Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing you

  • Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing yourself instead of taking photos of me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Selkie story

Just a boy, a SUP and a Pup. 
I have always been a waterbaby. From my first memories I never feared the water. I have instead, always loved it. I have not always respected her. And respect is what she needs. My whole life people have referred to me as a fish, a duck, even a dolphin. But it wasn’t till later in life that my Mother truly explained that somewhere in my Irish roots there must have been a Selkie Folk. The legend goes that when God cast some Angels from the Heavens; those that landed on the land became Fairies and those that hit the water became Selkies. For the majority of their life Selkies are seals. You know the pretty ones like harbor seals, or fluffy Pup Seals.

There are many versions of the Selkie tail. Some believe they can shapeshift and take on the form of humans. The males apparently take this opportunity to turn on the charm, and mate with as many Human females as they can during their treks on dry land. The female Selkie usually ends up with one partner. And the story goes that if their mate steals and hides their Selkie skin, or coat. Then they can’t return to the water in there Selkie Seal form with out it.

So apparently someone in my family many generations ago had sex with a seal. And I guess it makes sense I married a girl names Lauralee. Her mother didn’t want to use the proper Lorelei.  A Lorelei is a mermaid name which belonged to the mermaid who lured unwary fisherman to their death by singing the most beautiful song they had ever heard.
We make a great pair.

Today I tried my Naish 11’6” Nailu for the first time. I purposely picked the narrowest SUP [Stand Up Paddleboard] I could find. I knew it would be harder at first, but I also knew if need be, I could paddle it from a prone position. So I went to TOBAY today, because I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want my first awkward day to have an audience.
When I checked the Gilgo Cam it looked pretty flat with knee high surf and dead offshore wind. Perfect. However, once I got out past the shore break the wind switched West at about 20 mph, and it got really choppy. As a result, standing was not an option. I knee paddled, and I paddled with my hands from a prone position.

It wasn’t the worst day I’ve ever had on the water. And I had company; a Guardian Angel watching out for me. A beautiful harbor Seal. My Selkie kin.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring is here?

                                            Photos courtesy of BlueHarborCat

I woke to 3 inches of snow this morning. WTF? It was just 60 degrees on Friday, You know Friday… The day we all had to work. Go figure; I was hoping LL and I would go for a sail today. I guess not.

No choice visuals from me today. Instead you will have to endure the excellent photography of Blue Harbor Cat. A man who never Windsurfed himself, but has become quite skilled at capturing the moment. We are always happy to see him and some of us have that ability to bring on that Kodak courage when he is around. The shots are of Brook and Pete at West Neck. But I also have reports of great sailing at West Meadow, as well as out on the East End. I really have to make it a point to sail out East before the summer crowds invade the place. [They are certainly not the Hamptons I remember from 20 years ago], I doubt I could even afford a parking spot out there now.

I myself was unable to take part in Saturdays 3.5 to 3.7 weather. Having just finished a course of Cipro for a persistent sinus infection…I just didn’t have it in me. I remember drifting in and out of sleep all day. Waking up once in the middle of Animal Planet’s “Bringing Up Baby” Where I had the privilege to watch an inbred White Tiger be neutered and spayed. And they say there is no quality television on anymore.

But don’t feel sorry for me. Yesterday I finally went Ice Sailing. My original plan was to drive all the way out to Bud Lake NJ. [a three hour trek at best].

By 11:00 I figured it was to late, and the ice would be too soft. [No Ice for me this season] But then as I was eating lunch, I received a text from the infamous Marty and Arty that there was still sailable ice in Lake Ronkonkoma. [I can do Lake Ronkonkoma in an hour and change if I don’t get nailed for speeding.] So I was off! The ice was less than perfect: lots of cracks, Styrofoam, and soft spots. It also seemed like someone had been out there during this past weeks thaw, on slush runners. So we can safely say it was not a smooth surface like they enjoyed last weekend, or we had last season on the Great South Bay. But it was still fun.

The two major modifications to my ice board worked out well. First off; I stretched it about a foot longer than its original length. This enabled be to set the mast farther behind the front runners. This allowed me to put more pressure on the stern and kept me from skidding out. [Of course that could also have been due to the softer ice, and the extra rocker I added to my blades]. Next I cut down some rubber stoppers, and used them to replace the original urethane bushings that came with the board. While these are fine in the summer with wheels…they tended to harden, or freeze up when it got cold. Both modifications worked well in the less than ideal conditions. I used an old 5.3 North Volcano for power[I can’t believe this thing is still working, and patch-less after 15 years of service.] 

