Sunday, June 19, 2011

Live from Aruba - Katie Crafts & the CGWA - Race Stories - Sunscreen

Live video webcast continues as the PWA World Tour moves to Aruba this Sunday, June 19, for a week of Freestyle and Slalom racing. The freestylers have been warned they will probably be first to compete. Big Shout Out to the PWA -- Thank You for the Live Webcast !!!  (Video Player has been removed)

The Gorge is continental America's most celebrated windsurfing destination; rich in beauty, abundant with wind and strong industry presence, it has all the ingredients windsurfing requires for solid growth. Community is the result of the right ingredients nurtured by the right people. Just like well tended gardens, orginizations will flourish with the right leadership. Let's hear from Katie Crafts, who heads up the Columbia River Windsurfing Association.

Please introduce yourself.

Hi there - My name’s Katie and I’m the executive director of the CGWA  a member-based nonprofit that does things like kids programs, beach clean ups and access, and fun community events. I live in Hood River, Oregon with my dog, Mollie. My parents got me into windsurfing at a very young age; I took to it very slowly and had quite a love/hate relationship with the sport for the first 20 years of my life.  These days, though, it’s all love all the time! 
The Gorge Windfest is set for this coming weekend. Share with us a brief history of the event and what it means to the CGWA. 
CGWA has hosted Windfest for about 10 years now, in some form or another.  It is the first big wind sport event in Hood River each summer, and a fun way to kick off the season.  For CGWA it’s a big fundraising weekend, and we look forward to signing up new members and getting the summer off to a good start.
I enjoy Windfest because it encourages people to try new things and learn something new.  With clinics running nonstop throughout the weekend, Windfest is also a great way to expand your windsurfing skills and knowledge.

Gear makes such a difference in a person’s windsurfing experience, and having the right gear is key.  The demos are a great and cheap way to compare equipment and make sure you’re on gear that’s right for you, and with the manufacturers and shops right there you can make sure the sail is rigged to best suit your body and sailing.

Your website is busy in a good way: new logo, regular news stories, call outs for volunteer projects. What role does the website play in promoting windsurfing and helping the local community; how does Facebook fit in?
We place high value on community engagement at CGWA, and engagement means different things to different people.  Therefore we offer many different ways to get engaged, informed, and involved at whatever level a person wants. 
We value all these different forms of engagement because they provide different benefits to keep us running and thriving: dues-paying members provide money to keep us up and operational, facebook friends provide dialogue to keep us in the loop, email recipients provide an informed reader base to develop an informed community, etc. 
Also, the story of CGWA- what we do and what we have done- is not a 30-second elevator pitch.  It spans two and a half decades, involves numerous community partner organizations and thousands of individuals, and is diverse and complex.  The more short story-type news blurbs/facebook posts/newspaper columns/short videos we can do, the more we can share that story of who we are and what we do. 
How does a windsurfing association add to the sport?
I believe that the biggest impact we can have on the sport is to fill gaps that industry can’t or won’t fill.  For example, our kids program has changed forms over the past few years- at one point it was a weekly instruction-based kids camp.  Now it is a club, where participating families get access to kids gear AND weekly group sails/clinics.  We chose this route because we realized that other businesses already run kids camps, and we were competing with them instead of collaborating with them.

Now we’re nurturing a youth community in the Gorge, which fills a unique need that most businesses are not fulfilling in the same way- it’s hard for businesses to put a price on “community”.  Whenever we can collaborate with the industry or regional entities (like State Parks) to fill a gap in service, those are the areas where we thrive the most and have the biggest impact on the sport.
Another benefit we provide is unbiased representation of the local windsurfing community during decisions by State Parks, Port Authorities, and other such entities.  We truly have no personal gain (other than more fun on the water!), so we can and do act purely in the interest of the windsurfing community. 

 Something new on FB is the The Gorge Groms page. Bring us up to date with this group. 
Gorge Groms is a kids windsurfing club that we started last year and it was very well received by parents and kids alike.  For a $100 season pass, families get unlimited access to our kids windsurfing gear, as well as weekly group sails and clinics throughout the summer. 
Our Facebook page is new, and we hope it serves as a discussion board for kids and parents to connect.  We heard from a lot of parents who want to talk to other parents to exchange instruction tips, gear swaps, etc., and we want the kids to have an opportunity to talk amongst themselves to nurture a youth windsurfing community in the Gorge. 

