Friday, December 12, 2014

BACK IN THE WAVES

video

Monday, December 8, 2014

Big week ahead !

http://www.windfinder.com/forecast/Guernsey

Looks like a huge week ahead for Guernsey.

We have NW winds at the moment which is blowing swell straight into Vazon. The forecast is keep blowing then swing westerly and increase.

This could be all time big!

Westerly winds are cross onshore at Vazon, not great for down the line but definitely the direction for huge swell. Maybe one frontside bottom turn then backside riding back to the beach.

Huge air here we come

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

LUDERITZ 2014 My Story


Luderitz 2014

My Story

Luderitz, Namibia keeps pulling me back year after year. 2012 was the first time the canal had been built and the Luderitz Speed Challenge was born as we know it today. The world and British records were smashed in that year.

I competed in the last two weeks of the Speed Challenge in 2012 and achieved my fastest speed over 500m of 48.21 knots with a peak speed of 50.20 knots, 0.6 knots off the British record that was set the week before I arrived. In 2012 we had 4 days of sailing with 5.5m and 6m sails in winds upto 40 knots. After the event we all presumed that personal bests and records would be broken every year.
2013 saw the event moved forward two weeks and the winds didn’t blow. We had days of sailing but not strong enough for records. My fastest was 45.5 knots over 500m and a peak speed of 47.3 knots. 5 days of sailing but only with the biggest sail I took, a 6.4m just for training purposes.

So 2014 came along and I was full of confidence, 2013 could have been a fluke year of low winds, we might get condition like 2012. The event had been moved another two weeks earlier than 2013.
Equipment wise things had been learnt from the previous two years. My boards were the same as 2013, Patrik Diethelm 41 and 43cm. My sails were the same make as 2013, Neil Pryde Evo6 updated from the Evo5 of 2013. Everything was set.

In the previous two weeks of the 2014 event up until we arrived there had been two days where four people had sailed just over 49 knots. The Luderitz airport forecast for that day showed 28-31knots of wind on the first day and 26 –31 knots on the second. The canal usually has 5-8 knots more wind than the airport but the nearest place that forecasts the wind is the airport. We really need a forecast of 30-35 knots minimum for a real crack at big speeds. When I got my record in 2012 the forecast was 28-34 knots.
During the two weeks we were there we had 3 days of sailing. Friday Oct 24th was the first day and I struggled to get five runs down the course due the light winds (22-28 knots forecast). Top speed was 44.6 knots peak of 45.87. Nice to get back on the canal again though and still early doors.

The next day of wind was 30 Oct, forecast of 24-29 knots of wind. 2 sailors went just over 49 knots and Patrik (who shapes my boards) blew every one away with a 51knot run. Being so close to the record he was given priority to jump the queue which did help but hats off to the maestro. I have to admit that I just could get it going this day, I had a 500m speed of 46.96 knots, max 48.60 knots. I change my fin from a 22cm to a 20cm and immediately felt the board was sliding through the water easier but by then the wind was dying.

The next day the forecast wasn’t good however we were pleasantly surprised with 20-26 knots of wind, the course was open and everyone was on edge to see if the wind would fill in and we could have a crack at our pb’s. It didn’t blow strong enough although I recorded 46.91 knots 500m and 48.5knots peak in a lot less wind than the day before. I was leading for most of the day until Patrik clocked and amazing 48 knots.

Conclusions

Overall I am happy with my performance, I am a big speed sailor and I am there to compete in strong winds to get records. The past two years haven’t produced strong winds however I am still in the mix with my speeds.

Luderitz will almost certainly never blow 50 knots and if it does because of the extreme broad angle of the canal it will be un-sailable.

I need 30-35knots of wind forecast to break the British record and push over 50 knots.

My equipment is working great, I just have to get the right combination. Fitness was great this year, joining the gym helped a lot and sailing all day with 5kg of lead on my back was not an issue.

What to change:  Not much. I weigh 115kg, in the lighter winds that we have had for the past two years I think 108kg would be right for me. That’s the goal now.

