articles, stories, and announcements from Austin windsurfers

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer Newsletter

New Sailors Take to the Water at Learn 2 Windsurf Festival
The annual Learn to Windsurf Festival brought new and experienced sailors out on May 19-20. The club received a great deal of positive comments from students and volunteers alike about the quality of the event. I think we signed up 60, and about 55 showed. I saw lots of smiles on students’ faces. There were quite a few that expressed interest in Thursday nights with Mike. Several joined the club on the spot, and several others indicated interest in doing so. The party on Saturday turned out to be a good addition to the program.

This event couldn’t happen without the fantastic support from our main instructors, Roger Jackson and Ellen Faller from Starboard-Sailworks. Their enthusiasm and energy get all ages sailing so quickly.

It is terrific to observe the giving spirit of our club members, especially those that put in the behind-the-scenes prep work that provides the structure to enable a great event.

As always HUGE thanks to all our volunteers who helped make the day such a success. –story by Ron Hensley

Spastic Paraplegia Thank You for AWC Contribution

Dear AWC officers and club members,

Thank you everyone for your support for the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation being selected as the nonprofit organization to receive the contributions from the 2007 Learn to Windsurf Festival. Thank you to everyone who participated in making the
weekend a fun event for participants.

Through these contributions, research continues in finding the cures for the rare disorders Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and Primary Lateral Sclerosis.

Recent research funded by the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation has helped a scientific team destroy a long-standing rule about neurons in the brain: that new ones
cannot be created--that you have all that you will have at birth. The researchers discovered proteins that can activate stem cells already in the brain to turn into motor neurons that begin to develop axons that project down the corticospinal tract. This discovery could lead to making an affected individual able to walk, stand and keep balance without difficulty.

I appreciate your help in making research possible.

Thank you,
Marlene Doolen

BBQ and More at Summer Party

Our mid-summer party brought out some great chefs for a pot-luck spread, which I know you’re sorry if you missed it. The Doolens kindly hosted the festivities, coordinating the barbecue and fixings.

Conversation stayed mostly on our rainy season, currently about twice the normal for this time of year. I did hear some discussion of the current fashions to avoid jellyfish at Bird Island Basin. Look for scrubs and lycra suits on our local members next time you’re down that way.

Aspiring Windsurf Professional
More tales from our newest sailors

So everyone is usually a little timid when they are trying out a new hobby. I was more excited than anything when I decided to go to the windsurfing clinic in May 2006. For one, any activity or sport where I can become one with the water is right up my alley.

I remember after a couple of hours of on land training learning about the boom and mast and what a jibe was, an instructor tied my board to his and we hit the water. I
continually fell off as if I was on a balance beam trying to become one with the water.

Shortly after that, I started attending the Thursday night instruction at Windy Point where Mike Schultz is always kind enough to provide boards for us to learn. Thursday
practice is a good way to see just how serious you are about the sport.

Well, by the middle of the summer I had my balance down, but my largest problem was that I could never "zig-zag" back from where I started so I came back this summer for more instruction.

In June, we were up at Lake Pflugerville since Windy Point has been washed out. At one point, I was in the water just leaning on my board watching the sun go down feeling a bit discouraged because I can't seem to master the "zig-zaggedness" of windsurfing. Mike asked me if I was done for the day. He tried to encourage me by saying that no one can really get back from where they started from. I said,
"the professionals can". Of course, it's hard to become a professional, when the rain keeps ruining every Thursday night. But the love of the sport will help me persevere.

Well, I don't know if I will ever be a professional, but I sure would like to give them a run for their money. I encourage everyone who isn't already a professional to do the same and maybe, just maybe someone from the Austin Windsurfing Club will win a World Cup. –story by Ken Wilson

Escaping Texas Doldrums in the Gorge
Guy Miller’s summer vacation in Oregon

This summer brought more than its share of wind woes: first the never-ending rains and then our typical windless days. For some, summer windsurfing means packing it all up and heading to the Gorge in Oregon.

What’s the Gorge? According to the Gorge Sailing Guide: “The strong summertime winds funneled through a massive natural gorge more than 90 miles in length blow against the constant ebb of the Columbia River, snaking its way downstream to the Pacific Ocean. This collision of forces is what makes windsurfing here so special. The wind opposes the river's current creating rolling swells for jumping and riding. The current also means that it is easy to stay upwind here.”

Guy was in the Gorge a total of three weeks during which time he competed in the Gorge Blowout, which is a 20-mile downwind run from Stevenson to the Event Site. Only about 50% of the starters finished (he was one of them) due to extreme gusty conditions (in excess of 40 mph) for the last seven miles or so, and the large sail sizes being used (he was on an 8.5). “I swear that my arms felt several inches longer.”

He also joined up with Robert James and his kids Sabine and Hayden, Roberts's girlfriend Elizabeth, and Guy’s own son Colin, as they toured various sailing spots.

The kids tried their hand at windsurfing at the Event Site, but most of the time it was either too windy, or on rare occasions not enough wind.

The most memorable time for Guy was out at an Eastern spot called Roosevelt, where they enjoyed more winds in the 30 - 50 range. There was more carnage too as Robert broke a brand new mast at Doug's beach, and Guy had to sail a spare mast out to
him so that Robert could get back to shore.

There are smashing times in the Gorge, too (see photo inset). Guy says, “Moral of the story is don't borrow your girlfriend's ex-husband's board!!! He was pretty cool about the result of a little too enthusiastic sailing, but yours truly had a heck of a long swim back from the far shore.”

Other fun activities include hiking, camping, swimming in freezing cold rivers, bathing in natural hot springs, picking berries, kayaking, and golf. Robert actually drove cross country with his trailer full of toys, and some of Guy’s toys too.

All in all the kind of summer vacation to remember, that is until you arrive home to be confronted with weeds several feet high in the yard !!

So you want to know more?
Check out the Gorge Sailing Guide:

–interview by Vanessa Wilburn, photos by Guy Miller


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