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venerdì, dicembre 14, 2012

That day in Gorliz

The guys from Frus Surf were shooting a video on december 2nd in Gorliz... I was surfing thew web and I find out I was the main star :)


Not that much, it's just a few second recording and obviously when the wind was bleah... but still... 



lunedì, novembre 26, 2012

Laida - windiest session ever



Saturday, November 24th - SSE - 27kn base wind; gusts up to 46kn. In different spots the session was even windier, check the video above (that's Santander, 100km far from where I live).

I surfed in Laida with the 7m and the twintip. I had to wait a little bit next to the cafe (eating my favorites pintxos) for better wind, but it was worth it (south winds are extremely gusty here, and I hate it). I went upwind to Kanala on a 2km long run, see the picture below. Definitely love it.


By the way my session counter is up to 40 sessions this here. I won't say mission accomplished because December is still there, so I hope to add up some more...

martedì, novembre 20, 2012

Latest Mudaka / Laida Session


What a great day we had last Sunday in Laida / Mundaka. That's the first time for me with northerly winds (NNW)  in this spot.  Small waves and some bigger sets (nothing more than 1m, by the way) and and good wind. Ok, you can have a look at my face in the video and imagine how much fun I had.

When we got into the water (9:30am) there was high tide, and the beach looked like this:


Once we got out (aroung 12:30pm) it was like this:


...which is a little bit weird because you could almost walk from Laida to Mudaka keeping your feet dry... that's low tide in the Basque Country! :)

To give you an idea, look at the  map below. The distance marked here is 400m, that's where the seashore was at the end of the session. A long walk expected us to get back to the parking...



Some technical notes. I shooted the video above using a different mount for the GoPro, the helmet front mount module plus the curved adhesive fixing part (see picture below). This provides the camera better stability than the vented helmet strap I used for most of my previous videos. I'm quite happy about the result. This mount allows a different (and, in my opinion, a better) shooting angle too. The only drawback is the fact that I'm a little bit afraid of loosing the camera while riding... I don't really trust in the adhesive to keep the camera fixed onto the helmet. I think it makes sense to add a leash in order to prevent the camera getting lost in case it detaches from the helmet.


giovedì, novembre 15, 2012

Carrying your gear with you

I know that sometimes carrying your gear with you during some exotic surf trip could be painful, especially if you need to take some flights to get there. There are three major points I am afraid of:



1) Buying the ticket. You have two options: the first one: you could ask to a specialized travel agency to organize everything for you. This will save you probably lot of time, but probably will cost you more. The second one, and probably the most common for the "indie" surfer - at least in my case - is the "I'll do it by myself". That means hours spent on the internet looking for the cheapest flight fare, hidden costs (see Ryanair for example) and other similar amenities.



2) Preparing for the trip. While I probably spend 5 minutes preparing my personal bag - the hand luggage I will carry on board of the aircraft - I use to spend hours packing my gear up There's a reason for that. During the checkin process, depending on the airline I'm flying with, you'll never know what's going to happen. That beatiful girl at the counter could deny you to chek the bag in. Or she will ask you to pay so much money for the excess weight you will have to ask your bank for a loan.
For this reason I prefere to get there well prepared. I can still try to take something off the surfbag and have it lighter (and paying less money) before missing my flight.



3) Waiting for your gear to appear at the destination airport. This is not trivial. 
Firts, I HOPE that everything went well and that my gear was in the same aircraft I flown with.
Second, I never know where the bag will appear, since in the baggage claim areas usually the carousels are to small to transport it. Where's the excess baggage area? Is it going there? 
Third, is everything ok? Is my board damaged? Unfortunately I'll discover it once at destination, because I need to unpack everything - something I won't probably do at the airport after several hours spent awaken on that intercontinental flight. It's like winning the lottery. And, in any case, the airlines seldom consider themselves responsible for a broken board.

