We started our East Coast trip in Orlando, where Miho Tanaka and I hang out at the Surf Expo. This is a good place to meet sponsors, network with the media and people in the industry, and just have fun. Then we hit the road north leaving Florida behind, crossing Georgia and South Carolina to arrive 15 hours later to the Outer Banks of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. With the mini van loaded with gear we were ready for any kind of conditions.
The local windsurfing community gave a warm welcome to the AWT staff and their visiting riders. They hooked us up with couple of houses to stay and some riders even had free 4×4 to drive on the beach. There were party with free local food and beer every night at the various windsurfing shops and there were SUPs available at the beach for those who needed it when the wind was too light. The locals really did a good job in making sure all their visitors were satisfy with their stay on the island.
I had been to Cap Hatteras before and I knew that anything could happen there as far as the conditions go. It could be an hurricane around at this time of year, sending big waves and strong wind, or it could be small and super light. Either way we were ready to compete. During the week, we went through various types of light wind conditions, small to medium size waves to finally get it all together on the final afternoon of the event. When nearly all hopes of getting a result for the pros were gone, the wind finally came up to meet the over head wave beach break at a perfect side shore angle, and the heats were on. It was a great afternoon of windsurfing, with all the riders giving it their best to advance through the competition brackets. I battled my way to the final to meet up with Kevin Pritchard, Morgan Noireaux and Camille Juban. The conditions were fun and rippable, but at the same time super tricky and the good scoring waves were sometime hard to find. After the final were done the judges were unable to break the ties on the 3 french man score sheets so a super final between Morgan, Camille and I had to be sailed. I did my thing but the other 2 riders did slightly better then me. Camille made his goiter landing him into 1st place and Morgan found the long waves to just barely beat me for 2nd place.
I was stoked with my 3rd place finish but super stoked when my girl Miho Tanaka sailed really well to claim her first AWT victory.
Here is the video recap of this really fun event:
and for more info on the Cape Hatteras Wave Jam and other AWT events check out: http://americanwindsurfingtour.com/
text by Fabrice Beaux action shots by Kevin Pritchard and Keith McCulloch