What is next: I am looking forward to a bit of play time in the wave with the boys in Guernsey this winter. There is a European Championship in Fuerteventura mid 2015 which would be great to compete in, different set up to record attempts but something I have always enjoyed. Luderitz 2015? It’s a long way off, I have still got unfinished business though.

Current Results
I am ranked 12th on the GPS Speedsailing all time overall rankings
I have the GPS British 10second record 48.94 knots
12th Fastest 500m all time windsurfer speed 48.21 knots
2010 Speed world cup Vice champion (last world cup)
More results can be seen on my cv.

Thanks to my Sponsors

NUTZ wetsuits
Crabby Jacks Restaurant
Smith Signs
Neil Pryde Sails
Aurigny Airlines
Patrik Diethelm Boards
Chinook booms
Black Project Fins
GSYPHOTO.com









Sunday, September 21, 2014

NEW SPONSOR

Great news, I have teamed up with Nutz Wetsuits.

Nutz are a Jersey based company here in the Channel Islands. Its great to be associated with a wetsuit company so close to where I live.

The wetsuits are super stretchy. It's really difficult to get wetsuits for windsurfing. Most wetsuits are designed for the surf market which is understandable as it is such a huge market but they are too tight in the forearms for windsurfing. Nutz Wetsuits are designed for the surf market as well but due to the super stretchy neoprene used they are fantastic for windsurfing.

Check them out here     http://nutz-life.com


Just under four weeks till I am off to try and break some windsurfing records in Luderitz.

I'll be taking the short arm 2-2mm


and the 3-2mm long arm


When the wind really blows in Luderitz the sand being blown across the desert stings the arms, so it will be short arm for training light days and the long arm for the records.

Sponsors:

Nutz Wetsuits
Neil Pryde Sails
Patrik Diethelm boards
Chinook Booms
Aurigny Airlines
Black Project Fins
GsyPhoto.com






Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pre Luderitz

What's been happening?

A very windless frustrating summer for windsurfing since my crash in April.

Having taken almost 2 months to heal from my broken rib and prolapsed disc in my neck training for Luderitz has been slow. I ordered the Patrik 135 III to get out on the water more which has helped but not enough sailing for my liking. Apart from 1 x 6m wave session and 1 full on 4.9m session (with tiny waves) I haven't been out on anything less than the Evo VI 7.8m and mostly the 9.5m.

The last 3 weeks have seen me have pain in my right elbow (elbow not wrist, no smutty innuendos) which was diagnosed yesterday as Tennis Elbow. Been waking up with aches all over which again was diagnosed yesterday as my back being out of line. Sam at the Beach Clinic did a fantastic job of putting it right and this morning I felt great.

It may be 20 years late but tonight will be my first Yoga class. It seems all these years of not stretching is taking its toll and that's why the injuries are mounting up.

Six weeks till Luderitz, can't wait. The kit is looking great, really happy with the sails / masts combo I have. I don't think they worked well last year, although we didn't get fantastic wind the masts felt a little too stiff for the sails. This year the same masts on the new sails look fantastic.

Boards are sweet 43cm Patrik production and 41 custom. Fins, Black Project X Type (what else!) fantastic grip and speed.

It will be good to go back with everything tested, no surprises this year.

Summer sailing
 
I keep you posted.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Injury follow up

Every week a little bit better.

I have had a couple of SUP sessions and a couple of big swims but today was the first time in the gym since my crash.

Good and Bad news.

Good to be back and pushed hard

Bad strength in my left side, never been so weak on one side and not the other. Time will bring it back together.

Pushed really hard today, thought I was going to throw up.

Feels good to be back on the road to fitness, looking forward to getting out on the water this week.
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MRI Follow up

Saw the specialist today. Same kind of story as last time but in more detail.

There is a lot of wear to the neck, crushed discs and worn vertebra.

I would have liked the diagnoses from last time that the disc has prolapsed and the the soft inside has squeezed out pressing on a nerve. The soft bit should be absorbed into the body relieving the pressure on the nerve.

Never nice seeing your body deteriorating with no fix.

I have been booked in to seeing a spinal expert in Exeter. The doctor here still thinks that the diagnosis will to leave it alone but it's worth a second opinion.

