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Post by Tighe »

LAKE: Goose Lake
DATE: Dec 18, 1999
STORY: Perfect day ice sailing with Diane and Judd Nelson, Kyle McGlade and Patty Martindale at Goose Lake, near White Bear. Since our boards are tucked away for the season and Kyle and I have been trying out landsailing lately. We've been having great success with homebuilt Orca look-alikes. Michael Martindale showed us how to construct a Freeskate type rig so we quickly made blades and drove to Goose lake. Our rig was a dismal failure; the blades weren't sharpened right and dragged a lot. Fortunately Patty and the Nelsons both had spare Freeskates that they lent us. The ice was perfectly smooth and the wind reasonably steady 4.0m-5.5m. Amazing how fast those things can move. Clocked Judd at over 35mph next to the road as we left. The real treat of the day was watching Judd pull off amazing freestyle sail moves (It's really depressing to be screaming along at full speed and get passed by Judd sailing backwinded). Caught most of his moves on video; it'll give us something to practice on the landsailors over the winter. The next day it snowed, ruining the perfect ice. Thanks again to Patty, Judd and Diane for lending the equipment.

AUTHOR: Don Will

LAKE: St. Croix River
DATE: Dec 11, 1999
STORY: It aint over till its frozen over Saturday began with an early morning call from Jerry Sandell asking if I was interested in doing some ice sailing. None of lakes in the city I had seen were completely frozen, let alone safe for ice sailing. Jerry indicated that he had found a small lake near Hutchinson that was no deeper than 6 feet, so that if we fell through we would not drown. For some reason I did not find this idea too comforting. I told Jerry that I was interested in one last session on the water. Since the forecast was for relatively light wind, Jerry decided to pass. (We will come back to Jerry shortly.)
After seeing a 10am wind reading of 15-20mph for Faribault, I decided to head to Cannon for a final session on the water. The trees were blowing on the drive down, but my worries increased as I noticed that every body of water on the way was frozen solid. Cannon had met a similar fate. There was only a small section of water open in the middle of the lake. Since the wind was blowing pretty well at this point and my hopes had been high, I decided to head for Hudson on the St. Croix.
There was no ice in sight at Hudson, but the sun had disappeared. It was feeling pretty cold. I estimated that the air temperature was in the low to mid 30's. I could see white caps around the point, which had created a wind shadow near the shore where I was launching. Since water starting was out of the question, I jumped on the wide body race board that served me well for more than 40 sessions this season. I was not disappointed. Once I schlogged out a bit, the wind filled in beautifully. By sailing slightly upwind, I was able to land on the small island out from the Wisconsin shore line to warm my hands. I was sailing big gear, but the thrill of being completely powered up on the water with less than two weeks before Santa's arrival made this a memorable afternoon. Would this be the last session of the millenium on the water in Minnesota?
Later in the day I heard from Jerry. It turns out that he ventured out with his ice sailing board on perfectly glassy ice. His biggest concern was avoiding the ice fisherman who were stationed at different spots on the lake. I was amazed!
Kara and I joined up with Jerry on Sunday at Lake Jenny near Hutchinson. There was hardly a breeze when we arrived, but the wind picked during the afternoon. Just out from shore the ice was perfect glass! Before long we were hooked into the harness and hanging on for dear life. We had so much speed going into jibes that lay downs became a survival tactic. Kara was on ice skates getting some great video footage. The excitement of flying along at top speed on glassy ice matches the best thrills I have experienced on the water.
It really helps me to get through the winter to know that January and February are the only two months when I won't be out on the water. I sailed four times in March of 1999, and I have had December sessions in each of the last two seasons. With Jerry watching the lakes on the west side of town and with my eyes fixed on the situation in town, I am sure there will be more excitement on the ice this season. Sailing in Minnesota can be simply awesome for most of the year if you are willing to adjust to what it has to offer.

AUTHOR: Mike Winter

LAKE: Lake Superior
DATE: Nov 18, 1999
STORY: Mother Superior We Love You

You know that feeling, when you study the weather patterns and start dreaming about a potentially epic day? When the isobars are looking good, all the forecasts are alligning and the hourly weather reports are matching to the forecast? This morning I woke to SkyHarbor reading of NE 12 and watched each hourly pattern increase to NE 20, before Teran, Ryan and I took off for Duluth at 7:30. There was one more reading on the road that gave us NE 14 and my stomach started to sink, knowing that once the lake shows a down trend, the potential for a quick shutdown is very real. Well, it was a beautful sunny morning to take a drive, so we continued on. Much to our pleasure, when we approached the hills just south of Duluth, we could see some great tree movement and we knew it was on the way back up. When we hit the Tott Lott, the airport reading was NE 20 knots. We rigged 4.7M and ventured out into the 41 degree water, FULLY WOUND! The waves were setting up beautifully, but the 4.7M was too big to really play the terrain, so after an hour session, we came in and rigged down to 4.2M and were still fully wound. The winds were now pretty steady at 30-35MPH and some of the wave sets were as beautiful as I've ever seen. While conditions were not far from becoming unsailable, it seems 30-35MPH is when it's pure heaven. We were all amazed at all the sweet exit doors that seemed to appear when a big one was breaking on us. Fortunately, none of us ever got munched by the big one. You know how you search the day for the BIG jump? For the perfect ramp, but the wind dies? For the perfect ramp and wind, but the direction's off? I've found that it's rare to hit a face in Minnesota with the right direction and speed to loft the "really" big one. Well, gang, today I was truly blessed. An awesome 8' face pitched up just before breaking when I was heading into it full speed, making it by far the best jump I've had all year, anywhere. But I guess it's relegated to my mind's eye since Ryan and Teran didn't see it. The Channel 6 news came out and filmed a segment. We were hoping they had a helicoptor, cause that sort of footage today would have been so beautiful. While my wife says I say it too often, "This was my best day ever!!"

AUTHOR: Randy Johnson

LAKE: Lake Mille Lacs
DATE: Nov 13, 1999
STORY: We headed up there as early as we could. The big front was passing by up in Canada and wind was due to sweep across the state, we just weren't sure exactly when. I was a gorgeous day, especially for November. We arrived at the lake to water skiing conditions. Almost glass. Those of you who have spent any time on this beautiful lake, know that these conditions are very rare.
There was a small posse' of surfers who waited it out in the sunny 65 degree weather. Mike and Kevin had car pooled and had a minivan full of gear. Rob, Pete, Laura and ??? were in the mood and rigged for any and all conditions. Like a fool I only brought 5.0 and down. The wind didn't come till 3:00. Those who had rigged big went to the water with sixes. I rigged my 5.0 and ran to the water as I felt the wind building. As soon as I stepped on the board a wave of joy engulfed me. I was sailing right into the setting sun. Sailing in bright fuzzy chrome was unreal. I had some of the most visually magnificent sailing I had ever had. After about 40 minutes the wind backed off a bit and I headed in. I climbed out of my suit and was hanging out when the wind surged again. Back into our suits, Bill and I headed out once more. The sky was now turning red and the water was a blaze. A short session though beautiful. After sunset the wind came up once more and Bill was still in his suit so he joined the others for one last session. The image is burned in my mind. The rich red sky ignighting the sails and the dark water ever in motion.
A short but memorable session.


LAKE: Lake Okabena
DATE: Spring 98
STORY: A couple of years ago (early spring) I got a phone call from some friends from the St. Cloud area. They were asking me if the ice was "out" on Lake Okabena. I mentioned that it was about half way open on the eastern side , they were eager to get wet and a weather system they were tracking would put it around Worthington in a day or so. Two days later while having just finished breakfast I looked out the window and saw a sight that is only familiar during the summer months, people with anenometers! Ah yes! let the season begin! It was Jerry Sandell from the St. Cloud area and his storm troopers. As I recall the wind at the time of their arrival was not more than 14 to 16 knts.(I always feel responsible if it isn't adaquate.) They suited up and tweaked a few sails and jumped in the half frozen lake ( I just watched). They were doing Titanic-like manuvers in amongst small ice bergs. Mid afternoon the wind really picked up and they got what they came for. During the last twenty minutes on the lake the sirens had sounded and very dark clouds appeared on the far side of the lake. The police came by an informed us to be wary because a tornado had been sighted close by ( the officer did not instruct them to get off the lake as he also windsurfs) The afternoon waned and as we said our good byes they backed up and got out of the car to behold an event that we have never seen before. A wall of fog crossed the lake and it was as so thick that you could not have seen your hand if you stuck it in this wall. It looked very much like the old fakey movie of (Charleton Heston) Moses parting the water. This wall of fog never reached shore. Once again good byes were said. An Hour later I got a call from St. Peter where my mother and father inlaw live and they had just been hit by the same weather system that past NW of Worthington. This turned into the force 4 tornado that destroyed much of St. Peter. So, to Jerry Sandell and his wind surfing friends I must testify that they alone, windsurfed the edge of a tornado!

AUTHOR: Bill Keitel

LAKE: Pepin, or was it the Gorge?
DATE: November 1, 1999
STORY: You can always tell a Monday when you have a Monday through Friday office job, it's the day the wind cranks. But today is different, I make a few calls, cancel a few appointments and call my friend Chris and he does the same. We're off! We arrive at the water around noon and it's a solid 4.0 with 4-5 foot swell. I rig quickly, for a guy who hasn't sailed in nearly three months, and I'm off. Ya this is gonna be awesome, my 8'4" Clam and a 4.0 and it's perfectly powered. I shock myself when I make my first Jibe on the outside swell and plane quickly back inside. Chris is already overpowered and goes into re-rig his 3.5. I on the other hand have aquired more mass since becoming a dad and am fine on my 4.0. Then it happens, the best jump in two years of sailing, and that includes my travels. But I'm the only one on the water and you know if no one else see's it it doesn't count. I head to shore to see what's holding up Chris and I ask the question. I suppose you didn't see my jump? He says ya, your lucky I did, and we both agreed it was mast high or so. Well needless to say the rest of the day was more of the same and truely the best sailing I've had this year and maybe last year as well. So, is this the Gorge? 4.0-3.5 wind, large 5'-6' rolling swell surrounded by hills and some amazing scenery. No, I was home with my Family in the metro 1 1/2 hours later re-living my adventure. This was better than the Gorge. Ya, when Lake Pepin goes off it's awesome.

