Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Last Day

I took Ray to the Sacramento airport at 6 o'clock this morning to catch his flight back to Maui while Luke did the same for Juan Pablo up in Portland.

"What now?" Do I go home, shut the windows, turn on the air conditioning and hide from the 100
degree weather that's been baking the west coast over the past few days? Is this when real life starts again?

No more lofty jumps, flying with the seaguls
over the beautiful Oregon coast. No more sailing Santa Cruz, listening to the dolphins chirp at us in the water while we're all in search of our own perfect waves. No more cruising with a flock of pelicans under the Golden gate, one of the most scenic windsurfing venues in the entire world. Woah! Not so fast...

After I left Ray at the airport I chose to not head home and instead continue onward with my friend Sontian from South Africa to Rio Vista. Some of the best wind in the continental U.S. today was right in my neck of the woods.

A steady 25 - 30 mph breeze turned California's delta into an excellent freestyle playground and perfect location for Sontian to practice his waterstarts.

The sailing at Rio Vista can best be described as Californa's version of the gorge. The wind blows hard and there are several different places to sail up and down Sherman Island road. The launches, sailing sites, and campgrounds are all top notch thanks to the hard work of the Rio Vista Windsurfing Association. After two long sessions on the water, we called it a day.

"So where do you guys plan on going next?" I heard time after time this month.

"We don't know. We're windsurfers. We don't really make those plans you speak of. The only real plan we have is to go wherever it blows, check the weather reports and visit iwindsurf more often than any teenager checks their facebook. That, and to instantly abandon what we said we were going to do because it's windy."

In a months time that attitude has taken us 5,000 miles. We've visited well over 20 windsurf spots. We've experienced everything from the warm winds of the desert in the Eastern Columbia River Gorge to the turquoise waters of California's Lost Coast and have seen all the friendly faces in between.

This trip has finally ended but our stories will remain and the windsurfing adventures will continue.

Thanks to everyone for reading,

See you on the water!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

South, South, South

Following some paddle surfing at our newly found favorite Santa Cruz surf break, and partying like robots the night before, (and no, Pablo and I weren't the only ones dressed like fools) we decided to get back on Highway 1 early Sunday morning. We could sense that the days left on The Trip were slowly winding away and we wanted to make the most of it.

With a full tanks of gas and lingering hangovers, we cruised down some of the most scenic coastlines California has to offer. Was there going to be any wind where we were heading? Any waves? We didn't know and didn't care. All we wanted to do was head south through Big Sur towards our destination of San Simeon and see how many motorhomes and RV's we could pass along the way.

Four hours, and several double americano's later, we skidded into a dusty parking lot on the side of the road where several kiters were setting up. "Aren't you guys a little young to be windsurfers?" one of the guys jokingly asked me.

Checking out the beach it was immediately obvious that luck was still on our side. Despite light winds, we rigged up as quick as we could as there was still some remnants of the bomber south swell we had met up with in Santa Cruz. By 7 pm we had all windsurfed, surfed, and even longboard sailed, all after a crazy morning of driving. What a day!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Scoring the Santa Cruz South Swell!

Wow! Luck turned our way as we made it down to Santa Cruz just in time for the largest south swell of the season.

The wind on this leg of the journey has been a little on the light side but certainly enough to get two solid days on the water in the central coast. Yesterday, after Luke and I had a nice stand up session in the morning, we were all eager to see if we could get some real windsurfing conditions as the ground swell grew larger and larger throughout the day. "Why isn't it windy yet? What should we do? Drive 7 hours
north? 4 hours south? We were all huddled around Luke's iphone frantically checking wind forecasts for the entire west coast. Luckily around 4 o'clock the wind finally popped and everyone hit the water. I managed to get behind the lens in the evening and got some shots of the great wave sailing conditions everyone scored.

It has been really great to be down here the past few days; the beaches are beautiful, the windsurfing conditions are incredible, and the local sailors are all really great people. It's been awesome to see just how many windsurfers are out here on the coast ripping it up every sailable day.

Now we're faced with yet another tough choice. Shall we continue on south to Jalama despite a somewhat unpredictable wind forecast? Or chase the south swell back up the coast to Cape Sebastian for some potentially epic conditions?


Friday, July 24, 2009

On the Road Again

A windsurfing road trip can best be described as a weather watching trip with lots of driving involved. A typical day for us involves checking several different wind forecasts tables, swell forecasts, and tide charts on laptops and iphones all in an attempt to meet up with some perfect wind and waves. Depending on the outlook, we make the call to either stay where we are for another day or two, or head off to a new location.
After spending a bit of time on the northern California coast, we were anxious to head further south and continue our journey. We meandered out through the redwoods, made a quick stop at the "Mystery Spot," to verify our centers of gravity, and then pointed our cars toward San Francisco. Originally, the plan was to cruise over through Point Reyes and try to score a session at some good breaks we had heard about, but the weather forecast looked a little dismal there so we decided to press onward.
By 6:00pm we were in the city by the Bay and were on the water at Crissy Field by 6:30pm. The wind was good, a steady 18-22mph which made for some good freestyle conditions and the water, although cold, was noticeably warmer than the Oregon coast. Tomorrow we're off to Santa Cruz for some surfing and some wavesailing.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Time after time I hear stories of what the California coast was like before all the cities, traffic and overpopulated suburbs took it over.

