Wednesday’s midweek after work session on the SF Bay @ crissy field was about as San Francisco as you can get. A chilling reminder that 4 days of summer heat was more than enough and the curmudgeon – aka the marine layer – was back in town.
The fog was deeply embedded through the golden gate- leaving only the San Francisco city front and Marin headlands to the north exposed to the brilliant sunshine trying penetrate through thick chilly pacific fog. As I drove into the city from Sausalito, the mid span was a fully engulfed with wind and fog. My van shifted in its lane with the each gust.
The iwindsurf app on the dash was reading 20+.
Peering down to Ft Point before I got the the toll booths, I saw nothing but white.
As I pulled into Crissy field, Tom & Soheil were already rigged their 10.0′s.
I followed suite with my 9.5.
3 identical mikes lab formula boards sit aligned ready to take on the Bay.
No chatter. Suit up and hit the water.
Its September- don’t forget the winter hat!
A few pumps and we were off blazing downwind at 20k+ in the flat water flood near shore towards the imminent fog bank lurking a few hundred feet away. Once at X- the tide line was amiss with square voodoo chop and random breaking swell.
The sheep were out of the paddock !
I flew over the backsides of the chop and waves with my back foot deeply planted in the double chicken strap for control. A quick scan of the chop in front of me let pick a decent face to carve back on.
Effortless is the only word that comes to mind when gybing a MLab in these conditions. Soheil and Tom are engaged in a gybing duel down the city front as I come fully lit in from the fog bank. Crossing ahead, I gybe in the butter smooth flood and sunshine washing the waters just in front of the GGYC.
The gods are smiling with 15-20k.
We work our way down past the harbor, past marina green and past Fort Mason in the time it takes to down a shot.
Painful but pleasant!
We arrive at the aquatic park which is bathed in a illuminating pink and orange glow as the setting sun peeks in below the fog.
30 seconds later overlapped and grinding upwind on port tack we are back in the fog.
So thick- you cant see the guy next to you 25′ away but rather listen to hear if the chatter from his board is getting closer or further away.
I look over my shoulder to see Soheil clearing a set of chop with his 70 cm fin fully out of the water. Tom is pulling to weather with his BB (aka big boy fin) from F4.
I hike harder and rail the board to get an edge and the kashy 70 I am riding finds a 5th gear- matching the angle and pulling ahead with speed.
The fog horns penetrate the marine layer from somewhere to windward.
Time to tack.
We line up again on starboard tack heading back towards the city front and out of the fog.
The voodoo chop is tamer the further we go until we reach the seawall where the flat flood tide is smooth as silk.
It quickly becomes apparent that shifting gears and standing the rig up in the lighter winds becomes advantageous. Soheil and I gain as we switch to our front hands on the uphaul vs the traditional 2 handed boom grip.
10 seconds later it’s time to tack.
The last 2 minutes of hard work and extra 2 board lengths of ground that you gained can be wiped clean if you blow your tack.
I’m a bit slow to make the transition and Tom flawlessly flops over to take advantage of the leeward position and is putting the pressure on again.
I dont have the room it takes to wind the fin up so I duck below Tom and begin with clear air.
Its not until we reach the fog bank again that I catch up with speed and angle.
Time to tack!
Our practice continues until we loose one another in the fog.
Tom bails and Soheil and I do another lap down to the aquatic park trading gybes and tacks along the city front while ducking in and out of the fog and tide line.
It doesn’t get much better for a wednesday.
2010 has been a great year for the Midwest Speed Quest on Lake Okabena, Worthington Minnesota. This Windsurfing GPS Speed Sailing Event runs through October 15th. The Racing Schedule is open during this time, and the racer may choose the day he wishes to Speed Sail.
Each year we pay over $3000 in CASH PRIZES, yet there are no fees of any kind The racer may enter as many times as they wish. This has been a popular format. The racer with the Best Ten Second Speed will win $1000 CASH, 2nd is $500, 3rd is $250, 4th is $125, and 5th is $75.
The Best Alpha 500 Meter Speed (the average speed through a 500 meter jibe) will win $500 CASH. Second wins $250, 3rd is $125, 4th is 75, and 5th is $50. Alpha Racing is new in the USA, but is popular in other Countries. This is great way to recognize those Windsurfers with superior jibing ability.
