Monday, February 19, 2007

know your winter ebb

click to enlarge....

Sometimes everything just lines up perfect. I had one of those epic sessions on Sunday with a sunny 65-degree day on the San Francisco Bay, 15-25k west winds and a solid 5+ knot ebb tide. The winter tides are more dramatic compared to the summer tides and things can get out of hand quicker if you lose control.

David Wells and I were out on our 10.0s and formula boards and quickly made it up to the bridge where there was a good swell coming in. Combined with the stiff 5k. ebb, it made riding the swell like walking backwards on an escalator. You could plane down the face of the swell next to the south tower and get swept back upwind. Unfortunately the ebb was a bit too strong for Feras who made his way out on his short-board gear and couldn't’t get back under the bridge with the river of ebb. It didn’t take much but the minute he was underpowered, he couldn't’t overcome the strong ebb. I kept an eye on him and finally sailed up to the Coast Guard who was making rounds and asked them to give him a lift in.

The lesson learned: Be aware of the currents- especially in the winter months as they are stronger and the wind isn’t as constant as the summer thermals. Just as quickly as it came up, the wind petered out.

Nonetheless I still got another hour of sailing under the bridge, riding some good sized swells and sharing a few waves with Chip on his kiteboard. Good times. Check out the rest of the photo sequence here as well as the surfers at ft point here.

Thanks again to Shawn Davis and his great eye for documenting the day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

light wind training

There was a fickle southwest breeze on Sunday- just enough to take advantage of with a formula sail and big sail. Shawn captured some good photos of me from the beach. More importantly, he captured a critical moment in mid pump. The photo above shows how essential it is to hang your weight from your booms and unweight the board to get going. Notice too, how my feet arn't on the rail yet. To get going in the light stuff you need to get the leach moving and air flow attached with some big solid pumps first then gradually taper them off once you get planning. Check out the rest of the photos sequence here at Shawn Davis's site

Monday, February 5, 2007

Winter training: paddleboarding SF Bay

Another windless Sunday in San Francisco but never an excuse not to train. This time Jean and I paddled up to the warming hut pier to watch the Queen Mary 2 arrive in San Francisco. Jean brought his camera to document the action. With all the spectator boats on the Bay- it was extremly choppy and balancing on the 24"wide Kona long board proved more difficult that we both imagined. Nontheless good training- both of us came in and our thighs were shaking from the hour paddle and balancing act- kind of reminded me of the way my legs feel after a San Francisco downwind classic

more paddle boarding photos from sunday's session at

A late- arrival- but this just send in by Steve Waterhouse- from his North Beach apartment last night. What a viewof the Queen Mary at night! Click to enlarge.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Fins for the L7

Every so often I get emails asking for advice on what equipment to use-
Thought I'd share this one. If you found the answer, please leave a comment below.

Hi Steve,My name is Antonio. I've just receved my new L7. Would like some hints about fins to use on. Unfortunatelly Kashy are not availabe for a long time.Wich Deboichet do you think would It fit better? I mean size and rake.Thanks

Hey Antonio-
I think the question about what fin to use on the L7 is still up in the air .We will know at the middle of the end of the season what really works! But by then its too late.
Obvioulsy the Kashy fins seems to be hands down faster in most conditions we've tested.
In lighter winds a softer 67-70 fin , I think will work well as the L7 has a wider tail and will accomodate a softer bigger fin.As the wind increases I think you would be better off for control to move down to a 63-65cm range- not as soft.
Finally when you are really pushing the control in steap chop and 20-30k, you would be better off on a 61-63 cm fin
In regards to rake- a more forward rake will give you better angle- esp in lighter winds but less control.
A more swept back fin- like the c3 or select might give you a bit more control.
It's a question of balance and trade offs- also what you can get!
In regards to the deboichet- perhaps a r17 or 19 soft to extra soft with a good amount of rake (+7) might be a good choice for light to med breeze and then go to a R13 regular rake for more control and options as it gets breezier.
Alot has to do with your sailing style, stance, built and finesse. As you get to know your fins- you can adapt to their strengths and weaknesses. I'd encourage you to test them out yourself and get to know the limits of each particular fin- how far you can push it before it stalls, can you grind off the line or do you need a clear lane off the start. These things are important to know as you build up a fin quiver. It's all about the details! So get out there and test away.
Best of luck,