June Triple Header

Racing on the San Francisco city front course can bring plenty of surprises.
There’s the 40k+ gusts that hit you like a slap in the face!
There’s the 4′ voodoo chop that can stop a keelboat in its tracks!
There’s the 5k ebb that that makes calling any layline nearly impossible!
There’s the ferries, commercial fishing boats and freighters who go right through your course!
I wont even begin to mention the 40 degree foggy & cold summers…

But this past weekend- we had none of that.
For the first time in ages, we had a pretty civil conditions racing on the city front course with a flat flood tide, sunshine & a manageable 14-22k of breeze every day.
The Formula windsurfers and kite boarding fleet had 3 days of spectacular racing from the St. Francis Yacht Club.
Racers were treated to a combined Friday night series with the kites joining the windsurfers for 4 course races on the outside course; a combined long distance race to Berkeley and back on Saturday afternoon and 5 more course races on Sunday afternoon.

The kites dominated the long distance race with Johnny Heineken taking line honors in 1 hour and 13 min on the 24 mile course and Xavier Feret taking the top board spot almost 13 minutes behind him.

Overall- I was pretty stoked with podium finishes all 3 days!
I introduced a new sail (err..Technora fiber loadpath membrane) into my program the last 2 weeks and finally got a chance to race with it for 2 out of the 3 days
The Avanti 10.0 performed really well right from the start. Despite being built as a light wind slalom sail- it’s got great stability and control in the puffs and great range as a formula rig. The biggest difference from my other formula sails is the weight- almost 1/3 lighter!
Oh yea- its pretty dam sexy too- in a twisted carbon, laminate polymer kind of way…

Steve Bodner
USA-4

Full regatta report at www.stevebodner.com
Photos by Chris Ray www.crayivp.com
Results: St.FYC website

BIG THURSDAY

5-24-12 will henceforth be known as BIG THURSDAY.

Iwindsurf’s Mike Godsey’s 7am  forecast was spot on with the pressure gradients reading off the charts @ .24!
I usually start to pay attention when they reach .07 to .09.
The “skirt alert” was quickly turned into “hang onto your car” warning!

The wind and the swell in the upper half of the San Francisco Bay went off like Ive never seen in my 12+ years of windsurfing here. The Bay was turned into a frothy mess. By 5pm the wind spiked up to a solid 30k and gusting up to 40k+.
City front gust are spastic gusts like a back hand slap to a raw cheek!
They turn whitecaps into liquid spray.
They separate the boys from the men.

The port tack ramps lined up with such precision they practically launched you into orbit.
The starboard tack swell, not to be outdone, was of epic proportions- similar to that at the hatchery on a good day in the gorge.
Did I mention sunshine.
The golden gate was at it’s finest with a warm orange twilight glow coming across the Marin headlands and through the iconic golden gate bridge.

Without a doubt- it was one of the finest sessions I’ve ever had on the San Francisco Bay.

I hesitated on what to rig when I got to the beach as it was already gusting into the low 30′s in the early afternoon but we were in a 4:30 lull that calmed things down when I arrived.
I rigged up the bread and butter of my slalom quiver- 7.0 and 39 cm fin on my 105l light weight ml slalom board.
10 min later after a few runs to the middle of the bay and I already knew I was in trouble.
I’m not ashamed to admit defeat when I’m there.

Windsurfing is no fun when you’re not dialed into your equipment.
1-2m2 can make the difference between being powered and stupidly over powered.

I came in and switched down to my 85l ml free ride slalom board with 32cm fin and 6.3 north warp.
I was still super wound but beginning to enjoy the flow rather than being at the mercy of it.
Finally I moved my booms all the way down in the boom cut out on my sail and had way better control as I carved down the 5-6′ breaking swell and flew across the San Francisco Bay.

There was just a handful of us windsurfers as the kites were off racing to leeward and only came upwind a few times to round their windward mark set near the Presidio shoal. I saw some kite mares unfolding before my eyes as the race crew tried to make their way around the course on their 70cm race boards and 9m kites in 30-40k winds.

The consensus from the windsurfing side of the beach – “the best day this season.”
The consensus from kite beach,”OMFG- I cant believe I survived. WTF was I thinking kite racing in that breeze.”
Oh to be a windsurfer!
Everyone one of stayed out as long as we could, not to be outdone by the lucky few who were ripping it up. Every time I came back to the beach to catch my breath and let my pulse drop below 150, I looked out and saw 10 locals having the time of their lives.
I headed back out for ‘just one more run,’ which turned into 5 or 6.

