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Topics - PonoBill

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Wingsurfing, Windfoiling, Wingfoiling, Wing SUP / Fly free little wing...
« on: January 19, 2020, 09:01:18 PM »
I had a little more adventure today than I planned to have. I fiddled with electronics all morning while the wind came up and then headed to Kihei to do a wing foil downwinder. But the wind was offshore so there wasn't much along the shore. I elected to "mow ze lawn" going back and forth, Kihei Canoe Hale to McGregor point. On the first pass when I got close to McGregor the wind got really weird. The gusts were coming from behind me, toward Lanai while the steady wind was straight out toward Kahoolawe. I did my cheap-ass touchdown version of a jibe and got the heck out of there.

It's a long, long reach, but I made it all the way back to the Canoe Hale with one touch down. It's really like I'm flying over the surface. When I got back I was thirsty, so I took a break to drink some slightly skanky water that's been in a water bottle for about a month.

I went back out, popped up on the foil and ran out about halfway to the power station. Coming back I had a moment of inattention and the wing flipped. I was getting myself situated to go again while the wing did the flopping around in the wind thing. And then suddenly the jerking on my wrist leash went away and my wing sailed about 50 feet away. Nasty feeling.

I got down on the board and prone paddled as hard as I could sprint with a wide SUP board dragging a foil under it. I almost got to it when the wind got under it and it flew a few hundred feet away. While I was bracing for another sprint it picked up again and started cartwheeling away. No way to catch this thing without a paddle or a motor.

So I pointed the board for the beach and started paddling. I had plenty of time to perfect my technique--I was out perhaps half a mile. For what it's worth if you're way out on a wide SUP that leaves you with the arm span of a penguin, the best technique I found is to roll shoulder to shoulder as I stroked, reaching out further and going for a little glide. When I got about 100 yards from the beach I spotted Stephen Ross waving, and then a fire truck pulled up and a whole passel of emergency folks piled out to watch me finish the last 50 yards. Firemen, a lifeguard, and an EMT. Out beyond where I started my long-ass paddle, there was a coast guard boat doing search patterns. These folks don't mess around.

I convinced them I wasn't dying. One of the guys got on the radio and directed the jet ski, that apparently had scrambled from the Kihei boat ramp to go look for my wing. I met the ski at the ramp and he handed me my wing. It was fully deflated and the valve wasn't open. He said, "it's done for, sorry". He'd stuck it with a knife I guess. In those crazy conditions there wasn't much choice since he probably didn't know how to use the deflation valve and probably couldn't have screwed with it anyway. No big deal, I'll get it repaired. The lifeguards aren't in the equipment retrieval biz and I'm glad to get it back in any condition.

My leash didn't break, it looks like it just came untied. I reworked the way the leash attaches to the wing after hearing about Shep Nelson having the weenie little sewn-in leash fixture rip out and pop the bladder. It looks like I need to rethink that. I generally try to have critical things like leashes either be super-stout or have a backup.

It was a long paddle in, but it's good to know I can manage it. My shoulders felt great after the long haul--warm and loose. I don't recommend this as an exercise, but clearly, I need to spend some time on a prone board.

Wingsurfing, Windfoiling, Wingfoiling, Wing SUP / Wing Maui
« on: January 16, 2020, 12:19:15 AM »
Easy money today, 25-30mph and a little north in the wind so making way upwind was easy at Kanaha. I stayed out for about two hours on my 4.2M wing and 1020. I kept over foiling with the big 1020. Should have come in and got the 920. One day on that thing and now it's my goto. I switched to the short fuselage and I'm using the 440 stabilizer. I may actually be pumping in a manner that is visible to other people.

Or not.

So much fun chasing the waves at uppers. I do need to do a little tuning. Whenever I foil over the top of a wave I come right up on the very edge of blowing out of the water, and have to hang there on my tiptoes, pressing hard on my front leg and praying that I'm not going to faceplant.

I've got a HUGE improvement in my foiling jibe completion rate. I've gone from 1 out of 40 to 1 out of 20. Amazing. I still don't know WTF I did when I make one, but maybe that's okay. Maybe they'll just go straight to muscle memory and I'll be 1 for 1 without having any idea of what I'm doing. That would work for me.

