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Sat 10 March: D-Bay - Obi Wan Boydy
Me and Brian got out on 4.7m and 4.5m SW-WSW for a couple of hours at d-bay with another guy (sorry forgot your name) up and down gust fest with hardly any chop, just flat.

Sat 10 March: Boulmer - Ross, Tdog

The beach of choice would have been Seaton Point. Cross shore and lovely and clean right from the shore when I checked on the way to and from Boulmer. Bugger.

By contrast, Boulmer (which I will never sail again if there's west in the wind) was a gust fest. You must have been watching at a particularly good point!

On 4.7/95 I was maxed in the gusts and dead in the lulls. The rising tide made things worse. LIke a fool I rigged up another board and sail (4.1m + waveboard) when it wemt ballistic but never used it as it dropped off to 4.7m weather straight after.

When will I learn?    Still, it was good to see few old and new faces. And I picked up my "boulmer Seals" tee shirt - thanks Martin.


Yes. Boulmer was a gust fest on Saturday but I suspect anywhere in Northumberland would have been. I have certainly never sailed at Seaton Point in a clean Westerly even with big sails when it is usually less gusty. Personally I enjoyed myself. It was nice to get back on my own kit again and in one sustained force 7 (+?) gust on 4.5m and the 80l Enduro managed to go faster than I think I have ever been until the gust went up another notch and I tail walked, spun out into the air and crashed in to windward with a thump that shook the fillings out of my teeth. (What a pity I didnít have the GPS!). Regrettably my fitness and damaged shoulder werenít really up to the job and so I packed in after a relatively short session. Sunday was a disappointment. When I got in the car I was thinking 5m and 80l again but arrived at Boulmer to see 6.3 to 7.5 in use on big boards. The wind was Southerly giving a relatively short reach with so little water in the basin I decided to hang around for the tide to change but the wind soon dwindled to 8m weather so I went home considering myself lucky that I hadnít got wet for maybe half an hourís sailing

Sun 04 March: Boulmer - John C, Boydy, Gavin
Boulmer was the venue on a chilly Sunday afternoon, the wind was cross on shore from ESE gusting over force 6. On arrival at 1pm the water in the haven was relatively flat with small 3-4ft waves crumbling over the reef.

Alistair and Mike were wind monkeys of the day, on 4.7m and 4.5m respectively. While others dithered on the beach, John from Surfstore arrived, quickly rigging a 4.2m with F2 Gorilla 76 and got straight on the water. Matt from derwent, Gavin, Boydie and myself rigged 4.2-4.7m sails and joined the others on the water.

As the tide rose the water state became increasingly choppy and confused with a small but surprisingly tricky shore break, packing quite a punch if you were in the wrong spot. Those with the smaller sails or more KGS had the best day, as I was pretty stacked on the 4.5m by the end of the day.

Alistair and I both experienced falling off in the surf on the reef and being able to stand up which feels a little weird when so far off shore, Nick reported being caught in the reef break also and having a manic swim to retrieve his kit.

Spectators included Ross (excuse No.37-no small kit), Andy (under orders pending flight latter that day to Canaries), Martin and two guys from South Shields turned up but not sure if they sailed. A good couple of hours sailing, would have been better if the wind was more cross shore but I am still looking forward to sailing Boulmer Haven again.
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steve boyd
Full Time Beach Bum

Joined: 14 September 2003
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Posts: 690
Posted: 05 March 2007 at 8:44pm | IP Quote steve boyd

the sailing was very good.  A great little bump and jump with some onshore swell and in the best wind possible. fully powered up on the 4.7 and wave board, just how i like it. and Nik was Matt . not silly kit munching or any daft rinse cycles, just fun sailing conditions. i will be sailing here a lot more as it can take a low of changeable wind directions, strengths and swell sizes and still give some quality sailing.  even better got to see some lightweights fighting hard to hang on in dead easy conditions. for a big kg guy like me.

