By all means, 2014 will be remember as another stellar year of windsurfing and kite boarding on the San Francisco bay with 150 windsurfing and kite boarding sessions over the past 12 months.
It was the 1st of 2-3 rebuilding years as I learned how to ride and try to get the kite race board around the course as well as have as much fun as I can on the windsurfing boards. After 25 years of windsurfing, I don't tire of it but am always exited to learn something new.
I did not meet my goal of getting around the course in time to be officially scored for the St.FYC Thursday night series with the front of the fleet on foils and sailing almost 30% faster around the course this season, it was a hard nut to crack. Part of racing is just showing up and paying your dues.
There were plenty of crashes, burns & rescues- all very character building. There were small successes like finally making the windward mark, then the leeward mark- and finally the finish line as well as sore muscles in places I never knew had.
Notwithstanding, I did get 100+ sessions under the golden gate windsurfing in one of my favorite places to make up for any potential loss of fun that kite boarding might kept me from having :/ 88% of my sessions were on the windsurfer with the other 22% on a kite board with all but 1 session on the San Francisco Bay sailing off Crissy Field.
I'm still not hooked on kiting like I am windsurfing but old habits die hard. Sometimes it was just easier to go out a get a good session on the slalom gear than it was to get beat up on the kite course board on a windy, ebb tide raging day.
The 89cm custom mikes lab board proved to be the most versatile in the quiver- proving itself on the formula windsurfing course in the medium to high wind as well as providing a great platform for swell riding in light to medium conditions just outside the golden gate bridge.
2014 will be remembered as the year the wind kicked in early in the season. By the end of May I already had scored 65 sessions with the majority on slalom/7.7 and 6.3 in the early spring.
The city front course was the majority of my racing this season with 6 Friday night races and 8 Thursday night races hosted by the St.FYC + 2 long distances races to Berkeley and back.
Although I missed too many Friday night races for the overall season championship, I never managed to finish outside the top 2 but the winner is always the one who shows up most and sails the most consistent. More often than none, it's not about your best races but your worst races when competing in championship or season series. Too many DNS's will always trump a few bullets for the season.
I used the Avanti 10.0 more than any other rig this season with 49 sessions under my belt. It's got the most range of any sail in my quiver with the benefit of having 3 crew grommet positions to choose from for light, medium and high wind settings. The avanti 7.7 was the next most used sail with 36 sessions over the course of the year. The same clew design give it a tremendous range and was my go to sail to sail for most of the season.
The majority of my kite sessions were on the ML course board and 9.0 kite (19 sessions)in mid to upper teens. The SF bay often requires a smaller kite in the summer months when it's windier and the chop becomes more difficult to deal with. In the spring and fall, my biggest 11.0 got used more (11 sessions) as the wind can be more flukier and less reliable.
In all my years of sailing, seeing a foiling gybe performed well is the most beautiful sailing maneuver I've ever witnessed. I'm in awe and can't wait till I get comfortable enough to pull that off. In all good time!
Mid September and early October saw the beginning of the fall swell arrive and for a period of just of 1 week, I scored 5 of the best days under the gate riding huge swells pumping through the golden gate, quite possibly reaffirming my love for one of the most beautiful places in the world doing one of my favorite things. I can not be more grateful to live in such a wonderful setting.
The wind left abruptly in October and November and almost all together in December where I realized the foils had the advantage once again scoring sessions while I missed out.
Nonetheless the best accomplishment of the year came in December. Despite not being water related, passing my final architectural licensing exam was better than any session of the year. I've been working on it for the past 5 years with 11 exams since 2009.
With a new foil and board forthcoming in, the next months, 2015's goals are to become proficient at foiling and get comfortable with a new discipline- and of course- not forget about windsurfing! More slalom racing is planned for the SF city front.
Onward and upward to another great season.
Below are some of the best moments from the 2004 season via twitter:
When @SF_Windy calls at 9am Sunday. You answer & don't be late! Lit on FW/10.0 in AM NE'erly pic.twitter.com/SzEasDSc8W
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) January 6, 2014
Survived my 1st day on the kite course board. Voodoo chop & 5.6k ebb didn't make things easy. Happy to be alive.
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) February 1, 2014
Bumps on the horizon! pic.twitter.com/F7H229LgWg
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) March 11, 2014
Quite possibly the biggest I've ever seen @ftpoint 20-25k & 2x OH swell at south tower. Well lit On slalom/7.3
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) March 17, 2014
Probably the best session of the year. 10-15' swell outside the gate. Lit on FW/10.0 in 14-18 k. pic.twitter.com/Q78YiHnJz2
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) March 31, 2014
Huge gains on the course board. Going up & downwind in the straps. Almost ready for @stfyc Thursday nite series pic.twitter.com/8IzKLZz1RK
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) April 6, 2014
Quality time with the ml slalom in 18-24k pic.twitter.com/jnEQjzWFBl
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) April 12, 2014
Going upwind like a rockstar on port. Total kook on starboard. Kite course board/9.0 in 20-30k pic.twitter.com/RKlY5DsRQG
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) April 24, 2014
25 years of the SF Bay challenge. http://t.co/kCllBYCbEl pic.twitter.com/MVJ0eRxfN5
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) June 17, 2014
@GoldenGateNPS: Way #54 to recreate in Golden Gate - rage in the waves! #recreateingoldengate pic.twitter.com/hyY08p9FYmAugust
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) July 31, 2014
Amoungst the voodoo chop & swell under @GGBridge there is a place dear to my heart. #grateful pic.twitter.com/zcsmrx3NFJ
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) August 4, 2014
Made it around the course in one of the toughest, choppiest, gutsiest & shiftiest city front course I've ever run pic.twitter.com/lO64XcRPgUSeptember
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) August 15, 2014
Evolve or get left behind. Formula foil fin by @f4fins in SF, Ca pic.twitter.com/DFeRKgmrzc
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) September 11, 2014
2 bullets for the win in the final @stfyc Friday night windsurfing race of the season. *167 + @AvantiSails m-2 10.0 pic.twitter.com/SLLbHVfCcq
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) September 20, 2014
Bumps on the horizon for next 36 hours followed by clearing breeze. #gideeup pic.twitter.com/aaVWS3HOe0
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) September 25, 2014
Blew the dogs off their chains + a frothy 5k ebb. Wound on xs slalom/6.3 in 25-30k pic.twitter.com/VXagRBZILR
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) October 10, 2014
Great peaks rolling through the golden gate today. Caught some monsters in the outgoing ebb. photo via @dondianda pic.twitter.com/fmKCsaiVXvNovember
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) October 24, 2014
It's official. Trading in my FW gear for a kite foil. Goodbye *167, z fin & 10.7. Hello warp speed face plants pic.twitter.com/qkMeowZKzL
— usa4: steve bodner (@usa4) November 13, 2014