I feel better every week and i know that when I had my prolapsed discs in my back it took 3 month to repair and my neck is no where as bad.

Still looking / hopping for a water return in a couple of weeks.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Post MDV accident report


MRI Scan today, I should have the results in a week.

My Rib is cracked which until a week ago gave me hardly any trouble at all. The last week it feels like the day after you have had a health kick suddenly doing 100 sit-ups with no buildup. an annoying dull pain when tensed.

My vertebra has been diagnosed as arthritic and on collision the two either side of my prolapsed disc must of touched chipping of a small section from each. A good thing the doctor reckons, it will give the disc more room.

The main problem is a prolapsed disc which is pressing on a nerve causing numbness down my left side. It is getting, very slowly, better each day. Not soon enough though. I had two prolapsed disc a long time ago and I know it takes a long time to heel (by heel I mean not hurt, it will never be good as new) We're getting there.

Be safe, have fun

Monday, May 5, 2014

Guernsey diagnoses

Having made it back to Guernsey I thought it best to have a check up at the doctor as my left arm and hand feels numb.

Got booked in for Thursday afternoon straight from the boat. He didn't tell me anything I didn't know already but did say he would book me an emergency MRI scan to check out my neck and see if there was any damage there causing the numbness.

The doctors secretary phoned me on Friday, after I had called twice, to say the earliest I can have a scan is in 2 weeks time (emergency ha). She did suggest that I go up to A & E, they might be able to get something earlier.

I had a lot of pain Saturday night so decided to go up to A & E. The receptionist told me there should be someone who can help, take a seat. A nurse then called me and asked if I had done the injury recently, I explained when it happened and that I had seen my GP. He told me that I should go back to the GP and would phone for an appointment.

When I mentioned that the GP would only give me pain killers he told me that is all they can do at A & E on a weekend, especially a long weekend. My GP wasn't working Saturday morning so he said the doctor on call there would see me.

After two minutes with the doctor he had me having an X ray, when the results came back the nurse had been called to strap up my neck and I was going for a CT scan. The nurse looked a bit embarrassed to say the least.

The CT scan shows that I have a crack in my neck which they are concerned about. No neck brace or anything for now, just rest and no situation to put my neck in any more harm.

Appointment with the specialised on Tuesday morning.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Mondial du Vent (My Report)

Mondial du Vent 2014

This is the first year since 2010 that I have signed up for a European Speed event and they don’t come much bigger than the Mondial du Vent in La Franqui, South of France.

All the big names in windsurfing had turned up. The big favorite, many times world champion Antoine Albeau, but not only him France has twenty or so windsurfers who can make any windsurfing final. They may not specialize in speed but are so well tuned with their equipment and small slalom boards or big speed boards that they all stand a chance.

Competition speed events are different to record attempts or trying to get a max speed at your local spot. You get timed over a 500m course running parallel to the beach. There is a gate upwind that you have to go through to line up your start, this is about 800m from the start line, once through this gate there is no overtaking. You then have to round a buoy 100m from the start in line with the course. Pass the start line at full tilt and 500m later you pass the finish line. After the finish line you have to keep going for another 100m before you gybe and head out again.

Small speed boards are faster on the run but small slalom or big speed boards are quicker at getting up to the start and getting more runs. The wind is constantly changing so the more runs you do the more chance of a good speed. You have to way up weather to go small, fast and difficult or big, compromise speed a little and get more runs.

Mondial du Vent: What a show, TV, shops and Village are all put up next to the beach to create a carnival atmosphere. Not only do they host the speed contest but there is a freestyle event and stand up Paddle races, kids activities, party’s and live music.

As you can imagine I was very excited about this event, my new Neil Pryde evo 6 sails had arrived the day before I left. I have my Patrik Diethelm speed 52 which can carry sail sizes from 5.8 to 7.8, absolutely perfect for competition speed. Black Project fins had sent over some RS fins that will give me the upwind bite needed to get my runs in but wont compromise my down wind speed. On top of all that the forecast looked incredible with even the possibility of open water record attempt on the Friday before the event.

