Sunday, June 24, 2012

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Due to the switch in swell direction, the summer causes a major southward migration. It's a gamble, as you never know how the wind in going to funnel through the valley and despite setting my alarm for 5:30am to miss the morning wind.......

 ......this is what I found. Which leaves no choice but to push on another and see if Launiopoko or Woody's is any friendlier and calmer.

Result! The wind was no where in sight and the beating sun was held at bay by a fat veil of cloud. The waves at Woody's were perfect for me, shoulder height, not too steep or fast, clean as a whistle and  plenty of them.  Three hours later I was done and happier than happy with one of my best SUP sessions yet tucked away in my memory bank.

As luck would have it, dinner was being served at the local mansion.

D.D.D.D..Danny showed up with his version of 'catch of the day', but no one could be arsed to gut it,  so fishy got carted around with Daniel for a beer at Flatbread and then home for an early night.

Early night because Danny's cafe was our gathering place for the game. Nothing like eating your bacon and eggs with mates and feeling the pain of loss together.

Ahhhhh well, the palm trees are still swaying.....

And the sun rays are still raying.....and that damn statistic of England winning the 1966 World Cup will still be the one they dust off and trot out as our finest hour now that the 2012 European Cup is yet another disappointing fact atop all the others since then. I love the start of this's from 2007, but it's still apropo today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This and that.

As I sat in my office, this big fat cloud line rolled in and stretched all the way up to my house. This shot was taken with my iphone and using Instagram....I've got to learn more about the app before I pass judgement - but not a bad start.

Same day - heading home, as I sat in my truck this big fat cloud line rolled in and stretched all the way across the west Maui mountains. This shot was taken with my G11 and it passed the test years ago!

The bits for the birds looked almost as good as the bits I used to make a scrumptious dinner.

It wasn't my birthday, but it felt like it in the hat.

Black light, white teeth.

After my early morning surf sessions, this is always my reward (Instagram jobby).

Despite the warning, my soft shoulders strayed off road.... no fruit bowl and latte reward for that.

Wailea at dusk, the film festival delivered magically again this year.

I pass this sugar mill twice a day during the week, but rarely at night and was drawn to the 'flashlight under the chin' affect on the green barn.

A nice bit of symmetry and more subdued tones in Kahului.

Ahhhhh but five minutes from my house, nature always wins by getting the architecture, design and color right every time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Going to Hana, Maui.

And so by Tacoma, Ranger, Windstar and Subaru, one by one we all set off, going to Hana, Maui.

Vince is 87 and a non nonsense kinda guy (engineers always are). A bunch of us went to be of service to him and his daughter Jenny, in return for staying on his beautiful land. Here he and Mel are sorting out the evenings sleeping arrangements!

While Jenny bosses Ulli around, I roll up with the new tire delivery.

Dan donated his BBQ - which made it out before he did and the girls decided that for now,  'here' was just as good as any!

Ahhhhhh yes, after weeks of raging wind on the North Shore, the glorious stillness of Hana was a welcome barometric change.

Then Keevil showed up......all tooled, tarped and ready to go, carry on camping!

While the lads put a lick of paint on the new fruit stand that foreman Danny had been in charge of erecting the previous day.......

......the girls set about weeding and replanting the vegi garden.

Banana anyone?

Then it was off to lunch for a cold beer and the best Thai food on Island.

All that manly work got Ulli pumped up for some heavy duty  'Hello' reading on the beach.

While Ian paid tribute to Her Majesty on jubilee weekend.

Those who surfed - did, while I took my gopro and went for a wee! 

It was all go, Dr. Foster supplied the entertainment with his world exclusive fire twirling show.

Only to be upstaged by dark horse Dan who learned to breathe fire like a pro whilst in Egypt (as one does). To say this display was unexpected would be an understatement, but Danny's inaugural fire dribble brought the house down.

Full moon - and Danny makes sure he gets a good look at her.... I mean Uranus. Daniel you're a star!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Aloha Windsurfing Clinic 2012, Part 2

After expressing my consternation (via e-mail to my friend Oly) about the extreme conditions and my limited abilities, he replied "the times that you really learn a lot is when the conditions are really challenging, and the really weird thing is that you feel that its a complete waste of time and hopeless... but the next time you have normal conditions its remarkably easy! 

He was bloody right!

