leave so we could carpool for fuel and storage of kit.
This July, once again I got up early on a Wednesday morning to catch a flight to Perth and then an eight-hour hop to Mauritius. Weeks of packing and repacking one board and rig and a ten metre roll of bubble wrap in preparation for 10 days on the paradise island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. This is my third trip there but it doesn’t make the decision of what size gear to take any less agonising – should I play it safe with a 136 litre board and 8.5 m2 sail in case the wind is light, or roll the dice and take some smaller kit for fun on the really windy days?
On the East of the island where we staying in our rented house in Poste Lafayette, the wind usually blows about 13 – 15kts most days, with a few calm days and a couple in the low 20s. I decided to take my new 100 litre AtomIQ, a 7.3 m2 KA Koncept and packed a snorkel for all the other days that I would be sitting on the beach unable to sail. I arrived to meet my South African mates and there was plenty of questioning of my sanity as they unpacked their 130 and 140 litre boards and 8.5+ m2 sails. Qantas and Air Mauritius looked after my kit and it all arrived in one piece with no extra charges. If you stay a Le Morne you can rent gear there, anywhere else you’ll need to take your own.
Poste Lafayette is quite far from the normal touristy areas, so we settled in for a lot of windsurfing and not much else. A short path separated us from the coral reef lagoon, with very few underwater obstacles, clear blue water and a gentle swell of waves that make it over the reef at high tide. Being the middle of winter, we mostly had the entire beach to ourselves, except for a few kites and the racehorses from the local racetrack brought down to the beach every afternoon for their training swim.
The first day of sailing had plenty of ridicule sent my way as I bobbed along, just barely getting the 100 litre board on the plane a few times with plenty of pumping – it was looking like that snorkel would be needed. Only one thing to do – drink Phoenix (the local beer) and eat pizza. Unfortunately, the only place we could find was a 5-star resort and spent $100 on 3 pizzas – it was worth it. The next 8 days were different, every day after that blew 20 knots or more and we had to do some serious sail tuning to deal with the stronger wind. It turns out that the AtomIQ was the perfect choice as it dealt easily with the chop and swell in the lagoon.
I took one day to drive around the island and see some of the natural beauty of the scenery alongside the busy and squalid towns. A highlight was the monument to the explorer Matthew Flinders, who circumnavigated Australia. It’s a great winter destination for windsurfing as you are sure to get many windy days, accommodation, food, beer and flights are relatively inexpensive.
P.S. The snorkel never even got wet!
Well most of you will know I have been off the water for 6 months recovering from a bad fall windsurfing injuring my shoulder. Speaking to a few members around the Club who have suffered long term injuries it was interesting to gain their perspective on things and how they handled their return to the water.
Doubts where creeping in – would the shoulder repair sufficiently for me to continue my favourite sport, would I re injure it, would it hold up. I could see that I needed a distraction to take my mind off these negative things constantly circling my thoughts and that is when I came up with the concept of a “Motivator”
On the main, the crash happened because my board was too big for the conditions and I did not have the skill to control it. Soooo…. I started thinking about a smaller board, something that will handle 25 – 30 kts. The recommendations I was getting from friends was to consider a small slalom board but I really did not want to head in that direction I was thinking that the ride would be hard and these aging hips and knees of mine would suffer.
It was Dazza who spiked my imagination by suggesting that I look at a large speed board – something I would have never considered. Again my thinking of hard ride was throwing up the negative. However the Mistral Speed had always grabbed my attention and the fact that it was designed by an Australian – Chris Lockwood added another dimension. Never one to be shy I rang Chris and talked with him about my issues with hard riding designs and what ideas he had put into the Mistral Speed 95. The more we talked the more I warmed to the idea and what won the day was that Chris’s father complete with hip replacements sails the Mistral slalom board without issue. As Chris explains the ride is soft with the hull design being double concave. As it just happens Chris was looking at moving on his Mistral Speed 95 so I encouraged him to move it on my way!
Well back to the board being the Motivator. I needed it somewhere where I would be constantly looking at it to take away all these negatives thoughts about my injury. So for the last 4 months it has been sitting in my office telling me to do my shoulder strengthening exercises and stop these negative thoughts and just get out and do it. Months went by without wind or when there was I had other commitments on – extremely frustrating. The time came when the forecast looked good and Sunday- Father’s Day was its first official launch with Old Salty as the skipper. Swan Bay beckoned; wind was northerly forecasted at 20 – 25 kts. When I arrived wind was building and by the time I hit the water it had dropped to 15kts with a few 20 kts bullets. What the heck, I was here and I was definitely going out on this board. I expected to be floundering, flipping and flopping all over the bay “What tha” The man just jumped on the board and sailed off into the sunset!!! This board was so easy, almost too easy to sail. Perhaps it was my skill level – nah it was the board.