I left on Thursday 24th April with Condor Ferries to St Malo, stopping off in Jersey for 4.5 hours unfortunately to change boats. Landing in France at 20.40 the plan was to drive for 4 or 5 hours, jump in the back of the van for a quick snooze then drive the rest of the way.

All went to plan and I arrived in La Franqui 10 am the next morning. The wind was blowing as per the forecast so the next problem was to find a spot called “the water pump” were all the boys would be getting some big speeds under their belts.

It took an hour or so to find but true enough they were all there. The wind was blowing 40 to 45 knots and the sea looked smooth and tempting.

Heart pounding I rigged my 5.8 Evo 6 and took out my Patrik Speed 43 with Black Project X45. No need to go too small with the fin straight away. It was windy, a lot tighter course than I have been used to when going for records in Namibia. First couple of runs and we are pushing 45 knots.  It doesn’t feel quite right though, a couple of tail wobbles as I bear away over the bigger chop.

I decide to change board. The 43 just feels a bit small for me in theses conditions, the 48 would have been ideal but that one is missing from my board quiver. I change to the 52 with a new asymmetric fin I have been given to try. First run down the course and I am flying, second run and I’m pushing hard, bearing away the board starts to lift out of the water, the fin has too much lift, too big. That’s as much as I remember.

Next I hear two French guys next to me saying are you all right. I don’t know were I am, it slowly starts to come back, I’m breathing really hard, there’s blood dripping down my face. I have been knocked out cold.

I sailed without a helmet, something I will never do again. I can’t tell you how lucky I was. I don’t know if I would have come around without the two guys talking to me, I don’t know if I was face down or up. I do know looking back it was scary.

Why don’t windsurfers wear helmets, every other sport does. The kite speed guys all wear helmets and they haven’t got anything to hit.

Aftersight is a marvelous thing.

1. I had just been travelling for 24 hours with little sleep, no proper sleep. Must         have been exhausted. No way to be and go out in 45 knots of wind.

2. No helmet (what a dope)

3. Fin choice was way too big for the conditions and way too much lift.

A combination of the 3 above was the cause.

So I have come around sitting on the shore, a bit fuzzy not really knowing what or who. I know I won’t sail anymore runs today but I have to get back up wind, “are well just as well sail back it will be easier than walking”.

I made it but that proberly wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

I de-rigged and was starting to feel pain, my ribs hurt and seemed to crack if I moved, can’t be broken though because everyone tells me you can’t breath when you have a broken rib. Must be muscle strain.

My neck is stiff but that’s understandable. A couple of days of Ibruphen and rest and I’ll be fine.

Saturday no wind, fantastic. Keep taking the Ibruphen and I’ll be fine for racing. The pain isn’t easing as I had hoped though.

Sunday and the wind is up, 6.4m and speed 52 with my RS 26cm fin. It’s tough getting around the course my left side has no strength at all. Then my boom snaps, I have to get picked up by a rescue boat and taken back to the shore. By the time I am ready to go again there is 10 minutes left of the leg.

The conditions are as perfect as can be, flat water, sunny and windy. Pascal Maka organizing an event like it should be done.

Don’t panic there is plenty of legs to come. Round two and I change to a waist harness. With no strength it is easier to get hooked in and hang there. My thoughts are to take it easy, get through today and hope for a couple of days rest. My times are good to start, 35.5 knots, Antoine Questal comes down with 34.5 then Antoine Albeau 36. Ok stay calm get through the day.

As the leg carries on though the wind increases and the times go up and up, I can’t hold on any more. Leg three is the same; I start well but fade quickly.

Monday arrives and the wind is lighter. The first leg is 7m weather. Same story as the day before, after the first run I am in 10th place, after the second ninth then my position slips and slips.

I now realize that my contest is well and truly over. I have no strength in my left side, my ribs are still cracking and I have numbness down my left arm.

I am in the rigging area when my friend Patrick Van Hoof comes over and mentions he’s been to the hospital in Narbonne for an x-ray and they have confirmed he has a broken rib that means no more sailing for him. If he fell on it again it could puncture an internatl organ.

My contest is over and I decide to go and get checked out. At the hospital (who were absolutely fantastic) an x ray confirms I have a broken rib as well.

