Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Corros and tasty tastings!

I mentioned tastings...how is this for a day:

First stop Yahava Koffee Works, Margaret River. This place was awesome. We had about 4 different tastings of coffee from all over the World; learnt that a coffee bean from the plant actually looks like a red berry; learnt the process and brewing tips; had an expresso; a cold distilled coffee (which tasted amazingly different and actually not at all like cofffee); and finally an ice coffee with syrup. Fair to say after that we were all buzzing and stoked about windsurfing (Stef about the quiver we are going to get when we have more money and he can windsurf again!) and bought some stuff in their shop. On to the next tasting! ...Cheese!!

This wasn't quite as exciting, but we still got to try a few different types of cheese before feeling the obligation to buy some and have a late cheese and cracker lunch.

On to the brewery! Again not free, in fact fairly expensive, like all alcohol seems to be here, but nevertheless a tasty sample of 8 beers and brews in a nice beer garden!

Back to windsurfing...after one day in Margaret River, the forecast turned off and looked good for up North again. Que 8 hours driving! Corros was good (still is), so we are now spending a few days up here practising my jumping. Forwards are going well, and learning backloops. I had a nice high attempt at a backloop yesterday but over-rotated it (need to wait and look!). Luckily Stef caught it on camera!

Another backloop and a bail:

A forward:

Some crumbly waves:

Australia Day! Well most of the public seemed to be doing this:

While we had a more educational visit to the WA museum which was really interesting, including stuffed animals, the history of WA and Geraldton, shipwrecks such as the Batavia (quite an amazing story) and HMS Sydney during the War. Kangaroos really can be big!

Finally, our little sunset spot for dinner:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Margaret River

My last session at Coros on 4.7, better waves but not really epic, and slightly underpowered for jumping. Nice sunset though!

I had my first session at Margies yesterday with Graham ad Maeli. I am glad they were there to tell me how to launch, what to avoid and where not to come in on the slab reef! (Maeli!) The wind was pretty offshore, 3.7 weather and really gusty so it was a hard work session and I haven't quite got used to the wave yet, heavy on the first section then you really have to fade back to stay with the critical section after that. I played it pretty safe to start with and it was harder by the end to get a good wave as I was underpowered and there always seemed to be someone on the wave already upwind! Anyway, a good first session. Here a few video stills from cameraman Stef! No wind perhaps for a few days now so we are exploring the wine tasting, coffee tasting and cheese tasting!

K4 set up, Ezzy asymmetrics, 14's and 8's going well!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ah streuth! Lots of time in hospital!

Ow. This isn't my foot luckily but my boyfriend's, Stef Hilder. He had been holding out on windsurfing here for a week due to damaging his shoulder snowboarding, and on his first session in Australia at Coronation, he falls on a spock (on a wave board), and gets cut by the reef. Its pretty deep as you can see, so we gave it a good wash and thanks to the guys on the beach, wrapped it up and drove straight to Geraldton hospital. They washed it more and wrapped it up again, saying it was best to get to Perth hospital as he would need surgery.

Here we are sleeping in Geraldton hospital car park to drive to Perth hospital the next day (a nice 6 hours), and eating pizza from Ben and Justyna!

Stef spent 5 days in Perth hospital, having operation 1: cutting away the flap and excess skin that would die and cleaning it, and then 2 days later operation 2: hoping the sides would just about meet to stitch it up (which they did luckily). If the skin hadn't have met (there isn't much excess on the bottom of your foot), they would have had to involve a 3rd op and plastics, as skin grafts wouldn't take....good job it got stitched!

I stayed at a friend's, thank you Graham! I visited hospital everyday and got to know Perth City very well! I also had one sail at a place near Graham's, M....something, a cross-on, riding/jumping beach break.

Taking Stef for an escape to get some fresh air, but we only made it as far as getting a milk shake before his foot swelled up too much!

Finally, he gets released on Saturday after some haphazard drug instructions (or lack of).

Sorting out the van to leave Stef's kit in Perth, unfortunately he won't sail again here I don't think. One board didn't even get out of the packaging!

