Hello again compadres...... Proud of myself for keeping this thing slightly more current, woohoo! Wow what an incredible 2 months I have just spent on Maui. The place is like a second home to me and this time I really felt I was at home. It was my 6th time to go there and train and slowly but surely things are feeling like they are really starting to click, both on and off the water I feel more and more at home every time I go. This is partly due to my Maui Ohana Neil Turpin and Sam Campbell who act as surrogate parents to me and have me shack up with them in the 5 star Camp One gaff with Michelen Star Neilo meals and windsurf playground in my back garden :-) love you guys and thank you! Also attributable to my Maui happiness are my awesome amigos and AWT clan. Sam Bittner is the Don of windsurfing events and now my very dear and special friend, between the laughs, the chats, the windsurfing, the adventuring and the copious amounts of happy hour Margaritas, she and I have pretty awesome fun together!
Sam and I at the AWT award ceremony :-)
Of course it wasn't just Sam B and Neil and Sam C who made this trip for me, all of my amigos and obviously the epic sailing and surfing conditions combined to make the whole 2 months so amazing. Particularly all the awesome girls I met and sailed with this time. It's so rare, especially in Ireland to be able to meet and sail with so many like minded water women. We all share a love of being active and spending as much time on the water as possible. I've always just gone out and windsurfed or surfed for myself and a lot of the time on my own, even this year I embarked on completely solo, in the knowledge that I would probably be doing what I love alone and being pretty ok with it. But to my surprise and the absolute enhancement of my year, I have thankfully met the most incredible water girls ever! They have shared with me some of the best water moments of my life and motivated me to push harder and try take my windsurfing and surfing to the next level. Starting my year in Tenerife I made amazing friends with the PWA girls; Amanda, Hester, Eva, Justyna, Laure, Karin, Nayra etc etc and then through the AWT meeting Fiona, Sam, Miho, Ingrid, Sarah, Shawna, Anne-Marie, Tatiana etc etc..... it's been EPIC!
So with that in mind, the Queen of Aloha and the ambassador of the Butterfly Effect, (which pretty much embodies the spirit of all water women getting together to do what they love most), Tatiana Howard made a quick video of herself, New-Caladonian ripper and fellow Simmer Team rider Sarah Delaunay, Amy Carter and I. She used her GoPro with various mounts and we shot the vid at Camp One..... take a look and see just how happy we are :-) Waaaaaaaaaaay too much fun!
Just Click on this link to watch the video!
The girls Tail-Gaiting outside Mana Foods after our session in Tati's truck :-)
Check out Tatiana's incredible effort to spread aloha on the water and off amongst women around the world here http://www.tatianahoward.com/blog/ She is an inspiration!
Another of my newly found amigas is Amy Carter. Amy is the editor of Boards Mag, Boards and Boardseeker.com and is a ripper windsurfer. We first bonded over some cervecas at the chiringuito bar at El Medano during the Tenerife PWA and then I managed to convince her to come to Maui to windsurf and party for 4 weeks...... lets just say it didnt take too much arm twisting! Hahaha We had a blast and worked on some articles for her mags while she was here.
If you follow the blog you'll know I do a series of Diaries for Boardseeker documenting my year of adventuring so click this link to read my latest entry on my Maui funtimes :-)
As usual I'm fed up of typing so I'll just let all the pictures say what I need to say :-)
Amy and I spreading the Aloha with a few cheeky Margaritas in Milagros
Of my last 4 weeks there was only one week of good sailing..... then the wind died and the swell kicked in and I spent the next 3 weeks surfing and SUPping my little heart out!
A small day on the SUP at Lanes. I was using an 8'5 Quatro from Hi-Tech, lovelove :-)
I ended up having some EPIC days at Lanes during that big North Swell..... at one stage I was out there with only 6 guys..... one of them being Josh Stone, the other Robby Naish....... pretty funny for a wee paddy like me to be sharing waves with 2 absolute legends, "howya Josh?! aghh no you take this wave, I had the last one, aghh sure go on go on go on" ;-) "what's the craic Robby, lovely day for it" ;-) Surreal. But that's what happens on Maui and you eventually stop noticing. This place is so unique and I'm pretty sure there's no other sport in the world where you get the world's best doing their thing and sharing it with kooks and average joes alike. That's what I love about windsurfing and even surfing, after a while you just stop paying heed to the fact that you're in the company of legends, both on and off the water and just feel like you're out there with a bunch of like minded people doing what they and you both love to do.
