Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kona Daze

Maui had an endless stretch of trade winds that lasted through the Fall up until a few weeks ago.  Since then we've been in a more typical winter pattern, where the trades come and go, followed by periods of light or kona wind (south to west, the opposite of the usual trade direction).  Not un-coincidentally the N.Pacific storm track moved south and winter storms finally arrived on the west coast. In fact our friends in Hood River were just hammered by a snow/ice storm but also got some great powder on the mountain.  Yeah it's all related - the storm track moves south, the sub tropical high gets shoved over the islands, we get waves and kona winds, and the mainland gets it's snow.  Also Baja gets El Norte winds making all our La Ventana friends happy as well.  The trick is to be in the right place to get whatever kind of weather you want.

I'll definitely take Maui on that deal.  But kona winds are tricky.  It means the usual wave sailing direction is reversed. Down the line means going left with the wave on the left or port side of the board.  Some call this port side wave sailing.  I just call it kona waves.  Also kona winds are off shore as well, so anything bad happens and you got the chance of being blown out to sea.  On top of that, conditions can be extremely light to nada in the inside, while very gusty out past the break.

I'm still in the "take it sort of easy" phase of my recovery, now just past four months.  I'm willing to take on the  "usual" conditions, but no kona for me. Not yet anyway.  But I did get the chance to catch some amazing kona sailing at Lanes by some of the best kona sailors on the planet.  By that I mean Robby Naish, Pascal Bronnimann, and Kai Lenny.  And soon after launching, these big three were joined by Bernd Roediger (who recently joined the Goya team), Ascanio D'Ascanio (who we've known from many years of summer Gorge sailing), and Morgan Noireaux.

Notice in the pictures below how light it was, probably 0-10 on the inside and no more than 10-15 on the outside.  Pascal was riding a 90 lt custom Quattro with a 4.3 Banzai.  Bernd was testing a four batten Guru prototype.  Check out how casually Robby up hauls his sail on the inside near the rocks.  It's almost like his board was sitting on the reef.  Despite the minimal wind these guys managed some great rides and huge jumps. So impressive!


pascal said...

thanks for the nice post and pics Ben!
i was actually on a 4.3 banzai - size doesn't matter anymore when it's that light ;)

Ascanio said...

Nice Ben,
Thanks for leaving us a memory of this Kona ;)
Hopefully see you soon in the water.

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