The prediction of El Nino disrupting the windy season in Baja have thankfully been wrong since the middle of December. Simply put; its been windy and the sailing’s been great! The last two windy periods have been 12 to 14 days with only a day of no wind between them. Even most of the hardcore South Park sailors took Wednesday off to go see the new movie Avatar in La Paz. It turned out to be a good day to rest since Thursday and today is full on 3.5 to 4.5.
Tammy, Mark, & Maddie represent the heart and soul of windsurfing.
Windsurfing is a great sport that we all love, and for most of us it has become part of our lives. It’s rarely far from our thoughts when we think of vacations, travel, or even retiring some day to a windy place where we can sail so many days in a row we actually go to a movie to rest. But there is one thing that seems to be missing in our sport; and that’s young people. There doesn’t seem to be many sailors under the age of 20. Sure there are the young guns at the Hatchery, Maui, and Bonaire, but this week my faith in the future of Windsurfing was restored by a family I met here in La Ventana.
Maddie & Mark head out.
Mark, Tammy and their daughter Maddie have been coming to Baja for a month every winter for the past 12 years. They live in Central California and they sail the Delta on the Sacremento River. Mark and Tammy are accomplished sailors in their own right, but the stand-out in the family is Maddie, who at 12 demonstrates her own passion for the sport. She’s been sailing for two years and just plain rips.
Of course Mark and Tammy are thrilled that their daughter loves windsurfing, so I asked them what they did as parents to get to this point. As most parents know, it was a delicate balance of encouragement and support, with a good dose of keeping it fun. For years they had windsurfed the Delta in the summer and their Baja trip in the winter. Mady was always part of the outing and had fun playing with other kids. But what really sparked her interest was a “slumber party” they had at the beach for 6 of her friends two summers ago. They had big boards and two Ezzy Kids rigs and just let them have a weekend of fun. Maddy also had a great time at an ABK Windsurfing camp (Tammy is a past instructor for ABK) were she said, “I was the only kid”. She polished her tacking and jibing, plus learned to waterstart. She sails quite well without a harness, and when I asked her if she had thought of trying one, she simply said “not really”. She’s on her own schedule.
It doesn’t get any better than this for a windsurfing dad!
It’s encouraging and brings a smile to your face to see a family like Mark, Tammy and Maddie windsurfing for the pure thrill of the sport we all love. Mark loves his new Panther 5.2 he got from Ev at Delta Windsurf Co. just before coming down in December. “What impresses me the most is the range and smooth power…it really is a nice sail.” Maddie tried the 4.5 Panther and even though she was a little shy, she smiled and said it was a “pretty nice sail”…that’s a great endorsement in my book. Windsurfing is alive and well in La Ventana, however, it looks like the annual Kite Fest next week will kill the wind. See on the beach, Gary