Windsurfing’s taken yet a new dimension for me lately. First of all, we’ve had such a good summer so far, with so many amazing road trips, I have been enjoying windsurfing more than ever. I have learnt a lot too, which always helps with the frothing.
There’s been an extra frothing factor too. It’s bright red, super light, incredibly balanced. Guessed yet? Yep. I’m now sailing on Severne sails.
It’s great to be part of the local team. And to make sure I get my butt kicked by the man himself if I dare do a run without a stunt. Being under the constant threat of getting run over or having a huntsman sneaked into my bed is definitely helping me step it up. (I’m talking about Mr Severne here by the way, not about my other half - no domestic violence to report please. )
But what is unreal is how good the sails are.
Changing over to different sails usually takes a bit of adaptation time - well not this time. These are so light, balanced and responsive, they allow you to totally forget about your sail and focus 100% on the wave, jump or whatever you do out there. There is never any pulling you around in the wrong direction.
I am using the Freek for freestyle, and the S-1 for wave sailing.
And what they’re working on for 2014 is very promising - I’ve been using a 4.3 S-1 2014 prototype, it was incredible.
We set off early on Friday to catch what looked like could be a descent 3 day pattern on the South Coast. It’s quite a bit of a drive but it’s such a good place to windsurf, surf and hang around that it’s always worth it . Even when the conditions are not all time, it’s just good to be there.
I love how the landscape changes as you drive down. Leaving the city behind and driving through the native forest, the huge fields and farm land of the wheatbelt, the little towns in the middle of nowhere, the longest stretches of dead straight road through desert land, and finally, the white beaches and bright blue water of the South Coast.
We ended up getting a bit of a mix of conditions: light wind with good waves, strong wind with small waves, cross onshore, offshore... We all know that the conditions there can get heaps better, but it was a lot of fun and a great weekend nonetheless. We got to get in the water every day and to catch up with friends, and as usual got looked after by the very hospitable locals. A big thanks to all of them. And thanks Sco’y for the windsurfing shots.
It's this time of the year again - the traditional couple of summer months in the Canaries.
I flew in a few days ago and was straight in there for the late session, flying on my 3.4 with good waves at the Wall. It hasn't stopped since - the waves have been really good and I have been on 3.4, 3.7 and 4.0 the whole time.
I'm getting properly looked after by the OTC crew too, which makes it all even better. Thanks Justin, Adam and James!
pics ©James Randall
Although it hasn't been the best summer wind-wise, the whole season in Western Australia was amazing. Not that is has ever not been. It was very hard to leave, but I'm lucky to be able to go back to Switzerland to my family and friends.
I am now in Egypt for some freestyle training. And it's serious training too! We've had lots of wind already and it looks like it won't stop for a while.
Coming back to Dahab always feels like coming home. It's so good to see everyone here and get back into the Egyptian lifestyle. We've been up the coast for a bit of trip and scored such a good day: overpowered on 4.0 from 7am till sunset. What a great trip. Great people in a great place. And only 5 of us on the water. My friends Vic and Mat from home, Alex Seyss, and even Sarah-Quita who finally made it to Dahab! Yep, learning from the master herself.
3 more trips to the South Coast, a long weekend in Lancelin and a few thousand kilometers later, we're back home for a bit more than 3 days in a row. It feels good to slow down and just enjoy being at home after weeks of chasing wind and waves all over the place.
The South Coast has been going off, the Lancelin Ocean Classic was heaps of fun (I won the wave event too!), and I've got this big smile on my face just thinking about all the good moments we've been through and shared with amazing people.
Here a few shots by Ben Pallant, from Gunfire Images. Check out his brand new website www.gunfireimages.com.au. It's full of amazing shots and stories from all over WA.
We're all in Lancelin at the moment for the Lancelin Ocean Classic. The wave comp was on yesterday, unfortunately the conditions weren't very epic, but at least we managed to complete a full elimination for each category. Not sure how I did but I guess I'll know soon - the results are kept secret until the prize giving on Saturday... Tomorrow the big downwind Ledge to Lancelin race is on. There should be just enough sea breeze to run it, looking forward to it - I'm not racing but always good to watch. And then, from there it is all happening at the tavern. Big night ahead that's for sure.
