Sunday, April 29, 2012

Clinics · MOWIND · The RS:X Olympic Dance

Makani Fins sponsored clinics ~ Andy McKinney's WIND-NC was where these 3 clinics occurred; they were led by Wyatt Miller and Tyson Poor. All the clinics (6 parts) are stored on UStream and all 6 videos will be interrupted from time to time by short commercials. The first 2 videos, filmed live April 18, 2012, are about improving your speed.

The next 2 videos are about Wave Sailing and were filmed live April 23, 2012.

The next 2 videos are from the Fin Clinic and were filmed live April 25, 2012.

MOWIND is "a volunteer group of active racers and event organizers in the Midwest. They provide regatta insurance and a standardized set of rules and scoring methods. Their events are scored both individually and combined as a season total. An annual meeting is usually held in the winter to review the previous season and determine the course for the upcoming season." That description is straight from their website, but there's more to this group than just those organizational functions.

If there was an award in windsurfing for Outstanding Website, they could win it every year. And what criteria would the judges use to score such an award ?  MOWIND describes and tracks a group of 15 regular events with their individual histories and current information; provides a GPS map locating all the events; offers a yearly calendar with more than their regional events listed; provides instructional help to wannabe racers; does event reporting and keeps tabs on all the racing results. In short, they are a one stop information and promotional beacon for their region and the broader sport of windsurfing. And they have a sense of humor.

Please visit the MOWIND Website.

The RS:X Class is data rich right now. After four years of training and campaigning, the countries and their respective proud Olympians have qualified and are raring to compete in the XXX Olympiad. But even with all the excitement and anticipation of what's soon to come, there is an air of worry hanging over the Class. Will this be the last Olympics for windsurfing?

During the 2012 Worlds in Cadiz, Spain, the Class held their General Meeting. Neil Pryde pulled from consideration the much anticipated new 6 lbs. lighter prototype board that would have been used throughout the next quadrennium, siting bad world economics as a hindrance to developing the class. It would be better to conserve financial resources by using the existing board. At the 2011 Worlds in Perth, Australia this past December, "the RS:X men's fleet in Perth was bigger in terms of nations than even the Laser men's fleet." The Laser is the most popular sailing class in the world. Rory Ramsden, RS:X Class Secretary, is quite proud of the "94,457 unique visitors to the RS:X micro-site in the seven race days of the 2012 Worlds." Most of his recent newsletter is a report about many new and positive developments in the class but he ends it with a request for all of us "to encourage your ISAF Mid Year Meeting delegates to vote for 'windsurfing men' and 'windsurfing women' as the two boards events to take part in the 2016 Olympic Regatta." If you follow the general sailing media, there has been a persistent campaign to promote kiting to the Olympics which would be OK if it didn't mean eliminating windsurfing. This recent Sail World article enlists the testimony of many former Olympic windsurfing  medalists who all resonate a chorus of support to include kiting in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

The ISAF Mid Year Meeting set for May 3 - 6 can decide the fate of windsurfing for the 2016 Olympics. According to the official Agenda: The Equipment Committee and Events Committee will take into consideration reports and recommendations from the Kiting Trial held in Santander, Spain, March 21 - 25 of this year. If they are confident with the information and can render a decision as to who should go the the 2016 Olympics, they will do so and pass their respective opinions to the Council. The Council will then review and and make a final decision if appropriate.

Look for the latest developments about this story from Ben Barger, one of ten members and chairmen of the ISAF Atheletes' Commission, on their AC Facebook Page. While nothing has been decided, Ben thinks windsurfing will make the cut for the 2016 Olympics. Even though the RS:X Class has wide support with most Member National Authorities, especially in Europe, don't expect much love from the U.S. With 2011 Kiteboard Course Racing World Champion, Johnny Heineken, runner-up Adam Koch and Robert Douglas, World Speed Sailing Record Holder, US Sailing is dreaming of nothing but Kiting medals. US Sailing must be pleased with the possibility of an already developed field of competitors. I'm sure no one wants to eliminate windsurfing from the Olympics, but if it's going to be only 10 events for sailing...somebody is going to be unhappy.

