Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 by the numbers- a windsurfing junkies recap of useless data

2011 was a good year when I look at the numbers:

I had a total of 131 sessions this year-averaging a session every 3.5 days or 10 sessions a month.

April & May had the most sessions with 38 for 2 months- averaging a session every 1.5 days. In contrast, when looking at the 1st 2 months and last 2 months of the year- I only got 19 days out of a possible 120- averaging 1 session every 6.3 days.
I sailed at just 4 locations. 
87% of my sessions were at Crissy Field- 114 sessions,
Berkeley- 8 sessions,
San Juan PR- 8 sessions
and 1 session at Pinole Shores.

I sailed 84 formula sessions-64% of all sessions.   
I used my 12.0 6 times,
my 10.7 28 times,
& my 9.5 50 times- 60% of all formula sessions were used on this sail!

47 slalom sessions-36% of all sessions.
All of my slalom sessions were sailed in just 1 location- Crissy Field.
I used my 7.0 27 times,
my 6.3 13 times,
my 7.8 6 times,
and my 5.8 just 1 time.

I competed in14 total regattas.
64% of which were sailed at The St. Francis Y.C- 9 total,
4 at Berkeley
& 1 in Puerto Rico!


I spent a total of 24 days racing in 3 or more races a day.

Throughout the season, I used a total of 7 sails and 4 boards.
12,0- 6 sessions
10.7 - 28 sessions
9.5 - 50 sessions - 38% of all sessions
7.8 - 6 sessions
7.0 - 27 sessions
6.3 13 sessions
& 5.8- 1 session

While I didn't track what slalom board I was riding each slalom session, I  rode 4 boards this season:
ML10 Formula- 82 out of a possible 84 formula sessions or 97%
JP 101 slalom,
ML slalom,
&; ML freeride
And finally, at the time of this writing on Dec 30th, it's been approximately 9 days, 6 hours & 23 minutes since my last session.  Through out this year, there were 4 periods of time where there were 10 or more days between sessions with the longest being between 8/31 to 9/18 with 17 consecutive days off the water. 

*individual data recorded from  @USA 4  twitter feed  and graphs created with DAYTUM.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How I almost got ran over by a train while windsurfing.

I scoped the beach out the weekend before meeting Zaijeck to pick up my new slalom board.  The launch looked sketchy. The hike down, the gate, the train track.
I wrote it off.
Honestly, I had more on my mind- with the excitement of a brand new lightweight slalom board!
But the next weekend came and the the SF Bay was still plagued by NE winds.
Crissy would be amok with kook kiters form 3rd ave all looking for on onshore wind.
Granted, Wednesday and Thursday were epic in terms of sailing in some solid breeze again. I saw some gust above 30 and was well powered on my slalom 6.3 and 85l board.
I knew I should have gone early when on Saturday at 10 am it was a solid 20-25k but dying. I thought, maybe just maybe I'd get an early session in.
The lesson I continue to learn-in the off season- the early bird gets the worm.
If its blowing at 10am on a Saturday morning- go for it.
The thermals will not be there to back you up come mid afternoon after a few hours of procrastination. 
From march through October this strategy works oh so well.
You can procrastinate ( I mean get other work done) and get to the beach by 5 and still get a solid session in.

I decided to wait and meet some buddies to sail up at Pinole shores - which has been reliable on a NE breeze. After all- we had a score to settle.
Kiters vs windsurfers. The battle never ends.

I made the trek to the north bay against my better judgement- leaving a good wind at crissy for an unknown wind 45 min away and breaking the cardinal rule of windsurfing: Never leave wind for wind!
Upon arrival I checked out the scene.

The wind was dying. 20k+ on the outside but a shlog to get there.
I hedged my bets and made the trek in with 4 kiters to Zaijeck beach.
The sign at the trail head should have been the first warning but went right on by.
A 10 min hike in down an access trail, down a dirt trail, through a locked gate. across the railroad tracks, back up the hill & finally down the bluff to the beach.
At least I had my flip flops!
My gear fit nicely in a board bag that I carried over my shoulder.

Its all about the journey I thought to myself.
I got there and immediately knew I made the wrong choice with my 7.8 rig.
I should have packed the 9.5!
It was low tide and the beach was super clean extending out a few more feet from my previous visit.
What I wasn't accounting for was the walk out in the mud till I could get to thigh deep water and keep my 39 cm fin from from hitting the bottom.
The  shlog out to the wind line was like a graph of diminishing returns.
The further I got from shore, the further the wind line receded.

The kiters on their race boards and 11m kites were wizzing past me and I could hardy break onto a plane in 8-10k.
If there was any way to covert me to kiting, this was probably it.
I got going a few times only to have the wind die even more. I decided to pack it up and head back before loosing any further ground as the wind was switch more east. I knew I would be downwind of the launch but there was no real good exit from water.
The low tide exposed some nasty rip rap with exposed rebar, razor sharp shells and oh, I forgot the 10 min minute walk up to the beach in the calf deep mud- sinking with every step
All I could think of was climbing out of a power deep day at Tahoe but this was no powder- just mud and I had no epic runs, Just a shlog.

With the gear above my head I began my exit from the water's edge up the rocks.
The balancing attempt was not working.
I disconnected the rig from the board and made my was up and down the rocks 2 more times.
It looked to be about a 1/4 mike walk back along the train tracks.
I tidied up rig into a manageable package rolling up my mast in the sail and tying it into the boom with the uphaul and outhaul,
The extension fit nicely in the boom head and the harness around the short end of the boom.
Did I mention my feet were already cut up from the climb up and down the rocks.
Now the only way back was along  train tracks.
If you've ever walked along the train tracks you know those rocks arnt the smooth polished ones you find at the ocean.
No- they are jagged crushed rock that bruise the soles of your feet with every step.
There had to be a better way.

