Alissa's WindLog for Tuesday July 22, 2008

61st session in 2008
Sailed at S. Packery, TX
Wind from the NE (mph)
        Average: 20
Rated a 10 of 10

Board: mistral syncro fish '06 77
Sail: 5.2 Worldsail '05
Suit: rash guard

I think we need to create an 11 rating. This is seriously my most fun BEST DAY EVER EVER EVER hands down ANYWHERE. Oh my gosh. I'm still pumped up. This makes up for every no wind day this July and it makes the rest of the year no matter how it turns out. AAAAAAHHHHH! We didn't even get off the water til 8, and only then b/c I was gauging how long it might take me to swim in before sunset if something happened and I figured I'd reached that boundary.

It started out with me running into Matt at the seawall, and we formed a plan to drop our gear at the last condo complex and park in the street. On our way over there we ran into Brad, who was being herded off the beach as it was evacuated, so he joined us. The mood on the island was jovial--people had  packed coolers  to come watch the surf, They were also watching the hours long saga of a monster truck and some tow trucks trying to pull out a pickup that had gotten stuck with waves washing around it. Those big waves were coming periodically, the kind that wash all the way up the beach, making it hard to even walk. The current was really strong down low. Thank goodness I was taught to carry my gear on my head b/c I used it a LOT today and got Matt started on it as well.

First run I got out, Matt didn't, and Brad was still rigging. It was a crapshoot and I'd just gotten lucky. It was scary at first with big long waves totally closing out, nowhere to turn, and no power to chicken jibe. Other times you'd be totally powered, even pumping to make to the lip before it closed out, and you'd launch into this long hovering jump where the bottom had just dropped out. There were times I found myself screaming and my legs shaking. And before long we realized the waves were not as powerful on top as they looked--we could actually push over the majority, even the ones that looked bad. Sometimes you'd slide backwards or even spin out, and it felt like vulcan practice!! But thankfully we'd often come out still standing. The wind was filling in little by little too.

Coming in was nuts, dropping onto bigger faces than I think I ever have, and just trying to ride down really diagonal. Dropping in I often wished I was on my small board, but I needed the big wide one for the way out, so that part was a tradeoff. I turned on the inside and Matt and I gave it a go at the same time and both made it out that time. We had a looooong run. The crazy part was that as close as we were, if even one wave got between us we couldn't see even the top of the other's sail. The waves got SO much bigger on the outside--I wished the surfers could experience that; I wanted to share the love. I felt so lucky--only three of us way out there, and between waves it felt like you might as well be the only person on earth. Behind the wave you didnt even see the shore or the tops of the buildings. If you fell it really did feel that way, especially when losing your gear, which I did a couple times. Luckily it did not take long to catch, not nearly even as long as some days at N Pac, I guess because the waves would wash you so hard in the right direction.

I saw Matt turn a couple waves ahead of me on the far outside, so I let one wave go by and went to turn on the second, the one right between us. The funny thing was I had just watched the movie "Riding Giants" last week, and to me (although of course not to the guys in the movie) this was a giant, a monster, and I realized mid turn that its presence felt so high behind me, but with seemingly so far down still to ride. i caught my clew on it and catapaulted, thrillingly but painlessly, and on it rolled, leaving me and my gear to regroup. Every time you fell in the straps it felt like your feet would about get twisted off. Matt came by and I was yelling "this is CRAZY" over and over, with a huge smile. He waited for me to waterstart and we rode that set in together. You'd catch this wave (whether you liked it or not) and ride it forever, I mean halfway in to the beach, and we were out a looong way, and it would start closing out and you'd just be outrunning it. The blue line was in so close, too, well within the shorebreak, so most of our sailing was on deep blue swells. We made it in and wound up pretty far downwind, at the Holiday Inn, tired, and took a breather but didn't leave the shoreline. The monster truck pulled that guy out just as I walked by, to much applause. Tamay was there and said hi. She should have joined us!

I couldn't wait to get back out. Matt was wavering. Brad had meanwhile made a first try and didn't make it out. We all walked our gear back to the starting point, set it down and sort of regrouped. Morale was a bit low, but that one run, well actually the two I had, seriously made my whole windsurfing summer and maybe year and maybe even career so far. I just had to feel that again. We walked way upwind this time before starting, and the beach had hardly a soul around in that area. We started wading into the shorebreak one more time, half pushing ourselves out and half being dragged. The one or two stragglers still walking stopped and watched us, sort of the way you might watch a drunk bartender close out their shift by taking a ride on the mechanical bull. You figure they must have done it a time or two before, but you still watch, thinking nothing good is going to come of this, but at least it may be mildly entertaining. The clouds were bizarre at this point, some connecting with the water, looking like a raincloud might, but without the grayness or rain. Part of the sky deepened into shades of pink, and to the northeast a short, thick rainbow formed. I started to question my own sanity at this point. My arms already felt about spent.

On this run Brad quickly made it all the way out, Matt made it partway, and I got mashed toward the beginning. I thought for sure I'd blown a panel or two of my sail, but when I'd gotten myself composed I found it still intact. I got battered for a while but finally washed, fell, and stumbled my way up the beach. When Matt came in and out for a second try I walked back toward the water. We kept giving each other this look, like "one more run." We both made it out that time, and one more run turned into another and another. The three of us stuck together, weaving around on the outside, staying mostly clear of all but the biggest closeout waves. I was making lots of my jibes, although often the wave outran me and I'd not always plane out of it.

Despite the massive power of the swells it actually felt pretty peaceful out there. We could even talk and understand each other, which even at the bay or Bird is hard--I think b/c between waves it was so quiet and not even that windy. But as Brad later said, it felt like any false move would result in another walk from the Holiday Inn. We came in as the sun got low and derigged in the grass at the condos. I wished I had my camera, but I'd removed it from my backpack trying to lighten the load :(. Tomorrow the hopeful plan is a Port A sesh followed by a trip to the brewery. But who knows--if the waves are washing up past the beach huts and pilings I'm usually too chicken to go out. I feel like I'm going to get impaled. So we'll hope for no high tide, no lightning, and a good follow-up session! Thank you Dolly., for getting us pitted, so pitted! I probably sounded like that guy when I came in.