Ross, your excuses are wearing thin "i only had 95 and 4.7m"- so it must be true. the size of your g****s is not directly comparable to your BHP and vehicle size. 

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Joined: 28 February 2007
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Posts: 9
Posted: 05 March 2007 at 10:46pm | IP Quote Gavin

thoughts for the day ...mmmm...... well stacked on a 4.1m ...... vicous shore break made worse by several hidden boulders ......... weird standing on rocks out at sea ........ powerfull workout for the mind, body and soul.. ........... wasn't really that cold ...... was blinded most of the time by salt water and driving rain ........ top marks to Mike for giving it a go    .... difficult session, but enjoyable out of the shore break, (actualy the whole haven was shorebreak later at high tide)  would have been much better with a few more degrees of cross shore on it .......... what was the dude in the baby blue VW  Interflora delivery van doing there ??

Feb 14 to Feb 20 - El Medano - Ross

El Medano, Tenerife, is a truly great venue for a winter windsurfing trip.  Having just spent a week out there, the list of reasons for this statement got longer each day.  Here are eleven of them.


  1. There are direct cheap flights on Jet2.com from Newcastle.  We actually chose to fly from Leeds as the evening departure time from Tenerife South airport allowed an extra day of sailing, so we got a full seven days of potential sailing time.  We paid £130 per ticket.


  1. The transfer time from the airport to the beach is just 5 minutes.  Ä10 by taxi.


  1. There are several good quality, cheap apartments available, directly overlooking the bay.  The one that we got is 40 metres from the sand and the same distance from the windsurfing kit hire centre.  This is also your main launching point.  You can sit on the balcony and watch and wait for the wind to come in, and equally pop back for a drink of water or a lunch break mid-session.  We paid about £100 each for seven nights.


  1. The wind stats in February (the month we went) are 60%+ of days with F4 wind or above.  We got 5 days out of 7 with wind.  On each of the 5 days the sail sizes were 6.2m, 4.2m, 4.7m, 7m and 5.7m respectively.


  1. The prevailing wind is steady and clean from the shore.  Its direction is cross shore from the left Ė port tack jumping.  There are small waves on the inside and, when it blows, big swell on the outside and lots of jumping ramps.  Even in 4m weather, the shore break is quite manageable.


  1. There is plenty of space in the bay for sailors and kiters.  I counted 40 windsurfers at the peak on a 4m day.  Itís easy enough to hack upwind a bit and have a decent sized strip of the bay to yourself, more or less.  There are also marker buoys to gybe round, in this upwind area.  We are told that it gets much busier in the summer Ė I would be concerned about the capacity of the OTC and the bay at such times.


  1. The OTC (Official Test Centre) is very well run with the focus on kit choice (from most manufacturers) and friendly service.


  1. The vibe of the small town of El Medano is relaxed and a million miles away from the lager lout resorts elsewhere on the island.  Itís a popular resort for Spaniards.  This is reflected in the excellent restaurants which serve superb local food and locally produced wine, both at really cheap prices.  The sea food is just tremendous.


  1. There are many no-wind options.  The surrounding terrain is stunning.  The island is essentially a volcano system, the star being the perfect cone-shaped Mount Teide, at 12,000 feet the largest mountain in Spain.  The rugged terrain that surrounds El Medano is great for walking, mountain biking, rock climbing and snorkelling.   The local little tourist info office is excellent.


  1. The climate in winter is very pleasant.  We had sunshine on all but one (overcast) day and temperatures of between 19 and 23 degrees.   Allowing for wind chill, a 3/2mm summer steamer is the sailing wear most used.


  1. Pros hang out there.  It was a bonus that we shared the water with several pros including Dan Ellis (who did 36 kts over the big swell one day!) and Andy Bubble Chambers (who did things with a sail and board that you can follow only with slow motion photography).  Humbling indeed and great to watch.


