The windsurfing season has ended for me this year unfortunately not from inclement weather but from hurting my back doing gardening, not very rock and roll, but aside from that its been a great year for developing my skills, I’ve been heading out with a windsurfer we met a few years back on the beach in Galö called Jukka, he has taught me an aweful lot this year and I definately owe him a beer for the time hes taken to help me achieve some windsurfing milestones, sailing upwind, waterstart, and helping me learn how to ge tthe board planing, he’s also taught me a hell of a lot about triming the sail and the boad and given me a real apreciation fot the the importance of getting the setup right and how to set up for the prevailing conditions, priceless knowledge and skills.
Starting off the summer had been a frustration of low winds and struggling with the kit, I could feel that there was more than enough power but the board wouldnt leave the water and just ploughed heavily through the sea -suck. I ended up waaaaay down wind utterly miffed and frustrated whilst every other surfer stayed well upwind, I even had a few well meaning windsurfers doing runs downwind to advise me to head upwind for safety sake, and then doing a run upwind back to there original height against the wind, and I couldnt make 20 meters on a run across the bay it was very demoralising.
But everytime i sailed with Jukka i made progress, the first time we headed out he helped me make progress with this we sailed out across the wind in to the archipelago. Heading back to our launch point a wind protected beach the wind had swung around.ended up requiring upwind sailing even though it took an age to acomplish with the right words of instruction I made it back.
I still struggled on shorter runs, however that has improved with one other advancement in skill, namely finally getting the board to plane, a great relief for me to not be carrying that frustration over to next season. Part of the improvement in performance is no doubt buying a new fin on the advice of a freind in the UK. I didnt want to spend a whole lot on it as everytime i go out I manage to dent the fin on something, in the end i picked up an inexpensive t-zone wave fin on sale for about £35. There are a lot of rocks hidden off of our coasts, The first time out with it i managed to take a chunk out of the new one and in the middle of the channel! I know i didnt scrape it near the shore, heading out i managed to flip the board halfway out and there were chips clearly visible in the black finish in the fin, so god only knows what i hit! now i can get some speed in to the board I can finnaly use that to start to head up wind, unfortunately this season was cut short before i could get some more hours under my belt, but it makes me long for the ice to have come and gone and to be back down the beach.
Another skill Jukka taught me is how to waterstart, we took a rainy wednesday morning in september off of work that was forecast to have good winds. when we turned up at the beach the rain was so heavy that we couldnt see acoss the water even 100m to the next islands! ever the optimist Jukka suggested as we had already invested the time and money in fuel that we get the gear in the water and he would instruct me on how to waterstart, despite the apalling rain the temperatures were not at all cold, and after 3 hours of being dragged and catapulted i managed to get up on to the board 3 or four times. This skill became invaluable the last couple of times that i headed out, the late autumn winds finally arrived and we headed down to a spot an hour south of Stockholm, an island that is well towards the outer edge of the archipelago called Torö, it has three destinctive beaches, one protected on the east side one open to the Baltic sea on the south coast, another slightly protected and opposite these two beaches is an island funnels any southerly winds perfect for all abilities. Now i can get the board performing i was falling off a hell of a lot more, and the colder waters were zapping my energy, so being able to waterstart was a great advantage getting out of the water quickly and with muh reduced effort compared to uphauling.
heres is a little vid from the llast time we were out, I picked up a sony adventure cam and i love its GPS function, it really shows you what you did, also these recordings have been a great tool for reviewing technique and recapping learned skills betwen outings a great investment!