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Friday, 19 July 2019
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Roa Island

 Last week was a great week for me. I started by working all the hours I could until Saturday night to build up the work browny points, then I took off Sunday-Monday to go to Rhosneigr which totally delivered with 2 days of overpowered sailing in decent lumps.

 

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Then we had windy Wednesday, or more accurately windy Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I decided that I'd finally make the trip up to Roa Island in Cumbria and forgo a possible decent day at the Kirb. I'm glad I did -the wind was pants, but by heck what a spot! It was actually an awesome day in the sun, and I managed a 43knot peak.

I made this video to show just what it's like. The sailing action might be a tad boring with me sailing along on a reach for nearly 3 minutes, but I wanted to show just how perfect the never ending speed strip is! Check it out..

ROA ISLAND INFO VIDEO 


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Overview of Roa, check the scale bottom left. 

 

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Hotsails 5.5 gps, Moo custom flying banana 40, k4fins 17cm -small kit for 23knots. 

 

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Piel Island -end of the run (high tide)

 

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The strip viewed from the lifeboat launch (low tide)

 

My tracks are shown on SPORTSTRACKLIVE, spot INFO on HERE.

 

Then it was the weekend again, and I went up to the North East for a days surfing. I tried a spot I'd wondered about a few times for the first time which is under everyones noses but never seen anyone surf it. Then as I wandered down with the board a dog walker informed me they always surf here! So there we go (fully windsurfable too). It was lush and I had the place to myself. Great day as despite the good weather and sweet forecast I managed to surf empty waves all day. Rounded off the best week in a long time.

 

Ok, bit of a pimp this. But it's been taking up a lot of my life and I need to sell lots of stuff to get me to Luderitz in November. So first up is that we now have extended harness mounts. This will give epic shots from your Gopro like the ones below. It's also half the weight of the competition with less chance of dragging in the water. We now also have super strong and stiff carbon rods made especially for us by a UK fishing rod company. Go buy one HERE 

 

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And finally check out the new US bolt/plates we have. I'm pretty chuffed with these. Again half the weight of anything else you can buy, cheaper too, and in case you're wondering also plenty strong enough.

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Get those in the k4fins/shop/ too.

Oh, and I made a page on Facebook which pulls in feeds from all the Pro windsurfing blogs. Basically like the 'beach blogs' Boardseeker had, but with no brands or news sites, just blogs. Pretty chuffed with that too :) Check it out

WINDYBLOGS

 

 

 

2 weekends in Cornwall

 

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I missed out the Ireland trip, here's the full low down on BOARDSEEKER if you missed it.

WEEKEND 1

An epic forecast of SE winds and good sized swell. Started off surfing Bantham..

Imagewaiting for the swell to come..

 

Then went down to Constantine for the Sunday to make max use of the medium size swell and strong SE winds..

 

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As you can see it was pretty decent! epic in fact. I was the only one out for most of the day until local lad Andrew turned up to rip some waves. I'm getting a good idea for how the Firelights sail now and I'm loving them. Most of the time in Ireland I was on way too big a sail, but they handled being totally overpowered with ease. In these gusty riding conditions I was super impressed as well, really light and easy in the hands.

I stayed down for the Monday and this should have been the best day - a big swell and more SE winds. I drove to check everywhere, but it was too big for the little spots, and not big enough for the big spots...

 

ImageSennon, check Gwenvor in the distance

 

Image Yeah, that's a Lama on a wall..

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The weather was beautiful for February in the UK, so I wasn't too sad to only get a surf at Gwithian..

 

WEEKEND 2

A stag do in Newquay and a ridiculously good 19 second swell forecast, had to be a great weekend..

 

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Marazion on arrival.. this was a little worrying! It didn't get much better until the end of the day. It was actually meant to be 24mph Easterly but it never showed, neither did the 19 sec swell. But I did manage a surf at Constantine..

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It was absolutely Baltic. Coldest I've ever felt after a surf. Luckily the lads had a massive bonfire and Jaeger bombs to warm up with.

Next day I managed to drag my ass to Watergate, after some shopping for thicker boots and gloves . Still no sign of a quality swell, and probably had my worst surf ever.. still loved every minute.

Some lovely weather despite the fresh temperature, took Izzy for a long walk..

 

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So the swell was pants in the end, but a great weekend for Riches stag.
East coast swell for next weekend, this has without doubt been the best winter ever for a weekend warrior in the midlands, been a swell somewhere every weekend..

New Gopro pics

 

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Getting vapourized..

