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» Time for an 'update'...
December 21, 2011 at 03:59 PM
By: Pete Fontaine
» you are a great writer for a young kid.
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Viewing posts created during April of 2011

Quicksilver!

I just got sponsored by Quiksliver!  I am so excited to have that big red sticker on my sail, its been a dream of mine since I started windsurfing!  A bunch of my heros are on Quiksilver too!  I aspire to have the same focus and mental attitude as people like Robby Naish and Kelly Slater, though that is easier said than done for a 14 year old!  Anyways, I am so happy and honored to be a part of this huge legacy and hope that someday I can be as influential as some of my heros on Quiksilver!

Posted: April 26, 2011 at 10:08 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Secret Spot

The first South swell of the year was coming in the day before yesterday. Dad and I had been looking for reports of North swells, with pretty dismal results, when we found a small bump coming through from the South. So we hopped into the truck and took a right turn to the South instead of the usual left to the North. When we reached the South side we checked Thousand Peaks. Coming around the last corner our hearts raced. Would it be a perfect day on the South side? When it came into view we found a rather pathetic mush breaking through a murky sand bar where 100 other people had decided to surf. Better than expected!

The truth is that the South swells on Maui are not much to write home about. We don’t get many swells since the islands block off many waves from certain directions. The ones we do get are small and weak since they come from the less predominant directions. And, on the off chance that we do get a good swell, there are 50 Billion people out! Surf schools stumble through the breaks, beginners play bumper boards up and down the beaches, and the scraps are fought over by everyone else!

So what we found at Thousand Peaks was not out of the ordinary, but it didn’t mean that it was good! There had to be somewhere that we could go to just catch waves alone! So we decided, right then and there, that we wouldn’t stand for second rate waves anymore, we were going to go searching for a new break!

We drove a while and then the highway pulled along the coast and we could see the water. I didn’t expect to see anything so I busied myself by staring into space. Then something caught my eye, a movement in the water! My first reaction was that this was where Lochness vacations but then I saw what had caught my eye. A wave breaking!

I had seen a tiny wave breaking off of a shallow reef just a few yards out. I pointed and shouted something inarticulate like “MMMM!” and my Dad, apparently focused on the road, jumped and swerved into the wrong side of the road; silly Dad! He gave me a cross look but then he followed my gaze and saw the same wave. He slammed on the brakes, by now for sure scaring some people with his evasive maneuvers, and turned into a little dirt shoulder where we could see the wave.

At first, nothing happened and I wondered if it really could have been Lochness snorkeling. But then a set lined up on the outside and it A-framed onto a reef where it broke in a perfect right shoulder. It wasn’t big, only chest to shoulder high, but it was way better than anything we had seen yet. And there was nobody out, no one even parked, and from the looks of it no one had even been there recently. So we got out of the car and tried to act as uninterested as possible. (Although I think covering my Dad’s 9’0” with banana leaves attracted more attention than it diverted.) When we were out of sight from the road we got prepared to go where no one had gone before! (Aw, its so sad that I no that line.)

We paddled out and immediately there was a set. Four shoulder high waves came through, each the same as the next, and peeled through the break! I tripped out! I couldn’t believe that we had actually done it! We had found ourselves a secret spot! We hadn’t settled for the same terrible conditions we had been stuck in, instead we went exploring and found a great break with no one in it. Later a few head to over head sets came in. We had, by far, the best South swell session since we started paddling and we couldn’t wait to score it again. Little did we know, we would score it again the very next day...

Posted: April 19, 2011 at 05:30 PM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Boujmaa

"Oh no!" I was de-rigging on the grass when I heard some chatter on the cliff.  I jogged up to the group of people that had already formed on the beach.  A few guys were surrounded telling everyone that they had seen someone wipeout bad on an over rotated triple attempt.  I looked toward the water, the wind howled to an average 30 mph and ramped up spray into the sky above.  “Triple” I thought “who would be so nuts as to try a triple today?”  “It was Boujmaa.” someone said.  “Oh that explains it” I told myself.


(Hepp photos)

The lifeguards were on it.  As soon as they heard that Bouj was in trouble they rushed the jet ski out and on to the water.  I sailed out to see what happened to Boujmaa, Victor Fernandez said he landed on his neck, his neck, that could mean paralysis .  Chilling images entered my mind, I imagined what I would find just after the next swell.  Would I find a broken and bloodied man limply hanging on his equipment, screaming in pain?  I hoped, half for my sake, that this wasn’t the truth.   

     He is a good friend of mine and we have known him since my days on Starboard.  Back then I was pretty overshadowed by everyone else but Bouj was one of the first guys to take an interest in what I was doing.  His positive attitude was inspiring for a 9 year old who was clearly out of the loop with others...  I remember him laughing with Dad and I and then going out and pulling the biggest back-loop I have ever seen done at Hookipa, possibly the biggest one done ever at Hookipa.  Everyone was yelling on the beach, John Carter just about dropped his camera!  After his session was done he sailed back in and sat down with us to continue the conversation, as he was more interested in what we were doing rather than what he had just done!      

     Every time he comes to Maui he is bringing the newest and the hottest moves.  Everyone looks to him for the most radical and nuts stuff.  He always thinks out of the box and it is some of the most progressive jumping I have witnessed.  Just look at this sequence below of him almost landing a Cheeseroll-Backloop.


(Agustin photos)

After what seemed like hours I finally made it over the break and to the outside where Boujmaa lay.  There were already others with him.  Diony Guadagnino was signally the ski, John Skye was holding Boujmaa’s gear, Claus Vogat was holding him afloat, and several others were positioned next to him with worried expressions on their faces.  I saw that Bouj was for the most part fine.  He was coughing severely and he was confused but he was treading water with help.  “Jet ski is on the way” I encouraged, he couldn’t hear me, later on I would find that he couldn’t see me.

