Sunday, November 21, 2010

clearing winds

Every so often, things line up just right.Sunday's clearing NW winds were totally unexpected.
Combined with a big winter swell, it turned out to be one of the best days this fall.
You couldn't peel the smile off my face Sunday evening!

Video via the french connection!
I woke up and like habit checked the wind, explo cam and forecast.
By 11am, there was a solid breeze building and short boarders on the water.
Its Sunday. Change of plans!
By 1:30 I was headed out the gate in 15-25k on my favorite mikes lab 8'-10" slalom board and north warp 7.0 in a 5k ebb. I got the chance to try to the north shox for the 2nd time and wow- what a great tool. It dampens the load and lets you keep sheeted in longer to maintain full power. I had to sail through some viscous San Francisco Bay voodoo chop on the way up and the never felt like I was out of control. I set the SHOX at 80 mm so that it would give me the maximum amount of play in the steep, short SF chop.

Once up at the south tower, the swell was pumping. 10-15' sets breaking just outside the golden gate. Gomes had the place to himself on his surfboard and his purple kite. With the NW wind, its possible to ride the swell all the way into the rocks at Ft Point. I got a few runs with 5-6 bottom turns as the ebb was sucking the water right out beneath my feet. No doubt due to this weekends full moon!

The standing trough at the south tower was sick- just asking for big carving lay down gybes. I did the cycle- gybing every 20-30 seconds between the Ft Point and the South tower for at least an hour before Wells and Darcy joined in.
You can see how big Ft Point can get by the photo above. A few years ago- on a similar day, there was a spectacular wipe out and sinking of a Santana 22 that tried to go through the slot. Enjoy the full photo sequence at Wayne Lambright's page.

By 3pm, there was a full circus of kites and boards and you had to be a bit more selective on where you charged into or face the consequence of wrapping yourself in someones kite lines !
I took the opportunity to explore some other parts of the Bay that were going off.
The north tower had huge swell as well but was covered with a frothy 2-3' boiling voodoo chop as it was on the vortex of the ebb tide's peak. I usually avoid this like the plague when Im sailing formula gear but went in full throttle knowing I had a small board and small sail.
Even in the steepest of chop, charging downwind, the SHOX gave me more control allowing me to go faster. I usually have to let up a bit on the slalom gear knowing that it will take you faster than you can control but not this time.
The only disadvantage I can see is that its a bit heavy and with only a 4:1 downhaul purchase, getting the sail block to block was a challenge but with the integrated ratchet- it's possible. I did rig 2m higher because of this. Notwithstanding that fact, this piece of German engineering seems well built and totally worth any inconvenience. Now for the durability test! Lets see how it holds up over time!

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