I looked around- a path of thorny bushes and poison oak to the right or the train tracks.
I opted for the latter and was actually enjoying the trek getting a nice soft massage on my feet with every step on the wooden planks of the rail track.
That was until I head the train whistle from behind  and looked back to see an Amtrak train coming around the bend at full speed.
My first reaction was to drop the gear and jump out of the way.
A split second went by and I imagined my new board, carbon mast and boom all getting run over my the train.
I hobbled down the bank with about 10 seconds to spare- rig and board balancing between my arms.
The rush of wind in front of the train nearly knocked me over.
I could see the conductors face looking down at my nearly 2 stories above on the double decker train wondering who in the world is walking on the train tacks in a wetsuit carrying what looks like a surf board and a rolled up sail.
The again, This was Pinole. Stranger things have happened.

I made the rest of the walk back avoiding 2 more trains as the whipped by but by this time I figured out the system.
The tracks start to vibrate and make a high pitched noise about 20-30 seconds before the train arrives so I had plenty of time to jump to the side and wait for the trains to pass before continuing on .
Still some strange looks on those train conductors' faces

Zaijeck  met me about 3/4 of the way back and helped me carry my board back while I handled the rig.
We laughed and decided maybe this wasn't the best launch on a dying breeze.
As I waited for the rest of our group to derig and drink an few beers on the deserted beach, I thought - it probably could have gone a whole lot worse.
Cut up and bruised feet sure beat a pile of carbon and styrofoam splinters along the edge of the train tracks.

Ill check that beach off the list of places Ive sailed but probably wont be making the trek back anytime soon. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday night fog

The fog was as thick as mud.
The tide- like a bed sheet pulled tight with its corners tucked- was running flat and sticky.
There was no escape.

I tacked on what I thought was normally the layline- but then again- I had no idea.
There was no reference of land. No sun. Only a white abyss and my starting watch telling me Id been sailing upwind on port tack for just over 2 minutes.
It took me 4 more tacks to get around that windward mark on what normally takes one.

Its a surreal experience, windsurfing in the fog on the San Francisco Bay.
At times, you cant see a single thing.
Just the fog and the sound of your board slapping against the water.

The long drawn out drawl of the fog horns on the golden gate bridge are the only reference to where you are and where you're going.
The south tower has its own pitch- loud and deep.
Almost enough to knock you off your board if your close and not expecting it.
The mid span has another pitch- higher and closer in frequency.
The north tower fog horn has its own horn- set at different timing than the other 2.

I made the last minute decision to run the NP10.7 vs the 9.5 it was really starting to lighten up before the first start.  I'm glad I did as that made all the difference in getting around the course quickly and efficiently.
In all but 1 race, I lead around the course- getting in and out of the marks without much hassle as others had to double tack and piled on top of each other at the roundings.
A lot of light wind racing is won before the start of the race.
Getting yourself into the right position in the per-start is essential to getting a good start.
With the flood running hard, you had to position yourself to windward of the starting line with 1 minute to go and drift down so that you had speed and angle in the opposite direction at the gun. Easier said that done.
The one time in race 3  I didn't do that I got stuffed on the start and was ducking sterns to get clear air.
Al got the inside puff and climbed while Tom, Marion and Soheil all got the jump in front of me.
Soheil had tacked immediately after the leeward mark and was going for the bigger breeze outside
Just a few seconds later, Tom and Marion went down in a close rounding as I zipped by going to the inside.
As I tacked back I had Soheil and tacked just in front of him on the layline.
What I ddint account for was the flood pushing me down in my tack when my vmg wasn't high.
That was just enough for him to get me as I had to sail a longer distance to get across the finish line while Soheil shot the line at the pin end to grab 2nd. 
With the wind dying at Anita mark, the RC changed things up a bit and ran a course with the windward mark at the H beam.
It really didnt matter as you still had to sail to Anita to get to the layline.

After the wind died even more at the top of the course, the RC decided to really invert things.
A downwind start to X- back to A and B. Down to X and back upwind to finish.

The juniors were holding up well with Marion and Jack getting some consistent finishes amongst the fleet.
Marion was even leading one race as she got up onto a plane sooner than me and reached right underneath me on the reach to B.
Luckily for me a puff filled back in on the run to the leeward mark and I was able to regain the lead and stay in front to the finish.

On the last race of the evening, the fog came in thick.
Im not sure you could even see the windward mark until you stumbled upon it.
We all tacked at the same time hoping we were in the vicinity.
I held onto the lead rounding the leeward mark but wasnt sure that if I finished at the pin end, the RC would be able to see me.
I reached down the line out of the fog just in front of Al who had sailed up the shore and was coming on strong.
Then again- close only count sin horse shoes and hand grenades.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buy Steve's quiver- formula and slalom windsurfing equipment for sale

Ive got a lot of gear for sale at the end of this season.
Contact me for more info and prices
usa4windsurfing at gmail dot com

Formula gear:

2010 Mikes Lab L10 Formula board- one of the easiest and most comfortable formula boards made.
This board finds its groove easy from 7-25k. Ideal for 9-12.0 sail size, Rides well with 60-85cm fins.