AUTHOR: Greg Opsal

LAKE: Waconia
DATE: November 1, 1999
STORY: Sunday afternoon I got the call. "You ready for it, old man" or something like that from Bill. I had no clue what he was talking about. He went on to tell me that the forecast for Mankato was 35-50mph. At this point I thought his lack of brain stimulation during his sabatical had caused some damage. I had never ever heard anything above 25-40 mph as a forecast. I sped home and pulled up LAWA. The isobar maps looked like looking down on two big oak stumps, two sets of tight concentric rings. From the low low to a high high. Very nice. I pulled the 3.5 out of the basement and sped through monday's workload on Sunday night. The maps in the morning looked even better. The colored pressure map looked like a tie die tee shirt. ... groovy man. We really considered Pepin though the wind seemed to be shifting mid day and we weren't sure of the best site, so Waconia was the call. Bill, Scott, Tom and I arrived late morning to find Brian rigging his 3.5. Stepping out of the van was like walking into a wind tunnel. Not only the brut force of the wind, but the noise in the leaveless trees was intense. The water looked beautiful. Still hobbling around I placed a brace on my knee, rigged my 3.5 and ventured out onto the water. The wind was relentless. As it built the swell just grew and grew. In order to preserve my knee I stayed on the water, but oh was it hard. The starboard ramps kept beckoning me, " come loft a huge one off me"...I had to decline and take joy in "the boys" getting major air.

It was a great day to return to the water after my accident. Sailing with the clan, sailing in 40+mph winds sweeping across shimmering mercury, it all made for a wonderful to hang onto through the winter ahead and into the next century.


LAKE: Lake Okabena
STORY: Thank you for the opportunity to give your readers a brief overview of Lake Okabena in Worthington. Lake Okabena is situated in worthington mn and has been historically known as the best iceboating lake in the midwest (1910 to 1943) This sport ceased during the ww2 era after some fatal accidents involving ice boats and excessive winds. Today Lake Okabena has the good fortune of being positioned betwixt two of the largest wind generator fields in the midwest. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent to take advantage of this resource. We hope that you , as windsurfers will also take advantage of the lake. The circumference of Lake Okabena is 5 miles with the longest reach about 2 miles. The lake sits "high" on the landscape and as their are few high banks, wind obstruction is minimal. Nine lakeside parks ensure you maximum access to any part of the lake. Public campgrounds are located on the bay , they treat windsurfers hospitably with the best of amenities including a new bike and recreation paths being completed as I type this note. The national weather service has said the they can't give commercial endorsements, but would not disagree with the statement that " Wgtn. has the windiest lake in the midwest" " Sailboard beach" is located two blocks from the city center , with many places to eat and shop if you so desire. Being a resident windsurfer that has traveled to many of the famous places to watch serious windsurfers, gives me delight to realize what we have in our own backyard. There has not been a time in the last ten years when we haven't been exhausted by summers end, with more that enough wind to go around. If you would like more information, I would be happy to share with you. The Automated weather observation system number is 507-376-9441 for a current wind speed or call me at 507-372-7175 or 372-2021 home. or Better yet, we are planning a windsurfing party next summer and would like to treat you all to a breezy time! More info to come! sincerely bill keitel

LAKE: Any Lake
DATE: Any day
STORY: I have a story and it isn't pretty. It's not about an amazing day or some huge jump. It is a story of how I did something that could happen to anyone and in hoping it doesn't I'll share it with you. On Thursday I went out in powered 5.0 conditions, not nukin, just 5.0 ( it was late in the day). I went into a jibe, and rolled my weight up onto the board as I entered the turn. A small gust hit and when I went to put my rear foot on the leward rail, I placed it squarely into the water ( which was flying by). Since my entire body was driving forward there was no release other than my lower leg pivoting out to the side. My knee popped as I saw my foot go where it has never been before, out to the side. Once back in the water I bent it normally (oh yeah it hurt) and it popped back in. I'm ok. My knee is Pain. The doctor said he's amazed it didn't tear. It may be awhile before I'm back on the board. So the lesson... Oh I don't know. You don't want to look at your feet when you're jibing. You don't want to be timid in a jibe. Just be aware that the water right next to your feet can do damage. Maybe that's the lesson,... don't forget to respect the water. I think I'll be dragging my toes across the board next time to stay in contact with it. At least until I get comfortable again.

AUTHOR: Tighe aka the hobblin' fool

LAKE: Lake Pepin
DATE: October 7, 1999
STORY: It's late Wednesday eyes are burning from looking at all the weather on my PC's monitor. Rumors are abound that Pepin will be the place to be. I'm thinking...hmmm I have Thursday off, wind is SE, nice drive to Lake City..I have to make a road trip. Early Thursday morning welcomes me to drizzle and chilly conditions, I've made the commitment so I pack up the truck with gear, dog, breakfast and lunch. The drive down is not very encouraging, but I press on.
I arrive at the marina in Lake City around 9:00 am to the same drizzle and chilly weather. Wind is Southeast at only 12 knots so I let the dog run around as I eat breakfast and wait.....and wait....and wait.....hmmm no wind yet....I call Randy Johnson at The House to give a live report for all who may be considering Pepin. I tell him no wind yet which Randy finds discouraging but he plans to come to Pepin anyway. At the point is a portable weather station with a wind vane now pointing more of a southerly direction....time to go to the roadside park just north of town. I arrive at the beautiful roadside park around 11:00 am. with winds in the 15 - 19 range and building. Rigging my 5.5 I begin to downhaul and "POP" ..appears the mast has broken...under further inspection the 2 piece mast came apart when i was threading the sail and when I downhauled the bottom section broke the top section....I'm thinking "WoW what a rigging Foepaa" ...oh no I'm at lake Pepin with no windsurf shop nearby..I call The House, catching Randy as he's walking out the door...telling him of my stupidity he says he'll pack an extra mast just for me.. ( I owe you one Randy!!).. crisis averted.....I decide to use it anyway and get out on the water with my 5.5 Koa and a screamer 268. Typical Minnesota wind...shlog...plane....shlog...plane...but I'm having fun.....after being out about 45 minutes the wind really backs off...I come back to shore just as Randy and his son Ryan pull into the lot. All three of us just stand in wind........Randy and Ryan decide to rig anyway...The sky begins to clear and within 20 minutes wind begins to build....and build....I go out on my 5.5 again...making one run out and on my way back to shore it's blowing harder.....and harder......unsheeting now......Randy makes it out on his 6.2 for 100 yards and jibes back to shore to's howling now......Randy and Ryan rig 4.7's and I rig a 4.5...we all hit the water and just fly!!!!!! swells are building and the gusts are making me unsheet my 4.5 at times. We pass each other grinning ear to ear, pulling off starboard floaters and wave riding between the swells. After a LONG session of fully ripped, planed, thrashing about, the wind begins to faulter..then dies........We all make it back to shore and just giggle about what happened......
Sunny, warm, windy weather with trains and bluffs in the background...looks like the Gorge to me!!! WOW what a day.... Hopefully that was not the last big day of the season...but if it was I will remember it well. AUTHOR: Mike Rysso

LAKE: Spirit Lake, Iowa
DATE: October 6, 1999
STORY: The forecast was for 20-35 in Sioux Falls Spirit Lake is close. I made the decision at 11 am to go and make the road trip. I got there at 2:15 Murphy was on a 5.5 on the North launch. He came in and we moved to the park on the west shore. Had Greg, a policeman from the area. Follow us after passing us on the road. We drove one vehicle to the north launch so we all could take a down winder at he end of the day. I rigged 5.3 and an 8'5" F2. It's was great to sail on clean water and a 3 mile reach.
The gusts were to 36 mph. I came in and rigged the 4.7 ( I'm still amazed at what the Ezzy Transformer can handle) and a smaller fin. And cranked on smooth rollers with a few steep faced ramps peppered in. At about 5:30 we took our down winder and met at the beach. The sunset was a autumn orange. I find out that Murphy owns the local pub named Murphy's imagine that. It is open for the summer and is closing it Saturday night and heading for Tahoe for the winter skiing season. What a life. I asked about a S to SW wind and he told me of Pike's Point on West Lake Oakabogi. We drove in a orange glow to the lake. The point looks perfect and the fetch looked to be about 3-5 miles. The sand bar on the point makes for a flat water Gybeatorium. When the pressure gradient is right this area can be please the wind addicted soul. AUTHOR: Scott Chapman

LAKE: Mille Lacs
DATE: Sept.30, 1999
STORY: The forecast was for stronger winds to the north west of the state in the 40mph range, and the pressures and hourly data were shaping up fairly good. My supervisor, his boss, and his boss were all out of town. What red-blooded American windsurfer would not take the sunny fall day off to drive up to Mille Lacs?
I'd never sailed Father Hennipen State park before, but with my State Parks sticker on my car and a copy of Tighe's map and site instructions in hand I set off.
I arrived just 10 minutes after the 3 sailors who'd just been out said that the wind had gone from 5.0 to to 4.0m2; which was the right direction for me (as I'd remembered to bring the 3.2 this time). I rigged the 4.2, strapped on the new EricSchroeder 8'3" board, and headed out. When it's been a while, one begins to forget why it is we risk the long drive to Mille Lacs; but it did not take long to remember. The waves are unbelievable, and while they don't break often enough for my liking ... they're west-Gorge-sized. Big high-speed jibes in their troughs are their own rare pleasure. Landing at a lower altitude than the take-off brings back costal memories. It was a beautiful sunny windy fall day with warm water on the big lake.
Then the clouds came in and I was forced to rig-up to 4.7 as the holes became bigger. And finally I bugged-out in order to make an evening game of Mountain-bike-polo at Lake Of The Isles. Sometimes the drive pays off, as it did on this day. AUTHOR: Doug Gordon, aka Dreamer

