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Windsurfing trip -- San Carlos 7/21 - 8/4 (3 of 3)
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swmckay



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Windsurfing trip -- San Carlos 7/21 - 8/4 (3 of 3) Reply with quote

Punta San Carlos is in a class by itself. Consider two weeks of
4.2 to 5.3 side-off wind, for 5, 6, 7 hours a day, with four
breaks, each with differently shaped, peeling waves that, while I
was there, ranged from waist high to overhead and occasionally
logo high. Mast high or bigger is not uncommon, but we didn't get
any swell quite that large. One easy break, Old Man's, is 50 feet
from the Solo Sports grounds, and it's got a wave that you can
ride for close to 1/2 a mile. The advanced break, the Chili Bowl,
can get waves that go for a mile. Both of these breaks can
usually be sailed back to where you started in a single tack.
After the choppy Maui conditions, the water at PSC felt glassy.
Hah, but watch out for the kelp. After a few face plants, you'll
learn to deal with it.

I took a 5-passenger plane to and from PSC each way in order to
get two extra days of sailing -- worth the extra expense for sure.

The place is spartan! A bunch of tents pitched on a carpeted-over
area (keeps the dust down), thermarest pads, and clean sleeping
bags for accomodations. 2.5 gallon sun-heated bags for showers.
You're outside nearly all the time since the main "building"
really has no walls to speak of and the roofs are just tarps.
There's a staff of 4-6 Mexican women who do all the cooking, and
the food is delicious. (Not delicious as in "I'm so hungry I
could eat roadkill", but delicious as in "this food is really
good".) If you go with Solo Sports, you get 3 hot meals, all
kinds of fresh fruits, juices, snacks, a huge cooler of beer, and
a bar that opens up at 6:00 and closes a midnight PSC-time (i.e.,
9:00-9:30, when everyone falls asleep). No phones. Barely any
internet. Scorpions, Flies. Rattlesnakes. Nothing to do except
surf, SUP, windsurf, mountain bike and read.

In other words, PSC is the most relaxing place you've ever been
in your life. And if you do it right, you will be WRECKED by the
time you get home from morning SUP sessions, followed by a bike
ride, followed by a post-lunch 2 hour wave sailing session,
followed by a 2 hour pre-dinner sailing session. I literally got
more side-off waves there in one week than I have in the
Boston/Cape Cod area in the past five years combined. And I
was there for two weeks. Smile

Really good gear: recent RRD, Goya and Quatro boards, in
freewave, single fin, thruster and quad setups, ranging in size
from 75-ish to 110-ish liters. Recent Ezzy and Goya sails, on
100% carbon masts and 100% carbon Streamlined booms.

A plug for the Keith Teboul-shaped boards (Quatro and Goya): they
are so friggin' good. Every Teboul board I rode was great; it's
100% certain that my next boards will be Quatro customs from him.
If you're on Maui, stop by the Quatro/Goya/MFC shop up in Haiku.
Cool place, great guys.

And a plug for Kevin Trejo and Solo Sports: he and his team do an
amazing job.

The first week of my trip was for a Matt Pritchard wave clinic.
Matt is a great teacher. And he takes lots and lots of video.
After breakfast, everyone sits down and watches the videos. Video
doesn't lie, you can see exactly what you're doing and exactly
what you need to change. Every single person taking the class got
substantially better in one week.

The second week was the AWT Desert Showdown, with junior's,
women's, master's and pro divisions. There were some, ahem,
pretty good sailors there: Matt P, Kevin Pritchard, Kevin
McGillivray, Wyatt Miller, Camille Juban, Bernd Roediger, Graham
Ezzy, Brawsinho, Keith Teboul, Levi Siver, etc etc. Watching them
was amazing. With no disrespect to any of these amazing sailors
(you should see the tricks Graham throws on these waves), the two
who impressed me most were Levi Siver and Keith Teboul. Levi is
beyond amazing; words fail, go watch some videos of him. Keith
has this pure surf style, marked with bottom turns that send him
completely vertically up the wave, and top turns that send him
completely vertically back down. Once the waves start getting
overhead and you're going down the line at 30 knots, these kinds
of turns start feeling pretty scary. And it was great to be able to
talk to these guys; they're approachable, friendly, totally willing
to share their experience. Heh, and tell hilarious stories.