Story by James McCarthy-Price - KA88
Here's a really cool and well-written story by our mate James McCarthy-Price. It's about our Christmas time down South. I love it and am sure you will too.
So here it is, enjoy the read!
Pics by James McCarthy-Price KA88, Emma Severne and myself.
I’ve run out of Band-Aids. Five of them cover my feet and I’ve gotten away with just two on the bigger cuts in my damaged hands. Broken but elated I reminisce on the waves I punished and have been punished by.
Post-Uni celebrations are usually kept short and instead involve driving a well-worn track back to my home (and more specifically to the surf) which lies on the picturesque but wild Sou’ Eastern coastline of WA. I grew up here and I have always felt the gentle magnetism to return.
As I wait between sets, I recharge and muse on the outcomes of hectic months gone by. I let the all the negatives, the burdens and the sense of falseness in city life dissolve into the water around me. I am lucky to have grown up in this rural freedom; for that I am truly grateful. But I daren’t sit too long, the smell of a fresh ocean mist greets me… sailing today!
Spotty is the first to arrive, but there’ll be many more, he kindly puts in a hard morning’s work into clearing the spare block adjacent to our house with Boss-Price and I. By midday the foliage and prickle bushes are no more! Thanks so much Spotty! By nightfall the block has been transformed into a car park, packed with vans of weary travellers; Craig Spottiswood, Ben and Emma Severne, Simon Hurrey, Laure Treboux, Justin Stock, Liam Smyth and Rob Goyen all frothing over the upcoming pattern.
Warm morning light sends the nomads into the surf line-up forming an insta-crowd. The break only gains more punters, as the surf-illiterate tourists figure that the pack represents the best option for a paddle in the area. I wake to watch the spectacle of drop-ins and party-waves, holding out for a paddle until the crowd thins due to the unavoidable onset of morning hunger. As it gets sparse, I pounce… only to find that it turns onshore. Nooo!
Piercing eyes survey the whitecaps relentlessly until the faceoff is broken, with the wind filling in, the convoy ride out and rig up.
I’m stoked: my 80L NUDE Chopper is finally in my hands! Yew! But the wind is feathering and I choose my trusty 90L Chopper instead. I have neglected sailing waves this semester, opting for the easier 3 minute drive to the river to train freestyle and it shows… I suck! The learning curve is steep as I blow so many good sections remembering how to engage a rail. Felix Spencer sails laps around me and his improvement is phenomenal! I’m so stoked to see my bro ripping hard and my hunger to improve quickly intensifies. Ben and Si set the level with late hits and big aerials; it is awesome to watch. Eventually the wind turns offshore and I retire as Ben and Si chase some jumps, I am physically finished and retire to photog duties. Check the photos.
Day two is greeted by the same packed crowd, but this time I find an uncrowded wave and have a ball zigzagging on a 5’11 twin-fin vessel created from scraps by Jas Morris at the NUDE factory. It’s quick and loose and I’m ecstatic, having only daydreamt of surfing a twin before. The wind comes in earlier this time and Si and Laure swoop getting an hours sailing in before we arrive. I chuckle as I have to tell the watching eyes in the car park that the “boy” shredding the waves isn’t a boy at all, but our Laure! Laure’s sailing and confidence has improved exponentially and she is shredding as hard as the boys!
I’m stoked after the frustrating kook session the day before. The wind picks up and I’m confident on my responsive 90L and 5.0m² 2012 S1 combo. I catch a few good waves and get some decent rail turns in. My eyes light up at the sight of a rogue logo bomb and I’m quick to claim it. It jacks up solidly and I try to aerial the decent close-out but instead floater over the section, I pause as I’m racing over the barrel contemplating my option to pull off or go for it, but my confidence gets the better of me as I throw myself off the top toward the face. Alarm bells ring out as I blow it and crash into the white water. I look back in horror and frustration; this bomb wasn’t alone! The next wave rears up over the shallow bank and breaks top to bottom over me. I can do nothing but watch on as my rig sits joyfully unaware of its fate. I frantically dive under the heaving thick lipped barrel as it explodes right onto the join of my mast and I instantly hear that horrible underwater ‘click’ as the carbon shatters. I get washed into the rip and tug at the remains of my rig for 15 minutes against the relentless current before I finally make it to safety. Lunch time.
