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By: Florian Schut
What I Love...

What I love,

about windsurfing is not just the act. Hanging out on a beach with friends or without, waiting for wind or relaxing between sessions. Strengthening a common bond arrived at by uncommon routes.  With or without friends around I still catch myself doing many of the same things over and over simply because of favorable memories associated with them.  To this day walking down a beach, or river I can pick up a simple shiny stone and laugh and smile.  The best part of what I do teaching for ABKboardsports  is getting to influence new generations either by teaching them a certain skill better, and quicker then I ever did or simply being on the beach windsurfing or not.  At the end of the road it is expected that I windsurf,  but it is what I have been doing along the way that matters most.  Thats why when I think about today the passing of Jim Drake I do not think about the sport,  but the loss of a generation.  In this case....the first generation.
Pictured above, me somewhere in Humbolt County, and a windsurfer in the background.  I was there collecting agates on the beach with my Great Grandfather and my mother.  I reportedly asked my Great Grandfather "if he thought i would ever be able to do that"....  I don't even know if I knew what windsurfing was but something about it then, must have made an impression.  A lone windsurfer out with no one around, no one to impress, doing what he loved. 
 While I know nothing of Jim Drake I do know how the loss of a generation feels, and what it is like to be maybe not the next generation, but a future end of a generation.  This is not a sad statement rather a sobor realization that one of the disputed creators of the sport I love is now gone.  He and the multiple generations after him created much of what I hold close to me. To an even larger extent the generations preceding me shaped who I am today, and his is no longer here influencing me,  just like my Great Grandfather.   At this moment I am struck with a feeling, that whatever we do now, will be left for those who follow us.  That it is time to take that shovel of mine and get to work.
Posted: June 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM
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Back Home?

When I started windsurfing I was 12 and going to school in Beaverton, Oregon. I would travel to California in the summers and windsurf. Its hard to say where I feel is home, I would say California is my home but Beaverton, Oregon is my hometown. Pictured above the view from the Burnside Bridge of Portland Oregon. When visiting this year I would see more of Portland then I think I ever saw in the 10 plus years living there.

Visiting two of my friends from high school, I would watch Blazer games, and hangout socializing with people who knew nothing of windsurfing.  I would also continue to put on weight and lose my tan.  Not to mention, as a birthday present to my friends and a Christmas present to my family, I cut off all of my hair, which I said I would never do.

My trip surprisingly to Portland would also give me more snowy days then my trip to North Dakota.

Pictured left — My tripod and I enjoying the snow with my new haircut!

As a total surprise to me, not only would I hangout with my childhood friends from Oregon but my best friend from California, and on the day before I was to leave for Bonaire.

My California windsurfing partner in crime gone legit and I playing some Big Buck World at a shady bar in Portland.  There was once a point in time when I was better then him, but that was a very short period.  Mostly because he would go to ABK Boardsports and not tell me.  Even though he has stopped traveling around windsurfing he is still an amazing windsurfer...eventually I hope to finally be better then him but its been almost 4 yrs and I'm still wondering when that will be!

Matt and I doing our best Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with my good friend Tara, the night before I would leave the United States, and go to what I know feel is more like home than anything anymore.

30-hrs or so later, from Portland, Oregon-Phoenix, Arizona-Houston, Texas and finally Bonaire!  The morning view as I walk out of my apartment!

Below the view of my backyard, plenty of seating to lay out and enjoy the sun, the free show that is many of the top freestyling pro's, and cold drinks from the Hangout Bar.  Here I find many of my friends from the United States and Holland, and sometimes people who will soon be a friend.

Posted: March 2, 2012 at 11:29 AM
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Doing What I Never Got to Do!

Traveling around for the last few years windsurfing has led me to a lot of water, but this was the first time in over 4 yrs that it fell on me in flakes instead of drops.

