5th March 2014
THE WINTER of CONTENT!
What a difference a year makes! Feb 2013 was a good month for toboganning and ice fishing. I didn't sail once in the UK from Jan to April. But this year ... it's been relentless. Only last week I came in out of the waves at the Witterings and had to undo the wetsuit becasue i was getting a bit warm.
Off for a skiing break next week - that should cool me down - and then it's the build up to the first clinic of the season in Marsa Alam - still 5 places left by the way!
6th Feb 2014
Jeri I love You!
When you travel 24 hours across all terrain AND blow a lot of loot to get somewhere, expectations are very high. So it is with Jericoacoara. But in 6 years the place has yet to let us down. My Jan course this year was probably the best yet. 10 out of 10 days of proper planing wind and waves. The team got to jump and sail down the line EVERY day. It's glorious to see what progress people can make if given a constant, benign arena.
The gorgeous class of 2014
And what a great international group with delgates from Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and a few Brits.
Big moments included Dan Smith's first forward. Marius was inches from landing a backie - and everyone had PBs in the bar.
A committed team on and off the water
Marius inches from a clean backie
Just to add that I'll be returning in 2015 (well why wouldn't you?).
It will be pretty much the same time 9-19 Jan.
If you want to put your name early on one of the coveted places, call Phil at Sportif on 01273 844919
6th Jan 2014
HAPPY NEW 2014!
I never though I'd catch mysellf saying this but: "I wish this darn wind would ease off a bit!"
For the third time in a week I've had to fish gardenb furniture out of the trees. Then 2 days ago I turned up to the beach only to be turned away by a health and safety official explaining to me that it was too dangerous. Of course it is -that's why we do it!!
Happily I'm off to Jeri in 3 days where traditionally it's all a bit more moderate and warmer!
I have to admit to having taken a few weeks off since I got back from Mauritius and now feel suitably charged for the new season.
I have a new Kode 103 to take with me to Jeri along with our new 'yet to ne named' Tushingham prototype cross-over sail, which looks absolutely dreamy.
nothing like new kit to get the juices flowing!
2nd Dec 2013
And so it's cheerio to 2013
With just 4 hours to go to take-off 6 of us were still out on Mauritius' Little Reef SUPing in waves so glassy and glorious, we were sorely tempted to ignore the transfer bus.
For me the last session of the Mauritius clinic is
bittersweet. It marks the end of my autumn tour which has taken me non stop from Donegal to Tiree to Cornwall to Tarifa and finally to Mauritius; so at last there's a chance to give aching bones a rest and bond with family; and yet it means I have a year to wait before I'll be riding these perfect waves again.
The 2013 band of brothers and sisters
Mauritius is becoming like a warmed up Ireland for me. After a decade of clinics, we have made proper friends there at Club MistraI and really under the skin of the place.
Matt, the manager, Danny, Johnny, Bubba, Maitrix, Ninja, MAnu., Garry are all SO friendly and go miles out of their way to make the PH Masterclass special.
By the end of the 2013 course our fabulous group had bonded into a Walton-esque family with everyone challenging some very meaty waves with the committment of a pro. Never have there been SO many extraordinaly video moments!
Mauritius 2014 is already pencilled in for the last 2 weeks of November
Donegal and Tiree - better and better
(watch the video)
As I say ad nauseam every year, "I've never had a bad trip to Ireland." One day I will report honestly that we suffered 4 weeks of vertical rain - but it's bever happened and it certainly didn't happen this year.
In fact what made this year especially memorable was the weather. For much of the time it was Medterranean. And niothing brings smiles to faces quite like sun.
bare chests in Irish October
And the wind - in 4 weeks we sailed in waves every day apart from 4.
We had a couple of gales but what i'm coming to realise more and more is that especially when coaching wave sailing, big wind is usually an unwanted distraction sending peoplle scorching off to the horizon out of control usually on the wrong kit. The most enjoyable days where people learned the most were the 10-18 knot days with a clean swell.
Steve Mather in SUP sailing heaven
Once again in Donegal our grious local guru Brendan Hone did an amazing job organising the off the water scene - and special thanks once more to the Loch Altan for being so generous and accommodating.
In terms of conditions Tiree was one of the best courses ever. More and more i realise what keeps people interested and on an upwards improvement graph is not the amount of wind and the size of the waves but the variety. A bump and jump warm-up day was followed by a slassic side-off riding day in clean head high waves. Then we had 'Windy' Tuesday - 30 knots + side-on for rocket jumps. In need of a rest the next day was force 5 and flat so we could work on the skills. And as a magical finale we had a SUP around the coast in glorious sunshine over a glassy sea.
PH twisting over Balephatrish on windy Tuesday
Dave White joins the crew for a classic skills session at Gott Bay
The NWF Looms!
The biggest windy even of the year, THE NATIONAL WINDSURFING FESTIVAL is just2 weeks away. I'm afraid it's not missable. It's three days of relentless fun and action, racing, clinics, gear and a party on the Saturday night to end all parties. Enter in advance by going to
2nd July 2013
There are worse places to be than the Greek islands in June. The first leg of the PH Masterclass tour kicked off in Vass at Neilson's centre. I hadn't been to the Cosmos for 7 years and was amazed at the transformation. Owner Stellios has turned it into a boutique hotel.
For me Vass is like Ireland. Whatever the wind, you never have a bad day. As it was the wind was pretty good. 'Eric' - the bizarrely named thermal - puffed and farted for a day or two and then kicked in properly.
The flat water and mixture of light morning and strong afternoon winds make it an ideal teaching spot. So next year I will return at the same time - watch this space.