How do kiting and windsurfing get along?  Do they work together on an organizational level?
The Gorge has both a CGWA and a CGKA (Columbia Gorge Kiteboarding Association).  We work together whenever possible to keep our communities informed, and to represent our sport interests to “the powers that be.”
Both our sport’s communities share very similar interests in the Gorge: more beaches, better beach maintenance, clear safety signage, engaged community members, etc.  It’s easy to overlook these similarities and fall into the “us vs. them” mindset, but at an organizational level we try to both represent our members (windsurfers) while also doing what’s best for the greater wind sport community in the Gorge. 
I often look to skiing and snowboarding and think back to the early days when snowboarding wasn’t even allowed at many resorts; these days they get along (almost) seamlessly.  I think it’s the responsibility of the associations to set a good example of mutual understanding and respect between the sports.   
Funniest moment as Executive Director of the CGWA?
Goofy times at King of the Hook, definitely.  This annual event (inside the Hook, costumes very strongly encouraged) is a great family and spectator friendly event.  We’ve seen tandem sailing while standing on shoulders, clowns, super heroes, etc.
It’s a funny, not-serious “competition” where everyone’s a winner, and our sponsors donate lots of swag for everyone- gift certificates to Mike’s Ice Cream, Sailworks kids rig, Naish and Dakine bling- it’s great that the local industry gets behind the kids windsurfing scene here.  I love it, and roll over laughing at each event.        
What's it like to be a local in the Gorge? How long is your windsurf season? 
The Gorge is great!  I love the spirit of entrepreneurialism that has so taken to this area.  The people here value active lifestyles, and have jobs that support and fit into their lifestyles.  The only thing I would change is make the season 12 months instead of 6. I usually windsurf from about May through October.  I’d like to do more sun-chasing trips throughout the winter, so we’ll see what opportunities I can grab onto this winter!

Katie's dog Mollie
 How much time do you get to windsurf in an average week?
Depends on the wind and what’s going on at work, but I try to get at least a short session in almost every windy day.  Gotta keep the stoke alive to stay effective and motivated at my job!  
What are your favorite non windsurfing activities?
Playing with my dog, biking, wakeboarding, tending to my (often neglected) veggie garden, playing Frisbee, letting my body rest up for the next set of windy days. 
Music that moves you? 
These days I’m going through a Brazilian Girls and Eminem phase… odd, yes, but totally pumps me up for sailing!  

Race Stories  Waterhound's David Wells reporting from San Francisco Bay on the Ronstan Bay Challenge - Long Distance Race: "While the excitement was rocking at the top of the fleet a story was brewing just behind. In an absolutely stunning performance Junior Women's sailor and Sailworks Team Rider Marion Lepert (pictured at left) not only braved the big winds and nasty waters, she chewed them up. Lepert posted a 1 hr 37 minute time that bested some exceptional Kiteboarders and windsurfers who have run this race countless times. Marion's 12th place finish is quite simply the "sail of the year" so far in San Francisco Bay." More

photo by James Douglass
Long Island, NY from the East Coast Windsurfing Festival, Michael Alex of the Peconic Puffin wrote: "Then there was the Open class, twelve guys with big sails and race boards.   As the kids say: OMG.  Pro sailors are pro sailors for a reason; champions even more so.   It was great that Josh Angulo was so warm and friendly and outgoing on the beach, because on the race course, he finished the first heat before most of the competitors were half way around the course.  It gets worse:  Judge Mike Burns says Angulo wasn’t really gunning it in that heat.  “C’mon, Josh,” Mike told him, “show these people what you’ve got!” So in heat #2 Josh blazed...nothing but fin in the water.  He crossed the finish line so early that Judge Burns shouted out “Hey Josh:  go around the course again!” And so in a single race Josh Angulo finished First and...wait for it...Fourth.  "And he missed 3rd by a board length!" Mike Burns says.  Against 11 other sailors."