For some reason, I was really tired when I got out of the water. Not muscle tired--fall asleep on the beach tired. No idea why. I was a danger to all around me when I drove home, so I pulled off and took a short nap. Way better than wandering across the line into oncoming cars.

I did do my highest speed ever crash today, but it was in the water, on a wave. So I got that out of the way.

Wingsurfing, Windfoiling, Wingfoiling, Wing SUP / Make a wish...
« on: December 31, 2019, 11:41:25 AM »
A recent conversation and related experience have me thinking about an issue I hadn't considered. Most of us have a wing leash on one arm and an ankle or calf leash on one leg. A tangle issue, but generally just irritating--until you get into larger surf. Which I did yesterday, and getting worked had me thinking I was a wishbone from a thanksgiving turkey. The wing goes one way, the board goes the other, and I'm in the middle feeling maybe more like an extra in a remake of Ben Hur.

Obviously there are solutions, I could move everything to a waist belt, but I don't want to lose everything to one failure. That would be both expensive and dangerous on its own. I could stay the hell out of larger surf, but that ain't going to happen.

I look forward to your experience and suggestions.

Beasho may have thought of this if he's contemplating a wing. In the waves he rides this would be an instant Really Big Problem.

Wingsurfing, Windfoiling, Wingfoiling, Wing SUP / Golden God of WingFoiling
« on: December 28, 2019, 10:23:48 PM »
I am a GOLDEN GOD of wing foiling. Sort of. I went to the south side this morning fairly early, like the crack of 10:00 AM maybe. The plan was to do some out and back, wait until Bill Boyum showed up and then we could do a downwinger.

After a few little warmup runs I got up on the foil going on my bad side (goofy foot/starboard tack) and was smoking along. I decided to keep going until I crashed or dropped off the foil. I got all the way to the lineup for the tourist whalewatch boats to get into Maalea harbor without a touchdown. More than few "almost lost that you idiot" and "oh shit I'm going way too fast" moments but I got there on the foil, blazing. Then I turned around to the happy feet side and ripped back without a wobble. SO MUCH FRICKEN' FUN. Whenever I'd see a nice swell I'd chase it down, catch it, let the wing go slack and stay in it as long as I could. Awesome downwind practice. My line took me well upwind from the Canoe Hale, almost to thorn beach. As I neared the shore I looked down and saw nothing but reef. OH SHIT! I've been all over this island for 40 years and never saw that reef before. Some of it was super shallow and all of it looked gnarly. I got way up on the foil and looked for something sandy. Finally found a spot to turn in where flubbing the turn and losing height would have no serious consequences. Good thing--I totally blew the jibe.

A few more out and backs, then the wind got flukey and I came in for a break and some grinds from the ABC store. WTF was I thinking. A can of coconut water, two of the worst Spam Musabes on the planet--the rice was so gooey I couldn't pry it apart. I went to the Heroin store (the bakery) and got a beef pot pie. Diane and I are binging on the British baking show (yeah, I know, I'll make somebody a great wife, fuck you and the horse you rode in on) but I critiqued the pie. Soggy bottom, not enough liquid, huge space between the filling and the top crust. Minimal flavor. The big guy would have told the little older brit lady "I don't recommend that you taste that", but I did. Hunger makes up for a lot of flaws, all of which are suddenly apparent.

Diane showed up, Bill Boyum showed up, yak, yak etc and I haded for Kanaha since the wind was dying fast.

Kanaha was fun but messy, gusty, inconsistent, with set waves that nailed me while I was wobbling around with no wind, but it was fun and worth the pain. The wind died and left me out on the reef. Long slow spinnaker ride to the beach and an associated walk-of-shame, but really, a great day. I started at ten and I got home as the sun faded. Maui 10.

Wingsurfing, Windfoiling, Wingfoiling, Wing SUP / Downwinging
« on: December 27, 2019, 08:34:02 PM »
Had a great downwinging session today from the Kihei Canoe Hale to Mana Kai. Lots of crashes, but it's starting to work. Bill Boyum and Peggy King came in not far behind. Mt second downwinder with a wing, though the first didn't count for much besides taking a beating and not crying.

