Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter on Long Island

Well I may be out of commission; but the Crew is killin' it. Here are a few pic's from my favorite photographer Steve Domjan. Photo's like these, just make me want to heal faster.

While the swell at Da' Meadow doesn't look so large, the wind is absolutely howling.

See Steve's flikr page.

Monday, December 26, 2011


It’s been a frustrating Fall and Winter for me. Unusually warm, windy, and plenty of swell. But I am sidelined.
It seems I tore some tendons and ligaments during my accident this summer. The doc’s and I were so worried about the coma, we kind of overlooked my “other’ aches. But in retrospect, if you look at the video’s from July, you can see I was favoring my left side. I guess I was just out to prove that I wasn’t hurt.

So I am resting and doing what I can to mend. But I find it very frustrating.

But until I am back I figured I would show you guys some photos that Ted took at TOBAY in October. Ted came to us from Lake Michigan, and is no stranger to big swell, or cold water sailing. Plus he exudes the type of positivity I wish I had. I honestly don’t think I have ever seen him without a smile on his face.

The sequence is of the infamous “Air George”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nassau Spill Bill

I don't know about you, but I'd like to know if I was fishing or swimming around in crap.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I met Iggy about two months ago at Cedar. He was out on ten year old gear, and just rocken' it. Here he proves yet again that it is the sailor and not the toy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Joe Rocco

A ceremony for Joseph Rocco, will begin at 10 a.m. at Field 7, on Saturday at Heckscher State Park in East Islip for a tribute to the man we called the Mayor of Heckscher. This beach will be referred to as “Joe's Beach," from now on.
Joe died Windsurfing in a tragic accident, last Sunday. Our Hearts go out to his Family and soul mate; Marianne Rantala.
In his 30 years as a fixture in the Long Island Windsurfing community, Joe did more for the sport, and taught more people to Windsurf than anyone I am aware of.
Joe; we know you are carving sweet jibes on your 4.7 while you wait for us.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We ARE All Gonn’a Die!

But if you have half a brain, you knew that already.
And what is really point? It’s not about how you die.

It’s about how you live.

If you lived this last week, on the East Coast: you wouldn’t know that.
America’s new religion is Panic. And oh so many of you have focused your attention on the flickering alter of the short attention span. The technological trinity: of Television, Internet, and PDA’s. Unfortunately, our elected officials have shown the same level of panic that a 3 year old does when a spider crawls on their shoulder for the first time.
First I watched the world yet again, panic as our government attempted to hold the country hostage for the sake of Political Theater. Then an irrelevant company attempted to make itself relevant, by passing judgment on our Government’s fiscal stability. This led the panic lovers to misuse some short term insignificant statistics. So instead of talking about a 2 or 3 percent Market Correction. We were subject to tales of 600 point catastrophes.

Our nation no longer has the ability to put things in perspective. We make long term decisions based of short term information.

Next up:  the National disasters…an earthquake in Virginia. What a surprise; it could be felt all up and down the Appalachian Mountain Chain. Did no one take high school geology? And now we have Irene. “The most terrifying storm I have ever seen from space” was the quote. Does it matter that this astronaut has never witnessed a hurricane from space before? Apparently not. For the last two days we have been bombarded with inaccurate computer models. The evacuation orders have been issued; transit canceled! Enough!

It has been an enlightening week for me.

On Wednesday I ruined my Blackberry. I will admit that it had me frazzled for a day or two. On Thursday I was able to get it to work for a few seconds. I saw 48 text messages. I don’t know who you were. But I can’t; and I am not returning your e-mails. I am free. I am not going to die. I am going to live.

Thursday I windsurfed in Chatham. Chatham is beautiful; the water is clear; the swell was clean. It was great. Right up until the part when I fell and split open my lip. I admit it I was pretty upset.

Yep 50
I was in Chatham to celebrate my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. I knew there would be pictures, and I did not want to mess up the photo’s. Turns out I didn’t need stitches. They basically used surgical grade crazy glue.

Mom and Dad
Friday we went fishing. My brother Joe, his son Sam, my cousin Charles, dad and I.  What a glorious morning. We caught and released way too many bluefish. Dad caught the only keeper striped bass. Seems the world was not coming to an end.  I was reminded of how special the day was when we were visited by three humpback whales.