LAKE: Waconia
DATE: Sept.30, 1999
STORY: Well the day started as they all do.... "so it's gonna blow, where do we go?" A strong NW push was due later in the day, do we drive to Father Hennepin on Mille Lacs and ride the smooth rollers one last time before it gets bitter cold up there, or do we do Waconia with the Clan of the Boom Bearers, or even try Pepin? I had a meeting at 11-noon, though figured I could call on cell to participate. Anyway we decided on Waconia for the few additional hours on the water.
I called into my meeting as I sped down 394 on my way. I was present in a hour long conf. call with people in NY, TX, NM, and St. Paul, with the last 1/2 hour parked on the hill just north of ST. Boni to ensure I wouldn't get cut off. I love technology.
The sailing was classic Waconia. Cool air, partly sunny, the smell of leaves. The wind was a bit puffy though as long as you rigged for the lowerside you could hang on through the gusts. I sailed a 5.0 all day and enjoyed every minute of it. For most of the day the starboard direction was pure shimmers. The light on the water was heaven. I enjoyed seeing so many sailors. Many faces I hadn't seen in awhile and those who only come out for the big wind. I had a solo session way up wind that envigorated the soul.
I had a first yesterday. I collided with another sailor. I was sailing starboard and I saw our paths were gonna cross. It was one of those moments where you're not sure if you should bare off only to realize they're doing the same ( since they should if they are on port) or hold your line. I chose the latter and put my nose right into his sail. We both were thrown into the water. After checking eachother and our equipment we realized we were quite lucky. The lesson, make eye contact with eachother. He had been checking his footstrap and didn't see me til too late. A few small scrapes on the board but no harm done.
What a great day. Chris Lock wrote me this morning that he had a long 4.5 session on the south side of Pepin with big rollers. Must try that time. This state has so many options for every wind direction... what a joy to discover them, each with their own personality. Don't think for a minute that this season is over. We will ride again... maybe with a hood next time.


LAKE: Mille Lacs
DATE: Sept.26, 1999
STORY: Persistence
I experienced several conflicting emotions in my first year of participation in the Crossing of Lake Mille Lacs-- anticipation, disappointment, frustration, anger, elation. The weekend began with frustration. An early Saturday morning drive to Garrison followed by a long wait for the disappointing announcement that the race would be postponed until Sunday due to inclement weather and lack of wind. The forecast for Mille Lacs on Sunday morning called for a 70 percent chance of rain with thunderstorms likely and winds NW 10-20. I decided not to make the trip since it seemed quite likely that thunderstorms would ruin the race. But around 9am I watched the edge of the cold front approach the city. The skies were clear behind. I eagerly jumped in the car and headed for Mille Lacs. Since I was behind schedule, I had to call from a roadside pay phone to find out that the race would begin at Malmo.

The wind meter at Malmo read W/SW 12-20mph. I rigged my 9.3 with plenty of downhaul. After a trial run on my wide body board, I figured that the sail would work well if the wind remained steadily within the 10-20mph range. If the wind dropped, I could bag out the sail with the adjustable outhaul. If the wind cranked up a notch, it could turn out to be quite a ride! There were a few other 9.3 sails rigged on the beach, but most were rigging from 8.5 down to 6.5.

As I sailed out to the starting line, I was impressed with how dialed in my gear felt. But on my last reach to the line, my carbon boom snapped in half! What rotten luck! Since I was about 1/2 mile out, there was no way I could get in and back out in time for the race.

Something happened that brought a quick end to my anger and frustration-- the wind almost instantly cranked up to near 5.5 conditions. A steady stream of sailors on bigger rigs who were getting killed in the overpowering conditions began to filter back to the beach. Nearly 40 participants dropped out of the race due to the strength of the wind. Only about 20 finished.

I began to feel a bit better about my own predicament. I quickly rigged by 6.5 with maximal downhaul and hit the water on my 100 liter board. What followed was pure bliss! I was totally wound up, and there were times when I was wishing I rigged a 5.0, but the range of my 6.5 is enormous. Huge ramps on the outside for mile high floaters. Quick breaking waves on the inside for carving jibes. What a blast! This post race session will go into the books as one of my best times on the water. Everything was right on.

I suppose that the persistence is the main point of this story. Even when things look completely bleak, be prepared for life's gems.

AUTHOR: Mike Winter

LAKE: Mille Lacs
DATE: Sept.24-27, 1999
STORY: Results from the 18th Annual Mille Lacs Crossing =================================================================
Friday came with some wind and 6 course races were held. On Saturday, the breakfast was great, but the wind was predicted to clock 180 deg. From SE to NW. So that, and the rain, caused a postponement of the crossing until Sunday. So a few races were held between the rain showers and no wind conditions. The catered evening banquet was great, lots of food and other activities.
Sunday morning the conditions looked great. The sun was shining, the temperature was rising, and the wind was west at 13 kts. At the 10:30 skippers meeting, the wind forcasts were in, and it was predicted to clock around from SW to NW up to 20 kts. So the start point was set for Malmo on the northeast side leaving the finish point to be determined at a short meeting right before the start of the race around 1 PM.
At 12 noon at Malmo the wind was blowing onshore (WSW) at about 12 kts. So everyone rigged accordingly. By the 1 PM meeting, it had increased to about 15 kts. but the direction wasn't changing. The only real choice for the finish would have to be Father Hennepin State Park, in Isle on the southeast side of the lake. That meant that we would be sailing at least 10 deg. to windward which didn't sound too bad. But reality was another story.
By the 1:50 start the wind had picked up considerably and many sailors had problems even getting to the start line. There was a windward mark set 1/4 to 1/2 mile out, that once cleared, should have allowed the sailors to clear the shore line on a straight line to the finish. But with the increasing wind and wave action, many sailors had to tack away from the shore line many times in the 6 ft breaking waves. Of the 74 Sailors attempting to start the race, only 21 finished. Winds were estimated at upwards of 25 kts., with swells and breaking waves to 6 feet and more. It truely shows what Mille Lacs is capable of. Congratulations to all the finishers! And thanks to all the boat crews and the Fleet 8 for being out there with us.

Place/ Sailor/ Fleet/ City State/Prov.

1/ Jeff Hotvet/ O/ Minnetonka MN
2/ Mark Kedrowski/ O/ Mahtomedi MN
3/ Vojta Cervenka/ I/ Minneapolis MN
4/ Jeff Cole/ O/ Orono MN
5/ Steven Cool/ O/ Wayzata MN
6/ Roland Rioux/ P/ Winnipeg MB
7/ Randy Rutledge/ O/ Deephaven MN
8/ Kevin Gratton/ O/ Fond du Lac WI
9/ Craig Newhouse/ O/ Fond du Lac WI
10/ Charlie Leekley/ O/ Long Lake MN
11/ Peter Hill/ I/ Long Lake MN
12/ Dan Wojcik/ P/ Newport MN
13/ Jeff Adamski/ O/ Elk River MN
14/ Steve Johnson/ O/ Roseville MN
15/ Derek Brown/ O/ Maple Grove MN
16/ Ray Muller/ P/ Thunder Bay ONT
17/ Michael Bierworth/ I/ Oshgosh WI
18/ Bob Perzynski/ P/ Stevens Pt. WI
19/ Dennis Lang/ I/ Winneconne WI
20/ Wayne Anderson/ P/ Elkhart WI
21/ Eric Olson/ S/ Mora MN fleet:

O=Open; I=IMCO; P=Production (7.5sq.m max); S=Sport
AUTHOR: Jeff Adamski, USA23,
USWA North Central Regional Director

LAKE: Mille Lacs
DATE: Sept. 8 (weds), 1999
STORY: Here it is Sunday and I'm just getting to a story that should have been written last Weds. I kept thinking someone else would send one...people must get bored of my ramblings....
We knew it was going to go off, we just didn't know where. The center of the Low was passing through up in Canada. All the forecasts were calling for greater wind to the south, but it was going to be west wind. So it should be stronger the closer to the low...right? After checking the readings at 7am,8am,and 9am and all of them not great we decided to do the nutting to Mille Lacs even though it was forecast for 10-20mph.
The drive was tough, the trees were barely moving. Scott, Bill and I ( and Kevin O. we later found out) were all in separate vehicles spread out along 35 since we all left at different times. Thanks to cell phones we all kept eachother from turning around. We drove into heavy clouds which made it only worse.
When we arrived at Hunters Point it looked pretty good, maybe 6.0. Again thinking irrationally overly optimistic, I rigged a 5.0. I thought it's bound to come up and I wanted to try out my new floaty board. It was perfect for a bit. Directly on shore wind worked at Hunters, not ideal though sailable...but then it came up. I went in and tweaked my sail and went to my 8.6. The swells cleaned up and became glossy rollers. There weren't many ramps to be found but the swell riding made it worth it. Swells would run for about 150 ft; swoop up,crank it around, fly down, swoop up,crank it around fly down, over and over. Bill and Scott went to their 4.0/4.2m's and were loving life, while I hung on to the 5.0 without noticing... I love the range of these new sails.
At one point the sun came through the clouds and caressed the water, and if you've ever had one of those moments on Mille Lacs you'll know what I'm talking about. The water is so grey when it is cloudy that when the sun comes through and ignites the water with mirror crystals it warms the soul. I've been out in the middle of the lake and followed the island of sun almost all the way back to shore.
We sailed till almost 7 and were pretty worked. After having some dinner we were all wishing for some else to drive us home to bed.
I guess the moral of the story is... read all the forecasts, read all the maps, make your best call and stick to it. The unexpected can be oh so much more enjoyable.