     Back at the beach a crowd of 30 or 40 people stood waiting for the ski to bring him in.  There was a low hum of muttering as everyone tried to get information about Boujmaa, the trouble was that no one really knew.  The lifeguards were stationed at the beach, ready to get the sprawling figure on the back of the ski.  When the ski-driving lifeguard swung through the shore break they swooped him up with precision and strapped him to a stretcher right away.  They hauled him up the beach to a position in the sand where they could asses his condition.  They did a bunch of tests to see if he was paralyzed, there was a huge cry of relief from 40 men and women when Boujmaa pushed the lifeguard’s hand with his foot!  So he was not paralyzed, but he was still in bad shape, Dad and Ricardo stood by him to comfort him.  He kept complaining that he couldn’t see any of us, Ricardo shuffled around trying to get into Bouj’s field of view.  It was no use, something was wrong with his vision.  The paramedics came and put him into an ambulance straight for the ER, John Skye and Nayra Alonso went with him.

     Now we were out of the loop.  The whole rest of the day we had no idea about what was going on, until Boujmaa’s support page on Facebook showed up.  All of the sudden there was all kinds of posts from everyone on Facebook, giving information on his status and links to his support page.  Pictures from his crash, which only a handful of people had seen, were now posted everywhere on the web.  Jimmie Hepp, a local photographer, had an entire sequence of the event and whereabouts of his condition.  What only 5 people had seen was related to 40 people who were there and now 100’s of people on the web!  Then next day visitors were aloud and everyone came to see the one who crashed on a triple and a half!

     We came in at around 2:30 in the afternoon.  Boujmaa lay in a hospital bed with IV’s and monitors around him.  But as soon as we entered his face lit up and he greeted us with an unusually positive smile!  Annita was with him and she gave us the scoop on what had transpired.  A broken right arm, stitches to the upper lip, head trauma, and water filled lungs.  From what Boujmaa could remember he had done two loops and then he closed his eyes and couldn’t remember anything else after that.  But we figured that he over rotated and landed on his mast near the boom clamp where he impacted with his arm and broke it, then clipped the mast with his face and whiplashed into the mast again but this time with his head.  With the impact he had gone unconscious and lay under water for a while where his lungs filled with water.  “Luckily” Annita said “we found him with his left arm hung in the boom which kept him from sinking.”  Then the blindness he experienced was his head trauma and effects from being knocked out.  Some people would think that talking about such a bad experience would be uncomfortable for the injured person, but this was his glory!  I mean he was the talk of the town now, usually he was the one to watch at Hookipa, now he was the one to talk about for years to come!  Bouj will be out for about six weeks, in which time he will be telling glory stories to all the hard-to-get Moroccan girls in his town, then he will be back!

Posted: April 14, 2011 at 11:16 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s
Unlucky

Spring has been brutal on my equipment.  Everyday there is wind and waves and everyday I am damaging, or just wearing out, my stuff!  One day the waves had come up to 8 ft Hawaiian and I sailed for a few hours, by the end of the day I had buckled two boards in the board snapping machine that is the end bowl!  Most days there is very strong wind, so I go and practice jumps.  Jumps are the most destructive for boards.  When I jump I weaken the boards with flat landings and over-rotations, then I go out at Hookipa on a big day and expose the weak point in the pit of a wave.  So, after a couple of weeks in this routine of destruction, I’m left with my spare-spare board!  All I can say is, it looks as if in a few days I’m going to need a spare-spare-spare board because this thing looks like it’ll break if you pick it up too fast! 

     Then, the day before yesterday, I took it out at Hookipa.  The waves were around 5 ft out of the North, really good shoulders smoked through the break from middles to the end bowl.  I went out and had a blast!  The first few waves I caught were epic, really solid and satisfying.  But then I wiped out.  I tried for an air, went over the falls, and shot into the tumbling abyss!  After that the board didn’t feel the same.  It had been my board over the Fall and early Winter and took a bunch of beatings, this was its last...  I caught another wave and laid into a bottom turn, half way through my board wobbled and warped and I was bucked off and into the pit!  The rest of the session was ridiculous!  I was the only person bouncing through turns and around sections!  Then my second highest batten broke and the sail went out, this was turning into a very unlucky day!  By the end of my session my stuff was tattered and so was my pride.  “Look on the bright side,” I thought “tomorrow can only be better!”

     The next day was much worse.  The waves were now around 4 ft and the direction had turned to an East swell.  Close-period sets rushed through the break like storm surge and I already smelt trouble.  Dad and I had solved the gear problem by getting permission to use the brand new 2012 photo shoot gear, under the instruction to try not to break it!  I went out, tripping out over the new gear and how cool all the brand new stuff was, and caught a few waves.  The board, sail, and everything else felt perfect and my session was perfect!  Then I tried for a goiter, under-rotated, fell backwards over the falls, and my gear rode straight into the rocks.  I remembered the instructions I got when receiving the gear that was now on the rocks, oops!  I swam in through the rocks and clambered up to dry land.  Luckily the gear wasn’t broken so I went back out.  I caught a wave, aired, and went head over the heels into the pit where my gear went into the rocks again!  I repeated steps 1-3 and re-evaluated my situation.  Two unlucky days in a row!  Was there some kind of curse on me?  All I can do is give it another try...

Posted: April 10, 2011 at 09:02 AM
By: Windsport Magazine
(0) Comment/s

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