I prepared a list containing the fare some airline charges for transporting surf, kite and windsurfing gear. I collected this information on the airline website. I hope it will help you before (or after) making the reservation for your next surf trip. Please do not blame me if you are asked for different price, I'm won't make myself responsible for that... by the way we all know that there are some caveats once at the airport to spend less. Try to be friendly once in front of the desk assistant, and smile. A lot. :)

(click to expand)






The winter in the Spanish north shore




Winter will come soon here in the spanish north shore, and cold temperatures too. I was having a talk with a friend of mine a couple of days ago just after a freezing kite session in Laredo about the weather conditions (kite/wind and surfing related of course) we use to have here during winter time. In just one word: tough.

 You know I'm from italy. I used to surf along the mediterrenean coast. Windsurfing and kitesurfing (as well as surfing, believe it or not) is still ok in winter time since there are a lot of storms hitting the west shores and conditions could become pretty gnarly. You still have the option, if the sea becomes too dangerous to sail out, to go to some internal lake for you session.  You can sail almost all year long if you can stand the cold then. There I was used to sail with almost all wind directions (the only exception was when the wind was blowing from the east... but the east shore is not far awawy from where I was living). There are almost 30 different spots in a 100km radius, pleanty of different options, from wave to freeride. And even when there seems to be no option to sail, when the conditions permit it, you still have the opportunity to sail in particular places like this...


 Now the situation in the spanish north shore, and particulary in the basque coast, is quite different. First, this is The OCEAN, not a SEA. Everything here is amplified: bigger storms, stronger winds, huge waves. The basque coast has lot of cliffs, and most of the beaches are within bays or even coves, meaning the conditions here are almost onshore (see my previous post here). There are few exceptions, like in Mundaka (southern winds, offshore condition), but the wind is still incredibly gusty there, making your session a potential nightmare. Lakes ("pantanos" here) are not an option in winter time because of the chilling temperatures.
Considering that with onshore winds the the ocean become messy, waves are mushy or huges... you have the complete picture.

If you take the book "The kite and windsurfing guide - Europe edition" there are only 7 surfable spots in the Basque Country - merely two pages, pictures included. Hondarribia, la Zurriola, Mundaka, Gorliz, Sopelana, Arrigunaga and Ereaga. There are at leat one missing ("La Arena" beach) which is not mentioned by the book, but at the end we're still under the "two hand" count.

Of course, if you take the car and travel to the west, in Cantabria, you'd have better options. But that's a different story, I will come back to it in a later post.

mercoledì, ottobre 17, 2012

The New GoPro HD3 black edition


GoPro has just announced the latest release of its best selling camera, the GoPro HD3. The camera will come with a reduce form factor,  2x smaller than the precious HD and HD2, and some incredible specs which I was able to find on the net (the GoPro site is still not working at the time I'm writing this post - I guess they are official) for the black edition:



So, according to the table above, this camera is able to shot video @4K (that's HD cinema format...) and has a slow motion mode up to 240fps in WVGA mode - it sounds impressive for such a small piece of hardware. Most above all, wifi is built in and the remote will also be included in the black edition package.

Availability: white and silver edition (199$ and 299$ respectively) - 21.10.12; black edition (399$) by mid november. I've already made my choice.

giovedì, ottobre 04, 2012

Cabo Verde

I've been to Cabo Verde only once in my life and I did't had too much fun. I stayed in Ilha do Sal for just one week and the trade winds forgot it was time to show all their power. We know the story... the less time you have, the higher the probability that things go wrong. That's life. Sal could be like hell, I suppose. There´s not much left to do but windsurfing, surfing and kiting. O, yes, snorkeling too...
Then you whatch the video below and think... hey where's this paradise?

Enjoy... that´s Alibaba Spot, Sal, Cabo Verde.


roughcut kauli - Minds Wide Open from Andre Paskowski on Vimeo.

martedì, ottobre 02, 2012

The Story behind One Eye



 Brutal video en One Eye de Jeremy Eloy. I have to consider Mauritius as my next travel destintation.

domenica, settembre 23, 2012

Slab

Slab (pron. /slæb/) in surfing refers to "any shallow reef or rock shelf over which very steep and powerful waves break". Watch this video of an Assie slab. It hurts, really.

venerdì, settembre 21, 2012

Celebratng Kelly's 50th win


Kelly Slater wins again in Trestles. Nothing new, except for the fact this is his 50th win in the ASP tour. Let's celebrate whatching the video above.


lunedì, settembre 17, 2012

North depower line - broken again!