The view from the Cosmos - windy heaven
And so onto Rhodes ...
My top tip when you go to Rhodes is to ingnore all forecasts. We were promised a maximum of 9 knots and planed every day apart from one. It's a heat thing - and we had plenty of that. We were based for the second year in a row in Ialysos in the north rather than Prasonisi. Both are great but Ialysos has a lot more going on in terms of day and night life.
The sailing I liken to a very good south coast day, except in shorts and in very blue water. It's classic bump and jump and actually prepares people for the real thing.
As for the centre, I wrote about in in the mag last year, making a wee joke at theior expense about the strict Germanic efficiency, which sort of grates in the British psyche but which in the end you embrace becasue the kit is so good and everything works!
It was once again a truly great group - thanks especially to Monte and Nelle who made it all the way from Sydney and to Valeri from Belgium who sailed on avaerage 6 hours a day!
Paul Hudson gybing off the Pro Centre in Rhodes
4th June 2013
I've done 2 one day courses in the past week, one at the OTC in Weymouth and one yeasterday at the Witterings - and hear this, for both I was wearing a short arm suit! Whoopee - it's 2 months late but at last summer is here. But of course, you rarely get sun without high pressure and a dearth of isobars. But yesterday an unforecast easterly sprung out of nowhere and it was glorious.
I'm off to do a clinic with Neilson in Vass next Sunday (9th June). Traditionally it blows in the UK when I leave these shores so that week might be a good time to book a sicky!
With OTC manager Tris Best in front of the centre at a SUNNY Weymouth last Friday
The Craic in Kerry
It was as good as it always is. Turn your clocks back 50 years - in a good way - and just relax, don't wear a watch, drink when you're thirsty, eat when you're hungry and windsiurf when it's windy, which this year was most of the time.
For both courses this wind stayed in the north, which is marvellous in that it provides starboard tack jumping at the 'Dumps' end of the bay; it also gave us the best possible waves imaginable on Mossies reef; the only drawback was that it was chilly for the time of year. But we soon grew hair on our young bodies and revelled in the conditions.
Both courses had their share of wind - the bonus for me was that the majority had decided to do both weeks. It's a wise ploy if you have holiday to spare because you're not under pressure and feel good about taking a day of. It also doubles your chances of scoring good conditions.
Kathy Bradford takes on Formoyle
As a test of skill we had the lot - side-obshore jumping, bog and ride, classic down-the line, glassy SUPing and a bit of free-riding in Straggane Bay when the sea got out of control.
The cottages are booked for the same weeks in 2014 - be there!
Strange behaviour from the class of 2013
Kerry Here we Come!
I write this from the Fisguard Rosslaire ferry where we're rockin and a rollin like Elvis in his prime. We're en route for Brandon Bay in Kerry for 2 weeks of wave clinics and the forecast is dreamy.
After the winter we've had, I feel we deserve it.
The wind doesn't seem to be dropping much below 25 knots with waves up to 6m.
Best of all, the wind is swinging northerly. That doesn't seem like good news in most places but on the Dingle peninsula, that means Mozzies reef will be working on starboard tack - pure heaven!
Spring arrives at West Wittering
Who'd a thought it? Two weeks ago I was sweeping snow off the van and contemplating a sea temp of 3º. Then on the very day that I'd scheduled a 2 day course at West Wittering, the sun shines and warm SW winds arrive, 30 knots the first day and 15 the second. It really cou;ldn't have been much better. And even though the water was far from tropical, there wasn't an ice cream headache nor one case of hot hands amongst us.
Thanks to Simon Basset and the 2XS for their great service and support - and also to Jeff Sarah Mike Alan Ray Tony Ian and Richard for taming the gale.
Richard McKeating on the WW lagoon
2nd April 2013
The Joys of Dahab
I contemplate trying somewhere else in the Red Sea for my first general skills of the clinic of the year - but I view the options and always decide that you just can't beat Dahab. And so it turned out for my recent March clinic - 6 out of 7 days of proper planing wind with a welcome day off in the middle.
Rich Whittaker nails his first duck in glorious Baby bay
The group were sublime many achieving long-awaited goals. Rolf did his first carve gybe, Rich his first duck,Soren and Lance properly nailed the waterstart, Chris spun out a 360 and there were gybes galore from everyone.
Club Mistral just get better and better. The service and friendliness of Federico, Ahmed, Said and crew is legendary.
We shall return!
PH feeling the love from the Club Mistral team!
Come ON Spring!
The sun is shining but even though the clocks have changed and we;re into April, it still feels like January. The water in the Solent remains at a bracing 4º with the wind still howling in from Siberia>
Next week a change is promised. SWinds from the SW and a tropical 10º. It better change. I'm running a course down at West Wittering in 2 weeks and I don't want it to be a survival course!
7th Feb 2013
(From Brazil to the Alps)
To say it was as good as it's possible to get, is no exaggerartion.This was my 6th consecutive January Jeri clinic. WE thought last year was good - well this year was even better. Not only 5.0 weather every day but we had glorious swell - big but kindly so even the less experienced could attack it.
Dan Smith on 'wave of the week!'
PH goes one handed
And the massive advantage of January is that is that the water is SO much less crowded than the frantic months of Oct, Nov and Dec.
Once again we went international
- the group including 5 Brits, a German, an Italian, a Belgian and a Serb, all of whom bonded famously
The 2013 dream team
The homecoming was a bit tortuous in that we travelled back during the January freeze. Planes were delayed, connections missed and luggage deserted and re-routed.