 

This wipe out is courtesy of http://www.jamescummingsphotography.com/

 

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ImageHoly shit who turned the wind off? 

 

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Imagesomeone said the safest place is in the barrell

 

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ImageThe wind shadow

 

Did I mention it was January and 1 degree air temp! I spent a good 2hrs getting myself and my kit out of this pickle..

 

 

 

Hardest days sailing of my life!

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4 degrees centigrade. That's the coldest I usually go sailing in. It's never seemed too bad, but there never seems to have been a colder windsurfing forecast worth going on.

Until yesterday. Yesterday was forecast Easterly winds, 13ft, snow, and 3 degrees C. 

The swell direction and size meant that a rare East coast gem would break again and the wind would be the best angle I'd seen. I would almost have driven the 2 hrs just to see it breaking at this size. Plenty of people were snowed in, schools closed, more snow forecast, I decided to trundle off for a day at the seaside :)

I half expected to find the secret little spot inaccessible when I got there, but was a bit disappointed to see there wasn't actually that much snow on the ground, I guess the salty spray off the sea had melted it all. So drove straight up and spotted some surfers and a jetski already out. (having back up when it's this cold must be great!)

I weighed it up, decided it was do-able and I wouldn't get in the way, so headed out. 

It's actually one of the heaviest waves on the East coast, and that's saying something in these parts. The problem is for windsurfing the wind blows straight offshore and over other obstacles, so it's super gusty (but actually side shore to the wave), and the wave so fast and hollow that you can't slow down in front of it (or you'll get steam rollered ) -not a great combination I promise you. So for the first session I played it safe. I could honestly barely feel my fingers and wearing the palm-less mitts was still giving me cramp. The gusty wind meant you couldn't really sit back in the harness, you were always fighting it. I had to sit down on my kit a few times and just get my hands warm again. After catching a few waves I figured it would be best to take a break, and get a dose of hot aches out the way, after that it usually isn't so bad for me.

Some pics from that first session by Ian Forsyth. Lots of the surfers which was Gabe Davies and friends..

 http://www.ianforsythphotographer.com/surf-blog/?p=3412

I warmed up back at the van and had a few words with myself about manning up and going for it. It definitely felt warmer, maybe I was getting acclimatised, -the air tempt was still only 1 deg!

The first wave went really well -a mid sized one so I managed to get some good turns. Next run out back and I pick up a beauty, easily a mast high lump, and feeling confident as I can feel my hands this time! I set up deep and get ready to race it, take the drop and try to set up to hit the critical part, but then the wind totally disappears out my sail and the lips going to break right on me. I try and throw the kit out front and dive off, as I'm not prepared to take a tumble strapped in with the kit -it's shallow boulders! 

I get a pretty damn good pasting and eventually surface to see the board and rig have gone separate ways.

Here's the wipeout captured by James Cummings..

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescummingspics/sets/72157632576178881/with/8402234165/

Now things really got tricky! The wind was offshore, the tide outgoing, the swell pretty big..  I was paddling my arse off with the board and rig but going nowhere. The mast and boom were fine, but the sail was in two bits, so I still wanted to salvage it. I've never ditched a rig in my life, but this was looking desperate! Remember it's a tad baltic!

Luckily I'm getting dragged towards a buoy, so tie the rig remains to that and it now becomes evident just how bad the rip is as it's dragging my kit underwater with a good 5knot current, just what I need! It takes me an age to paddle the board in. Luckily the surfers have been keeping an eye on me and had slightly embarrassingly called the coast guard, but thankfully stand them down when they realise I'm making headway. Phew.

After bit of a rest, I've got the task of re rigging and sailing out to salvage the rig. This was bloody hard work. Towing speed was about 5mph with clawed numb hands, and I had to sail non stop for about 2 miles to make land. Yes the hot aches were just sublime! 

By the time I'd sorted my kit out it was dark, so the surf I was looking forward to never happened. Lessons learned? Well not much else I could have done really. I managed to get myself out of a pretty extreme pickle, but had it gone the other way there were at least people looking out for me for which I'm very thankful. If I'd paddled the board straight in I'd have not really have been in a predicament at all, but I'm obviously pretty happy to not have lost the carbon mast/boom.

Gotta love the East coast though, 2 hrs from my door and waves gnarly as anywhere. I've actually sailed this spot before when the wind was much steadier and slightly cross on, and the swell smaller and it was hell of a lot easier. Ideally the wind needs to go round further and be full cross off and it would be a lot cleaner, not sure it'll ever happen though.

Some of my pics from the morning, not as good as the links above..

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