Neil Pyrde X9 formula boom 225-285cm- race ready
     complete with adjustable harness lines, adjustable outhaul & easy uphaul

HPL Formula Boom 225- 310cm race ready- reinforced carbon front end w/ maui sails head
complete with adjustable harness lines, adjustable outhaul & easy uphaul

HPL Formula Boom 225- 310cm race ready-

complete with adjustable harness lines, adjustable outhaul & easy uphaul
2010 Neil Pyrde evo2 10.7- great light to medium air race sail. This sail is incredibly light to pump and is very light in the hands. Sails well from 10-20k range

 2010 Neil Pyrde evo2 9.5- sold

Slalom gear:

Mikes lab 23-1/2" wide 100l slalom board- This board makes your teeth rattle in 5th gear. Its super comfortable to ride, gybes easy with a narrow tail and flies right over the chop. 5.0-7.0 sail range. 32-39cm fin range. Ideal for medium to high winds. Old school style but new school comfort.

JP 65cm wide 100l slalom board- This board has thicker rails and carries through the lulls well with more volume in the tail. It has lots of power combined with a powerful 42cm fin and 7.0 rig. Ideal for mid teens- mid 20k range.  6.8- 8.0 sail range. 36-46cm fin range.  Excellent for bigger guys. It sails more like a 110l board.

F2 68cm wide 105l slalom board- This board does everything well. One of the most friendly all around, lively slalom boards Ive sailed. Ideal for mid teens to high 20k range. 6.0- 8.0 sail range. 34-44cm fin range.

2005 North warp 5.8- this sail has been sailed only a  few times. Super stable in op'ed conditions.

2010 North warp 6.3- ideal high wind slalom sail- 18k+

2007 North warp 6.3- ideal high wind slalom sail- 18k+

2010 North warp 7.0- ideal medium range slalom sail. 15-25k

Neil Pyrde 200- 260cm slalom boom - race ready
     complete with adjustable harness lines, adjustable outhaul & easy uphaul

HPL slalom Boom 200-260cm race ready-

complete with adjustable harness lines, adjustable outhaul & easy uphaul

HPL slalom Boom 190-250cm race ready-

complete with adjustable harness lines, adjustable outhaul & easy uphaul
North viper 430 mast
North viper 460 mast

Rigging Parts
Streamlined 30 cm mast extension- US
Streamlined 46 cm mast extension- US
Streamlined US universal
Marlow Formulal-ine downhaul line- the strongest and most durable downahul line available.

Techtonics 32cm goldwing slalom fin
Meanline 34cm slalom fin
F2 36cm g-10 slalom fin
Techtonics 44cm goldwing slalom fin
Techtonics 60cm goldwing slalom fin

Friday, August 26, 2011

2011 Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race

The bridge to bridge race is like no other.
20k+ at the start just outside the golden gate bridge and barely a puff in the air at the Bay Bridge finish line.
There is a race to the finish area and then a race to get across the line.
Racers come screaming downwind from the golden gate only to come to a sudden stop and if your lucky a crawl across the line. 
This year the skiffs, kites and formula boards all started on the same starting line set just outside the golden gate bridge. Chaos entailed as we all lined up full speed for the downwind start. I opted for my 10.7 knowing that I would need it at the end of the course but it sure was a handful a the beginning. A few boards got rattled by the skiffs but it was the kiters who jumped out to an early and expected  lead. 1/2 way down the course I gybed back and was still looking in decent shape amongst the charging fleet. CRad came flying in from the far side after gybing immediately after the start and finding the flat flood tide to take him down the Bay.

It was still pretty crowded and you really had to look out for the skiffs and kites who all had different downwind angles.
As I rounded Alcatraz the top group was out in front but anything could still happen. I opted to heat it up a bit as the breeze was starting to diminish but inevitable took it too far to the city front and when I gybed back fell off a plane for the first time.  Ouch there goes a few precious seconds.
A few pumps and back in the thick of things again.
I had just 1 or 2 options left as fleet was getting funneled into the finish area.
I gybed off before the layline taking a risk and separating from the fleet hoping that the Treasure Island bubble would catch them all off guard. As I looked back one by one they all fell off a plane just a few hundred feet in front of the finish. I over stood the finish almost going below it in order to get the required speed to cross it but alas fell off a plane again as the wind was barely 5k at that point.
Even a 12.0 wouldnt help at that point.
The skiffs came charging in hard and overtook the line of boards.
What seemed like an eternity later I crossed the line around 10th place.
Local SF Bay racer Brain Lake took the win on his kite but it wasnt almost so as he had to practically slalom to the finish to keep his kite in the air. Amazingly he managed to break the course record Micah Buzianis has held for almost 5 or 6 years now.

The trip back home was littered with fallen kites. It looked like a graveyard with everyone waiting to be plucked out of the water. I managed to find a puff and get going but the fog rolled in so thick you couldn't see much at all .

Bridge to Bridge 2011 from Phinneas Photoboy on Vimeo.

All photos & videos via photoboy at pressure-drop
GoPro video by waterhound

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer stoke factor

If I missed out on the polynesean sailng canoes entering the SF Bay, I certainly found the stoke alive at the south tower yesterday. It absolutely went off.
Huge ebb, south swell and a 18-22k NW seabreeze.
The best day of the season so far...but thats what I said Monday!
I've been a bit burnt out on windsurfing the past few weeks doing 3 back to back to back 5 day events. My energy level at last Fridays race was at a minimum. No motivation.
But alas a good ebb tide will change everything!

