More FUN Wave Sailing Conditions in Nags Head!

Not sure what is up this year, but we have been seeing a lot of SSE/S wind opportunities with strongest conditions north of Oregon Inlet.  I have been out near daily “in town” catching great surf and sail conditions at both Bladen and Enterprise Streets in Nags Head.  Many days were on the Sealion, but a few have been on the standard kit as well!
Yesterday was likely one of the best where a solid surf swell was hitting along with moderate S wind!  I was, as usual, solo on my standard windsurfing kit, though a few surfers were in the lineup enjoying the head+ set peaks and average waist+ action.  Warm water and lots of sun made it one of the best “in town” wavesailing days yet this year.

Though no sailing available in this clip, you can get a glimpse of the surf break and my surprise at seeing one of the bigger sets roll in as soon as I started filming the report!

Bill’s OBX Beach Life

Days of SSE Winds and a Decent Swell Serve Up Fun In Nags Head!

Over the past week, the predominant OBX weather pattern has been SSE/S wind and a decent sized swell in the water ranging waist+ throughout most of the period.  I have been catching daily “extended lunch break” sessions at Bladen St in town where a decent outside sandbar currently exists.  Conch St has not been working as well as past years, thus focus has shifted to Bladen as well as Enterprise.  Both of these spots primarily work on SSE or S, as SSW will be very sheltered.  However, on the SeaLion, this is not a problem.  There have been a few days where the standard kit did work, and I was even able to pop a few rare “in-town loops” off an approaching swell; however, most of the sessions have been SeaLion only.

The surf over the past week has been quite fun with a peak this past Sunday.  Unfortunately, during the peak, SE winds were minimal even for the SeaLion, and the water was unseasonably cold (low 50s).  I did catch a late session Sunday following the tide switch that brought in warmer water, but it was only a few waves, though fun in size and power…, of course, trunks only!

All in all, there has been plenty of in town action given all these days of SSE/S wind with strongest conditions north of O Inlet.  Hopefully, things turn on down South and we see a “classic” Bermuda High lock into place with strong SSW winds daily!  Of course, I have to juggle the time to get down south of the bridge, but at least I have been able to catch some fun stuff up in town lately!
Bill’s OBX Beach Life

Trunks Only in Nags Head!

Great weekend for water time!  Caught a FUN Sealion session in Nags Head at Conch St near the BrewThru at Jockeys Ridge.  Surf was relatively small in the waist high range with chest+ peaks on the sets; however, the bars were breaking nicely outside with a 9 second period coming in.  Wind was perfect with slightly side off in the mid-teens range.  Lots of wave rides, fun turns, lip hits, and other action in surprisingly warm water.  Trunks and a 2 mil top was all that was needed.  No images as I was solo but if you are in town, or if its too side on down south, its worth checking out!

Bill’s OBX Beach Life

Rare Summer Time Nags Head Wave Sesh!

Yesterday, wind and surf aligned to provide some really FUN conditions in Nags Head town proper!  I was out at Conch Street across from Jockeys Ridge and conditions were solid 17-20+ mph SSE wind and a nice SE swell providing chest + outside surf!  I rode both kits including the 92 Twin as well as the Sealion Pro.  Sail throughout the day was the 5.1m Maui Sails Mutant.  On the Twin, the wind primarily was on the light side, but for about an hour I was well juiced even for a few rare Nags Head loops!  Swell was perfect for easy pickup on the outside, and the energy always was enough to plane upswell and into the surf zone!

Late day as wind shifted true S and decreased, I switched to the Sealion and remained out there riding wave after wave.  A full 6 hours of wavesailing and at the end, I did not want to stop, but was simply too spent with a tired body and sore hands.  Given the rare Nags Head wave sesh (surprisingly with nice sized surf!), it was hard to give it up to end the day!

I was solo out there other than a few surfers who paddled out.  Inside current was strong so many did not stay out long as they drifted north towards Nags Head Pier.  On the windsurfing kit though, I was able to remain out most of the time.  Did have to do a number of up wind walks but that was mainly due to the long DTL rides connecting 5+ turns!