Thank to the generosity of our Sponsors, we have also been able to provide demo gear to all visiting Racers. This includes KA Sails (WIndsurf Deal, California), two Carbon Art Boards (Carbon Art International, New Zealand), Vector Fins (Vector Fins Maui, Hawaii), and Gath Helmets (Murrays Sports, California), and DAKINE
On May 1, the lead was taken early by David Knight of Fridley Minnesota. He used the KA Koncept 6.6 Sail and Carbon Art SL62 Slalom Board and Vector 28 EX fin. He recorded a personal record with a Ten Second Run of 32.8 knots, and a Max 2 Second Speed of 33.52 knots. On the same day, Ed Melechson of Papillion Nebraska sailed into Second Place, entering a personal best of 30.8 knots sailing the KA Koncept 5.8 Sail. David won a Gath Helmet. Ed won a Gath Helmet and $100 CASH!
On August 29, Andrew Anderson of Oakland California took the lead, with new personal best 10 Second Speed of 35.4 knots, with a Max Speed of 37.64 knots. Andrew was sailing the Neil Pryde RS Sail, the Carbon Art SL75 Slalom Board, and Vector Rockit Fin. Arden Anderson of Fon du Lac Wisconsin is in 3rd place with a speed of 32.73 knots, and a Max Speed of 33.64. Arden used a Vector EX Fin. Adam Anderson is now in 4th Place with new personal best 10 Second Speed of 31.2 knots, and a Max Speed of 33.12 Knots, also using a Vector EX Fin. 5th Place is now held by Ed Melechson. Sixth Place is held by 15 year old Magnus Zaunmueller of Beaver Dam Wisconsin. He was sailing the KA Koncept 4.4 Sail, the Carbon Art SP53 Speed Board, and Vector EX 32 Fin. This was his first attempt at Speed Sailing, and using the Koncept Sail. The conditions were challenging with the gusty winds and heavy chop. He also set a new personal best 10 Second Speed was 27.12 knots; and a Max Speed was 29.33 knots! Magnus won $100 CASH and a Gath Helmet! Ken Gacke of Brandon SD hold 7th with a personal best of 26.88, and a Max Speed of 27.85. Jeff Hegwer of Mason City Iowa has 8th place, Jason Swanson is in 9th.
New personal best speeds were also recorded by Wayne Anderson, Piotr Waszczuk, Jim Magnuson, Arnie Cleveland, and Niels Zaunmueller. Congratulations!!!
Thank you US Windsurfing for supporting the Midwest Speed Quest year after year!
See our Web Site for complete information, more photos, and up to date Race Results.
Yesterdays Bridge to Bridge race can be compared to launching yourself full speed down a mountain stacked full moguls- only have the finish line at the bottom of the mountain- 1/2 way across the gravel parking lot!
For 99% of the race, skiffs, kites and formula boards were fully wound in 18-24k and steep ebb chop, screaming downwind across the San Francisco Bay- only to come to a screeching halt 100m from the finish line- set just in front of Treasure Island at the base of the Bay Bridge where the wind becalmed the leaders and a river of ebb tide flowed, making it nearly impossible for nearly half of the fleet to get cross the finish line.
In fact only 33 of this years 57 entrants were able complete the race- but not for lack of skill. It was just that hard of a race.
It all unfolded with the last moves of the game as the skiffs came powered in from the city front and the majority of the kite and board fleet sat in the bubble just west of Treasure Island.
Actually the skiffs had it from the beginning.
All they needed was to avoid disaster and it would be theirs to lose.
And they did exactly that- sweeping the podium with the top 3 positions.
In 4th was local Chip Wasson followed by Steve Sylvester in 5th taking the top board spot- and edging out a pack of boards and kites- all trying to inch their way across the line in the opposing current and light wind.
The chaos even started before the starting gun as sounds of crunching carbon could be heard as 2 skiffs got tangled up in the run to the starting line.
With no protest being heard, per the sailing instructions, everything was going to be settled on the water.
The start was pretty chaotic with kites, skiff and boards all running at different angles and speeds across the line. I made a few quick calls to duck the port tackers (yes- duck the port tackers)in exchange for staying upright and full speed.
There’s nothing as slow as being skewed on the front of an Aussie 18′s 12′ bow sprint.
Port or starboard.