Forgive me for a few words about me... I entered the amateur's
and master's divisions and barely squeaked through the first
heats of both. Then, while watching Levi sail, I had an epiphany
and immediately went out to practice what I'd seen him doing
(*). The result of that was that I won both of my second heats
the next day by choosing the largest waves of the sets, picking
up much speed by staying high on the wave, and then making
one good turn after another right at the breaking sections or in
the whitewater. (Having Matt, Camille and Levi whistling and
hollering during my run provided some extra encouragement!)
I rode my winning waves for about 1/2 mile, making at least
12 to 15 quality turns (exhausting!). Comically, this was also
my downfall. I rode them so far that I missed my 3rd amateur's
heat because I couldn't ride upwind fast enough, since you're
not supposed to sail back through the competition area. And
to make my 3rd master's heat, I had to carry my rig across
dry land, where the boom got covered with clay dust. Do you
remember pottery class in junior high? That frictionless slip you
put on your hands when you throw a pot? Yeah, that's what was on
my boom. I literally could not hold onto the boom, it kept
sliding under my hands, so I ended in the rocks. Still, making it
through even one heat was not on the radar for me. The idea of
winning two heats against experienced people was inconceivable. I
had a shot at bringing home an AWT trophy in the master's division.
But as we say in Boston, wait `til next year!

----------------
(*) The epiphany, which I am sure any real wave sailor knows
already, is this: when you're going down the line high on the
wave, you should be looking all the way around the front of your
mast at the wave. This buys you several things:
- You can see better.
- You have to bend your knees hard to get far enough forward to
see around the mast.
- Bending your knees that much forces your weight really far
forward, which is exactly where you want it when you drop down
to make your bottom turn.
- The position you adopt also requires that you square up your
shoulders, which in turn forces the mast forward, making it
much easier to sheet in hard for the bottom turn.
Of course, you still need to spot a good wave (time the sets,
count the waves), get onto it (bear off and pump like crazy), get
to the breaking sections, and actually make your bottom and top
turns (keep moving those hands!), but for me, it was this single
thing that I saw Levi doing that got me to the next level.
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outcast



Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 2396

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude....you are living the life....Smile Keep at it!
_________________
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http://www.desert-wolf.com/dw/products/unmanned-aerial-systems/skunk-riot-control-copter.html
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lucashurt



Joined: 06 Oct 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best post I've read on iwindsurf in, well, forever.

Thanks for sharing the stoke. Brought back all the memories of my bachelor party in PSC. I need to get back there soon!

P.S. - thanks Aaron.
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KevinDo



Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 417
Location: Cabrillo Inside

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this sounds awesome! Got any pics?
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swmckay



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

outcast wrote:
you are living the life... keep at it!

lucashurt wrote:
thanks for sharing the stoke

KevinDo wrote:
this sounds awesome! Got any pics?

Thanks for the encouragement!

I've got photos on my camera. I'll get them onto my laptop and post a few of them.
I'm not a very good action photographer, but there might be a few good shots.

This is definitely where my next yearly windsurfing trip will be, but another month-long
extravaganza probably won't be for a while. Anyone who wants a real wave-sailing spot
during the summer should try to go here.

Oh, one more thing: the new quads are the real deal. They are so grippy on the wave,
so fast to turn, and stay so far upwind... they're really good. Note that the extra fins add
a noticeable amount of drag, so they are not at their best in underpowered conditions
or on plain old flat water. But on the top turns, all you have to do is think "turn" and you
end up going the other way after throwing buckets of spray.
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zeppy



Joined: 22 May 2009
Posts: 127
Location: Brookline, MA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, thanks for the summary of your trip. Hopefully we'll get some good conditions this fall and you can show us some of your new moves!
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katiedog



Joined: 09 Jul 2000
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a great trip.A few questions for you.Is Rodney still working on location?I have been trying to get a idea of wind conditions,is there any site you know that is closely acurate?You got to sail your first afternoon on arrival and your last day before leaving?Did you notice kite sizes ,have heard 6.8.10 for when it blows?Water temp?3/2wetsuit or spring.I like my sleep ,when I play hard ,best tent location to avoid the noise? Will be there for K Ps end of Sept.trip ,and am flying.Want to both sail and kite .Been b4 a few years back can be a crap shoot with wind and waves ,looks like you hit it right.I have froze there and sailed in shorts on different trips. thanks
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rigitrite



Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 279
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, you laid down some coin for your trip: 14 days and a flight all the way from Boston. I'm gonna be the devils advocate and clarify some of the murky details:
RT flight from boston: $400
Hotel in SanDiego on arrival: $100
Ride to Airport for flight to PSC: $50
RT Flight to PSC: $600
Solo sports fee ($350/day x 14 days): $4900
Hotel in SanDiego on departure: $100
Total = $6150 is that about right?