LAKE: Lake Sakakawea,ND
DATE: August, 1999
STORY: 1999 MOWIND Friendship Regatta racing results
Lake Sakakawea Crossing 6 Miles (To and From)
1st Place, Jeff Adamski, 24min. 34sec. Elk River, Minnesota
2nd Place Lisa Velestuk 24min. 36sec. Winnipeg, Canada
3rd Place Jamie Huget 25min. 40sec. Winnipeg, Canada
Lisa and Jamie are brother and sister...Lisa held the lowest time sense >1994.
Open Men 1st Place, Jamie Huget, Winnipeg, Canada
2nd Place Jeff Adamski, Elk River, Minnesota
3rd Place Paul Baker, Elgen N.D.
Open Women 1st Place, Lisa Velestuk, Canada
2nd Place, Bev Melland, Williston
3rd Place, Dorothy Bickel, Mobridge S.D.
Novice 1st Place, Glen Melland, Tinley PK, IL
2nd Place Brian Riely, Williston (McDonalds Manager)
3rd Place Brad Birdsell, Williston

Saturday winds were 25mph with gusts up to 40mph on shore, with 3 to 5 foot rollers. Jeff Adamski enjoyed this, and the rest of us were just tried to stay in contact with the water, a most impossible feat. Belly tonnage helped and we all ate like pigs with the main course of dinosaur meat (ostrage). Jeff Adamski only got the feather, and we wont comment on what he did with that. The Lake Sakakawea Crossing was the first race held. A grueling 6 mile race in which Jeff turned into 7 as he got lost. But he made it back just in time to win by a margin of 2 sec. Fantastically close race...he was almost beaten by a girl (Lisa Velestuk, from Canada). The Wind changed and clocked around so the distance increased to 10 miles one way, so we broke 4 lunch. Saturday afternoon we settled down with course racing, Jeff set the course and we all just tried to keep up. Afternoon winds increased to 35mph with gusts up to 45. Jeff Adamski ran out of smaller and smaller short boards and used his tennis shoes towards the last. He made comment about them needing a bath, and we didn't argue. Supper time came around and we dragged our dead bodies up the beach tent 4 supper. "Man what a day", and "it don't get n e better then this" were the supper comments. Shortly after supper the ranger (special person) came flying up the 15mph road in her little red fire truck and gave us her best impression of, the sky is falling, and startled all the regatta people into seeking shelter. Something about tornadoes and 80mph winds. Everybody packed up and hit the road heading 4 town and root cellars. I brought Jeff Adamski home because he was homeless. We searched the national storm device know as the T.V. Nothing, not a thing about this nasty seek shelter, hells coming, in fact the sky cleared, the wind switched from the East to the South and the wind dropped to a gentle 15mph. Stars and the Moon came out to bid us a good night and so we did, after a beer. Sunday morning came and we all returned to the regatta site and were greeted by the park assistant (door keeper), and were informed of the Lake wind advisory in effect. Hummmm...could it get n e time. Wind was once again 25 to 35 off shore, good time 4 some slalom racing. Jeff grumbled something about no waves and we set course and raced. Alas Jeff's downfall, the first mark drifted off in the wind a little and his short board couldn't make the first mark. This resulted in a Jeff Adamski and buoy fight as he got tangled up in it...."hahaha" I went past him, "thanks 4 holding down that nasty thing for the rest of us", and raced on. This race resulted in Jeff loosing to me, I made him sign a paper saying I won a race with him fair and square, short board verse my long board. 5 min races r fun and the boat people graciously reset the bad buoy so Jeff could get around it again. We raced several more times, and had to call it a day. After a very late dinner, we again sailed 4 several hours, until all were wore out and broke camp, vowing to once again return, some 4 revenge, some 4 fun, some just because it just damn well blows around here all the time. End of a very successful regatta. Rick Marmon
AUTHOR: Rick Marmon via Jeff Adamski

LAKE: The Gorge
DATE: August, 1999
STORY: I don't know what it is, but I have an insidius character flaw that gives me pleasure if I can verify that the sailing spot I picked was the best. I really don't like this and it seems to be something shared by many male sailors and a few female sailors I know of. Basically, it's that little bit of joy that comes when I hear that the sailing location I chose turned out to be better than one picked by my fellow riders.

We just returned from an epic trip to the Gorge and we were hellbent on proving that we had chosen the best conditions to be had. Day one was 4.7M at Jones Beach, day two was 3.0 at the Hatch, followed by 4.2M at the Hatch for day 3 and 4, 4.2M at Rufus for day 5 and 4.7m at Florence for day 6. And of course we were always at the best spot possible, however, we did have our doubts on day 5 when a sailor showed up at Rufus with ideal 4.2M conditions, however, he had to travel west because he knew there was no way he could handle it if his friend at Doug's was on a 3.5M.

Yes, friends, we're all somwhat touched by the consumptive bug when it comes to wind. I try to fight it whenever I can. Sailing is so much more enjoyable when I can give thanks for the priviledge of just being on the water in a beautiful location. There is no question in my mind, gratitude is the source of all happiness, not quantity of wind, food, beer, sex etc. More is not always better, and I can say that my enjoyment meter has been as high on my 10.6M as it's been on my 3.7M sail. So if you ever hear me exagerating my sail size (i.e. I was on a 5M, but shudda been on a 4M), or trying to validate the pleasure of my sailing experience by comparing and diminishing yours, please tell me to be quiet, smile and be grateful for my sailing friends and the beauty of the day.

No doubt, windsurfing requires that we pay attention to the moment, examine and trim our gear, face the conditions as best we can, and then smile for the gift that's been received. We can't stop the wave, but by the grace of God, we can learn to ride, to ride it with a smile. I look forward to returning to the Gorge someday to find more sailors grateful for the gift of the visual beauty of this scenic wonder, regardless of the wind conditions. Power to the sailors that rig bigger than 6M, and in the famous word's from Bart, "Attitude is Everything"!

PS. Hey, how about a thread from one of the Calhoun riders that shared an awesome day on Mille Lacs a coulple weeks ago?
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson

LAKE: Forest Lake
DATE: July 26, 1999
STORY: I know many of you have had "peak" experiences while sailing. The amazing thing is that they come when you least expect it. Several years ago many of us were sailing the Oregon coast together and we were ecstactic that our Minnesota training had us up to meet the test. However, one of my few life peak experiences came when I fell to my knees, carrying my rig two miles back upwind. It wasn't while I was sailing. Well friends, it happened again, tonight, just 45 minutes ago. Today started with a mediocre forecast of 5-15 SW. I was in Minneapolis this afternoon and saw Bruce, Andy and several others having a blast on Calhoun, so I park the car, rig up and have an awesome session on the lake with so much physical beauty. After some wonderful 10-20MPH sailing, I'm off to Forest Lake where I now live. My neighbor, Craig Reid, and I boat into town to hear some 3-Minute Hero in the park, but head home when the rain starts. Guess what? By the time we make it the seven miles back home there's a fresh SW breeze. I grab a rig and hit the water to discover full on 7M conditions. Then the sun drops from below the clouds and the rain picks up and the wind kicks up to 6M and the most spectacular rainbow forms. Now I'm probably guiltier than anyone for chasing weather forecasts through the iternet, but none of this was forecast. This outrageous system was hitting the cities and we were in clear sky, sunshine, now 5M conditions, and my port run is into a spectacular sunset, my starboard run looking at the most brilliant, rich double rainbow I've ever seen. People, I've got a lot of sailing hours and I just don't know how it can keep getting better, but it does. God, what I'd give to have some photos to document this delicious, visual banquet. Yes, there was some lightning in the far southern horizon, and Belinda, if you read this, maybe you can give us some meteorlogical statistics on this one. I know most of us continue to sail until we hear thunder. Probably not a sound practice, but when a feast like this is put before you it's almost too irresistable--
Well, this is the first year I haven't been to the Gorge by now. I didn't even go to Texas. Minnesota, you just keep puttin' out these beautiful, unexpected surprises.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson LAKE: Superior
DATE: July 26, 1999
STORY: Mother Superior Heaven
July 25 will go down as one of my all time favorites. My wife gives me grief 'cause I guess I say this too much. Praise be to the internet for giving us the weather info necessary to better guess where it's gonna blow. First and foremost, if Mother Superior has anything close to a 20knot E/NE forecast, keep a steady eye on conditions. With 100 + degree heat in the south, an approaching cold front from the NW, things were setting up for a great day on the lake. I've always hated driving up before the wind has come so I kept watching the winds from 9 am to noon, where the readings had gone from 3 to 10 knots at 50 degrees. The national weather service line (218-729-6697) was still forcasting 10-20 South for Duluth and 15-25 NE for lakeside. I couldn't believe it when I pulled into Canal Park to see the flag straight out, with 15-20 knot winds. Breaking waves forever, tons of people cooling off in the lake (no wetsuits) in bodysurfing heaven. I frantically rigged my 6M and 271 Seatrend and punched through the waves in perfect sideonshore winds. While at first a little light on the inside, the terrain was just starting to set up on the outside. For any of you who have any fears of crunching waves, when the airport reading is 16-19 knots, the waves are generally pretty friendly. I was trying things I would never dare in larger conditions. Port ramps were setting perfectly for 8' floaters and there was enough wind to play the full bottom turn/top turn sequence. The only trick was hitting the transition on the inside where the winds were a full meter lighter than outside. If you're not real confident in slogging through 2-4' waves in light air, you'll probably be better off staying outside where the winds are stronger. After just 30 minutes the conditions built to full 5.5M with plenty power for anything. I sailed from 2-4pm before the conditions started to lighten up. After a 10 minute break I went back out only to find that with winds had increased to 5M as a strong cold front was approaching. This last session was as good as it gets! Lots of power for getting out, major airs on the way out, tons of power for all the wave maneuvers without the fear of getting killed. Ah Mother Superior, I love you and all you've given to me. Today's gift will never be forgotten. Hoping to see more of you up there.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson

DATE: May 13, 1999
STORY: I just couldn't help myself, when I read one of the recent stories about what to do when you sense you're rigging a sail that might be too big for the conditions ... and the author said (as sailers have said for 20 years) should I flatten the sail or re-rig a smaller sail. This tactic of tightening the outhaul was something we had to do 10-20 years ago to eliminate the backwinded instant slam of the old sails that did not have a stable draft. Now a-days the solution is NEVER FLATTEN THE SAIL!!!! All that does is make the sail more twitchy and unmanagable. Instead, over down-haul the sail, and allow the leech of the sail to go slack so that in a big gust it can twist and spill-off the excess power. You still WANT a deep draft for your stability. With all the extra power, you'll need to either launch some jumps, or head off the wind during the gusts. Enjoy the speed, and remember that in these moments especially ... Attitude IS everything!
PS. Randy ... if you're out there ... I've board-sailed 20 years now, and have lived in MN for 11 ... and have never sailed Superior. I have nothing smaller than a 8'7" and a 5.2m2, but would LOVE to go to Duluth on a guaranteed BIG DAY. So if that ever comes up ... CALL ME 945-6769 (work)
AUTHOR: Doug Gordon Lake: Spirit Lake, Iowa
DATE: May 1 & 2, 1999
STORY: The sun was out, the thermometer hit 70 to mark the late bloom of Spring, and the wind was ripping 25mph and gusting 35mph to mark the most epic session since last year's westerly at Billesby. Alleluyah, what a Sunday! The wind was dead on South, and I sailed out of a state park just across the state line, 2 blocks on County Road 2 off of County Road 4. There wasn't a single other sailor there, which was the only major drawback. It was a major disappointment to find out my wife missed the one jump I was able to land-- she confided she'd stopped watching a long time ago. Sunday came roaring in before I could even get the kids out of bed. After getting skunked on Friday, shlogging on a 7.5, Saturday was a nice slalom day, with gusts upwards of 20mph. With 2/3 days of sailing, it was an awesome weekend getaway!
AUTHOR: Diego Covarrubias Lake: Superior
DATE: April 22 and 23, 1999
STORY: My son, Ryan, and I had a conference in Dallas planned for April 25-30. We had planned on driving down, leaving on April 23 to sail Lake Cheney on the way down. However, good 'ol Minnesota would not let us abandon her when we saw a classic Superior day setting up. At 11am on Wednesday, April 22, we bailed on the drive, picked up some cheap airfare to Dallas for Saturday, and within one hour were loaded and on our way to Duluth with completely altered plans. The harbor forecast for Wednesday was 10-20 knots NE, building to 15-25 knots NE for Thursday. The drive took 90 minutes and we were on the water mid-afternoon with 2-4' waves in 6-7M conditions. We were running 100 liter boards in marginally planning conditions with our 9' boards and loving it, given the beautiful setting, sunshine and water terrain. After our session we picked up a room at Canal Park Inn for $45, including two complete breakfasts. We chowed and waited to hear the wind come. At about 1 am if sounded like a freight train was outside our window. It's amazing how you wonder if you're in your right mind when the violence of the wind goes to your bone. After a restless night of sleep, we checked Skypoint Harbor reading and it was only 18 knots (5.5M). We went for our free breakfast, got a 7:30 reading of 20 knots and knew we were in for an epic day.
The waves were 3-6' feet when we arrived and the wind had built to 22knots. Ryan put up a 4.7M and I did a 5.2M. I went out with way too much power and proceeded to get worked in a big way. Ryan hung on to his 4.7M and I came in to rig down to 4.7M myself only to go out and find that the wind now was gusting over 30knots. We had a total riot in some of the most insane terrain we've ever sailed from the Tott Lott. With all that wind and our 4.7M we had plenty power for wave face work and big air. It's amazing how every run is an adventure. You don't know if you'll make it out, get crunched and worked, or have an awesome run on the inside. After about 3 hours we finally came to our senses and rigged down to 4.2M and finished off with an hour of perfectly tuned sailing in a playground that filled us with utmost gratitude for staying in Minnesota, 'cause there's no way you can get conditions like this until you hit the Gulf of Mexico.
Again, to all of you who have the equipment, especially a Bare Polarheat Drysuit, when Superior turns on it's even better than you could possibly imagine.
Had I written this on Friday, April 24, you know the explatives would be much stronger. It's now May 1, we're just back from Texas, and it appears like Minnesota's been saving up some wind for us. Have a great day sailing Sunday, see you on the water.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson Lake: Cannon Lake
DATE: April 23, 1999
STORY: Here I got all psyched to write about the Cannon session on Thursday and Tighe beat me to it. Leave it to the LAWA webmaster. I concur: it was solid. Classic Windsurfing Moment: delayed by work, you arrive at the lake late, and just finish rigging 4.7 as your buddy who outweighs you by thirty comes in to rig down to 4.0. Do you: 1) rig down to 3.5 like you usually do when your (heavier) bud is on 4.0; or 2) flatten the hell out of your 4.7, suit up and let it rip? I chose the latter. One reach to the other side of the lake and back confirmed my idiocy. Tighe's right on: the outside was, as Brian used to say, freakin' crankin'. Smoke on the water in the gusts. Scotty, Thursday's Man of Action, held on to 4.7, rocking straight upwind at times just to survive. I screamed in on a downwinder, rigged 4.0, and went back out for two full-on Big Fun hours. The perfect after work cocktail.
AUTHOR: Bill Sonnega

Lake: Cannon Lake
DATE: April 23, 1999
STORY: North East... that difficult direction. Superior can Rock on a NE. Obviously Green and Mille Lacs are candidates though for a weekday they are a bit of a drive. Knowing how well Cannon works on SW (opposite of NE)and since the low was to the south we thought we'd give it a go. We were pleasantly surprised.
We sailed out of some private property (need to ask permission) just south of the south park. It was very confusing. Looking out on the water it looked maybe 6.0m. I rigged my 5.2 thinking I'd shlog in the holes... well after a very short session I came in and got my 4.0 and my small board. It was ragging on the outside. The wind favored the east direction and so launching from the west side may have been better.
Anyway. The water was definately different than on the north side. A few large low rolling swells with large glossy areas and great steep starboard ramps. The gusts were unreal...even on a 4.0m. Scotty hung on to his 4.7. What a man!
Good to know Cannon works from this odd direction. Hope others got out. If you know of other good NE lakes please share.

Lake: Lake Superior, Bayside
DATE: April 11, 1999
STORY: If you are into slalom, rather than wave - Lake Superior is still open and ready to go. The bay side is basically a separate lake, with all the wind but not the waves. It is the first body of water to open up this far north (aside from the big lake). I was out on the bay Sunday - the earliest I've ever kicked off the season in my third year of surfing. The water was fairly calm - -just a little chop. The wind was blowing at a steady 20 knots with gusts to 25. I rigged kind of light to spare myself from the water (6.2 M). Air and water temp were hovering around the high 30s. The old drysuit I was borrowing was still a bit chilly (many leaks) but the sailing was fantastic and well worth the discomfort. No fancy moves, no 'killer' jumps or laydown jibes -- just into the harness and straps and drag racing back and forth the length of the bay. The cold water cuts the session short if you're like me and not quite properly equipped, but knocking the cobwebs off the gear in early April is well worth it.
AUTHOR: Jason Davis

Lake: Pepin
DATE: April 10, 1999
STORY: I awoke at 7am to the sounds of my windchimes singing in the wind. Once I hopped on the net I saw an email from Kirk "Pepin anyone?" I scanned the readings. The forecasts were only 15-25 across the state though the ETA showed some seriously compressed Isobars as the mega low approached. It was already 28 gusting to 35 in Worthington. "yes Pepin!" I made my usual morning mush ( oatmeal) threw it in a tupperware and was one the road by 7:30. Most of you know my van, I call it my brick in the wind. Going into a headwind is like driving with the emergency brake on. Anyway as I drove south to Lake CIty Bill called and said he was enroute as well. I hadn't called anyone prior to leaving since it was so early.Bill was already doing an equipment check when I arrived( always a good idea in big winds and on the river). As soon as I open my door I realized what was in store. I had noticed it looked pretty windy driving in, though as soon as I got in the wind and had to lean to windword I realized it was big, very big. Brian showed up shortly, stoked as usual.

For some nutty reason I rigged a 4.0 instead of my 3.5. Bill was going out on his 3.5 and am usually a half meter more. Well after a few minutes on the water we were both wishin we were on smaller. Due to lazyness I didn't rerig and just hung on. The three of us had the lake to ourselves for almost an hour. By noon there were about a dozen serious sailors enjoying the "Gorge of the Midwest".

Today was some of the best sailing I have ever done in Minnesota. The swells off the point were huge. The parade of rollers down the center of the lake reminded me of Swell City. You could crank wide laydowns in the troughs and come out riding a glossy face. Unreal. The first hours were a bit chilly though the sun was warm on the face. The early wind was like a huge fan. Rock solid. At about 10:30 the wind backed off a bit to just 4.0 and it was just perfect till about 1:00 when it came back with a vengence. I was pretty worked by this time and the simple things became a challenge... flopping like a rag doll on jump landings and challenged to return to vertical following a laydown...maybe my body was thinking it was nighty night time.

Once again I got off the water completely satiated. Knowing I could give no more. 5 hours of sailing in serious wind does something to your soul. But that's another story. Pepin is truly some of the best this state has to offer. Aren't we lucky to have such diverse, awesome sailing opportunities. From wave sailing at Duluth, slalom ripping at Washington, mega bump and jump at Waconia and Cannon, to swell riding at Pepin and Mille Lacs. I think this year is going to be good. Now I go nighty night.

Lake: Lake Superior
DATE: April 9, 1999
STORY: After an awesome 5M session Thursday at Bellaire Beach, we woke to another 15-25 E/NE forecast dreaming of a repeat before rain came in. Once again, the forecasters were lost and at 10am we saw Lake Supeior setting up it's own weather system, with a forecast of 20-30MPH from the Northeast. The only problem was 35 degree water and 38 degree air temp. After the usual indecisiveness that comes before any roadtrip, my son Ryan and I struck off for Tott Lott in hopes of some season opener wavesailing. We were loaded and on the road by noon. When we came over the hill overlooking Duluth, the wind's were buffetting my truck all over the place and we watched the truck thermometer drop from 48 to 42 degrees as we drove into Canal Park. At this point, we look at each other and suddenly came to understand the term "scare shitless" as we both needed to visit the nearest restroom. We phoned the automated weather station for current winds (218-729-6697) and received a report of 040 degrees at 22-26 knots, temp 38 degrees, but sunny. (Note: we've found that 13-19 knots generally requires 5.5-6M, but 20-25 knots means great 4.5-5.2M sailing.

