Sunday, August 29, 2010

News from across the pond

The German twins, Manfred and Jurgen Charchulla, developed the first windsurfing harness in 1974. Born in 1939, these windsurfing pioneers wrote books; taught and developed training techniques; and opened the first European windsurfing museum in 2007. The colorful duo also play in their own steel drum band. They teach in the summer on the island of Fehmarn. Their crazy idea project, of sailing an 8 man board from Germany across the Baltic Sea to Denmark, will begin on September 3.

Here's a look at a 9 man windsurfing board from 2008 built by Joop Nederpelt of the Netherlands.

Exocet sold the Kona One to Joachim Larsson at Kona Nordic. Patrice Belbeoch writes: "Launching a pure longboard windsurf brand into today’s market was bold indeed, but the reception has been overwhelmingly positive – and other brands followed by introducing more longboards and SUP into their lines. It is always rewarding to see a vision becoming reality – and in this case I would almost say it was a mission against all odds..."

Back to the U.S. for a moment: The Kona Worlds will be in Miami this year from November 1 - 7. Limited charters are available. Event information

The European Freestyle Professional Tour was hurt by the global recession and cut the tour short to only 4 events. While the PWA was also challenged with funding in the early going this year, things seemed to come together despite the poor economy. A ladies only slalom final event set for early September was added in Hyeres, France. Josh Angulo helped bring the PWA back to Cabo Verde this year for the Tour ending wave final. Also new this year is a mid-September wave event in Klitmoller, Denmark.

The Danish are on a roll with windsurfing events. The RS:X Worlds are underway at Kerteminde. We have seen bits and pieces of  live webcasts from the OCR Tour but never wall to wall video/gps coverage of an entire windsurfing regatta. Racing concludes September 4.

Barbara Kendall, 42, one of New Zealand's most decorated Olympians, retired from competitive windsurfing this May. Her amazing career spanned 24 years and 5 Olympics where she won gold, silver and bronze medals. She said: "After 24 years I'd lost the passion for competing. I used to be consumed by it, and when I got back out there I was waiting for that feeling to come back, and it just didn't. I felt tired, and had nothing left. Winning Olympic Gold was a big highlight, but then that seemed to pale when I went and won the world championships after just having a baby. Those high points just kept coming...I miss it, I miss parts of that lifestyle. But sometimes you have to close one door before you know what comes next for you. I feel lucky that I could come to the decision for myself, I wasn't forced into retirement by injury or pushed out by the younger girls or overtaken." More

Was all that bamboo a hint? Peter Thommen is building at least some of his 2011 boards in China. Is this the start of a move on Cobra's domination of the windsurfing board industry?

The monthly online magazineWindsurfer International,  is a year old and just passed the 4.8 million pageview mark. The British website based magazine Boardseeker was recently bought out by MPORA who also owns Boards Magazine.

Postscript   "Checkout van Albeau?" is the title of a short article by the Italian windsurfing news website wind67 wide. My daily DaNews reporting has led me to many international websites. Not understanding their languages forces me to use Google translations which sometimes leaves me guessing what was intended and what has been lost..."The ideal set for each of us, we leave you any comment, and not technical. But always remember to ask questions important to understand what we need seriously..." See what I mean?  The French to English translation of a windsurfing board is a plank which after awhile starts to make sense, sort of. I've learnt there are at least 2 English languages: British and American. The foreign windsurfing media is robust, diligent, and good; often breaking American stories before any of us on this side of the pond realize something interesting just happened.


Monday, August 23, 2010

More Gear on Parade

Starboard brings back the Evo: the wide style wave board that started a revolution in wave board design...

To better meet the demands of everyday users, Starboard is now offering its SUPer 10 and SUPer 8’8 in a supreme value package with new Slick Skin technology...This is the world’s first SUP/windsurfing crossover board that applies a soft-board construction. Available as both a crossover board with rig or sold optionally as a as paddle board only, this new construction is also the most affordable one. The soft, slick bottom provides a smooth finish from a material that is tough, wear-resistant and maintenance free.

iSonic, Speed and Futura are ready to oogle.

Severne 2011 Wave Sails

RRD Freestyle Pro Twinzer, 2 fins are better than one. Thommen likes bamboo...more.

RRD 2011 Firerace

Go to the Neil Pryde website and you will be redirected to their 2011 wave and x-over sails where you will learn about their new sail materials. Unashamed, they would also like you to buy a new bicycle they now build. Fly 2 below and here for some Combat.

Werner Gnigler shares a few words about the new JP boards; more chatter and photos of the 2011 kit from down under; more photos here.

Fin freaks rejoice. New kid on the fin block, Canadian, Makani Fins offers education, blog, 3 different styles of weed fins and more.

2011 Fanatic Freewave

Nik Baker introduces the 2011 North Ego; Ice; Duke. And check out this new Ion mast protector.

Exocet follows a HiFly tradition. The large volume freeride twin fin: Twixx

More 2011 Tabou here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sarah Hebert: Transatlantic ambition

It was during a stress test physical that Sarah Hebert's heart began to race super fast: 400 beats per minute. The life threatening tachycardia episode led to the implanting of a defibrillator which will shock the heart back into normal rhythm. Because of the device, Hebert was denied the certification to compete as an athelete in France by the governing sports authority. Her Olympic dreams were crushed.