Shahar Zubari loops his RS:X racing gear and yes, that's a 9.5 sail.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

AWT · CalCup · Gorge Cup · Radar · 3 Videos

The American Windsurfing Tour is almost ready to start its second year with the first stop, Goya Windsurfing Festival, at the famous west coast wave spot, Waddell Creek, just a few miles north of Santa Cruz, CA. New developments this year are prize money and demos. Hot Sails Maui is offering demos throughout the competition. Check out their Demo Schedule. Goya and Quatro will also offer demos. All the sponsors have been invited to demo their gear, so let's get crackin'. Event Registration and more information are found on the AWT Website. For developing news go to the AWT Facebook (support the AWT by liking this new Facebook page) and AWT Twitter.
  • Wednesday May 2 ~ Clinic/Demo Day - All Day Waddell Beach - Registration/Check- in Davenport Roadhouse 5-7 PM - Dinner 7-8 PM
  • Thursday May 3 - Sunday May 6 ~ Waddell Competition - Skippers Meeting each day 10 AM
  • Sunday May 6 ~ Awards & BBQ at Davenport Surf and Sail 7-10 PM Davenport Roadhouse. Red Bull Bonfire to follow
If you're interested in a recap of last year's inaugural event: AWT: Santa Cruz Classic, the whole enchilada. Kai Katchadourian talks about Waddell, the sandbar, the locals, the history and more in the first video below. In the second video, Marcilio Browne shares some stoke about coming to his first Santa Cruz event. More top riders competing are Kevin Pritchard, Francisco Goya, Levi Siver, Josh Stone, Nathan Mershon. Expect a food truck at the beach every day. Unfortunately, no live webcast but they're working on providing replays of the individual heats. A new Quatro wave board will be raffled off at the contest.

The long running San Francisco race series, started in 1982, has already begun its 31st season of racing. Detailed information about the racing, their junior program, perpetual trophies, classifieds and more are found on the CalCup Website. In addition to the CC Series, St. Francis Yacht Club will host the North American Formula Championship and the North American IFCA Slalom Championship. Just some of the Bay area racing schedule below:
  • April 21 CalCup
  • May 19 CalCup
  • June 23 CalCup
  • July 17 - 22  North American Formula Championship
  • July 21 - 22  North American IFCA Slalom Championship
  • August 11 CalCup
  • September 8 CalCup
Mike Percey catches us up on the CalCup story: "CalCcup was started in 1982 by Don Lester and Emily Dale. Mike Percey took it over in 1990.We have averaged 30-35 racers per event from the beginning to now. We lose some each year and gain approximately the same number.

Connect with the CalCup Racers
Weyman Lundquist and the St. Francis Yacht Club began a junior program a few years ago that has run in conjunction with CalCup. This year Weyman is running his Jr. program in the mornings on the same date as CalCup races so that the juniors can start filtering into the B team division of CalCup as they improve. Weyman’s son Jack is now an A team racer, winning the B team title last season.We feel that the junior program will help grow the number of racers over the next few years. We also have a few kiters showing up to race.

Kevin Pritchard raced one of our Rio Vista events and after the day exclaimed that it was the funnest event he had ever done. Notable local racers are Steve Sylvester, Rob Hartman, Mike Zaijcek, and many other A team local racers. Rob Hartman could easily have gone Pro."

JP Bowles
 CGWA Director Greg Stiegel said the traditional start of the Gorge Season is the Victoria Day (Monday, May 21) Weekend, when all the Canadians come down. Or perhaps June 15 when the local kids get out of school for the summer break.

According to this Big Winds FB report, the season may have already started: "It got really cranked up yesterday (April 14)  afternoon in the central and eastern gorge with gusts pushing 40 at the Hatchery by mid-afternoon. A solid group of sailors showed up at the Hatch to rip the mondo swells pouring through, including Big Wind's GM Steve Gates, Rob Dies, BW Jr. Team Fiona Wylde, her dad MacRae and a host of the Hatch regulars. BW Kite manager, TJ Gulizia worked his way upwind from the Event Site, fully lit on his 7m. The Event Site also drew a nice turnout with 3 dozen kiters and a dozen or so sailors taking advantage of beautiful weekend weather. Its been a great start to the season so far!" 

Trudy Lary settled it with these photos. It's opening day at the Hatchery 4-14-2012.

