Sunday 6th September turned out to be a brutal day, we travelled nearly two hours North of Stockholm to Väddö. when we arrived we were initially disappointed as the wind hadn’t picked up, checking the VIVO app we could see that the wind was blowing to the north of us and to the south, looks like we were in the eye of the storm, while waiting other surfers turned up in anticipation.
Jukka tests out his rig whilst waiting
Around 3pm the weather finally arrived, a full on never ending torrential rainstorm. Massive gusts followed by hollow wind lulls, this combined with heavy waves made even getting off the beach a challenge. To make it out passed the stony outcrop 30 meters from the start of the beach required wading out over an endless series of large submerged rocks that took out my shins one step and the next treacherously moved under foot constantly keeping me off balance whilst being battered by the incoming waves. One second the water is ankle deep the next its out of my depth.
Time after time I was mercilessly spooled up on to the beach and forced to run the stone & wave gauntlet. After the 5th attempt I managed to get a going from a waterstart and miss the rocky outcrop, once past that the gusts and lulls were brutal, so far in to the bay the wind was not strong enough to waterstart easily and then the gusts ripped through totally over powering the rig. Consequently I was forced to pull up the rig, in that swell it was not the easiest of tasks, and it really helped hone getting the sail up out of the water quickly. due to just about being able to gybe the 125L on flat waters I had no chance really in that swell, I didn’t stick any of the turns and i noticed that others were having troubles, when i took a 15 minute break it felt good to hear that more experienced guys state that they thought the conditions were difficult. Once back out on the water and past the submerged navigational hazards I had no trouble getting the board planning, I still can’t figure out how to go upwind when planning, however I can at lower speeds so I could at least keep off of the beach.
The rain never let up and at one stage was so extreme that it almost drew blood from my lip, it was being driven so hard by the winds that it caused extreme physical pain as it pummelled my exposed skin!
I got to practice my water starts once out in the steadier winds, it felt good to get the routine down, sail up flip it , grab the boom, straight up on the board just a few seconds from prone to sailing.
From this session I can see how much I’ve progressed in the last year, I wouldn’t have contemplated heading out in those conditions a year ago, and Jukka I don’t think would have let me,
All in all it was a good session, we sailed from 3pm to 7:30pm, sundown was 8pm, at the end of it I felt like I had been hit by a truck totally exhausted, it’s taken me almost a week to recuperate a lot of muscles got torn and bruised. A large part of that misery was caused by the effort in raising the sail 50 times, I really, really need to learn how to gybe the board.