I´ve finally got enough time to sit down and tell you about the Easter Clinic! On Saturday 16th April, 10 keen windsurfers and their entourage of windsurfing widows, friends and kids all converged on our little island for a week of windsurfing hedonism. After arriving at the airport with 10 tonnes of kit, we whisked them off to their luxury villa in Corralejo, soon to be dubbed "the big brother house". Luckily this year, arrival day was greeted by light winds so the frantic chase around the island in search of wind of last year was not repeated and instead everyone settled into their new pad, enjoying the pool and jacuzzi, and tucking into a BBQ later that evening.
With the wind forecast to pick up from the SW later that afternoon, the troops headed to Punta where we spent the day at the lagoon on beginners boards and SUPing in scorching sunshine and very little wind. By 5pm most of the gang were burnt enough, so headed back into town, but a few of the diehards, swayed by my unflagging optimism that the wind would eventually come in, hung around for another half hour and were rewarded with a glorious evening session at Punta, 5.3 wind from the left......the stage was set for the following day when the real wind was supposed to arrive!
As forecast, day 2 dawned with the wind shaking the rooftops and we all headed off to Punta again for an introduction to waves. By the time we got out on the water, the wind had turned a little too west and was very gusty- not ideal, but it was a great day for everyone to have a go in good-sized waves. Everyone coped remarkably well in the 3m+ waves. Today belonged totally to Simon who stepped up to the plate and gave it 100% in his quest to crack the forward loop. His rotation was excellent and he was getting round onto his back straight away, which means he pretty much has it nailed. Well done mate!
With the wind still flukey and the waves getting uglier, an executive decision was taken (by me) to shoot over to Glass for a carve gybe session, something that everyone wanted to improve on. ( A couple of the lads went with Jim to La Caleta where they scored perfect down-the-line wavesailing). We were greeted by mirror flat water and strong cross-off wind- perfect, and everyone got into it and there were some great improvements made by everyone during this session. Tom proved to be a real dark horse here, proving that he didn´t actually need any tuition as his gybes were already better than mine, haha. Ryan also proved to be a smooth model of consistency, effortlessly cranking out gybe after perfect gybe. Check out the bit of video from that session....
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Day 3, as predicted, dawned windless, and many people opted to spend this "free day" with their families or partners. Not me and Hobbs, though, no siree. I took Si out for his first ever SUP session (see previous posts). Nuff said, one of the highlights of the whole trip for both of us. Here´s the vid again in case you missed it...
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Day 4 and the wind was still fairly light so I decided to work on tacking with everyone. Many people don´t appreciate how much can be learnt on a big board in light winds, and everybody´s tacking improved tons in this session. Mark and Emmet were tacking like champions, Jim discarded his old hand and foot habits to turn into one of the smoothest tackers I´ve seen, and Chris, too, sorted out his sail change/hand movements and also wooed us with an impressive array of freestyle moves. Wicked! Emily spent the entire session flying along, and showing the boys how it´s done, tacking with style. Even young H was seen blasting back and forth along the beachline, and Sarah pulled off her first heli-tack (on the first attempt). You may notice that our forward-loop king Si Hobbs is absent in this video. This was not because he deemed conditions unworthy, rather that he overindulged the night before, as is usual at least once during his Fuerte trips, and was still asleep fully-clothed at the time....
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We all had high hopes for day 5, with great waves at Flag and the wind forecast strong NW. Unfortunately, the wind never quite made it as strong as it should have been so most of us were slightly underpowered for most of the time- a real shame as it was bump n jump paradise, with waves up to 2m on all the reefs at Flag. The lighter sailors had a great sail again, though, and Mark (who had never been anywhere near waves like that before) had his best day of the clinic, quickly getting to grips with the conditions and sailing the bigger stuff on the outside reefs with myself. I was buzzing as much as he was to see him out in stuff he never believed he was capable of sailing in. His attitude will get him a long way in this sport, he´s already learning very quickly indeed. Today´s other notable performance was Alan, for his bottom turn on a logo-high wave straight onto the dry rock stacks on the right-hand reef at Flag, and his ensuing escape, through all the barreling waves and lava rocks to be spat out on the beach at the other side. When I got there to help, he was still smiling, though. Hats off to señor Blanco!
In the afternoon, we headed over to Glass for some flat water action, where Emily once again showed everyone how to plane non-stop in light to moderate winds. She pretty much never stopped planing the whole holiday, and is getting closer and closer to her carve gybes now. Keep up the good work, Em.
Jim and Rob went over to Lobos when we headed off to Glass and got a half-decent starboard down-the-line session in the legendary right-hander there which only works a few times a year. Good call.
With the wind forecast to drop on Friday, another executive decision was made, this time to head down to Sotavento. This paid dividends as the wind increased throughout the day and it turned into a perfect day to finish off those carve gybes. Steve´s gybes became mega-consistent today, Simon cracked one-handed duck gybes (he learnt duck gybes on the last clinic), and Sarah finally bid adieu to her footstrap-phobia- a great accomplishment and a definite milestone in her sailing.
Sailing-wise, that was it for most of the group as they were heading back early Saturday morning. Imagine the mood as we drove them past Flag Beach then, with 2m waves and wind howling for 4.7! Hobbsy almost bailed at the airport to come back with me (I was winding him up a bit though). At 12, the stragglers- Rod, Alan, Sarah and myself were all at Flag, ready for some jumping action. Alan had his best sail ever, I reckon, we cruised together through the sets, out the back and surfed back in on the same waves. What a pleasure for me to sail in "proper" conditions with a friend who I taught to get into footstraps less than two years previously. Rod also made good progress with his port-tack forwards (he has them fully dialled on starboard), until he had to retire injured......
Anyway, check out Al, Rod and myself on this last video snippet (the airport posse may want to look away at this point). A massive thanks to Sarah for sitting on the windswept beach videoing for two hours.
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Well, that was it sailing-wise. Couple all that with 2 BBQs, 2 meals out, a birthday party and video night and loads of other stuff, and you have a pretty action-packed week. I, for one, was exhausted by the end but I suppose I am getting on a bit now......
Once again, I´d like to thank everyone who took part and also congratulate them all for their achievements during our week together. Also a massive thanks to Jim from puravida (http://www.puravidaboardriders.co.uk/ ), and his fantastic wife Tanya, for organising their end and for their invaluable help at this end aswell. Looking forward to the next one already, looking like the end of August.
Welcome to the site!
Aswell as regular features and news updates from Fuerte, I am going to be using this site to promote my windsurfing clinics.
After 15 years on the island,having competed in the PWA freestyle world cup and now representing Fanatic Boards and North Sails, I have decided to give something back to the sport which has given me so much over the years.
My aim is to provide clinics "tailor-made"for each individual, with a strong emphasis on practical in-the-water instruction, backed up by on-the-beach tuition and video analysis. The consistent conditions here in Fuerte make learning so much easier and, perhaps equally important, more fun than the typically inconsistent, cold UK - why not come over for a week and improve your windsurfing by a year!!!
I can help with any manoeuvres from carve-gybe through to advanced jumping and freestyle, just email me with your wish list and we'll take it from there! Over the next few months, I am going to be video-chronicling manoeuvres which you can check out on the right in my tricktionary sections. This will give you some idea of the things we can work on, or, if you can't make it over here, you may find them useful to help understand and break down a manoeuvre you would like to learn (hopefully, the slow-mo will help in this respect!).Just click on the trick and scroll down..........
Anyway, keep checking it out as I have loads more in my bag of tricks and will be updating as and when I get the footage.
If you're interested, e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
See ya in Fuerte?