Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Winds of Change

When I started this blog and set my sights on my around the island adventure I was sure there would be a few challenges and setbacks. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier when it happens.
Monday I was up early, dropped the kids off to school, went back home and grabbed my sailboard. I've been quite happy launching from that sandy beach just the Portlock side of the Hawaii Kai marina bridge. Since I'm still very much a novice I hadn't yet gone outside the protection of that bay but this was to be the day. I called my friend Dale ( whose idea this windsurfing thing was) and told him to come watch me sail out past the protection of Koko Head and out into the wild Pacific.
I didn't hear back from Dale by the time I was ready to launch so I figured I was on my own here, a time for some solitary satisfaction and some well needed progress in this the most stressful part of my adventure.
If it felt right I was determined to go as far as Diamond Head but I knew I could never make it back into the wind. I just needed to see if I could cover some distance out in the ocean, a very necessary next step. I'd find a ride home.
I sailed out past Portlock (China Walls ) and found out how difficult it is to windsurf in 20k winds in the open ocean. I was really worried that my skill level would keep me from getting back up if I fell out here and I quickly decided to turn back. I was at this time about 500 yards out past China Walls. As I was executing a turn that I couldn't have stayed up through no matter what, I heard the sound of snapping metal as the mast base broke. I was going up a passing swell as this happened and with the boom in hand the whole mast lifts several feet off the board and as the swell past the mast (and me) came crashing down - right onto the board. The mast actually put a big hole in the board.
Yeah, I was humbled.
It was 500 yards into the wind back to China Walls (or 5 miles downwind to Diamond Head.)
I briefly thought of ditching everything and swimming back but after a few moments I grabbed hold of it all and started in with everything. I think it took 90 minutes to make back those 500 yards into the wind swimming with the broken wreckage. Lifeguard training! The sail was torn badly taking it in and up the rocks.
And who should I find sitting there with a smile he had no right to be wearing? Dale, the guy who started it all.
OK, I admit this is too much. I do believe I could learn to windsurf in time to Sail down the windward side in September IF that was all I had to do but with all the other training and my new business - no, its just too much.
The lesson learned? Yeah, push and stretch but you don't have to be a fool about it. Be at least a little realistic in your training and fitness goals.
Day 4 I might paddle, I might Stand up paddle, or I might swim some - bike some - run some. Give me a few days to give some thoughtful consideration to it.
I do feel humbled but I'm glad I tried.


wso2 said...

wow, that's quite a workout. getting all that rigging back to shore without fins was an achievement in itself. As a bodysurfer who knows that at the two hour mark, my hamstrings turn into croissants, I always prepare myself mentally to swim in with just my arms stroking and no kick. But to swim a disabled sailboard in against the trades, for me, would be impossible.
I think you should consider treating yourself to a speed run on a jet ski for that leg of the journey. LOL
I used to go sailing on a 40 ft. Ketch back in the day, and all the truly exciting sails were due to major equipment failure, where you're stuck with only ingenuity and cardio.
nice job.

Anonymous said...

I got to see most of this from the rocks at China Walls. Koz sailed out past the end of Portlock and it was rough and windy. Saw him blow the turn and go down. It took me a while to realize his rig was broken and I had my cell in hand as I saw him swimming it in. It was a long hard swim in against the wind. I let him do it as punishment for taking my joke seriously. IT WAS A JOKE KOZ, nothing I wanted you to do.
When he got near the rocks and yes, he came out onto rocks with surf and not some sandy beach, I helped a little but he tore up his sail and himself badly and had a few nasty words for me that I won't reprint here. He sat on the rocks thinking and very quiet for quite a while.
I know this guy and you can bet that he will eventually windsurf down the east side. For now I applaud his wise decision to put it off till next year.
Any comments I make about Day 4 should be considered sarcasm and not taken seriously, however, I think that putting on scuba tanks and swimming the 40 miles underwater should be put on the list to be thoughtfully considered.