Shit happens - you know. How many of you figured out that some of your gear was missing once at the spot, almost ready for the best session of the year? Maybe you forgot the mastbase? The wetsuit? The harness?
Or - even worse - some of your gear got broken during the session, letting you on the beach completely pissed off while all your buddies are having so much fun?

Shit happens - as said - but it shouldn't happen so often. Not with the north depower line. As a matter of fact, mine got broken during the last session in Laredo, a couple of days ago, giving me no other choice than a 20minute walk down to the spot where I left the beach. 

I don't know why North is not able to provide its customers with decent depower line, something that could last more than 30/40 kiteboarding sessions. I already substituted it one year ago and now it's time to start over again. 



Back to the session... before shit happened I surfed for almost two hours in nice conditions in Laredo, the wind was blowing 15 to 20knots from East. Looots of people and swimmers...
 
With the remote and the bacpac on, I also tried a different mount for the GoPro, inspired by this video here:


The helmet straps are too short for the strut of the North Rebel but I find out that the mod above fits perfectly and it's pretty stable. My kite has been washed a couple of time by the waves and the camera is still there.
Here the edited video of the session. Enjoy!



venerdì, settembre 14, 2012

Muskiz - PornoKiting

I scored a nice kitesurfing session yesterday in Muskiz, my (I think I can say it) wave home spot. The conditions were pretty gnarly, the wind wasn't too strong and there was some head high waves deploying into mushy ones. I sailed with my 10m North Rebel and the surf board.
Check this video out.


PornoKiting from Francesco Fucelli on Vimeo.

The camera was mounted on the helmet. I must say I don't particulary like this mounting option because 1) video is always shaking, no matter how much you tight the camera on the helmet and 2) because of the wide angle and the high waves appears smaller than they actually are. So when you friends see it their reaction is "bah, those mushy waves...". I suck.

By the way, PornoKiting because I'm not particulary creative, and the music remind me... well, you know. Use your imagination ;)

Talking about the remote wifi controller for the GoPro I bought a week ago, here's a video test I made while resting a little bit on the beach. Keeping the line of sight between the camera and the controller, I walked away about 25mt (the bar lines lenght) and still I was able to operate the camera via the bacpac. Quite goo I wold say.

Wonder if it works also underwater... ;)

video

martedì, settembre 11, 2012

GoPro WiFi combo kit first impressions

I just bought the Wifi backpack and the remote combo kit for the GoPro HD via Amazon.

The backpack is a little add on for the GoPro HD (the first and the second release) that provides wifi connectivity, allowing users to control the camera  through a remote controller.





The combo kit includes - obviously - both the backpack and the controller, as well as the case extension and some cables. The controller has two button for easy access to all functions of the camera (not the "SET" once). A little display shows the current selected mode. The remote can be wrist mounted using a velcro strap, also included in the kit, and is waterproof . The display is similar to the one which comes with the Hero HD2 camera, a black and white LCD.



To my surprise the camera, the wifi bacpac and the remote need to be upgraded once unboxed to start working properly. The upgrade procedure for the Hero HD is quite simple and it's described in this video; it's not that straightforward for the accessories, since you have to download the GoPro Cineform Studio software first, then connect the camera with the add-on attached and plug the micro USB cable to your laptop, praying it will be recognized by the software.
During the firts try using my brand new laptop running Windows 7 the bacpac failed to be recognized. Grrrr. No way, no matter what I was doing. I thought the bacpac was broken, but before calling the GoPro guys asking for an RMA I did try going through the upgrade procedure using my old macbook and - magic!- both the bacpac and the remote were recognized promptly. Thanks Steve! Done, the upgrade went on smoothly and the wifi bacpac started working as expected.



The remote is quite easy to operate. One button to turn on the camera and to change the recording mode, one button to start recording. A flashing red led will show the status of the camera, ie if it is recording.
I did also check the coverage of the wifi signal indoor and it seems to me quite ok. I will retest it attacching the camera on my kite during the next session (hopefully soon).

video


The remote can be charged using a USB port, unfortunately on the remote side the connector is proprietary so be advised, don't lose it or you will have to call GoPro for a spare one. The bacpac can be charged using the standard microUSB cable and it runs on it's own till the battery runs out, then start drying the camera battery.

