Communication is key. It could be the difference between, “my phone is breaking up, or we are breaking up.” Or it could cause mass confusion when you make a plan on the beach to do chase shots/group shots and one of you gets too excited and does a downwinder following the sets leaving the other guy upwind scratching his head like “wait what, no we are over here.” I wonder who that could have been? Damien? Just kidding, it was me… and that’s how we got into the bare knuckle boxing match in the lineup: “the grasshopper comes in hard with a solid right hook, but it’s not over yet! The master answers back using his camera stick as a club and lands a devastating blow to the forehead!”
Prior to this, a solid 12 hours of driving and roughly 800 miles of nonstop road rage landed Damien LeRoy and myself in South Padre Island at Phil Money’s Windsurfing Inc. As we drove through the town I couldn’t help but feel like we were in a ghost town for kiteboarding — memories of what was once such a popular spot for traveling kiteboarders. However, once we got to Windsurfing Inc., I started to change my mind a bit. Phil has such a sweet set up with a lovely grass area to lay you and your kites out to dry. It faces the sound with cross offshore winds and pretty decent flat water. It’s private, it’s personal, and it’s a perfect place to learn or dial in your rwepitware of tricks. If you need a rescue there is a boat gassed and ready to pick your soggy a** up from a long and miserable self rescue attempt.
While we were there, Damien and I had the pleasure of putting on a small show for the group on the boat, and they loved it! Inspired by our tricks and after watching us fly through the air, landing on butter smooth water, someone landed their first jump. We even got Phil on the foilboard!
Now for those who have foilboarded before, you probably know how frustrating learning can be. It wants to buck you off and bend you in ways you’d really rather not be bent in. The first time I went out, I rocked my ankles so hard by being bent backwards while my feet were in the straps, I didn’t touch the stupid board for two whole years — two years! I know our new Cabrinha Double Agent foilboards are one, if not, the best boards for learning how to foil, but neither Damien nor myself have ever had student learn so quickly and effortlessly as Phil — it was almost a joke. The man was trying to jump after, what, maybe 30 minutes. Find me someone who has done that before and I’ll show you a liar! He kept the board flat on the water, road crosswind, and gradually lifted the board off the water. He skipped the bucking broncho, the circus-o-lay contortions, and the slowmotion imagine of a knife (commonly known as a foil) flying towards his face. It was so unfair, and yet so awesome to watch. Phil was so stoked he bought two right there on the spot! If you want foil lessons in South Padre, Phil is apparently your man because that dude’s got it figure out!
Now that the “work” was out of the way, it was time for Damien and I to play. We hopped in the van and drove up to the jetty so we could snag what turned out to be some really awesome waves! The wind had shifted more south so the waves really cleaned up and we scored. It was so nice we even debated dropping the kites and just going surfing.
So why communication is key? Listen up groms, this applies to you! If someone is taking their own time to help you snag photos or video, be appreciative and work with them. They don’t know what your thinking, what shots you have in mind, or where you’re going to do your tricks unless you communicate with them properly. There are so many people that have helped me shoot (if any of you are reading this now, thank you so much for your help, and sorry)! Photoshoots are grinding, and as much as you might want to just go ride around, grab a session, and shoot some photos, it doesn’t really work like that… at all. If there is a shot in mind, you need to stick in the area, work with the cameraman, and grind it out with a smile. That’s how to get the shot you want.
Damien and I went out with the intentions of getting a sort of double selfie wave turn. My problem is that I wouldn’t tell him which wave and once I would see a wave I’d point and jam over to get it, instead of waiting for a wave to come to us. You see, I thought of him as Slalom World Champion, the guy who could keep going up and down wind to stay behind me, but now I’m seriously questioning how he got the title… just kidding again! I was on a surfboard and a smaller kite which allowed me to go downwind easier with more play in the window, while Damo was stuck on a twintip with a GoPro in one hand, trying to hit the record button, setting the right angle, making sure the lens was clean, while trying not to tangle with me… oh and actually trying to do the turn and jump he needed to do.