Whit Poor

Gorge racers will have a busy schedule this season, including the USWA National Championship. Darren Rogers will be setting courses and directing all the races. To register and for more information visit Gorge Cup Race Series. And for an even better connection you can follow or join, GC race talk on their Yahoo Group. The 2012 U.S. Windsurfing National Championship will be held in Hood River at the Event Site from July 23 - 28. Check for details on the USWA website.

Windsurfing's gorgeous Columbia River wonderland is the only place in this country that offers a full time paying job for a windsurfing community organizer. Plus, where else can you access a daily, uniquely tailored wind forecast for every local sailing possibilty; don't miss Temira Wagonfeld's The Gorge is my Gym website.

Beside the 11 days of racing this year, here are some highlights of the summer to come. The AWT Pistol River Wave Bash is set for June 14 - 17 at the relatively nearby Gold Beach on the Oregon coast. The CGWA will put on Windfest at the Event site on the weekend of July 7 - 8. For those in search of the other water sports, start by looking at Big Winds Big Events.  For the ultimate summer experience, USWA reports: "Now teens will be able to fly into Portland, Oregon, be picked-up and driven to a residential camp just up stream from Hood River, housed, fed, supervised by experienced counselors and driven to “The Gorge” each day for the expert instruction and supervision by the world renown Big Winds." Finally, if you need to connect with something windsurfing, have a look at the recently updated Gorge Community Guide.

Radar ·  Jacksonville, FL Windfest is revving up and ready to go: April 28 - 29 ~ Hatteras this month: Miller leads a speed tweak clinic, captured on video ~ Makani Fins shutter bug love ~ AWT Presidente, Sam Bittner, island happy ~ Windfest promo video ~ JP Bowles is King of the River ~  AWT adds 6th event for 2012, the Pacasmayo Classic, in Peru, August 17 - 26 ~ DelMarVa Swapmeet, April 28, 9 - 12 am

"WARNING !! Bernd is officially on the road !! Everyone look out for your pets," warns his Dad. If his car driving skills are any where near his wave sailing skills, there's nothing to worry about. The first video below demonstrates some of the latter. In the 2nd video, Muzza, aka Chris Murray, shares a little insight about the path of a wannabe windsurfer...Finally, the last video shows that the windsurfing life can be good to the very last drop...sail 'til you can't stand on the board.

Postscript · The PWA event in Aruba has been cancelled. They explain: "The present economic situation, brought about by the closing of the Valero Refinery, has greatly affected Aruba. As a consequence sponsors for the event recently informed us that they are forced to cut down funding support for events and projects on the Island because of the present insecure financial situation. Government budgets have been cut drastically and as such the needed budget for the PWA event cannot be supplemented from that source either."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Numbers · Wind Map · PWA · Radar · Waves · 2 Videos

Robby's first cover in 1976
Numbers · Robby Naish is no stranger to records. In fact he could be windsurfing's first Marvel Comics Super Hero for all he's done to elevate and promote our sport. He certainly didn't go unnoticed to magazine editors. His magazine covers album has 234 photos !!! The one on the left is his very first cover. Born April 23, 1963, Robby won his first world Championship at age 13 and added 24 World Titles before retiring from competitive windsurfing.

From March 14 to April 9, a 4 week period, Jimmie Hepp published 3434 photos, taken from his Hookipa office on the rocks, in 33 albums on his Facebook Albums Page.

Largest Yahoo Email Windsurf Group in the U.S.
In the U.S. there are approximately 135 commercial windsurfing enterprises including manufacturers, retailers and schools. In the category of associations, email groups, clubs and forums there are about 70 such entities. However, this number only accounts for just a few of the uniquely organized and anchored Facebook windsurf groups. There are 32 windsurfing focused Yahoo Email Groups in the U.S. with 5889 members. The number of email groups would have been higher but a few have disbanded and one has converted to Facebook.

Here are 4 non profit associations:  U.S. Windsurfing Association - 510 members; Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association - 514 members. The San Francisco Boardsailing Association which recently added kiting to its membership - 1600 members; Corpus Christi Windsurfing Association, perhaps in a state of flux - 161 members.

A number from Weather Flow, Inc. that seems to good to be true: 182,293 combined registered users for their iWindsurf and iKitesurf forums.

