Don’t Freak Out – Part 5

Chris and I then spent the next two hours navigating our way back into Baggage Claim and the Air France claims counter. Unlike most airports, the baggage claim area was back behind closed doors in the international arrival zone. At first a rather indignant information agent told us that we were too late and we should have made that claim back when we had collected our luggage from the belt. Luckily I was with Chris not only because he was able to translate and speak Spanish, but also because I probably would have strangled her. “Who the freak unpacks their luggage in the claims area to see if anything is broken???!!!!” I said in utter exasperation. “Come on. She is just being difficult. Let’s go upstairs and see if we can talk to an Air France agent directly”, he said gritting his teeth.

We did eventually talk with a ticket agent and she explained how to get back into the claims area where we would need to file a claim. So dragging the broken equipment (because the boom had also been severely warped in what ever event that had brought on my board’s demise) we eventually made our way back and found the correct office.  

In Barcelona, the airlines don’t have a direct office to handle these sorts of claims. They all go through a third party that simply takes down the information and then submits it to the appropriate airlines. When we took out the board to show our agent the damage, the wide eyes and whistles from the other agents near by as the curious gawked in fascination, made my heart sink once again.  Chris put a brotherly arm around me, “Don’t worry, honest, we’ll figure this out.”

Later that afternoon we finally checked into our hotel, the AC Hotel Gava Mar. The hotel was located right on the beach over looking the ocean, and off in the afternoon sun we saw windsurfers and kiters racing back and forth.  As tempted as we were to go out and join them the reality of being awake for the last 36 hours really started to set in.  So instead we opted for hot showers, a nice meal, and our beds.  

Continue reading

Don’t Freak Out – Part 4

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber, aka Defi DivaKasbeer_gear_cart_cropped

“Holy crap! I can’t believe how long it took me to pack those boards!” I said in exasperation to Chris. He laughed, “Yeah it took me the better part of four hours yesterday. I kept having to run to the store for more noodles and tape. And then of course, I could only reliably use one side of my body for lifting and moving.”  Things were looking up though.  No locusts, or nuclear events stymied our trip to the airport, and Lou had successfully deposited us and our gear at Dulles International right in front of the Air France ticketing area. We engaged a couple of porters to help us with our boards and gear, and then Chris took his car to economy parking while our boards sat in front of the ticket agents attracting a myriad of attention from both the traveling public as well as the Air France staff. At the advice of Christine, we had prepaid for our excess luggage, with both Chris and I having to each shell out close to $1,100 round trip just to ship our two boards and sails. Sigh!  It is hard to be an unsponsored Diva… Continue reading

Don’t Freak Out – Part 3

Further Adventures of the Defi Divadefi_logo

by Amber, aka Defi Diva

For those of you that don’t read or partake in Astrology, I will offer that there is this one little pesky astronomical aspect that haunts us a few times a year.  It is called Mercury Retrograde. And if you were to watch and track the stars in the sky it would look like the little red planet of Mercury reverses direction from its normal path to transit in the opposite direction. It continues this “backward” course in the sky for a little over a month before it reverses direction to travel again along it’s normal path. Of course there is a logical explanation for this perceived reversal of course and it has to do with the Earth’s position as it orbits around the sun in relationship to Mercury’s orbit. But without getting into all the geometric details lets just say that ancient Astrologers identified that when this happened communication and travel just seemed to not quiet go according to plan. And as luck would have it, this spring’s Mercury Retrograde goes smack dab right over the DEFI from 28 April – 22 May. But plan as one might to take extra care and caution during these periods, suffice to say sometimes all you can do is just hang on and ride.  Kind of like sailing in the northwest winds during an east coast winter. 

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, when on the afternoon of the 28th, after I got back from a very gusty session on the Avon sound, I found an email from Chris in my inbox… 

Continue reading

Don’t Freak Out – Part 2

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber, aka Defi Diva

Before we present the 2nd installment,  please practice saying Defi Diva with your best faux French accent…………

d’FEE dee-VAH! 

After a week of working intimately with her Montreal Air France connection, Paolo, Christine had us and our gear once again sorted out. It turned out that the aircraft scheduled for the second leg of our flight did not have enough space to transport both sets of windsurfing gear at the same time. So Chris and I were rebooked on separate flights between Paris and Barcelona. Luckily there are several flights so there was only to be a short 2 hours delay between us, and really, what is a mere two hours when traveling with friends to DEFI?  We were back on track.