That afternoon Joe, Sam, Lauralee and I kicked back while my Father took the rest of my relatives out for a sail. He must have been exhausted. But elated that at the same time he could share his time with all his family. And that is really what this is all about, isn’t it? Today was able to spend the day trading stories with my Family. Did we care about anything else? What else is there really?

Tomorrow I’ll check the surf to see if it is surfable. I’ll check the wind to see if I can go windsurfing. And next week…I guess I’ll have to get a new Blackberry.

But what really matters? Happy Anniversary; Mom and Dad. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I guess some people just like to spend money.

Too hot to do anything today. No breeze. No swell. So Here I am surfing the web.

Interesting match up.  Extreme Cats, costing 400,000 Euro vs. stock windsurfing gear costing 3,000 Euro. I sailed the JP Guy Cribb is using, during the Windsurfing Magazine tests this Spring. It was a bit too aggressive for my taste. But not a board that would be difficult for an intermediate to sail.
But I guess some people just like to spend money.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yacht Club Racing

Let’s be honest. You all know I don’t like racing.
When I was younger, it was a means to an end…I did not have my own boat… so if I raced for someone…I got to go sailing.
And that was tolerable, until…
I learned that if I worked for a boat yard, I could sail all I wanted. {Just not necessarily when I wanted}. You learn a lot about sailing, when you sail many different types of boats, in various stages of disrepair.  And you learn even more, when you are the guy that has to do the repair.
I learned that I liked just sailing. Not crewing for someone else. Just sailing.  Alone if possible. I’m not a team player. I’m not into team building. I’ll take the helm; thank you. No I don’t enjoy running the bow, trimming the sheets and lines to your specifications, and instructions. I don’t like Freezing to death, or baking to a crisp as rail meat.

And I really don’t like being stuck on a sailboat in no wind when the sailing sucks; strictly so we can accumulate points to increase the boats standings.  Or worse yet, being stuck on a boat when it is really windy, and I would be having so much more fun windsurfing.
I don’t need to prove I can move my toy through the rat maze faster than you can.
In certain circumstances, or rare occasions, I can see why people would want to Class Race. It’s about the sailor; not the wallet. I have a lot of respect for Class Racers. I’m still not going to crew for you. But I respect what you do.

However, as my years progress I have been developing a distain for most yacht club racers. This did not start until I joined a Yacht Club myself. Club Racers, most commonly race in a PHRF handicapped division. In most cases they own a boat so tender, that they can’t even sail it. I was going to say; can’t even sail it alone. But that is pretty much obvious; isn’t it.  So many of these guys; yes guys; lack basic seamanship skills: Including sailing.
They motor to and from their moorings. Yell at their crews.  They spend hundreds of thousands each year on sail inventory, and millions on new boats every few years.
I can deal with these type A’s, if they steer clear of me. [NO I will NOT crew for you. You would not want me anyway. I will second guess all your commands, and you can’t depend on me. I will not show up if there is a surf-able swell, the wind is too light, or it’s windy enough for me to windsurf].
I also don’t really mind that you guys devote a whole page or so of the local newspaper on your race results, and exploits frostbiting in the winter. {“Really, you sail in the winter? You must be so cool.”]
What bothers me, and really gets under my skin is that I receive an e-mail just about every week from some ex-athlete, Club Racer trying to Huck Finn me into spending my hard earned free time sitting on a race committee boat. In our bay it is called the Worry Wart.
Huck here, spams my inbox with lectures on how I need to honor our Bay’s historic racing tradition. Because it’s so important that I support our gallant racers by wasting my day baking in the sun keeping score, so he and his buddies can race against each other and re-live their high school glory days.
If it’s so important; then why don’t you keep score? We’re not stupid, and you’re not the cool kid in high school any more. You’re not even the want-to-be-cool kid. We are not responding to your e-mails; because we don’t care, and we have better things to do. You want a score keeper, pep squad; how about cheerleaders? Why don’t you just go hire someone to man the race committee boat? You hired your crew.[Yea half those guys wouldn’t show up either; if it wasn’t for the fact that they work for you, and are looking for a promotion.] Come on it can’t cost as much as that new unobtainium sail quiver you just purchased.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Josh Angulo

I know this is three years old. But when I dream of windsurfing. This is what I dream.