Sadly I did not achieve Chris’s peak speed of 45kts on this board and never will either but I came away with a number of thoughts.
This is not a plug for Mistral as every person who windsurfs is different and has different needs and certain brands will meet some people’s needs and not others. So let us put brand names aside and consider all board brands. Most newer boards are built to make it easy for us to ride
Match your equipment to your skill level and conditions you want to go out in
Save your pennies to get newer equipment as it developed to make it easier to use and will help develop your skill levels and make your windsurfing more enjoyable.
Do not be frightened to talk with the equipment designers (most have their email addresses on the website) as well as the retailers. Tell them your issues and ask them what they would recommend.
Weigh up all the pros and cons and discuss them with other windsurfers.
Red is a good bloke after you have sailed with him a few times…..
A few of you may have been following the seabreeze thread on the new GPS-logit
app available for mobile phones
I was speaking to the infamous Red from Geelong when I was windsurfing at Swan Bay on Father’s Day and he was trialing the concept. Here are his thoughts.
By chance I had the opportunity to pick up a cheap 2nd hand phone and decided to give it a go.
The app is easy to download and use ( I used a trial version and I think the full version is downloadable for approx $20).
With my phone ready to go, I grabbed an old set of sacrificial earphone (before I lash out and buy some waterproof ones) and hit the water. The beauty of the app is the speed
talker. This allows real time feedback of your speed as your sailing. I had it
set up for a 20 knot min speed and 2 sec intervals. First good speed run started
to accelerate and then I heard feedback regarding my run. Its great!… at the
end of the run the reader tells you your 10sec average for that run. Soo…
first impressions.. a great way for people to get into GPS sailing without the
need for expensive GPS’… Instant feedback is only going to improve my sailing
by allowing me to adjust angles and trim to maximise my speed and most
importantly, having earphones in, wont have to listen to the incessant chatter
from my sailing buddies!!!
Editor’s Note: I also see that you could use the mobile in an emergency situation and training exercises
Well sometimes it takes a long time to recognise something you really miss!
For me it was spinning my wheels waiting 7 months for my shoulder to heal when the light bulb moment occurred that I really missed the road tripping to windsurf. In the early days of the Club every weekend was a road trip to Inverloch. Don’t get me wrong, it still is for me, it is just one by one most of my windsurfing friends have settled in Inverloch and I have no one to enjoy the trip down with, or bump into at the Café in Grantville or text “Where are u” whilst on the road excited by the trees swaying wildly in the breeze.
So, those that know me, I do not spend time crying in my soup! Let’s get out and change this and the Dougie’s Road Trip was born!!
Physio gave me the all clear on the shoulder just as the winter doldrums hit. Every weekend was a big miss in regards to wind – got that desperate that I brought the Uncle Dougie SUP off Warwick and started to SUP at Lysterfield Park Lake. As we got deeper into Winter I thought the northerlies will come and Swan Bay is the place to be. With minimal planning and a few discussions with Red, one of Swan Bay locals, it was on.
It took a few weeks but then the wind gods started to align with forecasts of 15 – 20 kts and fourteen people were on the road heading for the Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club on the edge of Swan Bay. Our breakfast meeting was a shambles as I arrived late just as Pete and Frank were leaving. However, one by one people started rolling into the Yacht Club carpark all with big lip smacking smiles on their dials as they saw the conditions for the first time. A big wide open bay of water, sand bars and weed beds, 15 kts of breeze and lovely flat water. Introductions were made, and out of respect for the locals a nude interpretative dance was done by IWC members. The locals were heard sniggering something about our fins were too upright and the locals had theirs more on an angle??
The Club house is a lovely old sixties weatherboard building right on the water’s edge and thanks to Oscar, one of the local members, it was opened for us to enjoy a hot cuppa – sorely needed with the mercury raising to 12C outside.
As always, sail sizes and fin sizes were discussed as a flurry of activity happened and people launched. A few came back and to change up as the wind was a bit holey but still comfortable to run 6.6 mtr and 7.5 mtr sails. They also reported a viscous two foot Port Jackson shark was seen patrolling the area. Something the locals would pick up and throw at each other. The boat house was opened at lunch time with the BBQ rolled out and a few of us checked out what were in the storage racks. We were surprised to find 4 newish Kona one design boards, some old Bombora’s and a Tri fin of some descript melting away.