I had learned a few lessons from my last foray into the winds of the Tramontain, and from the moment I bought my airplane tickets the previous fall I began thinking about what I would need to do to get my body and mind ready for what lay ahead. So the first thing I did was to book a week at Avon N.C. the week before we left for France. I wouldn’t be able to go with the BABA crowd this spring, because their week would over lap the week of the race but I was lucky enough to get Island Thunder, a pet friendly house with plenty of space to share.   It would once again give me a full week on the water to “break gear and put holes in my boards” ahead of time so I wouldn’t need to bother with that once I got to France.  Oh, and of course it gave me ample time to  practice those pesky things called jibes, which I would need to be able to do at least three times during each race…

In addition to just getting some sailing time under my belt, I needed to work on core, balance, and of course cardio.  Luckily, we were graced with a mild winter and my sailing season went longer than in previous years. But still, winter did eventually come, and my gear was packed and stowed for the couple of months of numbing temperatures.  So it was during those quiet dark months, that desperation set in and I realized that I needed to take drastic measures. I have been working with an awesome trainer for a few years now, Jessica, and in fact she was instrumental in helping to get me at least functional after my shoulder surgery for the last DEFI. So this time she was able to focus her efforts on my core and balance strength. But the cardio, was up to me…and I could not be motivated to run in 20 degree temperatures… I’ve done it in the past, but this time my body (or rather my mind and spirit) said, “Pound sand, I’m not doing it! It is too freakin cold and I hate cold!” Sigh…so I bit the bullet and went on Craig’s List and found some one selling their copy of Insanity. Continue reading

Don’t Freak Out – Part 1

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber Kasbeer, aka Defi Divadefi_logo

“I’m SO sorry! I don’t know what happened? Everything was fine last fall when I booked everything! But listen, don’t freak out, I’ve been working with Paolo in Montreal and he is working a solution.” A solution was necessary to fix the issue that Air France had some how decided to reject Chris Wattengel’s and my windsurfing gear on the second half of our journey.  A journey that I had started on last summer.

It was early last June, when I popped on to the DEFI website to read up on the race and indulge my YouTube addiction of watching cute puppies and windsurfing videos. After three hours of trance-like assimilation into the ether, I found myself on bookings.com looking up the rates for the little bungalow I stayed at during my first DEFI sojourn. I selected 5-8 May 2016, curious to see what it would be listed for during this year’s race. The answer came quickly enough…”Sold Out”. “What!??”  Ack! Sold out already?? Crap!” it was then by some completely visceral, reactionary response that I pulled out my rainy day credit card and committed myself and future retirement funds to going again… After hemming and hawing, and clicking on a myriad of different locale properties I finally settled on a little beach house which was a little over 400 euros for the week.  By the time I had clicked “buy” and put in all my personal information, including height, weight, and eye color, that I looked up at the clock to see that it was almost 2:00 am in the morning.  As I crawled into bed letting the reality of what I had just started to sink in that I realized the depth of my compulsions. Some people stay up late and spend their money on trinkets from the QVC channel at those late hours of the night, but in my case it is the DEFI channel and it usually costs thousands of dollars…

Somehow, somewhere after that, I had convinced Chris that he needed to join me on the frigid waters of the Mediterranean and ride the insane winds of the Tramontain.  And luckily for me, he thought that it was a great idea! So after that, I called on my dear Belgian friends, Bart and Els, to join us as the little beach house had plenty of room.  And of course, I was very eager to see them again and perhaps join up with some of my Belgian Slalom team mates that had so graciously adopted me into their little circle during my first race. Continue reading

Hatteras Calling – Still a Few Spaces Available!

by Coby Leydenhatteras-lighthouse-2
BABA Hatteras Trip Coordinator

email me!

Fellow Windsurfers,

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.

Continue reading

Remembering Al Marani

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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

ACTION ITEM – due Dec 14 – Mayo Peninsula Parks Planning Call for Comments

Due by 5pm on MONDAY, December 14.  Click the link at the bottom of the post to see a map of the Mayo Peninsula Parks Planning area.

We have a very important call for action for all windsurfers and other wind-sports enthusiasts in the Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia area, and anyone else who is interested in windsurfing on the Chesapeake Bay.  Please see the request below from Mike Lofton, Chair of the AA Co Public Water Access Committee.  BABA has filed comments on behalf of the club but it is very important for AA Park and Rec to hear from individuals as well.  Please read the request for comments in italics at the bottom of this post.

Some key points to consider:

Residents of the Mayo Peninsula have expressed concern about public access (or any access at all) to the public beaches in their community and some would like the beaches to remain restricted or closed to the public.

