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Area Wind Report

It's been blowin. Not a little, but A LOT... and OFTEN. Y'all have read the e-mail reports -- unless you ignore all this blather. 230 lb. guys on the lake waterstarting handkerchief size sails on April 1st; Gorge-hardened sailors sitting and watching the fools get tossed on April 17th; others swimming Charleston Harbor with busted gear from over-powered epic sessions. Ain't it fun! The one I don't believe --except that several witnesses reported it to me -- is the reports of Ed Gould, who weighs in at about 130 lbs., flying 3/4ths mast high over Lake Murray for hours on "Terrible Tuesday", April 17th, on a FIVE POINT ONE! No one else -- from the coast to Alabama -- could handle a 4.0 that day. The guy is 53 years old, for goodness sake! Did I tell ya the one about Danny Johnson on his highway-side Albama lake that day attracting SIX rescue vehicles who blared up to his wife, who was sitting in the car videotaping him at the moment, and piled out like a SWAT team to save him -- I guess -- from having to much FUN? Well, I told you again.

Besides all this extreme stuff, we've had lots of 15 mph, beautiful days. It's been like the old days of yore. And, the lakes are full of water again. Summer traffic isn't on the water yet. You NEED to get out there, which brings me to this...

I have a question for you:

Why do most Southern towns like ours, far from the mountains, have ski/snowboard shops to support a sport that you can only do in far away places during a short part of the year in conditions you can't control and might stink when you get there, but don't have windsurfing shops? It's a vexing question. With today's light weight, light-air gear, you can windsurf RIGHT WHERE YOU LIVE around an average of 80 days a year (I can prove this) in planing or darn near planing conditions -- and still hold down a job, pay the mortgage, get the kids to soccer practice (or bring 'em with you), snuggle with your spouse -- you know, have a regular, responsible life. That's what ALL of Europe does. Is our society too hurried, too lazy, or just too short-sighted to pursue something that takes a bit of effort to get the payoff. Somebody please 'splain this to me (and Brian Butkus who actually asked this question.)

Windtalker Devices here and there....

Bad news: the National Weather Service office must have a dedicated OUTGOING line from their Columbia, SC office to call up the system at Clark Hill Lake (Thurmond). "Give it two weeks," they told me last week . Good news: everything else works on that system perfectly. The web page is even set up. More good news: Lake Murray now has the same NWS windtalker system installed. Sponsored by the Coast Guard Auxilliary and Power Sqadron. Not on line yet. Stay tuned -- you know I'll let you know. More bad news: The Murray location sucks for windsurfers -- it's on Flotilla Island tower at end of Johnson Marina Rd., if you can find that. Not good exposure, but it is high. Even less-welcome, but necessary, news: If you use the Sullivan's Island windtalker, (843-883-5247, http://iopweather.com), it's time to send in you annual up-keep donation to John Cutter at 2098 Courtney Manor Dr., Mt Pleasant, SC. 29466. It costs about $400 a year to keep one of these things going.

Swap meet in Charleston -- May 6th...

This is the good one, folks. Always well attended, and more importantly, the wind has blown like crazy the last three times we've held this swap meet. (No, I'm not guaranteeing -- or jinxing -- the wind for that day. Don't believe in that superstitious crap.) It's in the parking lot of Half Moon Outfitters in Mt Pleasant just past the Shem Creek area. It begins mid morning on Sunday, May 6th. Delightful time to go to Charleston to sail and you might snare a deal. If you go, and want to sell some used stuff, get there EARLY. It will be crowded, which is good but the best spots to put out stuff will go quick.

Cape San Blas trip -- May 25 - 28...

Windsurfing, on-the-beach camping trip to Florida panhandle coast (near Panama City) put together by my most excellent buddy, Danny Johnson. Great location -- shallow, warm, and windy (we hope) and great people. Camping is at a real nice spot, Indian Pass. (www.indianpasscharters.com). RV's accepted. Contact Danny at 256-845-1914 x127 or e-mail: danny_johnson@ovalstrapping.com.

Speaking of Trips...

Do you know that Whitecap pretty much does a Fall and Spring trip every year? We just got back from Hatteras, and again, it was a great time we'll all remember. I only do prime houses set up for windsurfing. Speak up anytime when you're ready to join us. The fall trip is aiming for CORPUS CHRISTI area on the Texas panhandle. Never been there, but it is the most regularly windy place in the continental US, statistically speaking. I know I've said we'd do this before and didn't do it, but with enough windsurfers committed early, it's a definite go this time -- Pam approved it. Corpus is like Hatteras but warmer, clearer, with good food, and something to do at night. So, I guess, it's not like Hatteras. It does have shallow flats for ever on one side and wave sailing on the other. Fly cheap; rent gear there cheap. Or drive and bring it. Whatever.

Sign up now.

