Wavesailing 101 - Let's Dance!
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In the previous Wavesailing 101 post, I mentioned "the dance" involved with working to the outside following a successful escape of the shorepound just off the beach. Hatteras is notorious for its "discotec" found between the shorepound and outside sand bar. This area is a cauldron of current, light wind, whitewater, cross chop, deep holes and sometimes fin scraping shallow sand. Literally, you have to have your groove on to make it though this zone.
In following the night club comparison, this area of the wave zone is comprised of a number of different sections. Surf size has a direct impact on the influence within these sections along with the sand bar makeup for the given launch spot.
- The Bar: At the club, the bar is where the drinks are served, and in the Hatteras surf, the Bar is also where you can definitely be "served...," tumbler and all, though at least not "on the rocks!" Basically, the Bar is usually found following the initial shorepound. It can also be part of the shorepound depending upon the sand setup just off the beach. The Bar is the apparent line or step where the height of the ocean appears to jump from beach level to a few feet above. It can be two feet or five depending upon the surf size. The Bar is often a spot of initial denial after successfully timing the shorepound. Often the wave may not be that big, but it simply is always there, and takes some balance, timing, and patience to clear it for freedom in the Lounge.
- The Lounge: This area is the hang out spot on a big wave day. Its found over the deep water located between the inner and outer sand bars. As the wave energy breaks across the outside bar producing large walls of whitewater, these dissipate as they cross over the Lounge. Often a six foot wall of white will shrink to a few feet or less over the Lounge. This is the perfect area to catch your breath, relax, and get your bearings especially after a heavy wipeout or denial at the main sand bar. Its an area of relative safety and relaxation; though there often exists current in this area. Therefore, if you lounge in the Lounge too long, you may end up far downwind from where you launched from.
- The Dance Floor: Ultimately, you have to hit the dance floor, right?! Well the dance floor is the main surf zone. Its where the wave riding happens; however, you have to get out onto the floor, in order to show off your moves! Similar to the Bar, another wave barrier must be breached. This one differs from the bar in that there is often space between the swells, and clean lines out; plus, you are often in some sort of groove/control as you approach the dance floor. Of course, the dance floor also has its "bouncers" to keep you off the stage. They usually manifest themselves as the actual set wave whitewater, current, light wind, or other dancers (aka wave sailors). As mentioned in the previous 101 posts, there are some key tips such as not looking at the "peak wave energy," and rather focusing on the clean sections. Avoid the bouncers and get out onto that floor with your partner.
Your dance partner at the club is also very important. Whether it be a sleek, pure wave hottie, or a more voluptuous free-wave knockout, your choice purely depends upon your personal preferences. Here in Hatteras we see both partners mixing it up with the local wave crew. Rider balance, size, and comfort level usually dictate the choice partner to dance with. Your partner also is dressed for the club; thus, the rig complements the groove on the floor. Wave sails vary depending upon draft and power placement, and skinny masts are basically a must in the surf. A solid wave boom rounds out the attire, along with a fresh tendon base. All in all, your partner can really influence your moves out there, and as at the club, the best dancers groove with the creme de la creme!
Its time to crank up the beat and get our groove on, who's ready!?!