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Loving life!

Written on: Tuesday May 3rd, 2011

A journal entry from: Windsurfing Hatteras 2011

As I write this, I am now back at home in Astorville and have had the time to reflect on what was a great week long getaway. As mentioned in my last blog, 2010 was a terrible year of windsurfing for me. This trip to Hatteras was exactly what I needed in order to refuel my fire and passion for the best sport alive!

I managed to get out sailing around a dozen different times on 5 different days, as well as getting out to the ocean to do some stand up paddle boarding. Through these multiple sessions, I used all the gear I had brought with me and then some! From cruising on my big 150L board with a 7.5m sail to flying out of control on my small 88L board with Sharryns 3.7m sail.

After my second day of sailing I was sitting inside with the others having a few drinks waiting for dinner and feeling good about my day out on the water. As I looked out over the balcony watching the sunset, I could hear the wind still blowing strongly, and this sound continued to resonate inside me. I had already had a few drinks and was feeling quite comfortable, but for some reason I couldn't help but think how I was wasting this great wind, and the opportunity to do what I love most. So after a few minutes of contemplating I decided that was it, I was going back out! On my way out I mentioned to John Grant, sailor/pro photographer (www.windinsight.com) that I was going out and that the sunset could make for some nice shots. I went out for a quick 30min sole session with the sun dropping quickly. The sunset was simply gorgeous and the moment was spectacular. Never before had I sailed so late into the evening and with such a picturesque setting. I am extremely grateful for the amazing shots John captured that night!

The following day, the winds were light, so Cliff, John and I went out to the ocean side in Frisco (about an hour south) to do some stand up paddle boarding. Cliff and I had rented a board and John had one of his own. I was really excited to try my luck at this, as it was something I had been wanting to try for a while. I was quickly humbled by the power of the ocean. The conditions were a little too big for trying to learn on such a big board, with the occasional 6 foot set. Cliff had a good grasp on it and managed to catch wave after wave with some great rides. John and I settled for making it out. Although I tried my best to catch some waves, I seemed to get worked by the powers of the ocean more than anything...

Wednesday, was the day we had all been waiting for, strong winds forecasted for the next two days. I took my time to get up since I knew the wind would be around all day. I finally rigged up my 5.7m sail and took to the water. This was short lived as I was way overpowered. So I decided to go out on my 5.0m, AGAIN this was shortly lived. So now I had my new 4.2m which I had picked up the day before and got back out. Even with this 4.2, which is smaller than anything I've ever sailed I was still fully powered hanging on with all I've got. I managed to get two good sessions in during the day. After my 2nd session of the day, I passed out inside with exhaustion, only to wake up an hour later ready to go again. That evening before dinner, I decided to go back out and make the most of conditions. The wind had dropped a little, and I had my most enjoyable session of the trip. Nice small ramps to jump off, plenty of power but yet manageable and all by myself (not to mention the air and water were so warm I was only wearing board shorts). This was by far the best moment of the trip for me, and just reminds me why I love this sport so much and why I am willing to go so far to do so!

Thursday morning came with a bang! The wind was soaring everywhere from Hatteras through mainland N.C. up to Southern Ontario, with Tornadoes devastating many areas in the U.S., There was no rush to get out on the water, because the wind was so strong you simply didn't know if you could sail or not. This is how I described things to Leah via e-mail;

It is NUCLEAR here right now, SO windy! I haven't been able to go out yet, hopefully it will die a bit later or I can borrow a 3.7m from someone. We went and watched Cliff and Marty try and sail the ocean. When we got there, Marty was half a km down the beach walking back, Cliff was way out in the ocean. We watched him catch two good waves, he was actually doing really awesome... and then he fell in the break, and for about 10-15min, he got worked and worked and worked and tumbled and worked, and tumbled, and just nailed by one wave after another, down and down the shore he went in the current and being nailed by waves, until he finally managed to get up and back to shore. He was about a km down from where he started. Marty and I went and helped him bring his gear back. He was actually stoked about his ride and had a grin from ear to ear. It was painful to watch him get worked that bad, but he seemed to have the time of his life... Marty had got it pretty good earlier too, but we weren't there when it happened. Luckily neither of them broke anything.
We saw one guy getting dragged on the beach with his kite, and another guy lose his entire windsurfing kit.... :s he slowly managed to get his tired ass back to shore, way down wind, and his gear was GONE, just blown out and down the beach, they had a guy running down trying to get it, and it just got blown out further into the ocean, then they had a truck going down to hopefully get it further down shore if it ever blows up on the shore... we couldn't even see it anymore, So insane. The guy is probably just happy to have gotten back to shore. But his gear is probably toast, +- $3000...

This is how gnarly it was out on the ocean, I was glad I didn't try going out there. Later in the day I was lucky enough to borrow Sharryn's 3.7m sail and get out on the water. It took me everything to hang on to this tiny sail not much bigger than myself! Not the most enjoyable conditions to sail in, but rather simply survival sailing.

The wind for the next couple days was looking light, so Cliff and I decided to head home the following day (Friday), rather than waiting until Saturday. It was so much nicer to do the drive with someone compared to alone, and we had some great conversations along the way. It took me 20h to get home. All in all, it was a great week of windsurfing. It is hard not to love this sport so much when you can go somewhere and score good winds!

Thanks for reading,

David W. 

Other highlights;
-Free windsurfing clinic and Wind N.C. with pro riders Tyson Poor and Wyatt Miller. Got some good advice and awesome to see the guys you read about in the magazines! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqX6_I5eDCY

-Watching John and Dirk sailing every single day. These guys are both in their early 70's and are ripping as hard as any of us, and this was truly inspirational to see, and makes me hope that someday when I am their age I can be as strong as they are and still flying across the water!
*For John Grants webpage, check out; http://www.windinsight.com/



From Joel VanderMarel on May 3rd, 2011

Cycling is the best sport. But otherwise sounds like a really sweet trip buddy.

From Leah W on May 4th, 2011

(I would have to say soccer for best sport) but regardless, GREAT blog!!! And as I've mentioned, I love the pictures. You will definitely still be windsurfing in your 70s; no doubt about it! Glad you had so much fun, and glad you're home :)

From Joe on May 4th, 2011

Thanks for sharing david, loved the pictures with the sunset, those are keepers, might have to frame one Joe

From Dirk on May 6th, 2011

Great blog glad you enjoyed yous stay with us.