Friday, October 16, 2009

TIREE - Back to sailing after more than 3 months off the water

My reaction when I found out I'd won the 2nd round


Sisterly advice

Thanks as always to Chris Hughes for the shots

So the physio's said I could try and sail Tiree but not to get my hopes up incase the knee swelled up too much after the first session back on the water. Here's how it went:

DAY 1 - Saturday
Firstly, my wonderful sister joined us for the first night on the Island which was super fun.
I was told that the women's would start Monday which gave me Sat and Sun to try sail for the first time and then mega ice my knee in preparation. But we got off the Saturday ferry to find out that they were going to start the heats straight away.

So we headed to Balephuil, and I rigged 5.0 and 4.5; it was marginal planning and 2 waves to count. I had a beautiful new 2010 4.5 Fly to test out and a 5.0 Combat. I was ready ahead of my heat so went and also checked out my new freestyle wave. - The kit was awesome, my knee felt ok during my warm up session, so now I just had to retain body heat on the beach (Which is not easy off the NW Coast of Scotland). All of a sudden I hear a hooter, turn around and the 'heat cancelled' flag was up. Gutted. I was ready, and the judges called to cancel based on the wind dropping off a little too much. Gotta love competition.

DAY 2 - Sunday
Today was the day; a 7.45 am skippers meeting was called, they started with the Men's single elimination and then moved onto the Women's. I rigged a 4.5 and 5.0 again, the wind was really gusty and super light on the inside which left me with a board dilema - 68 litre twinser or 93 litre freestyle wave?? The extra volume will help me get out through the sets, but once on a wave I'll do way better on my twinser.

Right before the heat I made the call to go with the twinser (my favorite!). Since I hadn't done any other events this year I was seeded bottom so had to 'qualify' for the final. It pretty much went wrong from the start; I tacked to come in when the green flag came up but there were no waves in sight....until I gybed to go back out and there was no wind on the inside = nightmare with such a small board. Eventually I managed to get out, and I caught a pretty good wave, got a few turns and finished up with an aerial onto the back of the wave. But the heat was almost over and I needed a 2nd wave to get a decent knee was hurting and as I was heading back out for the 2nd wave, the red flag went up and I knew it was all over.
I finished round 1 last. I was pretty upset because I thought I could have won if I had just made the right decisions.

2 hours later they started the Mens double and another round for the women's. This time I was amped! Luckily Sam Neal rocked up to my rescue with an 82 l real world wave which was the ideal board for these conditions.
I took it out with the 4.5 Fly, got about 3 waves - went for consistency on the first 2 and then an aerial on the last......and I made it through to the final.

I had 16 mins inbetween heats to change streamers and get back up wind (thanks Chris!).
The wind dropped, we all got out and it was FLAT! It felt like a set didn't come through the whole time! I caught a couple of non set waves and tried to make the most of them but I knew it wasn't good enough. I looked at my watch and had 90 seconds left to get back out and find something to make it happen. Time was ticking, I made it out and tacked onto a wave....Joy! IT wasn't amazing, but it was bigger than my first couple. I didn't feel like I'd sailed great but had no idea what the other girls had done either.
When they got us together for the results and announced the winner as ME I was so surprised! Awesome....but at the same time.....doom. Overall this still left me in 4th which really annoyed me. All I needed was another round.

DAY 3 - Monday
No wind.... went for a surf....still no wind.....Need another round! Damnit

Day 4 - Tuesday
No wind - doesn't even look like it's going to get windy :(
Obvious solution is to party - hard
We partied hard but still no wind

Day 5 - Wednesday
Doesn't look windy. Not gonna get windy; feel rough. Caught the flu that everyone else has had. Went for a surf and felt loads better. Ate far to much for dinner.
Forecast is not good at all and I have a flight back to San Diego in a few days time.

Day 6 - Thursday
Decide to leave the Island early and start the mission back to Cali. Shame no more rounds were run, but I suppose I did ok based on the knee, and not having sailed in so long.

Until next time Beautiful Tiree....

Monday, August 24, 2009

That one Wave

It turned out that that one wave on our July 4th dash to PSC caused more damage than initially thought. I've been quite quiet recently as I just had to have knee surgery to cut off a torn meniscus and remove a whole bunch of plica.
Apart from being incapacitated I'm really frustrated because I was looking forward to competing in Tiree. IF I recover in time then I will be going into it totally unfit and on a cold injury.
As I sit here connected to an ice machine with my crutches on the floor I can't stop thinking back to that wave ....cursing the decision I made to go for the lip.

Injury sucks.

I'm still smiling though

Monday, July 6, 2009

And He Said Let There Be Wind (and Waves)

I stuck my head out the tent to see the point breaking beautifully and anticipated a day down at the Chilli Bowl - little did I know what was really in store. By mid morning it was already reasonably windy at PSC. And I headed out on a 4.2 pleasantly surprised by the larger sets over head high. After a short session I came in to tape up my feet which have been taking great pleasure in meeting with random sharp rocks before going straight back out. Soon after that I found my self totally stacked on my 4.2, someone had flicked a switch and it was windy. I held on for as long as possible then came in for lunch and to rig down.