I used my 5M Fone but didn't have my fake boom--it's in Jeremy Rigg's truck, and I missed it a lot. I would have had much better transitions if I'd had it. And yes, Julie Shreyer, I missed having a Duotone window. Now I get why you insist they are so important.

I've been wanting to do a south side downwinder with a wing foil, and we finally had wind. Stormy and nutz on the north shore, but a bit more controlled on the south side--sort of. Boyum (Headmount) said he was going on a SUP. I was supposed to meet him at the Andaz to drop rigs, but I wanted to get an idea about wing size--the wind was fairly crazy, probably gusting to 35 or more, but some big lulls too. So I went early to try my setup.

**update--iWindsurf says it was a bit windier than I thought--35 gusting to 50mph. So yeah, a little nutty**

I rigged up at the canoe hale in Kihei and headed out with my Axis 1020 with a 75CM mast and 440 stabilizer using my new F-One 3.5. It was plenty zippy going out and back a few times. I figured it would work but might be a little under-powered downwind and I considered using the 4.2. It took longer to figure this out than I expected. When I called Bill he'd been trying to get hold of me for some time. We decided I'd stay at the canoe hale and just catch their ride back. In fact, I decided to launch immediately so I wouldn't hold them up if I was slow.

Turns out the Hale was in a significant shadow and the outside wind was more like 40mph and the gusts were out of control. I flopped around a bit, then got my shit together and did a few nice broad reaches, up on foil and barely in control. Okay, not, but I was generally saving the nutty parts. I tried to head more downwind and caught some nice bumps, which takes a bit of adjustment. As hard as the wind was blowing, when I caught a bump going downwind the wing kind of flopped around in front of me--trying to rip out of my hands in the gusts, and threatening to drop a tip in the lulls.

Still, really fun, and I was getting some fairly long runs before losing it. The bad part was that when I'd crash I was in a maelstrom, with the wing going nuts and the board flipping over, threatening to shred the wing with the foil.

I kept going, feeling a little more confident with every longish run. Then about half a mile from Kalama park, the wind went gave one last wicked blow. spindrift everywhere, and then turned off. Bill and the guys caught up to me right about then while I was bobbing around in zero wind, so Bill and I agreed I'll pull in to the park and get picked up there. On the way in I fell off, dropped a foot down and found a Wana--spiked me in two toes. I hate that.

The guys showed up about an hour later with Jeremy's truck. We loaded up and they shuttled me back to my rig. Short run, but action-packed. I can do this, I know it. It's going to take a while to be good at it, but I felt the downwind rip. It's gonna happen.

No. the little video is not from today, it's in the harbor, shot by my daughter Elizabeth Babcock. Just representative.

Random / It's that last 3%...
« on: December 06, 2019, 12:20:26 PM »
I love this picture, it sums up my life so well. Good execution for the first 97% of a project.

Why on earth is every little change in venue such a reversal of expertise? I spent a good part of the summer learning to wing foil in the mighty Columbia. I fully expected all my experience to translate to some level of mastery in the warm water of Maui. Not so fast, grasshopper. For some strange reason, I'm set back at least a couple of months in my progression. The combination of wind, waves, and the lack of consequence for falling in warm salt water has been somewhat deflating. Yeah, I can do it, sort of, and I've had some very fun sessions, but where did that little bit of muscle memory go to that was making foiling jibes somewhat feasible? Why am I wobbling around going downwind? How did my pumping get so feeble?

Inquiring minds want to know. It's coming back, but geez. I thought I'd be doing better, faster.

On the plus side I used my GL240 wing today in the harbor in nuking wind, and it's sweet. So I got that going for me.

Foil SUP / I wish...
« on: November 17, 2019, 08:09:53 PM »
Dan Taylor used his monster lens from the beach to shoot a super action shot of me ripping up a great wave on my foil. At least that's what it looks like. In reality, I was struggling with way too much lift and was in the process of getting tossed off from a good sized wave. But it looks cool.

