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Retirement from Windsurfing
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Joined: 05 Jan 1998
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:53 pm    Post subject: Retirement from Windsurfing Reply with quote

I am posting this to announce my retirement from windsurfing
I taught myself how to windsurf 35 years ago when we got a windsurf brand board at the coconut grove Hobie cat rental where I worked while in college.
It came with a teak boom and assembly instructions, but no sailing instructions.
Without a rudder, steering seemed impossible. A woman anchored out on a live aboard shouted " mast forward makes it fall off"
That's all I needed to get going.
I remember when we had an every Thursday get together on Rickenbacker Causeway and every windsurfer in Miami would show up
I remember the first "storm sail" smaller than the standard sail, and the first cut down daggerboard.
I remember the first attempts at hi wind sailing with wrist hooks to grab the boom, as well as long harness hooks to directly hook onto the boom. The first foot straps amazed us.
I first tried wavesailing off south beach, Miami Beach and was instantly addicted.
My obsession with wavesailing took me all over the world as every vacation since then has been a windsurfing vacation. I dragged my own gear until Vela Resorts opened. Since then I have usually gone with them.
I sailed my boat from California, thru the Panama Canal and up the western Carribbean to Florida, windsurfing everywhere I stopped.
I was in Costa Rica when I heard about Lake Arenal and left the boat to drive up there. I was the only person there during the week until some locals came up from San Jose on the weekend to windsurf.
I later sailed the "Loco Viento" from Miami thru all the Carribbean Islands to Venezuela and back, windsurfing everywhere along the way. I spent a month in Puerto Rico as the wavesailing there was so good.
Now I live in Boynton Beach where the wavesailing is world class. It is not as consistent as shacks or Maui, but we sail all winter on cold fronts. Usually 6.2 and 99 liters with waves 3 to 5 feet. Lots of 5.3 days with 6 foot waves and some 4.7 days over 6 foot.
We have a pounding shore break, with surfers to get past until you reach the sand bar 100 yards out with the breaking swell. We see lots of sharks, sea turtles and huge schools of flying fish. During the yearly shark migration, do not fall in as you will land on the spinner sharks chasing the schools of baitfish. Currents are strong here as the tide races in or out of the inlet. Do not get swept into the inlet or you will drown!
Now I am 56 years old and I suffer from sciatica. I can't drive 3 hours to Naples, Florida in the west winds to go wavesailing ahead of the fronts.
I have had the epidural steroid injections with excellent relief.
Even on a 20 mph flat day, I feel terrible aches and pains in my muscles and joints after a session.
We had a rare day of 20 to 25 mph wind in the summer and I developed sciatica again after the second day of sailing. I had to carry the board back twice as the wind wasup and down on that second day and I had trouble getting upwind back to the launch point.
I was able to go to work, but my back was in spasm and I twisted over to the right.
If that were to happen out there, I would drown.
I also cannot take the chance to be disabled and be unable to work.
My kids have been taint how to windsurf, but their interests lie elsewhere.
I plan to sell all the gear I have accumulated including the kids gear. There are now only 5 people left who wavesailing here regularly.
I pass the torch to the next generation or our nearly extinct sport.
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Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 818

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't give up! If things aren't working, change your life!

I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, aka osteo arthritis, 25 years ago. No cure I was told! How depressing! Nothing you can do I was told! Bull! Most doctors don't have a clue on how to stay healthy and heal the body. Most think drugs are the answer to everything. They are not!

I too suffered from sciatica 25 years ago. It got so bad I could not walk.I was bed ridden for a time, gave up windsurfing for a few years.

The only person that could help me was an acupuncturist. I tried everything else the doctor told me to do to no avail!

If the body is not healing itself there is a reason for it, and it is not due to lack of drugs.

I still have some arthritis but can sail pretty good even in high wind, 20-35 mph.

I'm 62 and still going strong. I have changed my diet drastically. My guess is you need to change your diet drastically. it has helped me more than anything. Eat lots of fish, raw vegetables and fruit. Cod liver oil is a wonder drug as far as I'm concerned.
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Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 376

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, man, this is a sad post to read. I couldn't imagine having to give up windsurfing ... or pick-up ice hockey. Depending on how important it is to you, and since traditional health care hasn't worked, you might indeed want to try some non-traditional ideas just to know you covered all your options.
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Joined: 08 Jul 2004
Posts: 167

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The aches and pains of aging suck, in a bad way. I've had sciatica on and off for 35 years. Only regular, daily core workouts have allowed me to continue being active. If, for some reason I miss a few days of ab workouts, my sciatica raises it's ugly head and gives me a twinge or two to remind me to get back at it, ASAP. Wish you better fitness/health, good luck. Wink
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Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 1189
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sure sounds like a bummer! Sad

Of course, it's a lot to demand of your body to go from not sailing for months to serious wavesailing on a rare windy day. That's the kind of thing that could mess up even a much younger guy.

Maybe something lower impact like light-wind, non-planing windsurfing or standup paddleboarding, which you could do every day in the summer, could keep your body practiced and tuned-up enough to still be able to handle the high wind days when they come along. That and aggressively pursuing the best sciatica treatment.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to wear a life vest, helmet, and cushy seat harness for safety and comfort, now that you're old enough to not have to look cool.

If you do have to quit, I guess just focus on the awesome windsurfing memories you've accumulated over the years.

James' Blog: Windsurfing Equipment Size Calculator
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Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds as you've rode & experienced more than most could ever have dreamed of in windsurf world. Hold your head high be proud! Good luck to you in the future.
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Joined: 15 May 2000
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Bigwave. It is better to have rode hard and stopped, than never to have rode at all.

Sounds like you have great memories to help you with your new hobbies.

I am also mid 50s, but no back pain, thank God. I don't windsurf as much, but when I do it feels spectacular.

Good Luck Man.

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Joined: 17 May 2003
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am now 60 and feeling better than 5 years ago. I too had bad sciatica and it put a damper on windsurfing. But because I am nuts about this sport Iwork on my abs, arms and stretch at least 3 days a week. Its working cause I feel way better but it took 4 years! It will never go away but now that my core is strong my muscles support my back. Windsurfing like any intense sport can be bad cause it causes muscle imbalance. You gotta cross train. We should all cross train. It would help anybody's windsurfing.
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Joined: 12 Jun 1987
Posts: 71
Location: Providence RI

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a lovely goodbye.
Sciatica varies in severity, so you may not have the good results reported by the other posters. On the other hand, you may end up recovering for no reason whatsoever.
Good luck to you, whatever you do!
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Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't quit!!!

We have ripping wavesailor on the Oregon Coast named Scott. His sciatica was getting bad, very bad.

He finally took my advice and went to a highly skilled acupuncturist I use for issues with C3/C4 injuries from football and skiing.

Scott, at 50+, is now back to smackin logo high lips and tossin backloops.

Don't quit, try some Eastern Medicine!!!!
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