<back to da stories




The

Cedar

Death

March

The day had finally come when wind, waves, tide and free time all coincide!!!!

Southwest wind 25-30 knots,tide going out. Buoys are reading 3 foot at Ambrose Tower and 5 foot at the buoy 20 miles south of Fire Island Inlet. It's 11:30 am on Thursday, May 18th,I'm at Cedar Beach,the south shore of Long Island, New York. These are the best conditions for ocean "side-on" sailing at this location. No one is in the parking lot. I start to slowly rig up my 4.2 sail hoping someone else shows up. All rigged no one around............

Slowly I start getting my wetsuit on and Billy D. shows up and says Billy T. is also on the way. I feel better and as I start "the walk" (it is about a quarter mile to the water) Stan "the man" pulls into the parking lot.

Walking toward the beach it seemed like I was in the Sahara desert during a sand storm. I'm carrying the board and rig on my head and it seems to be getting windier. I'm dead tired, sweating, thirsty and I'm only half way to the ocean! Is this worth it? I keep marching on. I finally reach the water's edge and in a moment of dread realize I'm going to be overpowered. I look in the direction of my van and briefly contemplate walking back to rig down but I need to get in the water.

The launch here is relatively easy as the inner and outer sand bars cut down the force of the waves hitting the beach. The outer sand bar is about a third of a mile out. I downhaul and outhaul to the max and head out, the water feels soothing as the waves wash over my overheated body. I start screaming out to the waves and hit them at mach 10! I jumped so high I think I could have cleared my house! It's so windy that my board gets blown dry by the time I land. When I reach the outside sandbar I can't jibe cause I'm overpowered and it's impossible to bear off. I head back in, I can't even surf the waves unless I just hold the mast in my hand and let the sail luff .....whoa....I'm going way too fast!.

Billy T. comes down and he's rigged a 4.4, I usually rig a half to a full size smaller than everyone else, and he's complaining about being overpowered! I realize the worst case Cedar scenario..........I've got to walk back to the parking lot to rig down.

So off I go........at least I'm only carrying "the rig" thru the Sahara sandstorm. Finally my van comes into sight, I'm parched. What size? 3.7 or 3.3? I figure it can't blow 3.3 on the ocean, right? so I rig a 3.7 and walk all the way back to my board which is buried in sand by now. I'm comfortable for about an hour when I'm over powered again. I can tell I'm overpowered cause I'm starting to get injured. The two Billys disappear for Demo and points beyond.

Cedar Beach is on the west side of Fire Island Inlet, a southwest wind blows straight into the inlet. As the tide goes out through the inlet, the opposing forces create some incredible jacked up waves. The waves at the inlet are now about mast high and jumping them is freaking awesome! I land one nose first and completely crash land into the face of the next wave submerging up to my boom! Water is rammed up my sinuses and as I sail away it feels like I'm drowning as my sinuses are draining into my mouth......I can't breath till I spit out all the water. I am jumping with reckless abandon...flying thru the air with the greatest of ease then......splat!!! I tweaked a landing and my board went one way and I the other... my foot stuck in the strap!...ouch! the top four bones on my foot still hurt two days later. Upon landing another jump the boom gets ripped out of my hands and hits the nose of my board and cracks it. Stan "the man" leaves and goes to Heckscher. "I'm not done yet!!!!!!!" I yell...I'm going back to rig down to 3.3!!!!

When I finally get my dehydrated body back to the parking lot, Dana (freon man) is heading out with a 3.5 and his 250 board..good call Dana! I finish rigging, gulp down water, OK, back to the beach. As I launch my trusty F2 254 wave board back on the raging Atlantic Ocean I notice the wind has backed off a bit..... uh oh...another Cedar worst case scenario? But as I clear the side shore current, I get planing and am finally "comfortable" or as comfortable as you can be in 35-45m.p.h. with 5.5 foot to 9.5 foot waves (I checked the buoy reports when I got home).

Did Imention the jumps? I felt as if I were a loogie that the wave was spitting out! I jumped this one wave and extended my leg before landing cause I did'nt realize how high I actually was (thought I was up around 10-15 feet but it must have been more like 20 -25 feet or higher when you consider you're jumping 15 feet off a 10 foot+ wave) and jammed my ankle upon landing. Ouch again! Now I started concentrating on wave riding....it felt like I was back in the D.R....bam, bam, bam take that you bastards and bam that's for your friend (the wave that damaged my sail last week) there was some cool cross-chop on some waves that made some ramps available to jump over sections of the waves. I did the best I could on my 254 but it did'nt compare to the Naish 8'4" I tried in Cabarete. I could really get radical with a smaller board! Going over some of the inside chop made me feel like I was back in the 70's racing motocross motorcycles. Whoa............ flashback!

By 4:30pm I'm totally beat and have to pick up my kids anyway so I do the final death march to the parking lot. I'm covered in sand! On the way home I pass by Gilgo Beach....holy smoke!!! I'm glad I did'nt go out there! "Victory at Sea" conditions with hugh gnarly shore break!!! Another dinner to be cooked and what? Another batch of chocolate chip muffins? As long as I don't sit down i'll be OK....once I sit down I'm not getting up! Adios!