Words. pics and vids: Dean Peaple.
US transplant Dean Peaple recently upped sticks from Texas and moved back over to the Atlantic. Florida to be more accurate. He sent us this little report.
‘Light winds and sharks so I was told. Well, yes there may be some truth in that but was does “light winds” mean now that we are armed to the teeth with foils, wings, boards and sails? All developed to boost everyday summer and light wind sailing to the absolute max!’
The Midwinter Windsurfing Festival around Cocoa Beach, Florida, was a very popular regatta in the 90’s and 2000’s. Hundreds of windsurfers turned up to get their wind fix on. Midwinter time usually delivered plenty of action. Many top pros would show up to tune their latest slalom and race board, fin and sail designs before starting the PWA world tour for that year.
‘Then summertime rolled around. Unless you were armed with the very latest formula gear of 11 or 12 meter sails, 100cm wide boards and 70-90cm fins you were not going to have much fun.
Fast forward to 2021. My wife who is from Merritt Island, Florida, and I decided OK let’s do it. Let’s sell the house in Dallas, Texas, pack up and drive 1200 miles to the coast. Let’s live by the beach.
The day after we arrived in mid-May it blew 20-25 mph every single day for 3 weeks! BUT according to the windsurfers that’s the end of the windy season. Next up the dreaded light wind summer.’
For most of the year I have not rigged any sail bigger than 5.0 (wind foiling) and 5.4 wing (winging). Sure we have zero wind days, but you just go surf or SUP surf instead. So you are in a perpetual state of soreness and first term names with the chiropractor!
I just don’t need as much wind as 20-25 years ago. I regularly wind foil from Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach or the Banana River. With the efficiency of the foil I can rig a 5.0 and wave foil in 11-13 knots. On the flat water river (which is brackish water and very salty) you can almost guarantee the wind will be stronger by a good 2-4 knots.
The foil has changed traditional lighter wind venues into an unlimited playground. All you have to do is get yourself a foil and treat your partner with extreme kindness. You will be on the water…A LOT!
Now for the sharks. They are literally everywhere with 3 shark attacks in June (young bull sharks not knowing the difference between a fishy treat or your calf muscle). In April 2020 a great white was pinging off a report of swimming in the Banana River. It’s amazing how quickly your foil gybes and water starts will improve! So do they bother me? Some do, most don’t. You just have to live with them.
See you on the water!
If you liked this article check out the following –