Lessons -- here, there, and everywhere... It's "Learn to Windsurf" time! Weekend dates are booking up fast. Whitecap is now a road show, too. Nifty enclosed 6' high, 12' long trailer makes it possible to come to you! Clinics are booked in Atlanta and getting set at St Simons, Charleston (if a good location is found or Scott bulldozes out a new cove at 29), Lake Murray (if Ed and Pate will get off the water long enough to round up the wanna-be's), and even possibly Lake Greenwood (thanks to Lou Rubin). Lessons are $95/person. Everything included but lunch, towel, and sunscreen. (Weekdays are fine with me, too.) Be careful before committing youself, or especailly friends, to a lesson. This thing is like cocaine, not that I personally know what that is like, but IT IS ADDICTING. One taste and windsurfing can mess up your nice, well-ordered, simple life.

Augusta Chronicle newspaper article -- Tuesday, May 1st.

I gave a reporter, Lisa Lohr, a lesson Sunday. We had perfect conditions; an immaculate day. I think she freaked-out on me. Well, not on me...I mean...on windsurfing. To say she loved it is a HUGE understatement. A staff photographer was present so it all ought to make a real good article. I understand several of you were interviewed. Roman, Allan, and Joyce will have photos, she says. Jack and Linda are thoroughly quoted, along with some others. Check it out Tuesday, the 1st. I realize most of you on this e-list are not from the Augusta area, so I'll send out the web address when it publishes, if you care to read it.

Smokin' closeouts on sails...

Aerotech has a great deal on a '00 closeout of the Ultimate Carve series. In the 2000 Windsurfing magazine reviews these sails had all smiley faces. In 5.0 and 5.25, its a one cam sail. In the 5.5 to 6.5 it has two cams; 6.8 and above it has three. Lightweight and good range. Not reinforced heavily for waves or extreme bump/jump but a great shape for the lake and moderate winds. The cams are little mini ones with rollers so it's like being camless in manuverabiity and weight, but holds shape in light air. I guarantee it. Really awesome great price on these: 4.0 at $250 4.5 at $265 5.0 at $285 5.25 at $290 5.5 at $$295 5.75 at $295 6.0 at $300 6.25, 6.5, 6.8, 7.5, 8.5 all in the low to mid $300's. This is as good as you can buy any top quality new sail. You get what you pay for. Get something made very well and durable...but at a great close-out deal. Hey, you big sail lake guys, Neil Pryde has the '00 Diablo 8.2 and 8.7 on close-out at $395. Is that a deal? --you bet. The 8.2 sail is '01 MSRP at $610. You can't buy big sails like that for $200 range. It's a camless, fast, great lake light-air race type sail. Has 8 battens with a deep pocket. Super top quality product. NP may have 7.2's also still on hand by the time you call me. Brand new, never opened North Easy Fun 4.8 sail, in stock; dacron, vinyl - great for kids but not a trainer -- $145 Starboard "GO" rates a whistle and a holler from the wind snobs... Roman Kilmenko and I rode the board that started the whole "widestyle" thing (if you ignore HiFly for the past 10 years) in less than 10 mph wind last weekend. We gave it our top mark: Roman whistled; I hollered. We were simply amazed. I wouldn't believe how quick it jumped forward on a 6.8 in about 7 knots -- just a hair short of a plane. It feels lively under foot but it's soooooo stable. The rubber deck just glues your feet where you want them. Roman called me 3 days late rstill rather dumbfounded by the whole thing. It's made me completely reconsider the whole light air cruisin' thing. I also rode Starboard's Formula 175 at Hatteras. Talk about wide - 80 something cm and volume to float a sumo wrestler, yet it's thin adn "light" feeling. It went so fast, it scared me off it in a hurry. Never would have believed it. Are the WIND SNOB days behind for me and Roman? I doubt it, but now I'm wondering. Board Bags -- in stock! I also one Epic Gear basic bag with double-sided solar guard material in 275cm X 67cm for $75. Also, I have Windsurfing Hawaii's attractive, padded bag (no solar guard) at $109. Sizes are 265 cm ((8'8") 275 cm (9'0") 285 cm (9'4")

Wave of the Future?

In september, '00, members of the Surfriders Foundaton lowered 120 fourteen-ton sandbags off a barge anchored at Dockweller State Beach near the LA airport. Their goal: the nation's first artificial reef designed to jack up surfable waves. Is this why we donate to this cosatal environmental protection group? To make themselves a wave? Relax-- the Chevron Company paid for it. Why? - because the CEO like's to surf. No, because, our government did something right. When Chevron was granted a permit to build a pipeline in the mid 1980's off th etown of El Segundo, it was under the stipulation that if the project diminished local waves, the company would have to make amends. In 1994, a state regulatory commission decided it had and the oil company turned over $300,000 to Surfriders. "This means that waves deserve the same protections aas redwood trees," says Chris Evans, Surfriders exec. director. Cultural and environmental impacts will be determined before pursuing additional reef projects. You know, the waves make the beach, other wise it's just a big salty lake. Good deal.

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Chuck Hardin
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