Monday, August 27, 2012

PWA: Turkey ~ Denmark · AWT: Peru ~ Hatteras

The PWA is in Alacati, Turkey for 6 days of slalom racing for both men and women. Competition runs from August 27 - September 1. No wind on the first day. Alacati current time zone offset: UTC/GMT +3 hr. That is EDT +7 hr. Live Player below:
Live video player has been removed.

The next PWA event is the Kia Cold Hawaii Wave Contest set for September 17 - 23.

The AWT  has concluded the August 17 - 26 Pacasmayo Classic Event from Peru. Russ Faurot reported: "Athletes who started waves near the point definitely had an advantage, and those who were familiar with the spot were well aware of this. Some of the longer waves saw 15 or 20 turns. Aerials and solid turns were bringing in high scores with the riders using a mix of skills to rake in the points. Wave selection was key as the wind was light. Catching the wrong wave meant the sailors would be well down wind, and have a long slow slog back upwind to the point. Riders gaining the most points were those who chose their waves wisely, and stayed in the critical section of the wave. It’s very easy here to outrun the main breaking section in search of a bigger chunkier section downwind where you can boost an aerial. That strategy didn’t always work well, as the waves sometimes just faded out, and the sailors were left having missed the opportunity of milking the wave further upwind."

Next up for the AWT is the Hatteras Wave Jam set to run from Septembe 12 - 15. "Cape Hatteras, NC is the US East Coast premier wavesailing destination. The chain of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast provide the perfect playground to find ideal side-off wavesailing given the predominant NE/SW wind directions. Coupled with long period swell generated during the annual Hurricane season, Cape Hatteras is the wave magnet for world class conditions during the prime tropical wave season." Bill Bell reports: "Regarding the AWT Hatteras Wave Jam, Topical Outlook is on track for incoming swell and low tide is on our side riding in the afternoon hours during event week! Gonna be FUN!"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Desert Showdown · RS:X · More Help Learning

The American Windsurfing Tour reported: "On day five of the 2012 Quatro Desert Showdown the best swell showed up for the week long event, and head judge Matt Pritchard made the call to send out the pros. Despite the light wind conditions they put on a spectacular show picking off logo high set waves at the Punta San Carlos point and riding the 6-to-12 bottom-turn waves through the Chili Bowl and beyond...

It was a great week hosted by SoloSports Adventure Holidays in Punta San Carlos, Baja, Mexico. Thanks to everyone—hosts, sponsors, competitors, staff, and organizer Sam Bittner—for making this event almost twice as big as it was last year. Looking forward to seeing everyone down in Baja again next year!"

Kevin Pritchard's brilliant video report:

Team Quatro in Baja:

All 7 Pro Heats can be viewed on the player below. At the end of the first heat you can select any of the remaining 6 heats to watch.

Solo Sports, the Desert Showdown event site, is remote which is part of its charm. Being remote also means limited internet access time because they have to uplink via satellite which is quite expensive. While the AWT did manage to keep us informed, there was a flood of reports after the participants made it back to easy internet access on the other side of the border.

Photos: Quatro Desert Showdown #1Quatro Desert Showdown #2 ~ Quatro Desert Showdown #3 ~ San Carlos Cactus Cup Photo Album  (Dont' be fooled by last year's title) ~ Road to Punta San Carlos, Mexico
The busy AWT now prepares for their next event in Pacasmayo, Peru, set to run from August 17 - 26. Watch the video for an introduction to this famous wave venue:

RS:X Gold Medalist Dorian Rijsselberge celebrated with a loud and enthusiastic Dutch crowd of 6,000 in the Holland Heineken House at Alexandra Palace in London as he crowd surfed to the bar.

The 2012 London Games were a very successful demonstration of the RS:X Class in action. As the sun begins to set for this Olympiad, the kerfuffle, aka the Appeal to Return Olympic Windsufing, is getting ready to turn into an old fashioned street fight. Both sides have lawyered up and await their day in court. In conjunction with their recent Press Release, where the RS:X Class claimed the need for Judicial Review, they now have enumerated in detail support for the claim. A Briefing Document details their 16 points of why the RS:X class should be selected for the 2016 Rio Games. This document makes the claim of world wide support by citing the Petition to keep windsurfing as an Olympic discipline. Help the cause by signing the Petition which is now just a few hundred votes short of 30,000.