I went down there two years ago and even with the special discounted deal for the special event they were having, it was still $2700 total for 6 days.
Other things to keep in mind:
1. it's cold water, you need a wet suit.
2. the kelp is not just an annoyance, it really sucks.
3. the lauch is terrible, and there's a ton of rocks on the bottom. Be really careful sailing at low tide, so you don't lose a fin.
4. this place is really really remote, no chicks and parties.
5. this place is really really remote, if you eat it on your mtn bike and compound fracture your arm or leg, you could easily bleed out there in the dessert. No emergency helicopters or ambulances.
6. The wind does NOT blow all the time, you can easily get skunked for an entire week....happened to me.

So, the reason it's such a popular place, is that if you DRIVE there, and camp on the beach with your own gear, it's totally cheap. The wave here is as described: perfect and SLOW. It's such a slow wave, that you kinda can't beleive it. It's the best place to learn to wave sail.

So my experience, was that we had NO WIND for the six days I was there, the day before, and the day after. We also had puny swell. So I was there for all that time, sailed three 45 min. sessions, and didn't catch a single wave the whole time. The smallest sail I was on was a 6.0, and that was work to keep it planing. Regardless, it was worth it to meet Brian Talma, Bernd Rodiger, and have a weeks worth of clinic with Wyatt Miller. I learned alot that I applied to my sailing when I got back home and actually had wind to work with. I also learned to SUP in the waves, which was great, since I can't paddle surf anymore (kills my middle-aged back).
For the money, I think most people would be alot more happy with a trip to Maui, but you just don't know, .......until you go.

_________________
Kansas City
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swmckay



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

katiedog wrote:
Sounds like a great trip.A few questions for you.Is Rodney still working on location?I have been trying to get a idea of wind conditions,is there any site you know that is closely acurate?You got to sail your first afternoon on arrival and your last day before leaving?Did you notice kite sizes ,have heard 6.8.10 for when it blows?Water temp?3/2wetsuit or spring.I like my sleep ,when I play hard ,best tent location to avoid the noise? Will be there for K Ps end of Sept.trip ,and am flying.Want to both sail and kite .Been b4 a few years back can be a crap shoot with wind and waves ,looks like you hit it right.I have froze there and sailed in shorts on different trips. thanks

Rodney is not still working there.

There were no reliable wind forecasts, nor wind sensors. We got all our information by standing outside. Smile We got loads of wind, but your mileage may vary. Kites, I dunno. Biggest sail I used was 5.3, smallest was 3.7; was mostly on 4.7.

Since I took the plane, I got about 3 hours of sailing on the first afternoon and 2 hours on the last day.

The only noise after 9:30 was the sound of the waves. No tent location is better than any other, I imagine.


Water was cold! 3/2 for sure.
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swmckay



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rigitrite wrote:
Wow, you laid down some coin for your trip: 14 days and a flight all the way from Boston ...

The second week was discounted, and I split cab and hotel costs, but it was still not cheap, probably $5200. (Heh,and that was on top of two weeks on Maui. I had an expensive summer.)

rigitrite wrote:
Other things to keep in mind:
1. it's cold water, you need a wet suit.
2. the kelp is not just an annoyance, it really sucks.
3. the lauch is terrible, and there's a ton of rocks on the bottom. Be really careful sailing at low tide, so you don't lose a fin.
4. this place is really really remote, no chicks and parties.
5. this place is really really remote, if you eat it on your mtn bike and compound fracture your arm or leg, you could easily bleed out there in the dessert. No emergency helicopters or ambulances.
6. The wind does NOT blow all the time, you can easily get skunked for an entire week....happened to me.

So, the reason it's such a popular place, is that if you DRIVE there, and camp on the beach with your own gear, it's totally cheap. The wave here is as described: perfect and SLOW. It's such a slow wave, that you kinda can't beleive it. It's the best place to learn to wave sail.

So my experience, was that we had NO WIND for the six days I was there, the day before, and the day after. We also had puny swell. So I was there for all that time, sailed three 45 min. sessions, and didn't catch a single wave the whole time. ... but you just don't know, .......until you go.

All of the above is true. I don't think you'll bleed out, though; there are always people there who know enough first aid to patch you up `til a plane can be arranged.

I got lucky: blowing 4.7-ish for 12 of the 15 days, great swell for 5-6 days, good swell for 5-6 days.
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