Our flight departed Leeds at lunchtime so we had plenty of time in the morning to travel down from the north east.  Tony C drove, taking Nico, Andy B, John P and myself to John Cís house in Knaresborough, in a fully packed car.  From there we took a taxi to Leeds Bradford airport.


We arrived in El Medano at 7.30pm after the 4.5 hour flight and a 5 minute taxi ride.  If there are six of you, by the way, donít be tempted to book a minibus from airport to beach, as taxis work out slightly cheaper.


We settled into our beachside apartment and retired for some cleansing ales in the bar situated 40 metres away from our front door, setting the agenda for the week.


The next day was windless so we walked into town, along the wooden boardwalk that skirts the one-mile curving sandy bay.  We walked a few hundred metres further north to check out Cabezo, the wave sailing beach that serves the more hard core wave heads.  Cabezo is quite accessible from the spot from where we launched in the main bay of El Medano via an upwind hack of about a mile.  It has only a small sandy strip of beach and lots of very sharp rocks, so itís far less easy to sail at for the average bump and jump merchant such as myself.


Fast forward to day three (Friday), and by midday we were starting to get paranoid as the wind had not blown once yet.  The forecast said that we would get a prevailing NE wind but there was not a breath.  You could cut the tension with a knife.   An hour later, the whitecaps that had started to become visible on the distant horizon slowly came in and built to a perfect cross shore breeze that caused a stampede for 6.2m sails and 95lt boards.  It was a great introduction to El Medano, not to mention a huge relief.  Small shore break gave way to perfect bump and jump conditions and we had a whale of a time until early evening.


The forecast for Saturday and Sunday had been saying solid F5/6 both days.  Incidentally, unlike in our beloved north east, Windguru is the favoured forecast in El Med as it tends to be quite accurate, although you need to add a few knots to the forecast due to the local funnelling/thermal effects.  The forecast was right.  We were treated to a weekend of full-on sailing from midday to six, on small boards and sails of 4.2 to 4.7m.  In these wind strengths the shore break grew such that the wave boys (and girls!) were showing off some nice frontside riding but the waves were not so big that it was not easy to negotiate a way out.  The waves came in sets with suitable lulls between, for easy getaways.  The swell on the outside grew too, offering incredible bump and jump conditions bigger than Iíd ever experienced Ė the feeling of blasting over mountainous 3 metre plus swells was totally intoxicating.  The reaches back to shore, down the faces of the same swells, was just fantastic, with stupendous views of the perfectly formed cone of Mount Teide as your backdrop, framed by the deep blue sea and the sunny blue sky.  Are you getting the impression that I had a good time?


Nico sailed for 6 hours on the Sunday.  I have never seen a man more tired and happy at the same time than he was that evening!   He loved the conditions at El Medano, reminiscent of those in his hometown of Leucate, which he was forced to abandon recently for his new life in Northumberland.


On Saturday, Tony took a nasty catapult while trying to turn an Evo off the wind in a big gust, crashing down the face of a big, fast wave to the sound of a crunching shoulder joint as it smashed against the mast.  The resulting shoulder injury made the biggest bruise I have ever seen, covering the inside of his arm from armpit to wrist in black, purple and blue.  Lots of ice, red wine medicine, ibuprofen and true grit saw him back on the water on Tuesday, incredibly.  Importantly, he figured out on Tuesday what technique error had caused his catapult and his seeming inability to adapt to the different sailing style required of the new breed of super-short short boards. 


John C was sailing like a legend as usual, riding the waves and launching huge jumps.  John P was tackling the conditions superbly given his lack of time on the water in recent months, and grew most attached to the Starboard Kombat.  Andy B was revelling in his first sailing holiday without family, and was like a kid in a toy shop at the OTC, trying out lots of different kit.  He too got on famously with the Kombat and tackled the giant swell in great style.


My own sailing came on a step or two, as well.  The weekend wind and sea state tested me nicely as it represented probably the most demanding conditions Iíve yet sailed in.  The port tack jumping favoured me as did the starboard tack inside gybes but I made a big mental note to improve my technique in port tack overpowered gybing on giant swells on the outside.


