watch. Go USA !!! The screen shot below is from the 8th race of the Silver Fleet showing Bob Willis (USA 7) in 2nd and Ben Barger (USA 1) in 3rd. Ben eventually won the race and Bob finished 5th. Watch the replay. (Top right hand on the screen is the zoom feature; bottom left hand to speed up the replay; click and drag to position the screen for best view.)