Josh at home from umi pictures on Vimeo.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Random thoughts

Wind & Water - the Invention of Windsurfing (2007) from Joseph Schuster on Vimeo.

I met up with a group of guys I used to windsurf with in the 80's. It made me nostalgic for the old days, when you had one board and one sail. There has even been a lot of discussion on early sailing on iwindsurf.  About one third of them do not windsurf as much as they used to. And these guys where great sailors. So I figured these old clips were appropriate.

Right now my van smells like a mix of air freshener, and  rotting seaweed. Heckscher has been closed to swimming due to high bacteria levels. Of course, I learned this on the local news; AFTER I went sailing there twice this week!
[Incidentally the life guard they are interviewing is Chris Goodwin. He just started windsurfing several years ago. After watching us fly across the water from his lifeguard stand, he decided to give it a go. Now after just a few years he can rip with the best of em’. ]
But back to why my van stinks. Heckscher may be closed to swimming; But not to windsurfing. I guess they have never seen me windsurf; and don’t realize I spend as much time in the water as I spend gliding over it.
This August has been unusual. You usually have to put up with Heckscher’s weeds in June and July due to its famous thermals.It is just the only place it blows during the summer. Unless of course, we get an errant tropical storm. This season however, June and the first half of July were a bust.
You noticed bizarre behavior among windsurfers.  Die hard wave sailors were spotted on 9.0 sails and slalom gear! There were even reports of manicured lawns. Thank god there were some small waves. In unpredictable behavior, since late July, early August; I have been windsurfing twice a week. [one session was even in the ocean]. Plus earlier this week we had big clean swell!. [I missed surfing it, because I was too busy with the dizzying gyrations of the DOW. And I actually was dizzy;{ probably some leftover effects from being in a coma the last week of June}] But it has been so nice to be windsurfing, that I am cool with it.
I’m pretty much cool with everything. I went from accident---to living in nothing flat. I am lucky. Joe, on the other hand; my brother, has been getting beaten up the last few weeks. He was just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel: now we are screaming wrong light! And wrong tunnel. The cumulative effects of treating his illness are now worse than the illness in the first place. It just plain sucks. Joe is stronger than I. He just deals with whatever is thrown at him. No complaints. No whining. He just get’s it done.

Segue is on the Hard
She hasn’t been on dry land since October of 09. My list of “to-do’s” is enormous. I’ll probably get to  about one tenth of them . I need to…

Let her hull dry out.
Grind and fill any blisters that show up.
Add a 4 inch dark green boot stripe above the waterline.
Acid wash my hull. [done; just not so well]
Wax my hull. [only one coat]
Scrape and clean the teak. [ barely started]
Oil the toe rail.
Varnish the tiller.
Cetol the coamings, hand holds, eyebrow, and mast box.
Add a window to the Genni.
Add a dodger without a front end to use as a Bimini.
Attach a spinnaker bail at the mast head for a gennaker.
And the list goes on and on...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mother Ocean

demo.7.21.11 from Frank Messina on Vimeo.

There have been several times in my life when I was not close to the Ocean. Once or twice I’ve tried to describe to people how much I miss being away from it. How I feel like I am missing a part of me, somehow.

Most; just don’t get it. After all, I don’t live on the Ocean. I live on a Bay; a saltwater bay.  And that helps to keep my OK. Because there is a difference.

I know it sounds unreasonable; But there is a great difference between fresh water and saltwater. And there is an ocean of difference between any other body of water and well… the Ocean.  Yes, I know the Great Lakes are huge. But they are not connected closely enough to the ocean. Their water is fresh.
I just can’t put into words what I mean: how I feel. I’ve tried, and failed too many times. You either are: or you’re not.

Thursday July 21st was special for a lot of reasons. It was the second warm and windy day we’ve had this week. A rare treat this time of year.  And the tide that afternoon was right for Demo; outgoing all afternoon with a South West breeze.
I was lucky just to be breathing. I was lucky to be on the exact same set up;[6.3, 110ltr board, & and a 9” wave/weed fin] as I was on Sunday. I was grateful to be back in the arms of Mother Ocean.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heckscher July 17, 2011

heckscher.7.17.11 from Frank Messina on Vimeo.

