Saturday, December 16, 2006

Friday December 15th

Pagham, Guerrilla 78 and 5.0. More wind than we were expecting so got to try out new board, which is exactly what I wanted. Much more loose in onshore slow waves, and a nice freestyle feel when just blasting. Seems like it will take a 5.4/5.5 so will be expecting to use it a lot.

Small waves but coming in lines so plenty of jumping, and a bit of frontside riding, but wasnt quite enough wind, so it was tricky putting more than a few turns together. At first, only me Pete and Bill, then Bill went and John Hibbard turned up, but basically we had the place to ourselves.

(The pic above was taken in front of Rich's house and not at the spit where the waves are)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday 7th December

DSCF1369, originally uploaded by andytedd.

Overcoombe, Weymouth. 4.2 and waveboard - ridiculously overpowered, gusting over 50 knots. Took about 2 hours 20 minutes to drive there, so its doable for a day trip. If it had been a nice F6 this would have been a great day, Overcombe has long lines of fun sized waves with good shape and the wind is nicely sideshore. There is a nice cafe with no hangup about wetsuits and a shop with spare UJs etc. Its all very convenient.

But the wind was gusting F9, and only a few guys were sailing well. They guy in the picture is Steve Thorp who was totally ripping the place up, more aeriels than the rest of us did bottom turns - put together!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday 4th December

Littlehampton 95l FSW, 5.0 and 5.8m

When we got there at high tide it looked pretty windy and there were decent (looking) waves coming well spaced in sets, over head-high.

A couple of locals were rigging 4.5s which looked optimistic so we rigged 5.0s (heavily downhauled out of respect) and watched. There was quite a big dump, but plenty of space between waves so not a bad launch. Its years and years since I sailed there, if I ever did (would have been with a tiga 280) and I'd say its the easiest S Coast shingly launch other than West Witts.

Anyway they went out and we went back to the cars to get FSW waveboards... The waves, and even the occasional bit of whitewater were head-high, but there was not much wind. We then sailed planing in the gusts for a couple of hours, I changed up to 5.8 which improved things a fair bit.

Quite a nice setup for backside riding but it has to be the slowest wave Ive ever sailed - it makes Pagham look fast. Got a few frontside turns but unless you are fully powered on a 5.0 or less I cant see people stringing consecutive turns together. Its a wave that needs to be sailed rather than surfed.

Got a bit of a shock when I fell in the first time, but after a while not too bad, probably could just about have managed without slippers, but didnt fancy adding cold feet to the list of woes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mauritius 10th - 23rd November 2006

From Boardhedz

Sailing Conditions
We sailed 7/12 days in planing winds. My most used kit was my own 5.0 and 54cm waveboard. If it was windy there was enough wind for a 5.7 and 85l waveboard. Which would be fine, ordinarily, but I was expecting a fair bit of down the line perfection. And we only got 1 day of that at Manawa, plus 2 days of heavy UK style down the line on Little Reef one day mast +, the other logo-high. The other 4 days were waist-headhigh on Little Reef. We also had 2 days float and ride inside the reef, and 2 days light wind freestlye.

Manawa is a brilliant brilliant wave, a beginner wavesailor can mess around the shoulder and not get into too much danger, while at the same time the more experienced and/or foolhardy can go deep and get 4/5 critical turns. You approach the wave through a channel in the reef and it is deceptively far offshore, the day we sailed had the perfect wind angle to take you there in one tack. It was a fair bit faster than I was expecting, and a bit heavier, I had one decent pounding across the reef, and one lengthy swim when I found the limits of how deep my skill level allowed me to go. It was half-mast-logo, but could easily go a lot bigger and still be sailable, although it would be pretty intimidating and a real test of your technique smacking the lip at that size. I don’t think the wave could really hold that many sailors, it was starting to feel crowded at more than 10 with 3-5 kites, by going deep you can get rid of the other windsurfers, and can share a wav if they drop-in, but the kites can be a pain. There were kite grooveriders, generally on twin-tips getting on the wave but not using it and generally being very gay, and then there were some execellent kiters on mini-surfboards, who have to turn properly and can really rip.

The first five days we were there the outer reefs were being pounded by a huge swell and the channel to Manawa was closing out, and I cannot see how any of the outer reefs were sailable, despite some good winds. On one day you could see some kiters were heading out to One Eye, but by the time they got out there they were like ants on a tennis ball and it would have been suicide to try and sail it. I was there for two weeks and at no point did anyone sail One Eye, speaking to the guys at the centre it needs a certain set of conditions to work.