I eventually got back at midnight and was on a ferry to France 8 hours later, to take the family skiing. It was a 50º tempoerature shift in the space of 48 hours but we had extraordinary snow conditions.
Netty in front of a snowy van. From Jeri to alpine France in 48 hours - a temp drop of a mere 50º!
So now i find myself back in the UK for 6 weeks, my next clinic being Dahab in March.
I'm looking forward to some angry winter sailing. Went down yesterday - 25 knot westerly and a good swell - but just the 4º. There was a time ... I must be getting old ... or just sensible! Give me another 5º and I'll consider it!
7th January 2013
Jeri here we come!
Apart from general bankrupcy after the xmas excess, January holds no fear for me because tomorrow I head for Jeri in Brazil. It's wrong to say it's my favourite clinic destination becasue I love them all. However, there is something very special about stepping from steely grey, damp, blaaaah UK, into equatorial Brazil. As happy contrasts go, it's right up there. Just checked Windguru and it shows a steady force 4 and 2m waves as far as the eye can see.
This coming course is full, but put it in your diary for Jan 2014.
Just back from Mauritius.It's a bit of a shock to the system leaving 30º Indian Ocean and landing 12 hours later in -4º UK and scraping ice off the boartd store. It was another great trip to Mauritius. A wonderful multinational group,, fabilous waves, constant warmth, sunshine and azure water. The only thing missing was the normally relentless trade winds. Still we always had enough to get out there and the wave riding on Litte Reef was classic.
Mark Horne in positioin A1 on Little Reef
Matt Buzza and all the Club Mistral Crew were awesome throwing party after party. Luckily many of the goup stayed on after the course ended. True to form the wind returned the day i lef! e'll be back!
Two Estonians, 2 Italians, I Chinaman, 2 Aussies, 6 Brits and an Iraqi - Ph Masterclass goes international!
15th Nov 2013
What a week for windsurfing!
(Olympics AND 50 knots!)
It's not often windsurfing makes the front page of the BBC website but the news that windsurfing has been re-instated into the Rio Olympics did the trick. It was a huge and very bold climb down from ISAF. The story is too long and convoluted to describe here but basically some national bodies admitted that in the first vote they hadn't realised they were voting kite-boarding in, at the expense of windsurfing. Great news for all apart from those who had invested in kite race kit and had already started their campaign (which included Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw!)
And then news came in from the amazing speed strip at Luderitz in Namibia that first Anders Bringdal and then Antione Albeau, had broken the 50 knot barrier (over 500m, not just peak speed).
Since the kites have taken the overall record to over 55 knots, the news was strangely subdued in the press - but 50 knots is a massive achievement on a board.
14th Nov 2013
Early November is when traditioinally I head to Europe's wind capital - Tarifa. For 16 years a band of windsurfing radiologists have convened at the Hurricane Hotel to confer and mutually educate. Too much work makes Jack a very dull boy and in between lectures they windsurf and SUP their socks off and that's where I
we had a lot of weather - wind ranging from 0 to 35 knots, flat water and meaty waves, a bit of sun and some spectacular thunderstroms. Never a dull moment!
Played some great music in local bars with Irish guitar legend Percy Robinson and Loft Sail designer Monty Spindler on bass - well they were great anyway!!
Mauritius on Sunday - life could be worse.
North Atlantic Bliss!
The endless winter tour of Donegal and Tiree was unbelievably wonderful and may I thank ALL 55 of you who attended over the 4 weeks for making it so special.
Here are some stats for you
Planing days: 25 out of 30 (and that's PROPER planing, not some scrawny kid getting going in one puff with a 10.5)
Days with swell - 28 out of 30
Peoplele always assume we take artic survival suits with us but it's not that much different to the sunny south. N. Ireland missed out on the rain and misery that blighted the English summer and the water this year was teh warmest I'd ever known it - absolutely no need for rubber on the extremities.
The Loch Altan Hotel once again did us proud. We have a great thing going on and the bar is now dominated by a Harty Msterclass Clinic poster.
We have already reserved room for the Clinics next year - same weeks - last 2 in September.
skills on the lagoon behid the beach
team, worn out but smiling ...
and why wouldn't you with a beach like this?
Harty Masterclass and the Loch Altan, firm friends!
Tiree, as befts its billing as being the sunniest place in the UK, was gorgeous. The star spangled forecast that greeted us on the Sunday we arrived dissipated gently but we ended up with 4 full planiong days with waves and 2 classic SUP sailing days. And here's naked truth, in 5 knots of wind, a clean waist high swell and the sunsine of Balephuil beach, people learned more than in 40 knots and masrt high waves that just sends everyone in to survival.mode.
Heavenly SUP sailng at Balephuil
So here we are installed once more on the balmy south coast whre it's suprisingly mild - I was out surfing yesterday and was overheating in a 3ml suit - that's all set to change at the weekend I fear as the nor'easters settle in. I'm off to do a course in Poole and the temps aren't due to make double figures - but at least it'll be sunny!.
THE ENDLESS WINTER beckons!
No sooner did the summer arrive than we were suddenly staring September in the face, which is not all bad, since firstly we have the NWF to look forward to at Hayling, and then I'm off to glorious Donegal and Tiree for a month of wave clinics. Over 4 weeks I'm being joined by 60 die hard desperados keen to put their bodies on the line to get to the next level
I'll be posting regular updates on my Facebook page
Like the rest of the country I stand in awe of what's going on in the Games. Heading off to watch them live soon - the windsurfing you ask? - no the women's football semi-finals! Beggars can't be choosers and all that. It's all we could get. My boy is pleased at least, he likes girls and he likes football. What more could he want.