The stoke level was at it highest its been and the grins on our faces couldn’t be wiped off.
BIG THURSDAY will go down in the record books as a day to remember!

Windsurfing out of the Olympics for 2016

photo by Dale Thompson

Most everyone has heard by now of the recent decision by ISAF to replace windsurfing with kite boarding in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.  It only took a few hours for a petition drive to begin to ask ISAF to reverse the decision, you can see and sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/isaf-keep-windsurfing-as-olympic-discipline.  Over 14,000 people have already signed!  There is lots of interesting discussion in the facebook group to keep windsurfing in the Olympics (there are already almost 17,000 members).

The RS:X class website had the folowing to say:

“The campaign to put windsurfing back in the Olympics will not be easy. Nor will it be a sprint. It is more likely to be a marathon but when the the going gets tough the tough get going. The RS:X Class fully realize that this is not a matter just for them. It is a matter for the whole sport of windsurfing.

The initiatives to set up a petition did not come from within the RS:X Class nor did the Facebook Group. They came as a result of the spontaneous combustion of anger and frustration felt by windsurfers round the world. People from more than 100 countries are involved in some way or another.

So what happens now…”  For the rest of the article go to http://www.rsxclass.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/854-rio-2016-when-the-going-gets-tough-the-tough-get-going

As devestating as this is for so many people world wide – it is important to remember that the sport of windsurfing still has a lot of fantastic things going for it….support your local clubs and events, teach some kids how to windsurf or encourage your local sailing center to start a youth program and most important – go windsurfing!

 

Inagural CISA junior windsurfing clinic

2012 CISA Windsurfing Clinic Details

CISA Windsurfing Clinic

June 20-22, 2012

St. Francis Yacht Club , San Francisco, CA

About the Clinic In February 2012 the CISA Board approved a proposal for a Northern California Windsurfing clinic to introduce and train our youth sailors in windsurfing competition.   St. Francis Yacht Club has partnered with CISA to host the inaugural CISA Windsurfing Clinic in June of 2012.  St. Francis along with other SF Bay area organizations will provide the equipment (Techno 293, Formula & RSX ) and venue and CISA will work with them to transfer attributes of their legendary Advanced Race Clinic to this event.

Application – Due May 20, 2012

More info and online application @ http://www.cisasailing.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=60&Itemid=1

New Teen Residential Windsurf Camp in the Gorge!

The Columbia Gorge Teen Windsurf Camp which will open in July provides a new concept in teen camp programs. While residential specialty camps in baseball, tennis, soccer, etc. are plentiful, windsurfing camps tend to be day camps, which are fine if you live close to a windsurfing center, but don’t meet your needs unless you live close to a place where a day camp is held. Other residential camps may promote themselves as windsurfing camps, but in reality are traditional camps, where windsurfing is just one of 20 or more programs offered.

For a teen who is hooked on the sport, or wanting to learn, and wants to experience Hood River, it has been a frustrating situation: trying to get the parents to drive him or her to “The Gorge” and check into a motel while the teen hits the water.

 Now teens will be able to fly into Portland, Oregon, be picked-up and driven to a residential camp just up stream from Hood River, housed, fed, supervised by experienced counselors and driven to “The Gorge” each day for the expert instruction and supervision by the world renown Big Winds.

 Since 1987, Big Winds has been combining first-rate instruction, top of the line gear and fun on the water for an exceptional windsurfing experience.

 When campers are not sailing, they will experience some of the other activities The Gorge has to offer…stand-up paddling, kayaking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, etc.

 The idea for this new camp was conceived by Dr. Robert Hanson, Professor Emeritus of the Recreation Department of San Diego State University. Hanson recognized that there is a void in programming for teens in outdoor sport specialties. Program director for the camp will be Terry Kimball, who has been an aquatic specialist at the Port Noarlunga Aquatic Center in South Australia for the past 20 years.

 For additional information, go to www.teenwindsurfcamp.com or call 801-679-9099 (MST)

 20% discount for all U.S. Windsurfing Members

Kona North American Championships

Fleet 8 and Kona Midwest are proud to host the 2012 Kona North American Championships on Lake Waconia.  Lake Waconia is the most popular high-wind lake in the Twin Cities metro area and has been the site for over 60 windsurfing regattas starting with the Windsurfer District 5 Championships in 1978.  Our venue will be the Lake Waconia Regional Park on the southwest shore which offers all the amenities for a great championship regatta.

 Kona USA is developing a web site to enhance the championships with on-line registration and regular updates, as well as daily results and video coverage.  For those eager to register and take advantage of the early registration fee, you can register at www.Fleet8.com by clicking on the Kona Championships and scrolling down to the Paypal button.  