For most when it snows shoveling the driveway is an unwanted chore.  But for me it was pretty amusing.  Normally where I was in North Dakota is the 3rd coldest city in the United States.  This yr it was actually pretty warm and did not snow very much, so I had to take full advantage of my opportunity to throw shovel fulls of snow around.
Shoveling it
Used to living without snow, and only experiencing water in rivers, lakes, and oceans.  It was time to explore what I could do in the snow.  One of the first things I did was Night sledding at Huff Hills.  Pictured to the left My friend Annie and her friend Emily.  This was also one of the colder nights of my stay in North Dakota which everyone assured me was a nice evening [warm] and just below 20 degrees.
Then there was a trip to the North Dakota Zoo.  I rarely go to zoo's let alone one with snow.  One of the strangest sites I saw was a camel...[in the snow]  I had always pictured them in the desert but apparently their climate is -20 to 100+ degrees
This little camels has...2 humps
Having just read about how rare Tigers were in the world and how most of them reside in zoo's around the world.  I was also surprised to see not just this one but two others of different types in a small North Dakota Zoo.
Then there was Ice skating.  We would not be indoors like the last time I went [over 10 yrs ago] but on a blacktop flooded and frozen by natural temperatures.  It was also pretty funny to have to unlace boots which I had owned in over 10yrs and then have to lace up Ice skates.  Even though I had not worn anything other then sandals in the last 4 yrs I somehow remembered how to tie the right knots.
Annie shows off her skating by going backwards.
I realize how much different water can be when not in liquid form.  Even though I know how to take a fall on water somehow it did not help me out here in North Dakota.  Despite not skating in 10 yrs and never even really that much.  I managed to do a pretty good job despite what this picture leads one to believe.
...ha ha
I helped make snow...ok I watched and took pictures while Annie and the Huff Hills staff made snow.  But I helped by not getting in the way.
Making snow
After making some snow it was time for a tour of the grounds, and later a little skiing and snowboarding.  I do not have any pictures but I did manage to make it down the mountain only loosing a ski once.  Snowboarding however would be a different story.  Only having been snowboarding once before I set out this time to try and get some good fundamentals on the bunny slope before going down the larger hills.  Managing to pull off a couple board 360 more out of necessity then design.  I would have some of the worst falls of the trip on a snowboard. Mastering the basic skills turned out only to allow me to put myself in greater risk of terrible crashes then to keep me safe.
On tour
Random snowboarding kid, throws a flip in front of me.  With the Huff Hills ski lodge in the background.
Some kid
With my trip almost over I would head off to Portland, OR.  Via my new favorite way to travel the train.  While in North Dakota I had a great time with a good friend from Santa Cruz and her family.  Skating, sledding, snowboarding, skiing, shoveling snow, cooking dinners on a stove, hanging out with people my own age and a whole lot more!  It was a great trip, with great hosts!

Posted: February 8, 2012 at 02:17 PM
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2,700 Miles: Part 2

The Train

59 days off. To travel and do with as I would like.  My first decision, get on a Greyhound for a little over a day. 1,500 miles on a bus to visit my mom for Thanksgiving.

Union Station, Los Angeles: the most impressive station I saw.Then I traveled 3 days.  Nearly 3,000 miles.  Taking 3 trains.  Arriving in North Dakota.  Beginning in South Padre Island TX to find myself in Bismark North Dakota.  As usual surrounded by water.  But doing nothing as I would “normally”.

It all started for me in California.  Quitting my job. My 25 yr life packed up into 3 bags and thrown into the back of a conversion U-haul for the better part of 3 yrs.  Spending all of my time on a beach somewhere, windsurfing and teaching others to windsurf.  Corpus Christi and South Padre Island Texas to start off the spring.  Continuing on to Avon North Carolina, and Mauntauk New York before spending my summers in California and Hood River, OR.

As the summer wains its off to Cape Cod, MA back to NY, and Dewey Beach Delaware.  Before going back to North Carolina and Texas.  Usually with a little less then a month time off its off to Bonaire and Aruba for my winter before it all starts back up in the spring.

Sounds like a dream 322 days traveling around chasing the sun.  But their is a price to be paid when using a cooler as a refrigerator, a car as a home, and your moms address as your own.  For how much I am out and about I am for the most part alone.  My socialization and fraternization all done through work.  Everyday normal things and interactions become unusually difficult.

The nice thing is that abnormal begins to become common place.  Deciding last minute with no plan I take a train half way around the United States.  Finding myself in a foot of snow.  1,000 miles away from a beach.  In the beginning of winter.  At #2 on the US list of coldest cities.  With a friend who was both at the end and the beginning of this story.

