Wednesday, March 26, 2008

snow, sleet, hail and sideways rain...a sure sign of spring in Holland

Well as KP stated in his new site- "when God gives you oranges make orange juice."

Its been a crazy past 2 week here with the dutch weather changing every time I stick my head out the window. Snow...sun...clouds...rain....hail...sleet...sun...and more sideways rain!
Ive decided to put the winter storm sailing on hold till it warms up some and have found a old passion in road biking. I thought it would be a good way to keep up my fitness as well as explore some of the dutch country side north of Amsterdam where Im living.

To begin, the dutch are fanatical about biking.
Nearly everybody has a bike here and rides it regularly.
In the city there are bike paths everywhere making it a comfortable experience to to ride in an urban environment. Just when you think you are clipping along at a good pace, a dutch middle aged woman (with legs of steel like Micah Buzianis) with 3 kids on her bike passes you like you were standing still.Enough with the subtle insults, I think as I change from my city beater bike to my road bike and head to nord-holland where there are less crowds are more room to breath.
Just 5 minutes north of Amsterdam I find myself surrounded by farms and dykes.
I ride for seemingly hours with only the slightest incline when I ride over a bridge.
Holland is as flat as a pancake.

There are some fun surprises with towns like 'Broek in Waterland' and 'Holysloot' to keep a smile on my face.
So far I havent managed to get lost yet with the 'locate me now' button on my iphone.
Yesterdays ride to Marken got cut short in near white out conditions with a 10 minute snow and hail storm. Not to worry through- just 20 minutes later I had my own patch of sunshine near Durerdam.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Home back in the Netherlands

Well I finally made it back to Holland again after the last few months of traveling; competing; and working (...yes I still do some of that- in fact 3 houses Ive been the project designer for are under construction- check out the construction photos here)
For the first time in nearly 6 months Ive got all my windsurfing gear in it's new home at the Almere Central windsurfing club just outside Amsterdam- ready for the Dutch and European race season to begin. Believe me- it was no east feat getting 4 boards, 5 booms, 8 sails, 8 mast, 5 bases, 4 unis, 2 harnesses. 3 wesuits and 20 years of windsurfing equipment packed up and sent here- not to mention needing at least 1/2 of it to compete and train with over the past few months around the world!
(Now if I could only find that goldwind 32cm slalom fin and extra set of harness line- I know its here somewhere!)The windsurfing clubs here are pretty cool with the AlmereCentral club having several shipping containers at the beach side to store your equipment and a small clubhouse next door. It makes it easy to live in a densely populated city like Amsterdam without the luxury of extra storage space or even a parking spot!
I'm still waiting to find the perfect windsurfing van so if you've got any ideas, let me know!

Too bad its still raining sideways here and hovering in the low 40's. With a massive low moving across northern Europe, the last few days have been insanely windy with gust 30-50k.
I got out monday for a wild ride on the ml 90l slalom board and 6.3 north warp- although I only lasted about 30 minutes as my hands turned numb from the near freezing weather!

2008 brings some changes for me. The first is a new board sponsor. Ill be riding the F2 formula and slalom board this year (with the exception of a wicked fast ml slalom on reserve for windy days!) Eduardo Owen for Next Sport in Miami has always been great support to me- letting me ride the F2 boards at events when I didnt have a board but this year I took the plunge and went with the formula F2 board to complete my quiver. I pretty confident after the midwinters that the F2 board will be a great choice for early planning and moderate formula conditions. Ive yet to sail it in over 18k but time will tell. I switched over from the mikes lab board as I will be competing more and more in lighter wind venues in Europe this season. Whiles Mikes board are probably the most comfortable board to ride out of any of boards Ive tested and works great in the Bay area for wound up racing in steep chop, it was becoming obvious that these strengths also carried some drawbacks. When ever you are designing a board (or anything for that matter) it is always a delicate balance and series of trade offs. Increasing the tail width for better light air performance requires a bigger and more powerful fin- while at the same time makes powered up sailing a bit more uncomfortable. I took into account alot of factors when choosing a new board and decided to take one less variable out of my my racing this season by going with a board I know I can be confident with in the light air.

For 2008 again I will be sailing with North sails. I feel really confident with their r&d program and can rest assured when recommending the mast and sails to the others. Other equipment supports include streamlined and meanline fins.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor check out my main windsurfing page or contact me directlyat

We've got out first slalom race of the year this Saturday at Almere so Ive been slowly getting my slalom quiver back together after having sat dormant for the last few months. The new north warp look amazing and with the 3rd year of input from Bjorn- it should be top notch!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

midwinters recap

With just 4 races completed in the 2008 Formula North American Championships, it's still a bit early to draw conclusions about the new equipment, but one thing is for sure- Gonzalo cleaned up, taking 4 bullets over the reigning world champion Antoin Albeau and the rest of the 52 board formula fleet.

The visiting fleet - from South America and Europe -sailed at the top of their game taking 9 out of the top 10 spots but the overall North American Championship was won by Jimmi Diaz from the US Virgin Islands, followed by Steve Bodner from San Francisco and Fernando Martinez- from Miami.

The 3 day championship was sailed as part of the Calema midwinters windsurfing festival on the Banana river in Cocoa Beach Florida. Other classes included the kona longboard class, hybrid class, formula sport and traditional longboard class.

All 4 races were sailed in a light to marginal breeze. As usual starts were at the utmost importance. Most of the fleet choose 11.8 or 12m2 rigs, 70 cm xs or cut down fins and either the new F2 or starboard formula boards. There were a few gaastra boards making their initial US appearance as well as 2 ML8's form the Bay area. Whatever sailors choose to race with it was important to have their gear tuned up for light air performance.

So far the F2 board looks like the front runner of the 2008 new boards. The kashy fins continue to dominate but the new finworks fins looks like they have plenty of potential with Fernando showing some good results with the hybrid carbon fin. The Melo brothers from Brazil also showed the gaastra sails also have plenty of speed with their great performance. I also learned a few more things about the north formula warp. I sailed the 11.8 in all 4 races with good results and finally finding the golden touch with the right downhaul setting.

Final results

click to enlarge

photos from the event
photo credit: calema windsurfing

Driving back to Miami
Report to follow asap

Valid championship

3 races today with gonzo taking 3 more bullets to take championship
More soon...

Sent from my iPhone

11 am update

Formula sport, hybrid and kona class all racing in under 8k.
Formula fleet on hold....waiting

Still waiting

Miami's newest "polish princess" formula sailor

Sunday morning report

Midwinters day 3 morning report
8:30 am
Glassy conditions

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sat evening

The Maui sails mechanical bull
More fun than an 11.0 in 30 knots!

Mor 2008 gear

2008 north formula warp

New 2008 gear

2008 F2 Formula board
F'cking fast!

5pm update

Formula fleet tried 2 starts in dying breeze with 2 general recall but
alas the wind died and the rc sent the fleet in for the day. Results
stand after 1 race.
Evening party with mechanical bull sponsored by Maui sails.
Photos to come....

Sent from my iPhone

Afternoon update

Formula fleet on hold till 2:30.
Kona and longboard fleet heading out to race in 5-8 knots

Still waiting

Passing the time with light wind freestyle

Course diagram

The midwinter special sausage course...try not to her lost!

Results from day 1 race 1

click to enlarge

Midwinters day 2 morning report

11 am Saturday morning- formula class on beach waiting for breeze to
fill while kona and longboards make their way around the course in 3-5

Sent from my iPhone