Overall, good impression, the built quality is very good as usual.

mercoledì, agosto 08, 2012

Welcome back, windsurfing!

I'm in Italy for the summer holiday with all my family and some friends. I will spend almost all my days off as usual  in  Sabaudia and San Felice Circeo,and since I knew I wouldn't be plenty of time to sail out there (my recently born daughter Sofia is only 4 months old), I decided to look for a board with lot of volume, to help me planning with the typical summer thermal winds... I didn't want to buy a new board since (I had a look at new boards prices - OMG) - meaning wasting money for gear I will be using for some days -  so I went for a used one. The choice has been an RRD X-Fire V2 (yes, Roberto Ricci, I bought one of your board...  despite what happened to my kite surf board). That's definitely the widest and shortest board I ever owned: it's 230cm long and 85 (eightyfive!) wide, and it is sold (new) with no fin, so I had to pay for a 50cm carbon fin (supposedly craft made). So, here it is:



The construction is full carbon, and you can actually see the carbon folders on the deck of the board, something which I personally like. The board is impressively light, even less than my S-Type 116, I can bring it using one hand (if it wouln't be so wide) The rear pad are "aggressively" posioned almos on the poop and I was a little bit concerned about this till I sailed out. More about this later on.
The fin, as said, is hand made full carbon. 50cm long, it's big, big, big.

Ok, now the sailing impression. I sailed out the local spot (Carrubo) with 15 to 20 knots westerly direction, meaning I had to sail out the harbour. I have only one sail (a7.2m Point7 AC-0) so I was a little bit oversized, especially because of the windswell formig out there. Given that, the board runs smootlhy and easy planes with a little bit of wind. The position of the straps and the pads help to keep the board on the water even with strong wind and choppy water. Turning is... well, when you start pushing with you foot on the deck you will feel the board gybing on a rail, but the curve is not exactly what you would define "short radius". Hope to check a different (shorter) fin in the future to see the differences in terms of gybing.
My conclusion: I personally like this board, maybe a smaller size (122lt maybe) would have been fine too. I'm not worried about its wide "angle" since my weight can made with the 85cm for this board, and it will help me to start planning earlier... let's see...I hope I will have the opportunity to sail more during this summer days (hey, I still have 20 days left... :) )


mercoledì, luglio 25, 2012

The two latest kite sessions

I scored two session in the last two weeks. The first was not a memorable one but it was fun, especially because it was unexpected. I moved to Muskiz on a Saturday. This reminds me that whenever I don't have to trust weather forecast as they will often fail. So at the end I was into the water with something like 14 to 20kn NW wind for almost two hours.

The second one was one of the most funny I had during 2012 in Laredo. Easterly wind blowing strong for almost all day long. I went into the water early and got out only when my legs and knees were completly burned. I went out again with the Rebel 7.0 - I love it!
Laredo as usual was full of kiters, and lots of them were newbies that couldn't sail far from the beach. I didn't care because I could easily sail close to the wind an then go downind having fun with the shortboard.
For me this session scored an 9 out of ten. I'll just want to share a video I found on vimeo. What a waves in Iceland! Check at min. 1:54 how that wave got smashed... my eyes still I can't believe what I've seen....

 
kite surf iceland from TDZ on Vimeo.



lunedì, giugno 18, 2012

Kalenji Keymaze 700 - first run on the water


Do you remember the Kalenji Keymaze 700 I bough last year? Well yesterday  finally rembered to bring it with me for a kite session in Laredo.

I'm pretty satisfied with this portable GPS system. I mainly use it during my mountain bike runs, and I have to say that is quite precise. It also has an heart rate monitor which is extremely useful for training.

The picture above has been elaborated by endomondo  importing the GPS data I recorded during the session. Although this online service is quite good if you only want to keep track of your training activities and share it amongst your friends, it gives you very few analysis tools. Maximum and average speeds are reported as well as distance, but nothing more that that.