Manawa deserves a proper waveriding board, Little Reef gets quite choppy on the wave and lacks juice at its more typical size, so a 80-85l 58cm new gen board would have been better for that. 5.8 and 5.0 sails will get the most use, there’s enough wind for a full waveboard rocker. The stats reported by the centre are pretty accurate, and in fact there was one day when they closed the centre early and then the wind blew through late.

The wind is a tradewind, boosted by a venturi effect when it is in the right direction and sunny, when the wind is SSE to Ely then you will get 10 knots on top of the windguru forecast. If the wind is much further North than Ely then the venturi will cause a little reverse eddy and you can see the wind blowing from the left out to sea, but from the right in close. If the sun is strong enough then this can back round enough to come onshore in the afternoon. If its cloudy then wind can be pretty gusty if its too far to the East.

Safety is more of an issue here than any location I have sailed at. When you are heading out the back at Manawa you are a long long way off shore and cannot be seen from the beach, a kit breakage could cause real problems.

Indian Resort Hotel
The hotel is an interesting mixed bag, the staff are lovely and beautiful, but not in an Ian Schrager up their own arses way, more a happy mulatto island friendly way. The food is great. The gardens are beautiful. The rooms need a refit to get the place to 5*, but then noone cares if you leave your kit rigged in the garden, or if you got to dinner in your boardies or if your daughter feeds the cats at the dinner table. For most windsurfers I know, it is an excellent compromise, any posher and we wouldn’t feel at home, any less posh and it would be poor value.

Trip Advisor - Indian Resort

Other things to do
The hotel has a good kids club, tennis courts, free widestyle kit, hobies, diving school, dolphin trips, 3 swimming pools, spa, etc There is no shortage of things to do. Unfortunately my 2 year old spent too long in the pool the first couple of days, then got an ear infection and fever and had a miserable week after that, when all she wanted was her mum and DVD. A course of antibs sorted it out, but she lost her enthusiasm for eg dolphin trip which I had been really looking forward to.

The hotel is a bit isolated so most people end watching the hotel entertainment, which was actually pretty good, all the staff seemed to be able to sing and dance very well, and I really like the Mauritian music which was a kind of Chet Baker jazz on the offbeat mixed with jit. But maybe I am just showing my age…

If you surf, you will not be short of things to do on no wind days, but I would be very surprised if part-time surfers were up to a lot of the waves I saw. Little Reef was regularly double overhead and looked like more than enough.

I went BA, mainly on price. Nightflight out, which was OK, dayflight back which was not that pleasant even though my daughter behaved herself. It’s a long day and I would pay extra for a nightflight back with Air Mauritius. BA were cool with my kit going out, but complete arseholes on the way back, and I got charged for 3kg excess, when I complained it was suggested I take up golf. I will never be flying BA again. Air Mauritius seemed a lot cooler with kit, and didn’t even bother weighing my mates on the way out. At over a £10/kg excess on BA, I would definitely fly Air Mauritius next time.

The holiday was expensive (£3800 for me, wife and 2 year old all-inclusive), and I would have lived to sail Manawa at least 3 or 4 times given the cost, but that would have made it great value, best holiday ever, etc.

Given reports from other sailors out there this year, and the wind stats the place is getting at the moment, I would not go out there again expecting 10 sessions at Manawa in a fortnight in November. But 3 or 4 would be a great result. If there are waves like this in the UK, then they will be further to travel, and you wont be sailing them in your boardies. You can give yourself a better chance at wind, by travelling in July/August but I get the impression crowds would be a big problem. The centre manager said his favourite time of the year was December – plenty of swell, much warmer, Ok not so much wind, but on the days you do get out, you get far more waves and no aggro. December will be much nicer (ie sunny and warm) for any non-windsurfer too.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thursday 26th October

Pagham, 5.8 and 95l FSW. Waves, well, chop and bumps were better immediately East/downwind of the mulberry. Well powered most of the time, 15-20 knots according to Chimet and beautifully warm - more like late summer more than late October!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday 6th October

Sailed at Avon Beach. Drove down in 30-35knts and got to the beach to find everyone swiming their kit in in 5knts in quite nice waves. Brilliant...

Decided to have some lunch and see if the wind came back as the weather cleared. Sure enough it did and went out on the 5.0 and 95l. The waves dropped off pretty quickly as the tide dropped and the water became almost unsailably shallow (remember for future: Avon high tide beach on big springs). It soon became plenty windy for the waveboard which with its renewed non-slip stuck to the feet like glue.