The wind picks up and the frustration of breaking my favourite sail is replaced with excitement as I pull my 80L out of the bag. It is mint and untarnished; I pause and relish a fleeting moment of gear-wankery at my virgin NUDE twin. Severne stomps a backy as I scurry down the stairs.
This is the second and smallest board I’ve owned, having previously being restricted to tentatively testing smaller boards off friends. I’m stoked as the smaller board flips fiercely from rail to rail and gives me the choice to get more vertical in the pocket, but I’m definitely not used to this sinking feeling! Felix tries a goiter on the wave in front of me and I reply with a hack and a gu-screw. The freedom of a smaller board is amazing!
The wind goes offshore and we pack up to chase a break with a better wind angle for some jumps. Ben and Si set the standard as the rest of the travellers watch on. Si stomps a mast high backy and Ben replies straight away. The brotherly competition lasts for a couple of hours with each trying to spray or out-jump the other. I rig up and join them if only to get a better view of the action! My freestyle skill doesn’t help me at all, as I throw myself of ramps chasing back loops and stall forwards only to come crashing down hard. You forget the welcome sting and concussive delirium of high stacks in the waves, each one pushes me harder to keep trying moves. The 80L and S1 combo feel light but confidence inspiring in the air. I eventually rattle myself hard enough to earn a return to the beach, and retire to the safety of photog duties as the brother’s fight it out in the air for superiority.
Si grimaces as the ex-Christmas cake is brought out, candles lit. He was already squirming with his red party hat and ‘Happy Birthday’ banner sitting behind him. Someone makes a wisecrack about the red hat matching his ginger locks and the laughter is kept alive directed at the only birthday candle on hand sitting proud on the cake which reads ‘50’. Happy 50thSi!
Morning is greeted with the familiar smell of fresh wax and the rhythm of the cold walk to the curl, but not for long! The decision is made to venture out of town to chase the wind. A pod of dolphins roll through to see us off and we head out.
The track slowly fades from tar to gravel to sand. As we stop to survey the conditions a 100m high willy-willy greets us, illuminated by a million grains of the crisp white beach sand. It dances at us with powerful charm and then evaporates into the ether, only to be replaced with the spinning 4×4 tyres as we race up the coast. The scene is set with virtually direct offshore winds buffeting corduroy lines wrapping around the point. We rig up and Felix and I dash out to be the first to hit the turquoise water. The wind angle is wild and I just manage to snag a feathering wave before bolting down the line. I rail the wave careful not to be pushed off the back before lining up a nice closeout section. It breaks in slow motion, held up by the buffeting offshore and I’m lucky to time it as I boost off the lip and come crashing down to a few victory hoots from Laure. Yeeeeeeeeew!
I change up to my 90L to help snag the rolling swells but I’m so overpowered on the wave I stick with my smaller S1. Severne is all over it boosting massive aerials with the hectic speed the offshore provides. I catch Si land a goiter off the back and Severne get worked on a failed reply goiter. I really hope I’m still pushing that hard when I’m 50! The game changes and we sail down the long wrapping bay and the waves start to break on an easier angle to the wind, the sailing is still challenging, with the eddies off the back of the waves changing direction violently, but the wave face is so rewarding with speed on tap. I foolishly try a forward off a ramp not factoring in the wind pressure off the lip and get ragdolled end-over-end nearly kissing the mast tip. Wooo! The 4×4’s chase us down the coast until the pack is ground down and eventually retire to a well-earned beverage (or four). It is not without controversy as Liam hits the beach with a very wonky mast-base. It has held on literally by a thread and we muse at the horror swim he narrowly escaped, given his far offshore downwind leg. We trickle back to town stopping off at a rural watering hole for one on the wood, enjoying the tired but accomplished feeling of a magic day.