Boards Magazine reported: "At the Olympics, just before the medal racers took to the water, Neil Pryde sat down with the media to talk about RS:X and the future of windsurf racing." He talked about the need to improve and evolve the RS:X Class equipment. Pryde said: "I’ve made it clear to ISAF that we’re going to continue supporting it. We have a huge financial commitment, we’ve supplied all of this equipment here at the Games totally free of charge, we have half a million euro tied up in equipment at the Olympics. Plus we have another half a million euro for all the equipment we supply at the youth worlds, which was just recently completed in Dublin...I believe in the future of windsurfing so we’ve promised ISAF that at least for the next two years we will go on supplying the equipment for the youth worlds because we believe in them." He also talked about the new RS One feeder class, kitesurfing, the decision that removed windsurfing from the Olympics and the recent legal action by the Class.

The sailing press is back on the story. A recent Sail World article by leading international sailing journalist Bob Fisher questioned the ISAF Council decision "to replace Windsurfing for Men and Women with Kiteboarding for both genders, by a single vote majority. The back-tracking has been amusing, or would have been if it had not been such a blatant tissue of untruths. Who on earth would believe that a Councillor of ISAF could be confused about the voting to the extent that he gave his vote to the Kiteboards when he really wanted to vote for the retention of the Windsurfers? These are meant to be the custodians of our sport, but their record would disqualify them from running a charity shop."

The Olympic story that's sure to open hearts is Zofia Klepacka's announcement to auction her just won Bronze Medal in the RS:X Class to raise money for a 5-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis. Her young neighbor,"Zuzia requires constant care, and that care has proven to be a financial challenge to her family." Klepacka vowed that if she won a medal, she would auction it to help raise funds for little Zuzia's support. Her disease is terminal.

Thank You to all the teachers, instructors and everyone else who helps get their message to us wannabe better windsurfers !!! Here's some of what has been shared this year.

Matt Pritchard, after completing 2 of the 3 planned for this year Baja wave clinics and spending many hours in the judging tower on the AWT, had something to share. Here's part of a recent wave sailing tips post from his blog : "What did we learn? Wave Selection - Just because you are coming in doesn’t mean you should! LOOK at what is behind you and pay attention to set waves. Watch and follow the good guys that are catching waves.
Rig Separation - keep the sail further away from you so that it can pull you through the turns. When you choke the sail and have your arms bent you lose the input from the sail driving the board.
Hand Movement is a big Key- Backhand back in the bottom turn, slide it forward coming off the top as you twist your body and redirect your path.
Body follows head - when coming off the top, look back to the beach to where you want to go so that your body twists in the hips while you weight your heels and pull down on the booms to keep mast foot pressure and your speed going.
Knees - get 'em low and move your body like a surfer. This helps pump the board and keep your speed going down the line. Straight legs=braking! The more speed you have on the wave, the easier it is to turn and look like a pro! Speed is your friend."

Boardseeker and Boards provide a steady stream of how to help. Some of the instruction they have published in the last few months: The 3 part series: The Right Stuff For Radical Action by Robby Swift takes the reader from the basic jump all the way through every rotating maneuver you see the pros doing: Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3.  Jem Hall helps with the Carve Jibe. John Skye wants to help you make it out to the waves. James CoxChris Murray and John Skye want to help you with the forward loop. Ant Baker shows how a heli-tack is done. Phil Richards shows how to do the body drag, vulcan and spock. Danielle Lucas walks us through the Duck Jibe.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

RS:X Olympics · Windsurfing Defended · Sea Breeze

RS:X competition concludes with the Medal Races on Tuesday, August 7. NBC brought us a dedicated internet based live stream view for all of Olympic Sailing. Each class had their one day in the spotlight of a complete professional TV sports production. All the bells and whistles including overhead aerial shots, on the water moving camera work, graphic interface to keep us aware of the leaders. The only thing missing was the play by play announcer and a color commentator to explain the race as it unfolded. I guess NBC had a budget after all. True to form, NBC is in masterful control of all its content; but they do share. Have a look (go full screen): RS:X Men Race 3 & 4 ~ RS:X Women Race 7 & 8 ~ RS:X Men & Women Medal Races.  BTW, check out how the above racers use their uphaul line.  

Will the London Games be the last dance for Olympic windsurfing? Maybe. The RS:X Class reported: "The opinion of our legal team is that the decision (to replace windsurfing at the 2016 Olympics) was perverse and unfair and so we issued a claim on August 1st 2012 in the High Court in London for the decision to be judicially reviewed. This is based on a number of assertions including a failure by ISAF to have full regard to the designated criteria for the selection of Olympic classes and to ignore a previous decision that a full evaluation would be carried out on both the RS:X and kiteboard."