Random / I should never look at Facebook on Veterans Day
« on: November 11, 2019, 07:21:14 PM »
I should never look at Facebook on Veterans day. A whole bunch of people who never served telling veterans that they should be proud as if we all joined up for the reasons they say we did.  If people want to express some kind of bullshit patriotism that they didn't have when it was their turn to step up, well I guess they can go right ahead, because they sure do. But why would they think any veteran gives a fuck what they say about it?

Foil SUP / Foil Patents?
« on: November 06, 2019, 07:19:46 AM »
Inspired by the picture of the GoFoil mast in the Mast Cracks thread, I looked up the GoFoil patent. Interesting patent. Its worded as a general patent for hydrofoils on boards but then cites a lot of specific dimension ranges. I'd say it's like the patent I have on some core internet tech--nice to have from a defensive standpoint, but hopeless to use against competitors. If the people you sue hire a lawyer who isn't terminally stupid they show up with a bunch of prior art and all you own is worthless paper and a lot of legal bills. The patent office went looney about 20 years ago and started granting patents that are indefensible. The only people that benefit from them now are patent trolls and lawyers. Even that game has become weak, as judges caught on that a bullshit patent is a bullshit patent.

I might be wrong, but I'd say most of the foils we use infringe on that patent. The fact that there haven't been any legal battles tells me it's defensive only. Probably for the same reason mine was only good for that.

My patent, granted in the early days of the web, is for detecting who visits a website, attaching any existing data to them to change the website to suit their profile, and adding data according to their actions in the site. Sounds like it would be worth billions given that Google, Facebook, and every modern website does that, but it's just an invitation to be pummeled in court. It was initially refused and the examiner cited prior art up the gazoo that I didn't know about--even the name we used (WebProfiler) had been used in a fictional story that talked about exactly what we were trying to patent.  But the patent office was under political pressure to grant patents, so they suggested we resubmit the application and rubber-stamped mine.

Share the Stoke / Oh. Damn.
« on: October 28, 2019, 10:42:02 AM »
Not a SUP or foil in sight, but oh dear. I'm not a fan of beach breaks but this would be fun to bodysurf or dust off my old surf mat. Where IS that thing? YOu'd never get all the sand out of your ass though.

I went wingfoiling today with Chan and Admin at Stevenson. Pretty strong east wind, 57-degree water, 50-degree air temp. Kind of brutal, but the wind was good. A full suit of course, and my impact vest with the new harness stuff I added, even though I haven't rigged the harness lines yet. I just wore it with no hook. Headed out on a port tack, my fave, and despite being fully powered up with a 5m F-one I wasn't getting anywhere. Hopped off and pulled a wad off river grass off the foil. OK, here we go...  ...and nada. Good foil speed, wing drawing well, pumped like a demon, and just barely cleared the surface. I had to pump both wing and foil like crazy to stay up. It just didn't make sense. The wind angle was weird, but I adjusted, did everything I know how to do and barely got off the water.

Turned around on a starboard tack and with all the south angle I was able to get more power in the wing. I pushed the hell out of it and barely lifted off. I skimmed across the river maybe two inches off the water, occasionally hearing the board touch down and then getting it back off, without any significant height. Some kind of gear problem here, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

I moved my feet back further--rear foot behind the mast, front foot standing on the carry handle, Port tack, same deal, and when the board came up it was nearly stalling. I wiggled my front foot forward to trim and managed to get up and stay up a few times, but it was a crazy amount of work considering how good the wind was.

I did four or five runs across the river, improving a tiny bit, using every trick I could think of. I finally came in, cold and exhausted. Carried my gear up, took off my vest and discovered it weighed at least 25 pounds, maybe more. I handed it to Admin--he said "what the fuck!" handed it to Chan and she almost dropped it. I figure with a wet 3/4 fullsuit and my weight vest I was pushing at least 260#. Maybe 270.

Maybe my sewing and rivetting made the vest hold more water. Maybe it's just all the stuff hanging off the vest now, though I didn't notice that it weighed much when I put it on. Anyway, I think I've figured out how to lose 40 pounds fast--go to Maui.

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