 We say a lot of things about Heckscher.
We complain about the weeds, the bone jarring chop that will knock the fillings out of your teeth.
It's the Great South Bay; we complain about the water quality, we sometimes refer to it as the "sewer".
The water can smell in the summer. It's not the clear beautiful water we get in the ocean.
There is no wave sailing or windSURFing at Heckscher.

But there is chop. The kind of chop that made Mike Burns and Jon Sassone into world class freestylers.

So why do we still sail there?  It's the thermalls.
It can be a miserable windless, 90 degree day on the island...but if it's gonna' blow,
it will blow at Heckscher.
Enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I feel like I just woke up

So here we are. It’s the middle of the summer. How did that happen so fast?
I missed those magic weeks this season. The ones where the air is still in the 70’s, the water is in the 60’s, it’s light until 9pm or more, and the water is un-crowded. I love those weeks.
I went straight from 4/3’s and a hood to sweating like a pig. Granted, a great deal of the fault lies with me. If I hadn’t fallen and injured myself, I would likely have been in the water instead of a hospital bed.
So I spent some time on Seque; the warmer water has really contributed to its marine growth. It had choked her engine intake and fouled her bottom, and she has a brown mustache above the waterline. I am not even going to get into how neglected the teak is.
The 4th of July weekend was a zoo as usual. Some giant tennis sneaker was blaring Alicia Keys’ New York at 500 decibels. The wind was light, so LL and I sailed out of the mooring area, found a nice quiet spot, and I took a nap. [Of course when I woke up I waxed some of the coach roof].  
I guess the silver lining is that it will be Labor Day soon enough, and our access issues wane, as the wind and waves gain in strength. Hopefully my body will gain in strength as well.
I did sail yesterday [shuuuuush; I’m not supposed to, for a few more weeks. But I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t summon the strength to surf this weekend. I went to Heckscher; which is very shallow and flat. It felt great to be back at home, in the water. Where I belong.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Injured again.

It's just a part of life.

As you get older it takes longer each time to come back from injuries. My 50 year old body heals slower than it did, even 10 years ago.
I some respects; because I have more knowledge: I tend not to get hurt as much.
Experience has taught me how far I can push things, before they push back. [Not that I always listen.]

And sometimes...shit just happens. I'm trying to come back. Maybe too soon.
Anyway; I woke up at 5:30 to try and catch the 6:30 swell this morning. [Before the beaches are crowded, and the wind gets on a perfectly beautiful 3 foot swell with an 8 second period.]...

But I am just not ready. My body is still feeling the effects of being locked away for two weeks. I guess this is going to take longer than I thought.

Until then; thank god I have Segue. Sailing doesn't fill me the way surfing or windsurfing the ocean does... but she is a close second. And while I may be pushing the envelope as far as surfing goes...I will surely be able to sail for the rest of my life. And I fully intend to do so.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer is here

Had a great Demo session the other night. It was everything that is wonderful about long island. 20 knots, head to logo high waves, crystal clear water, sharks feeding on the plentiful fish, and uncrowded.

The next day the wind switched NW and blew again! But my body is just not as strong as it used to be. So Monday I visit my Orthopedist. Hopefully my aches and pains will turn out to be minor.

Well I'm on my way to the boat. The Genoa needs some stitching.

As far as you guys: enjoy these Vids I found on line.

The Arctic Light from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

The Aurora from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

This guy is awesome!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sometimes it does pay to be on the late shift.

Sometimes it does pay to be on the late shift.

I meant to leave work early on Friday. It just didn't work out that way.

I sailed Segue Thursday night, so I really wanted to windsurf. Even though the holiday weekend traffic sucked, LL and I decided to go to Heckscher anyway. The worst that could happen is I would go SUP'ing. It took about an hour and a half, But it was nice to catch up with Joe and meet some newer LI Windsurfers. After and hour or so, I was getting sunburned, and everyone was packing it up for the day. Some had already gone home.

Then at 6:25PM it just started. I didn't know how long it would last, or how strong it would be; but it was a thermal! I rigged and was on the water in less than 10 minutes.Ira, Joe, "natureBoy" Ruocco, and myself, caught about an hour or so before it started to fade.
That's all I needed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the end of the world

Well, it’s the first day after the rapture, or as some as you know it the end of the world.