The gloves have come off. ISAF responded: "ISAF intends to fully defend the decision of the ISAF Council, which was made in accordance with the ISAF Regulations and the defined decision making processes of ISAF. ISAF expects the normal submission process to be used in order to ask Council to reconsider its decisions and therefore ISAF is extremely disappointed that this course of action has been taken, not least because responding to legal claims will incur substantial and unnecessary legal costs for ISAF and for the Class itself."

Expect some fireworks at the ISAF Annual Meeting in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland, November 1 - 11 when the Council will reconsider the decision to eliminate windsurfing. Meanwhile, the Petition to reinstate windsurfing as an Olympic Sport continues to collect more names.

Windsurfing defended · "The Last Word weighed the perennial political question: which is more elitist — windsurfing or dancing horses? It all started with FOX News conservative Charles Krauthammer, who took swipes at Mitt Romney for committing the political sin of sending his very expensive horse to the London Olympics. But one thing he thinks is still more elitist? John Kerry windsurfing. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell dissected the folly in that logic in the latest Rewrite."

But on the other hand: "The Pryde Group, one of the world's biggest players in the marine and adventure sports markets, is proud to announce a partnership with Jaguar Cars and the all-new Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Jaguar will appear on sails, boards, buoys and rider lycras with local market activating the sponsorship in their respective countries.

This partnership will allow the Jaguar NeilPryde Racing Series to enter another level in terms of support, presence and exposure. With successful events already completed utilizing the new RS:One board and featured in the Extreme Sailing Series, the remaining events in Cardiff, Trapani, Nice and Rio promise to provide some exciting and eye-catching spectacles both on and off the water...Mr. Neil Pryde, Pryde Group Managing Director commented: The Jaguar brand represents a leading global brand focused on luxury, lifestyle and performance, their investment with the NeilPryde Racing Series and our successful collaborations to date represent not only a boost to the tour itself but also windsurfing in general."

July this year was an outstanding month for seabreezes here in east central Florida. I sailed almost every day with either a 6.7 Maui Sails Ghost or a 6.1 Legend on a 2012 RRD 116 FSW. Weighing in at 162lbs. and being a well practiced early planer helped me make the average 12 to 18 knot conditions more doable.  I'm also an avid follower of the  local NOAA Forecast Discussion, updated 4 times daily. With their guidance and a neurotic bird dogging of my select stable of wind sensors, I was able to successfully time the onset of planing conditions at my local launch, catching a session almost everyday in July. On a few days, rapidly developing thunderstorms robbed the wind and made it too lightning dangerous to continue sailing. But overall it was a full month of windsurfing. July was hotter than normal pretty much everywhere in the US, so staying at home and air conditioned until right before sailing helped. July also brought the cold water upwelling with water temps in the low 70's (Sebastian Inlet recorded some mid 60's water temps). From the near shore cool Atlantic Ocean water to the middle of the Florida peninsula with low to mid 90's air temps, we had an above average thermal gradient: a significant factor for developing good sea breezes.

The ridge axis was a term used in almost every forecast discussion in July. I asked Dr. Steven Lazarus from the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems at FIT and Scott Spratt from the NOAA Field office in Melbourne, FL a few questions about it:

Where would I find the current position of the ridge axis?

Dr. Lazarus: Check out the Ocean Prediction Center for surface pressure/ridge axis. You can zoom in by clicking on the image - it is really nice...the nice thing about this site is that it lets you see the entire surface ridge over the Atlantic basin and click and zoom.

Spratt: The Surface Wind/Pressure Map from our Real-time mesoscale analyses page is the best place to find the current location of the surface ridge axis. To determine the likely position of the axis in the future up to the next 36 hours, you can look at our local model Forecast. Look here for a higher resolution of the next 18 hours Forecast. The ridge axis (when present) is represented by the zone or elongation of greatest anticyclonic (clockwise) curvature extending from a high pressure center. There are times that a ridge axis will not be present over the peninsula due to an area of disturbed weather (as has been the case over the past several days of early August), or if the ridge is well to the north, an onshore flow will prevail across the entire peninsula, or if the ridge is well to the south, an offshore flow will prevail across the entire peninsula. 

The ridge axis feature is important to the sea breeze. How does its location affect: onset and strength.

Dr. Lazarus: The large scale ridge does affect the strength of the sea breeze which is a mesoscale phenomenon. It's intensity and position will either enhance or reduce the sea breeze. All things being equal - if the ridge axis (E-W) pushes north of our area - the easterly flow in the clockwise circulation will increase (add on to) the sea breeze generated flow. Conversely, if the axis slides south we tend to get westerly surface flow and the sea breeze can be pinned up near the coast or not even penetrate inland whatsoever if the westerly flow is strong. In the former case, the enhanced sea breeze, may be overwhelmed by the large scale easterlies and be hard to identify. This is especially the case in the fall when the surface pressure gradient increases at our latitude. Remember - the winds blow in proportion to the pressure gradient. That is where the intensity of the high comes into play.