 We will be providing charter equipment, yet limited with the anticipated attendance.  For us to provide charters for as many competitors as possible, you need to reserve as early as possible.  To help reduce the cost for racing families, Kona Midwest has developed a scholarship program to subsidize charter fees for women and youth.  Contact Fleet-8@juno.com for more details.     

Click here for the Notice of Race – konanaNOR

US Olympic Windsurfers Prepare for Weymouth!

photo by Dale Thompson

Bob Willis and Farrah Hall have both qualified to represent the United States in windsurfing at the Olympic Games this summer

.  The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are based in London, but the sailing events will take place at the southern end of the UK in Weymouth.  This is typically a windy venue, so the windsurfing should be fantastic!  You can read all abouth Bob and Farrah’s preparation for the Olympics on their respective web blogs www.bobsails.com and www.farrahhall.com .  Congratulations to both of them!

Florida Racing for Everyone!

photo: Jane Thompson

The 2012 windsurfing racing season kicked off strong in Florida with the Sarasota Island Style Classic and the Calema Midwinters.  The Kona class had a nice turnout at both events, with a number of out of town sailors taking advantage of the ability to fly in, charter gear and race without the hassles of travelling with windsurfing equipment.  The participants in the Kona class ranged in age from early teens to over seventy and included first time racers and windsurfing legends Nevin Sayre and Bruce Matlack! 

The Formula class had its usual mix of local Floridians and out of town superstars.  Brazillian Wilhelm Schurmann came for both events, while Micah Buzianis, Taty Franz, Paulo Dos Reis and Gabriel Brown showing up just for Midwinters.  Racing was tight amongst the top pros with the top five all winning at least one race! 

Sovig Sayre took first place in the women's rs:x class, her dad Nevin took first overall in Kona and her brother Raz finished first in the Techno class at midwinters!

Also in attendance at Midwinters were youth RS:X sailors Margot Samson  and Lucas Gonzales who had previously qualified to represent the United States at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships (which will be held this summer in Ireland).  The RS:X fleet had more competitors this year with many of the younger windsurfers ramping up for their Olympic campaigns for 2016. 

Results from the Sarasota Island Style Classic can be found at http://www.mswindsurfing.com/results.php and pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/54980050@N06/sets/72157629106727954/with/6790967128/

Results and pictures from the Calema Midwinters can be found at http://calema.com/events/calema-midwinters-2012/

The Baja expereince- winter 2012

It was billed as the ultimate showdown between kiters and windsurfers with 3 events spanning 9 days on the sea of Cortez on southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. While the kiters showed up in numbers, the windsurfers still found ways to keep the bragging rights for another year. At the end of the day- we found we had more in common than what separates us and in hindsight, I’d say it was more a gathering of the tribes- where we all spoke the same language- wind!

After enduring what seemed like a windless (and snow less) fall and early winter in northern California- I made plans for my first trip to Baja. I hooked up with our local kiting crew who use the events as a testing ground to where they stand in the off season. The Heineken van made the trip down on Christmas eve packed with 6 sets of kiting gear & 4 people. Rock star siblings, Erika and Johnny almost made it only to be delayed on Christmas morning when their front differential fell out and their 4 wheel van quickly turned in a 2 wheel van.  In Mexico- anything is possible and after a 6 hour delay and trading some beer for labor they were quickly back on their way.

I arrived 2 weeks later for the first event skipping the road trip and flying directly into Cabo.

The Lord of the Winds Showdown in Los Barriles hooked up with the Travel Channel who was featuring the Sand Masters show at the same time. If you’ve never seen it, these guys create unbelievable works of art in the sand. Their final creation was a huge sand stage for the Lord of the Winds where Johnny ‘Pacifico’ Heineken was crowned Lord of the Winds after taking the long distance race. 

(Windsurfers 0: Kiters 1)

Johnny Pacifico Heineken- Lord of the Winds

To say there is a bigger emphasis on fun vs a normal regatta would be an understatement.

We came in from racing with the race staff handing us a Pacifico as our official check in.

The windsurfers won the pre-party with Josh Samperio crushing the kiting and SUP crowd in a 42 sec binge under the beer tap bookmarked by double shots of tequila vs a meek 20 secs performance by the kiters.

(Windsurfers 1: Kiters 1)


The first day of racing saw over 40 heats of slalom run on a 10 mark downwind course. It was super exciting to see the kiters try to figure this one out as there’s still a mix of sailors using course boards, twin tip boards and even surf boards.  The windsurfers looked the most graceful in the 16-22k breeze laying down their gybes and generally staying untangled compared to the kiters. It was Tyson Poor who dominated the slalom with a string of bullets followed by Bryan Perez and myself in 3rd.

