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Watching the Eye of the Storm..

11:51 23rd March 2008 by Boardseeker
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It’s not often the that we hear that there might be too much wind in Maui but as rather harmlessly named Hurricane Flossie approached, Jan Sleigh was on the island and wondering what conditions it might bring.

As he watched the eye of the storm approach the big island he reflected that he wasn’t really sure what to do if a Hurricane actually changed its predicted approach and hit Maui head on.

“To start with I was pretty excited that we might get some super strong winds during my trip, and the opportunity to sail in a true Hurricane was at least in my imagination pretty appealing. The forecasters predicted the trajectory of Flossie, feared it would clip the Big Island and then would continue on west missing the rest of the island chain, passing some 100miles south of Maui. Despite the forecast direction a “Hurricane Watch” was in force, so we were vigilant and kept checking to see that Flossie did not decide to change her path and hit all the Hawaiian Islands head on. We watched the news stations with interest to see what direction Flossie would take and to check what the likely wind and surf conditions she might bring guessing what effect a huge rouge independent weather system like this would have on the prevailing conditions.

As we watched the TV reports and stock footage of the effects of Hurricanes it became pretty clear that a head on hit would not be fun at all! A Category V Hurricane has winds that don\’t drop below 150mph! That’s the kind of wind that rips the roof off your wooden holiday apartment and throws your rental car at the remains! So, although the chances of a hit were relatively remote in the back of our minds was – what would you do if?

Fortunately Flossie didn\’t hit Maui, but unfortunately neither did a swell of any conceivable size! We’d heard reports on the grapevine of some tow in surf action on the Big Island, but no surf of any size materialised in Maui – disappointing surfers and windsurfers alike.

We did windsurf in some pretty weird conditions during the effect of the Hurricane – Maui was shrouded in a huge blanket of dark grey rain clouds and Flossie brought a lot of rain. Ironically, after each rainstorm the wind would shut down! This left windsurfers stranded out the back struggling to get up wind and return to the beach, with the unlucky ones having a long swim in. I spent a good half hour trying to get back upwind before I got a lucky gust and manage to plane upwind and back to the beach.”

Latest Naish addition Bernd Roediger was caught on film riding Hookipa as the edge of Flossie passed by – check it out at  www.naish.tv

If you want to know more about Hurricanes, their classifications, and what to do if you are in their path check out this link

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