My knee is still pretty tender. I’m not sure if it is over use, or if I really twisted something up. Meanwhile I have been surfing and sailing. I even launched from MICA one night, thanks to Matt Meyran and the Port Water Taxi. Nothing epic to report; it’s the end of May and I am still in a 5/4. Most of my sessions have been in the rain. Not that that is a bad thing…The alternative would be crowds, lack of access, and mega allergies. Access is going to be a problem this year; the fishermen are in a pissing contest with the surfers, the beach front home owners, the windsurfers, kayakers, SUP’ers, the kiters, and the soccer moms. The surfers are in a pissing contest within themselves. It’s like freaking High school. Everybody thinks they own the beach. I’m just tired.

I think about my brother a lot. Now he has a freaking reason to be tired.

The Windsurfing Magazine issue from the Hatteras board tests came out. Since it was raining, cold, and I was praying to the porcelain god each day. There are no sailing shots of me.  It looks like the second week had some wind and sun, Good for them.

My favorite part of the Magazine is the shoot of Jon S saluting a guy who kept cutting him off during a photo shoot.

It also looks like Josh Angullo will actually be attending the East Coast Windsurfing Fest this June. That’s pretty cool, Mike Burns has been putting this event together for years. We’ve had sailors from as far away as Canada and Bonair: now we will have a World Champion from  Cabo Verde.

It’s a good year for water sports here on the island. The NYS Parks Commission has announced some expanded access, we will have a rock star at the ECWF, and the Quicksilver Pro Surfing competition is expected to draw 400,000 to 600,000 people to Long Beach this Fall. I even here there is a Million dollar purse.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Broken rules.

I know my body. It’s only taken me 40 something years; but I’ve pretty much figured out that if I go windsurfing in the Ocean in conditions like we had on Saturday, I need a day off to rest. But just like the 12 year old I am mentally I succumbed to peer pressure and sailed Tanner on Sunday. Believe it or not I was on the exact same rig I used the day before in Logo high waves. But out by the sedges across the bay behind Gilgo the water was only about 1 to 2 feet deep dead flat, and super fast. Great practice for my jibes. But I broke rule number one don’t windsurf two days in a row. Give myself time to heal.

Yesterday [Thursday] afternoon I sailed Nest Neck with Mustang, Rich, Al, and Jeff. Classic outgoing tide, with a gusty North Westerly. No gloves needed!

It was so good that I broke rule number two; don’t sail longer than three hours. As a result my knee and shoulder are so sore, I actually followed rule number one and blew off a great surf this morning with Mustang. Sorry man; I am just too sore, and it’s supposed to be windy again tomorrow on Saturday. Man’s got to know his limitations…
BTW I'm in the green. Photos thanks to BLUEHARBORCAT.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Long day

 Photo's by Steve Domjan
Long day yesterday. I was up at six to get ready for LIBAG’s grass planting with . they are just another one of the fine organizations that help to stabilize the dunes, and take care of our south shore beaches.

While I was there I couldn’t help but notice we were getting sandblasted from the wind at Gilgo. There were a couple of kiters out, but the waves were just relentless, with no space in between them. It did not look fun. And I did not want to sail alone.

I grabbed a quick breakfast, since all I had eaten was a yogurt and a protein shake.
My phone was buzzing incessantly, ”the Bowl, you have to get to the Bowl, it’s going off”. I usually don’t travel out to the east end to windsurf. You can get stuck in killer traffic. But as I was already halfway there…and I knew that a bunch of my western LI guys were out there…I took the plunge.

Wow, it was so worth it. Take a look at Domjan’s Flicker page. Pay special attention to Jeffs Back Loop at the end!
Does Steve do anything poorly? Great Family Man [ his kids actually like to hang out with him], great Bass player in a band, great photographer, great sailor & Waterman. Sounds like a man crush? Nope he’s just a great friend.

I arrived about 2:30 so a lot of the guys were packing up from sailing all morning.  Scott Y, and I arrived about the same time, so I knew I would have someone to sail with.
Pecconic Jeff Schults was still going strong throwing back loops as he had since that morning. I saw a lot of folks I had not sailed with since the 80’s at Napeague. They had definitely acquired  the necessary skill set for these conditions.

