Saturday, December 13, 2008

Alex Caviglia Bluewater Classic

This years’ Alex Caviglia Bluewater Classic (January 17-19,2009) is welcoming the Formula Class North American Championship to Biscayne Bay.   In it’s third year, the regatta is a charity event to benefit  Shake-A-Leg Miami’s watersports programs for people with disabilities.   Shake-A-Leg Miami, a non-profitorganization, uses sailing and other watersports to bring hope, confidence, social integration, independence into the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  Similarly, the Caviglia Bluewater Foundation seeks to serve, represent and educate individuals and families who have been touched by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on their way to recovery and rehabilitation. Together, these two organizations are hosting the regatta which is open windsurfers (Formula and Kona),  Keelboats (Paralympic classes and J-24’s) and two dinghy classes (O’Pen BICS and Access Dinghies). 


Close to 180 sailors from around the world are expected on several race courses, including The O’Pen Bic “Unregatta”, a format jampacked with crazy racing and tons of fun for kids of all ages.    


Proceeds from the last two events enabled Shake-A-Leg Miami to start up a windsurfing program and teach more than 200 kids how to sail over the past two summers.  This year Shake-A-Leg is hoping to build the program and make it adaptive to introduce people with disabilities to the sport.   


For more information on the Alex Caviglia Bluewater Classic, please visit the website at: .

Monday, December 8, 2008

Prepared Peak Performance Race Camp

There are still a couple of spots available in the Prepared Peak Performance Race camp that will be held at the Banana River Resort in Cocoa Beach, FL from Dec. 27-30!

In addition to teaching and refining windsurfing skills, we will be focusing on creating well rounded competitors by emphasizing preparation, training (both mental and physical) and goal setting. These skills are vital for long term success in windsurfing, and also crossover to success in other sports, college and the workplace. It is a lot to fit into just four days, but our goal is to make sure that these four days are efficiently used!

The price for four days of coaching, four nights lodging, breakfast and lunch each day and 2 dinners is $520 per person (only $130/day!). If you have other lodging options – you can pay $440 for four days of coaching, lunch each day and 2 dinners. The clinic includes time on Bic 293, Neil Pryde RS:X and Exocet Kona equipment. If you bring your own gear (of any kind) there is no additional equipment charge. If you are not bringing any gear with you, there is a $100 equipment charge.

Your coaches for the clinic will be Dominique Vallee, Britt Viehman and Karen Marriott. Dominique Vallee from Quebec, Canada has over 15 years of windsurfing, coaching and racing experience. She has competed in PWA slalom events and was the gold medalist in windsurfing at the 2007 Pan American Games. She has the experience of several Olympic campaigns in both the Mistral One-Design and RS:X. Britt Viehman also has over 15 years of experience, including years of Formula racing experience and an Olympic campaign in Mistral One-Design. Karen Marriott has raced Mistral One-Design, Formula and RS:X and was a member of the US Sailing Team in 2006 and 2007.

Come join us - we already have 4 competitors from Quebec and 9 from the US!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Miami Pro-Am

The Miami Pro-Am kicked off Nov 15-16 with some great conditions for Formula and Kona racing. There was about 35 sailors there and the really cool part is half of the competitors there were under the age of 20! US Windsurfing’s Team USA showed up and were jamming. Most were competing (and performing quite well) in the Kona Class and there was several in the Formula Class.

Cool stories about several of the sailors here at the Miami Pro-Am:
-Cullen Ahearn from Clearwater, FL competed in his first windsurfing regatta ever at the Pro-Am last year. In the past year, he has put in so much hard work that in highly tactical Kona fleet, he won the podium! It is great to see him achieve such skills as a sailor and he is a great competitor - watch out for him, he is continuing to practice hard.
-Mateo Vargas, a Laser sailor from St Pete, competed for the first time ever in a windsurfing regatta and placed 4th overall in the Kona fleet!
-Chris Gardiner from St. Pete, FL won the Youth Class in Formula with Sergio Cremissini from Miami and Alex Stankie from Cocoa Beach rounding out the Formula Youth Fleet.

There are a bunch of more up and comers as well who are hungry and looking to climb on podiums as well.

Off the course at the US Sailing Center, it was cool to see skateboards and footballs instead of older guys huddled around discussing Formula fins and the economy. And in the evening, the skate park in Coconut Grove was put to good use. Overall it is looking like a great start to the racing season with Team USA. So feel free to talk to the kids on land, because on the water you may not have that chance. They are all good kids and I am stoked that they are making a showing. I am contacting more kids to get them involved - so look for the numbers to increase at future events.

We are looking forward to the next Team USA event, the Prepared Peak Performance Training Camp at Banana River Resort, Dec 27-30. We have 12 youth sailors already and some others considering it strongly.

