OBX-Wind Hatteras 2017

Posted on Posted in Competition, Latest News, Travel

Cape Hatteras has always been a “family” destination for me. My parents use to take my brothers and I down for a week every October. A 14 hour drive from Toronto, it was a perfect way to get together and take a week off school to do some windsurfing.

Glassy view from sound-front windsurfing house on Island Creek in Avon, Hatteras, North Carolina.
Glassy view from sound-front house on Island Creek

Although I was only accompanied by my younger brother Tom for the 2017 OBX-Wind event, the family atmosphere around Hatteras doesn’t change.

Phil Soltysiak windsurfing pushlooping in front of my sponsor JR from Makani Fins - Photo by Nicholas Chapleau
Pushlooping in front of my sponsor JR from Makani Fins – Photo by Nicholas Chapleau

Week 1 we scored 3 days of windsurfing. One at Salvo Day Use, about 15 minutes North of Avon where we were staying on the Island of Hatteras; riding 5.3m and 103l. A 2nd day we windsurfed on the sound side, in front of the Island Creek houses rented out by Hatteras Realty, followed by a sunset Lighthouse session, both on my 4.7m and flare 93. The 3rd day we totally scored at Avon Pier! Mind you the wind was light, but my 103l Flare and 5.3m Revolution were getting the job done, and I actually had a Starboard tack jumping session, followed by the wind shifting to side-offshore, so Tom and I caught a few wave rides in the evening. Even though I was on a relatively large sail for freestyle, 5.3, it was without a doubt my most fun session of the trip!

Phil Soltysiak CAN 9 windsurfing freestyle board wave riding at the Avon Pier in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina - Photo by Adam Wojtkowiak
Aerial on the freestyle board wave riding at the Avon Pier – Photo by Adam Wojtkowiak
Me in an LED light suit, I windsurfed in it at night, it was pitch black and I was blinded by the lights on my forearms. Good times! Photo by Makani Fins.
Me in an LED light suit, I windsurfed in it at night, it was pitch black and I was blinded by the lights on my forearms. Good times! Photo by Makani Fins.

3 days of wind that week meant we had to do something besides windsurfing! I got out on my Starboard 8’2 WidePoint SUP quite a few times both at Avon Pier and Izabelles. We also played tennis quite a few times with our house crew Max Robinson (Canadian RSX Athlete) and Adam Wojtkowiak (Canadian freestyle shredder).

Week 2 was intense: long distance, freestyle show, freestyle clinic, slalom racing, night windsurfing in an LED lightsuit, wave sessions, parties, gear presentations, and more!

I had a great group for my freestyle clinic, which we ran every day. Everybody pushed themselves, tried new things and made progress, while I had a ton of fun teaching and windsurfing with them. We’ll probably do another one of those next year for OBX-Wind as it was a great success!

In between running the clinic we did 2 x 20km long distance races, with a jet-ski rabbit start and 177 competitors. What a blast that was! I’m pretty happy with my finishes of 6th and 4th, but I have to admit, long distance racing is not my thing 😉

Long distance race start
Long distance race start

After 40km of long distance it was time for a freestyle show, in which I won “best move”. Sweet! I was stoked with that, but more importantly I was stoked to windsurf with the 6 other riders who were all pushing themselves: Mike Burns, Alex Mertens, Adrien Greylon, Jonathan Eberle, Max Robinson, and of course my brother Tom Soltysiak with his stylish no-handed Spocks.

Slalom coming into the first mark - that's me on the blue/orange on the right hand side of the picture. Photo by Antoine Ciociola.
Slalom coming into the first mark – that’s me on the blue/orange on the right hand side of the picture. Photo by Antoine Ciociola.

The first day we were supposed to run slalom we ran out of water. That’s right, we had good wind, but no water. The strong NE wind blew out most of the water in Pamlico Sound, leaving us with dry sandbars and some ankle deep spots. So even though we could have made some epic footage of full speed catapults with the 120frames per second 4K cameras laying around, the race committee smartly decided it was dangerous to race slalom. I took advantage of that and between my 2 clinic sessions snuck off to “The Lighthouse” for a wave session on my 4.2m Sailworks Revolution and 76l Starboard UltraKode.

Phi Soltysiak windsurfing looping at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Photo by Nicholas Chapleau/
Looping at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Photo by Nicholas Chapleau/

Luckily some SW wind returned for the last 2 days of the event and we got 9 slalom races done. I jumped the gun on one of them, giving me an OCS (on course side) got 2nd in 7 races and a 1st in the last race. I look forward to getting my slalom gear tuned in to give the slalom winner Tyson Poor some better competition at the next slalom event we’ll be racing at in Rio Vista, California.

Slalom race results OBX-Wind 2017
Slalom race results OBX-Wind 2017

At the end of the week the forecast was calling for another 2 days of wind, and in true Hatteras family style Tom and I were adopted by the “Russian house”, who not only gave us a place to stay, but also fed us some delicious Russian food including Borscht (red beet soup) and Serniszki. Thanks to them we scored some more sessions at Izabelles, the Canadian Hole (eh?), and the Lighthouse before packing up and driving North!

My brother Tom, Tyson and me receiving our awards for slalom. 1st Tyson Poor, 2nd place Phil Soltysiak, 3rd place Tom Soltysiak - Photo by Antoine Ciociola
My brother Tom, Tyson and me receiving our awards for slalom. 1st Tyson Poor, 2nd place Phil Soltysiak, 3rd place Tom Soltysiak – Photo by Antoine Ciociola

What’s next? Well…it’s not exactly a secret, but I’ll keep it under wraps. It’s something which you’ll most probably read about in your local windsurfing magazines in the near future. And after that little project I’m off to the US West Coast! Check back soon…