I was out of my league. But I was able to sail none the less. Of course My two hour sail consisted of one or two runs out and back, followed by 5 minutes of standing on the beach trying to catch my breath. For my first real ocean session of the season, I had a great time and didn’t get into trouble. But the talent pool out there makes me realize how far I still have to go. I didn’t feel 100%. But then it occurred to me…,maybe this is my 100% .

Thanks to Mike & Jeff for sounding the alarm, and inviting us all out. And thanks to Steve for taking great photographs, and documenting the day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Windsurfing Magazine Freeride Tests

Well, I made it through the week. I had my doubts, and nearly canceled my trip; but I am so glad I didn't.
While there was no way I could keep up with the younger, healthier guys...I did my part; and tested as many boards as I could. Ten in all. Some of the veteran testers, and more aerobically inclined where able to test more. But I just couldn't make a judgement in 15 minutes.I needed at least an hour. In some cases more. I was able to tell what I liked, or disliked about the classic 110 ltr Freeride boards almost immediately.

But it took me a half hour in some cases just to learn how to sail the wide, Formula style derivatives the manufacturers had to offer.  It's been a long time since I sailed a two foot dagger fin, and had my footstraps on the rail.

The early part of the week was cold, wet, and off shore, with a frustrating wind shadow; perfect for testing all the light air boards. And the later half was windy 5.5 for me onshore conditions; perfect for testing the smaller volume, Freeride, and Slalom boards.

I could not asked for a better group of sailors to hang out and sail with, [except my local crew of course], and I could not have asked for a better place to heal up from winter.

For more see

Thank you to everyone!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Windsurfing Magazine Board Tests

Life is good. While I am still no where near 100% physically: I am feeling better every day.

Josh Sampiero, from Windsurfing Magazine put together a great event, with a great group of varied people.
We arrived late Sunday, and although it was windy…my neck and shoulder hurt so much, I decided to wait for Monday, and start sailing after a good nights rest. I got to meet John Massman of Isthmus. I’ve been buying from these guys for 15 plus years. It was great to meet him face to face. [sorry you couldn’t be here too Gary]

Monday wasn’t that windy. So I pulled out my 10 year old Ezzy Infinity 8.5 and sailed my first Formula Board or two. It took me awhile to adjust, and once I did; I understand the love of planing in dead flat corduroy water, and 12 MPH. But truthfully, it was a lot of work. I think that if I didn’t own a sailboat; I would have one of these early planning machines.

Tuesday, was sunny, warm, and windless; great for healing. I took full advantage of it. The highlight of the day was spending time with Josh Angullo. The guy is a legend; yet he has a way of making everyone around him feel just as important.

Wednesday, was dead off shore gusty 17 to 25+. It was a bit of a pain to slog out and back from the wind line. But once out there, it was just great fun on some of the higher volume Free Rides’.


Thursday was also kind of a down day. No sun, but no real wind either. I saw some guys out on huge sails and Formulas pumping like crazy…But I’ll rest up. Friday, and Saturday are forecast to be side on, to on shore at 20-25 MPH! I can’t wait.

Plus the first of the Long Island crew show up tomorrow

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 Windsurfing Magazine Board Tests

The build up.

LL & I were originally going to drive down Friday. But the best laid plans….you know the rest. I am just starting to heal up from this sinus infection. I have had it on and off for so long now that I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since January. And while I have been able to sneak in some sailing and surfing when I had days that I was feeling better; I have severely slacking off my exercises , or PT for my neck and shoulder. That is a bad thing. If I don’t keep the muscles built up to stabilize my neck and shoulder, I get big pain. And I am now paying, from neglecting the gym.

As such, we decided to delay our departure, to give me an extra day or two to heal, and to get my gear in order.

I did some quick glass work to the RRD. I had no time to paint; so I just put a sticker on it to keep the UV off the repair.

And I really wanted to finish the nose on the Naish  and the tail on the JP.