Just your average trip. The Texas Eagle took me through 1,000 miles plus of desert and Cactus.  The Pacific Starlight took me along the southern California Coastline and through all the neighborhoods of my first 25yrs.  Roaming the cars of the train.  Sipping on a beer at a table in the observation car.  As the scenes of my life, Beaches, cliffs and waves passed by me on the rail.  Through a great Halloween,  Great Great Grandmother, and Great grandparents towns. Passing by Childhood summers.  Into Tennis matches, and past football games attended, first kisses and Friends left behind.

Southern California coastlineSouthern California coastline

Central California valleyThis (photo left) would be the last picture my camera took on the Coast Starlight. I would not get it fixed until just after getting on the 28 Empire Builder.



Somewhere in western Montana


Waking up just in time to see the sun rising through the clouds and over the mountains.  I was somewhere in Western Montana with my camera finally working.  This would be the start of scenes totally unfamiliar to me.




Here are the two sides of Montana (photo to right and below). It was as if a line had been drawn mountains on one side and a totally flat landscape on the other. 

Western Montana

Three days on a train and I was finally there. Minot North Dakota where I met my friend and former Santa Cruz roommate Annie.  I would not realize it till I saw her brother and sister in law.  That they all where there when I stopped living in a house and started at that time living in a tent, [the next season I would upgrade to a van].

Eastern Monatana

Posted: January 30, 2012 at 05:54 PM
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2,700+ Miles traveled to get 1,564 Miles away! Pt.1


To most it sounds pretty crazy, to take a nearly 3,000 mile trip in order to be 1,500 miles further away then you started. But then again most people don't have 59 days off [estimated] Not to mention most people are not accustomed to my current lifestyle spent solely on the road.  Below my planned route to visit a friend and former house mate from Santa Cruz.  [I lived in Santa Cruz 4 yrs ago this May]

Below what a normal person would have done, by taking a plane and flying from Arizona to North Dakota.... But as it has already been established over the last few years in this blog I am not exactly normal!  Most of you by now must be thinking that taking a train or a bus must be less expensive then flying. [otherwise why would I take 60hrs and almost 1,500 more miles then needed, to get where I was going]  Unfortunately to compound my seemingly mad behavior a bus or a train was more expensive to travel by then a plane in my circumstance.  I'm sure with proper planning. That is more then 4 days notice before booking a ticket, prices may have been the same.

For those that did see the Greyhound trip. [below] My bus ride from South Padre Island, TX.  The start of my 59 days off [estimated] To my first stop visiting my mom for Thanksgiving. Setting the next path to be taken, my train ride to the snow.

Roughly 3,788 miles of road and rail to get me from Texas to North Dakota.  With a stop over in AZ to visit my mom for Thanksgiving before spending Christmas in the snowy geographical center of the United States [East to west...not north to south]  I could not think of any other means more appropriate then buses and trains for a gypsy like myself.  Even though I would not recommend a bus ride to anyone, the train however I feel is a form of transportation that more should take advantage of.

EnjoyThe best thing about taking a train is the dignity in which you travel.  The seats in regular class make first  class airline seats look like high school bleachers.  Tremendous room. Leg rests that extend up from the seat to the end of your calves. Foot rests extending out from the seat in front.  Plugs to charge your computer or whatever else you may wish.  An observation car to have a drink. [Right]

RelaxOr just sit with friends and family and take in the sights as you steam past them. [Left]  Even a dinning car that serves full on meals [not "meal" boxes of candies and chips like on the planes].

After making this trip I realized how much we sacrifice for "convenience".  By that I mean time, for a belief in taking a path of least resistance.  This may just be me or the influence of all the Euro's I hang out with... but my destination is just a part of my trip.  I do not like having the stress of getting somewhere rushing though all the sites before catching my plane back a week later, only to go back to work the next day.  If given that option or the option to stay at home relaxing with ice cream while watching movies, I would stay at home.
When taking the train I was relaxed from the very start. No amazingly long lines to get your ticket from the counter on a train.  No long feverishly nervous wait in a security check.  No hoping I put on a good pair of socks for the flight. Nor is there a worry if you have the right size bottles of liquid in an approved travel bag.  I did not have to take of my shoes, or out my laptop.  I did not have to walk through a metal detector or full body scanner only to go to a secondary screening with a pat down, and magic wand between my legs.  I simply got my ticket. Boarded my train. Sat back...and enjoyed my freedom to move/travel around.
To Be Continued......

Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:44 PM
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