Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Exocet WindSUP Saves The Day

Once again the Exocet Wind SUP saved the day when what would have previously been considered a pretty much unsailable day, turned into a really fun ocean and wave riding afternoon. This was on a day when weather, wind conditions, time and other commitments prevented going elsewhere. This board continues to reward time and again. It provides the ability to get out on the ocean in light winds to catch a bunch of fun wave rides and downwind swell surfing. Then just sail way back up wind with ease thanks to the daggerboard and repeat the whole process again and again.  Overall the WindSUP’s versatility as a light wind ocean/wave board, an SUP for paddling, a flat water windsurfing long board, and a stable easy board for beginners to learn on, is very impressive.  
Does it have drawbacks? Yes, it is big at 11’8” long and fairly heavy. Hence it is more weight to lift and launch and more prone to ding damage when handling /transporting if you are not careful.  There is also more potential risk for damage in the surf inherent to sailing any big SUP or windsurfing long board in surf conditions.  Still these are drawbacks and risks I understand and accept in turn for all the fun this board can provide.  Would I prefer to be shortboarding? Of course, but when the winds and conditions are not cooperative then boards like the Wind SUP certainly beat just sitting on the beach wishing and waiting for better conditions.
So after several straight days of really light straight on shore south wind at Emerald Isle, NC, this last  Saturday it finally began to swing a little SSW and more side-on.  By 2:00 p.m. it was up to around 8-10 knots so I decided to take the WindSUP with a 7.5 Aerotech Phantom down to the beach. The tide was still fairly high.  Due to the more on-shore winds, higher tide and shore break it was not easy to just flop the board down in the water, beach start and go like you would in more side-shore winds.  The best method is to wade out while pushing the board and rig out past the in close shore break area. Once out and about 10 - 15 yards off the beach, you could then just climb aboard, up-haul quickly and go.  Here again, the high volume and stability of the Wind SUP makes uphauling far easier in the rock and roll surf conditions.
Then by kicking the WindSUP daggerboard down I was able to quickly sail upwind to just east of Bogue Pier. The waves are usually better there and thus the reason for the Pier being a popular and well known North Carolina surfing spot. However, although the waves were 2-3 feet the onshore-side on wind made for pretty poor conditions for surfers with only a few out and in close. There were no SUP paddle surfers or Kiteboarders to be seen either. So I had the whole place pretty much to myself.  By then the wind began increasing to 10-12K and I was able to more easily plane up and onto a number of fun wave rides almost into the beach and fast tacks back out.  
After catching a few waves I then kicked the dagger back down and headed out about 300 yards past the pier to clear all the fishing lines, and sailed upwind about 1/2 mile west. Made a few more wave rides there and by then the wind had increased to 12-14K with a few higher periods. This made for some really fun beam to broad  reach planing and swell surfing - down-winder style, back to the east side of the pier.  Now with the added wind strength and being able to plane easily you could catch waves farther out and get some really long fun and fast rides in.   Plus the Wind SUP with its wide classic long board nose just climbs up and over the breaking surf and white water with such ease when heading back out. This really makes going out over the surf in light winds so much more stress free!

Finally  after about 3 hours non-stop on the water and having made a whole bunch more powered up beam to broad reach runs in and out while catching more  waves and swell rides  back to where I started, I  called it a day.  Thanks again to the Wind SUP I had the opportunity to get out and have a really fun windsurfing and light wind wave riding session in what before were generally considered unsailable ocean on-shore wind conditions. Thanks to the Exocet Wind SUP it was not only sailable but a whole lot of fun on a beautiful sunny and warm June afternoon off the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.