We arrived at the 14th ave. pier with a slightly offshore NNE 10 – 15 mph wind blowing. By 9am, the first wave of students started arriving. They were initially introduced to windsurfing on the land simulator. Eager learners got a chance to practice uphauling, changing direction, and the sailing position, all while keeping dry. Tracey directed later arrivals to the stand-up paddleboarding and kayak lessons. Thanks to our new sponsor Yakkity Yaks Kayak Rentals, we were equipped with a full complement of BIC stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. North of the pier was a perfect sized area for Eileen to monitor the beginner paddlers as they splashed and prodded about the bay. After they got to develop their balance, they then made it over to try windsurfing. A variety of 4 teaching sailboards gave 23 beginners their first taste of windsurfing.
Seaside Park has proved to be a great spot to learn to windsurf. The water north of the pier was waist deep for 100 yards out. We recruited some new volunteers to help instruct at this event. Ally L. is 13 years old, has been windsurfing for 5 years, and her knowledge has proved invaluable. On the other side of the scale, David is a seasoned veteran from New York who took naturally to explaining the basics on the simulator. We also welcomed new club members Allen Shultz and Suzanne Klein to the volunteer list. I hope the satisfaction they have all acquired inspires them to continue volunteering at future Fun Fests.
The SUP Race was certainly a highlight, with 14 paddlers dueling it out in a ¼ mile Relay Race. First place honors went to the team of Barb Bauer and Jimmy Rivera, with Linda and Richie Cubelo close behind, and Ashlyn Johnson & Gia Giaccio scoring third place.
Lunch was served up once again by Nino’s Pizzeria- delicious! The after lunch crowd was honored with a novice windsurfing clinic performed by our own elite windsurfers, Jeff & Barbara Bauer. By afternoon, the wind shifted to the east, and dyed down to 5 – 10 mph. Once again, they were forced to review waterstarts, gibes, and tricks on the land simulator. We are all patiently awaiting a real windy Fun Fest, where we can bring the clinic onto the water, and really improve our maneuvers.
The afternoon kayak race was a good way to keep some of our participants active. Five kayakers navigated through the ¼ mile race course, with the Horn family dominating. Gift took first place honors, with William close behind, and Gia Giaccio coming in third.
It was great to see some old faces from last year’s Fun Fest. Unfortunately, with the light afternoon offshore breeze, we did end up rescuing two novice windsurfers who drifted off course. We are always strict with monitoring all windsurfers who launch during our events, and safety is always our top priority. With the lack of wind affecting whether we raced windsurfers or not, the suggestion was put out there to race to the novice windsurfers, and first one back is the winner. While there was never any threat to their safety, we did accompany the struggling windsurfers until they made it safely back to shore. For sportsmanship that he demonstrated on the water, Vincent Mangione was awarded the Windsurfing Race Honorary First Place Men’s Unlimited Fleet medal, while Matthew Alviedo was awarded the Honorary Second Place Men’s Unlimited Fleet medal for his desire to return to the water to determine if his father was in distress.
Always remember to use the buddy system, let someone onshore know your sailing agenda, and for novices to never launch in off-shore winds.
For anyone who has not been to Seaside Park lately, recent upgrades to the bulkhead and boardwalk have just been completed. The construction barriers were removed just in time for the NJWWA Fun Fest, with grading of the parking lot performed the day before. There are now water stations near both the boat ramp, and the windsurfing launch. While the northern bulkhead is now better fortified, the southern windsurfing launch is scheduled for improvements during the next phase of construction. It was great to hear how supportive the Borough of Seaside Park is towards the windsurfing community.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Yakkity Yaks Kayaks, and to all of our members who volunteered their time and energy to this event.
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