Jeff Henderson, Hot Sails Maui designer and wave sailing afficionado, decided it was time to get out on the race course. The Maui Race Series, in its 27th consecutive season, was the obvious choice. Jeff said, "It was pretty insane, and very intimidating. I knew I had fast sails and a fast board but I had NO IDEA how to sail them! The previous 2 weeks had been 30-40 knots every day and I had not been able to train...The first race I was middle of the fleet and I just blew up. I had no way to control the huge iSonic 97, I could not see anything from the spray, and I simply was not used to going that fast. In fact both big falls that I had during the races were both going in a straight line midway between the buoys! Completely and wholly my simple lack of control and knowledge of how to sail this stuff."It got worse. More

Rory Ramsden reports from Weymouth, Enland: "The breeze was up, 20-25 knots in fact, and the RS:X silver fleet at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta were deep into Race 8. Three silverados were negotiating the first slalom mark in quick succession. First to gybe was Luke Baillie (AUS) in 6th. He blew it. Second, Jamie Ingram (GBR) in 7th, he nailed it. The perfectly executed planing gybe saw him exiting the turn at full speed.
Luke was in the water... On the racing line... There was no time to think. No time to take avoiding action. Jamie flew on. Struck Luke a glancing blow on the right temple. His head whipped over. He was out cold... Face down in the water...Just behind in 8th Marcantonio Baglione (ITA) was in hot persuit. He heard Jamie shouting... HELP, HELP... In a split second, Marco had bailed out. Leaving his board on a full plane, he dived in to help Jamie save Luke. They grabbed him and swam him to the nearest board. By this time Luke had regained consciousness and was soon on a safety boat on the way to shore." More

Peter Volwater writes: "Until the 2011 PWA Costa Brava came along with the biggest wind forecast ever seen for an event at this venue. All the slack we have been giving the event over the years, even nicknaming it 'costa nada', finally must have been ENOUGH! before the wind came down with vengeance and furious anger...The next day we woke up to a howling Tramontana, the beast is unleashed. I see Ross Williams the first one out to test the conditions on a 5.7 truly and well overpowered. This is serious stuff!! 5.5 and 85 liter are getting prepared and 2 rounds are sailed in conditions that will go into history as some of the windiest racing ever.  Just finishing the heat without crashing means you most likely land in the finals; like riding the bull and try not to get thrown off, but in the heaviest gust its almost impossible to gybe. Some heats were worse then other, how come I keep on being in the windy heats?? Just keeping the rig upright is my goal and I sail into a 9th and a 5th place this day." More

Gorge Cup 2011 Race 1 was cancelled. The first meeting of the series was this June 11,12. Timothy Farell hadn't been in a serious race since 1979. He did pretty well in his comeback event. After the racing was finished on Sunday, he reported "...the sailors were treated to cold beer while we de-rigged. While I was doing so, I saw a sail with a US 3 sticker on it. I approached the sunglass wearing hooded owner to say that I had bought a former professional’s sail and that I had a good way to take the numbers off without damaging the sail. The owner, former resident and PWA world champion racer and wave sailor named Kevin Pritchard, was very polite and said he thought he would keep them on as he was headed down the Oregon Coast for an event in Pistol River called the Wave Bash. He had to register on Wednesday evening at the Curry County Fairgrounds. I wished him the best of luck. He seemed like a nice young man." More

Jeff Bennett of Maui Windsurfing did a brilliant job recording the slalom action at the first of five scheduled races that make up the Maui Race Series. Jeff's full meal video deal features 8 videos totaling 40+ minutes.

The Dakine Classic, the second race in the series, was held this Saturday, June 18; the first video of this race from Maui Windsurfing.

Sunscreen  Is it important? I think so, at least for me. My red hair (well now it's grey) and freckled skin, types me as sensitive to sunlight. Did that ever sway me growing up? Unfortunately, no. I barbequed and abused my exterior unafraid of the unrelenting sun. Stupid me. Now I goop on my latest choice for sunscreen which reminds me of Kabuki make up; cover my upper torso with O'Neill's lycra spf 50 longsleeve shirt; wear a custom head band for forehead and ears, mid-calf climbing pants and sunglasses. Kookie enough?

PBS introduced the the new FDA rules for sunscreen: "After more than three decades, the FDA announced a series of changes in what consumers will see on all sunscreen labels by the summer of 2012. Among the changes makers of sunscreen lotion will have to clarify whether their product protects against what's known as UVA radiation, as well as UVB radiation, which was already the case. If it doesn't protect against both, the manufacturer cannot say it protects against skin cancer or early skin aging..." The interview.

The Environmental Working Group website offers an excellent in depth look at sunscreen products that busts myths, educates and allows you to check how your own sunscreen rates. Skin Deep