Great wind at the moment both here and at Weymouth. Been doing some testing of Tushy's new ROCKS which are stunning. I know I'd say this but we really have got it right this time. It's a wave sail which suits all styles. It's got some grunt for those who like punch through the waves, and with a bit more outhaul it turns intto a kosher down the like riding sail with instant on off control.
Allso been testing some new STORM prototypes. Ken has tweaked the luff curve to make them accomodate skinnies. He's made a good thing better. It's got the same early planing qualities but is lightter in the hands.
PH testing the new Tushingham Rock
. 31 May 2012
My trip toKerry was especially poignant as it was exactly year ago that I had to abandon the trip and linger in hospital while my troop enjoyed 14 out of 14 days of wind and waves.
My return was glorious. The first course was a bit parky as the wind swung to the north but northelies in Brandon Bay meant Mossies reef was working. Not only is a beautiful wave but the action takes place just off Spillanes pub which is always a bonus.
Then for the second week we enjoyed a Caribbean heat wave. Kerry in the sunshine is more beautiful that yiu an imagine. It wasn't howling but we aways had enough wind to sail and enjoy th swell.
On the last Wednesday, talk of a sotu westerly swell took us to Inch on the south side of the peninsula. Steve from Plymouth put it in his top 5 days of all time "obviously just behind my wedding day and birth of kids etc" he added!
It was also great to see old Jamie Knox on great form. It's not easy running a business out there. You hav to suffer some pretty bleak months but he always runs a good show.
The UK wave champa went off well and the Iirish slalom the following weekend had a day so classic at Straggane (sun and 20 knots sideshore) that it will love long in the memory.
BETTER THAN HAWAII
I run most of my courses abroad because of the greater liklihood of wind. And sometimeswe forget what we have at home. After by gybe clinic at West Wittering lat Tuesday, we decided that WW, at low tide is actually better than Kanawa in Maui, the free-ride beach. The 'trench is amazing. Wasit deep flat water, sandy bottopm and NO sharks - and when you get 25 knots of sou'westertly, it's perfection.,
Steve Mather from Yorkshire, cam down for the day to join the group of southern jesses and couldn't believe what he was seeing. "Even the puddles are blue" he said.
Steve Mather gybes of the WW trench
Just as last year, Dahab, the wind God and the Neilon centre came up with wonderful goods. The clinic at the end of March once again enjoyed 6 days of planing wind. Neilson' were incredible hosts. The centre was humming.
The group, and never have you seen a group of more disperate characters, bonded wonderfully, to the point where team Denmark were seen escorting certain tired, emotional and hopelessly ost members of team UK back to the hotel in the early hours.l
The saddest news is that the Neilson
centre is to Dahab is to close in June. It's not a reflection of the sucess of the centre - just a corporate decision from above.
But all the other fabulousNeilson Beachclubs in Greece and Turkey remain active.
We had ZERO luck with our application for Olympic tickets so we did the next best thing and went to a test event - it's cheaper and less crowded. We turned up at the Aquatic centre in the Olympic Park in Stratford expecting to spend hours queing outside a building site, but were gobsmacked at the beauty of the place and how smoothly it all ran.
We were through security tens in a jiffy (Gatwick could learn a thing or two) and straight to centre which was stunning. The event was the 10metre platform qualification and all the top bods were there. 4.5 somersaults from UKs Petrer Waterfield wasn't bad.
I hope I'm not putting a curse on it all by saying it could be the best Olympics ever!±
1st Feb 2012
JERI - BETTER than GOOD!
(watch the highlights)
We never got a break. On day 7 we awoke to lifeless trees and a high tide. There was a collected sigh of relief in that thanks to a beautiful swelll we got to give the palms a rest and enjoyed an hour of classic SUPping. Jeri IS the best place in the world to get into SUPping. The wave is clean, soft and goes on forever - the water blood temperature and it's pure sand underfoot. But then, just as we sniffed a day off, the wind kicked back in and off we went again.
It was a classic week helped no end by the conditions but above all by a very special group of people, which included an ex pro footballer Serb called Dragan ('Dragan-inyo' being his adopted Brazilian name), who windsurfed at least 8 hours a day; and a Liechtensteiner (Sven) - a rare addition indeed as there are only 30,000 of them in the world!
Dragan a second before eating much sand!
Clive going round and down.
Jeremy rips whilst onlookers ...??
Sven and his one-handed hooked in ...oops!
We'll be heading back to Jeri in Jan next year (approx 8-18th Jan 2013). If you are keen to join, may I urge you to book in the summer as the flight price goes NUTS the later you leave it (from £600 in July to over 1K
for those who booked late in Dec)
15th Jan 2012
Been in Jericoacoara for 5 days now and in 4 year years of coming, these have been the best conditions ever. The favourite sail size amongst the group has been 4.7 every day. Restricted to just one board bag by the airline, I chose my 2 sail quiver of a 6.2 and a 5.7 Tush Rok on past experience - lets just say I've been stacked! I'm using the new 94 Starboard Kode which is unbelievably versatile and controllable - there's actually something quite refreshing about havin the sail choice taken away. While others agonise I just pick up the 5.7 and get out there - reminds me of the original Windsurfer days when the only decision was whether to take the storm daggerboard or the normal one!
one board strategy for Harty in Jeri!
28th December 2011
HAPPY NEW YEAR (nearly!)
II've put on no less than 5 kg this xmas but only the finest quality foods and wine passed my lips. I could be going for speed in 2012 but the most pressing need is to rediscover my bikini figure for Jeri in 2 weeks time.
