It was general insanity out there, and I got spanked and had my ass handed to me on several occassions. Lyall Bay went off the charts yesterday... big big swell, well over mast high in some sets, and winds 35knots gusting to 45-50.
I got down there at 5 o'clock, no-one else out, and it was windy as hell. Waves were breaking across the bay. Rigged the 3.7 flat and hit the waves. At first, with full strength, I did alright. One of my first waves out the back was enormous and I went for the sky. Not really wanting to, it just shot me into a backloop rotation. It was one of those where it could have been pulled back straight, but what the hell... needless to say, it was a high-altitude bail out. Its cool though, since being here, starboard jumping is feeling a lot more comfortable for me.
I sailed for about half and hour, snagging some front side hits and bigs airs, but it was too over the top for me to try any forwards or other tricks. About 1/2hr in is when I botched my first crucial chicken jibe and went down. My kit was no-where to be seen. I was in the middle of the bay, and a long swim from the beach. I could catch glimpses of my gear about 30-40m ahead of me, but there was no way I could catch it! The swimming was hard and the rip was strong. After about 10 minutes, my kit hit the beach and another 5 minutes later, I made it to shore like a soggy puppy. The walk of shame ensued...
I took a rest while Lawrence rigged up his 4.1. Lawrence was killing it, sailing as if it wasn't 35 knots - there is no way I could've held down a 4.1! I could barely hold onto the 3.7. Lawrence made it out no problems and sailed like a veteran king. Woo showed up a bit later and rigged his spanky new 4.0 and did the same, dishing out a number of controlled forwards off the shorebreak. A brilliant demonstration of sailors with a LOT of experience in these kind of crazy conditions.
I went out a couple more times with similar results. Thankfully, I never had that frickin' long swim again, but just held onto the rig for dear life as we got thrashed in the churning froth. I am thankful I did not break anything, including myself. Within a short while later, the winds just ramped up a notch more and blew us off the water. I was happy that I could at least get a couple of shmacks on small inside waves before calling it quits.
It was just one of those days that showed me how immature my sailing really is, and that I need to get those chicken jibes sorted. ARGH! Nothing more frustrating that botching those chicken jibes. This day was probably one of the most challenging days on the water I have ever had.
It was great just to have given it a shot! YEAH! Lyall Bay rocks!