Getting there was worth its weight in gold as I had to come back and fin down from 39 to 32 just to cope my way through that minefield of voodoo chop east of the gate. I've only seen the bay get that frothy a few times. Wicked sets of disorganized chop throwing in every direction but once up to the golden gate bridge it all changed.
I did the circuit between the south tower and ft point for 90 min before I was absolute mush.
More gybes yesterday that the entire season.
The standing wave just outside the south tower was just epic.
3-4 sets would line up and carry down past the tower. I had some double and triple dip rides getting me deeper than Ive ever gone before. A few times I looked over my shoulder to see Bowen or Erin on their kites a few sets back but their kites in front of me. It was all good through as the stoke factor was way high and everybody was killing it out there.
The ml slalom board and north warp 7.0 were perfect getting me in position every time.
The sheets of velvety smooth silk water were unreal at fort point with the water moving so rapidly but the surface smooth as silk. You couldnt ask for a more perfect compliment to the standing wave just to the south of the tower.
My last ride I got greedy and tried to go for my 4th gybe at the tower shooting the eddy and pearled the front of my board in 5' steep face. I got shot out so fast and before I knew it I was water starting at the red nun. The friction on the water was so strong that it was almost impossible to get the leach of the sail free for a waterstart.
At the end of the day I was like a little kid returning to the beach after his first day in the straps or discovering what planing is all about. This sport will never grow old as long as there are days like these to keep me going. US M9 was certainly smiling down on us today!
Thank you world for lining it all up.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

techno 293 world champs- San Francisco Ca

Its been a while since I really got involved in helping out with an event but it only seemed right given the scale and importance of the Techno 293 World Championships being held in San Francisco from July 19-24 at the St. Francis Yacht Club. Its been 20 years since the last major world windsurfing championship has been held in the US at the St.FYC for the 1991 Mistral World Champs.  From the early stages of designing and developing the event, I knew it was going to be big but it didn't strike how big till I got back to Crissy field last Sunday after a few weeks away and saw almost 100 windsurfers out on the San Francisco Bay getting ready for the event. The place rivaled the likes of Lake Garda or the South of France with beautiful sunshine, brilliant water and the flicker of hundreds of windsurfing sails on the water.

The sheer joy and excitement that the kids are getting are worth their weight in gold. Im so stoked to see so many kids enjoying the sport on the San Francisco Bay.

There are over 180 competitors from 24 countries taking part in this years world championships with 5 different fleets: under 17 boys, under 17 girls, under 15 boys, under 15 girls and finally a combined open techno and race board class. The 2 courses are set up on the San Francisco city front with the west course set just off cissy field and the the east course starting further down near Fort Mason. Each fleet will race 2-3 races a day for a maximum of 12 races over the 5 day event. Despite starting at 11 am, racers are taking the full beating the SF Bay has to offer, but these kids are tough. I was on the rescue boat today and despite being totally worn out, exhausted and not able to stand, some kids refused a ride back after the racing was done as they were flooded down past Fort Mason. Win, lose or draw every one of the kids will come out a stronger sailor having more respect for the natural world and the conditions thown at them.
After 2 days of racing, Im super excited to see local Marion Lepart at the top of the under 17 girls fleet with 4/5 bullets. She's been sailing brilliantly and nothing seems to phase her. This kid's going to go far!

As expected the euros are leading in most of the other fleets as the class is especially strong in mainland Europe as is windsurfing in general. We could really learn a few things from their programs like fleet building, investment in youth sailing and regatta preparation. To see the organization of some of the teams is simply amazing. They are still kids but nothing is left to chance when it comes to winning. Coaches, team meetings, special diets- its almost as serious as the Olympics.
But lets not forget- this is windsurfing. No blue blazers allowed.

Enjoy the videos from Patrik Pollak at SVK-1
Results so far
Offical website:
Photos and stories by waterhound

Friday July 22 update:

video via SVK1
3 more races in today for all fleets- a busy day on the water.
We rescued a few more kids as the flood tide and container ships keep the RC on their toes today.

Local SF rock star Marion Lepart stepped it up today with another 1, 4 on the scoreboard. Unfortunately the light wind got the best of her but lucky for the throwout. Shes sitting in 1st after 3 days of racing with 4 more races to go in the series.
Some great photos by SVK1 Patrik Pollak

Also Shawn Davis' impeccable eye- photo link here 

Day 4 video from SVK-1

2 more races today for all fleets- right on schedule as the SF Bay winds always deliver. This time however it was much lighter 12-14 building to 14-16k.
The girls fleet was sent out first for a back to back races and Marion was about to face her biggest foe- lightwind. SF Bay sailors typically do much better in the breeze as its just a matter of time before it fills in. After a deep 1st mark rounding she hustles back to 7th in the first race and must have had some major revelations as her lead in the 2nd race was over 3 min at the finish. Ive never seen such a huge lead on a short course. Great sailing by one of the best junior windsurfers in the world. Going into the last day- she's got a 4 point lead with 2 races remaining.
Also on the schedule for the last day is an unofficial official long distance race with a rabbit start off the beach and one big trip "around the rock" to Alcatraz and back. Im pretty sure the junior windsurfers will be talking about this race for years to come. The start will be off crissy field with a gybe mark just off Anita rock and another gybe mark in front of the StFYC and the around Alcatraz and back to the beach with the finish line up the beach requiring the racers to ditch their rigs and run up the beach to be scored.
Waterhound photos from day 4
SVK-1 photos
Shawn Davis photos

Day 5 report

Well the dogs didnt blow off their chains for the final day of the event and sailors had a pleasant 14-16k breeze to showcase their racing skills. That was just enough for Marion's British counterparts to seize victory despite Marion leading the entire regatta in the u17 girls division. In fact, the UK team swept most of the classes. A great testimony to their country's commitment to sailing programs. Im sure we will see more of them to come.

