Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Slalom windsurfing: the "no-rules" rule is excitingly dangerous

Can you imagine Formula 1 without rules? Would it be possible? The truth is that the fastest windsurfers on the planet compete on the PWA Slalom World Tour without any guidelines. Let's find out what happens under the "no-rules" law.

At world cup level, professional Slalom windsurfing is relatively straightforward. There are 64 athletes competing in eight heats of eight men each. The fastest four advance into the next round, and so on, until we reach an eight-man final.

You know you've got to be fast, confident and strong. And crashes happen all the time. In the past, sailors used to win and lose a lot of races in the protest room. So, in 2009, the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) decided to make a drastic movement.

"We always had the same people doing the protests, and they wanted to gain advantage with legal arguments, instead of winning by individual skills and good equipment," explains Franck Roguet, judge at PWA World Tour.

"'No rules' implies a different attitude on the course, and you have to have big balls and go for it. Otherwise you'll never make it to the final. If there's a big crash, there's nothing we can do. It's part of the racing. Sometimes it's a bit unfair, but that's the way it goes".

Pro windsurfer Maciek Rutkowski decided to make a small documentary in which the "no-rule" rule is
carefully dissected. In the end, only dangerous sailing will be penalized, but payback time will be inevitable. Sooner or later, it will come to you. No rules, great botch... [Read More]

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cowes 2015: Mother and son kite-surfing team smash Isle of Wight round-the-island record

With barely a breath of wind on the Solent, racing on day four of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week had to be abandoned on Tuesday. But that suited one mother and son team just fine. After smashing the round the island kite-surfing record on Monday, both of them completing the circa 60-mile circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight in under 4hrs, Steph Bridge and her son Guy needed a day off to rest their aching bodies.

Only one day, mind. Rather impressively (considering she threw up twice while completing Monday's gruelling challenge), Bridge, a five-time world kite racing champion, and Guy, the current British foiling race champion, are planning another crack at the record on Wednesday, weather permitting. It will be a second trial run ahead of an official Guinness World Record Attempt next summer, when they have a rather more famous mark in their sights.

"I would love to beat Sir Ben Ainslie's all-time round the island record [of 2hrs52mins, set on a 45ft America's Cup catamaran in 2013]," Guy said. "I think 2hrs30mins is possible on a kiteboard."
Guy Bridge, it should be noted, is 15 years old. He is currently awaiting his GCSE results. His effort on Monday - 3hrs34mins, beating his Mum back to Gurnard Seafront in Cowes by 17 minutes - made him the youngest person ever to kitesurf around the Isle of Wight, as well as the quickest. But he clearly doesn't suffer from nerves... [Read More]

Monday, August 10, 2015

For surfing journalist, a life of thrills and spills

For a surfer, divining the behavior of waves can be like a lifetime lab project, one whose notes and observations are inscribed in the sinews.

In his vivid and propulsive memoir “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” William Finnegan notes how that kind of hard-earned intuition about the ocean’s rhythms is based in part on “innumerable subcortical perceptions too subtle and fleeting to express.”

But it’s also based on less esoteric factors, and any surfer who’s been at it awhile will recognize Finnegan’s description of one of them:

“You watch someone paddle over the top of a swell and you try to assess, in the last instant before he disappears, what he sees outside.”

(And if his jaw drops and his muscles tense as if he’s just been tased, it’s probably time to start paddling like hell.)... [Read More]

How to sail downwind in windsurfing

If you're a windsurfing beginner and you've just managed to sail upwind, you will need to master the art of sailing with the wind. Initially, the problem is just that you feel too much power in the sail.

As a result, it's never easy to keep the right balance between you, the board and the sail. The first useful tip is that you should keep your body low, and use it to counterbalance the increased pull of the rig.

There are two basic ways of sailing downwind: on a broad reach or a run. The broad reach is the easiest and most stable point of sail when learning to sail with the wind coming from behind. You can zigzag from broad reach to broad reach by jibing.

