After the relative stress of back-to-back events (Sylt and Tiree) I was really looking forward to getting out to Maui and relaxing a bit. I doubt I will get much sympathy from anyone, but contests do take it out of you. The travelling, carrying all the gear, rigging a million sails, carrying it all down the beach plus all the stress of actually competing. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining but it is nice to go away and just enjoy windsurfing.
Maui wasn’t just a holiday though. Roberto Ricci was out there with a load of boards to test. This was my first opportunity to firstly, meet the main man and secondly, get involved in the development side of things. Being a new member of the team it’s always good to get to know the company and the people behind the brand and what better way than to go sailing together. We had some great sessions out on the water swapping boards every 15 minutes and then talking for hours about what we liked about each one. Roberto really is a nice guy and so enthusiastic about the sport and about making the boards as good as possible.
Also out with Roberto was Aurelio Verdi the head shaper at RRD. Again it was great to go sailing with him. We got a bit too close at one point and actually crashed putting a big hole in my favourite board…but what can you say!!
At the same time I also got the chance to try out a couple of Naish Boxer
proto types. There are a couple of big changes next year that should make a pretty big difference. Hopefully, next year we will have something really good.
Normally Maui in November is a bit hit and miss with the wind. We usually bank on about 50% wind, with most days on a 5.4 but this year it was amazing; so many days sailing and 4.7 or less. Plus there were pretty decent waves the whole time; not too big, but nearly every day over head high, so perfect to really enjoy ourselves and be able to go for it.
For me things are starting to come together at Ho’okipa. It’s a very tricky place to sail but finally after many years it’s starting to feel more natural and my equipment is working really well together. I was using the 74 Wave Twin most of the time and it was perfect, especially accompanied with the Boxer sails. I am still not up there against Levi (Siver), but generally holding my own particularly on the smaller days.
It was great to see Nayra really starting to sail the place well. She has been pushing hard for the last few years and it seems this trip things fully fell into place. She was having so many nice comments from everyone about her vertical approach and aggressive style. It is a shame there isn’t an event here at the moment, as for sure she would kill it.
Surfing and Supping
The final days saw the wind drop down and, to be honest, we were thankful for the break. In Maui when the wind drops, it’s great for surfing and we surfed at least once everyday at different spots along the north shore depending on the size of the swell.
I also got out in some waves on a paddle board for the first time. We had tried it once before on flat water in Rhosneigr but this was the first time in waves. Using the Naish paddle boards it was so much fun. Me and Chris Audsley went out at Kanaha and caught some good waves, but at one point we were both stuck on the inside getting thrown around by 1ft high whitewater in complete hysterics. We would clamber onto the board, wobble to our feet and then get knocked straight back in again. Watching the good guys do it, they make it look so easy. Robby Naish and Michi Schweiger were out a few times in big waves at Lanes and looked so in control, cruising around, catching waves early and then ripping them. I need a bit more practice!
Right before leaving there were a couple of massive swells and we had a chance to see Jaws working. It’s always really impressive, but sometimes from the cliff it doesn’t look so bad. We watched some guys tow surfing it and it didn’t look so big at all. However, when you see photos from the water it is another story there are some shots of Kevin Pritchard on his blog that make you realize how big it is.
Christmas come early
Spending so much time away from my family I have always made a special effort to get home for Christmas, mainly to keep my Mum happy. This year however it was looking pretty difficult (and expensive), so I made the decision to spend Christmas out in GC. However, to keep my mum happy we had a proper early Christmas before we left.
It was a really nice day. Nayra was there, plus my sister (very pregnant) and her husband. We had a full-on Christmas day with stockings, presents and turkey dinner. It was quite strange because it really did feel like Christmas day, but when we ran out of milk my mum could pop down to the shops!
Full of Christmas spirit and a lot of Christmas chocolate, we headed out to Gran Canaria. It was so nice to get back to our home after 4 months for me. Unfortunately, we were only back for a couple of days before I had the call from JC (John Carter) to head to Fuerte for “an epic” forecast. Turned out to be a bit of a failed mission but we did get on the water at least.
Back in GC we were treated to a few classic summer style days, plus a few rare north shore days. The north shore days are often more frustrating than rewarding, with the wind being very fickle at times and every session has ended with us swimming back in. Still it feels more of a challenge and it’s always nice to catch a few waves.
When the wind has not been blowing we have been surfing or supping almost every day. The SUP is great fun right in front of the house. At low tide the wave breaks a long way out to sea and there are never people surfing it. We have had it to ourselves and once you catch the wave you can ride it all the way to the inside, about 100m.
Christmas out in Gran Canaria was pretty different. They celebrate more Christmas Eve, and then Christmas day is fairly normal. It is a holiday but it’s more like Boxing Day in England . Still a new experience and it felt good to have two surfing sessions on Christmas day!
I now stay out here in GC until the end of January, before heading out to Cape Verde for the first PWA comp in February. Let’s hope things go well for 2009!