Day breaks and an offshore zephyr grooms the lingering swell. But the block is quiet, as is the line-up, the wax sits eager and the beach is untrodden. The nomadic circus is no more as they journey north to welcome the next pattern, leaving behind only tyre-tracks and the memories of another magic Christmas.
Results for 2011 Christmas Classic:
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas and good start of 2012.
I can't believe another year has passed. It's been an amazing one. Thanks to everyone who's been a part of it.
Christmas time in WA has been good. It would have been even better had our families been here - missed you all very much - but we made the most out of it: good mates, road trips, waves and wind.
In fact there has been a lot happening since my last update. We did a few runs up and down the coast and got some good wave sailing. There's been some big enough swell for Sunset to work and Coro's to be fun in Geraldton. We drove up and got there late one day. Good waves were coming in at Sunset but it was raining, light and onshore. We had raced up there to manage to fit a session that day, so we just sat and sulked for a bit, slightly disappointed. Within a few minutes though the sky cleared up, the wind switched to cross shore and the waves cleaned up. It was unexpected and heaps of fun and we sailed until dark. The next days in Coro's were awesome. I sailed for hours every day. A bit of freestyle to start the day, then wave sailing until my arms didn't work anymore.
Lancelin has been good too, we did quite a few day trips up there. We scored South Passage pretty much as good as it gets quite a few times.
In between those trips I freestyled around Perth. We got quite a few windy days here too.
Then Christmas time arrived. It was a nice chilled one at home and around, with mates and BBQ's, then off to the South Coast! We spent last week down there and it was amazing. I just love that place. We got looked after once again by the McCarthy-Price family - thanks heaps guys, you're all legends - and surfed and sailed every day.
The photo sequence above was taken by Emma Severne, thanks chick!!!
Beno from Gunfire Images sent me a few shots he took on the Saturday of our last run up to Coro's. He takes his jetski for a spin and shoots. And gets really good shots. I love the colors and style of them. Thanks mate!
That Saturday was so much. As mentioned it in the last news, it was a bit of a freestyle heaven. The late session especially was really good. The wind had picked up, the ramps were steeper, and we sailed until dark, until too dark to spot the chop and ramps. The sky was on fire, reflecting on the sea, and everything went pink and all kind of colors. Amazing.
Since then we've been around Perth, enjoying home, freestyling at Woodie's and on the river, surfing a bit, and cruising around. There won't be much happening windsurfing-wise for another couple of days but there is a bit of surfing going on which is perfectly fine by me! We've just been out for a late paddle to cool off and the surf was actually good fun, unexpectedly.
Yep, there are worse ways of ending the day.
Nowhere I'd rather be.
That was a weekend filled with driving, good times camping with mates, and SICK freestyling - best I've had in a long time. Just not as much wave sailing as we were hoping for...
It's been windy lately. Pretty much every day. I have been freestyling a lot on the river here in Perth last week and the week before. Seabreeze, easterly, westerly, we've had all sorts of wind directions and conditions and it's been loads of fun.
Then the forecast for the weekend looked promising for up north. Everyone got super excited and we all drove up to Geraldton, expecting an epic weekend of wind and waves. Our excitement and expectations must have killed it though as it never really happened...
The good thing though when you wave sail AND freestyle, is that even if the wind and waves are dodgy you can always get the freestyle board out and find some fun. That's what we did. Dieter (Van Der Eyken) was up there too and we had a really sick freestyle day. Coro's is so good for freestyle, you get all kind of conditions in one spot: little steep ramps, bigger ramps, flat, choppy, it's all there. Dieter's on fire, going massive, and it's great to train with him, I learn a lot and go for all sorts of moves a lot more. I also get covered in bruises, but that's ok, pain is only temporary as they say...
There's a wicked bunch of people around at the moment. Hopefully we get more swell soon, but in the meantime I'm happy training freestyle. Day off today, no wind, then good again tomorrow.
We did the 1200km drive up again, and again we got spoilt. Some awesome days with good size sets rolling in to start with, and 2 days of fun freestyle on the way back down.
We were a good little crew up there. Traveling and windsurfing with these guys is all inspiration. They're pushing me and I always learn from them. Their riding is insane. Proper turns, smacks and airs. Heaps of fun.