After spending some time on the Lost Coast you'll realize that the wild wild west of the Golden State is still here to explore. After driving through several small towns, a seemingly endless windy road through the coastal mountain range, and a wrong turn that led us into a Ranch that I could've sworn belonged to John Wayne's twin brother, we arrived at the coast.

The fog bank creeps down the mountainside, hangs over the Cape and extends out to sea, leaving the entire beach southward to soak up the sunshine. The water is a deep turquoise blue that follows an empty sandy beach as far as you can see. After sunset I found myself sitting on the beach under an unusually bright and beautiful starlit sky; a perfect backdrop to the hillside which calmly rolls to the sea.

If you've never been out here before you owe it to yourself to take a peek at what this amazing stretch of coastline has to offer.

We ventured South from Arcata in search of a couple waves with directions that were vague at best. "You're going to come to a place where you'll think you will be there..... but it's not," said one of our friends up in Oregon. "It'll look like it's not windy, but it is...," and "there's a house on a ranch at the bottom of the hill, you talk to a guy and if you're lucky you'll get in," what is this? A search for the lost city of El Dorado?

We found ourselves out in the middle of nowhere in some of the most beautiful country i've ever seen. The wind was good, but unfortunately the waves were nowhere to be seen. Regardless, it was an adventure well worth experiencing, and there's no question that we'll all be back for more.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heading South....

After catching several good days of windsurfing the Southern Oregon Coast, we've packed up and are heading south for the Lost Coast. The forecast looks good for Wednesday on out, so on the way out we stopped at the Chetco River and taught some friends to windsurf in waters that were warmer than 40 degrees.
With sunny skies and light winds it was no problem, and probably the easiest lesson I've ever taught. Always good to share the sport with others!

We cruised back to Cape Sebastian for one last quick session with some helmet cam video...

...and then jammed straight for the border. Mendocino and Tubamancha here we come, see ya in California!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cape Sebastian goes off!

You don't have to experience the wind on the Southern Oregon coast to know how hard it blows here. The branches on the trees grow only on one side pointing south, any shrubbery that is lucky to be alive near the ocean lays low, and rugged sea cliffs stand tall over sand dunes that have larger cornices than you'll find over a whole winter skiing. We woke up yesterday to the sun shining and the wind howling. The fog had burned off and the Oregon coast was ready to deliver the winds that we've all been waiting for.

We drove south to Cape Sebastian where we were greeted by a familiar white capped ocean and a nice westerly swell as a bonus. Luke, at 200 lbs was powered on a 3.5. I put up my 3.7 and somehow Ray and Juan Pablo, the lighter weights, were out ripping on 4.3's. Sunya came down to join us sailing from Floras Lake along with our good friends Patrick and Paul Nicholson, the whole Pistol River crew, and a couple of Ray's friends from Chico.

There was definitely no shortage of action from everyone on the water. The tourists lining the cliffside along highway 101 were entertained with 5 hours of aerials, back loops, forward loops, wave 360's, air chacho's, 1 handed goiters and sick wave rides.

Video was rolling, cameras were out and Ray even threw on the helmet cam. Check back for an update with footage.

Today is supposed to be another windy day and it looks like the lost coast is going to start firing wednesday and thursday. The adventure continues...

Stay tuned!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Umm...windsurfing at Cape Blanco?

UPDATE: Check our previous post for some video action at the lake...

Well we tried. And we learned that just because there are nice looking waves and wind on the water, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's good conditions for sailing.

Regardless, we decided to ignore everybody's advice and rig up. Nobody else was around except for some lonely seals and a few campers who weren't sure what a windsurfer was.

I've sailed in some pretty gusty side-off shore conditions but this was above and beyond any of my previous experiences. One second we'd be fully powered, and the next everyone was sinking up to their waist in freezing cold water. Luke decided he didn't even need his board on one of the waves, (note the underwater bottom turn.)

Anyway, we all had fun, sailed a new spot that definitely has some potential. If you're ever in the area be sure to check it out. The more westerly the wind, the better!

Peace out!

Friday, July 17, 2009

No Wind, No Problem

Driving north from the Pistol River area we made it up to Floras Lake in time to get together with a great group of friends who some of us haven't seen for 5 years. Unfortunately the valley inland heated up a little too much, blanketing the coast with a marine layer that shut down the

We took out the jet ski for some tow in windsurfing, something we've only done one time before in the narrow Chetco river which ended with me completely shredding one of Luke's nice fins on the river bar. The lake proved to be a much easier venue to tow, which gave us room to accelerate fast enough to pull some fully planning freestyle moves on a 5.0 in 5 knots of wind!

Regardless, Luke and I were determined to get our freestyle fix in the fog at the lake. Sometimes you can slog out in light wind and catch waves, and sometime you need 1000lbs of steel and burning gasoline to get yourself going.

The plan is to sail Cape Sebastian with a little north swell today with all our friends and then start heading south towards Cape Mendocino for the California portion of our adventure.