Well the looping clinic certainly could not complain about a lack of wind on the weekend!
Apart from driving rain on Saturday morning, we couldn't have asked for more. 4.0m weather from the start, and one of the best swells I have seen in Dollymount all year.
A good bunch of 9 guys & 1 girl all signed up to break the fear barrier. I spend a lot of time at the start on pointing out the reasons that are stopping you looping, and getting rid of all the negatives.
A lot of people will tell you loads of reasons why they CAN'T loop, rather than just concentrating on one reason why the CAN... and then just focusing on that and getting on with it.
Once we had got that sorted out, it was into the water for some non-planing practice loops, or 'chicken dippers' as we like to call them. The aim of this is to learn how to program your head to keep sheeting in no matter what, and how turning your head to look back helps that (and stops you from crashing or letting go), and also how the angle of the mast makes all the difference. Once you land under the sail, the suprise that you haven't broken anything (body or gear) is enough to make most people see that there was nothing to be worried about. The more you practice chicken dippers, the easier doing a real loop will be.
As the swell built up the wind died a little so we had to re-rig to 5.0m, but still all good. For some it was their first time in bigger waves, and despite this there was no lack of commitment or trying from anyone, so I have to say well done all round! Once 1 person starts going for it, the buzz that creates is infectious, and soon they are all at it. Everyone went home sore but happy, with a good frame of mind to build onto bigger and better things for the next session.
Brilliant too to see so many people in Dollymount, it was like the good old days - I have not seen so many faces new and old there in a long time. Must have been about 30-40 people out during the day.
Sunday the wind went more cross shore, meaning getting out the back was easier (which in Dollymount is about 30 waves out), and some nice overpowered down the line wave-riding could also be had (see pic).
I'm getting more into my quad fin after this weekend, and despite not having the right size back fins in yet (too big), I'm still amazed at the control this board has on overpowered waveriding. Like Julia Roberts once said to Richard Gere: 'This baby corners like it's on rails'.
In onshore I'm thinking I may prefer twin fins - as I'm really loving takas, but for cross-off riding with super tight turns and unbelievable control... so far I am in love with this board. I suspect in bigger waves this will be even better.
The beauty with the JP quad is that it can also be used as a twin fin, so I'm not limited to one or the other.. I just have to get busy with the screwdriver.
The loopers though fewer in number, were super-keen to keep going, and did us proud. Ali B has absolutely non fear - that's official, while Mark Grennan was the star of the show, landing quite a few his first loops that he sailed away from properly. He got so into it, he started thinking about push-loops next, which I'm sure he will get in a matter of minutes. He has the right attitude now, and that makes all the difference.
Paul Reid wins the prize for determination, as he was not going home till he had rotated a full loop. I'm not sure if its the two cans of RedBull I gave him, but this meant that we were both still sailing 5pm on Sunday, in almost pitch dark. But sure enough finally got he got one where he jumped, rotated with the board properly and rolled onto his back. Well done Paul!
If if had not been dark, he would have kept going, and I'm sure he will be sailing away from them in the next session.
No animals were harmed during this weekends production. There were no injuries, and no equipment was broken, only pre-conceptions. This weekend was sponsored by Ibuprofen (for the slight bruising) and Specsavers (Paul lost a contact lens every 20 minutes).
I will run another one of these clinics before Christmas, so if you want to join in the fun, get in touch.
Loads more wind this week... hope you have fun wherever you are.