Tuesday, January 21, 2020

OBX 2020

I’m not gonna' lie to you. Getting to sail in January without gloves was a treat. It was freakishly warm last weekend. And windsurfing is just less tiring without mittens.
And yet.

I like sailing in the winter. I’m not as hard core as I was ten years ago. I draw the line in the high 30’s. OK …closer to 40. But, I like sailing in the winter. I love my 5 or 6 millimeter wetsuit. It feels like armor. 5 or 7 mil boots, neoprene mittens. Bring it on.

In the winter we have the beaches to ourselves. We have crystal clear cold water. Brisk clean cold powerful winds. And the crew is smaller. More intimate. The group I windsurf and surf with in the winter are my tribe. My brothers and sisters, in the very real sense of the word. We trust each other with our lives. Literally.

So what’s the deal with windsurfers?
Windsurfing isn’t a sport or a pastime…it’s an addiction. Like all addictions, that’s both good and bad. You either get it, or you don’t. Chasing wind and waves from beach to beach. Usually living out of our vans. Windsurfers are a rarely seen nomadic tribe. You see kiters…that sport seems to be growing. But windsurfers…not really. The thing about Windsurfing is you need to enjoy failure. It’s the learning curve that keeps us craving more. You never really get good at it…you just keep trying. Every wave, every swell, wind, breeze, every session I experience something new. I love that.

In the late 70’s, early 80’s, windsurfing was huge. We made it to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the 1st X-Games in Newport RI. But nothing since. That’s because Windsurfing doesn’t really work as a televised Spectator Sport. There is no cool culture that comes with windsurfing. Not like Surfing; Think of all the clothes, the lifestyle, the pop culture references. People who have never even been to the ocean wear surf clothes. Surfing has Gidget, Endless Summer, Big Wednesday, Spicoli, Slater, Point Break, Blue Crush.
We are small, and everyone here, belongs here. No pecking order, no cast system. I have met and shared sessions with dozens of pro’s, and several World Champions. Try walking up to a pro baseball player and asking him to play catch.

I’ll take chapped fingers, split and bleeding from the cold water. 

But I also look forward to blisters on my palms in the spring.
Sunburn too. Yea, even sunburn.

Yesterday I did some minor cosmetic repairs on my 104 ltr wave board.  Yesterday.

Got me thinking, as much as I love Winter Windsurfing…

I really love Hatteras in the Spring! Hey look! Everyone is just like me. What a great place to try new toys, shake off the cobwebs. Hang out with friends, old and new.

At the OBX-WIND we are all windsurfers.
And though it is no secret about my dislike for racing. Still…

This is always my favorite event. Even when I don’t even make it to the starting line.

I believe in this event so much that this year I even became a sponsor.
Can’t wait to see y’all this April!

USA 1962