The Naish is a great old school wave board. But it suffered from a “Turkish slipper” nose that was prone to breaking. So I lopped it off and am in the process of re-glassing it. [Still not finished in time]

In the end I want the nose on the Naish to look like this previous  nose repair to the JP.
The JP suffered the insult of being run aground onto a sand bar at West Meadow. Even though I have replaced it with the RRD, I still really like the board.  I have been laying glass and epoxy down over the wood layer. When I hit the sand bar, the bottom of the board remained intact. However the deck in front of the finbox insert creased and delaminated. I sanded the tail down to the wood and carbon. So far, I have laid two layers of glass on the deck. Next I will wrap the rails with one more layer of glass. She may weight a pound or so more than the original, but she will be just right for those gusty 5.0 days when you want a little bit more floatation.

Most of my repairs are like this one on my Fish. Light, Fast and slightly visable if you know where to look. But they get me back out on the water soon. The JP is the closest to a rebuild I’ve done in awhile. 

We arrived yesterday afternoon about four’ish. It was blowing a cold side off shore at our house. The drive down here took its toll and aggravated my shoulder/neck injury, to the point that; [while it was tempting to go sailing after a six hour drive]; I thought better of it.

The group is a great one. Josh Sampiero of Windsurfing Magazine put together a great group of people. Today is rainy, cold and not very windy. I am watching some of the “hard core” sailors plane occasionally on their huge sails and light air Formula gear from my bedroom window. I’m tempted…But I know another day of rest is exactly what my body needs. Just to be down here is what my soul needs.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The winter Crew.

I love sailing, surfing, and just generally being in or on the water in the winter.
We have no access problems,[other than the occasional driving through a blizzard, or navigating the ice] most beaches are not being used. So we basically have free rein over all of them.

Occasionally you will meet up with an overzealous Authority; they usually come around and realize that we aren’t hurting anyone, and are not a danger to our selves.

Then there are the conditions: during the summer we have to rely on your basic South Westerly thermal. They tend to blow on the south shore from 3:00 till 7:00 in the afternoon. There are some spots on the Island where it blows 5.0, but the spots close to me tend to blow7.0.

In the winter we are blessed with fronts all the time. Warm fronts bring 4.5 westerlies, or 5.0 southerlies. If there are tropical storm systems spinning around the Atlantic, we get big clean surfable saves to play with. If the system gets to close…then we have VAS Victory At Sea condition, so we will sail on one of the many bays or sounds.

One of my favorite winds is the Northwesterly; usually associated with a Cold Front; Northwesterlies can blow as hard as 3.5. They can kick up great Back Side wave riding, Bump and jump, and even flat fast water for all you Freestylers.  So dress warmly, and get on it early, Northwesterlies have a tendency to blow themselves out before noon.

Then there are the Nor’easters…these are the bane of anyone arrogant enough to build on the waterfront. Nor’easters can pack a short punch or better yet blow relentlessly for days. As they travel the coast of the eastern US, they can produce waves, as well as wind. My favorite are the ones that chose to spend a few days off the Carolinas pushing water to build a big [logo to mast high] long period [10 seconds or more] swell. This way, even if we don’t get a wind event, we get clean easy swell. If the Nor’easter tracks up the coast [as is usually the case]; we get a day or two of Easterlies. Easterlies can make even the most jaded anti GSB [Great South Bay] sailor hoot and holler.

If the Nor’easter stays spinning just east of the East End [which it can do for days] on its journey to Cape Cod and Nova Scotia… Then we are in for a real treat. There are two basic scenarios
1-     The storm funnels water into Long Island sound creating DTL [Down The Line] “Mysto Waves”. The Mysto appears because the LI Sound goes from over 100 feet deep, to about 20 feet at certain spots. You can sail this as a rolling swell, or where it actually starts to break. The wind is side, or side on, shore; and can blow anything from 4.0 to 7.0
Or        2-  Lastly the conditions I’ve sailed the least in, but I dream about the most. This occurs when the Ocean holds its long period south swell, and the wind blows a perfect side off. Timing is essential here, as is local knowledge of the break. I however can think of nothing greater than dropping in on a logo to mast high “true DTL’ wave with a 5.0 to 6.0 sail. Simply perfect.

But perhaps the greatest thing about winter sailing here on the Island, is the people. For the last 25+ years I have had the privilege to sail with some of the greatest people in the world. The most generous, genuine, and positive tribe I have ever had the pleasure of sharing the water with. Whereas we tend for safety reasons to all sail together in the winter… I miss my crew in the summer, when we all scatter for different parts, or when we are outnumbered by all the seasonal Watermen.

