by Brad Tibbels
“I brought my stuff, if you want to try.”
I had no idea what Filipp was talking about but I followed him to his car anyway. We were at Gunpowder State Park for our work picnic and he had brought everything… Everything. Long poles, short poles, curved poles, huge bags that looked like maybe they had curtains inside, big boards, little boards, ropes, vests, strange tools, pumps. It was all there. And he wanted to show me how to use it.
That was before I fell in love with windsurfing. Before I went on probably the best vacation I’ve ever had. Before I wrapped a hook around my waist, attached that hook to a sheet of monofilm and went skimming across the water like a skipping stone.
I drove down to North Carolina for my first BABA Hatteras trip last October. It took nine hours, three bathroom breaks, two lunch stops and one toll. But all I could think about was getting on that easy water. Where there’s no speed boats sending me their wake, no jet skis coming too close, no rental gear to return at the end of the day and it’s 4 feet deep forever.
Every day was the same:
Wake up, walk across the street and watch the birds catch wind off the waves as the sun rises.
Come back, make breakfast while I talk to my house mates about what I plan to work on that day and stretch my rotator cuffs.
Grab my gear from under the house, walk across the back lawn, drop into the water and windsurf my damn brains out.
Come back, hang up my gear and melt into the hot tub on the lower deck, hoping my shoulders will forgive me by tomorrow.
Dry off, take a beer to the top deck and stare at the starry canvas over head with its subtle Milky Way band.
Go to bed, knowing I get to do it all over again the next day.
ed note: Trip Reservation announcement for May 2018 will go out after February 10 from spring trip coordinator Dave Turner. 2017 & 2018 BABA members get first dibs. Is your membership current?
by Leon Turkevich
“Release the front hand all the way.”
“All the way?”
“Yep. All the way.”
In fact, I don’t release the front hand “all the way” as instructed, and the sail slams me backward off the board. Tom Lepak from ABK patiently explains that I fell back because I still had some pressure on my front hand which kept the backwinded sail from spinning around. I step back on the board and try again: this time, I do release my hand “all the way” by opening my palm and moving it away from the boom, and the backwinded sail effortlessly swings around in the fresh breeze as I step back into a perfect clew-first stance: my first successful lee-side escape! A few more tries and I got the heli-tack nailed. Now I just need to move it from the simulator to the water. Continue reading
We still have openings available for our May 7-14 Hatteras Spring Trip.
That’s a bit unusual, as we often fill up by now.
Perhaps it’s the change in dates from April to May.
I know, I know:
it takes a while to adjust the idea of being warm instead of cold,
of having longer days for more time on the water,
of having an even better chance of perfect SW breezes that keep you sailing into the sunset.
But may I suggest to anyone holding out (and You know Who you Are…) that your reticence is misplaced.
This is going to be a fantastic trip, and you don’t want to miss out.
by Coby Leyden, Hatteras Trip Coordinator
We are a little bit off-balance today after hearing that Al Marani, long-time BABA member, is no longer with us. Sad news, indeed. Speaking for all of BABA, we will miss him terribly.
I first met Al on my initial BABA trip to Hatteras. I was a newbie windsurfer in search of a place to improve my windsurfing in the company of others who enjoyed the sport. I wasn’t sure how I’d like going on a trip with people I didn’t know…a stranger in a strange land. Would I fit in? Being a bit of an introvert, the prospect held a slightly uncomfortable mix of anticipation and anxiety for me. I arrived very late, and directly hit the sack, hoping for the best.
The next morning, I was told there were free waffles at the next house over, so I went. Which is where I met Al. Standing in complete charge of the kitchen, he was mixing up waffle batter from scratch, and pouring it into his personal waffle iron that he’d brought along. He welcomed me with a strong, almost crushing handshake, pointed to an empty seat, and with only a look, demanded I make ready to eat…lime waffles. Continue reading
It’s about the time of year that the juju from the last trip to Hatteras has completely worn off and the longing for the next trip starts to interfere with everyday living. Here’s a cool video that Amber (aka Defi Diva) put together from last spring’s trip to warm your windsurfing spirit.
The good news is that Coby is getting things ready to start reservations for the spring trip (April 25 – May 2, 2015), and you oughtta save the date for the fall trip too (October 10 – 17, 2015). Watch your e-mail for the trip announcement sometime near the end of January.
Stay warm, enjoy your winter sports, sit by the fire pit or take care of your chores so you can clear your calendar for spring windsurfing.
See you on the water.
It’s that time of year – the time when we long for windsurfing weather, and the time when we pay our dues.