All in all, an excellent session and I wish they were not so rare for Nags Head?!

No images, but if you happened to view the Nags Head Pier Cam yesterday afternoon, you likely saw the sail in the zone when the cam pointed south!

Bill’s OBX Beach Life

Saturday SUP Sesh at Conch St, Nags Head!

This past Saturday, we saw a fun easy SE swell in the water off Nags Head. Soft crumbly waves on the sand bar offered long rights and with water temps in the 70s it was perfect for some ocean time. Sam F came in from the Raleigh area, and Kieth M and crew came up from Avon to ride SUPs both with sail and without. A fairly strong S to N current was in the water Saturday so it made it hard to light air wave sail since the wind was SSE and quite light. Mainly, you simply traveled north with the current while not really making much progress out. I ended up trying the SeaLion Pro as a prone paddle surf board.

As a prone paddling surfboard, the Pro worked surprisingly well! I was able to catch waves early similar to the takeoff of a long board; however, the Pro offered a snappier ride on the wave while going down the line as compared to a standard long board. Also, the prone paddle was quite fast given the buoyancy and lightweight of the Pro compared to a standard surfboard. All in all, quite fun and a great additional offering for riding the Sealion!

Here are a few snaps from the session featuring Ian and his wife Shyloh catching a few waves!  Photographer:  Keith M
Bill’s OBX Beach Life

The Light Air Wavesailing “Head Carry”

I have seen forum posts and inquiries regarding the task of getting a light air kit to/into the ocean.  Often main concerns include light air wave board weight, shorepound, and simply not knowing what to do.  Folks mention a need to drag their kits into the water sliding along the sand/rocks for both entry into and exit from the beach break.  A key technique to avoid both the drag and the shorebreak is the “Head Carry.”

The Head Carry technique is used regularly with traditional wavesailing.  Both for entry into the water as well as exit from.  Additionally the head carry is often used for the “walk of shame” for those blown downwind with a need to hike the gear back to the launch site.  All in all, the Head Carry is a valuable technique to master for carrying both your light air and regular windsurfing gear.

For Light Air enthusiasts the Head Carry is key for accessing the water.  Of course, the AHD SeaLion at 7’6″ in length and considerable light weight for its volume at 135ltrs is quite easy to Head Carry.

Though for those with larger Light Air kits (I also head carry the NahSkwell 10’6″ Stoller!), the Head Carry is the way to go unless the board is simply “too heavy.”

Setting up the Head Carry involves a few steps dependent upon wind direction.  The board and sail should be laid out on the beach in a setup similar to a water start position with the sail on the downwind side of the board.  Kneeling down, the arm crossover technique works to fly the sail with one arm while lifting the board up and into the wind.  The combination of the sail air lift, board air lift, and some strength from the sailor will get the board up and the sail situated on the sailor’s head.  Note, do not place the your head on the middle of a sail panel, but rather place it at a seam, and as close to the mast as possible.  Balance the sail as necessary with head position and control with the arm holding the sail.  Basically, the wind should aid lifting the weight of the board along with some arm strength.  Of course, its best to practice this technique with your regular smaller windsurfing gear.  Simply rig up your small kit and practice to become comfortable with lifting into a head carry along with walking and managing the kit on your head.  Once comfortable with the small kit head carry, then this same technique can be taken to the larger light air kit.

Exiting the ocean with the Head Carry is also key.  Basically when exiting the ocean while in waist deep or less water continue a forward momentum when stepping off the board to drive the gear up into a head carry.  Basically its the same as on land, however, the water depth lessens the kneel and the forward momentum of coming into the beach helps drive the gear up and onto your head.  Again, this is best to master with regular gear and you can do this either in the ocean or even flat water/shallows such as the sound.

Bottom line is that the Head Carry works quite well for getting light air kits into and out of the ocean.  The technique should be mastered or proficient with smaller gear; however, the exact same technique is used for the larger light air kits.

Note, if you do have a big light air kit and the head carry simply will not work, then next best is the “Railed Driver.”  More on this technique in a future post.

Bill’s OBX Beach Life