Down on the south coast it's refreshingly mild after lasy year's freeze.. On xmas day we were playing a grudge footy match in T shirts and today there's 25 knots of westerly with a scorching 10º air temp and tepid 9º water. I'm resisting the temptation just to give my (still) scabby knee and final chance to keal over properly.
WISHIING YOU ALL THE MOST JOYOUS NEW YEAR!
6th Dec 2011
GREETINGS from MAURITIUS!
It's tough out here in the tropics but II'm managing. My three week stay is miserably nearing its conclusion. I've run 2 back to back clinics here and even though this is my 7th year on the trot, I never cease to be amazed by just how good this place is for ALL levels.
Local faces were a bit glum when I arrived. Mauritius had NOT had a good year for wind. The low pressure that gives South Africa its wind in Jan and Feb, stayed put and left Mauritius in the doldrums for most of the summer. Almost unhear of.
But praise the Lord, when we arrived in mind November, normal order was restored. For the past 22 days, 17 have had wind over 15 knots nd we've always had swell. But here's the thing, the light wind days proved arguably the most fun and productive as we took SUPs and small sails out to Litte Reef to ride the sweet peeling waves.Mandy Parke ripping up Little Reef on a SUP
Wave sailing on SUPs is like doing it in slow motion and people learned more in those sessions about sets, wave selection, where to take off and what to do that they would after 5 years getting pounded by a south coast shore-break.
The clinics atracted a truly international field with entrants from Hong Kong, India, Serbia, Iraq,Australia and Yorkshire. The United Nations could have learned a thing or two - it was a study of racial harmony
. Tony Smith (Australia), gybes before a beaming Fuad Feddo from Iraq.
As for stand-out performances. there were so many but right up there was Dragan from Serbia - recently recovered from prostrate cancer, he put in a minimum of 6 hours a day. There's nothing like a brush with death to make you treasure life's pleasures.
FROM DONEGAL to TIREE
The 3 week 'Endless Winter' Clinc tour
"Unbe'bloody-lievable" is how Steve put it, who had the time and commitment to join me for all the 3 weeks. He sailed in waves and wind EVERY single day of those 3 weeks, which has to be something of record.
For the first course the wind stayed mostly in the SW, perfect for Magheroarty. A 3 metre swell rolled in on day 3 - a tough initiation for first time wave sailors but they all handled it. The glory of Magheroarty is that you can choose the height of swell you desire by where you launch. And if you'd rather avoid the issue altogether, you can walk 100m to the fabulous waist deep, flat inland sea behind the beach.
For the second week the wind moved to the south which pushed us to the staggering beach of Dooey to the west. Incredibly and wonderfully, the temperatures rose to the 70s to the point where on the north coast of Ireland in September, 2 people complaned of sunburned feet!
Brave and Bare chested (apart from Vikki), the Donegal team bask in the September heat.
The only real victim of the week was poor Bill Oliver and his toe which got bent in a comic fall. I told him, if he's going to injure himslelf, he might as well be doing something huge.
Bill's toe getting comically bent
So onto Tiree ... where for 2 years in a rowwe were presented with a forecast from Windguru displaying more purple than a 70s reunion. Storms forced the midweek ferry to cancel but we got out there and braved and profited from the tempests and their accomoanying swells. In truth it was never unsailable and we used all sails from 6s down to 3.5s.
We sailed a lot at 'sheltered' Gott Bay. The swells were so big that they were wrapping around the whole island and rolling into the beach, clean and beuatiful. It was hard to imagine better conitions for cracking 'down the ine' riding.
The Thursday took us to Crossapol - my favourite location on the island (normally Starboard tack) for a proper big session. There were some epic rides and even 'epicer' wipe outs. No one died and amazingly, no one broke any kit
.Ronnie Sommerville in down-the-line heaven at Gott Bay
A big thank you to Monica and Leslie of the fab and newly upgraded Hynish Centre for their legendary hospitality.
The only downer of the trip was gathering at the Tiree Lodge at 8.30am on the last Saturday to watch the England rugby team falll miserably to France!
Check out a few highlights of Donegal
Autumn is officially here. And of course the windy season proper starts on a Monday. I was at West Witt running a one day course and you wouldn't believe how many people were 'sick' - 25 knots sideshore. I wonder if Cameron and the cabinet have done a study corelating the wind with a drop in national productivity?
Looks set to blow all week and frustratingly I've been ordered off the water by the docs. The old knee still has a hole in it and the last thing I need is an infection before I leave for the Ireland clinics next week.
The NWF at Hayling at the weekend was a massive success. Nearly 40 entrants and a party which involved grown men semi naked doihng strange things with night stick - please don't ask!
It was great to see so many of you getting involved. The whole experience made windsurfing look and feel very alove and healthy - apart from its drink problem obviously!
PH raising a smile during one of his clinics at the NWF
Just back from camping on France's Atlantic coast. Didn't take windsurfing kit, just a surfboard and a SUP. Of course it blew its wotsits off for the first 3 days. Our next door beighbour's tent ended up in a tree along with their double mattress.
The outdoor canvas office in SW France
Then it went all summery and we enjoyed clean, warm, glassy waves - and we could buy a litre of local wine for less than one euro - now that's lving!
Lola Hart on a French roller
Today just preparing for the National Windsurfing Festival. The weather is set fair. Should be enough to plane on big kit - lets hope for the best.
They say that visitors are like fish and that after 3 days they begin to smell. Well it's a bit the same with illness in that after a few weeks your loved ones get compassion fatigue! Especilly when they see you leaping about and going windsurfing.