Also on the course sunday was the unofficial official long distance race around Alcatraz and back.
The Netherland's own Joris van Essen (NED 1111) took the victory with Sara Wennekes (NED 203) leading the girls around.

I was really stoked to see the windsurfers at crissy field again. It seems we are seeing a resurgence in the sport again. I cant help but grin knowing we had a part in it. In fact- 110 volunteers took part in the past 5 days in some part or another- a huge tribute to the dedication of the StFYC and local windsurfing and sailing community.
As usual- Shawn Davis was on the water shooting some great shots.
You can find his gallery of images here.
David Wells of Waterhound was there every step of the way as well with a unique recount of each of the days events. Full story at

Thats a wrap...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Digging deep on the last day of the US Windsurfing Nationals

Going into the last day of the US Nationals I knew what I had to do:
Up my game in order to get back the 4 points I lost to Sylvester in Friday's long distance race.
It wouldn't be easy as the clock was ticking down to the last possible start at 4pm and the possibility of only 2 races.
The setup couldn't be more ideal- a chance to race in light wind after having raced in mostly powered up conditionals all week.
At 2:45 we hot the water. I was ready- armed with my best light-medium air set up of a NP 10.7 and Z super soft fin.
I got rolled at the start as Schurman and Phil sailed under and on top of me. No where to go but tack off. I was still in the pack rounding the top mark with Steve, Mike, Soheil and Eric rounding in a tight group as the leaders got a good jump on the fleet. Maris was sailing a great race in 4th- finally getting his gear tuned up for the bumpy conditions the SF Bay offers
I sailed down the right side of the course with Eric as the others gybed off for more pressure near the pier.
After rolling Eric to leeward downwind with better speed, I saw that we had made significant gains on the boards inside. I kept the pace upwind sailing back to the outside where although it was a but lighter, I was able to optimize my upwind VMG. I rounded the top mark in 5th trying to real Maris in but he was flying with his 11m rig. The usual suspects rounded out the top 3 with Phil just edging out Wilhelm for 2nd and Paulo taking another bullet.
I looked back and saw Sylvester had not recovered well and got stuck in 8th.
The gap was down to 2 point. All I needed to do was put one board between us in the last race and I'd move back into 5th overall.
GBR-451 didn't fare so well breaking a mast in the opening moments of race 1 and hustling to get back to shore to get on his 10.7 for the next race.
Making sure I got a good start, I really got off the line well and played the outside with Schurman as the other tacked back for pressure at the pier.
We tacked back and looked really good. I rounded in 3rd just behind Paulo and Wilhelm.
Downwind I sailed conservatively trying not to loose anything although Phil was catching up.
We split tacks again on the upwind as Phil tried for more pressure at the pier and myself on the outside.
This time it was his turn and he just edged me out getting to the top mark a few seconds before me.
I held onto 4th looking back to see a few boards between S3 and myself.
I was super stoked. I had a goal for the day, sailed my best and met the goal.

But it wasn't over yet- S3 filed for redress in race 1 as the RC safety boat made an abrupt movement right into his path causing him to stop and loose some time.
How much time was the key factor that the jury would need to decide.
I was one point ahead so any redress points awarded to him would affect me.
As a result I was invited into hearing as an interested party.
I made sure the redress was filed correctly and listened to make sure the detais were correct.
Then, when I got the turn to speak, I made the case that S3 should be awarded average points for the day vs average points for the regatta as today's conditions were an unique set of circumstances we hadn't seen earlier in the week. If S3 was awarded average points for the regatta he would surely beat me. If he was awarded average points for the day, I would remain ahead.

The Jury decided between the 2 and gave him an average of 6th place which put us in a tie for 5th overall.
Looking at how the tie breakers are determined in windsurfing with appendix B , the sailor with the best throw out wins. I had a 7th vs S3's 8th.
I learned a lot in this hearing seeing how jury weighs their options for redress and how you need to present your case well.

At the end of the day, Steve and I were both pretty amicable about the whole thing. Its hard to let these things get in the way of the racing but it's all part of the game

Top 5:1- BRA-333
2- BRA-999
3- KA-7
4 GBR-451
5 USA-4

Full results
More event coverage from waterhound
Shawn Davis Photos:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Berkeley pier race: Day 4 US Windsurf Champs

On the schedule today for day 4 of the US Windsurfing National Champs was a long distance race 2 times around the Berkeley pier for 3 upwind and 3 downwind legs. At the start it wasn't clear by all sailors that the race had started. The leaders got out to a big lead as most weren't familiar with the rabbit start by the RC. I was one of them so it was playing catch up the whole race. Sylvester managed to sneak ahead of Xavier and I so I'm down 4 points at the end of day 4 for the 5th overall.
The leaders sailed beautifully. In fact, it was a photo finish after 20 mile + trip 2 times around the berkeley pier for BRA999, KA7 and BRA3333.
Conditions were from 16-24k and lumpy seas. I'm not sure I could have done anything differently except pay a big more attention to the top guys around the start and try to to get any separation.
1 more day to finish strong. Saturdays forecast looks like more marine layer so maybe a chance to bring out the big guns and race with the 10.7.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Berkeley delivers

