Last Minute Nor’wester

I had been planning to go and check out the surf in South Sound on Saturday morning to test out a surfboard I had recently bought and fixed, but Windguru was showing NW wind first thing in the morning, so I went to investigate.

Seven Mile Beach was windy and wavy, an after checking out Royal Palms and Public Beach, I settled on Royal Palms, as the direction was quite North, and it was windier there.

I rigged the 5.7 and got about half an hour of planning conditions before it dropped and the wind shifted direction.  The next hour was more a slog and surf, but I did manage to catch a few decent waves.  After that the wind shifted NNE and was too light to continue.

Waiting for the wind to come back up

Waiting for the wind to come back up

New Year, Whole New Spin

Another cold front is on the way – and about time too! While most people look forward to sunny windless skies and calm water on the weekend, I look forward to plenty of wind and hopefully waves – sunny skies are a bonus, but not a necessity. The forecast looks good with 20-25 knots having arrived this week from the Northeast and taking us into the weekend. It’s a great weekend to get out windsurfing, launching either from Morritt’s at East End, or into the North Sound from Morgans Harbour, Safehaven, or ideally near Starfish Point to get some Sandbar waves!

Forward loop attempt

Many articles have recently appeared regarding typical New Years resolutions – stop smoking, lose weight, drink less, etc, etc. I prefer to make my resolutions more frequently and more specific (geared towards my water sports activities).

One of my resolutions is the same as last years, as I didn’t manage to resolve it in 2010 – the forward loop. This is one of those moves that can really play havoc with your mind when you set about learning it. Some windsurfers refer to it as physically one of the the easiest moves in wave-sailing, but the difficulty is not in the actual move itself, rather in the mental preparation for it.

When learning to windsurf, you spend your whole time trying not to get catapulted forward onto your board. With the forward loop, you are deliberately taking off on a wave at full speed and catapulting yourself forward into a loop against everything your mind is telling you that you should be doing. It is one of the “holy grail” moves in windsurfing, and a great trick to have in the bag. The move is 10% physical and 90% mental.

At the beginning of 2010 I had set myself the target of learning it, but constantly talked myself out of it, telling myself that the conditions on the particular day weren’t quite right, but when the winds arrived in November last year, I decided that this is something that I finally need to nail – no more excuses!

I’ve managed to force myself into going for them now, and I’m making them round landing on my back, which although painful, is a vast improvement from just chickening out at the last minute. Going for them half-heatedly is the worst thing you can do, and is a sure way of getting injured – so you have to be fully committed.

I was recently reminded over the Christmas and New Year period how short life can be, when tragically a friend passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. We never really know when our time is up, and maybe New Years resolutions aren’t enough. Why wait for a New Year to roll around before aiming to do better? We should be making our resolutions daily, and striving each day to achieve our goals and live our lives to the fullest.

I know I’ll be striving to land a forward loop this weekend, and each time I got out windsurfing from now on until I get it right – no matter what year it is!

(As seen in The Caymanian Weekender on 14th January 2011)

Windsurfers Jump on a Nor’wester

I just experienced one of those rare windsurfing opportunities that don’t come up very often on Grand Cayman — wave-sailing on Seven Mile Beach in a Nor’wester (as they call it here).

It happens about as often as the mythical “green flash” at sunset, but when it does, you need to be on the ball to make the most of the conditions.

Typical preparation for this – when you have to go to work for the day – is as follows: load the car the night before with all the necessary kit, get all clothes ready for work, and then hopefully get an early night.

The alarm goes off at 5am, at which point you wonder if it was a good idea to begin with. Drag yourself out of bed, get changed, grab your bags and head out the door.

Once at the beach, it’s still dark, so you try and gauge the wind speed and conditions without being able to see properly.

Rig the kit, and then wait for it to get light and hope your guess was right. If all goes to plan, it all becomes so worth it — when you are out playing in the wind and waves, looking back at the hotels along Seven Mile Beach, grinning like crazy, with the knowledge that you are making use of a rare opportunity.

The perfect start to the day!

The windy season in Cayman runs from November through April, and the wind predominantly comes from the north- east at this time of year.

When the United States is getting storms and snow, this is a good thing for us windsurfers in Cayman, as it is just a matter of time before it drifts down our way.

We spend most of our time during these months glued to weather sites, such as WindGuru (, hoping that the predictions of upcoming wind are going to be accurate, or that predictions of no wind will turn out NOT to be accurate.

In the end, while all this technology allows a certain amount of accuracy, there’s only one way to find out what the conditions are really doing on the day, and that’s to pack your kit in the car, drive to the beach, and find out for yourself.

(As seen in The Caymanian Weekender on 17th December 2010)