Monday, May 4, 2009

Ken Kellar Scores Epic Hatteras

Yeah, so Ken Kellar scored big time over the weekend. It was quite the wind-event on the OBX, probably the best weekend of the year so far. While the Delmarva was socked in with a cold, grey, dreary, no wind pattern, 300 miles to the south, they enjoyed sunny, warm, windy, looplicious conditions. When I spoke to Ken Sunday morning, he said it was a lot like Maui in terms of the consistency and the strength. He was blown away! I was disgusted, but happy for him. We’ve all been on the flip side of the “I scored big time” or the “I missed it” song and dance. It was my turn to deal with the short side of the stick……….At any rate, Ken deserves it, and I’m happy for him… arghhh……

So on top of the epic conditions, nuking at the Hole, down winders from Ego Beach to Ramp 34, dawn patrol at The Point, he also made tremendous progress with his forwards.
Here is a sesh-by-sesh recount of his epic trip

Arrived on the island Friday morning- after house building business in Manteo and Buxton I went to the hole and warmed up sailing 5.0 for a bit.

Candian Hole

Saw Keith McCulloch. He talked of sailors in the ocean at Ramp 34. We crossed the street (Ego) and sailed down wind to Ramp 34. My first Hatteras down winder! At 34 waves were pretty nice for jumping but not so much for riding. I got some fun high jumps.

Saturday - After meeting the builder sailed the hole 4.4 and tried one lame loop (did my classic out of the straps slam). I took a break and visited Andy who gave me a loop lesson in the shop. I was in such a rut of doing the wrong thing I tried to forget everything and we even changed the name. It wasn't a loop, now I was going to try a "spin" Back at the hole on a 3.8 I tried several "spins" with good results. Finally, I was rotating with the board still attached! The attempts were all with the board and resulted in good back splats. I rewarded myself with a couple hours of getting some really nice laydowns and duck jibes. Two moves that I normally can't do very well but really started nailing some sweet full planing jibes.(both duck and laydown). Later I went to life guard beach where Keith had had a fun small wave session but the wind had died. On my 117 L Aero I had a couple really nice wave rides before the sun set. Interesting contrast to within about an hour be raging on a 3.8 in the sound and then schlogging on a 5.8 in the ocean! Both experiences were awesome!

Sunday - I met Andy and Stuart for a dawn session at life guard. I was on my 117 and 5.8 and never planed. The other two were on much smaller gear. The 3 to 4 foot wave rides were really nice. Many three turn waves for me. We saw a big sea turtle hanging out there for a while. Later as I was trying to leave the island, Andy encouraged me to return to the hole for some more loop practice. There I saw Keith who gave me a quick loop lesson which was very different from Andy's but complimentary. He sat on the beach and watched my attempts. Powered up 4.4, I tried about 15 loops. All were rotations with the board and I landed two with my gear in the waterstart position. So huge loop progress this weekend. I have lost a lot of fear and I really really really want it now! My thoughts of dread are replaced with anticipation!

Learning to loop. No one said it was gonna be easy!

“It got better after I called Sunday morning after the dawn patrol.

Stuart Proctor at The Point

As I was "leaving" the island I stopped by Sailworld to say bye and maybe buy something. Andy encouraged me to dial in my loops some more at the hole. It was really windy. So I went there and found Keith in street clothes. He was watching Martin and Anne sail. He was hanging out saving himself for an afternoon wave session. I talked about looping and he suggested I rig up and he'd give me a ten minute loop lesson. Standing on the beach with a rig in hand, he showed me the quick initiation of the loop (kind of like a quick bow-and-arrow move). I tried it on land and then he said "go for it. I'll sit here and watch you". I warned him that I might just sail back and forth for 20 minutes with no attempts. He said he understood. So with my 4.4 and 83 liter board I launched. To my surprise I went for it on my first run out. Back smacker crash but the board came with me. Hurray! I started trying them on every run out and about 1 out of three runs in. After 40 minutes or so I had attempted about 15 loops, a year's worth of attempts! I tossed so many loops that the padding inside my helmet was getting twisted on my head all kinds of ways! Two of those I landed with the gear in a water start position. I fell off in all cases but definitely got the rotational feeling and the board came with me in all cases. So a major breakthrough in my march to becoming an accomplished looper!”

“You know another magic aspect of my weekend is that the weather at Hatteras was beautiful and as soon as I hit Kitty Hawk it started raining and then after a brief dry spell to the NC/VA border it was rain all the way home making Hatteras seem even more magical”.

BTW the sunset photographer is William Seibert

So I told Ken that is sounds like he had passed me in my quest for the Holy Grail-becoming the Boss of Toss (btw-I love that moniker-all credit to Dana Miller for coining the phrase).

Ken’s response:

“I'd say I caught up to you. I have lost a lot of fear and now I really, really want it! I can taste it! I can imagine it! I get excited thinking about it when I used to feel dread. We're gonna get it! Delaware Bay maybe? Assateaque? Noreaster at Sandy Point? Hatteras? I'm ready to try all those venues. You will benefit because I'm gonna be throwing a lot more attempts now when we are out together”.

Definitely good news for both of us. I need someone to push me when I’m out sailing. I can’t let Ken become the Boss of Toss on my home patch. No sir :) hahaha. Sounds like Ken is ready for the loopoff in two weeks!

In all seriousness, glad to see Ken make the major breakthrough with his forwards, and scoring the epic conditions, without me.



scooper said...

You guys are inspiring me to want to try looping again! Nice post. I like the idea of calling it a spin. I'm going to see if that helps me.

Andy said...

Nice work Ken!! Glad you got out there and threw yourself around!

See you guys soon!!

Waterturtle said...

Congrats to Ken...nice job and great report.

OBX sunset sailing is the best, Jerry, the best! (for the Seinfeld fans)

Is it just me, or does that turtle look like a snapping turtle? I've never seen anything like that come out of the salt water.

George Markopoulos said...

Yup, I too think that reframing the move from a loop to a spin is a positive. That jumped right out at me.

Bill said...

Awesome score Ken!

Heck amazing too that I saw Ken both coming to and heading home while I was leaving/returning to the OBX after my weekend visit to WV!

Ken K said...

I'm still spontaneously breaking into grins reflecting on last weekend! Amazing that Bill saw me coming and going! Thanks again to Andy and Keith for the great loop tips and encouragement and to George for the post and support. And yes, that is a snapping turtle. The beach is near the Cape Hatteras light house. That area has lots of fresh water or brackish ponds. So I think it was confused. We would have liked to help it back to the fresh water but they are called snappers for a reason!

George Markopoulos said...

and i'm still spotaneously breaking into fits of TEARS for missing it!