Day 3 of the US National Champs saw the Brazillians dominate both the formula and slalom courses in classic SF Bay conditions. 3 formula races were run in 18-24k followed by 3 rounds if slalom in 20-25k.
Paulo Des Reis collected another string of bullets as he's on par to sail a perfect regatta, something that I'm not sure has ever been done at the US Windsurfing National Championship. Not to be outdone, Wilhelm Schurman collected 3 bullets on the slalom course followed by a string of 2nds on the formula course.
The first race started off with the breeze filled in and most on the 9.5-10m rigs.
There wasn't as big advantage to the right side today as previous so most continued to the corners to maximize their VMGs which Paulo seemed to have the best of. He simply sailed away from the rest of the fleet. Schurman played the 2nd fiddle while McGain and Ferlet battled it out for 3rd and 4th.
Sylvester managed a consitstant day closing the gap on me and we remain tied at the end the day for 5th. In all but one race he was clearly ahead and finally I tried to wear him down in race 2 when he left the door open on a wide leeward mark rounding. The next upwind I inched my way matching his speed and angle and evern rounding in front of him at the top mark only to have him call the better lay line to the finish.
The lesson to be learned is play your last move well. It doesn't matter if your ahead or behind just make sure you don't blow it before you get the finish.
After 3 races we switched to slalom but at that point I gad to listen to my body after having been in race mode for the past 16/17 days. I gladly made my slalom gear available to Paulo as he currrenly wasn't entered in the slalom comptition and showed he's pretty solid around any race course. I'm not sure I've ever seen my gear go that fast! He gave Wilhelm and Phil a run in the 2/4 races but called it quits to save strength for tomorrow an saturdays long distance and course racing.
3 races were run in 20-25k with the San Francisco city front and golden gate bridge in the background- an amazing backdrop for racing.
Schurman clearly dominated with better gybes around the course even if Phil was ahead. PRO Darren Rogers ran the fleet till 6:45 when the last race was run and racers returned to BYC for dnner and a screening of Wind and Water, a film by Bill Wier.
On the line up tomorrow is more course racing and the possibility of anlong distance race or more slalom. The freestyle competition will continue to be run from his lordships at the bottom of the basin.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TKO by the Berkeley weed on Day 2 of the US Windsurfing National Champs

Day 2 of the US Windsurfing Nationals saw 2 more rounds of formula course racing in the early afternoon & 3 rounds of slalom finishing at 6:30 pm in the South Basin off the Berkeley Pier.
Racers were greeted to a lighter than normal fogged in Bay Wednesday morning. PRO Darren Rogers made the call formula course racing at 1:30 when Paulo Des Reis continued his domination with 2 more bullets to add to his already perfect score. Australina native Phil McGain was noticeably in the mix today trading places with BRA999 Wilhelm Schurman for 2nd & 3rd while Xavier Ferlet put in another solid performance sealing his position in 4th. I managed 1 decent finsih sneaking into 5th by some efficient out of the harness pumping downwind as the wind dropped to 15k and the 9.5 just wasn't cutting it. Time for some grunt work.

While the wind was slower to fill in today, it was the weeds on the course that got most competitors frustrated.
Every leg of the course I looked down to see a trail of weeds behind my fins.
Race 1 started with the top guys on port tack. I got a good jump and shot the pier finding a narrow slot to sail through and searched for the breeze on the normally favored right side. Unfortunately when you sail to the corners calling the lay lines can be a real risk. I underestimated and got the short end of then stick as the leaders sailed by. 2 more legs was enough to catch up to 5th putting a few positions between my nearest competitor behind and myself.
Race 2 saw the top guys get off the line well again on port as the RC moved the pin end down 2 times.
I got hosed from the start with a big trail of weeds from the begining wondering why I couldnt point or get speed. Local knowledge paid off for Sylvester and Percey as they sailed a solid race seemingly avoiding the weeds putting them back in the hunt.
We had a 90 min break on the beach as the RC switched from course racing to a gybe downwind slalom course. Having gotten skunked so many times before with slalom at Berkeley, I made the risky call to run the slalom course in my formula board, 9.5 rig and 60 cm fin in the 18-22k breeze. While it didn't quite get the job done pretty it did put me near the top in the first 2 races. By the 3rd race, it was more if a liability as I laid down the rig at the first mark to gybe only to have 3 sailors under neath me get crushed as well as my battens in the 9.5. McGain wasn't so lucky in race 1 as he sailed the wrong course after leading.
Sometimes you need to take a risk to win, other times you need to eliminate them.
At the top of the slalom rankings after 3 races, Brazillian Wilhelm Schurman maintains a solid lead. Tomorrow's forecast looks more of the same so expect formula course racing in the early afternoon followed by either more slalom or long distance. Friday and Saturday sees the return of freestyle so racers should get a needed rest but I'm fully expecting a full series of racing to continue through the weekend.
A big thanks to the RC for setting up and tearing down 2 courses on the water today.