Great fun but a bit disappointed as was expecting epic...

This is the size of the waves once the tide had gone out :(

Joel going for a sick gaeriel :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday 1st October

Solid to maxed 4.2 day at Pagham. Reasonable waist-high waves, but afflicted with the usual Pagham arthritis, meaning jumping was better than riding, and although there was plenty of riding to be done it was definitely a day for the Evo-style boards. It was probably better at low tide, given the swell size.

Got some great jumps though, biggest I've done for years. Wind was up to 40knots according to Chimet.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday 21st September

Checked Bracklesham out which looked very nice sideshore/slightly off in the SEly wind. Some waves, would have been good waveriding in the small clean swell once the tide had dropped enough to launch.

But family duties meant that I launched at Felpham. It was blowing good 5.0 weather when I got there, but as soon as I got to beach with kit it dropped. Thought about getting 5.8, which would have been fine, but did a float out, backside ride back in session on FSW in waist high waves.

After an hour the wind came up and I was planing most of the time. Pretty good fun, considering it would have been very easy to not bother when the wind dropped...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Monday 28th August

Bracklesham Bay with a 5.8 on the 95l FSW. Wind was a bit gusty from the NW but the Chimet archive shows F4/5 for the time I was sailing (1130-1430). Only dropped off the plane a handful of times, no waves, but some chop for hopping. Nice and sunny, water temperature has dropped a few degrees already though :(

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Thursday 10th August

Bracklesham with 5.8 and FSW. The wind was a nice WNW direction ie only slightly onshore, blowing ~ 18knts but no swell, well maybe 6" :) . Nice and sunny, water very warm.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Monday 31st July

Solid 5.0 day at Bracklesham. Used the FSW board but could easily have been on the waveboard, the Chimet archive shows an average 25 knts for the time we were out. Caught the tide just right and was rewarded with clean waves, up to head-high from low to mid-tide. The wind was very onshore, but it was great for backside-riding and aeriels and you could carve hard up into the wave to jump on the way out.

As ever, totally uncrowded.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday 9th July

Sailed at Pagham with the boys with a 5.0 but it was plenty windy enough for a 4.2. Chimet was showing F6 gusting 7. Had the FSW out at first which was a bit hectic, right on the limit of its range, but sailable - would be OK in clean waves in that wind. Changed to the waveboard and that calmed things down nicely.

Very choppy, except up by the spit was was billiard table flat, due to the current coming out of the harbour on the ebbing tide.

Lovely sunny day on the coast - miserable inland.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Friday 9th June

After some major traffic hassle due to the M25 being closed, got to Felpham and got on the water about 5pm. Went out with 5.8 on the FSW and the wind was a bit scratchy from the East. The tide turned soon after though and the wind filled into reasonable planing conditions and I sailed til after 7pm. The Sun was out and the water was warm, so although it wasnt radical conditions, it was still a nice sail.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Saturday 20th May

Got a late session at Pagham. It was nuclear windy - 35knts average gusting 45 on Chimet. Used my very old 3.7 and prob would have been better off with my only slightly less old 4.2. Need a new 4.2.

Some rideable waves, but they were doing the usual Pagham thing of walling up, then vanishing after you've got one top turn. Good jumping, when you weren't totally overpowered.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday 19th May

Went to Avon Beach - got there in less time than it takes to get to Bracklesham or The Witterings. Started off on 5.0, nicely powered, got a lot of waves with 4/5 bottom turns on each. Over time the wind picked up and I changed down to 4.2 but overdownhauled it. I think I need to ditch the 4.2 and get a 4.5 Session and come in if there's more wind than I can handle with that.

Avon is great venue, sandy, no shorebreak, lots of waves, no crowds or aggro. Will go there again. Quite a bit probably...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Thursday 13th April

5.0 on the 95l Freestyle Wave at Bracklesham Bay. Chimet was showing WSW when I left but definitely SWly when I got there. Decent enough waves, very onshore meaning no down the line but good backside aerials. Tide dropped quickly, and it was easily waveboard windy when Rich and I packed up.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

For the record, missed good down the line sails at Pagham today (head-high, 4.7m) and yesterday (head-high, 4.5m).

Here is someone out at Pagham earlier, with the tide on the push...


This image was posted on the forums on Boards website in the 'How was it for you?' section. Do not look at it if you are stuck in the office...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The author at Gnaraloo in November 2004 - feels like a long time ago...

... and half a world away, which of course, it is.