NPR correspondent Robert Krulwich goes a little farther than Calvin's Dad: "Breezes, blustery days, wind — all come from warm and cool air slipping, sliding, tumbling, like kittens at play, across the earth. Normally you can't see this happening, but two designers, Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg, have just made a moving map of the wind. If you were a wind god gazing down at America, this is what you'd see. This isn't a painting. It's the real deal, taken from the government's National Digital Forecast database."

Click on the image below to see the wind.

Radar · Win a 2012 GlobalShots SnapBack ~ New location for WIND - NC set for April 15 ~ London bound Bob Willis Update ~ SFBA is looking for some Facebook love ~ Corpus Christi, CCWA FB April 28 - 8 a.m. clean the beach, 9 a.m. swap meet. Location: Hayes & Gulfbreeze, North Beach. Sip later that night at Brewsters ~ 2012 Gorge Cup Race Series ~ Win something from Windsport ~ Long Island, NY, May 12 Hamptons Watersports swap meet ~ Maui, April 21, Join H2O at Kahului Harbor for more good vibrations beach clean up ~ Rocky Mountain Windsurfing Association needs a new president ~ Denver, May 5 - 6, Larson's swap meet ~ Ocean Defender-Hawaii, playing in the surf album ~ Virginia, April 20 - 22 - Dave Kashy WS Festival

PWA recently announced, "...the cancellation of the Bonaire Freestyle World Cup which was planned for June of this year. Despite the best efforts of all involved, a substantial cut in available government funding for the event means that the organisers had to cancel their plans for 2012.

Aruba has also suffered financial difficulties brought about in part by the recent closure of the petroleum refinery on the island, which has led to the cuts in funding. As a result, the slalom aspect of the event has had to be cancelled for 2012. Work is still on going to secure the Freestyle side of the event. Dates may be moved to later in the year – either to the period previously occupied by Bonaire or potentially to the end of June.

Costa Brava will be for men only again as it was in 2011. The organizers had pushed hard to bring the women’s division back to the event, but in the end, the available funding was not sufficient for both sexes." Two more events are waiting to be confirmed; the Gran Canaria tour stop at Pozo and another one on the neighboring island of Tenerife. Hopefully this will all get sorted out. Even if the TBC events are confirmed, with the loss of Bonaire, last year's record setting 13 tour events will not be matched this year. Financial difficulties in Europe, especially Spain, seem to have impacted the PWA World Tour this year.

Even more recently, the Marseille, France Slalom event that was set for late June has also been cancelled.

Windsport Magazine is hosting their 2nd annual Pro Windsurfing Fantasy Pool Contest. This is a great chance to pick a fantasy team from the PWA and compete against other fans from all over the world.  If you're asking yourself, what Tour? here's some help: Find the 2012 April issue of Windsurfer international (page down on this blog to last week's post) with Phil Soltysiak's 2012 picks of who will perform the best on Tour this year and place your bets. Registration - Rules - Contest Form

The Waves page on the Learners guide to windsurfing is a compact introduction to the discipline of wave sailing with the most instruction and inspiration ever assembled on one web page. Seriously, it's the only place I know where you can get introduced and instructed in the fun of combining wind and waves on the web. Recent additions to the treasure trove of wave sailing technique: Kevin Pritchard's trilogy from articles in Windsurfer international and a how to series from the recently deceased Windsurfing Magazine. Of course there's more: an insane collection of Boards articles by Jem Hall; a Matt Pritchard series he did for Windsport; an original beginners introduction by Bill Bell; some long board basics; lots of video featuring famous riders and locations. Please have a look and share the link: Waves

Two videos that say a lot about windsurfing: The first, by Starboard and narrated by Kevin Pritchard teaches windsurfing in under 4 minutes. The second, by Steven Van Broeckhoven, 2011 PWA Freestyle World Champion shows how far you can go after learning what's in the the first video.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

OBX · GoPro · Windsurfer · Radar · CCWA · Olympic Kiting

Hatteras is poised for an impressive group of events this April. Kudos to Makani Fins for being all in on all of the events. Here's a list of  links to the important players and sponsors. For more help navigating the island try Andy McKinney's Hatteras Windsurfing Guide and Bill Bell's Bill's OBX Beach Life.

