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......


Leedslass said...

I love reading your posts - they're almost like a novella. Well done you, I'm not surprised at your fears and anxieties, 'twas always thus with you. However, despite those self-questioning times, you always come up trumps. It's taken a long time for you to finally believe in yourself. Never thought I'd say this but, for your sake, I'm glad you took off to "go round the world to America" when you were twenty. Doubt you'd have achieved what you have here in the UK.

GW Bill Miller said...

Good for you. I know absolutely nothing about wind surfing but I recognize the sweet emotion of busting ass and finally getting it right. Next time your mum is over for a visit maybe you cah give her a lesson or two. (yuk)

Leedslass said...

Nice thought Bill, but I won't be seeing Maui any more - it's now too far for me to travel. Sharon comes home to see me and her brother.

Dave said...

Sharon, well done on the windsurfing moments you have experienced last week. Its funny when we think back on moments in out windsurfing journeys and Kym and I can both remember the pivotal moments, first gybe, first plane, first tack (still working on these)- these moments are what makes this sport amazing. You learn something EVERYTIME you go out, no matter what the conditions. Light winds, strong winds, waves, chop, its all such a variable. Remember in the windsurfing movie 1, when Levi says 'remember the first moment of acceleration, when you feel the thrill of speed' (or something like that), its so true (wipes tears from eyes)- cannot wait till we experience you new talents first hand!

Sharon said...

Thanks guys, I guess it doesn't matter what we do, it's the thrill of (as Bill so beautifully put it) 'busting ass' and breaking our own new ground that's so exciting.

Crikey Lano, you'd better lower your expectations of my sailing - it's only marginally better than last year! Though I think I should take another week off when you buggers get here as work gets soooooo in the way of my water time!

Leedslass said...

I keep doing the lottery Sharon to try and make you enough pennies to retire sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

From a fellow-Aloha-clinician -- I can say with near absolute certainty that windsurfing has made Phil McGain cry (with frustration and joy), as it has us all - and hence why it is so special, Welcome to good company! Hmm - "near absolute certainty" sounds like "100% chance of a probability of rainshowers ..." anyway ... you did bust ass and you did get it right and, thanks! Geoff