If you need to control excess power in the rig when heading downwind, move your feet further back down the board and get your body position even lower. Ready to steer the board into a run, i.e., with the wind directly behind your back?

1. Get one foot on each side of the board, with heels touching centerline;
2. Bend your legs;
3. Lean the mast over one side;
4. Keep your hands at shoulder width;
5. Leave your arms slightly bent;
6. Look forward through the window of the sail;

If you feel that you need more control of the rig, retract the centerboard. Don't forget to relax and keep your body loose and flexible, so that you can adapt to the overall movement of the board. The time is now:

1. Start sailing on a beam reach;
2. Turn the sail away from the wind;
3. Bring your front foot half a step behind the back foot;
4. Quickly move your back foot opposite other foot;
5. Bring the rig back and across the board;
6. You're sailing on a run;

Remember that you will feel very little wind because you will be moving at a speed that is almost equal to the true wind. Running is the most unstable point of sailing, feeling wobbly is quite natural in the beginning.... [Read More]

Friday, August 7, 2015

Robbie Maddison’s “Pipe Dream”: Surfing on a Dirt Bike Because Why Not?

Dirt Biking On a Wave

If surfing on a dirt bike doesn’t become a thing after this video, then I will be severely disappointed.

I mean, what’s not to like about huge swells and dirt bikes together?

I’ve never seen anything like the wave-riding dirt bike built for DC Shoes in the video below, but I know it’s one of the cooler things I’ve recently seen thanks to Australian stunt rider Robbie Maddison.

All of the footage below was filmed in beautiful Tahiti, the perfect setting for surfing on a dirt bike if I do say so myself.

DC Shoes is promising to release a behind-the-scenes film at some point in the future which will be really neat to check out.

Seeing what went into the project below will be riveting!

Dirt Biking on a Wave











Dirt Biking on a Wave











Dirt Biking on a Wave











Dirt Biking on a Wave











Dirt Biking on a Wave











Dirt Biking on a Wave











Dirt Biking on a Wave

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via IFTTT Beach, Surfing, Water Sports, Dirt Bike, Dirt Biking A Wave, Jeff Blemaster, Pipe Dream

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 Vans US Open of Surfing Crowns Champions.

Huntington Beach, CA/USA (Sunday, August 2, 2015) – Johanne Defay (FRA) and Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) reigned supreme on the final day of the Vans US Open of Surfing in front of a capacity crowd. Defay has been crowned champion of the Women’s event, stop No. 6 on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), while Ohhara has won the Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event.

Johanne Defay (FRA) claimed her first elite CT victory today, taking out Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in a tense Final at Huntington Beach Pier. The win sees her earn 10,000 points and move up five places to sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard.
The Reunion Island surfer took an early opportunity in the Final and earned a heat-high 7.67 for a series of backhand snaps to take the lead and put the pressure on Fitzgibbons, who was left looking for a 5.52. Fitzgibbons found a comeback wave with five minutes remaining, showcasing a reverse followed by two more turns. She was rewarded with a 7.00 and the lead but Defay answered with two big turns for 5.87 and reclaimed the top spot to take the win... [Read More]

2015 PWA World Cup heads to Tenerife

2015 PWA World Cup – From the August 3-9, the world's most radical sailors will return to action for their second meeting of the season in El Medano, Tenerife.

Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) stole the early season advantage as both of them remained unbeaten in Pozo, Gran Canaria. Now they will both be looking to cement their place at the top of the rankings. Can you see anyone stopping the current world leaders?

El Médano is situated on the South East coast of Tenerife, just minutes away from the airport. Furthermore El Médano's beautiful golden sand beaches are blessed with glorious sunshine, regular trade winds and pumping waves year round, which make this amazing spot a windsurfers haven. The week ahead is guaranteed to be packed with unbelievable action, as the elite of the wave sailing world take full advantage of the world class conditions to wow the both the crowds and the judges... [Read More]