More Weekend Wave Sailing FUN on the SeaLion!

I am definitely becoming more and more of a light air wavesailing connoisseur now that the AHD SeaLion is part of the kit. This past weekend, the departing coastal low which provided rock star conditions for the Cape Cod Wave Challenge and action in DelMarva left the OBX with some fun afternoon surf and departing NW winds. The magic spot was that sand bar surf zone about 1/4 mile north of the Oregon Inlet beach access ramp (north side of bridge across from Fishing Center/Marina). I caught it around 12:30pm Sat with NW winds hovering in the upper teens/mid 20s, and the outside bar breaking solid waist with shoulder high peaks. My 5.3m was with Olaf at Avon Sail House, so I had to make due with my 4.5m.  Sand was blowing on the beach, however with only the 4.5m, and dropping wind velocity, I decided to take the SeaLion into the Atlantic.

What an awesome time!  I was out for a little over 2.5 hrs riding wave after wave dialing in the SeaLion with each ride.  Always searching for the peak hit, it was a ton of fun under the cloudless sky and side off conditions.  As the winds dropped, the surf cleaned up and became smooth as glass providing true surfing conditions on the maneuverable ride.

I came off the water around 3:45pm only because the tide rose causing the surf zone to only rise but not break. Plus, I had to run down to Avon to pick up my 5.3m. All in all though, it was a killer light air wave sesh on the SeaLion AGAIN! See the Bambuser video report following that session! Also see the pre-sesh report before heading out on the SeaLion!

Sunday, the weather was again perfect, and I had the Nah Skwell 10'6" Stroller loaded on the 4runner.  Winds were light from the south and I remain local in Nags Head and hit Enterprise St.  A small, clean knee to waist high wave was breaking on the outer bar and with winds hovering in the low to mid teens, I rigged the 5.3m and rode out on the Stroller.  Again, another magic day on the ocean cruising on the big board watching dolphins and jellies swim underneath.  The swell was small, but I could catch it on the big board and ride some fun surf in the zone with each tack back towards the beach.  Another few hours of SUP light air, small wavesailing that kept a smile on my face the entire time!

Definitely, have to get yourself a windsurfing SUP or better yet, a SeaLion for these extremely fun light air, perfect surf days!

Here are a few pics from beach camp on Sunday:


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a 10'5" SUP right before Wave Jam and have been having a blast with and without a sail. At home, I'm 3+ hours away from the coast. Carrying an SUP with my shortboard gives me the confidence to make the long trip because now I'm darn near unskunkable!

BTW, this weekend a young sailor was asking me about the Sea Lion you had at wave jam. He liked its transportability and wondered how it was to paddle. I recall Stuart getting a killer cutback while paddling but I don't really remember how hard or easy the paddling looked. Maybe you can post on it's SUP attributes?

Ken K

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Yea Ken, its great to have options now to be "unskunkable," especially in the surf!

Cool, yea I will post on the SeaLion SUP characteristics. Perhaps, I can garner some "guest commentary" from Stu, and as I continue to ride it and dial in, I can add some on the SUP action on the board as well! Though, there are some nice pics of Stu in SUP style on the SeaLion during Wave Jam that I can use for an upcoming post!

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm also trying to get into lightwind, sup wavesailing, and love hearing your stories/tips/etc. I have an 8.5 foot RRD wassup, and I've been enjoying surfing it in the waves and sailing it in some bay chop. Next up is the ocean (whenever some waves come along). I'm wondering what your thoughts are on sail size. I have heard folk say that you want to go as small as possible (just enough to get you through the chop), so that is easier to make the sail more neutral when on the wave. Sounds like good advice, but my windsurfing background (and fear of getting caught between sets!) makes me want to err on the side of power. I guess I should just take the plunge, eh? What are your go-to sail sizes for different windspeeds?

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Bill said...

I agree that smaller sails in general are better for any level of wave sailing. My largest sail is a 5.3m, and since I basically only sail waves the quiver (5.3, 4.5, 3.7) works great especially now with my board range from 75 to 160 ltrs.

As for light air wavesailing on SUPs, it is true that smaller sails are better. Though, you do not have to go "too small." I generally recommend, a 5.0m to 4.5m range for most light air SUP wavesailing needs. If it gets windier, likely you can break out a strapped wave board. An additional element of wavesailing on the SUP and getting out through the surf zone, is the size of the SUP itself. Its kind of like a "Abrams tank" and it will take a lot of the energy from the whitewater lines and breaking surf, making it easier to ride it out. Just keep the nose up as the lines come in and the SUP will float over just about anything. Likely, the hardest part of taking a SUP into the ocean is getting it past the initial shore pound, but the standard key piece of advice which is to simply "get it out there as quick as possible" holds true and works regardless if its a SUP or standard wave board.

Good idea though for an upcoming post. I will detail some of the lessons I have learned from light air SeaLion/SUP wavesailing, and post up as a "lesson" post.

All in all though, definitely try your windsurfing SUP in the ocean, whether there is surf or if it is flat. It will help your comfort level rise for ocean sailing, and then when some surf arrives (whether knee or head high) you will have some experience and comfort from going out in the ocean on a flat day. Plus, this time of year, the ocean water is warm!

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bill. Will definitely look forward to future posts. I bought a smaller SUP because I wanted to gain more confidence in the waves before taking the plunge on a more dedicated wave board (as well as wanting a more aggressive SUP surf option). The board has a footstrap option, so when it gets windier, I figured I could still use the board on the waves. What is the minimum wind you'll go out in? I can't imagine using a sub-5m sail in 10mph winds, but maybe I am missing something here. I realize that your sail choice will vary based on surf size, break, etc., but can you share some of your wind speed/sail size thoughts?

At 10:39 AM, Blogger rdm said...

I'm very interested in a light, small SUP that paddle surfs and wave sails equally well. I researched both the 8'5 Wassup and the Sea Lion for a while. I've tried neither so it would be nice to read a head to head comparison of the two. Metrics such as paddling acceleration would be key. It is soooo nice to add a sail when the wind picks up after a morning sesh!!

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill - can you give us some "stats" on the Sealion - how much wind/sail size does it take to plane? or is it primarily a shlogg and then waveride deal? is a 5.8 or so too uncomfortable (hoolah) in lite air?
can you tack it in lite air/ choppy junk or is a pivot jibe best? would you ever consider a footstrap or 2?
thanks for real world opinions
mike in pepsicola

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Yes in 2011 I will feature many "real world" blog posts and commentary featuring the SeaLion and NahSkell 10'6" as light air wavesailing SUP rides. Though, primarily most of the reports will be based on the SeaLion since it is a unique design and ride for US east coast wavesailors. Plus I really enjoy riding it!

I do not have active comparisons between other wavesailing SUP models however with my focus on the SeaLion, perhaps other bloggers out there riding related SUPs will feature their feedback on their rides. If these comparison posts are found, please add as a comment link for any upcoming light air wavesailing posts I feature. The goal is to provide valuable information for those seeking the light air wavesailing option.

Stay tuned for more in 2011 on the SeaLion!


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