Time to pack up and head home. The painkillers they have given me also make you drowsy so for my 9 hour drive back up to St Malo I can’t take them (the fun of international competition)

I am sitting at the dock now ready for the 3 hour boat ride home. Straight to the doctor when I’m back as this numbness is getting worse, the broken rib I can live with but the pain in my shoulder and the numbness are terrible.

I let you know the outcome.


Head Injury

















PS Buy a helmet!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mondial du Vent 2014

Arrived in leucate safe and well, it all been down hill after that.
Sailed with all the boys up wind from the comp site, Antoine AlbeauC├ędric BurelPeter VolwaterJacques Van Der HoutNicolas David Garrelwere some. Top class field for the comp tomorrow.
Had my worst wipe out ever today. I would like to tell how and why but I can't remember. Two cuts to the head, neck that can't turn and a worrying click on the left side of my ribs. Pritty sure if you break a rib you can hardly breath and move, figures crossed. I'll see what it feels like in the morning.
No wind tomorrow but back with a vengeance on sun, mob, tue, wed, fri.
5.8m sail 50 knot gusts.
Patrik Diethelm speed 43 with Black Project 45 to start but the board is too small for here. Swapped up to the 53 with Black Project RS28 which felt a lot better until my crash, will try the RS26 on Sun.
Like ·  · 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Official news


I am pleased to announce that I have a new sponsor for 2014, Crabby Jacks Restaurant.

Because of Crabby's position right next to Vazon Bay in Guernsey they wanted to have a sea / beach theme to the restaurant.

These are the first three images to go up on the walls along with two speed boards and a sail. More to follow.

Thanks to Cristophe from Crabby Jacks and Dan Smith from Smith Signs for all their work in organising this.

Photo's by Pierre Bisson GSYPHOTO.COM

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guernsey April Slalom

Beautiful day out on my Patrik Diethelm 110 and 7.8m Neil Pryde Evo 5
3/2 Wetty was a bit thin, lovely and sunny but cold wind. 
Next stop Le Mondial du Vent

Monday, March 31, 2014

Feb waves

video
Fun waves from last month

Monday, March 24, 2014

Waves on standby didn't last long

Putting the wave gear on standby didn't last long, the weather has turned colder but the waves started again. Here is a short clip from yesterday, sunny windy and wavey.

https://vimeo.com/89901565




Saturday, March 15, 2014

Change in the Weather

It's time for the wave kit to go back on standby and tune up for slalom and speed.

From November to mid March I find it very difficult to get on a slalom or speed board over here in Guernsey. When it's 8 degrees air temp or less the thought of sailing up and down the coast on big slalom kit doesn't do much for me. Even the odd good speed day in those temps isn't great.

Wave sailing definitely takes over when its that cold. Wave sailing in 8 degrees for a couple of hours is no problem.

The weather is changing however and it was time to unload the wave kit, put it on standby for any exceptional conditions and tune up the slalom kit.


I have finned up my PD 110 with a Black Project Fins 37.7 for big sails. Usually I like the BPF 35 in this board but my new Evo 6's should be here soon and I have gone big this year, right up to 9.5 sq m. My PD speed 53 has been finned up with a BPF RS 28. More for 7 and 7.8 sailing in tight conditions. With the first speed contest of the year at the Mondial du Vent is just around the corner I have a feeling I will be using this fin / board combo a lot.


Speed contests are a different beast to free sailing or record attempts. You have to sail as many runs as possible so that you don't miss the best conditions, this means sailing back up wind needs to be quick and easy. That's when the RS will come into it's own compared to a asymmetric record fin.


Sails ready to come out of storage and into the van.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Speed tails

Just going through some old bits and pieces for a project that's in the pipeline. Found my old event bibs.

Great memories from back then, Brest speed week and my first podium finish in 1993.

Fuerteventura 1993 and having the Great Britain flag and name on the bib, top 10 only had that. It didn't go down well with a fellow competitor who will remain nameless who couldn't believe I had a named bib and he didn't. He even complained to the organisers but it was down to year ranking and I was placed higher than him.

Tarifa speed week, party town!

St Marie de la Mer, Mistral winds.