There are some good tools out there to better analise your sailing performance. The one I used in the past is gpsactionreplay , written in Java and thus available for all platforms. There are two version: the oldest one is free, the newest which is called GPSarPro is shareware and the license cost around 30€, but it offers some additional feature like google map superpose and calibration. I personally don't want to spend money for a tool that I seldom use, so I must say that the freeware version is ok for my needs. Below you'll find a screenshot from GPSactionreplay of yesterday's kite session. I discovered, for example, that my upwind skills suck - well, not a surprise at all. At least I can see jibes... I still have to improve but at least my average "jiii-splash" ratio has decreased a lot.


Talking about yesterday I once again started sailing with the 7m North rebel. I thought the wind was going to blow stronger during the afternoon but I was wrong. So I find myself pumping like mad to keep kiting. Still, the North Rebel generate as said a lot of power, but it could be annoying do all that up-down-up with the kite all the time. When I finally decided to switch for the 10m (Rebel again) the wind was even less. Not good... I should remember that old refrain (coming from my windsurfer experience): better sailing over than under canvassed.

Holy truth no matter it's windsurfing or kiting.


sabato, giugno 09, 2012

New Arrive: North Rebel 7m 2012 - a user review



I use to check from time to time on eBay for some good deals on kitesurfing gear. I must confess that with a bit of luck you can save quite a lot of money on buying almost new equipment than in traditional online shops (that's where I used to go shopping... power of the WEB 2.0). Almost one month ago I was quite surprised when I managed to buy a completely new North Rebel 2012 7.0m on eBay from Germany for less than 750€. It has been more that a bargain. It has been a great deal.

This is the third North Rebel I got in the the last two years. I was happy with the first Rebel I bought (a 10m 2010model, used one), more than happy with the 2011 model (still a 10m). The North Rebel allowed me to progress quite a lot and start wavekiting. It's a powerful kite with a enourmouse wind range. I am quite an heavy sailor (between 98 to 92 kg, depending on the season), but I never had problem in sailing with 15kn winds when my friends were out with a 12m kite. It turns fast and generates lots  of power. For me it is simply perfect. Maybe it miss some hang time, but it's simply a no-issue for those guys who - like me - doesn't like those supa-coola-tricks of the month. I love wavekiting and this kite is almost perfect for what I do.

Now this are my impressions on this 2012 7m. Please note I had the opportunity to use it only two times with a similar wind range (14 to 24kn, 20kn average)...
The firts you'll observe is that this kite moves *FAST*, and when I say fast, I should add really fast. As a direct consequence, it generates lots of power, allowing you to pass those "wind holes" where even bigger - but slower - kites struggle to stay up in the sky.  The bar response is direct (I,m using  a 2010 one, to which I substituted the depower and the safety red line - thanks to North it is still compatible with the new model but North, please... use better lines) and I must tell that I love it - it is never not too hard, nor too strong, but still it gives you the exact feeling on where the kite is flying. Steering when de-powered sometimes is not that good but I will check the bar setup to see if I can get a better response. Not bad at all, considering I still have to improve quite a lot on the monodirectional board.

Construction appears solid, as all North products. The material being used here reflects the quality of the kite. No questions here. Please note that on the 2012 model there have been some changes on the back pigtail, now allowing for a better setup of the sheeting force  depending on the sailor preferences.

I hope there will be some good conditions during the next days around here, to give a you some more impressions on this kite, especially in waveriding...  next monday, maybe? :)




lunedì, aprile 09, 2012

Unbeliveakelly



The Rip Curl pro surf contest in Bells Beach (Australia) has just ended. Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning made it to the final round. Not  surprise, especially for the 11th time world champion. Check his 10 score wave in the video above. He's almost 40 year old and this guy still rocks, man. Old man rules, young boys... you have to eat some more meat before getting up there!  

mercoledì, marzo 21, 2012

Sailing in Ereaga


Ereaga when North Westerly winds are blowing strong. Killing shore wave.