After a refuelling stop we all hit the water again a little heavier from the BBQ sausages and Tash’s choc chip muffins. The wind faded around 3 pm which was perfect timing for us all to pack up and head back home. From the conversation and the camaraderie it was a great success and I will not be surprised to hear a few club members sneaking back whenever a decent northerly is forecasted. The question is where will Dougie’s Spring Road trip be to?
Thanks to all who attended and helped to make the day a great success, Red , Oscar, Roh, Ant, Naz, Roy, Dan, Simmo, Postie, Kempsta, Frank, Sea Skip and Ido. Extra thanks to Roy for bringing the Club gear, Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club for use of facilities, Oscar for opening and closing the facilities and Antman for taking the photos.
To progress in our sport we need to experiment and push ourselves and our equipment. And it happens to us all at some stage that our lovely new(ish) board gets a bit broken from the experience. A ding from a drop on a rock, an Invy sandbar encounter or, as is the case with some of us, a mast through the nose on an untimely catapult. It happens. What to do next? If your skills are a bit like mine in the board building department it is best to seek professional help, after all blu-tack and gaffer tape eventually leak and cause further problems…
Many at IWC will attest to the competence of OKE Surfboards in this regards. Personally, I have had a few (many) repairs done to my boards over the seasons. The boys at OKE have always repaired my boards in a timely and professional way.Their competence extends beyond just surfboards as they used to build and sail their own windsurfers back in the day. I have seen all sorts of watercraft in their factory waiting for repairs. They are easily located at Braeside.
Winter is the perfect time to get some maintenance done on our boards when most of us tend to sail a little less. And if you ask nicely they may even show you their old windsurfers that they designed and built. True crafts-men.
Cheers, Pete Naz
That time of year is almost upon us, the long awaited 2015 Brass Monkey Challenge.
Don the winter wetsuit, brave the elements and go for the glory of the Monkey Trophy.
Who will be the challengers for 2015? Who will get that lucky gust this year?
What new rules will IWC graft into the equation this winter?
Will Naz be able to take out a new club record, going back-to-back for the third year?
By August 31st all will be answered.
The BMC challenge begins again on June 1st.
Register now to avoid the rush. firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Windsurfers’ Event: Confessions of the Event Organisers
It was raining in Melbourne as Fei and Lou – “the Event organisers” headed towards Inverloch for the Club’s third women’s windsurfing day. Their conversation went something like: “I keep seeing our names as ‘Event Organizers’ but I haven’t done a thing. Have you?” “No!”
That’s our first confession…
The second was that we both dressed warmly for the day’s activities – including a 5:3 wetsuit. The participants on the other hand, headed into the water in board shorts, rashies and shorties. Were they cold? Who knows, but they stayed in the water all morning and headed back out after lunch. Very impressive especially as the water temperature was warmer than the air!
And there were lots of participants- 25 in all – including a young contingent headed up by Jessica – who won one of the up and coming awards, as did Alice. Big thanks to Wendy Jepsen’s shop- Bayview Trading for donating those prizes.
The real event organisers – made up of the IWC Committee and a few dedicated helpers, got everything set up – and participants out on the water in no time. A huge thank you to all of them, and many more who helped, including young guns Josh and Jayden.
The biggest thank you of all goes to the participants who turned up on a less than sunny Autumn morning, many driving from Melbourne, and some, like Emily, came from as far as Yea. It was great to see so many new faces, and hopefully it won’t be the last time we see those faces on the water!
Finally a very warm thank you to Tash Worner.
What Tash can do with nuttelex and icing sugar is amazing and thats before you add the apple cider vinegar! Or was that lemonade? Whatever the recipe, Tash prepared a wonderful lunch and helped by Sue Smith delivered it with a level of service that McDonalds can only dream of. A very big thank you to Tash whose kitchen most definitely rules!
A successful day all round, with perfect conditions on the inlet – thank you for to IWC for organising that!
The club’s equipment was ideal and thanks to the numerous hands that rigged up gear and got it down to the beach.
Once again, carrying equipment to and from the shore wasn’t a task of the “Event Organisers” – another confession!
The annual WOW event is coming up in the next few weeks. Come along and be part of it!
Link to event flyer: IWC_WOW_280315