Important: When sailing these conditions, we've found that the Bare Polarheat with 5mm legs is essential. We wear dryboots to avoid flushing of water in our boots, drygloves, and most importantly, sacrifice our helmets for neoprene hats. Last year I almost went hypothermic in minutes because I had a helmet instead of neoprene.

We hit the water with 8'9" boards and 5M sails, with winds quite onshore which is very common for Park Point. However, the wind was strong enough to work through a series of port jumps to eventually get out about a mile down from our launch spot. We were only dealing with 2-4' waves on the inside, but once out we discovered one of the best wave setup days on The Lake ever! There were 4-6' breakers on the outside, all over the place. Better yet, they weren't really following the typical set pattern. For those of you who've slashed some ocean wavefaces, you know what we're talking about- capability to try anything you want on a waveface without penalty. Ryan was ripping off-the-lips like I've never seen before and I was trying everything I could think of since we knew it could be a long time before we could enjoy painfree waveface action. We raged for about 1 1/2 hours, took a ten minute break, switched boards, and went out for another 1/2 hour session before we had to leave, even though the conditions maintained perfectly. We were never uncomfortable in the water and rigging on the back side, by the Tott Lott sign, was very comfortable, as we derigged in our T-shirts.

Moral of the Story: If you've got wavesailing experience and the appropriate equipment, always think Lake Superior whenever water temp is over 35 degrees and air if over 37 degrees. It just doesn't get any better. Average drivetime from The House is 1 1/2 hours at 75-80MPH. It's now Saturday and guess what? Two more days of forecasted wind.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson

Lake: Cannon Lake
DATE: March 30, 1999
STORY: OK, I can't stand it anymore, where are the hero stories from Tuesday, March 30? It's Easter Sunday and I've been waiting for something from some of the 20+ sailors who enjoyed one of the best season openers of record.
On Monday we knew there was going to be Tuesday wind, but it wasn't until Tuesday morning that I heard 50+MPH gusts. I loaded everything I could think of in my truck and anxiously watched the Net from work as I saw the winds working there way northeast from SW Minnesota. For sure we thought the St. Croix would go off, so we cruised to the river at 1pm to discover a bit of SW direction to wind. Ryan, my son, and I decided to take a gamble and cruise to Cannon Lake . (Forgive me for not checking the "open lakes" listing. We didn't know if it was open or not.) When we arrived to a full parking lot, 65 degree sun and 3.5M wind we about #$%%%^!
We sailed 4.2M sails as long as we could, hanging on in the Gorge like spray conditions, jumping and holloring in some awesome swell that you could even play.
I've been sailing here since '82 and I must say this was one of the more spectacular openers I've ever participated in. Not only were the conditions full on Gorge, but the quality of sailor was amazing. It would have been a trip for one of the mags to see what goes on in Minnesota come spring.
Hats off to anyone who followed the weather close enough to head south on Wednesday where you could have had two back to back 4M days. I was too beat up.
It's the evening of Easter Sunday where we had 20-28MPH westerly winds on the St. Paul side of the cities. Hopefully not too many of you got into trouble scamming your Easter service on the water.
Well, not too much detail on this story, but I did want to document Phat Tuesday, March 30, for all the friends we shared the water with on a day I'll never forget.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson
Lake: Clear Lake, Iowa
DATE: March 28, 1999
STORY: The season began as always with a humbling experience. My body felt like it had aged over the winter or like a pair of leather gloves that have gotten wet and then dried....just a bit stiff. After a bit on the water though it all came back. Oh yeah that's how supposed to feel....
Clear Lake runs mainly East to West so the south winds only came across the narrower part of the lake. It did however make for some incredibly long reaches. As the afternoon passed this meant very very long "into the mercury" sessions with nothing but shimmering water for 3-4 miles. In the middle the rollers smoothed out and made for some awesome big GS trough riding. We were on low 5's and high 4's all day. It was a bit frustrating because you needed the sail size to get out past the shore shadow, though on the outside a sail size down would have easily been adequate.
The season has begun. Shoot me a line and let me know when the lakes open up so I can post them here on LAWA.
AUTHOR: Tighe Belden

Lake: St Croix
DATE: March 28, 1999
STORY:Awesome sailing on the St. Croix with 64 degrees and 20-30MPH winds. There were about five sailors north of the bridge with Teran Hughes, Mike Winter and myself sailing south of the bridge. Absolutely no crud in the water since upstreams not yet opened up. Perhaps the highlight of the day was a speedsailing run that was sent from heaven. Teran and I cruised upwind to where the water met ice. After a few inspection runs, we concluded the only ice floating was just some small chunks, so we could hammer down without fear of the deadly obstacle crash. It was amazing how the ice lined up with the water. We could run a beam reach for about 400 yards, then the ice flow cut out to allow a perfect broad reach just inches from the iceflow. Sometimes I thought we were at El Coche, given the sun, wind and warmth and that sweet feel of flat water speed sailing. Power to the people that got out on Sunday, it looked even better.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson
LAKE: Lake Pepin
DATE: Spring, 1999
STORY:Over the years I've neglected my windsurfing duty to inform others of the great opportunities that Lake Pepin provides. Sorry. Open water can be found year round at the south end of Lake Pepin that requires west,NW,or east,NE winds. The fast current at the narrows along with the Chippawa River drainage allows it to remain open. Camp Loucopolis is the name of the launch area. March 17 was a nice 4.6 day, the ice flow upstream makes the water very flat so speed is the primary fun factor and jibeing makes everyone a hero with long laydowns the jibe of choice. Audiences are no problem with the highway far above you with an eagle viewing site. March 20 was another smooth 5.2 day from the west but this day I sailed out of the old Methodist Camp located at old Frontenac which is hard to find without asking. This area is at the point where Lake Pepin makes a 90 degree bend from west to south. The swell here was perfectly organized in the 3-4 ft. range and glassy smooth on the entrance to the face. Smooth take-offs with long hang times were easy. Maiden Rock Bay is still iced in So if anyone knows if Cannon is open this weekend would do us a favor by letting us know for the southerlys.
AUTHOR: Chris Brown

LAKE: Bolanos Bay, Costa Rica
DATE: March 6-13, 1999
The logistics
We were  there from the 6th to the 13th of March. The trip from Minneapolis is convenience itself
Last edited by Tighe on Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 5274
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Location: Here, Now

Post by Tighe »

LAKE: Spirit Lake, Iowa
DATE: December 16, 1998
STORY:It begins like it ussually does late in the season.  One person calls the other person who stirs the addictive spirit with visions of "Pure Wind Adrenaline" injected into the veins of winter drudgery. And so it went with Bill Sonnega calling me up on the morning of the 15th of December.  Ya, I said December. He said " Do ya want to catch a session today?" I said " too much work to do today and my muscles are still sore from sailing 4.7 on my 7'6" Gorge Animal yesterday, but I think it will be windy tomorrow in the SW corner of Minnesota. "  We agreed to check it in the morning via high tech computer forecasting models. Which sometimes takes awhile and turns into an educated guess.

I woke up at 7am, checked the Web and found out that Souix Falls, SD was still forecasting 20-30 mph out of the NW for the afternoon.  I called Bill and finally woke him up at about 8 am. I convinced him that a 3 hour drive and sub 5.0 conditions would make us hero's of Minnesota by setting a new record for the latest sailable day within 200 miles of Minneapolis.

We got to Jackson MN, and climbed out of my Expedition: wind speed less than 5 mph.  Ok we said time for lunch.  We headed to Spirit Lake, Iowa. ( South ofJackson about 16 Miles- right on A15 around the south side of the lake to a small park in Orleans).  Not a white cap to be found.  Being optimists we both rigged our 4.7's.  I figured since it was 32'F that rigging before the wind chill dropped was not a bad idea.  Then ever so slowly the wind started clocking from the west to Northwest.  With each change in vector a larger ripple would form. At about 2:15 we decided it was time to jog around the park, pump up our blood, loosen our muscles and stretch into our cold weather whale suits. New booties and all ( I frost bit my foot on the 14th at Canon Lake) we made our way into the near freezing water.  We had to step over an abandoned jetski ( hate 'em).  The waves were building and the adreniline pumping. My mind was saying "Why do we do this when its so cold. but within a few seconds I was planning across the water with a smile on my face". As a sun beam patch approached I screamed across the water with glee, white caps dancing in my head could it be that Santa Claus was coming in 8 days? Two Rudolphs with our noses so red, won't you launch my sled tonight.  Then all the wind gods loved them as they jibed and ripped with glee.  They never said extremist windsurfers couldn't sail in Decembereeeeeee.
AUTHOR: Scott Chapman

REPLY to "Waconia and Cannon" in November (below)
DATE: December16, 1998
STORY:My impression is that windsurfing is stronger in the Twin Cities area than others may suspect.  I sail a lot at White Bear Lake, and I get out on plenty of 10-15mph and 10-20mph days with my Hi-Per Tech Boss.  I have seen a number of beginners at White Bear this year on these types of days.  I am told by staff at The House that sales of new equipment have leveled off in recent years, but that they have held relatively steady.   The same individuals tell me that many of the people who only sail in 6.5m2 or smaller conditions have given up the sport in frustration.  I can see how this could happen. To avoid this kind of frustration, I purchased a 9.0m2 Pryde Supersonic that weighs less than my 7.5m2 Windwing.  Hardly a week passes by all year when I cannot get out and plane 90 percent of the time with this sail on my Boss.  I am pleased to see that the windsurfing industry is focusing more on going fast in lighter wind.   People will find this sport more attractive if some of its inherent limitations are minimized.

