Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hatteras Report - April 2014.

A friend and I booked a last minute trip to Cape Hatteras to score a nice forecast down there.  By nice, I mean windy of course - not nice in many other regards.  But that's all that matters really right?!  The wind forecast was damn near perfect, as you can see, not hard to make the call to go:

Sweet forecast, courtesy of WindGuru of course...
A sign on a little store on US-13 through Delaware stuck with us for the trip - "Fireworks and Hams", it said... as did a lyric from one of Craig's tunes - "Today was a good day, I didn't need to use my AK."  There's something about vacation that just inspires absurd giddiness.  Love it!

Here is the week's summary with some photos:

Arrived Saturday night after long trip through Delaware (slow, $30+ in tolls).  Kicked it off with the usual trip to the Food Lion to initiate beer-o-rama.  Beer quickly eliminating the frustration of arriving to a busted hot tub (a role it continued to fulfill adequately all week).

Sunday - no wind, but warm, sunny and nice clean 1-2' waves on the ocean.  Took out the SUP (with no rubber on yeah!), gawked at the pods of bottlenose dolphins swimming by me within 20-30 ft, surfed a few waves and had a blast.  Makes me think again about picking up another smaller wave-oriented SUP, something like THIS in 8'6" perhaps?  Yes please.  Surfing really is a damn fun sport.  Here's a wee vid of one of the waves:

Monday - light winds to start the day but building by late afternoon.  Sailed the Canadian Hole from about 3pm onwards on 5.3 Banzai with the 105L One (with MFC 22cm FS fin).  Took a while to get 'er all figured out, but had some fun blasting around ironing out the winter kinks, getting the blisters started and giving the shoulders something to scream about.

Craig ripping through a fully powered jibe on 3.7!

Tuesday - strong southerlies (that didn't end up being that strong) - sailed the Cdn Hole again with 4.2 and the wave board.  Tough finding any bumps to play with, but some fun nonetheless.  Starting to pine for the ocean but Ego Beach looked nasty atrocious - just a trip out there would have been solely to stroke the ego.  It was ugly.  Didn't go.  It was notably the last warm day of the trip!  Rainy, but a balmy 22°C.

A little sand blasting never hurt a camera did it?
Wednesday - kept on nukering, but from the North this day.  I think our house nearly blew over during the night, as we were hammered from the south, then the west, then the north.  All I could think of during the night was my unsecured and uninsured SUP being blown around under the house down there... but not so much as to actually get my ass out of bed and do something about it.  Sailed 3.7 in freezing 7°C at the Hole - damn - barely willing to sail those temps at home.  Wind was from the north - checked out Izzy's but didn't go, just felt too cold for almost pure offshore winds with no land for a damn long way, with a touch of pansy.  Froze bag off entire day.

Thursday - ahh, warmer, but not warm in any sense - about 12-14°C, but sunny!  Sailed Izzy's in the morning with the 3.5 (should've rigged bigger, but it was honking).  Waves were small and infrequent but I just had to try.  Keith (local) joined me shortly after that to show me how its done, and Toeside was out there on his kite.  Very interesting conditions.  I've never sailed winds that much off-shore before - it probably had more off-shore in it than side...  Caught about 5 waves over the course of 2-3 hours only and kooked out totally in the port conditions.  Not my tack at all!  This just gave me an extra dose of respect for Mr. Court and Mr. McCory who make Lyall Bay cross-off in Welly look damn good.  Once you are on the wave and burning down the line, its pretty damn easy to hit the wave, but finding the waves and keeping on them were tough.  Fun regardless.  Followed this up with a sunny 3.7/105 (thruster mode) session at the Hole.  Got back into freestyle and found some loop/shove-it ramps.  540's still going OK, grubs not so much.  Still nursing shitty shoulders so didn't man-up and try anything new.

On a chest high wave at Isabelle's.
One of many that got away... :(
Friday - pretty windy again but still not exactly warm - sailed 4.7 with 105L in thruster mode in cloudy skies.  Watched some guys from Quebec dominate with sweet freestyle trickery including Lopi and Luc from Iles de la Madeleine.  Those guys are pretty solid!  Saw Lopi pull out a super slow (barely planing) Flaka out of no where.  Definitely the full speed ones are amazing to watch, but when a solid sailor can pull one out of their ass when barely planing, you know they REALLY know what they are doing.

Perfecting my ducks at the Hole.
Saturday - Back on the road via I-95 this time.

Other thangs:
  • Thanks to Andy at Wind-NC for giving us the spot low-down.  Sorry we never got to sail together Andy!
  • No thanks to Hatteras Realty for the lame hot-tub that they could not fix during our stay.  Boo!  We're old men now, we need that hot tub!
  • Thanks to Bill Bell, author of the OBX Beach Life blog for an on-the-spot report from Nags Head.  Didn't get up there, but thanks for taking the time!  Much appreciated.  Here's Bill's report of April wave sailing action.
  • The Goya Banzai's are sweet and combo those with the 211 Carbon boom and bingo...
  • Bummer to see Avon Sail House shutting down the doors.  Best of luck to Margaret in future endeavours!  S
  • Never seen so much shitty reality TV as I did down there...  Bizarre Foods?  Deadliest Catch?  fark...  And if you were not into reality TV, you could always tune into the Forrest Gump channel that played it every night.  My own fault though - brought down four books and didn't crack a single one.  Too tired to read, so I let the reality TV dull my senses.  My already dimmed IQ dropped a couple extra notches.
  • SUP in good waves is awesome fun, especially with dolphins!

Hatteras is just so much fun.  Can't wait to do it again!