Now we are back up at Coronation beach for a few days sailing before heading back to Perth for another appointment, though I'm not quite sure why we came up here, its so hot you can barely sleep, the wind in the morning is like a hairdryer and the cool wind is only kicking in late afternoon! Hence sheltering in the air conditioned library this morning ha ha! The sailing is fun though, a bit of jumping and riding on some soft easy waves! We are also staying at a nice campsite called Sunset Beach Holiday Park, check it out if you are near Geraldton!

Crutches do have a good use as a drying line! I'm using my C-Skins HDPolyPro rash vest (the super fleecy one!) and some shorts up here, the water is really warm! I think I'll have to revert back to a wetsuit today though as crashing forwards and backloops can give a pretty good slap to the back of your legs!

So not the best start to our trip and poor Stef has a hot swollen foot to keep up. No photos yet as my now pro photographer is still recovering! We will head South after Thursday, which should be a lot cooler and hopefully by then we can do some touristy things as well as me sailing.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Put Another Shrimp on the Bar-bee!!

Helllllooooo from West Australia! We made it! After a lot of debating what luggage to take and leave behind with our allowance of 30kg plus 10kg sports equipment each and 7kg hand luggage with Qatar airlines, we arrived in Perth to be greeted by Graham Woods and a nice cold beer! I only managed to take my 69l Simmer Flywave and one 370 mast, sharing 3.7 to 5.0 sails with Stef, so pretty minimal kit and I was gutted I couldn't fit in a surf board. I'll have to beg/borrow/steal when it comes to surfing.

We met up with some old friends from Uni in Perth (seems to be a little Pom gathering out here!) spent a ridiculous amount on two hours parking in Perth ($24 whaaat?!) got some essential toiletries as we didn't have any room for any and picked up our dinky but very functional campervan from GoCamper. The van does the job, is well kitted out with a little fridge, cooker and bed, and the kit goes on the roof (most of the time).

Camping with Ben and Justyna:

Enjoying the very useful awning!

Next we headed to Lancelin for the Ocean Classic, and after all our faffing, only managed to leave in the evening, a sunset 1.5 hour drive-we were warned not to drive at sunset, oh dear! We drove slow annoying the locals and were pretty freaked out about kangaroos jumping into us but managed to get there in one piece! No more sunset driving now, though I'm pretty sure kangaroos can jump out any time as we saw one in the middle of the day...

My first day at Lancelin they held the wave competition for $100. I really wasn't sure whether to enter as you can't really see the break from the beach (it's an offshore reef) and I hadn't sailed there before. People gave advice like don't go too deep, avoid the dry reef, and this is the biggest its been in ages! So it didn't really set my mind at ease and I decided not to waste 100 dollars. I sailed in the morning, pretty underpowered on 4.2 as there was loads of current, and for the comp they needed 3 waves and 3 jumps in about 12 minutes-pretty hard! After a couple more sessions I realised I now knew the break, it wasn't as scary as everyone made out, in fact a little crumbly and re-formy compared to Chile's waves and with hindsight I was gutted I hadn't entered the comp. I guess I kind of needed an extra day before to know what I was doing first. My old friend from Uni, Maeli Cherel won the competition in the end so congratulations to her!

The weekend was really hot (40-50 degrees) and not much wind but they managed to just have enough for the downwinder race. I think about 200 entered and about 138 started, as it was really light wind I guess people didn't have the right kit. Again I waited around until registration closed to see if I could enter on 5m and 85l board but it wasn't windy enough. Another year I'll have to come back and beg/borrow/steal some bigger kit! The winner won on a 9m something sail in about 40 minutes I think. Justyna completed the race having broken her harness on the 4th mark and with a dodgy foot and cracked rib, pretty nuts! and Ben Proffit came 9th in the elite and Maeli in 2nd.

Enjoying juicy watermelon in the heat!

The big downwinder!

Yesterday we drove up to Geraldton and Coronation beach (about 3 hours North), via some tourist attractions, The Pinacles rock formations and to Lake Thetis to see Stromatolites (see pic for a description!).

Ahhh snake!! Don't worry, this was in a museum, haven't seen any yet!


Road train!

Not many pics of windsurfing yet as Lancelin's break was quite far offshore. I should get some at Corros later hopefully! Lastly, a little pic of me looking Aussie?! Burnt my lips already so have bought some white zinc stuff, a big hat, and we are making use of the internet at the Library!