Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Woosh



There are a couple of things I still can't do on a windsurf board. A couple of weeks ago the waves were pretty big, and had been for quite a while. I'd been surfing every day for weeks, but there was finally a day when the wind was strong enough to put up a sail. The problem was, the wind was strong out of the west, which meant it was blowing the reverse of what I was used to. I rigged up, and managed to blast out over the surf, jibe, and hook into a nice big set coming in at Kanaha. I dropped in, the mast high lip of the wave getting ready to throw out behind me, and realized again -- this time rather dramatically -- that I am completely psychologically incapable of surfing with my feet reversed. The results were pretty funny. I tried to turn on the face of the wave, and make myself do what I knew needed to be done, but it just felt completely wrong and nothing happened the way I tried to make it. I ended up flailing around, stuck with the board on the wrong edge, sail flopping around in front of me, body contorted into some ridiculous position... and the wave just wrecked me. It took me a while to swim in after my gear. And I went out one more time just to make sure I couldn't get it right. Nope. I thought all the experience windsurfing with my right foot forward would let me surf that way on a wave, but it just doesn't happen. As soon as I'm on a wave with that wrong foot forward, my brain goes into conniptions and, as an Australian snowboarder friend would say, everything just goes pear shaped.

Today was a much better windsurfing day. The wind was blowing from the right direction, and the waves were nice sized. Towards the end of the day though, my brain and body get tired -- and that's when I tend to break stuff. This time, I was cruising out with a good strong gust, and a wave was shaping up in front of me. I thought I had it timed right, but I was wrong. The wave curled over a little too soon, and by the time I launched off of it the lip was going past vertical. And I hit it fast. I'd had fun all day doing jumps, but this one... I knew I was hoised as soon as I came off that lip. It all happened so fast... I just had a couple of image ticks of awareness. Board pointing straight up. Board pointing MORE than straight up. Looking up, through my sail, and seeing water, which meant I was somehow actually looking down. Uh oh. I didn't have anything even resembling control while I was doing the loop -- which is what it's called when you do a flip off a wave on a windsurf board. I've seen guys pull this off and land it. They don't usually land on their sail the way I did. Doh! The sail held though. I was really amazed to not be hurt. That felt totally out of control. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do that on purpose, and I'm not sure I even want to try. Really scary. I got up and got out of the impact zone as quickly as I could -- trying to put together what had just happened. But all I had were memories of my initial trajectory, and just two or three flashes of what happened when I was in the air, before my butt was in the ocean. It's strange how, when things happen so fast like that, and you're not used to doing that motion yet, all you get are a couple of flashes of semi-awareness. Anyway, maybe someday I'll be able to do that on purpose, and I'll get to experience it without the fog of terror.

Looks like the wind and waves should be good again tomorrow. :)

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gar@lisi.com