Two days of wind and waves during the weekend in the Basque Country. We sailed in Ereaga, a urban beach near Gexto Town which uses to grant us some decent condition when the wind blows from NW direction. Usually everything depends on the tide, so timing here is crucial. At high tides waves are reflected by the big pier you see on the left (looking to the sea), creating so much chops that sailing becomes really challenging. You legs and knees are asked to do some extra work and you'd probably have some pain (like I have right now - at the end I'm almost 40 year old guy :) ) at the end of the day. Plus, there's a dangerous killing shore break so you'd probably have to watch out when getting in (and out) the water.

At low tide things are getting easier since there's almost no chop and no shore break.  But if the tide is too low rocks start putting their faces out of the water... even a hundred meters far from the shore line! When I was windsurfing there I destroyed one or two fins because I did't see that semi submerged rock in front of me when sailing at full planning condition. Most of windsurfers know what I'm talking about... and the cost in fixing you gear this represent. It is true that kite board fins are smaller than a windsurf boards ones, that's why we can sail in shallow water a 15-20 cm deep water but... Imagine jumping and then landing on a rock... ;)

The best conditions in Ereaga are during mid tides. The best of both worlds, so "almost" no chop, waves (if there's a big sell hitting the coast) and wind (have to be strong by the way, not too much from the west, not too much from the north...) - yeah, and the moon phase should be the right one, you don't have to work, attend your wife/child needs... :)

lunedì, marzo 12, 2012

Guincho



Wordless

Muskiz Wave Session



I'm not saying that's *NOT* a good start for this season, but 6 kite sessions since the beginning of 2012 are definitely not too much. Reasons are different: lack of time, work (yes, we have to pay our bills), lack of wind... and a few other excuses. So as it is today, getting into the water actually means that almost all of the following factors  happens almost at the same time: waves not too big, wind not too strong or too light - and blowing during the daylight of course - the tide is ok, you are not on a business trip and your boss is not calling you, your wife hasn't ask you to get her to the mall... and if you have children, well... you know better than me. Put this all together and you could easily forget about kitesurfing.

Well, last saturday I managed somehow to have almost everything in shape. The wind forecasts promised some strong wind blowing from NW during the afternoon, perfect timing for me since I had some commitments during the morning in Bilbao. I arrived in Muskiz at 2:30 and went into the water as soon as possible. Good conditions: the wind was blowing up to 25knots (or more), low tide and 1 to 1.5m mushy waves. Perfect for my 10m Rebel and the surf board. Unfortunately we also had some rain showers but - hey! - this is the Basque Country, and it's winter time... what do you expect, 25°C and sun shining?

Check the video above!

domenica, gennaio 29, 2012

Muskiz - 28.01.2012



We scored a new kite session yesterday in La Arena beach, Muskiz. During the past days the temperatures have fallen down to almost 5°C, so that we had a f..king freezing sail condition. The chilling rain surely didn't help, but guys... you know it: you have to face with such things if you want to sail in the Basque Country during winter time.... that's life. Nothing compared to what was our thought when we start kiting: sun, nice temperature, constant winds... cheeks... :-) something similar to what some friends are experiencing right now in Bonaire

By the way, we got into the water at 3pm. The wind picked up lille by little, I would bet that we had something like 18 average with gust up 23 knots, with 1mt mushy waves. I used my surf board (a Crazyfly 6'2") and the Rebel 10.0m and I was perfectly powered so I must confess this has been on of the best wave sessions I ever had... ok, I cannot say I'm too experienced anyway, but at least it's a start. I  enjoyed surfing those waves, I enjoyed carving...  even if the wind direction (completely on-shore) was not the best one... and that's the most important FACT. Who said "the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun"? I completely agree with him...

Because of the cold temperature I also weared a neoprene hat to witstand the freezing cold. It really works better than put neoprene gloves and shoes (which I dislike for several different reasons: lost of sensibility, painful harms...). If you are out in the water in a condition similar to what I described above, give it a try.

giovedì, gennaio 12, 2012

Laredo - January 2012



Let's start the new year with a nice session in Laredo. As usual, the wind blowing from E accelerates during the day up to 20kn thanks to the Venturi or Thermal effect (who knows...). Sun and really cold temperatures (finally the winter has arrived).

Here's the short video shooted with my GoPro and the Kitehero. Enjoy and Happy new year!