Monday, August 24, 2009

Mid august swell

It was one of those days where I arrived at the beach fully expecting to sail formula but turned right around and headed home to get my small gear. 30 minutes later I was rigging up my favorite mikes lab slalom board and 6.3 north warp in 20k+ grey SF skies.
When I got to the south tower, it was pure bliss.
Standing ebb waves with the pacific swell punching through every few sets.
I had the whole place to myself with one other kiter.
Just outside the gate near the red nun were 6-8' breaking waves.
Inside, the ebb trough at the south side of the tower was peeling perfect 4-6' standing waves.
Further down the line, the swell punched through giving me some great opportunities to ride the swell in just to the wind line at Ft. Point.
There was about a 200' zone of no wind before the waves peeled right again and several surfers were out for a rare august ride inside the golden gate.
I must have caught 100+ waves on Sunday evenings session- riding each 20-30 seconds before having to repeat the same thing over again.

After an hour of what seemed like endless gybing and bottom turns on the standing waves and swell between Ft Point and the south tower I headed back home through a mine field off ebb along the city front. There was no relief at all compared to the butter smooth seas I had just been riding.
It was all worth it though to be at the right place at the right time.
The best birthday gift I could ask for!
Some great SF water shots of SF surfing cane be found at Chuck Lantz's site.

Meanwhile, crissy field as been taken over by the 505's for their world championships. An excellent example of how to run an event with live tracking , twitter feeds , and videos.

Here's the report from the Day 1: Conditions were so tough, that if you made it around without swimming, you would almost guarantee yourself a top 10 result. Some of the spectator boats said they recorded 40kn gusts though I am not sure that is true. There is no doubt it was high 20’s with gusts into the 30’s. At times you would be sailing upwind with no main and only the back third of the jib working and you would have to dump even that as a gust hit. On the water it was carnage. Rounding the top mark, boats were laid down everywhere; it looked like the aftermath of a squall. There were boats drifting under jib, waiting for a tow, there were boats separated from their crew who were desperately trying to swim back to them, there were shredded sails everywhere, there were boats without rudders, there were boats with snapped 3mm dyform side stays, there were so many boats without masts, it was inconceivable.
Enjoy the video.

Oh yea, we did some racing on Friday at StFYC with another twilight series.
Eric put together a consistent showing for 1st while I blew out a footstrap in race 3 and salvaged 2nd for the evening in tight racing. I was a bit to conservative at the top mark each race, thinking the flood was stronger, over-standing and letting a few guys slip in. Off the breeze, I found myself going deep in the steep chop gaining what I had just given up.
All of the fleet was on their 10's but I later realized the advantage I lost by not switching up to a 11.0 for the last 2 races as it got lighter.
With the fleet so tight this year, any edge you can take advantage of, will be worth the effort.
Equipment is just one part of the game that makes formula windsurfing so exciting.

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