Sorry for the late report, but Hurricane Earl did some great things around here. By delaying our departure to Shippagan for a day, I was able to join the mass insurgence of Sandbanks Provincial Park. The drool was flowing, its not often we get strong winds in the late summer when the water and air is still warm!! Sweet!
My buddy Ilan had rented a cottage up on MacDonald's Lane, just about 250m or so upwind of Mac's launch. It was sweet! Talk about an awesome set up with a cottage for warmth, easy parking, private launch...! Anyway, he invited a number of his friends to sail out of there as well and we all had a great time! The winds came on Saturday, a bit lighter 25kts or so early, but by the time I showed up around 11:30 or so it was reasonable 3.7 and building and the waves were doing their thing, peeling gently around West Point and shoaling up on the shallow limestone shelf of the beach.
I saw some awesome sailing out there by lots of the guys! Maui-based pro sailor Patrick Bergeron dropped by to show us all how it is done, demonstrating full height on a number of perfect pushloops and backloops. Then there was the rest of us mere mortals, still able to get some airtime, throw some loopage and hit some lips. Now I wish I could remember everyone's names, but I can't - I met a lot of the new faces. Alas, I did witness some great riding from Ilan, JFLemay, Jacques and Pierre, Hugues and a handful of others. In fact, I think the nicest ride of the day that I saw was by Hugues, apparently sailing for the first time this year following a knee injury! I saw him accurately time and hit three sweet cutbacks on a single head high wave... and then keep going. Well done!
All in all, I'd say it was an awesome day and worth delaying our trip. I did batter myself quite a bit, not very well conditioned these days with my nice little pot-belly and stiff joints. I attempted a few more pushloops on starboard which feel very odd, and a backloop and small forward here and there for good measure. I had a few nice rides, but more often than not I was just not lining up the right waves to get more than 2-3 turns at most. Regardless, an awesome time! Sandbanks rocks. THIS is why I windsurf. The adrenaline and stoke I get from these conditions is unbeatable.
Thanks to the Montreal crew for inviting me to join them and sharing the stoke!
Ilan's report and link to his photoset on his blog here: WindandBigWaves