Fortunately, in stepped Armenia, who offered her dual citizenship and a chance to compete in the next 2008 Olympics. First, Hebert had to qualify her new country for an Olympic berth at the 2008 RS:X Worlds in Takapuna, New Zealand. This is when I first crossed paths with her, while I was reporting on the U.S. effort to qualify for one of the six remaining slots for women's Olympic windsurfing. The U.S. qualified and Armenia did not.

The 2009 Calema Midwinters in Florida was Hebert's first time competing in the U.S. and my first time meeting her face to face. We both use cardiac devices made by Boston Scientific who have become one of her major sponsors. Her device is only activated if her heart races out of control: it's never been used.

She continues to race for her adopted country, Armenia, but not in the RS:X class. She finished 3rd over all in the 2009 PWA Women's Slalom. With only the PWA Almanarre, Hyeres Women's Slalom Final left, Hebert is currently ranked 4th over all for 2010.

Paul Griffiths, PWA media man, had a chance to chat with Sarah at the just completed 2010 Alacati, Turkey event.

I've just bumped into French racer Sarah Hebert who is having a great week of racing and is currently lying in 3rd overall (at this event). But, this isn't her main project this year! Outside of the PWA competitions she's been planning a transatlantic trip! Over to Sarah to describe what she's dedicating her time to.

Sarah "I'm planning to start my trip in Dakar in December, but I have a four month waiting period, and land in Guadaloupe after 20-25 days! I've been dreaming about it for years, and every time I go out on the water I imagine heading off over the horizon!"

That sounds amazing. What gear will you be using?

Sarah  "I'm going to be using some Naish freeride gear. I'll probably take sails from 4.7 up to 9.0, and an 80L wave board up to a light wind raceboard."

So you'll have a support boat with you then?

Sarah  "Definitely. It's a 35 meter trimaran! There will be six crew onboard, one camera man, one for the logistics, three crew, and a cardiologist."

Why a cardiologist?

Sarah  "Because I have a defibrillator implant, which is normally used by older people. But, I want to do some research, along with my cardiologist, to find out if we can make it better for active people."

Is that the only reason?

Sarah  "I used to live on a boat when I was a child, and I love the deep ocean. I want to re-live that experience on a windsurf board. I feel at my best when I'm in the middle of the ocean with no land on the horizon!"

Are you afraid?

Sarah  "Before I announced the project I wasn't scared at all, but as soon as I announced the project, I had three days when I was overwhelmed with fear. But, this just taught me to prepare myself better, and to make sure I've done everything I need to do in order to be as safe as possible."

How are you financing the trip?

Sarah  "I have a few sponsors but I need to raise another 120,000 euros. I have raised equal to that already, so I'm already halfway there. The main expenses are the support boat and crew, and the media agency. Naish have offered all of the gear, but I need some more financial support really."

How are you physically preparing for the trip?

Sarah  "I'm doing a lot of cardiovascular work on my bike, my stand up paddle board, and my windsurf board obviously. It's quite difficult to fit it all in, with all of my other commitments, which include the tour, and the work I do for!"

What really motivates you ?

Sarah  "I love to be as close to nature as possible, and this adventure will bring that, as well as getting some important research for the defibrillators."

What do you think your biggest problem will be ?

Sarah  "I've spoken to almost everyone that has crossed the Atlantic by different forms of craft, and they say my main problem will be my feet. If I get any cuts they say it'll be absolute hell, so I think I'll have to wear boots! I'm constantly contacting these people though and they're giving me tips."

Where can we find out more about your trip? (and perhaps donate some money? or sponsor you?)

Sarah  "I have a website which is dedicated to the trip in both English and French. As soon as I begin the trip there will be daily updates with videos of my progress, and GPS tracking pin pointing exactly where I am. Take a look at the site"

Thanks for your time Sarah, and good luck with the trip!

The first and last 2 photos taken by John Carter, courtesy of the PWA

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What's new with the Learners guide to windsurfing ?

Two new communities have been added to the Learners guide: Caribbean: Southern Islands; Caribbean: Northern Islands. The traditional division for the Caribbean of the Windward and Leeward Islands left me somewhat confused so I  created a north - south division.

All entries in the Community guide require a website. Afterall, the guide is here to make it easier for everyone to find and make connections .  For the Caribbean guide, I relied a lot on Windresorts who seem very up to date and willing to blog about it. Please help by adding any information or corrections to Comments at the bottom of this post.

Started in late June of this year, Hodgepodge is a collection of websites, videos and articles not covered by the other categories in the Learners guide.

I read on Jeff Bennett's Maui Windsurfing that he once had 6,000 visitors in one day to watch one of his Hookipa videos. Giampaolo Cammarota's maui surf report has also reported big viewer numbers. With Maui as your stage and windsurfers as your audience, it's easy to understand why good reporting would draw a crowd. Ansel Adams always chose his subject well. Good craft and good subject is a winning combination.