Spratt: While there are exceptions, in a general sense, when the axis of the ridge is nearly overhead, local winds are generally light, which allows the sea breeze to form earlier and become stronger. When the ridge is to your south, the large scale wind flow will be offshore (southwest or west winds), which tends to delay development of the sea breeze and slow its migration inland. If the ridge is far enough to our south (usually over the extreme southern peninsula or the keys), the large scale wind flow can be strong enough to totally restrict sea breeze development. When the ridge axis is to your north, the large scale flow will be onshore (east or southeast winds). If the axis is near or just north of the FL/GA line, the onshore flow will often be strong (breezy/windy), and can disrupt sea breeze formation or add only marginally to it (since the onshore flow is so strong already). When the large scale onshore flow is weaker, the sea breeze can still develop and reinforce the large scale onshore flow.

How does the ridge axis effect the development of thunderstorms?

Dr. Lazarus: See my comments above - the former case (enhanced easterlies) - thunderstorms tend to be more west coast located and vice-versa for the westerly flow and northward displacement of the ridge axis (east coast located). The sort of tweener case is the ridge axis over head - ideally that suggests that the winds are primarily sea breeze generated - in this case inland thunderstorms tend to dominate. Keep in mind that this is all idealized...Once thunderstorms develop - things get complicated quickly!

Where do sea breezes originate? Are they broadly located along coastal waters offshore or is there a more localized point of development?

Spratt: The sea breeze boundary tends to initially develop very near the Atlantic beaches (due to temperature differences between the hot landmass and relatively less hot ocean waters). The boundary (onset of wind shift) then usually propagates inland during the day, with the time of development and speed of motion dependent upon the low-level ridge axis position, as described above. On rare occasions (marginally strong SW flow days), the sea breeze boundary can form along the beaches, then be pushed back out over the Atlantic. To further complicate the process locally, small temperature differences between the intracoastal rivers and adjacent landmasses also produce breeze boundaries at times near the Banana and Indian Rivers, etc. Also, as I'm sure you notice as a windsurfer, as the sea breeze circulation first begins to form, the winds become very light (as most of the air motion is vertically rising), then shortly thereafter the onshore flow kicks in and begins to build as the sea breeze boundary starts to propagate inland.

So, by knowing the location of the ridge axis, you can make some general assumptions on when the sea breeze will develop and how strong it will become. The local forecast models also typically do a pretty good job with the strength of the sea breeze (especially the higher resolution model) -- so you can take a look at them and use them to help you make a local wind forecast.

A few knots more of wind can make all the difference for us windsurfers. Is there anyway to predict the strength of a sea breeze?

Dr. Lazarus: In terms of predicting the intensity of a sea breeze circulation - there are some simple analytic models that are a function of the difference between water temperature and land temperature. So from a simple/climatological standpoint - these are good predictors. Hence, sea breeze intensity tends to peak here in early summer (May/June) and then diminishes late summer (Sept/Oct) as the ocean continues to warm while the land is cooling thereby a diminishing temperature differential. Because our summer flow here is a combo of the large scale ridge and mesoscale sea breeze - it is not a simple answer. However the high resolution models (NAM, RUC) are getting pretty close to resolving the sea breeze circulation - so I recommend looking at their output.

What is the relationship between precipitable water, the sea breeze and thunderstorms?

Spratt: Precipitable Water (PW) does not impact the sea breeze, but does have significant impacts on whether thunderstorms develop along the sea breeze boundary as it develops and shifts inland. We have a summary on our web site which describes how the location of the ridge axis determines the prevailing wind flow (this is the large scale component of the wind, NOT taking into account local sea breezes). The prevailing wind flow also dictates the lightning storm coverage pattern for the day. The lightning storm pattern assumes "average" PW values for the given prevailing wind flow. If the PW on an individual day is higher than "average", there likely will be a greater coverage of storms, whereas a lower than "average" PW likely would mean a lower coverage of storms. Check out this web page on Lightning Threat.

Any more help for us wind junkies with anything about the sea breeze?

Dr. Lazarus: You can sign up at the  UCAR Comet Met-Ed module site, log in and take their online sea breeze tutorial. I frequently assign these to my students and they are quite good!  Some other sites that may also help - but not as good as the Comet module: Sea breeze from the U. of Illinois and NOAA Tutorial: Sea breeze.