As we all try to deal with holiday stress before the true "Wintertime Depression" sets in, perhpas its time to do some Florida dreamin. Would suggest that our group considers a trip to Cocoa Beach via Orlando in early February. Am going down Feb. 8 for a week to test new carbon and bals TOG boards there staying at Anthony's motel in Cocoa. Would be fun if we could get a group to go and give me your opinions on the new boards.
The Orlando/Cocoa area offers a great spot for a short getaway or a family vacation. Orlando has lots of cheap flights from Midway and O'Hare. Cocoa has lots of reasonable motels shown on map attached as well as more sunshine, better beaches and warmer temps than Corpus in February. Cape Canaveral also offers great NASA tours on low wind days as well as body boarding off Cocoa, one of the better surf beaches in Florida.
After going to Florida for years to windsurf and kite, while I like Miami, Jupiter Inlet as well as the Keys, I prefer Cocoa to almost anywhere else. The Keys get slightly more wind, but have smaller waves for body boarding. Miami and Jupiter can offer fun kiting, but generally from only a couple of wind directions. In Cocoa you can kite in ANY WIND DIRECTION because of the Banana River behind Cocoa works from the West. This plus the free Cocoa trolley make it unique.
On the prevailing SSE thermal winds that kick up on most every sunny afternoon you can do huge downwinders for five or six miles the full legnth of Cocoa Beach and then catch the trolly home or depending on where you stay take the trolly out and ride home. This trolly plus the waves allow you to have fun on days when the winds don't crank to the level needed for staying upwind. The winds in Cocoa do not approach the Corpus level, but do blow with some consistency. Generally as in Corpus if you get sunshine you get wind in Cocoa in the late afternoon which leaves the morning free to tour the many attractions in the Orlando/Cocoa area.
I stay at Anthoy's Motel at the South end of Cocoa. It has no pool but has a great location for body boarding the break in front of the hotel. It also sits at the far South end of the Cocoa Beach for the max downwinders on the prevailing SE winds. You can literally ride for miles off Anthony's surfing the nice waves along the way. Have had some very fun sessions doing this. We could also make a side trip to Jupiter Inlet where they also get great winds and have an incredible kiteboarding store.
Hope to have several TOG boards to test. Have acquired a state of the art vacuum bagging system. Am working on several boards with different sandwich contructions using various combinations of Vivinicell, Carbon, Balsa and Triax contruction. Boards will use rocker and rail outlines developed with Pete Nordby and concave bottom developed here. They will have the clear wood end grain wood finish on top and decorative cloth design on the bottom making each board unique. Am building boards for riding the onshore, choppy conditions on the Great Lake. They will have a relatively deep, broad concave for staying upwind and cushioning the landings. The greater flex from the carbon fiber and balsa combined with the concave gives a cushy fast ride easy on the knees.
Check out Cocoa Beach on MapQuest and you can see the size of the Bananna river and proxcimity to Orlando. FYI, Anthony's offers a great local to kite out your front door, but has no pool for those who want one. There are plenty of other hotels that have pools in Cocoa.