Oh, by the way, 7 or 8 of us were screaming around Lake Waconia on Monday December 14th on 6.5m2 sails or smaller.  What a nice way to end such a long season!
AUTHOR: Mike Winter

LAKE: Cannon
DATE: December14, 1998
STORY:Well once again the season came through in a last ditch effort to reclaim our dedication after a less than ideal '98 season.  I was comfortable leaving the season with my frontpage debut in the Star Tribune but no... the mercury had to come back up, the orange blobs on the weather channel maps had to start appearing and like Pavlov's dogs drooling at the approach of food, I was drawn to the lake once more.  December 14th...unbelievable! When we arrived at the normal launch the margarita ice was too wide to wade out through so we headed to the east side of the lake.  The wind was tempermental all afternoon.  4.0m to 5.0m  with monster gusts.  The new launch provided a whole personality to the lake.  Inside the chop simulated a mogul field of grand proportions, fun on a B&J board, a pain on a slalom board.   On the far side the wind was turbocharged off of the point and the water was flat .   You could head downwind and feel your cheeks flatten and your vision blur with the thrust of speed.  The regular "boys" were joined by Ian Mctavish and Geoff Martin to scrape the bones of a season that ended up tasting mighty fine.

REPLY to "Waconia and Cannon" in November (below)
DATE: December11, 1998
STORY:Yes it is true that our numbers are dwindling locally. The number of beginners I see at Waconia is almost nonexistent which leads one to believe that we will be seeing fewer and fewer sails on the water with each coming year. I personally have attempted to get others involved and I am always amazed with the lack of interest. You would think that just exposing someone to Robby's RIP video would hook them but most just glaze over with confusion. I guess it is just too foreign for them to comprehend and so they lose interest. Rest assured that those of you who sail will continue to see me at Waconia for as long as I live in the Twin Cities. Other parts of the country continue to rage with windsurfers. Anyone interested in a cheap Hatteras wave session this spring, let me know. I plan on going in mid to late March. And for those of you who sail Cannon and Bylsby how about some trips to Millelacs and the Great Lakes instead.
AUTHOR: Jim Holtan
LAKE: Waconia and Cannon
DATE: November, 1998
STORY:Sometimes it's pointless to question your motives or goals. Sometimes you have to do something just because you can. Sometimes you have to, as Nike maintains, "just do it." So it was with The November '98 Sessions. Mostly, they were cold (sub-40 degrees), gray, fluky and brief; yet for a small group of us they also presented some of the best sailing of the season. Tighe, Brian and I, accompanied periodically by Scott and Mike, scored five days on the water this November. At Cannon and Waconia we were always the only ones on the water. This seems odd given that, in the late 1980's, we had numerous cold, gray, fluky and brief November sessions when the parking lots were full; when the water would be crowded with sailors ripping it up "one mo' time" before the snow flies. Where have all the sailors gone?
Clearly, the "first wave" of interest in windsurfing in the U.S. has long since crested and crashed. Some suggest that those who got into the sport in the heady late 1970's and early 1980's have aged, acquired families, careers and mortgages, and turned to other less expensive, physically demanding, and condition dependent pursuits. Others suggest that the U.S. windsurfing boom in the 1980's was largely a Reagan-era Yuppie phenomenon, fueled by an abundance of "disposable" income, and destined to go bust when Reagan's tripling of the national debt effectively depleted most Americans' surplus income and, more importantly, time. In view of The November '98 Sessions, this seems plausible, as the five of us who sailed through the month, unlike many others, all have flexible work schedules that allow us to spring free as soon as it hits 20 knots. We are fortunate for this, no doubt, but it's also a choice made in view of a shared commitment to windsurfing and leading a "balanced" life.
I'm not suggesting this is the right choice or even that it's possible for everybody, but it is interesting that a decade ago there seemed to be more willing to make it than there are now. This may simply be consistent with the trajectory of all "trend" sports, in which an initial surge of enthusiasm is followed by a leveling of interest and decrease in number of participants. Or it may be that windsurfing is simply not something that Americans en masse get stoked about. In Europe, for instance, summer windsurfers on alpine lakes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland now outnumber winter skiers on the peaks surrounding those lakes. This seems extraordinary, but then many Europeans receive a six-week paid leave each summer; many European lakes forbid motorized crafts; and, in general, more Euros than Americans have embraced an eco-consciousness that prefers low-impact, clear air/water activities to gaz-guzzling bass boats and, you betcha', jet skis. In a national affirmation of this consciousness, Switzerland has banned all jet skis and snowmobiles. This ain't gonna' happen in Minnesota or, for that matter, anywhere in the U.S.
But this is not a tirade. I am only questioning what's happening to our sacred sport; whether we should be concerned about the lack of new people getting into it; if there's anything we might do to promote it; or if, given the spiritual battery-recharging benefits of sailing on uncrowded waters, whether we want to promote it at all. I mean, you could argue that windsurfing in the U.S. is a well-kept secret that should stay that way, lest it be ruined by those who lack sufficient "stoke."
Still, I think that it many ways we should promote windsurfing, particularly for children, if only that it encourages a deeper relationship to the natural world and the forces that shape it. Thoreau wrote, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." In this sense, windsurfing is the most direct connection to wildness I have ever experienced...particularly when wound up on my 4.0, blasting across the swell and chop with a few close friends, and lofting a momentary floater on a cold, gray, fluky and altogether too brief November day.
AUTHOR: Bill Sonnega
LAKE: Cannon Lake
DATE: December 1, 1998
STORY: I'd kept my small stuff in the van through Thanksgiving, thinking 5 sub 5.0 days in November, who knows maybe this year will be the year we sail into December. Looking at the forecast for the week yesterday(warm but no wind), I was starting to think it may have been a futile attempt to hold on to a dream never to be. Bill called before leaving the house this morning wondering what the great words of LAWA were for the day. Forecast for 15-25...hmm marginal...I told him throw in the gear, you never know. Well we didn't know, and the surprise is what made the afternoon so unreal. I think all of us fried our engines as we raced to the lake just after noon. The windmill off to the left was a precious blurred disc. The little ponds along 35 were capping. The pedal dropped farther to the floor. I arrived at the lake to find Mike finishing rigging his 4.2 and wondering if he should have rigged 3.7 instead. I rigged 4.0 and never looked back. SSW winds were a gift from above ( ok maybe from Mankato, but you get the drift).
Cannon is known for it's clean corduroy rollers, smaller but predictable, today was a different story. It must of been the wind strength and direction that provided some of the nicest clean ramps and large open swells. You could jibe in the troughs, and launch big floaters to your hearts content. Never before was I able to ride the swells with lip flip after lip flip. Oh yeah did I mention the gusts? Must have been near 50mph to get that smoke on the water. Scott had talked to a client who works for the Star Trib. He had sent a photographer so we were all going all out ( the Arby's way), who knows maybe we'll make the morning press.
Hoodless, gloveless and sweating on the water in December, ho ho ho you gotta know my stocking was filled today.
Like an estatic rodeo rider, the words of the day were "YEAH WHO"!!!!
LAKE: Thunder Bay
DATE: November 9, 1998
STORY: Now i am kinda outta your juristdiction living in Thunder Bay, Ontario but a few of us still head down to some of the regattas in Minnie to sail with ya all, so here goes.
The weather was ugly that day my friends, like an old man trying to return soup at the deli, an east wind which usually brings rain and good size waves and little wind, here in the bay of thunder bay but this was different. The wind blew STINK!
So basically it was so ugly and dark and so bad assed for wind that it took everyone 4 hours before they even wanted to hit mission island, our favourite sailing spot. By the time I got their everyone was on the water only for an hour or so I rigged up my 4.0 Pryde 4WD and got cookin , after chasing my board down the parkin lot, ..... I got jiggy with it.
It took me a few minutes to walk my board off shore into the eye of the wind, its pretty shallow here. I beach started then it turned into a veritable scralp fest. Im 187 Lbs on a 8'6 slalom ( that was my problem) and gettin hommered. the shriekin wind was only matched by the siren like wailing of sailors as they sped by on the opposite tack usually into a jump or gybe with a resultant bone grinding crash. Nobody was gybing with much sucess, the wind was just too strong . Gybe attempts turned into dead downwind death runs, with back side inadvertant waves jumping with mono film facials mandatory. The chop, close in was small 2-3 feet but sheer, on the outside the waves were tremendous and the few that ventured outside were chaistened and rebuked by the wind gods.
We sailed till dark the gawking onlookers in the parking lot in their vehicles lighting our ways back tin. Questions like, " Is 'that' fun?", "isnt that dangerous", " how fast do you go", answered with "No.. its not fun... in fact i hate it", " dangerous?, hmmmm.... my god i never realized my peril!!!", Ohhh we go 80 -90 mph in the lulls,... but the waves slow us down".
After many hours of sailing everyone was beat even the shredulatos just recently back from hatteras and the gorge. In fact these dudes sailed worse.
AUTHOR: Jeff "shredulato" Earnshaw, Thunder Bay, Ontario
LAKE: Waconia
DATE: November 10, 1998
STORY: NPR was airing a story on big November storms in Minnesota as I scurried to the lake. They'd interrupt the story every so often to give updates on the first major blizzard of the year that was sacking the southern and western part of the state. Highway closings were already being posted along 90. LAWA was reporting winds near 50 mph in SW Minnesota. I'm hearing all this as I sped out 7 as I've done so many times before. Flags near Sidney's ...limp, Perkins flag near K-mart ... limp. Flag near Excelcior...Limp. not looking good. Scott calls and suggests we should have headed south. Bill had called and said he had driven out of the wind on the way up. Are we too far North? Will the wind make it here before dark?
We arrived at the lake to an errie sight. Glass calm with light fog from the temp difference between the air and water. We decided we were in the eye of the Low. We headed to the Victora House for lunch. After devowering one of their scrumptous cajun chicken sandwiches we noticed some light texture on the lake across the street. We approached Waconia from the south and were greated by full on caps from the North. When we got to the east launch, the shadow from the bluff made the conditions questionable. The biggest sail we had brought was 4.7m. Bill and I sat and pondered this for a bit as time ticked away for Bill, knowing he had to leave in less than an hour to get back to work. Brian arrived and was convinced it was 4.5m. So we rigged about as fast as ever before.
Once on the water there was no question to the strength of the wind. Bill had a perfectly dry 20 minutes on the water, flicked his head in the water, slicked his hair back and headed back to work. I went to a smaller board and flattened my sail a bit more. The wind just kept strengthening. Solid wind with huge gusts. The best I've ever seen Waconia, ever. Long drawn out faces on Port and nice steep ramps to Starboard. NNW was pure joy. Brian, Mike and I were all alone on that big body of grey. Mike was bumming because Brian and I missed his BAE (biggest air ever). Knowing the conditions, we believed him, though. Perfectly warm with open-palmed mitts and my ski goggles, I surprised myself when I felt that weird tingling of "breaking sweat".
As I derigged and darkness fell there was that wonderful howling in the bare trees that hang out at the launch throughout the year. The sound reminded me of so many big sessions of late fall and early spring on Waconia. I remembered how the Tree of Wisdom used to dance in the wind in days gone by. As I lay in bed that night with visions of those glossy faces racing through my mind, the wind continued to knead the land and excite my soul.
bla bla bla... now where did I put that snowboard?
LAKE: Laguna Madre, Texas
DATE: November 5, 1998
STORY: My fellow boardheads, the practicing ones and those temporarily outside of the fold of our religion:  Multiple windsurfing orgasms were experienced today by this poor sinner on Laguna Madre with a 4.7m sail on a Seatrend 811. I was, as wise elder boardheads say, "dialed in", and my 4.7 was supplying enough power for being constantly on the thrilling edge of disaster. Oh, the joyous feeling of being mostly on the safe side of that edge, then crossing it into the wild state, where the word "control" is hardly applicable and is mostly devoid of meaning. The strong North-Easter blessed us with flat water on the inside and a funky playful chop on the outside. Those adept at chop hopping were at it, and I tried it too, but without much luster. My reward came through the jibes. On the outside they were clunky, but rarely I lost one. In the flat water near shore it was a different story. One after the other I completed numerous (six? eight?) smooth, full planing jibes, thinking each time: "This is the best jibe of my life!". This, of course, contradicts logic, since only one can possibly be the best. I'm not sure how to resolve this contradiction.
There, you have now my testament of today's events on Laguna Madre, near the holy city of Corpus Christi, blessed be its name.
Yours truly,
Boardhead Gene
AUTHOR: Gene Reshanov (on the road)
DATE: October 12, 1998
STORY REQUEST: I always wonder about the extremes of windsurfing in the Lakes country. Does anyone know a record speed clocked on a Minnesota Lake? Longest distance sailed without breaks? Latest sailing on water for your lake? Any endurance records? When I am out on a windy day, I try to be out 5-6 hours and on those days, I can sail over 50 miles. I am sure there are greater distances out there, lets hear some. Any Superior crossings? Any multilple Mill Lacs or Red Lake crossings? I have a South Dakota friend who has been clocked at 38mph by a radar, any other takers. I hear there is a speed record holder from Lake Lida that also sails Florida in winters. Bring on the stories. I am interested in them.
AUTHOR: Jeff Schlossman, Fargo, ND (Pelican Lake)