The AA Public Water Access Committee is working towards increased access at all AA Co. owned parks and was instrumental in getting Spriggs Farm Park on the Magothy River opened in November (blog post and pictures coming soon), and getting Beverly Triton open to the public (including windsurfers and kite boarders) without a permit.

Currently, windsurfers and other “car top boaters” have access to Mayo Beach Park with a “car top boat” permit from AA Co.  While some feel the permit is not needed under an open access policy, there are concerns that if Mayo Beach is opened to the public and the “car top boat” permit program is disbanded, windsurfers and other car-top boaters will not have access to the launch-front parking area OR that the launch-front parking area could be open to the public, which may result challenges unloading gear close to the launch.

BABA’s Priorities as developed by Steering Committee members engaged in the AA Co. Public Water Access Committee:

* Keep windsurfing and other car-top boat access at Mayo and Beverly Triton

* Keep the current system for access in place during the planning process

* Wind-sports enthusiasts have very specific needs for access to strong and steady wind in contrast with the need and desire for more sheltered access and water trails that kayakers/SUP/canoe enthusiasts prefer so we ask that you consider these different needs and requirements when looking at access points on the Mayo Peninsula.

In your response, let AA Co. know where you live – if you live outside of AA Co and you drive there to windsurf on the bay and spend money on gas, food, shopping etc, you’re contributing to the local economy.  Let them know how few windsurfing launches are available to you, and ask for windsurfing access to continue at Mayo and Beverly Triton.

Please send your comments to Rick Anthony and copy Mike Lofton (as noted in Mike’s message copied below).

Thank you for taking an active role in windsurfers’ access to great launches on the Chesapeake Bay.

Mayo Peninsula Parks Planning Call for Comments

A committee has been formed to provide advice on the use & future development of more than 500 acres of public park land (much of it with extensive water-frontage) on the Mayo Peninsula.

In addition to the committee, comprised primarily of Mayo Peninsula residents, EVERYONE is encouraged to provide input to the planning process.

Ideas will be used by a consultant, selection anticipated late January 2016, to prepare 2-3 concepts for a regional park complex.

Effective use of these public assets will begin to address Anne Arundel County’s most significant recreation deficiency, public water access.

Comments should be submitted to AA Rec & Parks Director, Rick Anthony at rpanth49@aacounty.org . Please copy me at msl49@aol.com

Attached is a map showing the locations of the four primary sites:
· South River Farm Park 187 acres
· Mayo Beach Park 26 acres
· Beverly-Triton Beach Park 342 acres
· Carr’s Wharf Rd Public launch & Pier +/- 1 acre

Comments need to be in by December 14, 2015

Thanks

Mike Lofton, Chair
Anne Arundel Public Water Access Committee

SouthCountyRegionalParkMap_1

Long Lost BABA Blog

So much windsurfing, so little blogging.  REALLY?????  2015 has been a pretty good year so far!

We had a lovely day to eat and drink with BABA friends back in March at the BABA Season Kick-Off Party.  Thank you to Ann & Mike for hosting!  The Pat Pugh Award (for supreme volunteerism) was awarded to Coby Leyden for his dedication to running our Hatteras trips.  Thank you to East of Maui for co-sponsoring the award.

I’d also like to thank all the volunteers who have put time and effort into running our club throughout the year, and to those who step up when asked to help with specific projects:

Dave Iseri, Vice Chair and Sponsorship Coordinator
Ann Jackson, Secretary, membership coordinator and lots of help with Mayo Watersports Fun Fest
Helen Van Gelder, Treasurer
Janice Emerling – for running our Learn to Windsurf Clinic with Ultimate Watersports
Coby Leyden – Hatteras Trip Coordinator extraordinaire
Mike McCormick – for coordinating Mayo Watersports Fun Fest and providing leadership and expertise to our board of directors.

And our Members at Large who serve in many ways:
Bill Anderson
Warren Evans
Fan Pat & Colin Pitts
Maureen & Albert Pritchard
Mark Raginsky
Fred Thomas

We voted on our slate of officers and steering committee members and we welcomed Amber Kasbeer as a new Member at Large.

Thank you to Jeff and Darlene Forte for bringing Something Special to Mayo for our ECC Regatta – a good sized boat is critical to holding a serious race event!  And Thank you also to everyone who volunteers to help with tasks large and small during our Hatteras Trips.  Coby handles many many details, but he can’t do it all, and having volunteers take on responsibilities during the trips is critical to their continued success.

Mark Storch won drawing for the complimentary ABK clinic – can’t wait to hear about his progress.

No photos were taken, but I can assure you that we had a great spread of food, the weather was wonderful and we had lots of goodies from our generous sponsors.

Dreaming of Hatteras

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.