Steve Bodner

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 1 regatta report US Windsurfing national championships

Day 1 of the 2011 US Windsurfig national championships took place in the San Franciso Bay off the Berkeley marina on Tuesday, July 12 with 39 competitors from the US, Australia, Brazil, England, Finland, Latvia and New Zealand.
4 course races were run in winds from 12-28k with the foreign sailors taking the top 3 spots. Paulo Des Reis, BRA-3333 walked away from his comptition by taking the 1st four bullets of the regatta with Wilhelm Schurman, BRA-999 holding on for 2nd in all the races. Xavier Ferlet, GBR-451 holds onto to 3rd place with myself in 4th as the top American.
Race 1 was delayed until 2:30 when the wind was not quite filled in but rather dead on the left side and building to 18k near the pier. Many sailors were caught off guard including myself as we found the big holes around the course and an unstable shifting wind. The lesson is to never give up. You never know what's going to happen to the guy in front of you.
Finally by race 2 the breeze built to a solid 25k with BRA-3333 and BRA-999 taking an early lead. I followed S3 & GBR-451 around the leeward mark and was able to carry it a bit further at the pier & managed the windward beat in 1 tack while the other 2 had to double tack at the windward mark. A lot of racing has to do with finding the right agles around the course so you can set a course to the next mark most efficiently. From there I stayed ahead taking 3rd.

Short break back on shore and another 2 back to back races in 20-25k the dying down to a managable 18-22k for the last race.
GBR-451 stepped it up adapting the the conditions with a 9.0 & 61cm fin while the rest of the fleet was on 10.0 and under. KA7 was noticlbly abscent missing the race. I managed a close race in race 3 just finishing 1/2 board behind Xavier at the finish of the 18 min race for 3rd place.
Finally in race 4, Sylvester Got a great jump at the start as I got rolled by Xavier who spritzed off the line for a great start at the pin end.
I had to fight my way through the fleet one board at a time rolling Percey upwind and Soheil off the breeze as I was able to call the better lay line at the bottom mark just before the shirt rexh to the finish. Unfortunately just not enough time to catch Sylvester and Ferlet who rounded out the top 5.

Tomorrows forecast looks similar with slalom on the agenda in the afternoon in the breeze builts enough.
Full report at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 5 formula wondsurfing world championship

The last day of a 5 day world championship is always the hardest. You need to dig the deepest to find the energy, will and determination to keep it going, knowing that in just a few hours it's all going to be over. In most cases your fate has already been established, you're throw-outs taken and it's just a matter of not dropping any deeper in the fleet. For the sailors at the top with lower scores, there’s an opportunity to gain or lose significantly.

Going into the last day, both the men’s and women leaders only needed another bullet to secure their place on the podium. Antoine Albeau got it done with 3 races to space as he was 15 points ahead of his nearest competitor. Local San Francisco prodigy Marion Lepard, however kept the excitement going letting the number 2 girl, FRA 59 get the first 2 races then finally took the 3rd race of the day and securing her spot as the youngest girl to win the formula windsurfing world championship.

Up at top of the men’s fleet Arnon Dagon from Israel showed that he had what it took taking the last few bullets of the regatta and securing his spot in 2nd place.

Gabriel Brown, another young 19 year old from Brazil sailed an impressive last 2 days and managed to take the final place on the podium.

I'm consistently reminded of a Gary Bodie article in sailing worlds several years back about 'avoiding the big bummers.' This regatta that really struck home as I saw the guys at the top of the fleet sail consistently while the rest of the middle and back of the fleet sailors had scores all over the place.

With the approaching storm, I though it would be best to take the 9.5 in the 3rd race but it turned out it wasn't enough middle of the fleet sailed right over me on the down winds. On top of that my boom slipped right out of hands on the first gybe.


One more race to give it my all. I got off the line well on starboard tack. Steve Allen and Michael Polanoski just to my leeward certainly didn't help. I guess in this case I was the marshmallow. So be it, I charged on, holding on for the short upwind and rounding the top mark in the top 20. Downwind, I held on well going strong on my 10.7. I rounded the leeward mark on the outside of the pinwheel and tacked off early despite knowing the shore was favored. Sometimes clear air is king, so I charged the the left side of the course. The reef comes in a little closer on the low end of the course but this was the last race so I was committed and still doing relatively well. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The breaking wave over the reef had reached maximum height just as I was about to cross over it. A 6' wall of vertical water smacked me so hard I think it popped my eardrums. Somehow as I went through the face of the wave I came out if it haging on in a water start position but pretty shaken. I took me about a minute to recover as I has to really give it my all to waterstart the 10.7 as the tip submerged. Not much I could do at that point but hang on as I already reached the lay line and it was just a short reach thefinish.

Overalll, a rewarding experience to sail at another world championship. Each time I try to do just a little better than the last and despite not making my goal of the top 25, it's all good. 28th is the best I've so far and still happy to be racing windsurfers for over 20 years.

Final results, photos and live ticker from event at

Friday, July 8, 2011

Formula world champs day 4: charging the reef

Another day of up and downs for me on the racecourse today.
Despite looking like a major front was going to park itself over Peurto Rico today, we actually got 4 races off in 14-18k. Most we're in either their 11 or 12m rigs.

The big change at the top of the leader board saw Gabriel Brown jump from 6th to 2nd with a solid show of 1,3,2,3. Antoine is still dominated with a 15 point lead and 2 bullets and a 2nd & (10th) to show for today. There was plenty of action on the course with the Dutchies continuing their unfortunate streak of bad luck. After Caspers unfortunate injury on day 2, Dennis Littel got clobbered at the windward mark today as Arnon ran right over him as Dennis tried to make a quick tack at the top mark.
Sean Obrien was the other unlucky one who got taken out at the start of race 3 in a rather large collision just after the start.
Here's a view from the boat end of the start of race 11

I had my moments today but the rest of my scores seem to have balanced me out and have kept me firmly planted in 28th for the last 2 days.
Race 3 today saw a rather big mid line sag in the starboard tackers so I jumped out in front of the fleet and charged off to the port lay line blasting right over the reefs And rounded the top mark in the top 10. Talk about an adrenaline rush. I managed to hold on loosing Jesper on the downwind and a few mlre boards at the leeward rounding as I rounded behind a big pack.
Back upwind I charged to the left side again after getting knocked at the shore.
The rest of the was breathing down my neck the whole downwind and I managed a clean rounding just behind Victor Melo from Brazil. 2 guys got inside my lane but I timed my last 2 tacks perfectly cutting them off at the last rounding and finishing 15th.

