Friday, August 28, 2009


Honestly, I don't know anyone who actually races a windsurfer more than once a year.

A decent forecast tool.

Thank goodness, the Lifeguards still let us surf, even though the beaches were technically closed to swimmers. I understand how hard it must be to tell the general public, "you can't go in the water...but they can, because they are surfers and know what they are doing"

Same story; different day. I live less than a block from the water. But I can't windsurf or swim there because it's too filthy with all the run off from your beautiful lawn.

Of course yesterday"s waves at Long Beach were the biggest and steepest I've ever ridden. So Yes, the waves were not as nice as last weeks surf but they were still big, and clean. I hardly think anyone would describe them as weak.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hurricane Bill: a recap.

By Sunday, The State Parks Authorities had a handle on what Tropical Storm Bill was, or was not going to do. The State 4X4 beaches were still closed. And that was probably a good idea; they lost an awful lot of sand. But thank goodness they came to their senses on Sunday.

After Friday nights attempt to sail to Demo, I was exhausted. So I spent Saturday sailing on Segue. The wind was light and variable. No Hurricane force winds here. And it switched between Sunny, hot, humid, & steamy: And Raining, hot, humid, & steamy.

Bunger postponed their contest on Sunday morning. At high tide there was no room for spectators on the beach. Low tide was at 4:30 so I headed down the Ocean Parkway. The lots were open at Jones but no one was allowed in the water. Tobay and Gilgo were packed. People were parked along the highway for miles. Cops were happily writing tickets. Even though I heard that the RM bridge was closed… I figured I’d give it a try. First I tried to drive to Demo. [I know, wishful thinking.]. When that didn’t work I drove down towards RM 5. I had some decent sessions there this winter. 5 was open, but the lot was closed. “Better back track to 4” just as I pull in the lot, I hear my name. It’s Ron and Ray. “Billy Z is right over there, we are heading to field 3.” “I’m going wherever you’re going”.

When we arrived, I looked out in front of the pencil; it was huge, and clean. And spaced well apart; like 5-10 seconds. I debated taking out a boogie board and fins. It looked about a quarter mile away, and the shore break was just bombs. Ron looked at me, “take your longboard, look how much space there is between the waves; this is what it is all about.” “But what about the shore break?” ” I’ve seen you handle worse”

Ray then followed up, “This is it boys” As big as it was, the long period waves gave you plenty of time to paddle out. You just had to wait for it. As it turns out the biggest problem was the side shore drift. If you are a news paper reporter you would call it the “dangerous rip current”. It wasn’t dangerous; and it helps you get out past the impact zone. But the side shore drift took you from RM3 to the eastern side of RM 2 in no time.

The waves were so clean. You dropped in, stood up, and then it was like oh my God, what do I do now? I’ve never had a ride this long. I’m usually getting pummeled by the shore break by now. This is what long period swell is all about. No fancy bottom turns for me. Just enjoying the glide…Definitely the best day of surfing I’ve ever had.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One of the best surf days this year so of course...

Storm closes Robert Moses; parts of Jones Beach flooded

The effects of Hurricane Bill left Long Island's beaches soggy and flooded, although some that were closed are reopening today.

The Robert Moses State Park beach remains closed and underwater, said state parks spokesman George Gorman, Jr. Much of Jones Beach also is flooded, Gorman said, including the Pitch and Putt Course and many of the parking lots. Nevertheless, Jones Beach is open today, except for Field Six, and Robert Moses is expected to reopen later today.

Gorman said the flooding hasn't been this severe since 1985's Hurricane Gloria.

In Montauk, about 2,000 surfers hit the beach as waves reached peaks not seen in 17 years, Gorman said.

Nassau County beaches have reopened this morning, after being closed due to bacteria concerns.

All beaches in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens remain closed today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2nd Friday

This is the second Friday that I have sailed with Kevin, only to be interrupted by thunderstorms.

Last time we sailed from Tanner. Just as I made it to the flats, a large anvil appeared. the wind switched from SW 15-20 to NW 5-6. So we slogged back to the beach for an hour.

Yesterday, I could barely work. Giddy with excitement on Bill's impending arrival. Low tide was 3pm at Fire Island inlet. We figured we would have slack till 4. The plan was to launch from Oak Beach. More than enough time to reach Demo before she switched to incoming.

We were a little off. I rigged a 6.0 and the JP 109. If we faced current, I knew I needed the extra power. I was fine sailing on Port, parallel to the shore. But when I switched to Starboard, to cross the inlet to Demo, the current dragged me back to the East. I could see it...super long pealing Lefts, but I never made it.

Just as I was about to clear the inlet from Sore Thumb, I was treated to a darkened wall. It's over. The wind switched from SE to NW and basically died. So I slogged the incoming current back to the Thumb. Hitched a ride to my truck to pack it in. Kevin ended up at Overlook with Dommer, Scott Jeff, Florian, and Joe.

Now it was 7ish and the tide was rising. The State Parks closed all the 4X4 beaches and were closing all of RM, and Jones. Thank God for the Town of Babylon. We went to Gilgo. The sky was dark, but the clouds were back lit with an orange, red glow. All the lifeguard stands were moved behind the dunes. A sand pile was bulldozed in front of the Tunnel. High tide was not until 9 and the big set's were already reaching the dunes.

I was too exhausted to even attempt to surf. If I had...I would have just taken out the boogie board. But it was great to watch; it was big. Plenty of double overhead sets barreling. Even more, crushing their riders in punishing close outs. Now the sun was a hazy red globe, setting behind another wall of thunderheads. The high clouds were lit from bellow. Purple, red, yellow... I called Lauralee on the cell. "look out the window; are you seeing this?, I wish you were here, It's like the hand of God just reaching down to remind us he still here."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I was finally able to get a decent windsurfing session in. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been to the beach a lot. And surfed more in the last month, than the last 5 years. But sailing the ocean on a 7.0, or surfing, is just not windsurfing.

Last weekend I made a sacrifice to the Heckscher wind god. I cut a 17 inch weed fin down to 11 inches. I did this because the wind has been really light this summer. And when you have to rig a 7.0 in order to plane, you need a big fin. But in the weeds you find at Heckscher, a deep weed fin is useless. You might as well tie a sea drogue to your rear foot strap. I have an 11 inch weed fin; but there is not enough surface area to power up a 7.0 sail. Now the cord length on the 17” is about 30% greater than you would find on a normal 11”. So by cutting down the 17 inch fin you end up with a short fin with greater surface area. In theory anyway; I haven’t been able to test my new creation. And I really don’t care to. I am happy to have more days like yesterday. We started off with 5.0 to 6.0’s, and ended with 4.7’s to 5.5’s, on boards in the 100 ltr range.

So that’s what it is supposed to feel like…

I missed being able to sail Gilgo with Dommer. But Heckscher delivered the goods.