24/2/08

I am back home in Cork after three great days of windsurfing in Castlegregory. Thursday started off in Fermoyle with some good waves and loads of wind. I was fully powered up on my 4.2. The wind was a bit too offshore for my taste but Fermoyle was one of the only places to sail in Brandon Bay that day since the swell was big and messy. That meant too much whitewater in Gowlane and Stradbally where the wind direction would have been more suitable. Anyway, it was nice to get some port tack sailing after several weeks of flat water or starboard tack sailing. It was also quite interesting to see that three out of the five windsurfers out that day were using twin fin boards.
After an hour of sailing everybody called it a day. I was still keen to get out on flatwater. Scraggane, one of the only flatwaterspots nearby, did not work. The tide was too high, which produced a backwash, and the wind was low. I met Colin there, who wanted to get out as well. We finally decided to go out on the lagoon near An Clochan. That was not the best idea. The water was flying. It was unbelievably windy.

The wind was supposed to drop in the course of Friday. It was still very windy when I arrived at the beach in Fermoyle. I first went out on my 4.7 bearing in mind that the wind was due to drop. After two runs I had to change for my 4.2. The swell was still quite big. I saw Rob, a Brandon Bay local, sailing a few hundred meters downwind in Kilcummin. He later joined us in Fermoyle but assured us that Kilcummin had been going off. The wind finally dropped after a two hour session or so. The sun came out and it was going to be a nice day. I was still relaxing when Colin turned up in his van looking for a place to surf. Mark, another local and me joined him on his spot hunt. Brandon Pier did not work so we decided to check the beach west of Fermoyle. Getting there was quite an adventure as we had to pass a field with cows and drive on a dirt track. Luckily, Mark lent me a surfboard. It was a Bic mini malibu with a soft deck. The three of us paddled out and I was totally exhausted. Everytime I go surfing I ask myself the question: "Why am I doing this?" - All this paddling for maybe one or two waves. Well, in the end I got a very nice wave. It was quite a long ride for me as a beginner. I decided that this was definitely worth all the paddling and called it a day. Mark and Colin decided to do the same.

Saturday started rainy and stormy which did not really help me overcome my lack of motivation. I checked Stradbally which looked big. I checked Fermoyle which looked small. Even worse: no other windsurfer was around. I finally met Niall and we checked Stradbally again. One guy was already rigging so we decided to go out there. Meanwhile, Rob had arrived as well.
The day turned out to be perfect. It was big but there was always a way to get out. The light was just amazing. I once caught a wave and suddenly I saw that the mountains in the background where bright with the sunlight. The scenery was just amazing. It was one of the moments when you realize why windsurfing is such a great sport.
Saturday was Brandon Bay at it's best. Even Jamie Knox came out sailing with his new Gaastra sails.
Here is a picture of Niall from Saturday:

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