I knew I was better when my old bad knee started hurting again - a sure sign that the new bad one was better.
The only downside to al this i that I have a caring but slightly paranoid wife who follows me round with a bucket of iodine and goes into panic when she's the merest hint of a scratch!
NATIONAL WINDSURFING FESTIVAL - Hayling 3/4 Sept
Now in its 5th year, it's the biggest and best dedicated windsurfing event in the UK - aimed at getting EVERYONE out there and having fun whether it be racing or just messing about. All the trade will be there. We have the unique night racing event, the HUGE party - and probably the greatetst attraction of all, PH will be giving FREE clinics on the beach!
The mass masterblaster start - more fun it's hard to imagine!
Row Row Row
Arguably THE best single exercise for windsurfing, is rowing. I've been using the Concept 2 indoor rower for about 15 years and lat wwek have been working with BRITISH ROWING to produce some Aps on how best to use it depending on the what you want to get out of it - weight loss, strength, endurance etc. I should point out that the 'Ergo' as it's commonly known, has never been marketed as one of those "great abs and body of a god in just 7 seconds a day" machines. It's the house of pain! And yet so good for you as it's weight bearing and places minimal stress on joints etc.
Peter rowing with the ultimate carrot
CLINIC WARM UP
For the first time in a decade or 2 I've had a pretty mellow summer. I had some forced rest due to my wee poisoning incident and after that decided to throttle back for a few weeks. I've tried the Mediterranenan lifestyle where I get up at 5 am (ish), and work through solidly til about midday (I'm editing the new serie of PETER HART MASTERCLASS TECHNIQUE DVds and Aps) and then take the afternoon off, go fishing on the SUP, bully the kids into windsurfing etc. It's been marvellous.
Truth be told I can't wait now for a bit of travel action. My next run of clinics in September/October, are my favourite. The 'Endless Winter' Tour takes me from Donegal to Tiree and bck - van loaded with all the toys. The people who typically join me on those trips have a great attitude, as they certainly haven't come in the hope of getting a tan and luxuriating in satin sheets.The first DONEGAL week, 19-23 Sept, has 3 spaces left by the way. All details on the CLINICS page.
Harty - a poisoned foot kept him away from the computer for a while - and then that turned into full blown septicaemia - but he's back on track now!
BEASTED BY THE PHYSIO!
Rehab going very well. I feel at last I've turned the corner. After amazing physio session with Jane Newnham where she took me through the pain barrier and out the other side, I letft with about 30º more movement in my leg and literally ran out of the place. When you get a god physion like hrer who really understands the body and how it words, the results can be astonishing>
Anyway, a week later nd although still about a stone underweight, I'm being blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel.
TWO moments stand out.
1. yesterday I took a clinic at Croft farm leisure and got on teh water, albeit gently for the first time in 6 weeks.
2. I've enjoyed a pint of beer! The industrial antibiotics destroyed my taste buds and made booze taste like iron filings - but no more. I'm cured!
Lazarus Harty coaching at Croft farm at the weekend
Ist June And just when I thoiught it couldn't get any worse!
Well the cut feet turned out to be the least of my worries. Friends said that even though I was running around, I didn't look that great. Then 3 weeks ago while on a Uni reunion in Spain, my knee suddenly swelled up and lines of infection rose to my groin. Spanish A and E were not so helpful so I mnaged to get back to the UK where I was admitted to hospital and 3 days later was in Intensive Care with Kidney and liver failure and the leg the size of a tree trunk
.Harty's knee BEFORE it went bad!
All very spooky - but thats to many blood tests and a smart consultant, I was finally put on the right anti-biotics which arrested the rot.
2 weeks later I'm home and in recovery mode. Lost a stone - so the early plaing is going to be devastating. They cut into my knee to drain poisons so I have quite a lot rehab to do there but it's heading in the right direction.
I took one for the team - and you'll note the moment I got ill, the winds got up and haven't stopped since!!
Where HAVE I been?!
What kind of blog is it that only gets updated one every 3 months. Apologies! It's been a bit frantic this winter. I've just returned from a 3 week trip to Dahab where I ran a clinic at Neilson's centre and filmed a deries of new instructional DVDs.
The Clinic at Neilon's was superb. Not only did we luck out with some wildly good conditions - 6 days planing wind in a week and 3 days over 25 knots - but also had the place to ourselves. There's nothing like little civil unrest and the odd shark to keep the hordes at home.
Well we were met with nothing by joy from the locals and never saw a sign of a shark.
The wind stayed up for the film shoot. I've been making a news beginner's program and also a series of advanced programs on various subjects including the ever elusive carve gybe, for which I borrowed the considerably large services of Dave White. If I get my act together, the edited versions should begin to emerge in the summer.
The onlt downer on the whole deal is that I returned to the UK with a rabid foot infection (brought on probably by a mix of Sakara beer and bacardi) which still refuses to let go. Finally an excuse to get horizontal and get pampered!
Our guru is making a series of new DVDs
22 Jan 2011
FROM BRAZIL to AUSTRIA
Arrived back from Jeri Brazil (40º) on Tuesday evening and flew to Innsbruck Austria 8 hours later (-4º). The body is in shock.
I'm here in St Anton to film INTERSKI. It's a four yearly event where all the ski nations gather to pool ideas and give demonstrations. It's spectacular with many of teh teams containing former Olympic racers. From a coaching pioint of view it's fascinating as they discuss new ways of explaining and deivering courses.
BASI (the British Association of Snowsports Instructors) is now seen as one of the leading forces.
