Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Double forward loops

With all the talk of forward looping lately, this video may add a little bit perspective to those who think falling into water might be a bad thing.

Is been very interesting posting about Ryan's first loops after only windsurfing for one year. Some good feedback on comments, email and phone calls from friends and people who all want to do it, but need help. There's probably a whole book in it, but I will endeavor to post something about the psychology of looping lessons.

For now though, I will finish with a quote from Aaron's blog:
"The only reason you aren't looping is because you aren't trying them"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

little and large

I'm now on the search for a hurricane and a seriously flat piece of water to try out my speed board ;)

One Year old looper in 15 minutes

I got my new JP Freestyle board and Speed board yesterday, so couldn't wait to get out and try them. Luckily when I got to the beach, it was perfect for the freestyle board with small swell and cross-shore.
The main difference from last years board is the shape of the deck, and also that the board carves so much better. I think they have reduced the tail width and given slightly more tail rocker or vee, while sharpening up the rails and flatting out the mid section for speed. The shape of the deck makes it SO much easier to transfer your weight from heel to toes, so combining this with the tail shape makes carving into a pop for shaka, or even just gybing in choppy water so much easier. The shape of the deck too means that when you are in the straps, it feels like you are wearing a pair of shoes. SO comfortable :)
I'm looking now for a gale to go and try the speed board ! Its tiny !

Anyway, the point of this post... as I got my new FS board, I was able to deliver my old one to Ryan - a 15 year old windsurfer who is getting into a bit of waves and freestyle. He was waiting at Dollymount beach with his friend and sailing buddy Lewis. The two of them usually sail together at their home spot of burrow beach, which I mentioned quite a few times in this blog.

Ryan was super keen to try his new board (FS Pro 90), and had been telling me that he had tried a forward loop the previous week but got nowhere and needed help. So I started chasing him around and looping all over the place to try and inspire him to go for it. Sure enough it worked, and he pulled the trigger and went straight over the front, landing under the sail (the safest place to be).
A few top-tips later on technique, and there was no stopping him. Practically every run out, Ryan was flying through the air, and then blasting back in screaming because he was so buzzed up with joy. Sure enough, a couple of quick tips later, and he water-started away from one !

Now here's the impressive bit... next week will be Ryan's 1st anniversary of when he started windsurfing !! Sailing away from your first forward loop after 1 year... that is seriously impressive !! CONGRATULATIONS RYAN !!

I really enjoy getting a buzz from teaching loops like this. It's brilliant to see people break the fear barrier, and just get on with it. Once they get over that hurdle, they are always SO surprised to find out how easy it is to do... and the elation on their face says it all. Sweet!
Its interesting to see how teaching a 15 year old is so much easier, as they have not had the time to come up with excuses not to do it, or have no fear or bad habits.
When it comes to forward loops, the technique can take 10-15 minutes to master, but learning how to avoid all the fear and negative thoughts, and then focus on all the positives of why you CAN do it. With some people that can take longer.
But the end result is always the same... it IS possible & it IS easy.

See you on the beach!

ps - Ryan and Lewis's blog is here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I made it

Well it seems like ages since I blogged, and I'm glad to say it has been down to too much windsurfing :)
I made it to Fuerte via the Holy-land (Knock airport... don't ask) and Lanzarote (I said don't ask!)... and in the end it turned out that it was good I got there a week late. The previous week had no wind and a stinking heatwave, and on the first evening I arrived it was still 38 degrees.

Seems however I did bring the wind (as usual), which meant that next morning straight away it was onto the bumpy road to Punta Blanca. Good news for Gareth (IWA President), who had been there for a week with his lovely and heavily pregnant wife Louise. Their plan was to chill out for a week, and hopefully get some sailing in too... so Gareth (not Louise obviously) booked some looping lessons with my buddy Steve Gibson ( ), who is a damn fine windsurfer, coach, and... he will even cook your dinner in the evening at his restaraunt GIBSONS.

Gareth was pretty fired up as it was his last day, and he went for quite a few loops, but suffered the problem of feet coming out of the straps. It was a pretty intense session (as he had been looking forward to wind all week), and in the end I think despite his best efforts... he had to admit defeat for now, as he just ran out of time to refine his technique.
He pretty much had to jump in the car, pick up Louise and drive straight to the airport. You will get them next time Gareth!... see you in Rush for the next session!

For me and Steve though, that's pretty much how the next two weeks went. Wind every day, and on the beach at Punta from 10am till 8.30pm. On the days there was not much wind up North, we would hit the road to Sotavento, where you can guaranteed that it will be windy enough for some freestyle trickery. Some days on 5.4m, and most on 4.5m.
It was cool to see a few of the good guys still there from the PWA event, like EFPT leader Stephen van Broekhoven. He had all the tricks... spock-kono, burner-puneta, air funnell etc.. Inspiring stuff! Was also really cool to see so many young kids ripping around in Sotavento. By young.. I mean 6yr olds, blasting in 30 knots on 1.5m and 2.0m sails, on tiny boards like JP Young-Guns. I saw an Austrian kid of about 10, who was with his 'older' freestyle friends of around 17-18 who had all the moves. But the 10 year old was going for spocks and flakas. The future of windsurfing is pretty bright when kids are going straight into stuff like this.

Steve and I spent a lot of time filming with the GoPro Wide Helmet cam, and below is just a taster of the footage. We shot about 18 gigs in total from every angle... mast tip, boom mounts front and back, nose of board, helmet and in the water. I now have the task of sorting through the lot and seeing what I can come up with for a movie. Watch this space as I will post up a few frame grabs.