Britt Viehman
US Windsurfing’s Team USA Coach

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Techno 293 North American & World Championships

Would you like to travel to England and compete in the 2009 Techno 293 World Championships? Would you like to have some of your travel expenses paid for and have a coach who will travel with you and help you get your best possible finish? You can make that happen!

The Techno 293 North American Championships will be held from July 29-31 at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California. Anyone can attend and all racers will use a Bic Techno 293. There will be two ages classes, under 15 and under 17. Performance at the North American's is what will determine who gets sent to the world championships in Weymouth just a few weeks later. We are hoping to take six kids to Weymouth and the goal is to have boys and girls in both the under 15 and under 17 classes; however, qualification will be based on performance and ability to get around the race course regardless of age or class.

If you work super hard at getting yourself ready for this event you can make the dream of international windsurfing competition your reality! Nevin Sayre (who was a 5 time US Windsurfing National champion and PWA competitor) got his start in similar fashion, “I know when I was 18 years old and heard that I could win airfare to the North American windsurfing champs in Corpus Christi by winning the New England Champs, this changed my life forever. I dedicated myself to those New England Champs and won airfare to Corpus where for the first time I saw Matt Schweitzer, Ken Winner, Mike Waltze, Alex & Greg Aguera, Rhonda Smith et al. This made me a dedicated windsurfer for life!”

So make your plans now to start getting ready for the North American’s, and if you have any questions about training or competing send an e-mail to Britt or Karen.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Think About It

This article is reprinted with permission from Michael Sinnott of the Saab Salomon Factory Team, and  It is not windsurf specific, but applies to all forms of competition - be it course or slalom racing and freestyle.

Call me a head case, but I believe that the single most overlooked aspect of skiing is the mental aspect.  To preface, I did spend a lot of time studying the brain in my past (psychology major and neuroscience minor, I’m a head geek), so I may be biased towards the things I like.  That said, my studies gave me a firsthand appreciation for the untapped potential of the human mind.

You should never enter a race in an unready state of mind.  Period (for emphasis). End of story.  It’s like starting a race without boots or with red klister the length of your glide zone on a cold day.  If you slide up to the line, and in your head you are repeating, “Oh, this is miserable.  What am I doing?  I’m not ready.  These guys look fast.  Maybe I’ll just ski the first half and see how I feel,” or anything along these lines, then you have knocked yourself out before the race has begun.  Take a step back.  Breathe deep.  Re-assess and focus, because a mind set up for failure will be ready to jump on the failure bandwagon.  A mind will make your thoughts reality.  Rather than have your mental state fight against you from the get-go, use the brain as a tool, and set your sights high.  Think about all the mental hoopla quotes you’ve heard over the years, from “reach for the stars,” to “90% of this game is half mental” (as said by the great Yogi Berra).  These things are not coincidences, and as much as you may rue the idea of meditation or breathing rituals or whatever “sports psychology” means to you, the truth is that these things are real. 

There is no "right" way to mentally prepare.  I can’t tell you how to find the right mental state for yourself.  It’s an individual assessment of mental strengths and beliefs.  I once heard Michael Phelps say that the only thing he thinks about in a race is “I have to touch the wall first.” Then there is the stereotypical football player who is yelling and pounding his head and finding his mental (?) adjustment.  Phil Jackson believes it's best to clear the head and play in a Zen state, conscious of everything around you.  Of course there is also the Prefontaine way of life, trying to win at everything and making winning, or losing, a disease.  The point is that there are many ways to create a successful mental aura, but it’s all up to you to discover what that entails.  One common denominator to all these success stories is that these people didn’t just create their mental tact overnight.  They developed them.

A racer does not jump into a race, usually, without training.  I propose the same thing for your new found mental attitude.  Find it. Develop it.  Hone it.  Make it infallible to the obstacles you may encounter.  Start today.  Winter is coming and you may be preparing to be physically fit, but prepare to be mentally fit too.  This could mean that you embark on a long run, and don’t bring any music.  Just clear your head and focus for as long as you can.  Find your rhythm and embrace the flow of ideas, or the consistent pounding of your feet.  Mental exercises strengthen your resolve and ability to keep the “game plan” on par.  Try the Pre method and practice competitiveness in unimportant things.  It may not help you make any friends, but it will make you ready for success when it counts and the pressure is on.  Kris Freeman is known for taking every race seriously, and it shows when the heat is on. Don’t be discouraged at first if your brain fights back.  That’s the point of practicing now, to strengthen your synaptic connections and make you ready for race day.

Today, with snow still a month away, mental practice may be less time consuming and strenuous.  Just find the right frame of mind.  As the season nears and your big race is on the horizon, focus longer and harder.  Practice day in and day out, even for a little bit at a time.  Eventually it no longer becomes a decision, but an instinct.  This way, when the gun fires and people are scrambling around, flailing, hoping the kick wax works, hoping their energy holds, waiting for the finish to come, you’ll have an advantage.  You’ll be ready; you’ll be focused; you’ll have a game plan; and this will be second nature to you.