I was able to ride some big puffs down the city front before it got too light and gybed back to the outside for pressure. This is where things really heated up and Sylvester and I were still neck and neck. He eventually was able to pull away with better speed on his 60cm kashy, north 9.0 and ML10 as we went past Alcatraz in a a wild array of voodoo chop and swell. I think the difference was just being able to put the hammer down. With a smaller fin in the big chop, you can get more control with less drag.
Even with my back foot fully on the leeward rail in the triple chicken strap, I was barely able to hold on -flying across the backsides of 3-5 swell and chop in 20-25k of breeze. I confess, the 67cm kashy that I was riding was more than enough. Pushing as deep as I could, I plowed right over the top of Soheil- not knowing he was even there until I cleared him. Fortunately just a few seconds of delay but when I gybed to make the layline for the finish line a kiter went down just in front of me – spreading his kite, lines and board in a tangled mess. Another few seconds lost going upwind to clear myself and around the kiter.
Things were looking good with the guys in front not making the line and falling off a plane. I came planing in making my way through a graveyard of downed kites, trying to body drag their way to the finish! A few pumps and the lucky puff and I might have it but then in an all too sudden anti-climatic finish, I fell off a plane and was faced with a river of current pulling me away from the finish line. It took another few minutes of real struggle to make it across the line.
I had to settle for 17th overall in what was a disappointing finish but sometimes it’s more about the race than the finishing order.
That’s all part of the game.
Win or Lose.
It keeps me coming back every time!
The Techno 293 World Championships in Martiuges, France and the Techno 293 US Nationals in Vineyard Haven just wrapped up with great performances from youth windsurfers at both events!
In Vineyard Haven, 15 races were run over 3 days – with the first two days having the conditions we all dream of racing in, high teens to low twenties! 26 kids from the US, Canada and Mexico showed up to compete for the National title. John Sebastian, the top Canadian Techno 293 sailor dominated the fleet with ten first place finishes! Raz Sayre (son of former world champion windsurfer, Nevin) and Chris Waldo of Gainsville, FL battled it out for second and third place. You can see full results at http://www.vhyc.org/files/Download/techno239results.htm and check out the video of the event (thanks to Dan Weiss) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHyrp4Gl6GQ
The Techno 293 World Championships also just wrapped in Martigues, France (just outside of Marseille). The US Team consisted of Marion Lepert and Jack Lundquist from San Francisco, Margot Samson and Charlotte Samson from Clearwater, Florida and Ian Stokes from Norfolk, VA. US Junior Team coach Britt Viehman was there as well, helping the kids to achieve their best possible performance. The event was huge (almost like the old days, maybe even better) with over 350 racers! Huge congratulations to Marion Lepert, who finished 11th out of 80 girls in the 7.8m girl’s class and Ian Stokes who finished 68th out of over 150 in the boy’s 7.8m class. Check out the video from Day 1 (when it was blowing 50 knots!)
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You can see more videos and full results at www.techno293.org
With 7 course races already under their belts, racers returned for Day 3 of the US Windsurfing National Championship in San Francisco that saw the fleet spread out across the San Francisco Bay in a long distance race to Treasure Island and back to Crissy Field before 6 heats of slalom were run in gusty but reasonable conditions.
Consistency was the name of the game for Phil McGain who took the long distance race after event leader Paulo des Rios mistook the mid course gate for the leeward mark and started back upwind.
It wasn’t long ago that McGain – a veteran in the sport of windsurfing- gave up one of San Francisco most famous long distance races- the SF Classic by sailing right passed R4 and let the local fleet slip by. This time, he had his notebook for reference with course diagrams, tides and weather info.
The long distance race started and restarted and finally restarted again under the black flag with the outgoing ebb tide pulling sailors across the line and over early. Finally in the last start, I decided enough – and I would start on port with a few others ducking the fleet- making sure to get out the the right side but this time the inside lift finally paid off at the beach with the majority of the starboard tackers getting upwind first.
From there it was a slow but steady downwind run in 16-22k and over some short steep chop along the city front that had racers gybing through multiple lanes of ferry traffic and fishing trawlers and then through 2 gates: one stationed in front of the StFYC and the other off Blossom Rock on the north east side of the city and finally down to a leeward mark stationed north of Treasure Island before heading back upwind- in reverse order through the Blossom Rock gate and to the finish in front of the StFYC.
The pecking order was pretty much established with the top 10 staying pretty much in that order.