So what about Jeri? Well a few thousand miles to the south torrentiall rain was causing catastrophic landslides. Happily we were well clear. The wind wasn't as powerful as in other years but the waves were beautiful and we still planed on 6 out of 10 days.
The group embraced the idea the art of 'slogging out' and the notion that actually wave-RIDINGi is better in non-planing winds. The waves are cleaner and without raw power in your sail, you learn much more about how to use the wave.
And talking of power, the cocktails were are brutal as ever!
Jeri happy hour
MAURITIUS HERE WE COME!
I write this from the Air Mauritius jumbo night flight MK3 en route for true windsurfing paradise>
The flight is half full (or half empty depending on your dispositon), I have 4 seat to myself. The man at chek-in thought my board bag was a set of golf clubs and let it on for nothing.
There has been no wind for 4 days but it's due back tomorrow.
So far it's been a dream trip - long may it continue!
I've been very lax in updating the blog -sorry - it's a crazy time of year for me which sees me home or just 2 weeks out of 2 months. Here in brief, is the story so far.
DONEGAL and TIREE – windy, sunny heaven
Travelling north and west in autumn is generally like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, in that you never know what you’re going to get. Well heading to Donegal, you can be certain of a hero’s welcome from the locals and stunning surroundings. On top of that this year we not only got loads of wind and waves for both courses but an uncommon amount of sun. It wasn’t quite a drought but the rain jacket only came out twice
.Peter shares a Donegal wave with Jeremy Diamond
I saved the Windguru forecast for Tiree. Otherwise in years to come no one would have believed it. We fully expected to turn up at Oban to find the island had broken its moorings and drifted off into the Atlantic.
The Sunday morning crossing was actually spookily calm, a true lull before the hurricane. Then it all kicked off.
In truth it was a week to bottle and treasure. Yes it blew its t**ts off but it was manageable.
Yes a 7 metre swell pounded in on Tuesday but the glory of Tiree with its myriad beaches is that you can always escape the full wrath. ‘Sheltered’ Gott Bay on the east side provided sideshore winds and logo high sets. Tiree also lived up to its statistical reputation of being the sunniest place in the UK – it remained bright and tepid.
Yet more amazingly, the damage count was limited to one boom, one UJ, a dinged rail and a cut finger.
We finished on Friday with a ‘gentle’ 22 knot day at glorious Balephetrish. Then on Saturday we chugged home through the Sound of Mull under cloudless skies and on a mirror sea. Talk about timing.
If this is starting to sound like one of those well edited, tinkering-with-the-truth, propaganda reports, well it was actually better than it sounded – but in the interests of balance, I’ll spill the beans about Dahab
.A delerious Tiree posse drunk on a surfeit of wind and waves!
And so onto Dahab ...
Glorious Dahab, normally boringly consistent on the wind front in October, provided us with just one day of planing breeze. We were stuck in a stifling heat wave that blocked the regular pattern. We made the most of it and everyone got a tan. It is true that many make more progress in light winds as we can really break things down and work on technical minutiae but after 6,000 heli-tacks everyone was gagging for a good blast! It was a great laugh and thanks to all for remaining so jovial.
WEST WITT LOOPING ORGY!
The fates lined up and, praise be, my scheduled jump and loop clinic coinciided with perfect 20 knots of side shore wind at West Witt accompanied by peachy stunt ramps.
Deep respect for Mark Perkins who pulled the trigger good and proper and got within a rig's throw of a real kill (check the pic)
.Mark Perkins on his way!
AUTUMN is HERE
Strong easterlies today brought them the feel of autumn - but we couldn't have asked for better conditions for the 'slicker corners' course. The low tide lagoon was so flat it, I swear we were going into gybes at 40 knots!
At the weekend we had the best NATIONAL WINDSURFING FESTIVAL ever. Perfect force 4-5 windsall wekend with sun (most of the time) meant that everyone, from beginner tom pro, could have a crack. The party rocked and the body count was high on Sunday morning.
Big thanks to Alan Cross for all his efforts in staging the greatest show on earth!
HAVE YOU SEEN THE FORECAST THIS WEEK?!
Down in barmy, or is that 'balmy' W. Sussex, it appears, if Windfinder is to be believed, that the wind will not drop below 20 knots for the week from the west.
It may be that we may have to adjust our thinking on what are the windy months in the UK. For the last 2 years the spring equinox has yielded nout . but August, the month of layering on the factor 50 and watering scorched grass, has delievered relentles wind and rain.
I'm not complaining - just observing
!PH gybing off West Witt in August!
The FIRST WINDS of SUMMER - at *&^ last!
The sou'westers finally made a belated appearance down on the south coast this past Sunday. OK so we'd had a few tempting 8.5 sq m seabreezes but finally this was the real thing - wave boards, 5.2s waves AND sun.
The to top of it all, the jump and loop course scheduled for Monday at West Wittering ACTUALLY HAPPENED! Lets hope for a miserable end of summer - there's only sun much sunbathing a man can bear!
SUPPING and CRUISING
According to the Met Office stats it's been the least windy April and May for 50 years. The low average has been brought about by the lack of equinox gales. However, there have been plenty of 'mess-about sea-breezes down here on the Sussex riviera.
My latest joy has been shoving a sail on my 11ft SUP and cruising around re-living a true 70s windsurfing experience - but somehow better. The bigger, wave-orieted SUPs glide beautifully through the water and are perfect for all that old school trickery such as the shin-splitting rail-ride. And if all goes wrong, you can always get the paddle.
