by Tom Beckman
After hearing all the scoop on ABK clinics, I finally did one at Bird Island Basin, North Padre Island, 10 miles south of Corpus Christi. It was a bit chilly, 60’s and falling in the water even with a 3mil wetsuit made me gasp. I have to say the clinic experience was no less than FANTASTIC! There were many great things about the clinic, but what stands out for me is the instructors standing in the water watching me(and the other 27 people) work on skills and giving immediate, to-the-point feedback. My goals were to get into the straps comfortably, going “scary fast”(which I accomplished), do a carve jibe, and light wind “trick jibes.”
The first day was “windy as heck” for me @ 25mph gusting a little higher. That was when I discovered I was SAFER and LESS LIKELY TO ACCOMPLISH MY TRADITIONAL CATAPULT, when I was properly in the footstraps. I almost made it around on a carve. Then the wind died. But, PROGRESS!! The first day, in the high wind, my left wrist got a case of “itis” of some sort and bummed me a bit, but I got through it. I sailed switch stance quite a bit and got very comfortable with that in light wind. I also improved on back-wind sailing and the back-wind jibe. Also, the famous Sail Chi lecture/demo from Andy was truly entertaining. That was truly artwork in the wind. Tom Lepak, cool as heck dude, was my primary instructor, but others were watching as well and gave immediate on-the-water feedback. Sail close to the instructors and they are bound to help out with observant eyes.
Everything was well organized. There were many skill levels present and NOTHING was intimidating. There was 5 minutes remaining on the last day and I was not getting the backwind jibe, and just when I needed that move of the sail, in that frame of mind of “what the heck do I do next? Ikes!”, instructor Eric said a 3 word phrase of simple instruction and I GOT IT! I just smoothly sailed on around and was in windsurf heaven. I left the clinic telling myself I have to do these clinics at least twice a year! One is not enough. And Worldwinds staff and equipment can’t be beat. I rented equipment for the conditions. Only thing is, I’M IN SW PENNSYLVANIA! Darn it, and I have to work for a living! See you April in Hatteras! Tommy Windsurfer BABAQUE’R. (Is that French?)