Monday, November 17, 2008

Military style

RMC is short for Royal Military College. Its located in Kingston, bounded between the Cataraqui River outlet to the west and Navy Bay to the east. They've got a really cool little windsurfing club - lots of enthusiasm, lots of keen participants and a sweet as club house: The RMC Windsurf Club.

Picture this: It's cold and rainy, but frickin' windy. Not exactly inviting. But RMC is totally THE place. The club house is part of a maintenance building: heated, sliding garage doors on the back (to get gear in) and on the front by the water (to get out), showers, rigging space... It's blissful. Not to mention the floating dock which makes it dead-easy to get in and out - your feet never have to touch bottom! And in Kingston, that is a big deal.

Anyway, long story short, sailed there last thursday on an extended lunch break with my friend Greg (RMC club VP) - about 10°C, pissing rain and 25-30kt southerlies. A totally fun spot. The reach across the little bay can't be more than 200m, so its a bit tough to find ramps coming into the bay on such 'short notice'. But it was certainly working well on Thursday and I finally got the chance to rejuvinate my shove-its in strong winds. It is SO much easier in strong winds than on big gear. I also claim my first waterstart-out (feet-in) Wymaroo!! Stoked on that.

I love that place! Kudos to RMC for having such a neat club and lots of energy to go with it. Thanks to Greg for the photos.

This could be the last session of the year. Nothing but -ve temps in the forecast until next weekend. Sunday has some promise, but highs of 3-4C. Fingers crossed for southerlies!!! Otherwise, done. :(

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Better late than never.

I've been back and forth to Sandbanks a number of times this fall hoping to score one of them gem sessions that the place CAN deliver. Unfortunately, amongst the bad calls on my part, bad forecasts and ultimately the lack of strong winds this fall, I've never managed to get it... until yesterday.

My cold weather tolerance is definitely on the decline. It was 5C and 25-30knots and had blown reasonably strong from the SW since a day before. Was it good? It was awesome!! Bummer about the cold and finger that seems to have frost damage...

It was a great time sharing waves with some mates from Montreal. Those guys have a ton of passion, will to drive for conditions and resilience to cold. We started at Outlet Beach and sailed in some side-on conditions for a while. The cold and gloves quickly sap the strength though... A couple hours later, we packed it up and went to MacDonald's farm.

Let me tell you about MacDonald's farm: We should have gone there right from the start. When its working, that place rocks - and it WAS working. Down-the-line bliss.

Geek Coastal Engineering talk:
Simply based on the size of the Great Lakes alone, it is actually impossible to find true side-shore conditions, since we actually don't get true 'swell', as it is often called by many. In engineering terms, 'swell' is a term to describe waves that result from distant storms that travel large distances to hit shore. The Lakes, while big, are not big enough to get swell, but we get 'locally generated seas', which are waves that result from storms/winds on the spot. Because 'seas' are created that way, the wind and waves go in the same direction, contrary to say Maui, where swell comes straight in from the north and winds come from the east = sideshore. The only way we can get sideshore conditions in Lake Ontario is with the added effect of wave diffraction (or wrapping), based on shoreline features and effect. This is what happens at MacD's.

So, yup, we arrive, rig and feast like pigs on probably one of the only front-side days any of us will get all year. It is a true shame it is such a rarity. Give me once a week on 4.7 at Mac's and shit - I'm picking up and moving right there.

OK, yeah I admit, it ain't Maui and not even close, but for a bunch of kooks from Ontario and Quebec, it feels pretty damn incredible.

Did I mention it was cold?

Props to the Montreal crew - Amine, Hugues, Ilan, Jean-Francois and Christian - for a great time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Kingston Freestyle Jam

Oh yeah, I forgot to report on the Freestyle Jam held back in late September...

First things first! We magically got wind on that weekend! Brilliant - a legit comp could be run. It was a breezy SSW wind, just enough south in it to know it would die before noon. Getting a bunch of childless 18-20yr olds up and going before 9am seems to be a big challenge, but it happened. Heats were starting by 9am!

The chosen location was Emily St, just for that added bit of exposure to be had there, over last years site - RMC. It was blowing about 20kts, enough for everyone to be on 5.0, give or take. In the end, there were about 12 competitors, most under 20, with Zeni and myself capping off the older crew, me taking the lead as the most geriatric.

Well, it went off great! Everyone was busting moves left right and centre. Emily is a bit challenging with large, closely spaced chop coming in on the SSW - very difficult to find a flat patch for anything. Regardless, Phil Soltysiak was out there busting his top-of-the-line pro-level moves when us mere mortals were just trying to stick a damn spock already...

What can I say but to congratulate Phil and his buddies for putting on this event and to come complete with more energy and enthusiasm than this City has seen at Emily St since the 1983 Worlds. Choice!

In the end, Phil took the victory with this old kook in second. The official report can be seen here. Mikael Breuvart took first place honours in the pro-kids division. Congrats to Mikael for taking home a nice Sailworks Revo 5.6 and winning the highly-versatile 45L waveboard. ;)

Fun times for sure.

Oh, and thanks to the various photographers from which I have pinched photos.

Monday, November 03, 2008

2008 - The year that Wasn't.

Man, 2008 has been a tough one around here. Usually the fall has the uncanny ability to remind us that you CAN actually get strong winds around here. It's been really wierd - Kingston - often the place that gets those strong winds the most has barely been the recipient of a single gale lashing yet, and it is now November. Quebec/Vermont have been getting the goods, and shit, even Erie and Huron. For some reason, there have been some big fat systems that just seem to pass us by, or, crank during the night.

Oh well, just gotta move on. Winter is coming, as is my family's trip to Costa Rica. Stoked on that and looking forward to my token week in Arenal. Fingers are crossed for crankage. Aside from that, who knows where 2009 will lead us.

Just to make sure this post isn't completely baron of footage, here are a couple shots of my boys ripping it up on Halloween.