Finally with an hour rest break, the slalom fleets were established and 6 full rounds of slalom were run in 12-18k before the wind diminished too much on the inside of the course- set just off Crissy Field.
Racing in both course and slalom will continue Friday and Saturday with old and new school freestyle set to start Friday afternoon from the east beach at Crissy Field.
Even the locals looked cold on day 1 of US Windsurfing Nationals here in San Francisco! With just over 40 boards on the starting line, four races were completed in building breeze and the complicated currents that San Francisco is so famous for. Brazillian Formula superstar, Paulo dos Reis is dominating so far, with Phil McGain, Wilhelm Schurmann, Aurelien Le Metayer and Seth Bessie rounding out the top five. More Formula racing plus slalom and freestyle is scheduled for the rest of the week – so check back for more updates! You can see full results from the St. Francis Yacht Club race office at http://www.stfyc.com/files/2010-US-Windsurfing-Nats-Results.pdf and check out the pictures from professional photographer Shawn Davis at http://www.picyourshot.com/event/2010-US-Windsurfing-Nationals and see more event reports at http://www.waterhound.com/us-windsurfing-national-championships-and-formula-north-americans-day-1-report.html, www.stevebodner.blogspot.com and http://www.mauisails.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=2913
What can be said about the San Francisco Classic and Ultra Nectar Challenge that hasn’t been said before.
The longest running long distance windsurfing race in some of the toughest conditions imaginable!
A 40+ mile trek taking the formula boards and kiters (for the past 5 years) out the golden gate and 8 times across the SF Bay, down to the bottom of the Berkeley pier for the SF Classic and back the the StFYC for the UN Challenge.
Seth Besse dominated both races in the 25 board formula fleet with an elapsed time of 1 hour and 46 minutes while kiters Johnny Heineken and Joey Pasquali each took the upwind and downwind portions of their race respectively but still were well off the pace of the top boards with best elapsed finish time by Chip Wasson in 2 hours and 2 minutes
The wind readings off Angel Island on Saturday pretty much sumed it up.
35-40k at Point Blunt.
Multiple blow ups on the way downwind and upwind had me thinking about about stopping to retire at Treasure Island at least a few times as that was our designated safe spot- guaranteed for a ride back to SF with the RC.
Each time, however, I was able to dig a bit deeper and hang on a little bit longer.
The reach from Blossom rock to Point Blunt was pure hell.
Somewhere between a beam reach and a close reach on a formula board is pretty much the most uncomfortable position you would ever want to put yourself in with a 67cm and 9.5m rig . Add 4-6′ breaking swell and the wind now gusting above 30k .
Im not sure how the others coped but I found just how far I could push myself to the limit without going over.
Survival was the name of the game.
It was a respectable 5th for me in the SF Classic and just happy to have made it back home across the finish line for the UN Challenge.
Ive sailed in 8 or 9 SF Classics and can say this was one of the windiest and most challenging I’ve ever done.
The return trip home for the UN Challenge was equally as brutal.
Port tack towards Angel Island seemed an eternal punishment for all the bad things I had done in my life.
I was getting pounded never able to put the hammer down.
Wave after wave- the board was flying well out of the water across the top of the 4-6′ swell.
My muscles are still sore thinking about it.
The guys that sailed up the city front had a bit tamer ride and a noticeable advantage once they reached the finish in front of the St. Francis YC.
The timing for this years event couldn’t be better with the 2010 US Windsurfing National Championships off Crissy Field in San Francisco from July 20-24.
Results and report @ www.stevebodner.blogspot.com
Photo credit: Don Albinico
The wind is back and so are the windsurfers! The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association invites you- whether you’re a seasoned windsurfer, newbie, or just want to enjoy a day at the beach- to join us at Windfest Weekend, June 26-27, in Hood River. The festivities will be held at the Event Site in Hood River, Oregon. Take exit 63 off I-84 and head toward the river. Activities will run from 10am until dusk on Saturday, June 26th, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday, June 27th. Demo tickets are available for purchase at the beach for $10, or $5 for CGWA members. If you’ve never windsurfed before, this is your chance to try it out. Big Winds is offering free lessons on Saturday and Sunday afternoons- space is limited, so sign up in the mornings at the Event Site. For those who want to expand your skills, clinics will run throughout both days at the Event Site. Clinics will be offered by Bruce Peterson (Owner of Sailworks), Wyatt Miller (Pro rider for Naish), and various skilled team riders.