GoPro cameras have captured the imagination of many windsurfers. However, making entertaining videos utilizing these cameras is challenging. We've all seen and waited patiently for something interesting to happen only to realize that the first 15 seconds are the same as the last 15 seconds, just 8 minutes later. For sure it's a tough proposition when you have to mount your camera on windsurfing kit. Using POV (point of view) cameras is all about a unique perspective that takes the audience to a new and different view. GoPro now offers a bunch of accessory camera mounts to help videographers with this challenge; Ram and Flymount offer some more.

I was really impressed by the above James Douglass GoPro video. I think it does a great job of capturing the speed of windsurfing. Notice that when he leaves the beach the smooth water means light wind. The low camera mount at the aft end of the boom  makes the video work. His 9.8 sail with its long boom helps get the camera far away from the rider.

Another successful and innovative camera mount is featured in the blog, forwards4cowards; page down for photos showing the evolution of his harness mounted camera.

Colin Dixen and Marco Wedele are making their WindsurfCoaching better by using improved GoPro camera mounts. The new camera mounts help capture the all important perspective. The student's videos offer unique views to help improve technique.

Click the image to read the magazine.

Radar · Beth Winkler tells her cancer story ~ Miami,  SFWA swap meet Rickenbacker CSWY on April 14 ~ San Francisco, Crissy Field Swap Meet on April 14 ~ AWT Santa Cruz needs volunteers ~ Does your Yahoo Group offer this much information to its members and vistors? ~ Gorge jobs ~ Win Robby's Chopper ~ Columbia Gorge Teen Windsurfing & SUP Camps ~ More Sofie Louca interviews: Victor Fernandez & Elena Pompei ~ Steve Bodner interview from Michigan Windsurfing ~ Windsurfing Mag FB continues to add fans

Over a year ago the Corpus Christi Windsurfing Windsurfing Association Board of Directors decided their dwindling membership required some immediate action. The plan was to expand the group by offering membership to other board sports including kiting, surfing and paddle boarding. They explained: "The idea was born from the realization that the club is dwindling in members and participation. So branching out to include a wider range of watersports, other than just windsurfing, is the solution the Board is bringing forward, to prevent the club from folding. It would include more people, raise our memberships and expand our possibilities."

They're still windsurfing in the Texas Coastal Bend
The next step would be a meeting with the membership to talk about the issues and vote on a new name: Corpus Christi Watersports Association. The meeting never happened. I've heard it was too hard to find a common date for the meeting; herding cats is harder than it sounds. By most standards, the Board of Directors was at least remiss in their duties. They percieved a crisis, posted it to the website, didn't follow through with their plan of action and then fumbled the ball with no explanation for a year. So, was doing nothing the right non-action? Perhaps an organization at its very foundation is nothing more than a meeting place for like minded individuals. Strip out the extras and the CCWA website provides information and a place to communicate with one another. Seems windsurfing will go on even if organizations come and go. Grass roots CCWA Facebook is simpler, takes less time to organize, leaves more time for windsurfing. I'm just saying, maybe everything is ok.

Johnny Heineken with his kite board
Scuttlebutt interviewed Johnny Heineken, Kiting's 2011 Course Racing World Champion, about the just completed evaluation event, audition if you will, for kiting's inclusion as an Olympic Sailing Class at the 2016 Games in Brazil. The test event was hosted by the ISAF in Spain during the same time the RS:X Class was qualifying for the remaining country berths to the 2012 Olympics.

The ISAF was evaluating different racing formats and equipment. What got my attention was their acceptance that kiting would race in the Olympics, not as a one design class but as a development class, just like windsurfing's non Olympic, Formula Class. Kiting will use dimensional limitations for the board, a box rule: "Maximums of 70cm wide, 190cm long, 50cm maximum fin length. Starting this year any board used in an IKA sanctioned event must be a production board. Kites must be production, meaning available to anyone and registered with the IKA. We are also limited to 3 kites per event, which is new this year and in my opinion not a great rule..."

I remember back in 2004, Formula was at a high point in popularity and hopeful of becoming an Olympic Class. Starboard even tried to introduce a One Design Formula Class which never caught on. The ISAF said no to Formula because they weren't a one design class and the RS:X was born.  Complete Heinekin interview