Post lunch I look out and realise it's got even windier. It reminded me of Bigbury about 3 years ago, but the waves were still lining up and getting bigger.
I guess I needed a 2.9 but the smallest I have here is 3.6 so I rigged it up and fought my way down the stones onto the beach. It's that moment when you look out and know it's going to be one long fight but a bloody good fun one. The white water was ferrociously being blown off the tops of the waves distorting the view of the wave behind. It was so much fun, and I was loving life - no one else was out. I was struggling to be in control and keep my board on the water, and certainly couldn't top turn anymore which meant just smacking it and going up.
Then I caught a meaty set wave and managed to get a couple of more controlled turns in; as I went for the 3rd turn I realised the section was going to close out as I headed up it...either I pussied out and turn away, or I just hit it and try to clear the water. I went for the latter, apart from I didn't hit it straight on, so as I got to the lip it had already started to curl down taking my far rail with it. As soon as I felt I was going over the falls I was thinking 'gotta get my feet out in the next milli second', but it happened quicker than that and my right foot didn't make it. It felt like I had snapped my knee in two but these things always feel worse than they are. The hardest part is getting yourself back to the beach when it hurts that bad.
So needless to say that put an end to Big Sunday for me; the rest involved lots of ice and elevation, it's not swollen so I don't think it's too serious but I'm not ruling out going back on the water tomorrow.

For now I thank KT for the comfort of the Lounge at Solo Sports and the endless entertainment of the waves infront of me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th July Mexican Stylee

Ironic that we get a day off work to celebrate Independance and then head straight to
Mexico. I think the pictures help to explain why. Although I may feel a little bad for
leaving the states and not participating in the celebrations, it meant that we spent our
4th of July in boom-logo high swell and full power 4.2 conditions. This is fast becoming
one of my favorite bank holidays....lets see if labour day can challenge it.

I had an awesome first session but in the afternoon got super over powered and started sailing pretty bad. K Mac (Kevin McGilvray) was on fire; still going for his crazy high goiters.

Thanks for the pics again Clark

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Pics: Clark Merritt (Thanks Clark!)

6.15 am pack up the truck, 6.30 coffee stop 7am cross the border, 12.45 pm last stop El Rosario for Papaya and Mango - last stop until camp. 2.30 Arrive PSC, 3.45pm hit the water; 4.7 Combat, twinser, head high and perfect.......Punta San Carlos at it's best.

I really wasn't expecting this when we arrived. Coming down on a forecast often rouses false expectation, but this welcome session was very much a surprise to me. I hadn't been on the water for nearly 2 months, but after about 20 minutes I had completely forgotten that this even mattered. What matters now is that we are here and hopefully have 4 more days to look forward to.

The place is very quiet; 2 guests at Solo Sports who leave tomorrow and 4 other sailors camping along the beach. So you can have every wave you want, although there are hundreds of pelicans chilling on the rock and cruising down the line. I had a couple of funny moments thinking I was going to hit one as I bottom turned. The seals were out in full force splashing around, and I was trying to remember how to wave sail. It felt good, bring on tomorrow.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

9ft at 23 Seconds

So this is how our Baja story came to an end: a huge swell came in and we had heaps of fun. 12 foot faces and a lot of carnage. The sets we made up of 8-12 waves - it was insane; there were enough waves for all of us to have at least one each per set.

Having looked back I guess we were pretty lucky with the conditions we got - this place is super special and I just hope we get it as good next time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Baja, Sweet Baja

I have wanted to make the journey to Punta San Carlos since I first picked up a windsurfing magazine 9 years ago. Now that I am here I cannot believe that I didn't come sooner.

It is hard to describe this place. It is like a rugged desert but by the sea, warm by day out of the wind but cold at night. There is no civilization anywhere in sight, and the nearest shop is 2 hours away. The nearest hospital is 6 hours away.

The wave is a long right that goes on and on, turn after turn, slow and super soft. There are 3 breaks - one on the beach, one at the point, and then the Chilli Bowl further down wind. The wind is cross off, perfect for down the line sailing. The first couple of days we had a decent size swell, perfect to get used to the place. The fact that there are hardly any people here means that you can have all the waves you want, and a 2 hour session is exhausting as a result of all the waves you can get.

I'm just so happy to be here after such a long wait and the place is living up to everything I had hoped. Solo Sports have made the journey far more relaxing so that when I'm not on the water I can totally chill out.

There is a big swell due to come in the next couple of days - fingers crossed we will get some awesome.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Let it snow - Navarra North of Spain

Whilst spending the last few months working in the north of Spain I decided to make use of the fact that I was so close to the Pyranees; so I substituted windsurfing with snowboarding for a couple of months. It was super fun to cruise up the mountain every weekend, but it doesn't even come close to windsurfing. Mountain was just a temporary substitute for Ocean, and windsurfing is massively back on the agenda.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Favourite Socks

Sounds completely random but after bumping into Nick at Hayling Island during the Fat Face Night Windsurf, I now have quite an affection for my socks. Nick is an Entrepreneur (sp?) who has started this business whereby he personalises socks. Basic, yet affective and they're only made out of the softest cotton ever. I have total and utter respect for anyone embarking on their own business, and this one's pretty fun and makes awesome presents so check it out -