No pictures from me. You will just have to take my word for it. After two weekends and three weeks off the water: the last thing I wanted to do was fiddle with me camera. So enjoy the pics BlueHarbor took of the crew on Saturday. I’m bummed I missed it. But I just wasn't ready.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This is going to be one great Spring!

segue.edited..1.16.11 from Frank Messina on Vimeo.
Sorry guys, I still haven’t found a video editing software program simple enough for me to use, that gives me the ability to add a soundtrack. I was going to use “Wooden Ships”By CSNY. But feel free to play whatever music suits your tastes. I was also thinking of “Southern Cross” by CSNY, or “The Reach” By Dan Fogelberg. If, however you chose “Sailing” by Christopher Cross, you are hereby banned from this website.

This is for all my landlocked friends out there. You armchair sailors. I cut the footage down from one hour so it would fit Vimeo’s 500MB limit. This sail was on January 15, 2011: it was the last day that I could get through the ice to the open water of the sound. Even that was a little tight. I left a nice little trail of red bottom paint in the ice for my friend Garry to follow on his way out of the harbor.

I’ve surfed and windsurfed a little bit this February. But have really been miserable with a sinus infection the last two weeks. So last week I missed some nice ice, and tomorrow is supposed to be in the 40’s and nukin’. http://www.peconicpuffin.com/the_peconic_puffin/

 I will however, have to pass. I have learned from experience that overdoing it with Cipro in your system can really mess up your joints. So while I am feeling better [I took my last pill this morning], I don’t want to chance ruining my whole Spring season for one day on the water.

The air temperature has been in the 50’s the last two days; so maybe I’ll get to take Segue out again this weekend. The ice looked pretty well broken up, or melted on my drive in this morning.

But I need to take it easy. Daylight Savings starts March 13th, and my gig with Windsurfing Magazine in Hatteras [as a guest Tester] starts around the end of March.
This is going to be one great Spring!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My dry spell ends

So while I surfed the 8th, and windsurfed January 9th. And had a decent, but cold sail on Segue on the 15th. after that… I was landlocked. It was too cold to sail or surf, and the entrance to the creek where I keep Segue is frozen shut. To make maters worse It has been snowing so much, I can’t even ice sail. And lastly my body had been messing with me.

But things are looking up! I finally sent of my photos of my Ezzys that I am having problems with. It is very uncharacteristic of his sail to tear the way these two 09 Wave Panthers have.  I have been using his sails for over 20 years, and they have always proven to be bulletproof. I have to think this is an isolated incident. In fact I have so much faith I his creations, that I just bought two more Ezzy waves on closeout with Isthmus.

Mustang and I had a nice surf Saturday February  5th. And Saturday night McPhilly, Pre-Marital Chuck and I went out to see Dommer's Band Play. They where really good.

 I also just learned that I am going to be part of the Windsurf Magazine 2011 Board tests in March. How cool is that?
[more to come on that subject, for sure]

But the great thing is I’m back in the water. The new drugs seem to be working. God it feels great to not be in pain!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I watched Spider-man two the other night

I watched Spider-man two the other night. How come when Peter Parker or Bruce Banner are exposed to some sort of radio active isotope they become super heroes? But me; no such luck. Make me drink some Barium… inject me with some radio active agent for contrast, and I spend the next three days in more pain, more dehydrated, and in more intestinal distress than I was in before. It hardly seems fair; couldn’t I get just one superpower? I mean other than the ability to eject food from my body with ballistic force.

It's frustrating: I was finally making some progress. I had my weight up to 200 pounds, and I was pretty active. I wasn’t making it to the gym much. But this time of year that’s a blessing. There is nothing like a gym full of fat out of shape year end resolutions. I would rather be out on, or in the water. And I was. There may have been a lot of snow this season, but it’s been reasonably warm [upper 30’s]. I have been windsurfing, sailing, or surfing or a combination of two every weekend since October. That, and one night a week at the gym has been better exercise than a three days a week at the gym. And my god it is so much better for you; not just because it is the perfect cross training; but because it’s good for my soul.

I shoveled the boat on Saturday. The water was pretty free from ice. But it is supposed to hit the single digits the next two nights. I have re-assembled the ice board, and sharpened the blades. But we have had more snow this January than we are used too. It's turned whatever ice we do have into a lumpy mess. I heard they had good ice in Lavallette NJ two weeks ago, but by the time I found out about it, we were digging out of two feet of snow. [definitely not helping my shoulder]. The snow drift at the end of my driveway is 5 feet tall.

I has been awhile since my last windsurf session. I had one decent surf in early January: and one sail three weeks ago on Segue. Now she is iced in the harbor, and all this snow has made ice sailing impossible. So it’s been three weeks since I had some time on the water. We are definitely due a good session at something. I guess I should never have given up skiing. Can’t wait to sail, or surf again.