We followed the next 2 days with course racing and a long distance race where the wind never really materialized above 15k so the kiters had a huge advantage making it look easy with the course gear and 15m kites compared the windsurfers who were on slalom gear and 7-8m rigs. In one race, we had a humpback whale emerge from the water just at the windward mark as we were rounding it.

I’m pretty envious of what the sport of kite racing is doing with the gear evolution and the amount of sailors they are attracting. It’s almost as though history is repeating itself after windsurfing’s peak in the early 90’s. Several of the world’s top ranked kite course racers hail from the SF Bay and for the past years they’ve progressed as a group- training together & sharing info freely. As a result, the group has raised the benchmark much more than any sailor could do on their own.  Next year, I vowed to either come back with a kite or a formula equipment to be better matched.

Next up, we packed the van up for a short trip up the coast to La Ventana and set up camp in the arroyo. They say the Mexicans don’t enter the water from march to October and its only it’s the crazy wind starved gringos who travel from the northern US that endure the fierce ‘el norde’ winds. It was amazing to see how many wind junkies make the trip down from the northern US and Canada for several weeks or months in the winter. There are literally hundreds of sailors camping on the beach living off the grid in their RV’s or tents and enjoying the sea and the wind in southern Baja. All you really need is some protection from the wind and the sun and you’re set.  The food is cheap and the liquor even cheaper. I never once worried about my safety while in Baja. There are several camps where sailors have built elaborate structures for cooking and showing outdoors and most importantly- keeping your sails rigged up and ready and out of the UV.

It takes the meaning of beach bum to a whole new level!

This grasshopper still has a thing or two to learn as I realized a Baja fog beats the SF fog any day of the week.

We started off the racing by joining the weekly slalom series at Playa Central in La Ventana run by the legendary Alex Aguera. It was a no BS event with several rounds of slalom for amateur and professional kiters and windsurfers. I again managed a 3rd behind Tyson and Bryan getting schooled by my lack of time on the water the past few months. Nonetheless it a great tune up for the La Ventana Classic to follow.

The next day we started the La Ventana Classic. This is the first lucha libre Mexican wrestling themed windsurfing Ive ever been to in my 25 years in the sport. On Saturday evening we all gathered in the city’s main square for a classic lucha libre wresting showdown. It was way better than any B rated movie you’ve ever seen and kept us entertained the whole evening. A greased pig catching contest followed with the windsurfers edging out the kiters again.(Windsurfers 2: Kiters 1 if you’re keeping still keeping count)

Bring out the gimp…(it must be a kiter thing)

The rivalry continued throughout the event as the big match up was the long distance race which pitted the kiters vs the windsurfers in an 11 mile reach from the island of Ceralvo back to La Ventana. 99 sailors packed our gear on the local fleet of fishing boats for a 8 am transfer to the island and waited for the wind to build around 2pm. I never realized how good a beach fire could feel at 11 am!

It was probably 15-20k at the start but 20 min later at the La Ventana finish it was a much lighter 12-16k.

Tyson Poor on a JP 112l slalom board and 7.8m rig had a good lead built up at the first mark with Johnny Heineken on his 13m kite in hot pursuit. Next was a 1.5 mile downwind leg and small reach to the finish. This is where the kiters made huge gains. I rounded in 5th at mark 1 and slipped to 11th at the finish as 6 kiters looped straight downwind in the finish while we had several underpowered downwind reaches eating lots of ground. Tyson and Johnny rounded the last mark overlapped with a final 10 second reach to the finish just in front of the beach. It was Nascar type racing at its finest with Tyson not allowing Johnny to pass him with several aggressive moves to keep him in front and take the bullet by a mere 3 feet.

(Windsurfers 3:Kiters 1.)

Tyson Poor – making sure the windsurfers are still at the top of the podium

The windsurfers held on this year but its obvious the sport is changing with kiters outnumbering the windsurfers almost 10:1. We still won the party, the greased pig contest, and the Classic so to say the sport is dying is simply wrong.

We completed 3 more days of course racing where I managed to finally get the top spot at the end of the regatta in the windsurfing course racing. My prize was a huge lucho libre belt emblazed with all the classic mexican mojo you could imagine.

Im not sure I could have had a better time with a better group of people. Except for Montezuma’s revenge, the Baja experience is something Im hoping to repeat next winter.


Additional photos and trip details @ www.stevebodner.blogspot.com

Steve Bodner

USA-4