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The Wind Came Marching In

Ah, Spring! Didn't I tell 'ya last issue about that " whole bucket-load of air swirling around -- restrained, held back, under tension -- about to be let out upon the southern lakes" ? Yes, I did. Guess you'll believe me next time, huh?

The last two weeks of March saw a couple of good days of 5.0 and below, wind-spanking days. Problem was, they were during the week when few of us could squirm out of obligations to authority figures like bosses, spouses, children, and the IRS. BUT, then came April, the Masters, and on Saturday the 8th, it was...very windy. I don't have a word for that kind of wind and it still be actually sailable. Nukin? Epic? Huge? Fahgidabadit. It was bigger than that. Reports have come in from Lanier to Monticello, from Clark Hill to Murray and points beyond: Patrick Jenkins, alone on the water on a 3.7 at Clark Hill, pulling table tops and moves Renee described as "unrecognizable". At Lanier, 3 large yacht-type sailboats broke masts and one "turtled" , i.e., flipped over mast down, while several hard core, adrenaline-crazed windsurfers (including three women, Elizabeth Campbell among them) ripped nearby on that enticing edge between fun and survival. Willian Fragakis of the Atlanta Boardsailing Club reported that conditions were so weird on Lanier that about a mile of water was just like ocean shore break -- said he had never seen it like that before.

At Station 29 on Sullivan's Island under brilliant clear skies till late afternoon, it was huge waves, near mast high, on the outside -- some beginning to break over in the open ocean -- and strictly hero-jibe time on the inside. You had to sail -- if you stayed on the beach, your mouth and eyes got full of sand. A late squall chased all away till it was just Jose', Matthew, Dave FIscher, and yours truly. We chop-hopped and ripped till we wore out in the speed run behind the low tide sand bars. The Columbia - Monticello windsurfers I heard from were mostly truck-sittin' and watching a few intrepid souls catapulting over the handlbars. They refused to give me names to protect the guilty. So, other than that, we've also had a lot of days with 5 to 15 mph breezes lately -- just right for the less cazed, more peaceful aspect of this sport. Don't YOU miss out on all that Universal Oneness.

Windtalker at Clark Hill

Patience. It's a great virtue. How 'bout loaning me some? The Corps of Engineers has used up most of mine. The Corps decided that, after all, they DID need a "license" for the National Weather Service -- with Whitecap Windsurfing, Inc as private-sector sponsor -- to install and hook up the telephone/internet accessable wind information system on Thurmond Dam. Actually, the Corps is very cooperative and willing. We'll have the system in place this summer. Really. I'm sure. Trust me. (The NWS has four more hardwar/software systems in their grimey hands, ready to be installed on four more lakes. All that is lacking is private sector sponsors. Anybody out there listening?)

Boring But absolutely URGENT Environmental News

If Georgia Governor Barnes does not veto House Bill 1182, your windsurfing lake WILL LIKELY be receiving poultry farm waste pollution at potentially disastrous levels. The state Senate had originally amended this bill to effectively place hog and poultry farmers and processors under water quality regulations similar to that in other states where environmental disasters have occurred involving animal farming and processing waste.

The bill was a direct response to what happened in North Carolina after the hurricane last year. But, at the last minute, the huge corporate hog and poultry integrator/processors geared up the "machine", got a "conference committee" to "fix" the bill in their favor. The result is the ability of these huge corporations to continue avoiding responsibility for safe disposal of wastes generated by the industry.

The bill also allows the fox to guard the hen house -- agricultural committee members get supervisory powers over all rules passed by the Ga. Dept. Of Natural Resources. It's absurd!! This bill is bitterly opposed by the likes of the Sierra Club Georgia Chapter, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Ga. Wildlife Federation, The Coastal Environmental Organization. Garden Club of GA, Inc., Emory University School of Law, U.S. Interest Public Research Group, and many more even including the Georgia Contract Poultry Growers Association themselves!

This group is the resident "family farmer" who will be saddled with all responsibility to meet the water regulations in waste handling while the huge corporate processor slides by. You know, we say we care about the environment. One way to prove it to yourself is by sending a letter or simply an e-mail. (The Surfriders Foundation reports that a California state representative spoke to them about political strategies and explained it takes as few as 30 letters on bills like this that don't make the front pages to sway the politicians' frame of mind.)

Here's how you do it:

The Honorable Roy E. Barnes
203 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: 404-656-1776
Fax 404-657-7332
e-mail form:

Chuck Hardin
(706) 860-0639

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