Mellon Collie

mellon collieWe get melancholy and whistful thinking about the old days. We didn't have this CD in our van on our first club Hatteras trip; we had a previous Smashing Pumpkins release, Siamese Dream.

Since windy days have been very rare lately, we've had to content ourselves with other pursuits. After watching countless cat videos and spending time on internet forums listening to guys piss and moan about their $8000 dollar bikes, we grew bored and chanced upon the log files of this very web site. Ugly, very ugly.

After the big changes earlier this year, there were a few loose ends. It's like doing a big home renovation and then having one of your new cabinet drawers stick a bit. Nothing major but after a while you get tired of it but not enough to call the contractor back and get it sorted out. But then, one day, you do get tired (or maybe the significant other/spouse got really tired) enough to get off your butt and deal with it. We realize that when we start talking about the technicals behind the web site eyes glaze over like doughnuts coming off a Krispy Kreme production line. But, bear with us.

One big problem we came across was that we'd inadvertently imported the old forums twice and the duplicate copy needed to go - some 3500 posts and their replies. There isn't a really good mechanism for doing really big batch changes like this other than to go page by page in the admin interface and select duplicates while being careful not to delete the posts we wanted to keep. So we started at page 154 and wound back all the way to page 1. It sounds like a lot but if any of you have a bit of OCD, you'll understand that once we started, we had no choice whether to continue, it simply had to be done.

Words: Le Défi 15 and Feeling Old

confused
"So, when you say Medulla Oblingata, is that something I chew, sniff or pee on?"

We hope that you take advantage of the "Latest Posts Elsewhere" section on top of our home page. We have feeds from various *surfing (wind and kite) web sites and forums. It's a great way to find out what's going on beyond our little and somewhat isolated community in the foothills of Appalachia.

A couple of things caught our eye this week. First, Le Défi Wind, the big French windsurfing event, went off this past weekend. Big here in the US would mean a hundred or more participants; Le Défi had twelve hundred. But the word this week for Le Defi is not big in the number of participants but in the conditions. Second, twenty years ago, if you could say "loop", "cutback" "mumble, mumble jibe", you would cover most of the really cool windsurfing moves. These days, those gosh-darn kids are doing stuff we've never heard of and, despite watching it a dozen times, can't comprehend. It's like a dog watching brain surgery. We watch it, know something really incredible is going on but realize that whatever is happening is far beyond our pea-sized brains (and ability).

So, without much further ado, words this week.

Carnage

Le Défi Wind happens every year off the coast of southern France. The iconic image is the "rabbit" inflatable boat which marks the start roaring down while, literally, a thousand windsurfers cross just behind. It's actually a series of races held over three days, each race about 12k along the shore, a jibe and, then, back. The winds are typically pretty strong. Another attraction is that mere mortals like us can start the race on the same course as some of the best pros in the world - maybe not finish with the pros but, at least, start.

Le Defi Wind 2015
A start of Le Défi Wind 2015. The "rabbit" heads upwind as windsurfers start behind it. Watch the second video to see how close people are at the start.

This week, they had wind. Like 40-70 knots of wind. A really good description is in the video below. Conditions were so brutal that on the second day, the race committee recommended wave kit only with an 80 liter board max. And, if you needed rescuing, it was just you, not your equipment since it became lethal in those conditions to try to retrieve it.

Book Tour

While the rest of you will be suffering through a typically windless summer, I'm happy to announce that I will be on a book tour. I will be promoting my new book, "My Jibes Suck, So Let Me Tell You What You Are Doing Wrong." My book has been a work in process for quite some time although, admittedly, when I was blowing many of my jibes, I didn't know that it was all in the name of literary research. I thought I was just an inept windsurfer. I had no idea I was merely following my literary muse. The more jibes I blew, the more I'd be able to write the book, the definitive book, on jibing.

Jibing too good to write about it
Don't look so smug, young lady. A jibe like that will never get you a book deal.

I'm sure that at least someone out there is thinking, "if you can't jibe, how could you write a book about it?" The question is understandable but, quite frankly, shows a complete lack of understanding of how our culture works. I must admit that some of the inspiration for the book came from seeing a blurb in a flyer from the Atlanta History Center which was pimping promoting an appearance by reality "star", Bethenny Frankel. Ms. Frankel was promoting her new book, "I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To"

Getting on a Plane

Beatles like planing
We all want to get on a plane
Over the handlebars
This is no way to get planing

Planing: it's why most of us windsurf. When the board pops on top of the water and accelerates, everything about our experience on the water changes. That's not to take away from the joy and experience of a non-planing session but most of us want (and need) the part of windsurfing that begins at about 15 mph on the water.

The transition from sub-planing to planing can also be a pretty significant hurdle for the intermediate windsurfer. Board and sail trim, feet placement and steering all change. Furthermore, you now have to deal with foot straps and harness lines. Worse, in variable conditions like we have here in Atlanta, getting on a plane often coincides with significant wind changes (gusts).

With all this going on, it can be daunting. Worse, often we end up in one of the more humbling ways to crash on a windsurfer, a catapult - over the handlebars

We've been asked by learning windsurfers how to get on a plane while remaining attached and standing on the board. While we do it ourselves, we find it more and more difficult to explain because there are a lot of things going on at once and a lot of it depends on how powered up we are, what kind of board, the water conditions, etc. The more we think about it, the more we realize that we should just shut up. But saying nothing isn't very helpful, either.

So, we've done some searching and would like to recommend at least three good resources we've found online:

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