San Luis, 7/9/93

From: Will Estes (
Date: Fri Jul 09 1993 - 22:53:45 PDT

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From: (Will Estes)
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Subject: San Luis, 7/9/93
To: (Windsurfing Mailing List)
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1993 22:53:45 -0700 (PDT)
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Well, I just got back from San Luis, and I was not disappointed that
I went. I got a report around 2:30 that it was blowing average 26.
I recently got a Bic Hip Hop, and I have been dying for a chance to
give it a try, This was my chance to break it in, I figured, so
I left around 3:00 p.m. and headed for the forebay.

As I drove down 101 to Gilroy I was disappointed that there was no
fog line on the mountains. Still, I figured that something must be
going on to generate a reading of 26, so I continued on. As I got to
the main reservoir, it was capping slightly, but it was nothing special.
I was feeling a little let down that maybe I had made the trip for
something less than the 4.5 conditions that an 8'4" board would like
to have.

When I got to the forebay, there were only about five other cars
there and maybe four sailors on the water. It sure didn't look like
4.5 conditions, but everyone out there had around 4.5-5.0, so I got
brave and yanked out the 4.5 and rigged up.

No sooner did I get on a plane than it became obvious that 4.5 was
indeed a good choice. At least it was a good choice for the first
two runs, after which the wind came up a notch, and then another
notch. From there on out it was survival sailing, San Luis style.
I got a report when I left at 8:00 of 22 to 35, averaging 26. Based
on that report I would guess that the peak wind for about one hour
was peaking at over 37 and averaging 29. It was definitely less
windy when I left than when I was sailing.

The conditions were very challenging. The wind was gusty, there was
2 foot, tightly-spaced chop out in the middle of the forebay, and
the wind was shifting directions. While I was definitely struggling
quite a bit to keep up with all of this, I felt proud that I was
able to more or less keep up with it. These were the kind of conditions
that two years ago would have left me in the water struggling to
just make it 100 yards before crashing.

The Bic Hip Hop was a joy, a pain in the ass, and a mystery.
First, the joy: the board seemed to have a lot of control, and when
I went screaming out of control I could usually at least steer
without feeling like a runaway truck.

The pain in the ass: I was constantly spinning out. It got to be
really bad once the wind was in the 4.0 range and my poor 4.5 was
getting battered. At first I thought it might be the small wave
slalom fin that I was using on the Hip Hop. I would like to have
used a blade, but first I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to use
it in the weeds, and second I wasn't sure a blade would be a good
choice for the Hip Hop's fin box since it is the old-style European
box design that Bic used on its older boards. It turns out that the
water was very high, and the weeds were not bad at all, so a blade
might have been an okay choice. I was finally able to neutralize
about 60% of the spinouts by getting my center of gravity way out
toward the front of the board and putting most of my foot weight
onto the back. I don't know if that's what I should have done, but
it seemed to work.

Now for the mystery: either this board is fast or I just entered the
twilight zone. When the board got going I started passing guys. I
mean I started passing guys who were way ahead of me. As I went by
it was kind of like they were driving in slow motion. Now this by
itself was not so weird, except that I actually felt I was going
slow. The feeling on this board was that something was holding me
back and that I just was not going as fast as I should be going
considering how powered up my sail was. This gave me a very strange
sensation of being in some accelerated universe where my slow
moments went by faster for everyone who was in the slower universe.
I can report, however, that Rod Serling did not appear on the beach,
and no I wasn't smoking anything before I went on the water. :)

On my *final* run of the day, my sail literally exploded in the
middle of the forebay. I did something to crash, and when I went to
waterstart, the entire bottom panel of my Neil Pryde World Cup Slalom
has just torn right up the length of the batten and cut straight
through the thick nylon braids that are weaved into the mylar. It
looked like a great white shark had rammed through the bottom panel:
the hole was that big and the damage to parts of the sail that are
not supposed to be breakable made it look like something must have
hit that sail that was really big. I turned around and attempted to
sail it back, intentionally keeping my front foot out of the strap
to keep down my board speed down and trying to depower the sail
(which was hopeless in those conditions).

So, kicking winds, accelerated universes, and invisible sharks. It
was quite an afternoon on the forebay.

Will Estes              Internet:
U.S. Computer           Cupertino, CA  95014

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