Harty taking a trip down memory lane on his SUP
There has been a real problem over the last 2 weeks wave clinics in Kerry - and that was that most packed the wrong clothes.
Temperatures soafred into the 70s - the sun shone lso brightly and the sand was so white that at times we thought we'd been magicked into Barbados.
Such weathjer usually spells high presure and dead clam - bit lucked out with 10 days of planing wind and wave days. Ireland with such weather is truly te most beautiful plce in the world.
Kerry team 2010
A week ago as I lingered under an ash cloud, I didn't think this clinic would happen. But here we are at the world's gybing capital. Glorious! the forecast was awful but we;'ve been blessed so far wth 3 out of 4 days of 20 knots. The happt result of the volcano is that the place is unusually quiet. At lunctime yesterday we had beautiful Baby Bay all to ourselves - unheard of.
LOST in FRANCE!
Just back from shooting a 'how to snowboard' DVD in the French Alps.
Under the current cloud that was indeed a mission. I HAD to get back for teh Saturday as I was best man to an old mate Jon Nicolson, a former windsurfing photographer. No flights clearly so like the infantry of a golden era, we fought our way across the land using a thumb, a fire car, a train 3 taxis and a ferry. The highlight was at Caen at 5 am when I was looking for a taxi to take us 12 km from the town to the port. No chance. I finally collared an off duty cabby at the airport and pleaded. He declined saying he'd has enough of stranded Brits. I then tinkerede with the truth saying he had to help as i was getting married at 2pm. At which mention his whole demeanour changed.He morphed into a counsellor and tried to talk me out of it. He said he'd been married twice "desastre!!' he said, "I lost everysing and my 'eart was broken." However, he relented, I git the ferry and after 36 hours on the road, I made the wedding by 5 minutes!
This darned high pressure is not just bad for ash clouds,it's also playing havoc with my courses! I'm supposed to be running a loop course at WW today - biggest gust so far is 6 mph!
We shall reschedule!
NEW DVD at the edit stage.
Just back from the Tush/Starboard conference down in Dartmouth. It was unusual for a conferecne in that it was fun and intersting - helped by us ending each day with a 6 mile paddleboard down the Dart to the Mollsters Arms - a staggeringly beautiful pub - where we drank and bantered until the early hours.
The new ranges look wonderful. I shared my time between addressing the throng and getting interviews with the likes of Ken Black and Starboard shaping supremo Tiesda You for my new beginner DVD WINDSURFING SKILLS.
Harty and Tiesda
JERI up close.
Feeling a bit wintery here in the ofice, I warmed myself up by compiling a short sequence of some up close action from the recent BRAZIL Jeri trip.. I have a stunning new Head Cam and these are the sort of images you can expect to see of yourself on a Harty Masterclass.
To have a look: CLICK HERE
JERI BRAZIL - better than paradise!
Another nauseating cliinic report coming up I'm afraid - but really honestly without a hint of a lie, Jeri 2010 was a good as it could be. That means 100% wind, beauty waves, no crowds and truly great group who immediatly 'git' Jeri, that is to say the need to balance athletic demands of the daytime with an equally postive attittude to the joys of the night.
I'll say no more. Just make sure you free some time up next January!
Post windy bliss in Jeri 10
4th January 2010
Can you get too much of a good thing? I'm not sure but it's still good to have time off. Since the middle of September I was on the go, and therefore wet, almost every day through to our return from Mauritius in early December. Since then I've had nearly three weeks out of the water. The main advantage of a break is that the cuts I sustained in the summer finally have a chance to heal. I was in severe danger of getting trench foot!
But it all begins again on Friday when i head off to Brazil for the first course of the year - I'm not looking for sympathy.
14th December 2009
I get a few humorously sceptical comments about clinic reviews on this page and how they ALWAYS seem to be windy.
Well ihere we ago again. MAuritiys this year was a classic with 11 days planing wind. The two windless ones were a godsend. They fell towards the end of the course by which time the majority were broken and pleading for mercy.
We had some notable 'firsts.'
Steph and sarh first carve gybes
James - first duck
Jeremy - first loop (nearly)
And for many - first time down the line on the beautiful Manawa outer reef.
Anyway, for fear of upsetting the curmudgeons, i wont go on about it!!
Andy Wong on little reef
40 KNOT LOOPING COURSE!
I ran my final UK clinic of the season yesterday - learn to loop - in conditions that tested patience and skill alike.
A 35-40 knot southely storm, bang onshore at Wittering, whipped a wildly confused sea-state. Getting off the beach was a trial, let alone looping.
Happily our patience and resilience paid off With the tide dropping and the wind easing and swingng westerly, life becamce more mnageable to the point where 3 of the group pulled the trigger and tarted going round.
Well done Nick, Ivan,
Stuart, Nick, Charlie, Eliot and Andy - it was a massive effort.
12th October 2009
25th Sept KERRY DONEGAL TIREE -
The MOTHER of all TOURS!
Most sensible surfers travel south with the onset of winter - I go north.I've just returned from a 3 week wave clinic tour of irelnd ann Scotland. No hint of a lie but we wwre blessed not only with great people but also amazing conditions - we saiiled on every day apart from one - and it didn't even rain that much.
Team Donegal 09
KERRY was almost tropical. Donegal wasn't but offered up every type of condition from smooth 8.5 weather to mast high waves at Maghaeroarty - about right for a 'general skills and waves' course.
Tiree was the same ending with 'big Friday' at Gott Bay, the normally sheltered spot, where a 40 knot southerly blew in monstruous waves.
It's taken me a week to dry out and warm up but thanks to everyone for your excellent company.
Team Tiree 09