We pay our dues so we can be part of one of the best windsurfing clubs in the US. BABA has Hatteras trips, regattas, clinics, social events at the beach and a great season kick-off party. BABA members are also working on access to safe, clean, windsurfing launches, introducing kids to windsurfing and helping newbies get to the next level.
So far on the calendar for 2014 we have the Season Opener Party on March 15, and the spring and fall Hatteras trips. Reservations for the spring trip are now open, and you’ve got to be a member to participate! We’ll have more dates on the schedule in the next month or so. Subscribe to the blog and remember check the website for updates. You can download the membership form here.
To remind you about all the fun we’ll have with BABA in 2014 have a look at these pix from last October’s Hatteras trip…. Continue reading
Rolling fog banks and medium wind… Coby doesn’t have to make good on his wind guarantee, but we all wish it was a little windier down here. Of course that doesn’t mean we’re not having fun and enjoying the stoke with 50 of our favorite BABA friends in town. Here are pix from the classic Monday night Meet and Greet party. Continue reading
Early April in Avon was windy once again, with sailing six out of seven days, including three days on 4.7’s. The week started off with 4.7 winds on Saturday when we all arrived at Island Thunder at about noon and wasted no time getting on the water. Saturday was cool with 5/3 suits and drysuits worn by most, after the light wind SUP/hike/rest day on Sunday the wind shifted to the Southwest for Monday through Thursday. Many sailors wore shorties and there was even one refugee from Canada spotted on Friday sailing in her bikini bottom with a wetsuit top. I suppose 62 degree water feels warm when you have driven from snowy Canada. Peak SW winds were Wednesday afternoon with the 4.7 and small kites (8 and 9 meters) getting a workout. Friday started with some wind and mid-day rain, some of the more eager sailors were out on 6.5’s and 7’s in the morning, but in our house we waited for the afternoon clearing. We started on big kites and 6.5/5.9 as the rain moved out. By the time the wind built into the evening we ended on 4.7’s once again, a perfect end to a great week. Saturday morning was windy from the NE but we packed up and moved out fairly early. This is at least the seventh consecutive year of five or more sailing days in early April. Part of that is just good luck but it also seems to be a time when the weather patterns are changing and the result is lots of wind. There are always plenty of empty houses available that time of year. There were several Island Creek houses available so we used the extra driveways for parking since Island Thunder has limited spots. Ocean Air and all the shops were open, traffic was light, and there were always some kiters and sailors on the water but never a crowd.
by Dave Turner
I confess. I strayed. My relationship had grown stale and unexciting. The initial attraction was gone and what had initially seemed so wonderful faded to a gray, dull, never good enough relationship. I was unsatisfied and unfulfilled and not even fully aware of it. My betrayal happened so gradually that I really didn’t realize it at first. First a casual inquiry, then more frequent contact, then a sudden rush of excitement and before I knew it things had gone too far and I was neglecting my first love.
The above describes my brief foray into Thistle sailboat racing. A few years back, I put my windsurfer aside and spent a season as a crew member on a boat out of Wilmington, DE. I love to be out on the water and a Thistle requires very little wind to sail, which meant that I could get out on the water frequently. I learned some new skills and made a lot of new friends. As a lightweight, I was very popular with the Skippers. A Thistle is best sailed with about 450 pounds for a crew of three. A total crew weight of 600 pounds or more makes it very difficult to get the boat up on a plane. My interest culminated with participating in the mid-Atlantic regional championships, with our boat placing 7th out of 22 vessels.
However, the appeal of the Thistle soon began to wane. I found that much of my discontent with windsurfing resulted from having older equipment. I upgraded my rigs and boards and found my new equipment to be much more user friendly. While the Thistle gets you on the water frequently, it is not nearly the exciting and loose ride that you get with windsurfing. The sail blocks much of your view and you have to duck under the low boom every time your jibe. Fail to duck in time and you get a big whack on the head. A Thistle capsizes fairly easily and I became mildly hypothermic one session while body dragging behind our boat (full of water) as the other crew members attempted to sail after our bailer, which had not been secured to the boat and was floating out with the tide at about 3 knots. In addition, a fifteen foot boat can seem exceedingly small when your skipper turns into a tyrant when outpaced by the competition.
In the end, I rediscovered my appreciation for my first love (other than my spouse, that is!), Windsurfing. While windy weather that fits your schedule my seem infrequent at times, there is nothing that matches the exhilarating sense of speed, freedom, and that close to nature feeling that you get from a good day of windsurfing. In addition, there’s the instant acceptance that you get from the windsurfing community. Show up at any windsurfing sailing site and you will be accepted regardless of your skill level or ability. Add in a great club, such as BABA, with its camaraderie and inexpensive trips to Hatteras, and I don’t think that I will be straying again anytime soon.