One of this groups greatest attributes is its positive vibe. No one ever feels the need to make themselves feel better by putting someone else down. As a result, we all feed off of each others positive energy. There are no show offs: great sailors, not great sailors; we all sail together, we watch out for each other, we compliment, and help each other. Maybe we are just so stoked by sharing the experience that we just don’t have the bad stuff in us.

This is pretty rare in today’s world: especially on line. For the most part, my participation in on line posting boards is only in groups where I know the majority of the posters in real life. I use them to communicate with my friends. It is faster, and much more efficient, than the 50 phone calls we would need to decide where we are sailing, surfing, or whatever…

It became acutely apparent to me that this is not the norm during the last few weeks. I have been fighting a tenacious sinus infection the last month and a half, so I have had more time to read those boards that are made up of people I have something in common with, [Cape Dory Sailboats, Fishing, etc.] but where I only know a fraction of the participants.

There is a real tendency among posters on these boards to put down, or trash talk others. I can only guess this is so the trash talking poster can feel better about themselves at the  expense of someone else . Sometimes it’s blatant, mostly it’s more subtle. It usually comes from someone who feels the need to prove their superior knowledge by arguing every minute point someone makes. Or, it’s the guy who rights a dissertation on every subject complete with their credentials. This poster rarely actually answers the initial posters question: but instead does their very best to ramble on with tons of unintelligible data, and opinion, usually hijacking the thread as his bully pulpit.

Boy I am glad I went sailing yesterday, and last weekend as well. I heard the surfing was great yesterday, and we had some great windsurfing last week, but missed it, because I want to fully kick this sinus thing before I leave for Hatteras.

I feel lucky that I found this crew. They have become the best friends a guy could have in this day and age. Real, genuine, caring, fun, people.

Thank you guys.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Too much to do: too little time to do it.

I am less than a week away from my week as a “Guest Tester” for Windsurfing Magazine.

There is just so much to do.
1- Get rid of this damn sinus infection… [I am currently on my second course of antibiotics] this is just tenacious. I felt better for about a week, then bam I’m down for the count. I probably won’t fully kick this thing till I am finally on vacation.Starting to feel better.
2- Get the truck oiled, greased, and ready...Check
3- Get my sails back from EZZY... ETA Thursday night Done
4- Make enough money to take the time off work… Guess I am dipping into savings.
5- Finish fixing my JP109 and Naish wave… Maybe this weekend
6- Paint the repairs to my RRD, Sumo, and Syncro…I doubt it. Guess I’ll just live with the stickers.
7- Pack…I’m sure this will be a last minute scramble.
8- Get my Blackberry to sync with my laptop…HA HA HA HA yea that’ll happen.
9- get a new pair of Rx sunglasses because I broke my old ones…ordered but not ready yet.Got em' today
10- Find out where I am actually staying, and plan my trip… soon

Wish me luck. And health.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let’s hope my ship comes in…

So EZZY did their best to take care of my sail issues. Now I am like a little kid waiting for his Christmas presents. I can’t wait for my sails to arrive. I am told it should take another week or so. They are on a container ship somewhere in the Pacific. But I am so impatient. Yesterday I sailed my Ezzy Wave Panther 5.5 with my 110 ltr RRD FSW. I was almost relived that it was gusty 5.5 wind. That way I didn’t have to use my 9 year old 5.0. Some guys were out on 5.0’s; but I hate to shlog. Even so; I did shlog some of the time, but the sail never overpowered in the gusts. Just controlled power.

It’s getting warmer; yesterday I sailed with open palm mittens. This is wonderful; I can sail so much longer with bare hands, than mittens.
Plus DLST starts on the 13th; and my stint with Windsurfing Magazine as a guest Tester starts soon. So I am really going to need those sails. I am making do with my old 5.0 and just not sailing when it is light enough for the 6.9. I CAN’T WAIT FOR MY NEW TOYS TO ARRIVE! I promise to treat them well and enjoy the hell out of them.

Special thanks goes to Garry Stone of Isthmus Sailboards, and Tim Ortlieb of Ezzy.
Let’s hope my ship comes in…

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’.

 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!