Speaking of talent; here's me with Freestlye world champ Steven Van Broeckhoven..... poor Steven had a fight with his sail, and the sail won..... resulting in a face full of stitches and a nice rosy shiner, this is me putting my skills to the test with a dodgy Gilette razor and a very becoming head lamp..... all very professional, all very sterile ( ahem.... ;-)
We had some pretty awesome craic when the AWT event was over and all the crew was still around. Including this epic night when Bryan made his all-time epic Enchiladas for us all...... Casey, Ingrid, Joshypoo, Griff, Sam, Steven, Sam, Neilo, Mike etc etc..... we had plenty of time to get well acquainted with the cervecas before the 3 hour marathon enchilada bake off was finally ready
Steven and Bryan.... el masterchef
Then it was onto the amazing adventures of the 4 amigos..... quite the mash up of nationalities; we were the Paddy, The Aussie, The Mexican and the English and we spent many's a flat, windless day exploring the island and keeping oursleves busy until we could surf or sail again.
Amy, Joey "The Legend" Sanchez and I at the blow hole
Dave (aussie), Me (paddy), Amy (pom), Joey ("mexican") on top of the crater
PowerRangers Hike Iaow Valley
Dave the nutjob is a serious triathlete and he insisted on biking up Haleakala..... 10,000ft verticle..... 3 times...... silly goose ;-)
Me pulling a cheeky backflip off TwinFalls
Griff, Dave, myself and a plant..... it was a double date ;-)
Every now and again the wind came back and the hero that is Jimmie Hepp took some photos from his perch on the rocks, King Jimmie we salute you!
Broken mast walk of shame :-)
Thanksgiving was spent at the Paia Bay Invitational Event..... Tatiana, Me and Mary Elizabeth who won best wave :-) whilst Tatiana, Michelle and Paige Alms wowed the judges not only by ripping as usual but also a cheeky topless wave
Mary Eliz and I in a "who wore it better" moment..... hehehe
Also so proud and humbled to have been included in Cafe Mambo's Team this year. Jamie and Olga are Cafe Mambo in Paia (and now New York) and they serve the coldest beer, the best Duck burger, Kalua Pig Fajitas and Chicken Tagine you will ever try! Not only are they amazing food ambassadors but they are also so generous, welcoming and friendly and have a gorgeous young family. So make sure to go to Cafe Mambo in Paia next time you're on Maui.... tell them Katie sent you ;-)
Sam Bittner in all her organizational masterfulness also organised the last tour stop of the KSP kite pro event at Ho'okipa. Here we are checking out the skills from the hill with Irish Kite man Ryan Koot, Neil Turpinator, Myself, Joey Sanchez and the Aussie
The crew camping at Kaupo for Bittner's bday
And from there, it was off to Oahu before I finally left Hawaii for my current adventure in Barbados. We had the most insane trip! With the timing (intentionally) coinciding with the final stop of the ASP tour at the Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore. It has always been a dream of mine to watch the best guys rip it up at pipe and I was in for the treat of a lifetime...... We watched Slater, Medinez and Kerr battle it out 50m in front of us in huge pumping surf..... words cannot describe.....
Me lost in the sea at pipe with Andy Irons ;-)
We hit the beach at 6.30am and bumped into this dude round the back of the Volcom gaff...... YEP I'm pretty much world champion..... hahahaha.... wonder if Parko knew I'd been fondling it before he did? ;-)
So close to Kelly..... sigh
Just as much of a highlight for me was getting to watch Gerry Lopez "Talk Story" at Surfer the Bar. Very much a surreal moment and such a nice guy..... he asked where I was from and when I told him Ireland he said " Nice. Lots of good surfers from there"..... hear that guys?! He knows you're out there!
And that's that or sin e as they say. As usual I wish I had more photos or videos of me sailing but I'm slacking bigtime in that dept.... apologies. It's just so hard to find someone who will sit on a beach and take pictures of you all day and I always get distracted when the conditions are good and just want to hit the water as soon as possible. So even though I can't share with you all the amazing, (and not so amazing) waves I have caught in the last few weeks I can promise you they are all in my head and in my bones and I can close my eyes and be back at those places any time I like...... which is good enough for me :-)
Back soon when I have more news but for now it's goodbye from Barbados, Merry Christmas, Happy New year and don't forget; ACTION!!
Hanging out with Brian Talma at De Action Surf Shop Barbados..... ACTION!