The Learners guide, started in late May '09, continues to impress me with how global its audience is. Almost unknown to the general windsurfing population, and rarely referenced on websites, The LG is growing  by virtual grassroots sharing. Maybe it's just naive me but folks out there seem to want an easy connection to more information about windsurfing.

My favorite country visit is from Iran; just makes me feel hopeful. Seeing anything you nurture, grow and prosper, feels good. It was  nice to read a blog post from James Douglass who said "there’s something big and amazing going on with the sport of windsurfing now."

A Hardy HiHo Silver Ya'll !!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Calendar: September 2010

San Diego Formula | E.Mission Bay | Sept 4

PWA: Women's Slalom | France | Sept 4 - 8[showUid]=171&cHash=076f4b1181

St. Francis YC Twighlight Series | San Francisco | Sept 10

ABK | Hyannis, Mass | Sept 10 - 12

Toucan Open | Lake McConaughy, Neb  | Sept 10 - 12

East Coasts Championships | Mayo Beach, Md | Sept 10 - 12

Higgins Lake Regatta | Roscommon, Mi | Sept 10 - 12

Chicago Crib Run | Chicago | Sept 10 - 12

PWA: Waves | Denmark | Sept 13 - 19[showUid]=168&cHash=2f7011c662

Wave Jam Festival | Hatteras | Sept 15 - 19

ABK | Long Island, NY | Sept 17 - 19

Mille Lacs Challenge | Garrison, Mn | Sept 17 - 19

St. Francis Y.C. Twighlight Series | San Fracisco | Sept 24

ABK | Long Island, NY | Sept 24 - 26

PWA | Sylt, Germany | Sept 24 - Oct 3[showUid]=169&cHash=d47e115a75

Windpower Championship | Fond du Lac, Wis | Sept 25 - 26

Dino Race (Original Windsurfer) | Seabrook, Texas | Sept 25

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

Children of the Wind - New Trailer from Seek Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

2010 Maui Race Series a slalom race series comprising 5 seperate events, held every summer on Maui for the last 26 consecutive years. Race director, RickVetromile has been a part of every series since the beginning. According to Maui News: "As of last year the Series had run nearly 140 events and 7,000 heats. The 65 year-old Vetromile is an Aspen, Colo., ski instructor in the winter months. He's been the race director since the third event of that initial summer season in 1985."

One thing that is quite unique about the "Series" is how it gets reported. Unlike everywhere else, the local windsurfing race on Maui gets covered in the newspaper. On Sunday morning, when you want the line scores and who won what from the Saturday races at Kanaha, pick up a copy of the Maui News or if you're on the mainland like me, find it on their website.  The June 5, Starboard  Slalom  headline: Buzianis claims 2 titles at MRS season.

Jeff Benett of Maui Windsurfing shot this video of the June 19, DaKine Classic. Results here.

Here's a video by Harry Wiewal from the same DaKine Classic

The Maui News reported Yasak stays unbeaten in 50-59 heats for the July 3, Maui Fin Company Open: Results. Maui Windsurfing added this report and photos.

Let's step back for a moment...I read from more than one source, complaints about the Maui Race Series: mostly, no source of information or news. There's no official website. That's all changed...sort of. Harry Wiewal has created Maui Race Series Facebook. For those of you who have sworn an oath,"I will never ever join the zombied army of Faciebook," you're out of luck. But if you are a FB legionnaire, woo-hoo, there is a treasure trove of photos, links and videos waiting for you at Maui Race Series. You can also catch a bunch of great photos from the 'Series' on Harry's blog: TM Maui.   Some Maui bumper sticker attitude :

The July 17, Quicksilver Cup was, as expected, reported by the Maui News with race results. British based Boards ran this story. Weiwel shot 4 videos, posted to the Facebook site.

The final race of the series, July 31 Neil Pryde Hawaii State Championship, was dutifully reported by Maui News: Double honors for McGain, Roediger. Maui Windsurfing filed a photo report and the video below.

So far, all the photos in this post belong to Harry Wiewel. I'd like to introduce Jimmie Hepp: "I do not windsurf but I like shooting exciting water sports. I have been a ''photographer'' earning money for about 8 years but I've had a camera over 40 years. Digital made it affordable. I started shooting windsurf on a regular basis in April of this year, using my FB page as a website. Since I started, I have collected about 900 windsurf related friends from all over the world who seem to really like my photos!!" Hepp shot every MRS event and is offering for sale a CD of highlights. If you Facebook, all of Hepp's photos are availble to see. I'll finish this report with a few from the Hawaii State Championship:

Postscript   The 60 Days of Summer Project writes: "26 years ago (in 1984) the first Maui Race Series champions were being crowned. If you are old enough and were windsurfing at that time cast your mind back to what it was like in those defining years. I still have windsurfing magazines from 1984 (I was 7 years old); the iconic images of Robby Naish, Mike Waltz, Pete Cabrina and many more of that era inspired me and began to mould my future path. I was 18 when I put my academic career on hold, sold all my race gear and bought a ticket to Hawaii. I owe a debt of gratitude to those early pioneers just as the sport of windsurfing owes a debt of gratitude to the organisers of events and competitions around the world..." For a maha race report