DATE: October 25, 1998
STORY:It was big, really big. It must of been easily double mast high. All of the surfers gazed in awe. Never before had I seen one so high. The bonfire at Jeff Adamski's was a site to behold. Saturday night Jeff hosted a wonderful gathering of windsurfers and friends. While the highlight of the evening was the 35 ft. bonfire, the evening was filled with stories and laughter. His trampoline provided an outlet to find the child within, and the food and brew seemed to just keep coming. Oh yeah, there were these incredible Special K bars...Mark marry that women! Thanks Jeff for a great evening.

LAKE: Lake Byllesby
DATE: October 19, 1998
STORY:As Tighe puts it on the LAWA lakes page, Byllesby is "the hidden jewel" of Minnesota. Today the jewel was taken out and polished to perfection: strong west winds, clear skies, fall colors, the sweetest swells and a trusty 4.0 in my hands from noon till five....
For the first two hours I was the only one in the parking area, the only one on the water. Given the conditions, and that the end of the season is coming soon, this was a soul session I will long remember.
AUTHOR: Bill Sonnega

LAKE: Spirit Lake
DATE: October 17, 1998
STORY:The drive wasn't so bad cause we car pooled in Bill's sky blue VW Groove Van. As we cruised west on US90 and crossed the frontal line, the wind changed from strong south to strong NW. We arrived at the lake to meet a less than enthused Brian looking out onto a barely capping lake. We played some "B'" and Scott arrived with the wind. Within minutes we were rigged and on the water starting on upper 5's and 6's. We were joined by two other locals clearly psyched to have comrades on the water. The wind picked up and we rigged down. The next session was one to remember. At one point the sky fell, or at least it seemed like it. The rain was coming down so hard you could only see about 100 ft and the water looked like snow as the droplets hit the surface. Unreal! Then there was the massive rumble of thunder. What an experience. We headed for land and waited for it to die down. We sailed till almost dark. So glad to have brought my clear goggles. Other than sailing in a blizzard 14 years ago, the downpour experience is probably one of the most unique conditions I've sailed in.

LAKE: Lake Superior
DATE: October 3, 1998
STORY:Greg Opsal and I have been to this area (Duluth) many times and have sailed on the protected inside harbor under 4.0 conditions and never ventured to test the radical shorebreak on the outside. On Sunday we broke the ice! We began the first session on 5.5's and blasted our way through 4-5 ft. breaking swell to the outside rolling waves. We were out of our harnesses riding the wave faces and carving sharp bottom turns so much that after an hour we both were sucking wind and ripped back in avoiding the wash zone. We rested and quickly headed out again because our wives and kids were getting tired of telling the tourists we would'nt get killed. The wind had picked up many notches to around 4.2-4.6. Things were now very interesting being overpowered and in 8-10 ft. swell. Huge,long jumps were carefully planned to impress each other and wipeouts were unavoidable when pushing each other to something even bigger. We would have been bummed about missing Lake Pepin but this sailing beats the Gorge under these conditions.
AUTHOR: Chris Brown

LAKE: Lake Pepin
DATE: October 3, 1998
STORY:You pay a lot of dues with this lake, but when they pay off it's worth it. This was Pepin--and maybe Minnesota--at its best: steady ESE winds in the high 20's, gusts to the mid-40's, a smooth, clean swell with a few head-high ramps to starboard and port. Tighe, Brian and I sailed the entire afternoon, wound up on 3.7's to 4.7's. The water was still warm and everyone was going for radical transitions and jumps with no fear of icy splashdown. Tighe styled hero laydowns in the jibatorium; Brian danced with duck jibes down the face; I floated one higher than any of this summer's Gorge flights. And we all did some serious crashing and Pepin guzzling. How do you say, "stoked?"
AUTHOR: Bill Sonnega

LAKE: Cannon Lake
DATE: September 10, 1998
STORY:Finally, the wind returned! After the longest hiatus from shortboarding in Minnesota in years (the last big winds were in June), Bill, Tighe, Scott, Brian and others convened at Cannon for some solid 4.7 sailing on the lake's superb south winds. I got to the lake about 11:30 AM and christened my new Mistral wave stick before the others arrived. About midafternoon, a lull led us all to shore to fuel up and rehydrate. As air temps inched into the 90's, the wind returned and everybody went back out without the neoprene. Hey, it's not every year we get to sail in trunks in September! The second session was even better than the first, though, because we had all rigged bigger during the lull, it was slightly powered-up, to say the least. I held on to a 5.7 on my slalom board, when the whole time I could have been sailing 4.7 or smaller on my wave board. Still, this totally eliminated the holes and made for some absolutely screaming downwinders on Cannon's flat water on the outside. Tighe and I agreed that, most of the time, this is THE way to sail in the gusty midwest. Rig for the holes; pray in the gusts.
AUTHOR:Bill Sonnega

LAKE: Lake Superior
DATE: Early May,1998
STORY:( quoted from an email) Yes, it was the most epic I've ever seen the lake. To our knowledge, there's only two other guys we see sailing the lakeside at Park Point. Fortunately for Mark and I, John was out early and clued us in to the tremendous strength of the wind. (too often we think it's windier than it is and we have to rig up to punch through the break, not Saturday!) We rigged 4M and took our 95L boards out in perfect sideon wind. It was full on 3.5M spray on the outside and the waves were difficult to go nuts on simply because it was so hard to spill enough wind. We played about an hour before we came in exhausted, however, I did switch down to my 70L 8'3" and had plenty wind to punch me through the surf. One of the more memorable experiences was watching Mark through the hugest back loop I've ever seen in Minnesota. He was going for a regular floater when the wave pitched 3' of vert, and away he went, mast tip 4' above the water when inverted. Pretty impressive, but it scared the shit out of both of us. After our break, the wind switched East, so straight on, and a total mother to get out. Mark and the guy who lives on Park Point didn't make it out. After being crunched on my first attempt, I found myself in monster waves on the outside, scared about how I was going to make it back in. With the cold water and air, it was intimidating. Searching my way back, I was trying to dodge the massive breaking waves as much as I could, but there was simply no way to outrun them. Hooked in, bearing off as much as I could, a massive wall of water swallowed me in one of the worst tumbles of my life. I was thrashed and held under for longer than I cared, the hook on my spreader pulled out and tangled my harness lines as I was pummeled with the next two waves. Needless to say, I have newfound respect for this awesome lake that showed us her power like I never imagined. Can't wait to do it again.
AUTHOR: Randy Johnson

LAKE: Spirit Lake Iowa
DATE: October 11,1997
STORY:I died on my 35th birthday... and let me tell you about Heaven. First there is no chop. The water is smooth rollers and large ramps, with plenty of faces to ride downwind to your hearts content. The warm wind charges at you all day without relent, making your itty bitty 4.0m the perfect sail. Jumps are lofty and high, without a perception of weight. Landings remind you of the first kiss, on the first date. The sun dances on the water all day and at the end it turns bright red, igniting the water before exchanging places with the piercing moon. Your vocabulary has been reduced to very few words: wow, thank you, I love this sport, cooka munga. The name of the lake is appropriate: Spirit Lake.
AUTHOR: Tighe Belden
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