Windsurf distributors from throughout the country will gather on the beach for unlimited gear demos all weekend. Try out a stand up paddleboard, or work your way through the various brands’ newest gear. Exhibitors include Trident Sports, Big Winds, Windsport Magazine, Groundswell / Ezzy, Bonnier Corps / Windsurfing Magazine, Sailworks, Maui Sails, Dakine, Realwind, Northsports, Naish Sails, and Shadowbox.
Be sure to catch some live music and good grub at the Full Sail/Taco del Mar Pray for Wind Party on Saturday evening. Tony Smiley will play live music on the beach until dusk. David Griffith will host a live auction to raise funds for CGWA. Hot auction items include:
- Vela 7-day stay for 2 at the Brazilian combo- Jericoacoara + Icaraizinho
- Make your own Nolimitz mast at the Nolimitz factory in White Salmon (you get to keep the mast)
- On-water photoshoot with professional sports photographer Jock Bradley
- Gift certificates for local lodging and dining, lots of windsurf gear, art, and much more!
There will be a silent auction on the beach in the large tent all day Saturday, and will close at 6pm. The live auction will run from 7-8pm.
Also this weekend is the Gorge Blowout, where amateur and competitive windsurfers sail for 17 miles from Stevenson to Hood River. The finish line is at the Event Site- come and cheer as they cross the finish line! There is a junior blowout available for anyone looking to participate in 7 miles of downwind action, from Viento to Hood River. For information about the Blowout and to register, visit www.VMGEvents.com.
If you would like to donate an item for the Pray for Wind party, please contact Beth McCullough at email@example.com. If you are interested in volunteering at the event, contact Pete Biltoft at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Windfest is brought to you by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing with the generous support of the Gorge community. Special thanks to these sponsors: Vela Windsurfing Resorts, Your Rental and Party Center, Taco del Mar, Full Sail Brewing, and Griffith Motors.
CGWA is a 501(c)(3) member-based nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the windsurfing experience throughout the Columbia River Gorge. Learn more about our programs and projects at www.CGWA.net.
The Ronstan Challenge is billed as a comfortable tour of the San Francisco Bay taking the formula windsurfers and kite boarders down to Berkeley and back to the SF city front. Unlike its older sibling- the SF Classic (with 18 downwind gybe marks) run next month- it’s a straight shot downwind and back. The biggest thing you need to take into account is the tides.
Line them up correctly and you could be riding a magic carpet straight to the finish while your competitors fight it out in the flood tide.
For a while it looked like it might be a full on reaching race with the wind from the north at 20-25k Saturday morning. Predictably, the westerlies filled in but hardly in SF fashion. The RC shortened the course to Treasure Island and back as it was still 8-13k at the 2pm start. Most racers choose their 11m rigs and big kites for the hour plus tour of the Bay.
I finally passed Steve Sylvester for the lead below Alcatraz and rounded the leeward mark in front but failed to protect my lead as the top 3 squeezed by playing the inside ebb tide on the city front on the upwind ride home. After 55 minutes of racing and nearly 16 miles to show, only 13 seconds separated the top 2 with Sylvester edging out Eric Christanson for the bullet. The kites lined up for their start 25 minutes after the boards and course winner, and current world Champion- Adam Koch showed some amazing VMG with an elapsed time of 49-1/2 minutes beating local Chip Wasson by 2 minutes across the line.
If racers felt cheated from the lack of a full long distance race on Saturday, the course more than made up for it on Sunday with the windward mark set near the presidio shoal buoy and the leeward mark set off Pier 39. 3 course races were run for each fleet in a building 20-25k breeze.
The long down winder was brutal flying over the short steep chop at 25K+. If you could just hang on it was all good!
In the last race I found myself near the top again and gybed with the leaders but immediately went over the handle bars as I accelerated right into a 3′ wall of voodoo chop. I lay spread out like a yard sale in the middle of San Francisco Bay. I slowly picked up the pieces trying to uphaul, then water start. 30 seconds later later and the leaders were gone.
Local racer Seth Besse dominated the Formula fleet with 3 bullets in convincing style while Koch and Wasson battled it out in the kite fleet with neither finishing worse than 2nd. In the it was Koch taking the line honors again.
As always, the St. Francis YC deserves huge props for well run regatta.
Photo credit Chris Ray.
Complete report, results and photos at www.stevebodner.blogspot.com