Firstly best wishes for 2008. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got out on the water. I had a week back home to see my family and managed to get a fun day sailing at Pagham; 5.0 weather, some nice waves and loads of people to enjoy it with.
Itís been a while since my last report and most of that time I have been in Maui. We flew out at the end of October for five weeks but just before that I took part in the dramatic climax to the UKWA 4 Nations Championships at West Wittering. Unfortunately for me, missing out on the final day of Tiree meant I was pretty much out of the running for the overall. Andy King and John Hibbard had that fight to themselves and although Andy sailed brilliantly all year, it was Johnís sensible approach to contests that saw him deservedly take the UK title. At least I managed to win the event and take the remaining podium position for the year.
From West Wittering we flew almost directly to Maui and were on the water the next day. However I didnít manage to enjoy it for long as the end of my boom decided to break my nose! Ironically it was the first day I tried the Naish Boxer and it literally boxed me out! In the end it wasnít too bad with only four (not very windy) days off the water. The new Boxers are amazing though and I felt my sailing go up a level with them in my hands. No wonder Kauli has been dominating this year!
When it RainsÖ
Maui turned out to be a very nice trip. After I recovered from my nose injury the conditions really switched on. We had a couple of weeks of solid wind, followed by a couple of weeks of decent sized waves and then, to finish it off for the last week we had a mix of amazing port tack Lanes and some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen. The Lanes days were pretty close to perfection. When the wind blows from the left on Maui it transforms the look of the place and makes it look even more perfect than it was before: over mast high sets and really glassy with the cross offshore wind.
90 Foot Faces
Unfortunately, like I said, this was followed by some very heavy rain. In the UK we know about rain, but in Maui it was the first time I had heard about houses getting washed away. Power was out in the south of the island for over 24 hours, all the beaches were closed and shut off to the public and basically the whole island came to a stand still. Whilst all this was going on there was also some of the biggest waves I have ever seen. Really messy, but there was talk of 90ft faces at the outer reefs. Laird Hamilton (the world’s leading waterman) even got in trouble which goes to show how extreme it was.
Home to GC
From Maui I headed straight to Gran Canaria where it has been really good to relax. It sounds crazy when I’ve just spent six weeks on a paradise island but it’s always a lot of work when I’m on Maui. This year I was shooting for the wave section of the new Tricktionary Book which should be out in the summer. Trying to get the list of moves completed was a lot harder than we thought and together with Victor Fernandez we spent almost everyday working away to get everything done. Now back in GC its nice to get up with nothing in the diary and just enjoy going sailing or surfing. I am not claiming it’s a hard life, but it’s really important to take a break sometimes to refresh and get hungry again. Right now I am definitely ready for some good sailing.
Off to CT
Next trip away is to South Africa at the end of January. There is quite a large contingent of UK sailors out there plus Jem Hall and the Boardseeker team, so it should be really nice to go sailing with everyone and push the level.
Best wishes again for 2008 and let’s hope we get plenty of wind and waves.