FINN MULLEN – THE FAR SHORES
How much time do you spend looking from the shore? I look a lot, but not for long. As windsurfers our eyes our always drawn to that liquid view that marks our interface between land and offshore. On home waters or beyond, we eye the session to come, map our feelings internally, externally, to work our mind and body into states of frenzy, excitement, joy.. or not, at what we see. It’s what we do and when we can’t do it, we still think about it. Writers have often noted that far away look in sailors’ eyes. It only disappears when they start to move in their longed for watery escapes. We always journey as windsurfers, it may not be far, it can be long reaching, but we always travel.
“ To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Words Finn Mullen // Photo Tam Mullen
This issue we pay tribute to the far shores and the sailors who reach for them. It has been inspiring to compile. Read about Jono Dunnett and his epic circumnavigation of Britain; Jono candidly describes his thought process to sail, not drift – “At around age 40 I didn’t really have a lot on. This blank canvas gave an opportunity for a good inward look and I started being more honest with myself. The plan to windsurf round Britain at least injected some life into me, and the opportunity – in a life of finite opportunities – was there. Despite it being a difficult decision, deep down I knew it was the time to go.’’ It’s a classic tale of British ‘can do, will do’ spirit mixed with the highs and lows of a character building journey that any windsurfer can appreciate and respect. Respect is also due to a number of British sailors who have been challenging themselves on far shores. British ex-pat Vicky Abbott, now resident in Maui, came 5th in her first PWA contest, the prestigious Aloha Classic no less! At one stage she was even winning the single elimination final before it was cruelly cancelled. John Skye gives us his expert commentary on the competition in our feature – Alohagram. Also featured in Hawaiian waters is one of our finest madmen, Robby Swift, as he takes on the first major swell of the Hawaiian winter at Pe’ahi to make “the best turn I have ever had at Jaws’’. The images are breathtaking and the riders recount their scary rides in our hair-raising ‘Pe’ahi power’ piece.
“ We always journey as windsurfers, it may not be far, it can be long reaching, but we always travel ”
At the other end of the wave scale, Farrel O’ Shea joined the exclusive 50 knots club in the far away and flatter than flat shores of the Lüderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia. Smashing his old British record with an amazing 51.2 knots run and giving him 5th in the windsurfing world speed rankings! Honourable mention to our own Zara Davis who wasn’t able to attend Lüderitz this year and yielded graciously her world record to Karin Jaggi, a worthy recipient. And of course, a massive congratulations to our cover boy, Antoine Albeau, who blasted his way to a blisteringly fast new world record of 53.27 knots in the desert shores.
Antoine and friends guide us at a slightly slower pace round the far and exotic Isle of Pines in this issue – “the closest island to Paradise”. If your thirst for paradisiacal waters is still unquenched, then check out our feature on Le Morne, Mauritius. From mast high waves to perfect flat water blasting, this incredible and unique destination with the comfort of luxury hotels right on its shores – “really does have conditions to suit every level of sailor and all disciplines’’ and offers a location “where everyone on a holiday are kept happy all in one place; even my wife!’’ says John Carter; praise indeed from the most well travelled windsurfing reporter in the world!
Wherever you choose to make your far shore, at home or perhaps with the help of our travel guide, overseas, travel safe, let the wind be your engine but most importantly sail, not tie at anchor.
Sail, not drift!