“Life is a sexually transmitted disease with 100% mortality rate.”
So let’s get on with it!
… And that’s exactly what we did for this last June Clinic. We pounded out five solid high wind days. Wind soldiers were dropping like flies. Sore muscles and worn out thighs took their tole, while others paced themselves through the endless turns, jumps and relaxed deeper into their harness lines. Everyone sailed much better as the week progressed sticking their turns with loads of mast foot pressure through out their jibes and wave riding. Everyone found the rhythm of the wind’s flow and matched her step for step without stepping on her toes. Jumps got higher, waterstarts got fast, tacks were spotted with perfect head swivels and quicker feet.
The last two days mellowed out into light winds which gave us the time to slow down, learn new tricks and perfect our skills. Windsurfing is like ballet in it’s grace, with foot and hand work that needs to be learnt like dance routines with the intent of a linebacker. The light winds help us truly perfect the routine before we bring it on stage and under the spot lights of high wind.
Guest came from all corners of the earth; Belgium, Norway, Brazil, Oz, UK, LA and Forida and from all different walks of life… This month attracted a few more musically inclined guest than usual. We had Mark Wike from The Bogmen join us. Daniel Barriero straight out of metal mania Brandon Florida and Graeme Cowie who would say to me, “It’s OK, I’ll take my time learning… If I can learn to drum and play four different beats with my limbs than I can get this windsurfing thing!”
Mark Wike was our token Indie Rock Star. None of us really realized when Mark wasn’t jumping like that:
He was rocking out like this:
All very cool.
Daniel Barreiro used to have much longer hair than me. He joined our clinic this year via his girlfriend Caroline, a master chef. A mellow guy who windsurfed and chilled hard after a session with beers. He only just recently cut his hair and now I know why. The hair had everything to do with what was really going on inside him… Metal. He told me he was from the Heavy Metal capital of the world…. Brandon Florida.
When Dan isn’t doing that:
He might be found doing this:
When Graeme isn’t doing that:
He’s doing this:
All these ‘rolling’ windsurfers reminded me of other ‘Rocking Windsurfers’ I’ve met along the way, like Guy Fletcher and Alan Clark. Lone sailors that would battle out the winter squalls of Ireland when they weren’t playing for Dire Straits.
Somewhere in the deep dark depths of an Atlantic winter, when the population seemed to reduce to zero and cabin fever was just about to settle in, Mr. Fletcher rocked up. Storming seas were sailed and our kitchen lite up in the evenings with an impromptu jam session with Guy Fletcher, Bill Dawes (late editor of Board UK) and I think even Peter Hart was there strumming his guitar.
I loved hearing the behind the scenes ‘rock and roll’ gossip the best. Especially the competitive windsurfing stories between the Dire Straits members and Sting.
Sting, also a windsurfer:
Guy Fletcher actually has a page dedicated to his windsurfing. Love that:http://www.guyfletcher.co.uk/index.php/gallery/Windsurfing
On Guy’s blog you can read about some fun windsurfing stories they had while recording the ‘Brothers in Arms’ album in the Caribbean.
“Just to fill you in … It was December, 1984. We were on the ill fated Caribbean island of Montserrat recording the ‘dire straits’ album ‘Brothers in Arms’ at Air studios, a wonderful facility, the brainchild of the great Sir George Martin which became a recording paradise for so many great artists including Sting, Elton John, Neil Young and Arrow. Our stay lasted about three months and realizing we had a certain amount of free time on our hands, Alan and I learned to windsurf. We spotted a local chap (Danny Sweeny) teaching people to windsurf in the bay and thought, “that looks like a laugh”. Little did we know what an influence it would have on both our lives. Danny used to hand over the ‘kit’ (which in those days required at least two people to carry) to excited customers and after a very basic ‘stance’ lesson on the beach, would send them out into the bay in prevailing offshore winds. The most amazing thing to me was that he would SWIM behind them issuing instructions such as “THE WIND IS COMING FROM THE NORTH!!” and “MAST FORWARD!!!!, THE WIND IS COMING FROM THE NORTH”. I still hear echoes of these instructions occasionally whilst I’m out on the water now. Danny was truly an exceptionally fit man. We estimated he would swim easily in excess of 20 miles per day. I always thought looking back, that if you can learn to sail in such fluky winds, you can sail anywhere. Anyway, back to the story…
Alan Clark’s stories of windsurfing on Maui and his obvious respect for the old guards of windsurfing are amusing to read as well.
” So I rented a rather nice house on the sea near Spreckelsville, bought a custom wave board from Mike Waltz and a quiver of North sails from Dave Kalama, and sailed from the bottom of my garden every single day for a month. And what a month it was. At 9am there’d be no wind; at 10:15 you’d see the first sign of it on the water; at 11:15 there might be a couple of guys out on 7 meter sails; at 12:45 I was swimming out to the wind line with my wave board and a 4 or 4.5 meter wave sail, and that was me until 5 or 5:30 when the whole process began to reverse, and by 7pm the wind was gone for the day. It was summer, August, so the water temperature was 82F, the air temperature about 86F, and at Spreckelsville the waves on the reef were “only’ 4 to 5 feet, and at Hookipa, 5 or 6 feet. Most days Scotty, and pioneer of the sport and former world wave champion Mike Waltz, and Laird Hamilton who was then world speed sailing champion and is now the worlds most famous big wave surfer, and former world champion wave sailor Mark Angulo came over to sail from my garden. Because the waves were very small by their standards, they used the opportunity to be seen and photographed on the water. Laird, who was recovering from a broken leg, sailed a narrow speed board with a 5 meter wave sail, and at every opportunity pulled spectacular, perfectly straight forward rolls off the tiniest bits off chop. Which is how he broke his leg in the first place. Some afternoons we’d get dropped off at Hookipa, sail there for a while then sail back down the coast to my house, dropping off at every reef on the way……….
WFD World’s Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming. Pro windsurfer wins:Winter 2003 “Fastest Hands” Kai Katchadourian (909)
Kai rolls to the beat of heavy metal. If you’ve ever been in a conversation with him, you soon realize he talks in metal tempo and he hits the water with the same furious beats. Though he’s not aggro! He’s one of the friendliest mellows guys I know, funny and quick witted -but his energy, the speed his brain clicks at-Is fast, fast, fast.
Mark Johnstone is our local wave ripper and tears apart the key board as well. He’s been known to hit the lip just as hard as he hits the tunes. When he’s not playing in Mick Fleetweeds Blues Band he’s carving it up at Kuau!
Nils Axel Rosenblad who designs Naish sails has an interesting musical history…
“From 1998 – 2002, Nils fronted blues band, ‘Kona Storm’. Over the span of his career, Nils has opened for or jammed with Bruce Springsteen, ‘Love and Rockets’, Iggy Pop, ‘999’, Robert Cray, John Mayall, Eric Johnson, the ‘Gin Blossoms’, Maui’s own Willie K and a host of others.
Nils currently divides his time between writing new music, surfing with his four year old son Axel Blue, designing stuff for the wind and kite-surfing industry, and taking extended naps.”
There are many more windsurfing rocker out there like Andy Church who plays with Nils in The Neverminds and others. I know I would have loved to have been an rock star except for the late nights and over playing a song… I even got as far as buying myself a guitar and learning Pink Floyd’s, Wish You Were Here… Terrorizing the quiet Irish country side with my mewing voice and lack of strumming talent…. Oh well, I guess I can’t do everything. Music is still a passion, I just enjoy the listening part while I paint.