Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trip Plans: Corpus Christi August 17-19

Congratulations, you've been invited to have the most amazing weekend of your life. Quit your job, alienate your family, and come learn how to windsurf better. You're coming to Corpus Christi on August 17. We'll leave Austin on Friday at 7am and return on Sunday afternoon after sailing.

If you're new, take a look at some of our previous trip posts.

To Join in the fun:

This is your to-do list. Worldwinds treats us very well even though we're maniacs. As a courtesy to them please follow through with your class and board rental reservations ASAP. I promise that it's really easy. Please don't procrastinate -- hotel rooms and classes can fill fast:
  1. If you have an invite please respond. If you don't have an invite, you can shoot a mail to john AT windaddict dot com.
  2. Make reservations at the Best Western Marina Grand hotel, the Bayfront Plaza, or arrange to share a room with someone who did. Check in on 17 August, checkout 19 August. I am staying at the Best Western. When I checked, the 14 day advanced discount was the best deal there. You are responsible for your own hotel reservation.
  3. Call Worldwinds at 1-800-793-7471 and schedule your classes, or reserve a board rental if you don't want to take a class. Please tell them that you're with John Knox's group.
  4. Arrange to carpool and share your room. Feel free to post comments (click below) asking for rides or riders.
My currently suggested class sequence is as follows: beginner, intermediate, harness, beach start or fast tack, planing in the harness.

Please check out the packing list here. You won't want to forget a critical item! Feel free to send me a mail or give a ring if you have any questions. See you on the beach!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Choose a Weekend in August

August approaches rapidly. want to come learn how to Windsurf with us? Just post below which weekends it would not be possible to attend. No promises, but I'll do my best trying to schedule a weekend most folks can attend.

As before, please don't tell me dates in person. I'm nearly incapable of remembering correctly. Comment below and I'll definitely reference it as I'm scheduling the next trip (probably around the 23rd of July). Thanks! I hope you can attend.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

June 2007 Trip Review: Sunday

Sunday morning I drank coffee at Agua Java while waiting on the others to wake. I explored a bit downtown and watched some kids race sailboats in the marina.

This might sound boring. But consider what happens when you mix children with fast vehicles. I saw many different kinds of collisions. One sailor clipped a moored yacht. Another sailor came to an abrupt stop when he took a shortcut between a piling and a boat. His mast hit the dangling line connecting the two. I'm sure the kids also occasionally hit each other. Fun stuff!

Meanwhile Amy and Jason ran along the seawall. I believe Amy is training for a triathlon. Afterwards Amy, Jason, and I grabbed breakfast at Agua Java.

We all met down at Worldwinds. The weather at the beach was more pleasant today. The birds sang, the wind blew, and the sun felt warm. Amy took the beginner class while the rest of us rented boards.

I rented a JP X-cite Ride 145 and a 5.7 meter sail. I continue to dig the 145. It feels friskier than the other boards I've sailed, even if it is a little more tricky to operate. Tricky means learning, right?

The wind gusted nicely into the 20's, occasionally propelling me onto a plane. I still don't have much control on plane, but my trips are getting longer. It feels like I just need to get my feet and body into a better position to balance my weight on the board and pull the sail back.

After maybe fifteen minutes on the water, it became obvious that a storm was brewing. Occasional thunder rolled from a dark line of clouds on the horizon. Foreshadowing. I decided to keep an eye on Amy's class to see when Olivier would bring everyone in.

As the storm approached I got a few amazing blasts of air that threw me on plane. The wind was nice, but I could have done without the impending squall. Despite the awesome wind, I tacked back to shore as soon as I noticed the beginner class heading in. Everyone else on the water had the same idea. Except Jason.

As before, Jonathan refused to let the wind bully him around. Instead he tacked in like crazy until the water was too shallow to sail. I'm not sure he pulled a "walking tack" the whole weekend.

All of us minus Jason hit the shore and refueled/re-hydrated as necessary. Jason was still a speck on Laguna Madre as the storm moved closer. Later we learned that he was having too much fun to notice the approaching hurricane.

The storm opened events tropical style: a few big drops, a few tearing gusts. Warning shots across our bow. All the sailors took the hint and moved inside Worldwind's shelter. Don battened down the hatches. The wind felt freezing as it whipped through the structure. Warm day faded into a chilly faux night. The Laguna Madre and Jason vanished in a wall of downpour.

At this point, I think Jason finally realized that he should come ashore. Inside Worldwinds, Don put on an entertaining instructional DVD about carve jibes. We periodically stuck our heads outside to check on Jason's progress. He finally made it into shelter as the lightning homed in on us.

The wind found us too, blowing rain in under the roof and into the building. That was new. And by new I mean alarming. A few of us started wondering where exactly the Bird Island tornado shelter might be. When the clawing winds stopped scaring us so much, the lightning and thunder took over.

Amy pulled up a weather report on her cell phone. The forecast indicated nasty weather for the rest of the day. When the storm relaxed a bit we decided to retreat back to the mainland and possibly visit the Aquarium. There was concern over the lack of four-wheel-drive on my Jetta, but I assured everyone that I could and would drive safely in the rain. It was wet but we made it.

Back at the hotel we desalinated. Amy opted to stay in the hotel, hack my laptop, and work on a paper for school. The rest of us met at the aquarium. Just for reference: they have a parking lot. It seems to be free if you buy aquarium tickets. I dumbly parked in the street and pumped quarters into the meter. Jonathan followed my poor example and even got a broken meter for his trouble.

I found the Aquarium quite enjoyable. I wouldn't call it huge, but it has quite a lot of variety. The touch pool was fun. I pet a shark (rough) and some sting rays (slippery). Nobody lost fingers. Jason and I totally nerded out with our cameras. Good clean fun.

Jason made an amusing discovery on the beach behind the aquarium. He learned how to communicate with the crabs that burrowed there. He made the crabs dance by imitating their rapid sideways crabby movement. Dance, crabs, dance!

This is the sort of stuff that made the Croc Hunter so famous. Nobody really cares too much about the scientific name of a critter. They just want to see what happens when you poke it. I don't understand why Jason doesn't quit his job and become a TV naturalist -- I'd watch his show.

The aquarium was closing, so we returned downtown, grabbed Amy, and converged on the Executive Surf Club. There we ate hamburgers and beer. Mine had fritos and refried beans inside. No, not the beer.

Fueled up, we discovered a foosball table. So we played. I can't say if this was an official part of the game or simply a house rule advocated by Marty, but we all drank a sip of beer after each point scored. Depending on your outlook on life, this means either trouble or fun. Many many points were scored.

After a while, we even sipped beer when no points were scored. Was this allowed by the rules? I couldn't say. Regardless, the Corpus Christi Gross Domestic Product must have picked up a few points Sunday night.

I'm sure you remember what happened after we left the Executive Surf Club. If not, use your imagination. Was there square dancing in the streets? Was there intoxicated singing? Did we have a massive beer war that would eclipse any Gallagher concert? Maybe. Maybe not.

I will note that we did made it back to our hotels safely.