After three miserable days of hellacious wind and what felt like a waste of time, it backed off a few mph and I had a proper moment. I hung low in the harness, let my back hand hang off the boom and I felt it........I felt and I knew I was doing the thing that I've watched everyone else do for years, I was finally sailing properly. Just to be sure it wasn't  a fluke,  I got the same feeling coming back to the beach with Shawna in my wake yelling at me to get my back foot in the strap! But the moment was too sweet to fuck it up and I yelled back "NOOOO"!  When I de-powered, the upwelling of relief finally poured through my eyes. I needed a witness, I needed a moment, I needed a good cry in the shore break for the pure unadulterated joy of finally being able to sail like I've always wanted to.

The ever patient Rebecca looks as clearly land makes me no more sure of what I'm doing that water (I blame the palm tree boom)!

I also sailed 'up hill' for the first time this clinic. I like small waves to surf or SUP on, but avoid them like the plague when I windsurf. However, the last swell of the season showed up mid week and there was no avoiding them. I knew I was going down even before the wave crumbled in front of me as I had no idea how to deal with it! So, still hooked in - backwards I went - and immediately learned lesson one, unhook when you know you're going in the drink!  However, each time I headed in and got a watery push from the bumps, I got a minute hit of how much fun it must be to properly sail the swells.

I doubt windsurfing has ever made Phil McGain cry... I shoulda asked him in our Q & A session that Shawna organized, post demonstration of racing techniques.

With relentless wind it was a great respite to sit on the beach and have a private show from the experts.  The conditions gave this clinic an intensity (Jesus- all my doubt and insecurity were exhausting), but it didn't alter the fact that I had a blast and wish could do it everyday!

Race ya!

Boys and their toys. Matt's genius set up towing everyone in to practice their rig flips, it worked a treat.

With two days left of the clinic I reluctantly had to bail early and hang up my sail as it was time to head to Hana (I know -what a life)!

The consistency of daily sailing made me reflect that no one ever gets it right the first time, there are too many practical and changing natural elements to just jump on and go. You have to really want it or you won't progress. Each tiny piece is a meditation of practice and understanding, then slowly over time the sport builds in your cellular memory. And there's always, always more to learn......

This last year I've had the privilege of being part of many groups of various descriptions and the common denominator is that they've all been amazing. You never know the feel or flow of one until you're a couple of days in, but for sure by the end of your time together the shared journey has created lovely connections. This group was no different, see you on the water......

Monday, June 04, 2012

Aloha Windsurfing Clinic 2012, Part 1

Last week I attended the Aloha Windsurfing Clinic 2012. It's a week long, full emersion program where you can come and go as you please with expert instruction from Shawna Cropas & Matt Pritchard.

For months it its been blowing strong easterly winds and I have a mental block that I can't sail in those conditions, which was part of my reason for signing up. Day one of six saw some of the windiest weather on Island so far this year (and trust me it's been blowing). Naively, here I'm all smiles as I've not yet been on the water! Do you see that little 3.2 of a sail....well guess what, Shawna said I should have been on a 2.5 to handle to 40mph gusts!

Conditions dictated that it instantly became a 'high wind' clinic.  Shawna and Matt demonstrate the crunch, the stance which transmits power to the harness and this along with staying low quickly became the focus of everyones sailing. Those bastards make it look so easy on land and water!

Many participants had flown in for the clinic and were excited that their kids got to see a rainbow or two whilst on holiday.  Driving home I reflected on just how prevalent they are and how lucky I am that my backyard is a big windsurfing playground.

So here's the thing....which you dick about in the shore break, that's where all the rocks and coral collect and get tumbled around in the energy of the waves. It's super easy to get cut and or bruised, I succeeded in doing both on day one, hence the duct tape toe condom.

For the first few days I spent a lot of time on land because the wind was so farking gnarly, more flailing than sailing.

And I wasn't alone.....the wind took its toll on everyone so there were many volunteers for 'fins off' land practice.

As Shawna said, there's nothing like high or low wind to show up your weaknesses. So for me, everything was on the edge, conditions, ability, emotions, physical and mental output.  This cheeky minor had clearly graduated with honors from its own survival clinic, as he just flew and hopped up to all of us and grabbed the free food.

Not even the towel could escape the sandblasting conditions.

Boldly going nowhere!

Determined and full of new information I set sail.....though don't let the smile fool you, this is T-minus ten minutes to tears!