As for favourite kit, I canít speak in detail for the other boys but I found a firm favourite and a few dogs.  The board that I got on with best was the Fanatic Freewave, 86lt and (on the last day) 95lt.  Itís an exciting fast tail that would be ideal for Northumbrian bump and jump conditions and was perfectly suited to the conditions at El Medano.  To be fair I was unable to make a comparison with the JP FSW 86 and the RRD FSW 86 but as OTC had only one of each board these models were never free when I wanted them (a major flaw in their ďmassive choice of boardsĒ unique selling proposition, in my view).


For bump and jump sailing I didnít get on well at all with the stubby wave boards such as the Fanatic All Wave Ė too late to plane, too soft in the rails, hard to keep off the wind unless overpowered and not fast or exciting in a straight line.  Horrible, in fact, for bump and jump sailing.


A real eye opener was the awful new version of the Tabou Rocket Air 95.  My own (2006) Rocket Air 95 is a great little fast, nimble, relatively thin railed, thin tailed fast tail that got rave reviews as a superb bump and jump board.  The 2007 model is more like an overweight stubby wave, with a thicker tail and rails, a much shorter nose (238 cm overall length) and a generally flabby feel compared to the 2006 model.  Yuk.     


The Monday after the weekend dawned windless and stayed that way most of the day, save for a short big sail session that ended in a swim for John C and a few others.  Some of us (including me) were so wrecked from the weekend, we treated it as a rest day which was not only most welcome but essential.


A good nightís sleep and the final day of the holiday came, with recharged batteries.  Windguru promised a NE wind but by midday none had arrived.  Just as we were losing hope, the white caps arrived on the horizon and by 2pm I was clattering over a bumpy sea with a well-powered 5.7 sail in my hands.  A fantastic 2 hour session ensued which took us to our departure time for the airport, where we finally arrived less than one hour after leaving the water.  John, I apologise for snatching the last Tushy Rock 5.7 on that last session and leaving you with the awful Tushy Wedge!


In summary, the El Medano trip was a superb winter week away with warm, windy sunshine in a stunning location with great company and fine food and wine.  As the windsurfing mags like to say, El Medano comes highly recommended!      

Thursday 15 February - Boulmer - Martin Haigh

Arrived at Boulmer on the high tide (2 ish) just before Ally, Mike and Rob. The wind at home wasn't very inspiring but as you drove up the coast the trees began to sway more and more. 30 knts S it was as we rigged, and a little gusty, Ally only brought big kit so stayed dry, Rob rigged the smallest he'd brought (5.8) and me and Mike were on 4.5. Mike headed for the flatish water to the south of the Haven while Rob and I stayed upwind of the undulating, moored fishing boats, Rob catching some air and I just managing to waterstart in the swell! After a short rest we joined Mike to the South and the falling tide brought flater water as the wind turned more Easterly and became less gusty.
A great afternoon session with Rob going absolutely ballistic with his 5.8 and Mike pulling off numerous waterstarts.

Thursday 15 February - Seaburn - Mal Craig

I hit Seaburn about 1pm to steady cross shore winds and a sizable chop once clear of the small beach break.  6.2m sail and 96L board suited the conditions well and gave me a good 2 hours playtime.  1 other windsurfer (Russel) and several kiters made it a sociable blast if still a bit chilly.

Some of the gusts that came through would have suited my 5.4m better but was able to hang on and catch a few ramps on the way out.  The runs back in were fast to say the least, catching the swell running cross-on and accelerating back into the beach.

A great little session and my trusty blister has returned to keep me company during the lighter days.

Thursday 15 February - Blyth - Steve Boyd

I arrived at blyth to see phil on 5.0m in a gusty southerly and a decent swell to play in. I rigged a 5.3m on F2 94, and it was up/down but i planed 80% of the time and caught some decent waves. A nice mild february day and worth getting wet for. some nice wave rides and a few rinses refreshed the spirits!

