Monday, December 23, 2019

2019-the year of fun

An examined life is a life worth living.
If you don't know where you've been, you can't get to where you want to be.

2019 was a year of growth and development. I got back to what's really important- having fun. Racing took a back seat while enjoying every moment on the water was the real goal.

And boy, did I ever...

I got in 153 days on the water with 166 different sessions.

I kited on the Pacific, the Atlantic, tributary rivers and even the frozen tundra of the great north.

I discovered a whole new world of recreational kite foiling that led me to have even more fun than I ever thought possible and even made some breakthroughs like nailing the kite board than that has eluded me for so long.

I jumped back on the surfboard with the kite and found the joy of endless bottom turns in waist high shore break in bath warm water on the Brazilian coast.

The majority of my time on the water is still spent kiting but windsurfing still has a special place in my heart. I haven't quite been able to give it up- especially in the winter months when the wind isn't as consistent and swimming your gear in isn't part of the program.

With 166 total sessions, 131 were devoted to kiting while 35 were spent windsurfing.

More to the point, foiling has pretty much taken over my time on the water with 82% of all my sessions devoted to foiling. The novelty still hasn't worn off. It's almost as if I get the chance to rediscover the sports I love for a second time.

There's a certain zen like feeling associated with foiling- especially on the kite.

There's no sound of the hull against the water as you blaze 3' above the surface. Everything comes into balance with an effortless flow. The carves are dreamy with the kite pirouetting from one tack to the next.

In 2019, I got past one of the biggest challenges I've been struggling with- the kite board tack. It absolutely paralyzed me for years. I avoided it like the plague- getting to the edge of the diving board and not jumping in. It was bigger than just relearning muscle memory & movement to turn one's body into the wind vs tuning your back to the wind. I had to come to terms that windsurfing no longer defined who I was. Once I let go of that, a paradigm shift happened.

I went from thinking what could go wrong to what will go right.

All of a sudden a door opened and the kite board tack become possible.

For the first time in almost 30 years, I didn't focus my season on racing but having fun. Something changed. I no longer needed to affirmation of winning and recognition of my peers but rather pushed myself in learning new things. Getting on the recreational kite gear was the exact thing I needed after focusing on racing for so long. It brought back the joy of getting on the water and having fun with every session.

2019 was one of the windiest seasons I can recall in my past 20 years living in San Francisco.  In just 6 months I used the 6m ozone alpha single strut kite 66 times+ almost double any other kite. It was the most used kite in my quiver along with the Moses T38 board and foil. The 2 are matched up like bread and butter especially when the wind is 15-25k in the San Francisco Bay. I've just started to use the 4m but think it will be better matched with a bigger surf style front wing in the upcoming year.

For windsurfing, all but 3 sessions were spent on the windsurf foil, the other 3 were devoted to slalom racing. The most used sail was my 8.0m severn glide 2- strictly for foiling. If it's less than 13k, Ill take the foiling windsurfer- just because it's the most reliable set of gear in the quiver for getting back to the beach without swimming.

If I examine the yearly calendar, most of my sessions came in April through November, with the exception of July when I was visiting family abroad. Now that I've got the small foiling kite gear, traveling with equipment just became a lot easier.

By far, some of the best sessions of the year came in November on the Brazilian coast. Jericoacoara is one of the windiest places I've visited. It's a bit hard to get to but once you're there, the magic happens. We got 12 out of 12 days on the water- foiling and doing down winders on the surfboard. I've never has so much fun in my life. For the full Brazil report- go here

Some of the years' highlights: