The Olympic Windsurfing Game: 2012 Edition – Fish and Chips Please!

Four years ago I was bobbing around in the pacific hoping there would be just a breath of wind to fill my windsurfing sail before I passed out from the sweltering heat.  The current was intense. China smelled funny or at least their supermarkets did.  All the fast Olympic competitors were lean, light and mean.  Added on top of the typically light wind, we had unlimited pumping, or fanning of the sail which was permitted in the Olympic windsurfing discipline.  This made for an extremely tiring and aerobic fight against my competitors.   Fast forward 4 years later and the new Olympic Venue is Weymouth, England. You think of England and you likely know it’s damp, you also know it’s quite blustery and things can change very quickly.   That’s not all that has changed.

This coming 2012 Olympics changed my entire games preparation just as fast as the weather changed to “jumper” weather.  I’ve had a few technical difficulties to say the least.  Now I’ll share with you the meat of this Olympic game.  It might get technical.  I’ll try to keep it simple because this game isn’t that complicated.

I’m a Florida boy.  I grew up with white sand and board shorts except when the occasional cold front came through and I needed a shorty wetsuit. This worked quite well for the past 10 years. I was always too heavy for the Olympic equipment so dieting and keeping my weight in check was essential.. The light winds and warm temperatures kept me nice and thin.  Then welcome to England; fish and chips please! Make that 2 portions of them.  I’m ten pounds heavier than I was in China. I’ve trained the last 6 months in windy, wet and cold locations, so my tan is struggling except here in Australia where it’s bright sunny warm and windy!

My size and strength isn’t the only thing to increase. I now own 8 fins, 6 masts, 5 boards, and 3 booms, much of that acquired over the past 6 months.  Breeze sailing or anything over 12 knots means board speed of 15-30 mph, which makes for some exhilarating racing.  But even in a one design controlled class such as mine, at these speeds the difference between a bad fin and a good fin or an old sail and a new one means the difference between racing at the front side of the fleet or spitting out the back.  So all those pieces of quiver I’ve purchased have their own personality. And they’ve all been individually nicknamed.  Now how many possible permutations does all my gear have? 720, and I’m not talking about doing a penalty turn.  Each piece has to work in synergy with the rest of  my gear. Sure there are certain visual cues that help you distinguish the differences but in the end the good old scientific method has to be diligently applied.

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