Sun 28 Jan: Boulmer - Martin H
Four Boulmer Seals were out today Me, Mike, Ally and one of our namesakes made and early appearance. We gathered at 11 but it was high tide and as good surfing waves were still getting past the reef we decided to wait a while and leisurely rig 4.5, 5.8, 6 and 6.3, not letting on which one the seal was using

Peter and family turned up just before we hit the water, with a mixed bag of sails, Mike had the best of it on his 4.5, Ally got totally trounced with his 6.3 and I was up and down with 5.8, to be fair to Ally it was Up and Down very much and all sizes were needed at some point during the afternoon. Mike changed up to 6m just as Ally took a nasty gouge to the shin

In all a good afternoon sail, mild temperatures, flat water, friendly wildlife, friendly photographers (more to come) and after some gloating by Mike I finally managed to get hooked in and both feet in the staps on the last run of the day, now why haven't I done that before

Sun 28 Jan: Budle mouth -

Boydy/Steve C

well a good day was had bamburgh. the decision on kit size took some time as did the walk and it was worth it for john c(on 5.0m and jp freestyle wave), steve carragher(4.7m and wave board) and myself(on 5.3m and the wave board-should have taken the F2 instead-doh). cross off F5 occ.6 was evident when we first got down to the beach but it turned into a F4-5 with some stronger gusts occasionally. i managed two wave rides quickly followed by loads of rinsings. johnc was getting the best of it (as usual) and steve c had a good time if a little underpowered. steve c had to cut the day short with a broken mast. i ended sailing in the mouth of budle bay in the flat water as i was to underpowered to get thru the rip and wave break in the F4-5. the mouth was sailable till 2.30pm (3hours after a neap high tide, not very deep but not very big, perfect cross in a W-WNW). another sailor alan turned up later. sunny and 12 degrees, wind, flat and waves it cant get much better!

Addendum (Steve C): 

Fantastic session today. Epic, dare I say. Biggest waves I have sailed in in the North East. It was a day of riding, with cross off winds holding up the waves perfectly. Short walk down from where the cars were parked, John and I sailed directly out from the first bit of sandy beach, only about 80m from the car, if that.
As Steve said, I was a bit underpowered on the way out, but this meant that once on a wave I was perfectly powered. John definately had the best of it, sailed like a legend, barely dropped a gybe all day.
Session was curtailed by a snapped mast, silly mistake trying to ride the white water.

Sun 28 Jan: Beadnell - Ross.

The temperature today was an incredible 12 degrees.  This is the middle of winter but it felt like spring.


Several of us headed north and Andy and I called in first at Newton, Beadnell Bay.  The wind was a good cross off F5 but the lines of giant rollers breaking every few seconds were too intimidating so we rerouted to the north end.  We found familiar flat water and the same steady wind, but were tempted to go and have a look at the golf course end of Bamburgh (where John, Steve and Steve were planning on sailing) before deciding.


Bamburgh certainly looked like a good option but the required long walk over the dunes with kit convinced me that looking after my dodgy back had to come first so I headed back to Beadnell with Andy, who was nursing an injured knee himself.


On the high tide we launched on 5.5/5.7 sails onto flat water, heading out to the massive waves breaking on the reef.  An incredible sight it was too, but our gybing points were this side of them Ė neither of us wanted to risk being in a dead spot with one of them hurtling towards us, and in any case the wind was blowing directly into their teeth.


For an hour and a half we enjoyed some great blasting and gybing practice in the mild sunshine.  My sail choice of 5.5m felt rather large at times as the big gusts coming through the dunes provided some great sailing-overpowered practice.  Obviously, as it was a westerly, it was gusty, but they were coming through in long sustained bursts rather than the on-off-on wind that sometimes afflicts Beadnell.


As the tide receded, the wind grew gustier, so we jacked in, in time to get home and salvage a good part of the afternoon.


In short, a fine and unexpectedly mild session.


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