Friday, May 27, 2016

Video Karpathos 2015

With some delay, but just on time for the announcement of summer 2016: video created by Ingolf van Oostveen with the material provided by Johan Huitema.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Kovalski straps

Aren't they a beauty?

However, this is more than esthetic pleasure. You have to try it to understand the advantage over standard foot straps.

You know the feeling when you can't put your leg into strap because it is bend under some strange angle? Well, that inconvenience is gone.

You know the feeling when you can't get your foot out of the strap because of... whatever reason. This is gone too. The foot goes in and out as easy as it gets. In the same time the straps are firm and comfortable. And the board is lighter (more than a kilo for all 4 straps).

And than, back to esthetics: if you have a great board, you deserve a great straps, too!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Aqacity Crew

Yes, we are much older that we would like to be, but still young in heart! The four of us (Zok, Adi, Korda, Jura) started the windsurfing club Aquacity Varaždin, Croatia, some 20 years ago. And here we are, on the same small inland lake, on a warm sunny day with nice south wind. Precious.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Distance

Making as many kilometers as you can in 24 hours - of course, on the windsurfing board - so called "distance" somehow made its way into speedsurfing world. I am not convinced that it belongs there, because it is sort of an endurance discipline. Ok, if you go faster, you will make more distance, but actually it is more a matter of how strong and determined you are; or, honestly, how badly you want that number on your GPS device screen, in spite of ruined hands and uttermost tiredness next couple of days.

But, however you look at it, it is here: if you are into speedsurfing, you will have to deal with the distance.

I don't like it, actually, because, from all speed disciplines it is the least fun. After couple of hours (and you have to windsurf many hours if you want to make a notable result), it gets boring. You have to occupy yourself with some other thoughts, otherwise you are in danger of literary falling asleep.

Well, this summer, in spite of what is written above, I used one nice day on Karpathos to make 200 km of distance for an Odyssey of Speed competition. For a while it was the best result. Johan Huitema from Netherlands made 216 km, a week latter (his best distance is 398 km, just to be noticed). In that moment I told Tim Otte, an organizer of Odyssey of Speed event that Vladan Desnica, from Croatia, the defender of the crown for last year competition, will surely made 300 km.

And he did (322 km). At the moment, due to other amazing results, specially 500m alpha turn, he is in a tight race for an overall win with Alexandros Petikidis from Greece.

At the same day (August 31, 2015), Urška Desnica, Vladan's spouse, made also an impressive 134 km distance - very rare for a lady windsurfer (6th all time place for ladys on GPSTC). Again, just for noticing, the best posted distance on GPS Team Challenge site is 538 km (Craig Hollins, Australia) for gentlemans, and 207 km by a unnamed lady from Belgium going with the nickname "speedfalconster").

Here is what Vladan says about that day:

"The day before we made a recovering pause from windsurfing, to gather the energy. I started at 09:20, and ride in 6 blocks for hour and a half (see GPSR picture), with 15-20 minutes rest in between. I ate some 5-6 bananas, 1 twix, 1 bounty, 1 snickers and 1/2 lit energy shake. And a lot of water. All in all, 8,5 hours pure windsurfing. I finished after the sunset, around 19:20. The secret of making distance is a good trim; everything has to be perfectly aligned, to avoid blisters on hands and unnecessary tiredness in jibes. I made some 250-300 turns without falling from the board."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Karpathos, 2015

For more than 10 years, from my very first visit to this magic island, Karpathos has been my winter dream; a place you are longing for when days are short and nights freezing cold. Each summer, at least for a short while - and preferably for as long as possible - I have been able to fulfill that dream. And after each visit, in spite of any shortcomings, I know I will be back.

There is only one ferry, one boat, taking tourists and supplies from and on to the island - the legendary Prevelis. After boarding it, while watching familiar streets and houses of the port of Pigadia disappearing in the distance, I was thinking how strange is this passion of true (soul)windsurfers. It can take you far away from home, just to catch right gust of wind. It can fill your thoughts with blueness when everything is white around you. It can make you wonder about the meaning and purpose of anything else beside windsurfing. Or, if you are lucky, it can give that meaning and purpose to everything else.

Karpathos feels the climate rhythm of the Europe. The island is always sunny, always warm. But, if you are a windsurfer, you can sense the change in the wind. This years weather was strange. The Europe was either to hot, or to stormy. Consequently, I have never experience so many windless days as this summer. But, there is nothing to be worry about. As my friend Johan Huitema from Netherlands says: "Waiting for the wind is better than waiting for nothing." And, all in all, we didn't wait for too long. "No wind" on Karpathos usually means enough wind to have fun.

One of the reasons I like windsurfing so much is that you never stop learning. This year was no exception. I am returning home with many new insights. I have learned a lot from people I have met on Karpathos. The only problem is that I always get the feeling of needing just one more day to try this or that new thing I have learned about. The dream is always one day too short.

Maybe, that is exactly the reason why it is so attractive, and in the same time so utterly indescribable to outsiders. How can I tell you about the minute corrections in the stance; about the releasing or adding the pressure on the fin; about the details in trimming the lower batten or, in general, making the sail looks like it should look (the one thing I am never getting right, it seems)? There are only few people who would understand that, and, honestly, it may be that I am not one of them. But, I like to listen. I like to make small adjustment and make experiments, even if they are not practical or successful. One more pearl I have heard from a Karpathos friend from Norway, Morten Knutsen: "The beauty of windsurfing is that there is always one more door left unopened."

For me, it is more than one, for sure. But, I am young, and I still have time. I can learn. Until next year, on Karpathos.

The video below is basically inspired by the playful peace of music by Antonio Bazzini, La Ronde des Lutins (The Dance of the Goblins), played by violinist James Ehnes). The shots are taken on one busy day (thank you, Linda!), with lot of freriders and freestylers interfering with speedsurfers. If you look at the bay from the above for long enough, your head starts to spin a little, and all you can see are strange lines and forms made by seemingly chaotic movements of windsurfers. There are few interesting scenes to see, if you know what to look for. I am leaving to you to decide who are the goblins in this dance. :-)