Here's the video from the finish of the 2nd race of the day with the last tack at the pin end of the line towards the finish
My other races were a bit off as I couldnt quite find my groove around the course, nor did i have the confidence to charge the reef again full speed on a borrowed board. I stuck with using the replacement starboard hwr as my repair on my ML10 didn't pan out as I thought.
(I'll leave that to the expert when I get home.) I sailed the 10.7 in all races with the 70 kashy and Z fin in the first race. It's not often you get the chamce to change boards in the middle of a regatta but after my board got a hole in ,one of the organizers lent me his spare board. Very cool!
In the girls fleet local SF junior Marion Lepaed is holding onto the slimest of leads with a 3 point lead over her nearest competitor from France. Huge props to her at her first formula world champs. I think she'll have what it takes for her big event of the season in 2 weeks at the techno 293 world champs.
I cant say enough about the hospitality of the event with shade, food and water every day.
There's a big scaffolding with an announcer on the boardwalk in front of the beach and loud music pumping all day. Several of the event sponsors have set up booths on the boardwalk with samples of all their products for the public and competitors.
One more day of racing left and if I remember how Bruno runs things, it's going to be all the racing we can fit in before the last possible starting time.
Results, photos and full ticker of the event at

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Big changes for the formula windsurfing class

We just finished the annual general meeting for the formula windsurfing class. Some difficult decisions were made in favor if cutting cost for the amateur and traveling sailor. The decision to limit the class to 2 fins and 2 sails was debated and finally voted on with 9-8 vote in favor of the reduced equipment. The thinking behind the proposal was the sailors still might buy and race 3 sails but only be able to register 2 fins and 2 sails at any regatta. This will hopefully reduce the barrier to entry for new sailors intimidated by the cost if putting together a full formula quiver. It also allows sailors traveling to regattas by airlines to fit within the current airline excess baggage limitations (or at least closer to it.) Consequently it will force the sail and fin manufacturers to make their products more efficient. On the flip side, it makes the choice much harder and might favor the heavy weight sailor with the 12.0. Looking into the future, wind maximums might be the next necessary step. Im not sure it will stop the people who have the $ from buying 3 sails, but now you'll have to register 2 sails per regatta. In places like SF, this might cause some interesting debated given the current mindset but in all honestly I've been doing well with a 9.5 and 10.7 quiver for the past 2 years. On the flip side, lightweight sailors in europe might need a 12.0 and a 10.0 to cover the range while heavier sailors might choose a 12 and 11.0. The biggest burden will be put on the the manufactures how to best develop this into their new lines which are already into r&d and ready to be put into production. Maybe they can have a later release date or maybe the solution will become from the sailors with 2 sets of battens (one for heavy air and one for light air) to fit within the rules. whatever the case, it's going to take a new midset to solve the problem. Before we could have 3 sails to fit within the wind range of 6-30k. Now we must fit 2 sails to cover the same range. Traveling to events will be easier with 2 rigs. Sean O'Brien and Sergio from Argentina even the sailed the with 1 sail in their quiver.

I was pretty torn on how to vote as the US had 2 votes but I voted in favor of trying to reduce the cost given the global economic crisis we are in now. I've always been in favor of an open development class but I think thus will force the sailors and manufactures to be more efficient. It also will allow new sailors to come into the class easier.
We also voted on class dues for sailors and manufactures to promote the class and sailors. How this is achieved is yet to be determined but the idea is that a sailor doing 1or 2 events on the tour would nor have to pay as much as a professional doing all the events. A sub committee will be formed with details to follow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hurry up and slow down

Today had its series of ups and downs.
1st race saw a big rain squall move through and kill the wind leaving me in the cheap seats with my 9.5 as the wind died down to 12k.
The 2nd race I recovered well getting my best finish of 20th with my 10.9. I started well in the mid line sag just ahead of the pack getting a jump on the fleet.
I sailed right out to the layline and rounded in the pack but still feeling a bit slow downwind as I'm probably giving up some in the double chicken strap but the 10.7 was pulling well so I went with it. 3 windward /leeward laps later I had some good legs keeping my position with Micah and Schurman in the top 20. The biggest gains came from rounding the leeward mark by hurrying up and slowing down. By getting a good rounding and getting a lane to windward, I was able to climb and gain significantly.
Video from the pin end boat at the finish:

Race 3 had an hour break giving us a time to recover but it was all to much as I went from good to bad. I made the worst mistake I have ever made trying to cross a starboard tacker and failing miserably. I put a huge hole in mine and his board. I immediately retired from the race and tried to find POL 10 a board to use for the next race. I've never felt so bad racing boards knowing I was at fault but in the end that's all part if racing. We all make mistakes but it how you recover that determines the winners. I made a decent effort to race the last race on a borrowed board but the my performance just wasn't there.

Video from 3rd race start:

Video from the 4th race finish:

After racing I had a major repair to do and ended the night exhausted after adding filler and epoxy to the big gaping home in the side of my board.

Tomorrows another day so I'll give it my all and go for it all trying to break into the top 25 for the regatta.