Full on Windsurfing at Ynyslas
Well, I did say that Friday afternoons windsurf session would be a warm up for Saturday and that was indeed the case.
Saturday morning was pretty grim. Stormy NW winds, lots of rain and cold too. Not very inviting after the sunshine on Friday. Things were set to clear up a little though so eyes were trained on the sky and the rain radars.
Eventually things looked a little drier and the wind was still blowing at around 30-35 knots. The sea looked pretty lively too. I soon headed over to the beach. Mike had just launched to go kitesurfing. I rigged my 5m sail and 85ltr Naish Hybrid Freewave board. Alastair was on his way as well and soon joined us.
It was mad to start with. I was way over-powered and things were pretty hectic with some big waves out the back. I couldn’t be bothered to pop home to get a smaller sail but a 4.5m and a smaller board would have been more than enough. Alastair did decide that his 5m was too much so he headed back to change down to a 4.5m. I just cranked on as much downhaul and outhaul as I could and hoped for the best.
I was still overpowered but in amongst the waves that is sometimes a bonus. It gives you more options. I could bear away, pick up speed and sail around the walls of whitewater if I had the nerve to do so. Alternatively I could point way upwind. Those who have windsurfed overpowered will know what I mean, but when you are this powered up you can point into the wind and almost stall the board whilst staying hooked in and in the foot straps. You’re barely moving but still feel as though you are planing and can easily get back up to speed with just some mast foot pressure. This was my preferred method of survival most of the time as it allowed me to negotiate the waves in control and without getting too much air.
The wind did ease a touch (just as Alastair got back on the water with his smaller sail). I was now maxed out rather than massively overpowered and beginning to lose some of my rustiness and gain some confidence. I was therefore able to go for some jumps, commit to faster, smoother gybes and enjoy some wave-riding on the way back in. Alastair was struggling with his smaller sail and had a long walk back upwind.
As things settled down and I felt more comfortable it turned into a perfect session. I was getting tired now though. The physicality of the overpowered sailing was taking its toll. My hamstrings were on the verge of cramping and my hands were a little sore from the earlier death grip. I was still sailing well though. Eventually after a near perfect run out with some nice jumps and then an amazing power gybe right on the lip of a big wave that sent up a rooster tail of spray as I plunged back down the face of the wave. I stayed on the wave and had some good backside wave-riding and then dropped into a few more waves on the way back in. I decided this was the perfect time to call it a day, stopping while I was ahead.
Alastair had now walked back upwind and decided to head back out with his 5m. I therefore sat on the beach while he continued sailing, but he was still struggling. I’d had a perfect session though that certainly blew away some cobwebs.
I didn’t take my GoPro with me today as it was a little too full on to pfaff around with a camera so I have no photos, instead here’s one from a previous similar session.