Monday, March 14, 2022

2022 No Strings attached Wing Foil Regatta


22 years of going around the San Francisco city front course.

Somethings never change.

I managed a few good races Sunday after missing Saturdays light air racing.

Conditions were 12-16k and ebb tide.

I rigged my 90l board, 5m v2 wasp & ML 1100 foil

We got off 5 races & 4 of them in the top 5 in the fleet of 35. 

Racing was tight with an upwind start & upwind leg with 1-2 tacks to mix things up before an downwind leg & 2 reaches to the finish. I got off the line clean in race 1 & 2, made my foiling tacks, and kept my speed & position for 4th in both races with Johnny, Joe & Fonz at the top of the fleet. 

Race 3 I managed to fall after rounding the top mark after I breached my foil sending it downwind for speed. Crashing is never fast. A quick recovery and back in the middle of the back to finish in 12th

15 min break ashore to recharge.

Drone footage by Jamy Donaldson

Race 4- Good start with speed up the first beat. Alex goes down hard in front of me. Soon it's Chip and I trading crossings on the downwind leg, with Johnny, Joe, Fonz & Ben ahead. Luckily, I got the last crossing and slipped into 5th by calling the lay line early and pumping downwind. 

Race 5- Good start and speed up the first beat with the 1100 foil as ebb was lighting up and the flood starting on the inside of the course. I had one tack to make to round the top mark in  3rd but blew it. It was catch up from there but managed to stay in top 5 till last leg where Fonz pulled past me with better speed.  That's the difference between the 1000 and 1100 foils.

Overall fun racing format but think I prefer more slalom for wing racing.

Or maybe my tacks just need to get better!

Thanks to the 35 wingers who showed for racing, the St.FYC for continuing to push the envelope of board sailing, and the volunteers who made it happen + uptop media for the amazing footage.

Saturday, January 1, 2022


In 2021, like most years before, I kept track of all my days on the water- including the number of times I sailed, where I sailed, how long I sailed & what I sailed. With the help of Twitter and Strava, it’s become second nature.

I’m not just curious about how I spend my time, but look at the data to see what I can learn.

This season, I was all in with wing surfing. For the first time in over 20 years, I devoted myself to one sport & one discipline. In past years, I’ve done most every discipline of windsurfing and kiteboarding, sometimes both or all at once.

In 2021 the quiver thinned out- no more kites, sails, booms, masts, lines or fins. For the most part, it was one board, one foil & a quiver of 3 wings.

Of course, it’s never that simple.

Looking at all the seasons’ data, I begin to see patterns of what equipment I used most at different times of the year, and where I spent the majority of my time on the water.

In 2021, I winged over 3000 miles, using 7 wings, 3 foils, 4 boards at 6 different locations.

84% of all my sessions (171 out of 220 sessions) came at one location-Crissy Field in San Francisco. In the 20 years of making this my home spot, sailing under the golden gate bridge never gets old. I often ask myself, what keeps me coming back session after session, year after year- chasing the wind, anyway it blows.

2021 was year 2 on the wing foil and the one of best years yet. 35 years of windsurfing & 8 years of kiteboarding got me here.

This year, the wind turned on early in SF. By on, I mean dozens of early spring days with 25–30k and several big spring days in 40k+ where I couldn’t even get to the bridge. The 4m wing was the most used size in the quiver with 107 sessions. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be using a 3m rig for windsports but here we are with 38 sessions by the end of the year. It’s become my go to wing in over 20k. Not only is it less drag, but it’s easier to make transitions with. Once you realize most of the power comes from the foil, wing size almost becomes secondary. I tried a bunch of wings this season from the Duotone Unit and Vayu VVing but kept coming back to the Ozone Wasp V2 for the best range, stability and comfort.

The golden rule of windsports is never leave wind for more wind but by July, the marine layer was taking its toll in SF and I headed north for a 2 week Gorge bender. I managed 425 miles over 29 sessions spread over 13 days. The highlights- 11 downwinders form Viento State Park to the Event Site in Hood River where I found my flow, floating downwind like a butterfly, carving up and down mountains of freshwater peaks in 25–35k of breeze all while in a shortie wetsuit.

Halfway through this season, I devoted myself to learning the foiling tack. There’s several variations from toe side to heel side on both port and starboard but after several months of practice, I’m about a 75% success rate on the foiling tack on my best side. On the weak side, it’s lower, but that means more chances to get better!

Next up on the learning curve was backwinded foiling. I could not even wrap my head around this one despite seeing my buddies foil gracefully on the leeward side of the rig and float through transitions. 35 years of wind sports told me otherwise-pulling the sail or wing on the windward side was the most natural and obvious thing to do and teaching your muscles to push from the leeward side was the hard part. Once I finally got the courage to go into my first backwind while foiling, I was simply amazed. I’ve yet to only make a few dozen attempts before the season ran its course, but I’ve never been as excited to learn something as I am backwinded wing foiling.

2021 had the least amount of competition I’ve ever done. I raced just 4 races over the course of the summer with 3 Friday Night Wing Slalom races & the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race. While I used to strive at racing, something changed at the end of 2019 when I stepped away from competing and found my flow off the race course. Frankly there’s more fun to be had the other 199 days on the water to take racing too seriously.

Turns out, you can still have the ‘Best Day Ever’ even when you’re not at the top of the pecking order.

Just as I keep evolving, so does the sport of foiling. In December of this year, I got my first sup foil session at Bolenas. The goal- to find as much winter stoke as summer.

Onwards & Upwards.