Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pansy Hands

I have pansy hands.  Not proud of it.

How bad? Two week trips to Cape Hatteras are interesting balancing acts between wearing irritating gloves, versus suffering the debilitating appearance of blisters and torn-off blisters.  Then I go nuts with hockey tape.  By the time we're driving home, it's like a thermonuclear explosion of pain every time my hands make contact with anything, including any microscopic airborne particulate-matter.

Frustrating to say the least... sometimes I'll get a handful of nasty ones after just 2-3hrs!

Not working in my favour, I am a desk worker, paper pushing, all-day-at-the-computer type worker.  So, I'm never going get those leathery manual-labour dream hands that can repel napalm.  I need a pro-active solution.

Have you ever suffered from Pansy Hands Syndrome imparted by windsurfing?  If you haven't, then you're lucky, or maybe you get to sail too much and are therefore well-conditioned which is unfair, and also lucky.

Have you found something that helps aside from gloves?  If so, what do you do that helps or eliminates?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

October Double-Header

Truth be told, the first session was not much to write home about after experiencing the second session... But none-the-less, a right October Double-Header it'was!

Session 1:  Everitt Park Dawn Patrol.

With the forecast so dang variable and with lots of rain to boot, I never felt confident that an afternoon blast would actually happen, or happen before dark.  Add into the mix the fact that the LOOFS website I rely on is only updating once a day (due to the USA being closed for business or whatever absurdity is going on down there ;), I was doubtful, and felt the prudent thing to do would be to sneak in an hour sesh before my morning meeting.

It was decent!  Really warm (for October), just 2mm suit required.  Sailed full-on 4.2 Goya Guru in winds shifting from SE (no waves!) to ESE and improving waves.  Just made the most out of the little time I had, enjoyed about 10 minutes of the orange morning sky when the sun poked through, packed up, and off to work!

A couple of my best moments here were getting a few one-off front-side hits.  Why is this a big deal for me?  Because I'm solid regular foot, that's why.  I skateboarded regular foot, I snowboarded regular-foot.  Regular-foot stance is so entrenched in my mechanics that getting hits on the starboard tack is monumental for me - it all feels so foreign, so I was pleased with getting a few hits that way.

Note to self:  Dawn patrol in early October means 7 a.m., not 6 a.m., ya damn fool.

Annoying Interlude:  Work

Yes, I work to make a living and when talking about windsurfing, 'annoying interlude' is a quite accurate description of work, or anything for that matter.  I'll take it my boss will understand if he reads this.

My meeting wrapped up at 11:30 and I checked the web:  LOOFS had updated (was looking epic - even some black arrows in the middle of the lake yeah!), and the Weather Network radar was showing rain clearing out of Picton area by 2pm.  YES!  Hit the road!

Session 2:  Sandbanks Epic-ness.

We are fortunate enough to have Sandbanks Provincial Park dish out epic-ness a few times a year - sometimes more, sometimes less.  This year, it's looking to be less than normal, but thankfully, at least we've now got one under the belt before the temperatures start to drop.  Water is still nice and warm and the air temperature was solid at around 13C or so.  The rain dissipated around 2p.m. and then it absolutely went off.

Slash on a small-one.
 First, I rigged up the trusty 4.2 Guru with the Quad 78 and had some fun waves - still pretty small mind you, but it didn't take long for the winds to ramp up to 35kts+ and start removing bodies from rigs, including mine. Top turns became one-handed.  The waves jacked, we all rigged our 3.7 and less, and out we went again.  Great gang here on this day - a crew including Ilan, Pierre & Mimeault from Montreal, the locals Andrew & Joe, plus John & Reiner from T.O., Peter, Guy & others from Ottawa, and myself and Craig serving up the Ktown contingent.  I also met 'windchiro' and another Picton local, whom I cannot remember his name - sorry!

Peter getting some airtime on 3.2!
For the first while, a bunch of us sailed upwind towards West Point, to an area we call upper Mac's.  Not sure why (maybe because we were overpowered), but we didn't venture upwind as far as we have in the past, up near the true point where the waves are colossal, but just opted for near the top of MacDonald's Lane (barely considered 'uppers').  The waves there are clean, and easy to spot.  With a handful of others, we traded off on smooth head- to logo-high wave-faces.  Seems like I was botching more than my fair share and getting grumpy about it, but I managed to fend off those negative vibes and find the groove a bit better as I rode a couple back downwind towards the launch.

Ilan on a small one near-shore.
Medium size long peeler.  About 100m out was the place to hop aboard.
By the time 4p.m. rolled around, the overpowering conditions started to take their toll.  After my first real rest break, heading back out I totally floundered on the launch and found my arms cramping immediately once I finally made it out.  I just kept at it since I felt was no where near ready to call it quits, and luckily that cramping vanished and I ripped as many waves as I could before needing another break about an hour later.  Quite frankly, I thought I was done, but I went out again for round three, fought through the cramps that hit right away, and lasted probably another hour in blissful conditions.  

Local Joe holding down a 4.5 and charging those waves full-speed.  Awesome!
Every once in a while, I find that you can pick off a wave near the launch, and connect all the way down with 5-10 turns.  It's a very neat sensation, just hopping on a wave and letting it keep you going along the face without any power in the sail, rather than bottom turning all the time - a very useful method for connecting long rides where the wave is sectioning.

Local Andrew getting dialed on the new RRD Quad
All in all, what can I say but it was an incredible afternoon!  Great to have Mac's to a limited number of excellent sailors all with huge perma-grins on their faces.   Supporting each other, filming each other, joking around and just having the time of our lives.  THIS is why I windsurf.

The AfterGlow & AfterMath:

The afterglow from sessions like these is incredible.  For me, it usually lasts a few days as reports, photos and tales of epic-ness begin to show up on the internet, to help relive the glory. Still completely sore, but a 'good' sore that only other windsurfers can understand.  Only regret?  Rushing off for the long tired drive.  Definitely, we should have collected the gang, shared some burgers and beers!  Next time...

Didn't do much in the air (its all about the riding!), but hard to resist the odd loop.
But the aftermath....  I wonder how John is doing, after crunching his foot?  I wonder how many bandaids were used in patching up zebra mussel foot slices?  Volume of Advil consumed?  For me, I should consider myself fortunate that despite going full-on for 3-4 hrs on the water, my shoulders have come through just fine.  I'm sore all over, my feet are sliced & diced, my hands are raw meat, I've definitely bruised a rib because merely living hurts, but the shoulders are fine!  Bring out the champagne!!  Maybe the worst is over for my 2-3yr adventures in shoulder tendonitis!  Fingers crossed, knocked on wood, all that.

Head-high peeler.  These were ridable for 5-10 turns into the bay.

A couple great videos!  Thanks for capturing guys!

John's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RG8iNWqQxIg
Ilan's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BF4igzd_Y9U

Photos on this page courtesy of Craig Butler and moi.