BABA Season Kick-Off Party

by Mike McCormick, BABA Chair

If you missed the BABA Season Opener party on March 16th, you didn’t miss any action on the water.  The day was gray and calm with just the slightest hint of spring approaching.  No one got their gear or themselves wet in the Severn River that day.  We’ll all be doing that real soon!

If you missed the BABA Season Opener party, you did miss a great time reconnecting with friends.  About 40 folks showed up to kick-off the season.  Everyone shared home prepared and “bought-along-the way” treats and beverages.  My personal favorite was Jack Ames’ pecan pie – my timing was off and I only got one piece – can’t wait until next year.

It was fun remembering the many windsurfing highlights of 2012.  We had two great Hatteras trips and mother nature spared us the nail-biting travels we had in fall 2011.  We were fortunate to get good wind for a number of our race series events and we had a good turn-out for the East Coast Championship – I want to try Myles Borash’s new board! (ed note: for those of you who didn’t see him at the BABA ECC last fall, Myles was riding an Exocet D2).


2012 was especially exciting for all of us as we watched BABA member Farrah Hall represent the US on the Olympic sailing team.  It was a special treat to welcome Farrah home at an East of Maui party, to hear about the competition and to give her the first ever life-time BABA membership. The decision to keep windsurfing in the 2016 olympic games in Rio was welcome news.  Many of us had written letters asking that the kiting decision be overturned and it turned out that “Windsurfing will not be cancelled”.

A final highlight of the year was a BABA first – the Watersports Fun Fest held at Mayo beach and jointly sponsored with AACo Recreation and Parks, East of Maui and Outdoor Architects.  The 75+ friends and family who showed up definitely had fun – most everyone got a SUP demo and around 20 people got a “taste of windsurfing” lesson.  We will be doing this again in 2013 on July 14th.

The Season Opener party was also a time to thank some special people.  Tom Sargent was awarded the Pat Pugh Service Award for his many years as race director keeping the spirit alive and as a windsurfing instructor spreading the spirit to young people.  Chuck Schnee was also recognized for his early years at the BABA helm teaching us how to find the right balance of organization and fun as BABA grew.  And finally, we all need to thank those members who volunteer to keep all of the BABA activities that we enjoy afloat year after year.

Our goal for the new year is to “share the work and spread the fun”.  See you on the water soon.

ABK Boardsports – New BABA Sponsor

When I started windsurfing I took 3 ABK camps in quick succession, and that gave me a great foundation.  Over the years I’ve done a few lessons or short clinics here and there, but nothing as thorough as ABK camps.  I think lots of windsurfers are like me – we get a solid foundation and get comfortable with our skills and don’t think anything about taking an intensive clinic again.

It had been 15 years since Steve and I took an ABK Clinic.   I jokingly referred to our trip to Bonaire in 1998 as our prenuptial agreement, since I started windsurfing before I met Steve and he had some catching up to do.  This winter I revisited ABK Bonaire along with Janice Emerling and her cohort of Chicago friends (her Caribbean windsurfing buddies going back many years).  It was great to work with Andy Brandt again, and his instructors Brendan Quinn and Derek Rijff really know their stuff.  It’s amazing how they can break down every windsurfing move into understandable pieces, and how they can offer constructive critiques on body position tweaks that can make all the difference in completing a move.  Even when Andy and Brendan were busy talking to other students about their technique issues on the water they could see me sailing in for critique and pick up on seemingly minor missteps that lead to improvements all around.  They have unbelievable passion and enthusiasm for teaching windsurfing.

Taking an ABK clinic in Bonaire was a great way to get the most value out of a Caribbean trip because we worked hard every day.  And even if you don’t score ideal planing conditions during a clinic the ABK team has lots of moves to teach everyone.   I was a little disappointed that it was too windy for some beginner freestyle time on the water because I was so stoked watching the advanced freestylers hone their craft.

I heartily welcome ABK as a BABA Sponor.  Thank you Coby for starting the conversation with Andy last fall.  I encourage everyone to jump on the ABK bandwagon and take your first clinic, or your 5th, or your 10th.  ABK will be in Dewey September 27 – 29.  They have lots of other camps between now and then, including August in Bonaire, and spring and fall options in Hatteras.  Check out their website for the full schedule.  Time at an ABK Clinic pays huge dividends.

ABK generously donated tuition for a clinic to BABA.  The drawing was held at the Season Opener Party on March 16.  All BABA families (one entry per membership) who had renewed their membership by the party were included in the drawing.  Long-time BABA member Roger Fitzgerald won.  Congratulations Roger!


Thank You Sponsors

Our friends in the windsurfing industry were very generous with their sponsorship again this year.  We had fun with the  name-drawing at the Season Kick-Off Party a couple of weeks ago.  The big winner for the event was longtime BABA member Roger Fitzgerald.  Roger’s name was drawn from among all the BABA members who have renewed for 2013 and he won the free ABK Camp.  He tells us that he’ll be sending his teenage daughter to ABK camp to hone her windsurfing skills.  Roger is making a shrewd investment in the future of our sport by giving his daughter the best possible windsurfing instruction available.  Having just completed an ABK camp myself (after my 15 year camp hiatus) I know that she’ll learn a lot and have a great time in the process.  We look forward to her report!

BABA member Dave Iseri is serving as Sponsorship Coordinator  and he did a great job  securing lots of products and gift certificates to help BABA promote our sport.  Thank you to (in no particular order) Dakine, Chinook, East of Maui Annapolis, Wind NC, Avon Sail House, Delmarva Board Sports Adventures, US Windsurfing (go get a membership!), Ezzy Sails, ABK Boardsports (take a clinic!), Aerotech Sails, Maui Fin Company, WaterStarter, East UpHaul, Windsport Magazine (subscribe before we lose them too!) and Ocean Air Sports.  Lots of goodies found their way to new homes.  If you won something please remember to thank the sponsor.  And remember all of our sponsors when you’re shopping for gear.  You can find links to all of our sponsors’ webpages on the SPONSOR tab above.